Maggie Keats’ career has taken her from advertising to art appraiser to realtor. Turns out, the third time was the charm in finding her dream job.
“I love meeting people, [working with] a challenging seller and putting together a creative deal,” said Keats, who fell into real estate while appraising art in homes. Attorneys used to ask her if she knew anyone who could sell a home. She thought she would just refer, but ended up loving being the realtor instead.
Working in the land of Gatsby doesn’t hurt for the Douglas Elliman realtor, one of Pulse’s 2017 Power Brokers.
“I’m an architecture and design major. [I love] the properties,” she said.
The Gold Coast mansions, like the Hempstead House that inspired the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald novel-turned-movie, are world renowned. But Keats offered some insider tips for enjoying the area’s best-kept secrets and finding a dream home.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The people. I’ve been really fortunate to work with the same people in different phases of their lives, people who trade up, trade down, buy investment properties, buy property in the Hamptons.
What’s it like to see a family go through various stages of their lives?
I love it because I feel like I’m part of the extended family. It’s nice to hear, “My daughter is having a baby. They’re looking to buy a house. They’re at the tipping point where the city is no longer affordable.” It’s very gratifying to go through that with people.
As an architecture and design lover, what makes the Gold Coast so special for you?
The topography and ambiance of the Gold Coast. The corridor is spectacularly beautiful. Then there’s the history of it; these beautiful Gold Coast mansions interspersed with newer construction makes it a beautiful place to work. Its proximity to the City makes it a slam dunk.
What Gold Coast town is one of the most underrated?
I’m partial because I’m a native of Sands Point. I think it’s an undervalued area. There’s tremendous opportunity. The commute is easy, there’s all the resources in Port Washington. It’s just gorgeous.
Why do you think it’s undervalued?
The current trend is to live close to town and train. People want the walkability, urban-suburban feel. If you just drive two minutes out of town, you can have an acre and an oasis and there’s something about that. It’s like coming home to a destination.
What are some of your favorite places to shop?
Port Washington has a lot of great little secret stores. There’s an unbelievable women’s clothing store I’m addicted to. It’s called Julienne. They have a curated selection of fabulous clothes, hip and stylish. Diagonally across the street from them is a store called Wit & Whim. Every month, they have a different charity and donate profits to that charity. They try to buy a lot of sustainable goods made by local people. We also have an amazing brick-and-mortar book store called Dolphin Book Store.
What are some of your favorite places to eat and what should we order there?
We have a United Nations of restaurants. I’m in love with this new restaurant Nikkei of Peru. The couple who owns it came from Peru [and has Japanese origins]. Everything you order there is amazing. They have sushi. On Main Street we have Wild Goose which is brand new. It’s farm-to-table and has small plates.
What should people look for in a realtor?
Someone who is committed and works at this full-time so they not only know the market and inventory but ins and outs of what goes into a deal. That would include financing, the actual infrastructure of the home, obviously location. You’re always best served with someone you’ve had a personal referral to or someone who is very seeded and successful in the community. Someone who lives in the community will know it better than anyone else.
How can people find out information about a realtor?
It’s interesting in the Internet age, we all get publicity. When you’re successful, your sales get published. When you have a number of sales, you aggregate higher on search engines.
How can someone looking to sell increase the value of their home?
That’s easy. They have to look at their house through the eyes of their buyer. Always declutter. All little maintenance items need to be addressed. Everything needs to be as fresh and clean as possible. Invest in new bed linens. A couple of throw pillows go a long way. Make a home look as generic as possible, neutral. You just want to have the buyer imagining his or her own life.
What’s the biggest hurdle people face when trying to buy a home?
Competition. We have a true lack of inventory. In this market, when something comes on the market that’s terrific and well-priced, they have to brace themselves for an intense bidding session.
What’s your favorite room in your home?
My kitchen because I love to cook and my library. It’s full of books, photos of family and travel. It’s just a cozy year-round room.
What’s your favorite thing to make?
I make a really mean thin-crust pizza with dough from scratch.