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Five questions to ask before buying a North Fork home

Written for by LUCY MAHER on JULY 19th, 2020

Each May and June, Sheri Winter Parker, a Southold-based licensed associate real estate broker with the Corcoran Group, gets a bit of a break from open houses, private showings and reviewing closing documents. She says that’s because her clients are typically busy helping their kids finish the school year, and celebrating graduations and weddings.

“There are certain times of year that are quieter,” she said. “May and June usually aren’t super crazy. People are busy with their functions.”

That changed this year.

“It literally never stopped,” she said of interest that started in April. “People are saying ‘This is the time to buy.’ I am hearing, ‘We were on the fence but now we know we need extra space, we need to be able to get out.’ People are talking about what is going to be happening in the fall and winter, and thinking they want to secure their weekend place. They want to know they have another place to go.”

Though Q1 2020 real estate activity in some parts of the North Fork had increased, possibly due to stock market gains, said Ed Reale, brokerage manager, Sotheby’s International Realty, there is now “a different mood among buyers post-COVID. Many buyers are looking for a refuge for their families. Buyers are looking for space and privacy and our area allows people to stay at home and be outdoors and function with minimal social contact. Clearly, buyers are looking to maintain social distances and have a safe place to work or attend school from home.”

Locals know well (and have worked hard to maintain) the appeal of the North Fork’s slower-paced way of life, with vast, undeveloped open spaces and natural vistas to enjoy. The region is steeped in history, with many historic buildings and areas that serve as reminders of the area’s maritime and agricultural past and present. To preserve this land, and the area’s charms, home buyers pay a 2% land transfer tax, also known as the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund, that goes toward preservation to protect the area from overdevelopment.