The Hamptons

What to Know Before Purchasing a Luxury Hamptons Waterfront Home

Presented with more opportunities for remote work in 2022, many East Coast urbanites are looking to escape the city for more peaceful, rural settings—like the Hamptons. If you’re ready to make the move, you may be wondering where to begin on your quest for Hamptons luxury homes for sale.

As with any relocation (or major investment), it’s vital to be well-informed before making a decision. Below are some pointers to research before investing in a Hamptons luxury home.

Get familiar with the Hamptons

The Hamptons have a long and rich history. From Long Island’s roots as a fishing colony to becoming a seaside escape for Manhattan’s upper crust residents, the Hamptons are an integral part of the Empire State’s history. The Hamptons' major industry in 2022 is real estate and tourism, with a population that increases exponentially from mid-June through late September.

The earliest Europeans came to Long Island in 1648 to farm and fish, and they quickly established good relations with the Indigenous peoples who called the island home. For centuries, the primary occupations remained farming, fishing, and whaling. Remnants of the Hamptons' history can be seen in windmills, lighthouses, historic homes, and colonial British forts. In the 20th century, explosive population growth in New York City and the new mobility afforded by automobiles helped East Hampton homes for sale become a premium commodity for the wealthy.

To sweeten the lifestyle for Hamptons residents, the coast experiences relatively mild seasons, with January and February highs near 40 °F, with warm, pleasant summers are warm. Daytime highs generally reach the upper 70s and low 80s—and the sea breezes provide a nice contrast to the oppressive heat of New York City.

The Hamptons offer ample public beaches and nature reserves, allowing visitors and residents to enjoy scenic beauty near their Hamptons homes. The Hamptons’ towns and villages are quintessentially New England in style, offering unique restaurants and boutiques with a quaint and charming atmosphere. There is a myriad of seasonal activities and events to suit a variety of interests.

Brush up on local arts and culture

Photo courtesy of Parrish Art Museum’s Facebook

Residents of the Hamptons are proud of their art history and local artists. As a resident or visitor, you can tour the home and studio of Jackson Pollock at the Pollock-Krasner House. Or, see the works of American impressionist William Merrit Chase and post-war realist Fairfield Porter (as well as countless others) at the Parrish Art Museum. The historic Guild Hall is also a must-see for art lovers. From guest panels to choir performances to a summer art fair, Guild Hall puts on an array of valuable community events.

Photo courtesy of The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum

The Hamptons are also home to a plethora of historic homes and museums. The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum recounts the village’s origins as a whaling community, while the Halsey House and Garden (dating all the way back to 1683) highlights the oldest home in Southampton.

Spend time outdoors

Beyond the iconic beaches, the Hamptons offer many ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Given the community’s luxury sensibilities and coastal atmosphere, the Hamptons are home to several golf courses and clubs, including the popular National Golf Links of America. If you’re looking for a leisurely way to soak up the scenery, visit the Milk Pail and enjoy its orchard and winery. Or, blend your love of art with your passion for the outdoors at Long House Reserve as you tour its sculpture garden.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Kids will love the hands-on creative play and special events at the Children’s Museum of the East End. You can also go on a scavenger hunt to locate the historic windmills and lighthouses of the island as you tour them. Or, get face-to-face with fascinating sea creatures at the Long Island Aquarium.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Research the Hamptons real estate market

Currently, the Hamptons real estate market favors sellers. However, East Hampton homes for sale have seen a slight price drop in 2022, and the median list price is currently just under $1.7 million for an average of 2,000 square feet. By comparison, homes in Southampton have seen a price increase of 11% after a slight decrease in the first months of 2022. The current median list price is $2.2 million for homes of approximately 2,500 square feet. Buyers should note that Hamptons homes for sale are in short supply, so it may take a little patience to find your ideal property.

Property taxes in the Hamptons can be complicated, and how much you pay depends on where your home is located. You’ll pay property taxes for the city (Southampton or East Hampton), but if you’re located in one of the incorporated villages, you may find yourself paying village property taxes as well. For example, East Hamptons homes for sale will be assessed for East Hampton property taxes, but if they’re located in Sag Harbor or Montauk, village taxes will also be levied.

Research insurance

Photo courtesy of Pexels

The Hamptons are considered a high-risk zone for hurricanes. While it’s been over 60 years since a major hurricane has directly impacted the Hamptons, tropical storms and hurricanes have threatened and brought heavy rainfall to the area. Couple that with the risk of severe storms on the East Coast, and it’s vital that you have complete coverage to protect your luxury Hamptons home.

The land is also graded at three separate elevations, which are labeled A, B, and X. These designations determine whether your property is in a flood zone. While you prepare to make a purchase, ask the homeowners for an elevation certificate for the property. If they can’t provide one, you’ll need one to present to your insurance company. You’ll require flood insurance if your home is in zone A or B.

Assess your family’s lifestyle

Before looking at East Hampton homes for sale, consider the way your family lives and travels and the goals you have for this property.
Reflect honestly on the following questions:

  • How much time do you have available to spend in the Hamptons? For a realistic estimate, look at how much vacation time you’ve had in the last 3-5 years.
  • What type of traveler are you?  Do you prefer to explore new areas and try new things, or do you prefer to make a tradition of visiting the same place year after year?
  • How does your family currently live? Is your life filled with social engagements and activities that will keep you tied to your primary residence?
  • Do you have the option to work remotely?
  • How will you use this property? Will it be a primary residence, your second home, or a rental property?
  • What logistics are involved in getting to the Hamptons? If you’re flying cross-country every time you visit, it will be difficult to take care of maintenance needs, and you’ll likely spend less time there.

Prepare for tourist season

Your experience with the Hamptons will vary completely depending upon the time of year you’re there. During the summer, the population will increase exponentially, with visiting tourists impacting every facet of life. Traffic on main byways and through the towns may become gridlocked, wait times at restaurants will be long, and large crowds and higher prices should be expected. At the same time, the visitors will infuse new energy and excitement, as well as provide the bulk of the year’s income for local businesses.

For the remaining eight months of the year, the Hamptons feel more like any other New England coastal town—casual, relaxed, and slower-paced. Proprietors will have time to give personalized service, and you’ll have unlimited access to attractions, beaches, and coffee shops without crowds.

Searching for the perfect Hamptons home for sale?

If you’re interested in Hamptons luxury homes for sale, or would like to learn more about the unique coastal market for Hamptons real estate investment, contact local real estate expert Lori Schiaffino and her team today! With their exceptional reputation and track record, Lori Schiaffino and her team stand out as the top real estate agents in The Hamptons, ready to assist you in finding the perfect property to suit your lifestyle and investment goals.

*Header photo courtesy of The Lori Schiaffino Team’s website

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All with extensive business experience, the Schiaffino Team brings a wealth of local knowledge and understanding of the Hamptons’ real estate market.