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Taking Stock

Summer’s unofficial end is marked by the coming of Labor Day weekend. The past few, short months have been spent relaxing on beaches and navigating local waterways, walking through Main Streets and dipping into bustling restaurants and bars. Sunflowers, strawberries, and tomatoes have seen their prime days, and root vegetables and fall harvest favorites are in the ground. While the fall season sees no shortage of activity, summer’s last hoorah has come. With kids going back to school, now is the time to take stock of your home, considering how it will be used, work that needs to be done, and even if it’s time to sell. North Fork real estate agents share their thoughts on post-summer abodes.

For Sheri Winter Parker (SWP), summer is the time to enjoy all of the cool things the North Fork offers. Perhaps over the course of extended weekends, homeowners that have flipped through various magazines have found inspiration in the glossy pages for their own homes. “You can easily find ideas that strike you, or a refreshed take on classic design that you want to incorporate into your own home,” shares the licensed associate real estate broker with Corcoran. “Post-summer during the back-to-school grind is a great time to get your project done.”

Noting that the fall season is spectacular and full of things to do, SWP has noticed that the North Fork has become much more of a year-round destination with people using their homes well into the winter months. End-of-summer is an ideal start time for a renovation project in an effort to finish before the holidays. 

“Fall is also a great time for new landscaping,” SWP says. “This time of year, and of course spring, allows for new plantings and gives your outdoor spaces an upgrade you can enjoy immediately. It is still such a gorgeous time to be outside.” 

Kristen Rishe of North Fork Management Group, LLC, which offers property management services, has also found that summer’s end has a new definition on the North Fork. Also as a real estate broker with North Fork Real Estate Inc., she agrees that while pools close up in September, homes are still being used into the New Year. The property management group coordinates storing summer furniture, removes air conditioners, cleans up yards, drains outdoor faucets and sprinklers, and so much more to prepare the home for the winter. 

Clients are generally proactive, following the guidance of North Fork Management Group, LLC to ensure their home fares well in the offseason. Rishe has found contractors are able to offer discounts in the offseason when their work is not as high in demand, making this an ideal time to work on your home. But, don’t forget about the inside. 

“When things quiet down, it’s time for inside projects,” Rishe explains. “Freshen up the paint, change that leaky faucet and lighting fixtures, clean out your closets and drawers, kitchen cabinets and garage. We encourage our clients to always stay ahead of any issues, you never know if you will want to rent your house out for a month or even sell. Staying ahead of major projects will relieve a lot of stress.”

Planning and scheduling for improvement projects for many homeowners has already started with work scheduled to begin after the Christmas holiday. For larger projects, there is a significant amount of lead time needed. Douglas Elliman licensed associate real estate broker Thomas McCloskey notes that buyer traffic slows down in mid-November, picking up again between mid-January and President’s weekend. In-between is an ideal time to get some work done.

“It is a great time for new plantings of trees and bushes,” McCloskey shares. “Because it is the end of the buying season for these items, you can find some good discounts after Labor Day. It is also a good time to transplant once the temperature cools down a bit.”

In-between lounging on the beach and dining out or spending time on the boat, buyers that had purchased a home in need of renovations typically spend summer in the home and start interviewing architects, Carol Szynaka has found, in order to hit the ground running on home projects once summer ends. Collaborating to come up with plans for their dream home, owners must also keep in mind that there are necessary steps to follow with the town. Plans need to be submitted and hopefully all permits will be in place by the following spring. The associate real estate broker and East End sales manager with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty says if a property doesn’t require major renovation, the sellers get right to work after making their purchase.

“They scrape, sand, paint, dig, and put their new design plans into action,” Szynaka says. “The most common interior renovations are kitchen and baths. On an older home, replacing small windows and doors with bigger ones can make a dramatic improvement and brings more light into the home.”

Traditionally, summer homes on the East End were used just for then – summer. Many are now still used after Labor Day weekend, and the days of the North Fork real estate market slowing down after the season are long gone. For people looking to invest in the area, fall and winter are ideal times to look and start buying to ensure they are in place for the following summer season. It’s a 12-month sales cycle now on the North Fork. 

“Like other communities, we see slowing in June for weddings, showers, and graduations,” Szynaka shares. “In September for the back to school period, and in December, when the world seems to take a deep breath, we celebrate with family and friends, regroup and start all over again.” 

If you have not begun planning already, now is the time to take stock and decide what’s next for your North Fork property. Perhaps a minor interior or exterior renovation is in order, or a fresh paint job to liven up living spaces. Update your landscaping with natural plantings, specimen trees, and other fresh greenery that will last through the fall and bloom again in spring. Make your home yours to enjoy, regardless of season.