A Taste of the North Shore Way of Life

As a real estate broker for Douglas Elliman, Maria Babaev doesn’t just close deals on homes on Long Island’s Gold Coast—she touts a lifestyle.

“It’s everything in one: proximity to NYC, amazing school districts, parks, gardens, museums, golf courses, private country clubs, great restaurants and amazing shopping,” Babaev said. “All of this really creates incredible infrastructure and allows great family living and entertaining on a grand scale.”

Babaev, who has been working on the North Shore for 15 years, shared top tips for living the opulent life.

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Tell me a bit about your pre-real estate life.
I moved to the United States 20 years ago from Moscow and started my career as an international account manager for Citigroup emerging markets. I was responsible for managing the portfolios of 130 banks in Russia, Ukraine and all the countries of the former Soviet Union. I loved my job on Wall Street; it was amazing. It involved a lot of traveling, so I had to visit all my clients and customers that were located overseas.

Why did you decide to become a broker?
[I had children] 15 years ago. At that time, I obtained a real estate license and I started my real estate career.

How has the industry changed since you started?
The home buying process is very different today versus how it was even a few years ago. With the power of the Internet and tremendous exposure, buyers are extremely savvy and very educated. It’s no longer a best-kept-secret; no more brokers who are gatekeepers. To me, every single physical showing is a second showing. As a broker, you are coming in as a real estate advisor. It’s a really elevated role on how to make better decisions and negotiate on behalf of the client.

Maria Babaev loves bringing international clients to Americana Manhasset for a first taste of Long Island's lifestyle

Maria Babaev loves bringing international clients to Americana Manhasset for a first taste of Long Island’s lifestyle 

What are some of your favorite places to eat and shop on the North Shore?
My favorite place is Americana Manhasset. I love this place. It’s an ultimate experience for eating, dining and shopping. My international clients really love that. If a client is coming in from overseas, I prefer to meet them there; take them for lunch; and learn about their experiences and exactly what they are looking for. My buyers from Russia, they have a similar shopping center in Moscow. They see it as a parallel.

What are some other places you like to visit?
I love Old Westbury Gardens. That’s really my place. It offers a lot of different activities for music and art enthusiasts, nature lovers with 150 acres and they constantly have programs for young children and adults. Also, especially in the fall, I love all the festivals, pumpkin picking, petting zoos and apple picking. It’s what truly makes Long Island an incredible place and attracts a lot of people.

What is an up-and-coming town on the North Shore?
Roslyn is a hot area. I see a lot of young families moving into the area and they love the school structure, infrastructure and park. I also love Old Brookville with its beautiful estates and horse farms.

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a social strategist of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email bethann@lipulse.com or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.