Meet Sara Golfarb, who is certainly doing the most when it comes to Hamptons’ real estate. Despite only officially becoming a broker one-and-a-half years ago, she’s seen incredible success with Douglas Elliman’s top ranking Alexander Team, also serving as head of marketing and operations. With a multifaceted career background combined with a forward-thinking approach and an eye for taste, she’s minting herself as a power broker to watch. Here’s what keeps her ticking!
You’re a native New Yorker! How does your upbringing come across in your personality and work ethic?
I think New Yorkers have a different mindset when it comes to work and how you handle things, whether that’s because of the pressure, the rush, or how everyone wants things done yesterday! Out here in the Hamptons, it becomes an advantage having worked in New York City and corporate environments prior to real estate. It all impacts the execution when it comes down to timeliness in this market.
How did you find yourself in the real estate industry?
I worked for various Fortune 500 and tech companies prior to real estate. My career was in fin tech for about a decade, and I had broad experience working with C-suite individuals and managing multimillion-dollar marketing budgets. I’ve owned in the Hamptons for about 10 years, and I was doing freelance marketing work with some smaller companies out here, pro bono. I met a developer, Joe Farrell, in the process and ended up working for Farrell Building Co. for two years, helping to establish the Farrell Organization and helping him sell his inventory.
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How did you become the head of marketing and operations for the Alexander Team?
I’ve been with the Alexander Team for about two years. The Alexander team has been the No. 1 team in the nation at Douglas Elliman two years in a row. We’ve done a billion dollars in sales this year alone; it’s pretty incredible. What’s interesting is that when I started as head of marketing and operations, I was licensed but I wasn’t brokering. I only started selling and being on the ground working with clients in January 2020. Real estate is already an emotional purchase, but when you have a pandemic and people are worried about the health and safety of their families, it adds a whole other layer to the process of everything. I learned in one year what people learn in 10. It was unbelievable!
What does an average day look like for you?
As soon as I wake up, I check the listing systems. Every minute matters! I have to make sure I’m seeing what comes on immediately. I start every morning at SLT in East Hampton, then I pop over and get my coffee at Sylvester & Co. They have Dreamy Coffee, which is the best coffee ever! Then I’m scheduling showings, checking anything we have in contract or on the market, sending e-mails, and making sure brokers are aware of what we have that hasn’t sold. Three to five days a week, my afternoons are full of showings. But things change in real time, and sometimes I end up living in my car for half of the day!
What do all successful agents have in common?
Good agents truly work 24/7; you make yourself available. Good agents understand the concept of momentum. Once you’re in process, you keep it moving! Tell us about your highs of 2020. I started with my boots on the ground in January and I sold over $45 million in real estate, and did close to $1.5 million in rentals. I also sold out the five Gurney’s Residences within 10 months. I had an astronomical year, and I worked hard for it. I was No. 11 in the Hamptons on a leaderboard of the top 20 with some incredible agents. There’s some great agents here on the ground at Douglas Elliman. To be on the list with them was exciting to me.
Tell us about your highs of 2020.
I started with my boots on the ground in January and I sold over $45 million in real estate, and did close to $1.5 million in rentals. I also sold out the five Gurney’s Residences within 10 months. I had an astronomical year, and I worked hard for it. I was No. 11 in the Hamptons on a leaderboard of the top 20 with some incredible agents. There’s some great agents here on the ground at Douglas Elliman. To be on the list with them was exciting to me.
What’s the goal for 2021?
We’re halfway through the year and we’ve done more sales than we did in 2020 alone! We’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline. It’s an exciting second year being fully out here for me and the team. I’m shooting for the top 10 this year!
What’s surprising about the Hamptons market right now?
Location is still a prime factor, but the house and the space is front and center. People are now willing to sacrifice [on location] a bit more, and they’re okay with driving the extra five minutes. The median price point and buy-in is close to $2.5 million now. That’s an unbelievable number, when it was probably in the mid to-low $1 million mark pre-COVID.
What are people always looking for Out East?
A turnkey, ready-to-move-in property where the buyer has to do very little to the home. An ongoing trend would be having a gym in the house, too.
What else is on your radar in terms of trends?
Boutique builders: we’re seeing that higher level of quality now, and you don’t have to be at the top of the market to experience it. An additional trend is the seamless lifestyle you can have at somewhere like Gurney’s Residences, where you can order Scarpetta room service. People understand the draw of living with a resort attached. I think what’s getting people excited is when they don’t have to lift a finger when it comes to maintenance! I’ve seen a lot of people purchasing additional properties for family or staff. When people are coming out, they’re coming out in larger groups, so they need the additional space. Another trend I’m seeing is the “married by mortgage” trend. People are purchasing before getting married, as they see owning assets as a bigger priority. It’s an interesting concept and something I think will continue as younger generations continue to grow their individual wealth and want to continue to grow their individual wealth and want to invest in other opportunities, besides the stock market.
What’s keeping you busy at the moment?
I also develop properties! I’m doing a spec house right now. I’m doing it at the price point where we’re seeing the highest velocity [$2.5 million]. I’m designing it; it’s going to be in Sag Harbor. I would call myself someone who understands the market and has an eye for design and can project-manage multiple things. I have a team of people working on it, and I’ve picked every single thing that’s in there. It’s going to be beautiful!