House Hunters: Long Island Edition

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23 Plum Beach Point Rd., Sands Point, NY. List price $5,300,000. (Photos by Steven Bababekov)

The process of buying a home can be an exciting but daunting process, especially for first time homebuyers. For the task at hand, there is no one to better leave it to than a real estate agent. Not only do they know the climate of the market, they can gain access to homes for visibility, and chances are, they are more savvy when it comes to setting the groundwork for such a major purchase. Maggie Keats has been a full-time real estate broker for the past 14 years. She is also Douglas Elliman’s top producer for several years—and recently took home an Ellie award for the top individual prize based on Gross Commission Income (GCI) for Long Island—and she knows what it takes to find clients their dream home.

“Real estate is actually my third career. My first was in advertising, working for some of Madison Avenue’s largest and most prestigious agencies and then I had a business doing fine and decorative arts appraising,” said Keats of her experience in the industry.

Maggie Keats (Photo by David DuPuy)

Keats said that she truly takes pleasure in every aspect of the business, from matching buyers with homes and sellers with buyers to developing marketing campaigns and showcasing the properties she represents. Most of all, she enjoys the people and she considers it to be her best accomplishment that “so many buyers and sellers have become friends.”

“I have worked very hard to earn my reputation as a broker who always delivers for my buyers and for my sellers,” said Keats, ensuring that any buyers with whom she works with are fully qualified and vetted before presenting an offer on their behalf. “I enjoy a strong relationship with the other brokers with whom I work and that has been a great advantage for me and for my buyers.”

The phrase “it’s a buyer’s/seller’s market” used to be all a person needed to hear to gauge the housing market. Now, Keats says, the industry as a whole has changed dramatically over the years, and technology and innovation have been the key drivers.

“Fluctuations in the economy and new tax legislation have affected both buyer and seller behavior and have forced the industry to adapt to new demands,” she said, noting that there are many resources available to new home buyers. “A strong local real estate broker who is seeded in the community can put buyers in touch with local residents, the schools’ staff, etc. They can also look at the towns’ on-line resources including community websites, Facebook pages and parenting groups.”

But one thing come to mind when looking for a home: location, location, location. Keats says there is nothing truer than that old adage and she recommends that potential buyers start with locations that are commutable and offer strong school districts, even if you need neither.

“Next, think about your individual needs and wants: is it important to have a real downtown with local stores and restaurants? Is large property, isolation from neighbors and privacy a driver? Would you like to be near the water, or a major hospital?” she said. “Every buyer works at his or her own pace and purchasing real estate at any price point is hugely expensive and hugely important decision.”

Whether you see it on television or experience it in the real world, there are some buyers who know exactly what they want, so much so that they are unwilling to see potential and the bigger picture. On the other hand, some buyers are a blank canvas and are open to different styles. As an agent, Keats feels that it is important to “kiss a lot of frogs” in the home search process.

“Whether one builds or buys, I feel it is incumbent on me to show my customers options and highlight what each has to offer,” she said. “At the end of the day, it is part of my job to enable buyers to make an informed decision.”

There is no single formula to house hunting. When embarking on that quest, Keats says that Douglas Elliman should be highly considered as a helpful partner.

“We are the preeminent purveyor of real estate and we count among our ranks, a corps of real estate professionals who excel and dominate in their respective local markets,” she said, “Real estate at any price point is a tremendously valuable and expensive investment. It is an advantage to any buyer to work with a busy, productive and successful broker who knows the market and can deliver.”

For more information on Maggie Keats and Douglas Elliman, call 516-944-2879 or visit www.elliman.com.

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Jennifer Fauci is the managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.

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