Laura DeVita enjoying a rare moment of relaxation at 7 Sunset Lane, her brand-new listing.
La Dolce DeVita
By Robin Jovanovich
Laura DeVita is having her best real estate year yet, and the year isn’t over. By mid-September, she’d surpassed $50 million in sales. But she’s the first to tell you that 2020 has been a rollercoaster, one that required nerves of steel.
“The year started off strong, but the Friday the pandemic hit I lost $11 million in sales,” said DeVita, a top broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s. “Between Week 6 and 8 of the shutdown I recouped that amount and have just kept going.”
Always unflappable, she said she’d learned another important skill set these last months. “I’ve really learned to listen to clients, and as a result work more effectively on their behalf.”
During the months that offices were closed, Sotheby’s manager Pati Holmes organized virtual coffees. “They kept us going, collaborating, thinking. We learned Zoom tours cold and how to interact with sellers and buyers at their discretion.”
Long known as a sellers’ agent but having sold all but one of her listings, DeVita now finds herself primarily a buyers’ agent. Last week, she got calls from three new buyers from the City who said, “We know we’re ‘late to the game’, but we want to move out as soon as possible.”
It’s no longer Covid-19 that’s driving people from the City, asserted DeVita, it’s safety. “Buyers are living month-to-month. They need to grab on to something.”
With inventory low – there are currently only 65 active listings in Rye – DeVita has been scrambling to find rentals for anxious city dwellers; and she’s even convinced homeowners who were on the fence about selling to agree to sell privately if they get their number, and they did.
It’s not just Manhattanites who have bought up houses at warp speed in the last six months, many Rye residents have traded up or downsized.
Last week, DeVita gave us a private tour of 7 Sunset Lane, which is tucked behind Apawamis Club, across from the golf course. The newly completed house required no sales pitch. The design is innovative, sophisticated, somewhat daring. “This home has been created to raise standards,” offered Nick Williams, managing partner of St. Katherine Group, the real estate development team that put the project together.
The Great Room is a sleek 75 feet long. There is a generous amount of space between the kitchen, dining, and sitting areas, allowing families to be both together and apart, increasingly important at a time when everybody’s home. The formal living room and the study are across the grand hall. Within the 7,100-square-foot envelope, architect Pierre Sarrazin has thought of everything, upstairs and down.
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