TELL ME A STORY ....A Story About Real Estate and Local Information…
Note: This is part of a series of posts about the importance of blogging to real estate agents and brokers--starting it, keeping it going and doing it with continuity. We are in the middle of a major shift in real estate brokerage; I feel as professionals we have an opportunity to lay claim to what we thought we had but we don't--our local real estate market. Trulia and Zillow and the like have taken the most valuable thing we have: Our listings and our content! Now we can reclaim them by becoming the informed as well as the informer in our niche areas! The buying and selling public NEEDS our local knowledge in order to make informed decisions! The Syndicates, the Trulia and Zillow’s of the world don’t have local knowledge....They don't live here!
Seven years ago, I decided to start blogging---Barely knowing what Blogging meant, I jumped into it with both feet and started telling stories about where I live. I found that local history about Southampton was rich and available to those who cared to seek out and to study the details of this, the earliest English settlement on Long Island. I wrote about local families and local historical spots, little known to those outside the area.
Using a Cornell University Library book written by George Rogers Howell, a family member of one of the earliest local families, I did research on life the way it was in the 1600’s through the 1800’s. I discovered that life in these hamlets and towns that make up what we know today as the Hamptons was a real representation of the first American farms on the rich and fertile land here at the end of Long Island. It began a way of life that did not take root in the Midwest and other parts of the USA until almost a hundred years later!
I used photos of houses, the beaches, the tributaries of the Great Peconic Bay, SouthamptonVillage and surrounding areas and I used the "tales" and “lore” of the first families for local interest stories. This included talking about “What It Was Before It Is What It Is” as in the former McCarthy’s which is now the Southampton Brewery…..or the current Southampton Town Marina with its large restaurant building, once known as “Conscience Point Dinner Club” and the place where the 1998 Lizzie Grubman scandal happened. A local tragedy where she ran down 9 people as she left the night club drunk, was the talk of the day. That story made our revered “Conscience Point” a place of scandal rather than its proper historical identity as a place where the earliest colonists stepped foot on this land known as Long Island.
Appropriate to the name, the very first settlement called "Olde Towne" is found today in Southampton Village where 5 roads meet: Old Town Road, Wyandanch Lane, Toylsome Lane, Old Town Crossing and Wickapogue Road all converge right at the same spot that the first settlers lived. There, on a slight rise or small hill in the roadside is a sign embedded on a large rock. The sign gives the information about the homes or dugouts that were built there on that hill for these pioneers. Some had underground huts with sod roofs; some were literally carved out of the slight hillside with the grass as the insulation in the summer and the solid ground as the bulwark to the winter’s cold.
As I was writing these vignettes, little did I know that what I was doing was beginning a story line; a story line about where I live and what I love to do here...a story line that I have kept going now for several years.
It has been my intention to make the colorful and highly regarded local landscapes, seascapes and the fascinating word of mouth stories that have survived these many years, come alive again and bring a focus on the real beauty and treasure of this place called Southampton.
After writing a story about Post Lane here in Southampton Village and it's history, I was astounded when I got an email from the descendant of one of the founders of Southampton, New York! He found my blog online and contacted me to correct some of the history of his family.
Richard Post is a Great Grandson of the founder of Southampton Village, eight times removed! He and I connected via email and since he lives in the UK and may never ever get here to see the place his ancestor founded, it was gratifying to communicate with him! He found me when he did a Google search of Southampton Village and found a post I had written about Post Lane, a little known and historical street right here in the heart of Southampton Village. Named after Richard Post’s ancestral family, the street is less than 1/4 of mile long and was the original driveway to the Post family farm. The farm consisted of the greater part of what we now know as Southampton Village. It covered the entire East side of the Village proper and also of what is now known as the Old Town and the Little Plains area.
Richard Post carries the same name as the man who owned most of Southampton Village in the 17th century. The first Richard Post was one of the first settlers here in 1640's and the King of England had bestowed upon him the greater piece of land that now lies in the central part of the Village, from the Railroad station (Long before it was built, of course) all the way South to the Atlantic Ocean.
The resulting leads that I have gotten from that one blog post is astounding! Not only did I get great leads, Post Lane has become the "hottest" street in Southampton Village. There have been 6 home sales on the street, each one selling for more than the last one. It is now established as a favorite street for young and extended families and is the place where new houses have captured record prices.
What a story to tell...and it goes on, because as long as there is another story to tell about this area, I will tell it! The idea of blogging has made me realize the importance of what I know about the area where I sell real estate. My competitors are not as lucky as I am to have discovered the power of blogging--not only that, it is something I love to do and it is easier than many of the other things I must do in this business.
Blogging humanizes the real estate professional; it humanizes us better than any other form of marketing and we need that!