Lifelong friends and Hamptons natives Jennifer Wilson and Treacy Cotter have teamed up to become a leading force in the East End real estate scene as the Wilson Team. The Saunders brokers tell us how they came to work together and about a very welcome project on the way in Water Mill.
How did you both land in real estate?
Jennifer Wilson: Treacy and I grew up in the Hamptons and have been friends since second grade. I worked as a sale manager for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. I lived in East Hampton, and I traveled a lot for business. I’ve always loved real estate out here. Growing up in the Hamptons and being around beautiful homes inspired me to move my sales career to local real estate in 2007.
Treacy Cotter: I’ve been watching Jen and her journey in real estate. I was a stay-at-home mom for a good 15 years. My kids were growing up, and I was getting ready to sell my own home. I was leaning on Jen heavily for advice at that time. She was at a couple different agencies and landed at Saunders five years ago, and I just saw the great experience she was having with the company. She made it a no-brainer for me. Our dynamic, we’ve known each other since second grade, and I trusted her. She said, “Come do this with me, now is the time!” So far, it’s been working like a dream.
Treacy, you have roots in fashion. What did you do?
Cotter: I was in Manhattan for 10 years back in the ’90s. I was the general manager for Banana Republic and ran one of its first flagship stores on Madison Avenue. I really loved that industry. I had a staff of 500 in peak season. I got to hone in on my management skills and learned how to deal with all different types of personalities and how to maneuver through many different situations, good and bad, successfully. It translates well into real estate with all the different dynamics and situations that arise.
What’s your work dynamic like?
Wilson: I’ve been selling real estate for almost 15 years. Basically, over the past year, since Treacy started with me, it’s been learning under fire for her. 2020 was really a year of learning quickly how to work together for Treacy and for me, for us to figure out our work dynamic. But it’s a natural ebb and flow.
Cotter: Exactly. We work together. Every morning we’re looking at new inventory and talk about our clients. E-mails start at 7 a.m., sometimes earlier, and we just kind of get our day and week organized. I have to say, I think it’s such a bonus that we’ve helped each other raise our kids. This is just kind of a natural extension. And it’s just very easy. Because there’s two of us, there’s always somebody available for you 24/7—and we do work 24/7. Our friendship and how we work together has been one of the easiest working relationships I’ve ever had, honestly.
Wilson: It’s just very natural.
Tell us a little bit about your year professionally. 2020 and much of this year have been insanely busy for brokers in the Hamptons.
Wilson: In the beginning of the pandemic, I was working 12-hour days trying to secure rentals.
Cotter: We didn’t even see each other. We were on the computers for 12 hours a day.
Wilson: We were trying to help people and responding to people’s needs to get out of the city into rental properties. That was March, April, and May. And then once the summer hit, it started to turn into sales. 2019 was sort of a down year. And then when 2020 hit, we had about 20 listings. We sold all the listings by mid-summer.
Cotter: It’s not really slowing down. It’s just not as frenetic. We’re still busy. Weekly sales are still outweighing new listings coming onto the market, which is a challenge. We have plenty of buyers that we are working with and we have some exciting things coming up. The fall will be interesting to see what happens with the influx of people who have been here from Manhattan and if they’re going back with the kids returning to school. It’s shifting a bit, but if you look at the data, it’s still busy here and we believe it will stay that way for a while.
What properties are you excited about?
Wilson: There’s a new townhouse development that is just breaking ground now in Water Mill Village. It’s 38 townhomes that are going to be built. There was a lot of competition to get the listings. Treacy and I are part of a team with Ed Bruehl and Will Schumann from Saunders. We’ll be able to start selling in late summer, early fall.
What will it be like?
Wilson: Units are four bedrooms. The development will have a beautiful clubhouse, a great pool, their own garages, and a little park-like area as well. There are tennis courts across the street, which is part of the Water Mill Community Center.
Cotter: There are going to be walkways to Water Mill Center, which has SoulCycle, Provisions, and the shopping area. The convenience is amazing. They’re good size townhouses too, and they run about 3,000 to 3,500 square feet. They’re all being designed by Mabley Handler, and the architect is McDonough & Conroy. It’s very nice.
What are the perks of living in a townhouse Out East?
Cotter: No maintenance! The house has a gym, media room, pool, and wine cellar. It overlooks an open reserve area.
Wilson: It’s very mixed with who’s inquiring; you have the obvious person acquiring who’s downsizing from their big house and maybe buying a home in Florida as well and wants to keep a residence in the Hamptons. We also have families who have been looking to buy new construction between the price range of $2 to $2.5 million. That does not exist out here anymore.
Any other properties you can tell us about?
Wilson: We also have a beautiful new construction at 11 Talmage Lane in East Hampton Village. It was built by a local builder, Aran Construction. It’s a great seven-bedroom home with a pool. Cotter: The location is great. You can walk to Nick and Toni’s, The Grill, all those great restaurants. The size of the house, the reserve behind it, it’s really a great one!
What’s it like working with the two of you?
Wilson: Treacy and I work 24/7. We are also compassionate people. Buying a home out here is a huge investment. We do a lot of hand-holding. We’re also very data-driven; we know the inventory inside and out in every village, and we know the market. We can advise somebody if something is overpriced, or if it’s a great deal.
Cotter: The advantage of both of us growing up out here and knowing the local businesses and people— that helps a lot, too. We can get things done quickly for people in a pinch.
As true locals, where are your favorite places to eat?
Wilson: I love Nick and Toni’s. The owner, Mark Smith, is a good friend of mine. Cotter: He also has Coche Comedor, too, which I really like in Amagansett.
Wilson: There’s a new restaurant that just opened in East Hampton, Rita Cantina. It’s so great and fun. It’s happening every single night; you can hardly get in! There’s a lot of locals there. My husband gets angry because he tries to leave at the end of dinner and I take about 20 minutes to talk to people on the way out!