5 Tips for Buying Your Perfect Summer Home in Bridgehampton
Bridgehampton, where Beyoncé and Jay Z have vacationed and Madonna and Lloyd Blankfein have each purchased homes, is a fantastic opportunity to create an investment, either long-term or as a rental property. There are dozens of properties for sale, ranging from just under $1 million to upwards of $50M. But there’s a lot to consider before you start the process, so here are a few tips from professionals to help you get started.
1. Location, Location, Location
It’s a tried-and-true mantra that is just as applicable in Bridgehampton as it is anywhere else. Sure, you can make changes and upgrades to the house and the property, but you can’t move it. There are 13 square miles in the hamlet, but very little of that space is on the water (which is obviously where some of the most expensive properties are located). You’ll need to think about where you want to be in the long-term, and how the value of the land can grow and be further monetized. If this is a second home and you can’t deduct the mortgage from your taxes, you might want to consider renting it out; setting up a limited liability company around it could allow you to deduct the interest and earn income from it. And if you’re going to turn the house into a rental property for some or all of the year, you have to measure how desirable the location is against how much you want to earn from it. If more properties in the area become rentals, will that lower the property value?
2. Get a Local Guide
There are a lot of rules and regulations in Bridgehampton, some of which change periodically. This can make a big difference in your plans if you buy something with the idea of doing some heavy landscaping and clearing in the surrounding yard — it might not be as easy as you think. While you should work with a real estate attorney you know and trust, you should also find someone there who can explain the ins and outs of building codes, zoning ordinances, and property line restrictions. This will save you a headache in the long run.
3. Do Your Homework
Was a deck installed without a permit? Has the house been repainted? Was it recently power washed? Were any additions done to the structure or the yard that may not be up to code now? When was it last surveyed? Is the certificate of occupancy updated? Get an engineer or an attorney on your side, and push the seller on questions like these. If they’ve run a tight ship in their tenure as owners, then you may not have any room to negotiate on the price. But if any of these kinds of items are not checked off, you might have more leverage. You can also include a mortgage contingency in any offer you make as protection against the property getting appraised at a lower number than the accepted price. And ask about flood zones — as long as the threat of hurricanes like Sandy exists, you should be educated about the potential vulnerabilities.
4. Buy in Late Summer
Sellers often highball a price before summer begins, but as Labor Day approaches, unsold properties may have prices slashed. And some sellers may be in a more flexible mood. Last year, brokers reported more price cuts than normal, ranging from $100,000 on smaller houses to more than $7 million on some estates. It’s not a bad idea to come in May, identify a few dream home options, and keep an eye on the prices. You might be able to get a seller interested in getting rid of the house as their summer tenants begin to pack up.
5. Spend Some Time in Bridgehampton
If this is a second home, the travel time and convenience factor has to be considered. Traffic in the region is unavoidable, so getting a sense of the ebbs and flows of a regular week cycle can pay dividends in the long run. If you’re planning to golf or hit a particular tennis court, how much time does traveling there from the house eat up? Are there particular restaurants on the island you’ll want to visit? Test the water by driving there at a few different times in the evening. What’s the best time to commute from the city, if that’s where you spend the week? And what is the neighborhood like? Does the overall aesthetic fit with what you are looking for?