Gary DePersia Reflects on the Weird Side of 20 Years on the Hamptons’ East End

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Every now and then, I’ll tell a story to someone about something funny, strange or outright weird that occurred in the course of my real estate days. Invariably I’ll hear, “I bet you could write a book!” Well, maybe one day. Here, I share a few stories that quickly come to mind.

The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home…

We hear this all the time, and let’s face it, no matter how many common rooms we have strewn with comfortable couches and chairs for entertaining and hanging out, we all seem to wind up in the kitchen. Builders spend thousands of dollars creating inviting and functional spaces with top-of-the-line appliances…Viking, Thermador, or LaCornue stoves; Sub-Zero refrigerators, cooling drawers, warming drawers, and steamers. Augmenting all these are butler’s pantries with coffee stations, wine coolers, and additional dishwashers. There’s enough stainless steel showing to blind anyone who dares to look straight on. So it was early on in my career when I was invited to evaluate a house that a couple was contemplating putting on the market way up in East Hampton’s Landfall area. After touring most of the residence, the lady of the house invited me to see the kitchen. She proudly marched me over to the stove and announced “See this? In the 10 years we’ve owned the house, it’s never been used!” Her husband winced a little, but it was a story I used every time I showed the house for sale. And you know what, I bet she wasn’t the only one who hasn’t used their stove or other appliances.

Law & Order…

For four years straight, I would find a rental for two families sharing a house for the summer. With a thriving law practice specializing in litigating personal injury lawsuits, the two partners and their families would alternate weekends of use. I rented them houses from Amagansett to Bridgehampton, both north and south of the highway, until one fateful year when they decided they wanted something year round to experience the Hamptons in the off season as well as the summer months. After all, if they ever bought anything, they wanted to understand what their off season usage might be. So I found them a wonderful little house on Jobs Lane from one Thanksgiving to the following Thanksgiving, just walking distance to the beach. And all was right with the world until I got an angry call demanding to know why I hadn’t disclosed that a house would startconstruction right in the middle of their yearly rental. They threatened lawsuits and hinted at the loss of my license. Soon, I understood how opposing counsel must have felt under their withering cross-examinations on behalf of one of their injured clients. I had to find them another house. Fortunately, one of my colleagues found another renter for their house who was less sensitive to noise. That was the last year they rented from me. Oh, but it wasn’t a sad story. Within two years, they both had purchased houses–from the broker they were going to sue, a fact they still laugh about today.

In 1492, Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue…

Angel View was the listing that put me on the map. It really did. A gargantuan but spectacular stucco, stone, and wood edifice on four levels of living space, Angel View spans six acres on three separate lots from West Banks into North Haven Point along Noyac Bay. It was conceived and built by one half of a European brother duo that in 1976 founded a leather, luggage and luxury goods manufacturing and retailing company. Think Coach with a German accent. Coming to market in 1997 for the then obscene price of $13.995 million. With no comps in sight, I nonetheless began the marketing process. Parties, open houses, and provocative copy–I tried it all. Then, one showing made it all worthwhile. A colleague requested a showing for one of his very high-end waterfront buyers. We began the tour with all the common rooms first, then descended into the lower levels of the house to see the indoor pool and home theater even further below. Finally, we went up to the second level to see all the bedrooms. Each door was emblazoned with the name of a famous European explorer. There was the Ferdinand Magellan room, the Vasco da Gama room, the Hernando de Soto room, the Vasco Nunez de Balboa room, and lastly, the Cristoforo Colombo room. As we were departing the second floor to view the grounds, the broker turned to me in full earshot of his buyer and asks, “What’s with the names on the doors? Are these friends of the owner?”

You can’t make this stuff up. I have more…Stay tuned.

 

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