House shopping? Take to the sea

05/06/2010 12:00 AM |

Rudy Bernhardt of Premium Wines Portfolio Ltd. checks the wines served with the catered lunch provided for guests.

After watching 1475 Meday Ave. in Mattituck sit unsold for over a year, realtor Nicholas Planamento of Town and Country Real Estate in Mattituck knew he had to take a different approach to selling the unique waterfront home, built in 1975 on a high bluff overlooking Mattituck Creek.

So on Friday, from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., he set up boat rides to the $1.2 million property from Captain Bob’s Fishing Fleet at the Old Mill Inn. He catered lunch and offered free tastings of local wines.

And with two small fishing boats packed with potential buyers and brokers from real estate companies such as Colony, Corcoran and Lewis and Nickles during each shuttle, the North Fork’s first-ever waterfront showing seemed to be a success.

“My job as a realtor is to create enthusiasm for the property, and oftentimes that’s very difficult for a re-launch of an existing property,” said Mr. Planamento, senior vice president of Town and Country. “That’s why I wanted to introduce it by the water rather than by car.”

Owned by a retired New York City advertising executive, the three-bedroom house is older-era charming with a yellow exterior and different levels of decks and gardens overlooking the creek. It also boasts a dining room built almost completely of glass and decorated with crystal pieces.

“It’s a lovely house — the only one I know of with a glass dining room,” Mr. Planamento said.

A deepwater dock on the creek is also a strong selling point for the residence, Mr. Planamento said. The day before the open house, Capt. Bob Ceglowski parked his 60-foot yacht at the dock for a photo shoot to “show people that there is plenty of draft here for a large vessel like that.”

“And we figured we’d shuttle people back and forth and let them see the area, see the water, see the beauty of the house and the back entry,” he said.

To Joan Bischoff, managing director of the North Fork for Town and Country Real Estate, who helped come up with the concept, Mattituck Inlet and its creeks are “underestimated” — another reason why tours from the water are important during a tough time in real estate.

“Mattituck Inlet is a great area, but it’s underutilized,” Mr. Bischoff said. “But when you go out on a boat, you see all the phenomenal houses on the inlet that are difficult to see from the land.”

Henry Silverman, a retired schoolteacher who said he was in the process of selling his recently built waterfront home in Aquebogue, was one of the potential buyers on the first boat out Friday morning. He said that he was looking at houses all over the East End and the boat ride “just looked like a neat way to look at houses from the different side.”

Pat Stegner was also looking at the property as a possible purchase. She’s owned a house on the bay in Southold since 1976 and has lived there full-time since 1992.

“I wanted something that was higher up on the water like this,” she said, cheese and cracker in hand. “I’m thinking about it.”

“The water is exactly what it’s all about,” said Rudy Bernhardt, a salesman for Premium Wines in Mattituck who was providing a tasting at the open house. “I’m an outdoor, beach type of person, and the view is fantastic. Keep the house, I’ll take the decks and the garden.”

Mr. Planamento said he made it a point to get local businesses like Premium Wines and Capt. Bob’s Fishing Fleet involved in the waterfront showing to “foster a sense of cooperation” — essential in a smaller market like the North Fork, he said.

“Having lived here for a while, I know how to cross-promote,” said Mr. Planamento, who for years also ran the boutique retail store La Ferme De La Mere on Love Lane in Mattituck, which he recently sold. “Not only did I want to promote this house to breathe new life into it, I wanted to cooperate with my colleagues at the same time.

“And take a boat ride on a beautiful day.”

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