Earlier this pandemic summer time, whereas caught inside my one-bedroom condominium with solely the web to maintain me firm, I came across the engrossing Instagram account of New York Metropolis real-estate agent Esteban Gomez. Though Gomez usually offers in costly downtown flats, after actual property within the metropolis got here to a halt within the spring, he started enjoying matchmaker between shoppers and quarantine-friendly properties throughout Upstate New York, Connecticut, and Lengthy Island. His account solely has some 2,583 followers, however it supplies the entire country-house fantasy: Mid-century fashionable properties that include a quarry pool or border 86 forested acres, 1700s farmhouses with at the very least 5 fireplaces, monochrome modern retreats set on hillsides — all introduced in easy white-bordered photographs or narrated video excursions that last as long as 15 minutes.
Gomez rebranded himself @thecreativesagent (tagline: “Property Advisor to New York’s Artistic Trade Leaders”) solely a 12 months in the past, and it turned out to be excellent timing. Curiosity in homes outside the city is surging, however his set of shoppers (usually artists, designers, photographers, and the like) have no real interest in suburbia: They need rural attraction, possibly a pool, and, if potential, a home with a narrative to inform. Gomez, who labored for 15 years on the retail and wholesale sides of the style trade earlier than turning to actual property, will get this. He additionally takes what he realized from shopping for his personal weekend house in Connecticut to supply recommendation on discovering the precise home and all that comes after — from painters and contractors to furnishings, lighting, and gardening.
“Secretly, I’ve at all times wished to be essentially the most well-known concierge in all of NYC,” Gomez says. “The particular person you go to for something and the whole lot.”
What makes a dream home in your shoppers proper now?
My shoppers are actually into these polar extremes, nothing in between. No grey areas. What I imply by that’s it’s both fashionable or vintage, not cookie cutter. It’s not that they’re solely searching for mid-century or solely modernist properties. I personally like a stone home, I like a farmhouse — and my shoppers do too.
I’ve been making an attempt to attach the dots between sure communities and my shoppers. Should you’re feeling stress to get out of your condominium, or you may have a household and simply wish to give them some room to breathe, the place are you going to look when everyone else is wanting? It’s like a college of fish all shifting on the identical time; it’s crowded. What I’m making an attempt to do is grow to be nearly like an aggregator and make my [Instagram] web page really feel nearly such as you’re procuring on Web-a-Porter. So that you simply say, Oh there’s good structure and good properties in New Paltz, or in Stockton, NJ, or in Ghent, NY, or, The place is Redding, CT? What’s that neighborhood all about? I attempt to have fun essentially the most fascinating properties in the marketplace, and I have fun the itemizing brokers as a result of I understand how difficult our line of labor will be.
How is working from house affecting individuals’s real-estate calculations?
Folks at this level are already used to what’s been happening with COVID-19 and the social restrictions. What’s fairly frequent throughout the board is that they’re okay with being two hours from town, or an hour and a half, as a result of they really feel — and possibly that is going to alter in a 12 months or two — that they’ll work principally remotely. So quite than saving or searching for that one-bedroom condominium within the metropolis, they’re seeing that their first house buy is in a neighborhood outdoors what was once their important workplace. I believe persons are enthusiastic about that; they’re excited for a change. For a very long time, plenty of my pals had been annoyed by the real-estate market within the metropolis as a result of they only couldn’t purchase into something they had been enthusiastic about.
The shopping for pool was once individuals with households, possibly slightly bit older. Now I positively see people who find themselves youthful. Individuals who have the skills or the means or have been saving for years to purchase a one-bedroom condominium within the metropolis and now they might doubtlessly purchase 5, ten acres or extra and a mid-century fashionable home.
What else is everybody searching for?
Enough house to have a vegetable backyard. They’re choosing up all types of hobbies and passions, and studying methods to domesticate your personal meals is on the high.
Throughout showings, [clients] saved saying, “That is the place we should always put the vegetable backyard.” I at all times give them this tip: You have got to have the ability to at the very least see it out of your kitchen window. Once we put a vegetable backyard in our home [in Connecticut], we had been horrible farmers as a result of it wasn’t shut sufficient to the home. We couldn’t preserve a superb, constant effort on tending to it. And also you do must are inclined to it each single day and possibly even a number of instances a day. There are rabbits; there are squirrels; there are bugs. There’s every kind of stuff that’s going to eat your meals in the event you don’t watch it.
What else do you advise your shoppers on when shopping for a home outdoors town?
You gained’t have a doorman; you gained’t have an excellent; you gained’t have a porter, and town doesn’t clear your driveway. [My clients] see two acres and this actually fairly farmhouse and fantasy kicks in: How am I going to arrange the porch? The place am I going to arrange my flowerbeds? However there are issues you must take into consideration: What are your taxes like? What does it value to keep up the property? If there’s fairly a little bit of garden, or if it’s hilly, you’re greater than probably not going to have the ability to maintain it your self. Except you understand how to deal with your self with an axe and might stack birchwood about eight toes excessive, you’re in all probability going to wish some assist. You’re going to have to rent individuals. How a lot does it value to warmth up the home within the winter? What occurs when it snows? How a lot do I anticipate to pay for every plow? That barn that comes with the home is extremely lovely, however how outdated is the roof? Is it insulated? All of this stuff I attempt to give them a heads-up on.
Lots of people are like, I have to dwell in a spot that’s not that rural, as a result of they watched too many crime dramas or too many TV reveals the place it’s just like the “creepy nation.” They’d be like, Ought to I’ve an alarm system? It’s a international factor. You’ve bought to cope with sure fears — possibly it’s too quiet and there usually are not sufficient individuals round. Nevertheless it shortly goes away when you understand that is the perfect evening’s sleep you’ve gotten in possibly ten years.
What’s the perfect home you’ve seen this summer time up to now?
One in every of my favorites I noticed was this one in Simsbury, CT. This house was from an architect of the period — 1950s — and it was held in the identical household for 60 years. It was in such wonderful situation and was priced at $290,000. It has an acre of back and front yard, and it’s in an enclave that’s full of flat-roofed properties from the ’50s. Lots of people messaged me about it, however that house was possibly in the marketplace for 2 days and it had 12 or 15 visits. They bought an accepted provide after two days.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.