The 5 Things You Must Know When Buying Or Selling a House In the Hamptons
With the lucrative market and unlimited inventory available, buying and selling a house in the Hamptons sounds relatively easy, right? Don’t be fooled: the process of purchasing a home in the Hamptons is one of the more complicated things you may undertake. As a licensed real estate broker that has been navigating the East end for over 15 years, Bryan Midlam of Compass has his finger on the pulse of the Hamptons market. KDHamptons asks Midlam to share his 5 Top Tips for readers to follow so you can spend less time dealing with the issues of buying and selling a house, and more time enjoying the Hamptons…
1. Get a lawyer who knows the rules and regulations for the Hamptons.
I put this one first because a seemingly simple decision is really one of your most important. My suggestion is to always hire a local attorney. Many people are tempted to hire a friend, a NYC attorney, or even someone in their firm…but don’t! Local attorneys not only know the rules, laws and codes more intimately, but they work well with other local attorneys. If you get an attorney that is not from the area, it can be like oil and water. Ask your broker and friends for a solid local attorney suggestion. The typical fee is between $3,500 – $6,000 for a standard deal.
2. Always survey the property.
The survey is standardly paid for by the buyer and given to the seller so they an apply for an updated CO (don’t worry, the next section covers the CO). This can take some time so it’s often smart to get on a waiting list for a surveyor when you are close to signatures on the contract, as you can always cancel this. Many surveyors take a few weeks to even start the job. The survey is so vital because it will show you if there are any issues with fencing, property lines, driveways, etc…which leads us to Tip 3.
3. Understand the town clearing.
As a seller you should have an updated survey done before you sell to ensure you are within the legal limits of clearing. Most parts of the Hamptons have clearing restrictions (except for the Villages) and if you over clear your property, your buyer may not be able to obtain financing until you fix this. It will also negatively affect your ability to sell your home and potentially be a deal breaker for a buyer that wants a quick and easy transaction.
4. Decide upfront if you want a CO, or Certificate of Occupancy.
A Certificate of Occupancy (aka CO) is “a document issued by a local government agency or building department certifying a building’s compliance with applicable building codes and other laws, and indicating it to be in a condition suitable for occupancy”. Most attorneys are suggesting that their buyers obtain an updated CO when they purchase a home. This process includes much of what has already been discussed here. First the buyer gets a survey to ensure the clearing is legal and fences are on the property lines. This is submitted to the building department and an inspector will come to your home to tell you if all other items are in code. They will require that the following items are to code like self-closing gates (if you have a pool), a fully enclosed pool area, pool alarms on exterior doors that lead to the pool, smoke alarms in bedrooms and outside in hallways, as well as Carbon Monoxide detectors on each floor within a certain distance of any bedrooms. A sheet laying out what needs to be done can be obtained from your agent or from the Building Department. Going through this process as a seller before you sell is always wise so you know there won’t be any unexpected road blocks after a deal has been struck. Buyers should consider asking for an updated CO so they don’t have to worry if and when they ever decide to re-sell the house.
Similar to having the right lawyer, having someone that is knowledgable about the different areas of the Hamptons and has a good track record is a must. While all brokers get access to new inventory daily, some brokers get exclusives on houses that haven’t even hit the market. Your broker is your key to the area and through their contacts can help to negotiate a deal and just make the overall process seamless. Ultimately, each town has various rules and regulations that are important for any homeowner to be educated about. If you surround yourself with the right, knowledgable people throughout the process you will have a successful experience.
* To contact Bryan Midlam at Compass and view his listings, go HERE or email: email@example.com; Phone: Mobile: 631.235.8545; Office: 631.236.9026