“I like to work with all different types of buyers and sellers, especially newcomers to the East End and people who like doing projects or investing in real estate,” explained Bill Williams, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Compass. “I’m probably less social and more relaxed than some Hamptons agents. I pride myself on knowing the business, not knowing ‘everybody’s business.'”
Real estate wasn’t the 15 year plus veteran’s original forte. “I was a tennis instructor in the city, and I began coming out here in the summers and decided I liked it,” Williams explained. “I live in Wainscott and my office is in East Hampton on Main Street. Some people recognize Compass’ office as the former Tiffany’s store.”
Williams is lucky enough to enjoy the unparalleled Hamptons scenery as part of his daily routine. “I walk my dogs on the beach in Wainscott every morning – it’s my favorite beach and it’s right around the corner from the house,” he noted. “Other than that I am a big fan of Beach Paws grooming (for the dogs not me) and a supporter of ARF Hamptons, the Animal Rescue Fund.” The avid animal activist has teamed up with the Wainscott-based shelter for a new holiday season event. “I’m collaborating with them now for an event November 19th – people can bring their pets into my office for a pet-friendly holiday photo booth and get portraits,” he explained. “There will also be adoptable dogs from ARF!”
If “location” is the first rule in real estate, what is the second? Why?
BW: “Time is of the essence” – it’s one of the most important things to remember and it’s a staple phrase used in contracts. Because of the nature of the business, there’s no guaranteeing that a house, or a buyer, will stick around.
The Hamptons market has the high-end luxury section with homes well over $7 million and the flip side with homes under $500,000, plus all of the great homes in between. Where are the buyers right now?
BW: There are a lot of buyers competing to get “the last deals out east” on the lower end. There is also plenty of activity at the high end, but the volume of both listings and buyers in the middle of the market is highest.
What is your forecast for the summer/fall real estate season in the Hamptons?
BW: I think the post-election market will be more clear-headed. People will move a bit faster than they have been without the election to preoccupy them.
What are the emerging trends in architecture?
BW: I’ve been seeing more indoor/outdoor spaces central to living and entertaining, and fewer formal spaces. People seem to crave design that more honestly reflects their use of the space and lifestyle.
How have buyers/sellers changed over the past two years?
BW: Sellers haven’t changed much. Buyers are less aggressive, more discerning.
When it comes to unique features and amenities, homes in the Hamptons have it all. What are some of your favorites/amenities that really stand out?
BW: I really like houses with saunas for more than ten people, or bowling alleys. Where else will your housekeeper store their bicycle, right?
Which towns/villages are the most sought-after right now?
BW: No market is setting records right now, but Sag Harbor, which has traditionally been slower to grow, has stood out in the last two years with a lot of growth. People are beginning to put more money into renovating and expanding homes there the way they would elsewhere in the Hamptons.
What is so special about the Hamptons real estate market?
BW: Nothing really sets this market apart from others – we have highs and lows like any other location, but because of the price tags and clientele we get more attention. The physical location – being so naturally beautiful with world-class beaches, and so close to New York City, is what makes the Hamptons so desirable.
Tell us about some of your most memorable sales and what made them so. Was it the selling price, location, celebrity buyer?
BW: I’ve done a number of sales in Wainscott’s Georgica Association, but the first was the most memorable. The price was $12.5 million and the clients were great to work with. They ended up being a great source of referrals, and friendship that has lasted years as well.
Tell us about one of your favorite listings on the market right now.
BW: Our Compass team member Ed Petrie has a listing on Old Montauk Highway in Montauk, and it’s the kind of spectacular but thoughtful place that makes you believe that money can be very well spent. The architecture and stylistic choices are simple but bold, warm and human – it just works well, a really innovative use of space but not cold.