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A Day With…

Top Hamptons Broker Christopher Covert Spearheads the Expansion of The Modlin Group in The Hamptons

219 Sagg Main, Sagaponack Exclusively Represented by Christopher Covert at Modlin Group

First, congratulations on the opening of the new Modlin Group office in Bridgehampton. What a great location! Can you give us a little background as to how this all came about?

Adam Modlin and I were introduced last Fall by a mutual friend in the City and we opened a dialogue. Adam had been doing a large volume of business out east very quietly over the years — including some of the largest transactions recorded to date — and had been considering extending his long-established brand in the City out to the Hamptons.

From my end, I have been working in real estate on the East End for ten years now, and have been very purposeful in keeping attention to detail and a focus on client services as a foundation for my business. I have tried to maintain a neutral position within the brokerage community and think we all work better together than when the competition gets in the way of performance. Adam and I agree on so many basic principles of how a successful real estate business should work that the fit was natural and he entrusted me to open the Hamptons office. Bridgehampton was an easy choice based on the central location between East Hampton and Southampton, as well as Sag Harbor. And I already had a private office up and running so there was that too.

What are some trends that you see happening currently that could directly impact the Hamptons market this summer?

The biggest trend that I watch is maturity dates on ARMs. I think that as mortgages people took when rates were effectively 2% come due, some homeowners will have to decide if the math still works based on their use of the home. In turn, this may cause people to decide to sell, which will hopefully start getting inventory into the marketplace. We have been in an unprecedented market cycle now for three years, and it really is not sustainable. More inventory should unclog things and allow a return to a more traditional market. There are Buyers out here that want to transact, but just don’t have the options, and that has kept upward pressure on pricing as well. We need a normalization — whatever that means these days.

What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to buy or sell their East End luxury home in the next few months?

For Buyers, I would recommend finding an agent you trust and like, and working with them. The lack of inventory has made the competition for good, well-priced homes brutal, and having as much pre-market notice is key. We are still seeing a large percentage of deals being done either before a listing goes public, or in a truly off-market situation. Waiting for something to hit Zillow is simply an inefficient strategy these days. And have all of your pre-game business in order because things move very, very quickly. It’s good to have your finances — whether cash, securities, or mortgage pre-approvals — in place, and having a local attorney on standby also helps. 

For Sellers, I would simply say that while inventory is tight and it’s a great time to list a property, be reasonable with pricing. We are well past the buy-it-at-any-price stage of the market run-up, and Buyers are back to being measured in their approach. And as much as a Buyer needs to be prepared, a Seller should also make sure there are no issues with the property that could slow or halt a transaction. Are there any open permits or violations, are health and safety codes met, are maintenance records up to date and readily available? Not only does this help avoid any potential issues, but shows a Buyer that you have taken care of your home and property and can instill confidence in a deal.

Can you let us in on a few of your favorite things to do in the Hamptons?

Getting out on the water is my thing. Whether unplugging and tuning out for an early morning surf by myself or taking family and friends out on our boat, I need time on and in the water. My body and soul crave it and it keeps me sane. And with so many options for fantastic dining from Sag Harbor to Montauk, Shelter Island, Greenport, and Orient — and why not shoot over to Connecticut or Rhode Island — getting out on the boat is just a great way to expand on the local offerings. Or at least a relaxing way to avoid the traffic along the way.

Christopher Covert, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker 
Modlin Group Managing Director, Hamptons 
m: 917.834.0635