Five Secrets to Selling Your Real Estate in the Hamptons

All-white Kitchen with pendant lightingDecorators and home stagers earn big bucks by following a few simple steps: Play up a home’s best features, hide its flaws, and make it appealing to the largest audience possible. Most Hamptons brokers say that buyers are looking for a turnkey property. So how do you take your sale from “just listed” to “in contract”? Consider these pointers:

“Open and Airy”
Homes with open floor plans are all the rage. For a professional home stager, the first step is a good old heave-ho—out with the clutter and tchotchkes, in with the oversize coffee table and filmy Calgon-take-me-away curtains. An abundance of windows to let in the light is mandatory. And it’s not just in modern houses, where that sort of decor might be expected: Homes with more traditional architecture can still have interiors with a spacious feel.

“Bright, Well-Lit”
Let the sun shine in. Large windows with minimal (or no) window treatments can completely change a room, not to mention innovations such as “smart glass” windows, which incorporate laminated panels that change from opaque to clear in response to different stimuli. Designers and women over 50 know the power of proper lighting.

“Home Office”
Even in a vacation home, people want a workspace. Second bedrooms, nooks, or lofts can be transformed with a stylish desk and banker’s lamp faster than you can push send. If the space doubles as a guest bedroom, consider a pullout couch to get down to the business of sleeping.

“Outdoor Rooms”
In the Hamptons, the desire to spend time outdoors is a given. Outdoor and indoor spaces merge easily, and features like oversize doorways that lead to covered outdoor living rooms and kitchens are common. This being the East End, alfresco dining options, poolside terraces, and charming patios are all part of the package. Don’t have a wisteria-covered pergola that seats 30? Spiff up a simple side porch with vintage wicker, a few potted hydrangeas, and tag-sale side tables, and you’ve just created an “Oh, isn’t this charming!” moment.

“Chef’s Kitchen”
Nothing dates a kitchen like old appliances. Brand names like Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Viking can add more to a home’s listing price than the appliances’ actual in-store purchase price. Anything sleek and stainless steel is a given, but if buying new isn’t an option, replacing just the door on an oven, dishwasher, or refrigerator is worth the effort. Even changing the hardware on kitchen cabinets can move the timeline up a decade
or two.

A version of this article appeared in the August 1 2014 issue of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens with the headline: How to Speak Real Estate.