One broker who wasn’t resting on her laurels this year is Corcoran star Randi Ball. The award-winning real estate pro has had a whirlwind 2020, helping dozens of families to relocate Out East. The Amagansett-based mom of- two tells The Daily about how the Hamptons’ housing market is forever changed and what made her love for her community stronger than ever before.
How has this year been for you?
In March, when everything got crazy, I was in panic mode, figuring out how to structure family life. My 16-year-old son came home from boarding school, my 12-year-old was in sixth grade, and my husband was working from home. The first thing I did was make everyone designated work spaces. In came lots of stuff from Amazon—desks, chairs, computers! Then we’d meet in the kitchen for meals. It turned out to be a silver lining, getting to spend all that time together.
We hear you’ve always loved to entertain!
I do! It went from entertaining guests to just being the four of us. We planned a meal schedule, a chore schedule, and figured out how we were all going to do this together. Everyone chipped in. I credit my husband and sons with making all the amazing, elaborate dinners and desserts while I was locked up in a room. At a certain point, it was known to leave Mom alone…she has to work!
This season must have been busier than ever for you.
As soon as the pandemic hit and NYC got bad, there was a mass exodus Out East. All the families, especially with young kids, wanted to get out. I worked hard, opening up houses that normally weren’t for rent as it wasn’t our season yet. I’d been paying attention to the news, so I saw this coming in February. My assistant, Sara [Bertha], and I called everyone, even people who lived overseas, and put together a list of landlords who could rent as soon as possible. We were churning out leases, and people were grateful for that.
Were you doing everything virtually, too?
Yes, we had to learn to work remotely, along with everyone else in the world. It was a stressful way of doing business, and at first, I was nervous and thinking, “Am I ever going to sell a house again?” But so many people were bidding on homes—for every house I had an offer on, there were four or five people waiting in the wings. It was nerve-racking!
Has the community in the Hamptons banded together in new ways this year?
Absolutely. I’d say that at first, the community on the East End was incredibly overwhelmed with the density of people who arrived pre-season. The supermarkets had to review all their orders as there wasn’t enough to go around. But the major farmstands rallied, opened up, and banded together to get us food. Everyone got together to take care of community members in need, because it was a hard time for a lot of people who were out of work and had children to care for.
Did you get to discover any hidden neighborhood gems?
Even though we were cooking so much at home, we did make sure to order curbside pickup from local restaurants too, especially ones like The Honest Group and Smokin’ Wolf BBQ, which were supporting their employees. There was a huge movement to shop local when the stores opened up again. As an avid reader, I was always at Book Hampton.
Do you think people’s priorities have changed this year in terms of what they’re looking for in a home?
Definitely. I saw a lot of people looking for large houses so that the extended family—up to three generations— could all connect and be together. Also, there’s been a shift to land, especially for younger families who have kids. Instead of buying in the village or at the beach, they wanted backyards and space to run.
What other new trends will we see in real estate?
I think we’re done with seasonality; I don’t think there is a “down season.” This time would usually be a slow period and it’s not. People want to rent and buy, and people truly want to be out here. I think many people always wanted a second home and maybe weren’t going to do it right now, but this proved that they needed a place out of the city. I don’t see that stopping.
What’s it like seeing the area much busier than usual?
My family lives in the Dunes, so it was lovely for us. Normally, there’s not a year-round population here, but our neighbors came out in March to hunker down, so sometimes we saw each other out walking. We live in an ocean community, so there’s always people meditating and using the beach, just trying to keep it together!
What did you learn about yourself this year?
I learned how to better understand human behavior. Emotions ran high, and it was a difficult time for everybody. Buying real estate is always an emotional process, without throwing in COVID, the stock market, and an election! As a broker, I needed to have more empathy for what people were going through. That’s something that will always help me going forward. It’s also been amazing to make friends and connections with other brokers—whether it’s Palm Beach, Miami, NYC, or Westchester. I’ve developed new relationships and expanded my base, which has been a huge plus for me. The broker community really came together.
With such a hectic work year, how did you stay balanced?
It was such a manic energy, getting as much done as humanly possible every minute of the day, so I had to carve out something to take care of myself. I Zoomed religiously with my favorite yoga teacher. I’ll never stop now! I feel blessed and lucky.Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on all the latest fashion news and juicy industry gossip.