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State of the Summer Rental Market: Corcoran's Susan Breitenbach

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Summer Rental Special Month continues with a look at the upcoming season from an experienced East End broker's perspective. For 2009, Corcoran's Susan Breitenbach earned five of the firm's year-end awards including Top Sales Agent, Top Exclusive Listing Agent, and Highest Rental Price. With all those trophies to polish up, Susan still found time to talk with us about the rental season and to share a couple horror stories.

Curbed Hamptons: Before we look forward, let's talk about last summer. How bad was the rental market?
Susan Breitenbach: The rental market last year wasn't bad, it just started extremely late. People thought that since the financial markets were such a mess there would be plenty of inventory and really low prices. They all came out at the last minute.

CH: So is all the talk this year about big Wall Street bonuses actually boosting the rental market?
SB: It seems strong, but it's too early to tell for sure how it will end up. It's still a buyer's market. Value and great location are what's important.

CH: Are owners smarter about pricing this year when it comes to renting or selling?
SB: Owners are understanding that the prices have come down and most are being realistic. Still, some are stuck on what they could have gotten two years ago and those are the ones that are not reduced and just sitting on the market.

CH: On the flip side, are prospective renters still trying to lowball on properties?
SB: Some renters are trying lower bids, but lowballing is not really working this year.

CH: Best piece of advice for house hunters looking for summer rentals or owners trying to find tenants?
SB: For renters, don't wait until the last minute unless you don't care how it's furnished or mind renting what is leftover. My advice for owners would be to price reasonably and don't get greedy since no one knows 100% what the year will bring.

CH: Can you share your worst summer rental horror story?
SB: I've been the number one broker in my firm for 15 years and have been doing this for almost 20 years, so I've seen everything happen you could imagine. I think two of the worst were probably when a tenant left the water running and the ceiling collapsed and another rental where a door was left partly open and raccoons invaded the house and ripped everything to shreds! I have received many calls at all times of day and night with all sorts of problems. Once, I got a call at about 11 p.m. at night and a tenant had left the bathtub water running and somehow locked himself out of the bathroom!

· Breitenbach Real Estate