Day in the life of: Gary DePersia

The longtime Hamptons broker on navigating the East End, the importance of delegating, and his “fifty shades of abdominals”

Gary DePersia (Photo by Michael McWeeney)
Gary DePersia (Photo by Michael McWeeney)

Gary DePersia is a real estate broker with the Corcoran Group in the Hamptons. Since joining the brokerage in 1995, DePersia has been involved in more than $2 billion worth of real estate transactions, he said. The 68-year-old ranked No. 5 in The Real Deal’s ranking of the top East End brokers this year, with $289.6 million in listings across 48 properties. In 2016, he was one of five listing brokers on the $26 million sale of the shingle-style home at 7 Olde Towne Lane in Southampton, one of the Hamptons’ priciest deals that year.

His current listings include a $39.5 million mansion on a four-acre estate 9 Olde Towne Lane in Southampton and a $25 million beachfront home at 168 Dune Road in Quogue. DePersia grew up in Glen Cove, Long Island, and attended Dickinson College. He went into the textile industry straight after college and in 1977 started his own textile-brokering firm, which he had until 1998, three years into his career at Corcoran. He lives in Sag Harbor and has one adult son and two adult stepchildren.

5:30 a.m. I’ll get up and make an espresso. I put a little milk in it and have a banana. If I have a client from Europe — a renter, buyer, or a seller who owns a house here —  it’s a good time for me to catch them because, depending on where they are in Europe, they’ll already be five, six or even seven hours into their day.

7:00 a.m. I have a little home gym in my basement. I do what I call “fifty shades of abdominals,” where I take five abdominal exercises and circuit them 10 times. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s part of my daily thing.

8:00 a.m. I get dressed, and I’ll start emailing people who are here. If you go on my website
and look at the 30 or 40 listings that I have, each will have copy that I personally wrote. 
Very often I like to write in the morning when I’m fresher. I love it. Do I get writer’s block? Absolutely. Some days it just flows and other days I’m just like, “What am I going to say about this house?” You want to come up with something creative. People started copying me after a while.

9:00 a.m. I’m talking to my assistants — Mary Denny, Danielle Wilson, and Monica Navia. I have another assistant — my stepdaughter Jamie Scott, who lives in Connecticut and does some paperwork and billing for me. I’m kind of a control guy, but I’ve learned that if I give control to other people who are competent, it makes my job so much easier. If you’re going to be a successful broker with a big business, you have to learn to delegate.

10:00 a.m. I’m hitting the road. Buyers and renters take priority in your day. Very often your day becomes not what you expected it to be. All of a sudden — and very often in the summer — you get a call from a buyer saying, “I’m in the Hamptons! I’m visiting friends and I saw this house on the internet. Can you show it to me?” I had other things planned, but all of a sudden now I’m making phone calls. You have to leave room for flexibility because in real estate, and particularly out here, your plans change daily.

11:00 a.m. Once a month I’ll have a meeting with my publicist Suzee Foster and my social media person Danielle Gingerich at marketing and advertising company Dead on Design’s Southampton office.

12:30 p.m. If I have a client who wants to stop for lunch, I’ll stop for lunch. It can get very taxing [for the client] to look at eight, nine or 10 houses in the course of one day. One of my go-to places is Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Bridgehampton, or Pierre’s. In Southampton, it could be Silver’s or Sant Ambroeus, or in East Hampton, Cittanuova. I have other buyers who just want to work straight through. I had a buyer years ago who bought an oceanfront house from me. They’d bring sandwiches in the car and say, “We don’t want to stop, but here’s a sandwich we brought for you,” which was cute.

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2:00 p.m. Sometimes I’ll make a stop at my office at 51 Main Street in East Hampton. Once a week, my assistants and I get together for an hour to an hour and a half and talk about every single listing that I have. There’s very little downtime during the day. It’s funny; Since I live in the Hamptons full-time, people ask me, “What do you do in the winter?” — like the sidewalks are rolled up and the towns are closed during winter. You are working and you have a business all year long.

3:00 p.m. I’ll have a coffee or iced coffee. I have a beautiful pool in my backyard. I may sit out there for an hour and do all my phone calls.

5:00 p.m. I stop everything if I can and I go to the gym.

6:30 p.m. If a client is available, I’ll go out. Sometimes it’s the American Hotel in Sag Habor. It could be Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, or it could be the East Hampton Grill. If I have someone in my life, we’ll be going out to dinner. If I don’t have plans, I may throw something on the grill. I love my teriyaki-soaked salmon. Or I’ll make omelets. I’m a very healthy eater. I don’t drink. About seven and a half years ago, I made a healthy choice to stop. I had a DWI in 2009 which was a contributing factor, among others, in my decision. I drink water mostly, and the occasional Diet Coke. I just stopped and never went back. I’m one of those fortunate people that, when I stop, I stop.

7:30 p.m. I’ll sit down in my family room and watch the news. I watch mostly CNN, some Fox and NBC — I like to get a balanced view. I watch a lot of news. I may have my laptop out and be going over bills or going over advertising. I may be answering emails. I live alone, but I do have a significant other.

8:30 p.m. Sometimes I watch a show while I’m working. I’m hooked on “House of Cards” and “Goliath” with Billy Bob Thornton. There’s a show on Amazon Prime called “Bosch.” I love that. My son is a partner at Hollywood talent agency William Morris [now known as WME]. And he tells me, “Dad, you’ve got to watch this show, you’ve got to watch that show.” And now I get caught up in one of the shows. I think that some of the best TV that has ever been done is being done now.

9:30 p.m. Usually I’m finished working, although I’m sitting there with my phone if an email comes in.

11:00 p.m. I like to be in bed. I could have a double macchiato at 10 o’clock and be asleep by 11. I’m a lucky guy.