It’s been said that real estate on Long Island is like the weather: it’s a perennial topic of conversation and a barometer by which all other commerce is measured. The topography of Long Island real estate is particularly intriguing. Urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods share the Island that stretches just more than 100 miles from Queens’ eastern border to the tip of Montauk. It takes a savvy, seasoned broker to navigate the nuances of each local market and negotiate top notch transactions. But how to qualify them?
Similar to other Pulse franchises pro ling leaders in professional fields, we sought to identify who in real estate is making an impact on the markets. After a careful vetting process and third-party qualifiers of listing and sales information, we narrowed down a group of nominees based on those at the top in their respective townships. The competition was fierce but in the end, clear winners emerged as the best in their territories—and they had some interesting stories to share. For the third year in a row, we present Long Island’s Power Brokers.
Douglas Elliman – Hempstead/North Hempstead
Based on transactions and sales volume, Douglas Elliman is the top real estate firm on Long Island. Yet even within the region’s premier agency, Maggie Keats stands apart. Consistently ranked as Douglas Elliman’s top producer on Long Island, Keats has sold homes along the Gold Coast for 13 years, from waterfronts to historic estates to architectural masterpieces. But her job doesn’t stop with the stroke of a pen. Keats goes above and beyond to form meaningful relationships with her clientele, which leads to the secret of her success: repeat business. Many of Keats’ clients refer their family, friends and colleagues, and return to her to trade up, downsize or purchase an investment property.
Laffey Real Estate – Oyster Bay
A good real estate agent wins his client’s respect. The best agents win the respect of parties seated on both sides of the table. During his 11-year career, Barry Paley has demonstrated a knack for solving complex transactional problems with solutions that result in both the buyer and seller feeling like they’re on top. One of Paley’s clients recently found himself in a lengthy and costly legal battle while selling his home. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a walkout basement but failed to obtain a certificate of occupancy, a sticking point with the buyer. Even with strict township guidelines, Paley was able to obtain the certificate in two months. The accomplishment got the buyer and seller out of a stalemate and brought the deal to a successful conclusion.
RE/MAX Eastern Properties – Brookhaven
Realty isn’t always about square footage and negotiations. It is, at its essence, about helping people start the next chapter of their lives. Bryan Karp’s client was a retired gentleman looking to downsize, but because of the house’s condition, and what was still owed, agent after agent told the man he would not be able to make anything off the sale. Karp outlined several options to get the home sold, enabling his client to begin his next life journey. It’s this personal touch that has made Karp one of the top-selling agents on Long Island eight years into his career.
Douglas Elliman – Babylon/Islip
When Barbara Leogrande first moved into her neighborhood, she would often drive past and admire an extraordinary 144-year-old traditional Bayport home. The excitement over learning she would be given the opportunity to list the house was only eclipsed by the discovery of the impeccably maintained original details within. Needless to say, selling the historic home was the highlight of her professional year. But signing on the dotted line was just the beginning of the reward. Through social media, she is able to watch her clients and their families grow and shape their futures within the homes she helped place them in.
Douglas Elliman – Southampton
When you spend 38 years in real estate, your career isn’t highlighted as much by individual transactions, but in dynamic changes in towns and regions that you helped facilitate. For years, East End realty was defined by the waterfront properties south of Montauk Highway. When Paul Brennan sold a parcel of Bridgehampton land north of the roadway to the Atlantic Golf Course, creating the first new private golf club on the South Fork since 1963, it completely changed the value and character structure “north of the highway.” But if it’s big numbers you’re looking for, Brennan has those too—he sold Andy Warhol’s former Montauk estate for $50 million.
Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty – Huntington
William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich, designers of Oheka Castle in Huntington, were among the most successful architects of the first half of the 20th century, drawing from European and classical influences to craft grand country estates. Representing one of their homes is a great achievement—Peggy Moriarty has done it twice. These are just two of the many success stories highlighting Moriarty’s 20-year career, including last year’s sale of a $9 million waterfront property overlooking Cold Spring Harbor. Sales like these have propelled Moriarty to become a top producer at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s.
Sheri Winter Clarry
The Corcoran Group/NRT – Mattituck/Southold/Greenport
Years ago, Sheri Winter Clarry took a weekend getaway to the North Fork. She was so instantly entranced, she bought a home there three weeks later and has since cemented her place atop the region’s real estate hierarchy. Though the Hamptons may be known for the majority of the East End’s seven-figure-price-tag listings, Clarry has more than held her own up north, selling dozens of million-dollar estates, including a $19 million home in Peconic (the most expensive residential sale in North Fork history). Her record-breaking work has made her Corcoran’s top producer on the North Fork each year since 2005.
Sotheby’s International Realty/NRT – East Hampton
In the dog-eat-dog world of Hamptons real estate, it takes a deep-seated knowledge of the area coupled with an equally impressive book of clients in order to make your mark. When Rylan Jacka moved to the East End from San Francisco, he had neither. Yet over his 20-year career, he has built a loyal client base that includes a network of high-net-worth individuals and influencers who count on his market expertise to close deals. From cutting-edge waterfront contemporaries to 19th century Sag Harbor village traditionals, Jacka has sold nearly $1 billion worth of real estate from Watermill to Montauk. His impressive sales record makes him the top agent in the Sotheby’s International Realty-East Hampton Brokerage.