The Real Deal New York

Day in the life of: Enzo Morabito

The Elliman broker on targeting less-sexy listings, social media posts about prostate cancer and rosé lunches
By C.J. Hughes | August 01, 2018 12:00PM

Enzo Morabito (Photo by Michael McWeeney)

Hamptons broker Enzo Morabito begins and ends his day in much the same way: socializing in Westhampton Beach.

The 70-year-old Douglas Elliman broker — who moved to Suffolk County from Italy when he was 10 and now lives in Westhampton Beach — is regularly among the East End’s top agents. According to The Real Deal’s latest ranking, he did 36 sell-side deals totaling about $111 million between April 2017 and March 2018. And as of the middle of last month, he had 49 listings valued at $207 million.

But Morabito says he focuses on listings priced under $2.5 million. “The other stuff is sexy,” he said. “We try to stay in the mainstream.”

Morabito has held a slew of jobs — from lifeguarding as a teen and into his 20s to teaching art in a public school. But he began his real estate career in 1991, when he founded Sagaponack Real Estate, which specialized in land transactions. In that role, he bought several farms, subdivided them and then sold them.

In 1996, while still running his firm, Morabito joined the residential brokerage Dunemere Associates. But when Elliman acquired Sagaponack in 1999, Morabito jumped to that firm, where he’s remained ever since.

A self-described adrenaline junkie, Morabito has also raced and collected motorcycles and played polo — sometimes in three-on-three matches in a large barn owned by developer David Walentas. But injuries have sidelined him. And when trying to bring together buyers and sellers, he takes a less aggressive tack. “People are digging in their heels and fighting over lampshades; you need to make both sides feel like they’ve won,” he said.

6:00 a.m. The first thing I do [when I wake up] is feed my dog and cat. There’s Coco, a 9-month-old Havanese, and Romeo, a 6-year-old cat we got from a shelter. I used to breed Labs when I was a lifeguard at Great Gun Beach on Fire Island.

6:30 a.m. I work out, usually on an elliptical bike, where I read newspapers. I read Newsday, the New York Times and the New York Post, my favorite. I take out an ad every
Saturday next to Page Six. I also lift 15-pound weights, though I’m pretty beat up. I’ve been pretty tough on my body and have a lot of replacement parts. I shattered my heel bone. I’ve had two spinal surgeries. I’ve had a hip implant. I also snapped the tendon in my shoulder when I was sailing by myself in a Hobie Cat.

8:00 a.m. I will have a cup of green tea. I don’t drink coffee in the morning, though I might have a cappuccino at night. I’m very Italian. Mornings are also when I post about my prostate cancer treatment. I discovered I had it last fall. When I talk about it on social media, people seek me out. It’s amazing how little information people have. It’s so treatable. It’s made me appreciate things a lot more. You don’t look at the sky the same way again.

8:30 a.m. When I get to the Westhampton office, I like to sit on a bench on the sidewalk and talk to people who walk by. This business is all about meeting people. I might have a half a flagel and maybe dip it in some egg salad.

9:00 a.m. My team is seven people, including Cathy, my wife of 17 years. [The two met in the 1980s, when he was a managing partner of Summers Beach Club.] She handles the books. My son, Tim [from a first marriage], manages the Westhampton office. First thing, we have a meeting to catch up.

11:00 a.m. This is my busiest time of day. My cell phone rings continuously. I don’t do many showings anymore unless someone asks for Enzo. Usually I’ll have my agents show clients 15 to 20 houses; then, when they narrow it down to two or three, I come in. Today, my average price per house is about $3 million. But we have Christie Brinkley’s house in North Haven for just under $18 million. We first listed it for $25 million in 2016. We had five offers last season, and we anticipate that it will sell this year.

12:00 p.m. I often go to lunch by myself, at Dockers Waterside [in East Quogue]. I have cold seafood salad over greens, and two glasses of rosé. They have Wi-Fi there, so I can work. Lunch is about two hours.

2:30 p.m. We’re opening a new office in Sag Harbor this fall. It’s very rustic, so we’re renovating it. It will have two agents, who we are training now. Training can be a two-year process for us, sort of like dating. We like to see how they act, how they look, and we do not like drama. We’re also opening a new office this summer in Setauket. My nephew, Joel Posner Morabito, will be one of the two agents there. We’re going to focus on waterfront homes.

4:30 p.m. It’s cocktail hour. I like to buy the team a glass of wine, and we’ll go to Starr Boggs in Westhampton Beach, which has a great Monday-night lobster bake.

7:00 p.m. Cathy and I have dinner at home with Alessandro, our 14-year-old son. I used to cook, but now Cathy mostly does. She makes penne alla vodka or meatballs. She makes really good, healthy food.

9:00 p.m. After dinner, the three of us split. I like to watch nature shows and comedies, like Monty Python. I’m friends with Terence Stamp, the British actor, who used to live in the Hamptons. I watch all his movies. I also like “Jurassic Park” and its sequels. I built a home theater out of a bedroom in our house, but Alessandro took it over, so I’m back to the den.

10:00 p.m. I’m really into audiobooks. I listen to two a week in bed. I have these Bose earbuds that are so comfortable — I usually fall asleep with them in. I just listened to Garth Stein’s “Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog,” about a yellow Lab named Enzo. Maybe I was a dog in my former life.