Since launching their Hamptons-based luxury firm, Bespoke Real Estate, in late 2014, Zach and Cody Vichinsky have sold nearly $1 billion worth of property. The brothers currently represent five of the 10 most expensive properties in the Hamptons, and their average sale is around $25 million. Perhaps most impressively, the pair currently has the most expensive listing in the entire state of New York: Jule Pond, a 42-acre estate once owned by Henry Ford II and currently listed for $175 million.
We sat down with the brothers to talk about what attracts buyers to the Hamptons, what trends they foresee in the luxury market, and what features justify Jule Pond’s price tag.
What sets Bespoke Real Estate apart from other luxury real estate firms in the Hamptons?
Bespoke is the first and only full-service brokerage firm that exclusively represents properties and projects valued at $10 million or above in the Hamptons. We believe in creating measurable value directly for our clients and customers. We are a data- and system-driven firm that strives to create intelligent perspectives and services for our unique clientele.
How many properties do you typically represent at a time, and what’s the average cost?
Currently, we manage just over $1.4 billion spread out amongst roughly 40 properties. Our average listing price is just over $27 million—omitting our $175 million listing—and our average sale price is just under $25 million.
You focus on properties that are $10 million and above. What do these homes generally offer in terms of square footage and amenities?
Every property is different. We have oceanfront properties that have a 3,000-square-foot home worth $20 million as well as a four-acre estate that has a 15,000-square-foot home with nine bedrooms, a gym, a basketball court, a full spa, a wine room, massive infinity-edge gunite pools, staff quarters, and outdoor kitchens going for the same price. Our market is highly nuanced, and quality and location drive everything. Water is king, followed by open space that can never be disturbed so as not to obstruct views.
What attracts buyers to the Hamptons?
It’s a breathtaking place; the ocean, the bays, the farmland, and the woods showcase a diversity of nature. There is arguably more wealth and influence in this concentrated area than any other non-urban real estate market in the world, so we attract high-caliber residents from all over the world. The Hamptons also serve as an immediate and close destination from the top strata of New York and the greater Tri-State.
What are the top things luxury buyers are looking for when house hunting?
For most, quality is paramount. People are willing to pay premiums for better-quality locations, unique yield on properties, construction, and design. There is a more significant emphasis put on the financial components of the deal—how the specific property is positioned in the macro and micro-market. More so than ever, the justification of value is much more important. If you are buying a finished product, layout and incorporation of indoor/outdoor flow is important. The consumer is more educated than ever, and they are looking for thoughtfulness in the product that they are purchasing.
You currently have the most expensive listing in the entire state. What features contributed to the price tag?
Jule Pond has over 42 acres of property on the ocean, abutting and overlooking ponds, reserve land, and a bay. The properties that surround it are arguably the best in the market segment, and their recent trades more than justify Jule Pond’s pricing by any metric. The property, and its home, has a provenance and pedigree that is unique and rare given its connection with one of America’s most notable families, the Fords. The property offers ultimate privacy and tranquility given its size and connectivity to water. It truly embodies the best of a beach house, a country house, a lake house, and a compound. In addition, the property affords unique subdivision capabilities, which can unlock a significant amount of value for the sophisticated trophy purchaser.
What trends do you foresee in the luxury real estate market?
The glaring trend is buyers looking for value. In our market segment, there are anomalies that buck that trend, but overall, people want to feel that they are buying a great asset. New construction and prime waterfront are still very much in demand. We are seeing a lot of interest in older estates that are well-maintained and merged with contemporary elements; it’s very difficult to rival their charm, feeling, and the Old World quality.
The breadth of our clients are looking for turnkey, like transitional design as it checks a lot of their boxes, or more traditional elevations with contemporary finishes. Super modern is definitely still trending, especially in the waterfront segment. But the focus has shifted to quality, not just size. Buyers want to feel gratified that they are getting a fantastic product, and that can come at the compromise of excess square footage.