Michael Daly: Real Estate Sales with Community in Mind

Michael Daly. Photo courtesy of Madison Fender
Michael Daly. Photo courtesy of Madison Fender

By Rachel Bosworth

“It takes a lot of different people to make a healthy community,” says Michael Daly. As a licensed associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Sag Harbor, he works with all of these community members; the working class, the affluent, and seniors, which he refers to as “mature adults,” to execute real estate transactions within the client’s best interest.

Though Mr. Daly holds the position that every client is equally important, stating that the person selling a $400,000 property deserves the same amount of attention as the person selling a $14 million property, there is a lapse within not just the market, but the community itself.

“We’ve become such a high-end community and we seem to have lost sight of the regular working people who need to live and work here as well,” he explains. “Consequently, we have so many people driving in from outside the area.” Anyone has had ventured east, or west for that matter, along Sunrise Highway is familiar with the trade parade and the resulting traffic.

Another conflict exists between conservation and affordable housing. With more land being purchased and preserved, the value of land itself has gone upon and made housing less affordable, according to Mr. Daly, who believes in finding a common ground between conservationists and realtors. In an effort to maintain the beauty of the East End, he states one alternative to developing on unimproved land would be to replace functionally obsolete homes with a new home on the current lot.

The functionality of a home can be a determining factor for Mr. Daly’s clientele’s decision to sell. Recently accredited by the National Association of Realtors as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, he has and continues to work with many mature adults.

“People are living a lot longer than they thought they would today,” says Mr. Daly. “Homes don’t always suit their physical needs; homes may be bigger than they want to take care of, there may be too many steps, and they feel like they want to downsize.”

Mr. Daly works with elder care attorneys, mortgage brokers and contractors who can help evaluate a person’s home and see what it would take to turn the house into a comfortable living environment. A downstairs den has the potential to be converted into a bedroom, while a powder room may be able to convert into a bathroom.

“My approach is talk to them about what they would ideally like to accomplish,” shares Mr. Daly. “The first step shouldn’t necessarily be to sell the house just because the bedroom is upstairs.” When such options are not available and the decision to sell has to be made, the family is often affected as well.

When working with mature adults, multiple generations need to be taken into consideration on how such decisions are made. With the lack of homes for mature adults — both in affordable and luxury real estate — finding homes that meet an individual’s physical needs can be challenging.

“Children have emotional attachments,” shares Mr. Daly. “But they can’t take on the house and don’t want mom to sell it. It’s a difficult conversation that takes place, and I am willing to be part of that conversation and help them make the right decision.”

Preceding his real estate career, Mr. Daly started out in the mental health field after college, working with people of all ages in crisis intervention. Later he went on to work in the hotel and restaurant business for 20 years. The combination of mental health and hospitality is something he feels works very well in the real estate industry because people want to be taken care of, but they also want to be understood. Adding to this are online real estate marketplaces offering inaccurate estimates, and an aggressive real estate community that bids up the price of a home to win a listing.

“Buying and selling property is a stressful experience,” he says. “My background all lends itself to being a person they feel like they can trust to really protect their best interest throughout this process.”

As a member of the Peconic Land Trust Outreach Committee, North Haven Village Zoning Board of Appeals, Southampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force Co-Chair, Unitarian Universalist of the South Fork Membership Committee, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm volunteer, and Sag Harbor Partnership, which is currently working to restore the Sag Harbor Cinema, Mr. Daly is happy, yet humble, about his community involvement.

“I used to think that I needed to sell a lot of houses so I could go off and do the community work I wanted to do,” says Mr. Daly. “But I can do good and do good within real estate. It’s not just about the deal — everyone gets the same degree of attention, regardless of the worth of a property. I enjoy my work and am a service with my own community, and that feels good.”

To get in touch with Michael Daly, call the Sag Harbor offices of Douglas Elliman at (631) 725-0554 or email michael.daly@elliman.com.