Earlier this week, East Hampton-based Corcoran Group agent Michael Schultz and his wife, Lisa, made headlines with the $11.5 million sale of their Palm Beach estate, a 6,328-square-foot home the couple bought in 2005 for less than half its sales price.
A former Urban Outfitters executive who transitioned to a real estate career as a quasi-hobby after reading the property section of the East Hampton Star, Schultz has become a seasoned luxury broker. His most expensive current listing is a $35 million mansion in Bridgehampton that belongs to the family of former President John F. Kennedy, and Schultz himself has bought and sold properties in luxury markets across the country.
Schultz declined to discuss the recent sale of his former nine-bedroom, eight-bathroom home in pricey Palm Beach, where he has owned multiple homes, but he did note it was an off-market deal that he did not have the listing on. He would not reveal the broker.
The Real Deal caught up with Schultz, who has buying experience in other luxury markets, like Telluride, Colorado, to chat about slumping high-end home sales on Long Island’s affluent East End.
What’s the state of the Hamptons market right now?
Consumers are aware that the market is soft, but it’s softer in certain areas, moreso than others. People read in the newspapers that the Hamptons aren’t doing well, but it’s talked about in a blanketed way and it’s not necessarily specified where. In particular, the premium market is what’s doing poorly. But it’s actually good for us — when the market is at a low, it brings buyers back out here.
How do the Hamptons compare to other U.S. luxury markets?
Our taxes are lower. In the Hamptons, you could be living in a $9 million, $10 million house, but have taxes that are maybe $20,000 to $25,000. That’s nothing compared to the suburbs of New York City. I know someone who just sold his mother’s house in Scarsdale and is paying $100,000 for a house that sold for $2.4 million. In Florida, residents don’t pay any state tax.
Do you think East End residential will rebound?
I do believe in the Hamptons market. I believe people love being here. We have the ocean, good food and fun activities — and there’s a real natural beauty here. There are a lot of reasons to be out here.
What kind of advice do you have for young brokers trying to break into the business?
It’s much harder work than people think. I think it’s become sort of a glamorous job, even though when you’re doing it it doesn’t seem so glamorous. It’s hard to break into, but people have done it by being a young disruptor. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of skills — it’s about how you present yourself and how you market your properties.
All interviews have been condensed and edited for style and clarity.