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Your greatest investment should be the one you call home.

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The Hamptons are one the most unique and competitive real estate markets in the world, and we understand that making a decision to buy a home here can be particularly overwhelming.

Whether you are a seasoned renovator or a first time homeowner, things don’t always go as planned and emotions can run high. Being well prepared and clear on your plan of action is critical for sanity’s sake.

Phase I

Outline your Objectives

  • MOTIVATION: Full time residence? Summer home? Weekends Year Round? Flip or Speculative Project? Investment property only?​​​​​​​
  • INVESTMENT: Long term hold? Or shorter term profit gain? The difference between these in your search is significant.
  • KNOW YOUR BUDGET: Be clear on what you can and want to spend. Time is money and you’ll be only wasting your own if you aren’t realistic about this from the very beginning.

Planning Ahead

  • EXPECTATIONS: What is your ideal timeline to close?
  • FINACING: Purchase with cash or using a lender?
  • A CASH DEAL: Will certainly help the deal move along more quickly and your offer will hold more weight. Be prepared to verify assets before going to contract.
  • MORTGAGE CONTINGENT: Being pre-approved is essential, Once your offer is accepted your lender will order an appraisal, you'll need your survey before the seller can update or obtain Certificate of Occupancy. Loan commitments generally take 45-60 days. 
  • CLOSING COSTS: Your expenses outside of the purchase will include attorney, local taxes, new or updated survey, title insurance, property insurance. This can affect what your working budget to purchase will be.

Phase II

Property Search

    • RESEARCH your ideal location: Be flexible! Have 1st, 2nd and 3rd favorites.
    • LIFESTYLE: This will decide a lot about where you should be focusing your search. Near Ocean beaches? Bay beach activities? Boating, Kayaking, Paddle boarding? Walking distance to a village, markets, restaurants? Tennis Player? Horse Country?
    • MARKET FORCES: Investigate Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market. Inventory Surplus.
    • ONLINE LISTINGS: Trust your agent who already knows the properties and the nuances of the neighborhoods but do your own search too. You know what you like but be open to suggestions - the listing photos don’t always tell the full story.
    • SCHEDULE SHOWINGS: Are you local? You can benefit from weekday showings. Plan several visits if you are out of the area. Locating your dream property can take time and is best when not done in a stressful timeframe.
    • OPEN HOUSES: Go even if its above your budget, you can learn a lot about what an area offers, and which home components are ‘must-haves’ and which are just ‘wish-list’ items. Be sure to let the Listing Broker know you have an agent already!

    Phase III

    Finding the Right One

    • IDENTIFY: When you think you have found that right property – act decisively.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    • VALUE: Start by analyzing the Value vs. Listing Price with your agent. Review comps and what external post-closing expenses such as renovation/landscaping/ new pool will cost you after closing.
    • OFFER: Strategize your opening bid carefully. In a highly competitive market being foolish can cost you your ideal property. We will present the offer along with all terms of the bid including, any contingencies, financing, and closing timeline.
    • NEGOTIATION: This is where things can get stressful. Keep you head and consider both sides of the deal by trying to imagine the other position. Unreasonable demands are rarely welcome. 
    • ACCEPTED OFFER: Retain an attorney. Best to work with a locally based attorney who specializes in Hamptons property sales. Your attorney’s job is vital to protecting your interests; therefore you want one who is familiar with local land use and zoning regulations.​​​​​​​
    • SCHEDULE THE INSPECTION – Either a home inspector or a structural engineer will provide you with details about your home and water quality and termite tests. The cost of the inspector will vary depending on size of the home.

    In Contract

    • MEMO OF SALE: Your attorney will receive a Memorandum of Sale with terms of the deal detailed including:
    • Purchase Price
    • Amount of Down Payment (usually 10%)
    • Terms of Financing Contingency
    • Approximate Date of Closing
    • List of any exclusion to the transfer of property
    • Responsibilities of Buyer and Seller
    • CONTRACT: Your attorney will represent your needs and go over the terms of the contract with you. Any concerns from the inspector’s report will be addressed and outlined if necessary in the contract for the Seller to remedy before closing. An ‘as-is’ deal means just that- you have agreed to accept the property in the condition you found it in.
    • SIGNING CONTRACT: When the contract negotiation is complete the Buyer signs and delivers a contract deposit to be held in escrow by Seller’s attorney. Once received, the seller's attorney has the Seller sign and return the fully executed contract. 
    • MORTGAGE: With a fully executed contract now you start securing a loan commitment. Your lender will schedule to appraise the property.

    Phase IV

    Steps to Closing

    • SURVEY: Typically your attorney orders a new or revised survey. Please allow 2-5 weeks for this process. The land surveyor will provide you with an accurate depiction of your properties boundaries including all structures, hardscaping and clearing calculations of your property. The new survey is certified to the new owner so this cost is the Buyer’s responsibility.
    • C of O: In most cases, especially if a lender is involved, the Town or Village where the property is located will issue a new or updated Certificate of Occupancy. A building inspector will need access to the home to certify that all structures comply with local codes. Usually this is the responsibility of the Seller.
    • TITLE INSURANCE: A clean and clear title insures that you won’t have any unclaimed ownerships of your new home. A one-time fee at closing covers you and your heirs as long as you own the property. The title company will conduct a comprehensive search and it’s representative is present at closing to prove documentation that they have not uncovered any unwanted surprises.
    • UTILITIES TRANSFER: You will need the necessary utilities transferred to accounts in your name before closing. Connect with your agent and attorney to get a list of service providers These will include Electric (PSEGLI), Fuel (independent oil providers or National Grid for Natural Gas), Suffolk County Town Water, Cable/Internet (Optimum) and various other house and home caretakers. Account balances will be reconciled at closing between buyer and seller.
    • WALK-THROUGH: Arrange with us to visit the property within 24 hours or on the day of the closing to verify that any contractual contingencies have been remedied, that the overall condition is as when negotiated, and that the seller has vacated and left the home “broom clean”.
    • CLOSING DAY: Wire transfer of purchase and closing costs. If a lender is involved there will be a lot of paperwork to sign. The seller pays the listing and selling brokers’ commissions. At the end you will get a set of keys and (if you are not tearing the house down) you are free to move in and celebrate!



    For East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island, the tax is computed as follows:

    • Amount: 2% on the value of all improved residential property over $250,000
    • 2% on the value of all residential land over $150,000

    For Southold and Riverhead, the tax is computed as follows:

    • Amount: 2% on the value of all improved residential property over $150,000
    • 2% on the value of all residential land over $75,000 - known as CPF tax


    • Amount: 1% of Sale Price on sales of $1,000,000 or more on improved property

    • Known As: NYS Real Estate Transfer Tax


    Amount: $675 for 1st $100,000

    • $190 for each additional $50,000 up to $500,000
    • $3.75 for each $1,000 between $501,000-$1,000,000

    Note: If purchase is financed by a bank additional insurance is required.


    Amount: 1% of mortgage, paid by mortgagor

    • (.2% of mortgage recording tax is generally paid by the lending institution resulting in a cost to mortgagor of .8% of the amount of the loan.)


    Recent poll shows survey charges for existing lots vary from $1,200 to $2,500



    The 2% transfer tax is paid by the purchaser at closing on all title transfers with the following exemptions:

    • The first $250,000 is exempt from the tax on improved residential property -i.e. with house already built on the land. (in Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island)/ $150,000 (in Southold and Riverhead) of the purchase price of a house or building.
    • The first $100,000 is exempt from the tax on unimproved residential property. (in Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island) /$75,000 (in Southold and Riverhead).
    • Farmer to farmer real estate transfers and;
    • Land purchases by entities such as the Peconic Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy.

    In the Fall of 1998, 350 years after East Hampton’s founding, voters in each of the five East End Towns (East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Riverhead and Southold) overwhelmingly approved a Community Preservation Fund that would use a 2% tax on the transfer of real estate to buy open space and the development rights to farmland in order to preserve the environment, physical beauty, and rural quality of life in eastern Long Island for all time.

    Officially called the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund, the development of the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) is surely one of the most important events in East Hampton’s history—from the time Connecticut farmers and fishermen, originally from Maidstone in East Anglia in England, settled here in 1648 to the present.

    Money raised in a town stays in the town in which the real estate transfer tax is levied and is used to purchase open space, farmland, and certain historic structures. Under certain circumstances, CPF money may be used for community recreational purposes. In its first decade, tens of millions of CPF dollars have been collected and utilized to spare thousands of acres from development. By protecting property values, this is a savings account for taxpayers.

    The remarkable combination of East Hampton’s openness, its farmlands and forests, its bays, harbors, ponds and magnificent beaches, its beautiful vistas, close-to-nature-trails, the soul satisfying sounds of surf, and the smells of fresh sea air combine to make it captivating. The Community Preservation Fund is designed, and legislated, to protect these environmental treasures.

    Nearly 40 percent of East Hampton’s 70 square miles are now in public ownership – most of it preserved as open space.

    While no one enjoys paying taxes, the Community Preservation Fund should have the effect of increasing everyone’s property values over the long run. Without such an effort, we are in jeopardy of becoming over-developed and losing our uniqueness.

    *Text from: ©2013 East Hampton Conservators

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    Our dynamic drive comes through in every transaction leaving no stone unturned and working tirelessly to negotiate the best possible deal for our clients.