HOW QUICKLY REGRET CAN TURN TO RELIEF. When I saw this listing for a c.1900 East Hampton farmhouse with an asking price of 599K and the red words “In Contract,” I immediately felt the pang of having missed out on something wonderful. I added the house to my mental catalogue of real estate regrets (and they are legion – you can’t have lived in Brooklyn in the late 1970s and not regret NOT buying up a slew of brownstones when they were going for $50,000).
Now I’m living in East Hampton and loving the area – and I’m quite pleased with my little 1940s cottage. But I still have a compulsion to keep looking for the sort of house I originally thought I wanted – a 19th century farmhouse with a front porch. This one is very well located, on a quiet one-way street of older homes. It’s perched on a hilly two-thirds of an acre, and the backyard, above, is more like a field, with 16 acres of protected land behind. It feels secluded, yet it’s a stone’s throw from Nick and Toni’s and Della Femina, local restaurants of legend, and all East Hampton has to offer (I’m beginning to sound like a real estate listing myself).
Through-the-window shot, showing wood floors, original windows and doors, and fresh paint
I drove over to Floyd Street this morning after the gym to take a look. As soon as I pulled up in front of the place, my heart was at peace. I wish the people who are in contract all the best, and hope they get their mortgage. But they’ll have their hands full with repairs, from the dilapidated porch to the 1950s era asbestos shingles and God knows what else, lurking in the basement or on the roof. If I had to guess, I’d say it looks as if someone started out with great ambitions – there’s a trendy farmhouse sink in the kitchen and new stainless appliances – but ultimately didn’t have the resources to pull it off.
What all this says to me is that it’s a buyer’s market. 599K (and we can assume the contracted price is lower) would have been unheard of in East Hampton village three years ago. So let’s all keep looking, if only for the fun of it. Can’t be much fun for sellers though.