For the third of four interviews with brokers on Long Island’s East End, who manage rather than sell and list properties, I met with Kimberley Terry, Real Estate Broker and Chief Operating Officer of Town & Country Real Estate, at her North Fork office in Mattituck.
So Kimberly, what is your geographical area of responsibility?
KT: I cover both the North and South Forks. I spend most of my time on the North Fork and in Westhampton, as well as East Hampton. I’m in daily contact with Judi Desiderio, T & C Chief Executive Officer.
How long have you been working for T & C?
KT: I came on board in 2006 to help Judi set up the Bridgehampton office and later a bunch of other offices and have been a manager ever since. In 2008, I came over to the North Fork.
Did you ever work as a listing and selling agent?
KT: Yes, I worked as an agent with Judi when we were at Cook Pony Farm, but mostly my duties were administrative. Judi is a personal friend, who asked me to come on board at Cook Pony in 2000. During that time, I worked with our agents helping them to list and sell properties. When T & C was started, I came on to do administrative work. Judi always thought it was important for the sales agents to have someone they weren’t competing with they could come to at any time and there was no conflict of interest. We are in a very competitive market and agents like to know they have managers who aren’t competing with them.
What do your duties encompass?
KT: I hire, train, and act as a resource to the agents. I also hire and train the administrative personnel. We have seven offices and two administrative people in each office, as well as a total of 146 agents. We have a director of marketing and a social media person and a director of information technology in East Hampton, and that’s where Judi is located. We also have a Board of Directors that meets monthly. All of our administrative people are employees and our agents are independent contractors.
Do any of your administrative personnel also have real estate licenses?
KT: Yes, about half do, which avoids any problems with them answering questions that they would otherwise not be permitted to answer.
Are the skills for managing different from listing and selling?
KT: No, I don’t think so. Sales people are managing their own business, so it does require many of the same skills.
How do you train new agents and administrative staff?
KT: We have training programs in information technology, front desk training, making sure that policies and procedures are in place, as well as all of the necessary paper work, agency disclosure forms, listing agreements, leases, memorandums of sale, and lead disclosure forms, for example.
How do you handle Property Condition Disclosure forms?
KT: We advise them to go to their attorney for that.
Is my understanding, that T & C is a member of multiple listings west of Shinnecock Canal and in Westhampton, correct?
KT: That’s correct. Basically all of the companies on the North Fork belong to MLS. In order to be competitive, it’s essential to make sure that all of our listings are available on MLS. On the South Fork, with brokers who do belong to MLS, we co-broke to make sure that all of our listings are competitive.
As you know, listing agreements and leases are contracts. Who prepares those?
KT: All of our listing agreements and leases are prepared by attorneys whose services we retain. Our agents can only fill in the blanks.
What are the greatest challenges to you as a manager?
KT: Making sure that you are always on top of new things that come along. Everything is always changing. Nothing stays the same. Make sure you are always first. Let everyone follow you and be the leader.
Do you see more and more brokers employing full-time managers?
KT: No, I don’t think so. People who like to sell don’t want to manage. It’s very difficult to attract managers, although I definitely think it benefits the agents and the public.
What attracted you to managing?
KT: I guess it’s my nature. I am not a particularly competitive person. I would rather help people than compete with them.