| June 15, 2015 | Home & Real Estate
Last year, real estate mavens and brothers Cody and Zach Vichinsky had an idea: They noticed the need for a high-end brokerage firm that would provide concierge-level service to buyers who were searching for multimillion-dollar properties. Now halfway through their first year operating their own firm, Bespoke Real Estate, we caught up with Cody to find out how their idea came to fruition, what buyers can expect at Bespoke, and what they've learned so far. Call 631-500-9030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
When did the idea first click in your mind that the Hamptons needed a new agency like Bespoke?
CODY VICHINSKY: I think conceptually, it was really relevant the first year I started. There was certainly a need on the high-end to innovate, and I think that the tenants of the shift that’s been in place in Hamptons real estate for decades still hold true today. But there was certainty a movement afoot that we recognized and wanted to be a part of, to really speak to a higher echelon of a price point, but also a much more savvy investor perspective, both from a statistical side as well as the marketing side. We really felt that there was a tremendous amount of room for improvement to innovate and showcase these very unique, world-class properties.
You focus on properties at $10 million and up. What made you set the bar that high?
CV: We were the top-producing team at Corcoran when we started Bespoke, and when we left Corcoran to turn the lights on at Bespoke, we were really at the apex of our careers there. And that business, $10 million and up, is what we were naturally gravitating to and working in while we were at Corcoran. From a service perspective, we noticed that there was a price point that was underserviced. Typically from an investment perspective, whether it’s a $5 million or a $25 million real estate firm, or real estate broker’s perspective, the clients get the same treatment. We felt that there was an opportunity and a need from our clients, because they were vocalizing it, to invest more and do things differently and be innovative.
As a first-mover in the space, we were very grateful and proud to say that we were the first and only real estate firm on the planet, as far as we know, that just specializes on the top of the market. There are some brokers that obviously have earned their book of business and it’s situated at the higher price points, but from a listing perspective, to be able to only service the best, it really gives it a quality over quantity approach and a laser-focus, and having that core focus is really what differentiates us.
Do you recall your first sale at Bespoke? How did that feel?
CV: We were juggling a lot of deals, and we had a very fantastic December—we closed several oceanfront deals—and so from our launch, we had a very fortuitous run; we’ve done quite a significant amount of business from the fourth quarter up until now. It’s been fantastic and we’re very grateful for that. And the work ethic hasn’t changed. Our first deal at Bespoke really did feel like any other deal that we did. It was all in the same line of servicing our clients.
In addition to your data-driven approach and concierge-level service, how do you work to stand out in the market?
CV: I think it’s innovation in marketing, and that’s noticeable in the way that we present our homes and the way that we package the allure of these special properties. But a lot of what the end-user community doesn’t see until they come to our office and sit down and talk to us is the secret sauce: the depth of our understanding of the market, and certainly the price point—the information is really the necessity of being a good broker or brokerage firm. You could have the bells and whistles and the lipstick and the glamour, and I think that’s good for market appeal, but ultimately you want to be able to rest your laurels with good brokers who really understand the information and the market nuances, who are first-movers on opportunities, and who are very well-connected with other top-producing brokers in the Hamptons, in New York City, in Florida, in other key luxury and financial destinations throughout the planet.
From a different perspective, it also boils down to all of the individuals at our firm. We have a very different mantra within Bespoke that allows every person involved with this movement that we’re creating here to believe in doing things differently. Looking at buying or selling a home, or marketing a home, or managing the communication with sellers, or working events within users—everything is boiled down to doing something better and investing in much more into it, and I think that that’s really special.
What can buyers expect when they come in for their first consultation with Bespoke?
CV: The first thing that will hit them is that our office is really a state-of-the-art showcase piece for our clients. They walk into our office—we had over a million-dollar spend on our flagship office here in Water Mill where we wanted the environment to be very much in line with a high-end home that they would potentially be purchasing—and feel from the space that we understand the aesthetic value of what they are looking for. And again, when someone is coming to purchase a home, whether it be a $2 million house or a $200 million house, we want them to feel that we understand the importance of that purchase. For many people, whether this is their primary house or their 25th house, it’s still a significant undertaking to own a house in the Hamptons. We are empathetic to that perspective, and really want to ensure that they are in good hands.
When they sit down with us at our conference table, they’re sitting down with not just my brother or myself but our team. Whether you need concierge service, you need travel arrangements, you need research—that's the format that we give them when they sit across the table. It’s talking about the market and the nuances of the market and analyzing every opportunity that may make sense, and making sure that no stone is left unturned. We’re giving them the most all-encompassing perspective on their price point and location, and we do get granular with the information that we're providing to them, which I think gives people a deep sense of comfort. Of course we are able to send a helicopter for them, we’re able to provide transportation if they don’t have any or they prefer to be in our transportation program for the day, and then when they get to our office, they’re greeted, they’re offered a drink, they’re offered food, whatever it may be, but they’re here for the conversation; they’re here to feel that they are partaking in a very unique lifestyle endeavor, and my brother and I are very sensitive to that. We take it very seriously.
What have you learned since starting Bespoke—about the buyers, the real estate market, about working with your brother?
CV: In reality, we are in the people business; every person is different. We are very cautious on blanketing our program to everybody, and that’s in the name Bespoke. The essence of why we call our company “bespoke” is because everything we do is tailored or customized. So whether you’re marketing a property on the North Fork that is 47 acres on the water, has a farm, has a vineyard, it’s very different than marketing an oceanfront in Southampton, or working with a buyer who has roots in finance versus working with a European dynastic family. We really try to orientate ourselves to meet those specific needs of each individual person.
What I’ve learned over the course of my career and since launching Bespoke is that empathy, again, is ultimately what takes you to the next step, and putting yourself in your clients' shoes and understanding their needs is vital to working hard. If you don’t have all the information, and you don’t have those clear lines of communication, it’s very hard to dedicate yourself fully to meet their goals and find what they need, or market a property to a perspective that is important to them. Working with our clients, it's that no dream is too big; they are who they are because they’re big dreamers, and we’re fortunate enough in our business and what we do to be able to facilitate the very, very special things for them. We want Bespoke to be a conduit to a much larger conversation about lifestyle and about partnership and about very unique living. I learned that to be able to service that type of mind frame is very important for us at Bespoke.
And to answer your question about working with my brother, I’ve learned nothing except my deep level of respect and appreciation for him—it’s only gotten deeper.
What’s next for Bespoke?
CV: We're just getting started; we haven’t even hit our one-year mark in the Hamptons and I think we are on a good, meteoric rise, and I can say that based upon the data, not just because of my own ego. So what’s next? I think that again, by building these deep relationships with very special people in the Hamptons, we’re often tapped as liaisons to real estate transactions throughout the country, whether they’re places in South Florida or they have a ski destination in mind, they understand that we have earned their respect on the real estate front. They’ve seen that we have a particular prowess in analyzing a deal and working with other brokers. We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy to create this very good, global network of partnerships, not just in real estate even, but outside of real estate with jet companies, with helicopter companies, with watch brands, liquor brands, social clubs to be able to be one spoke in a much larger wheel here. We are looking at other markets to enter, which could happen potentially soon, so be on the lookout for that; we are ever-expanding.
What do you do when you’re not at the office?
CV: My brother and I, we’re very into dogs. We have a lot of dogs, so whenever we get a free minute, we take our pups down to the beach and let them run around with each other. We’re also very much into eating outside at Pierre’s; you’ll find us there a lot. On our off-time, which is very limited, even after we go home we’re on the phone. We built our office to be our home away from home. The Hamptons is, in my opinion, the most beautiful outdoor place on the planet. I love to ride my bike around; I love going up to Cedar Point in East Hampton and checking out all the beach cultures because every town has a different essence to it with certainty.
Photography and video courtesy of Bespoke Real Estate