With its picturesque landscapes, gorgeous summers, and overall luxuriousness, it’s no wonder that the Hamptons real estate market is at a record high. If the allure of the Hamptons has motivated you to buy residential property in the area, you’re not alone. But like any real estate market, the Hamptons has its own particularities that will shape your search.
If you’re a first-time Hamptons homebuyer, don’t go in blind — read on to learn the 5 key things we at Humming Homes believe you need to know before purchasing a home in the Hamptons.
1. How you’re going to use the house makes a difference
There are a variety of reasons you may want to buy a home in the Hamptons. You may want to invest in a rental property, or you may simply be looking for a vacation home to escape the sweltering New York City summer months — and even then, you could be looking to use your vacation home for just a few weeks at a time, or for the entirety of summer.
Conversely, you could be looking to set up shop in the Hamptons permanently! Your specific reason for buying a home will inform where you look and what homes will best suit your needs.
For example, if you’re looking for a rental property, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the rental permit and rental period regulations for each Hamptons submarket, and you’ll need to make sure that the location you choose is attractive to potential renters. If it’s a second home you’re looking to go back and forth from, your top priority might be a relaxing, beachfront space with an easy commute.
You’ll also want to proactively find a local property management service, like Humming Homes, to ensure that all of your home care needs will be met once you purchase your home.
Having a dedicated home management service will be key in maintaining your Hamptons residence, since managing a home yourself — from coordinating full home inspections and repairs, to sourcing and managing vendors, to overseeing installations, and much more — can be an arduous process, especially if you are a remote home owner.
2. Location is key
The famed real estate mantra “Location, location, location” is especially applicable in the Hamptons market. It’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of what different areas in the Hamptons have to offer from monetary, lifestyle, and architectural perspectives.
Each neighborhood has its own unique architectural style. For example, if you’re looking for more classic architecture, you may like Sag Harbor’s 19th century aesthetic above some of the more contemporary homes in other neighborhoods.
The feel of each area varies greatly as well. Montauk, for example, has a younger, more vibrant culture, while Sagaponack is better suited to those who seek tranquility and quietude. Southampton Village is ideal for those in search of culture, with its notable galleries and restaurants.
Though you don’t necessarily need to live in a given neighborhood to enjoy its culture and benefits, traffic in the Hamptons can get bad — especially in the summer — so if proximity and ease of access are highly important to you, you may want to find a home in the neighborhood whose amenities appeal most to you.
3. Be aware of the various regulations and carrying costs
When you’re buying a home, there are a variety of fees that you’ll need to look out for — some that may be less intuitive than others.
You’ll likely have accounted for lawyers’ fees and inspection fees, but there are variety of other specific taxes and costs that can go into purchasing a Hamptons home, such as:
- The Mansion tax: A 1% tax paid on property for which the purchase price is greater than or equal to $1 million, paid upon closing.
- The Peconic region transfer tax: This 2% tax is only in effect in East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Riverhead, and Southold and is used to support conservation work within a given town. In East Hampton, Southampton, and Shelter Island, the purchase price over $250,000 of “improved” land and $100,000 of vacant land is taxed; in Riverhead and Southold, the purchase price over $150,000 of “improved” land and $75,000 of vacant land is taxed. Some first-time home buyers may qualify for certain exemptions.
Outside of fees, there are a variety of ordinances and zoning regulations to be aware of. This can all be a lot to keep track of, so it’s important to work with someone knowledgeable to save you time and help you navigate all the regulations and closing costs associated with purchasing a Hamptons home.
4. It takes time
As with any big investment, finding the right Hamptons home takes time. Between touring available inventory, getting a clear sense of the differences between neighborhoods, adjusting expectations, and dealing with any unforeseen obstacles, it can take months to find your ideal Hamptons home.
Working with an experienced local broker will save you time, as they’ll be able to set expectations and make tailored recommendations based on your desired style, amenities, and neighborhood feel.
Additionally, depending on when you’re looking, you may find that your search gets stretched out even longer — for example, if you start your search in the winter, you may find that it’s too difficult to get an adequate sense of what the home would feel like in the summer. Avoid this by starting your search in the spring or early fall months.
5. Don’t go at it alone
One thing is clear: there’s a lot of insider knowledge that goes into buying a home in the Hamptons. It’s important to work with local professionals who specialize in Hamptons real estate sales.
Find a seasoned real estate agent in the Hamptons who can walk you through everything you need to know about the market, as well as a local attorney who has a thorough understanding of Hamptons-specific regulations and codes. You’ll also need a property management company in the Hamptons that can take care of your home management, vendor management or other home services, as well as provide crucial guidance and education around what goes into managing your Hamptons home.
Making sure you have the right people by your side will ultimately minimize friction and make your home-buying experience a success.