The sizzling Hamptons real estate market, fueled by a pandemic, could be starts to coolbut in its wake, a renovation frenzy is now turning the East End upside down.
“What’s happening in East Hampton is a nightmare,” said a resident who is worried about having a not-so-peaceful summer. “The [new] The Tesla parking lot is a real eyesore, huge new houses take up entire lots, there are piles of dirt and trucks everywhere. I miss the quaint days when the only thing stressing me out was a landscaper’s trailer parked at the edge of someone’s grass,” they added. “The construction is ruining the very reason we go to the beach in the first place.”
In an era of rising inflation and falling inventory, the backlog of renovations may be a first world problem, but it could also lead to a nightmare in the Hamptons: a beach house that won’t be ready to go. here on Memorial Day.
Another summer resident complained about the volume of work being done in her neighborhood and the lack of work being done in her own second home. “My own construction finally broke me,” she said. “It’s like a money tap while the stock market crashes. I don’t think my contractor fully understood the inflationary pressure and supply chain disruptions. And we have to pay the bill. But, she says, “we are at their mercy.”
Ten months into his own renovation, his contractor is hard to pin down. Meanwhile, she said, “My street is a parade of trucks. The street behind me felled a forest. I feel like I live in a construction zone.
Jeff Corbin, a technology consultant, has also been caught up in the pandemic buying and building upheaval. He found the search for a home in the Hamptons downright demoralizing. In December 2021, he drove out of New York, where he lives, and visited 10 homes in one day, each “getting worse and worse and worse and more expensive,” he said. “Houses were being demolished – $2 or $3 million crap holes. It was just disgusting,” he added. “It was depressing. I was starting to think, I’ll never have my beach house.
When his pal reported a promising open house on his street, Corbin and his wife, Susan, ran and bid the same day, and finally closed in March. Amagansett’s house had been on the market for a week and needed work, but after what he had been through buying it, he figured the renovations would be the easy part.
He couldn’t have been more wrong. Landing a contractor in the Hamptons is just the last measure of status, like getting a dinner reservation at Bilboquet in Sag Harbor.
Corbin called several contractors and set up appointments to meet with them.
Only one showed up.
“I basically hired him,” he said. Feeling somewhat desperate to move into his new home by Memorial Day (which doesn’t really seem likely), and hoping he wouldn’t get ripped off, he didn’t ask how much the renovations would cost.
“It was like a joker, but it was the only person I could find,” he said. “I’m going on trust. He has a solid reputation in the industry. Besides, I had no choice since there was no one else. The contractor sometimes asks for payment, but Corbin doesn’t know what the final tally will look like. “When he asks me, I pay even though I don’t know what the final bill will be. I just sent $25,000. I want to keep him and his employees happy and hopefully on schedule.