“Jack and I are excellent listeners,” says Cee Scott Brown. The agent and his business associate Jack Pearson form one Corcoran’s most successful agent teams in the Hamptons. “Me coming from the art world and Jack from fashion, we are both adept in working with discerning people with high senses of taste and style—we get it.”
It’s this gift for connecting with clients that has brought the pair tremendous success in the East End real estate market. For the past decade, they have facilitated the sales of remarkable beach properties from Amagansett to Southampton and have received multiple industry honors.
Both transplants from New York City, Brown and Pearson share a genuine fondness for the region in which they now live and work. Pearson runs his end of the business from Bridgehampton, while Brown is based in Sag Harbor. Genuine experts on both the local real estate market and culture, the two are the consummate ambassadors of East End living.
INHABIT recently spoke to the pair about living in the Hamptons year-round, the benefits of buying on the East End and the chemistry that’s allowed them to build a lasting real estate partnership.
INHABIT: How did you each find yourselves working in the real estate business? And when did you form your business partnership?
Pearson: I had lived in New York City for 10 years and was looking for a change. And being from the Midwest, I missed living in a house with a garden. My Hamptons home beckoned me, so I moved out to Water Mill and called the broker that sold me the house and told him he had to give me a job. That was in 1998 and the real estate firm was Allan M. Schneider Associates Real Estate. When Corcoran bought AMS, my friend Cee and I thought we would be a stronger entity together. It was the smartest real estate decision I ever made!
Brown: Not unlike Jack, I was worn out from urban life and decided to move to my little cottage in Sag Harbor after more than 20 years working for arts organizations in the city. Once I moved, my mentor and an owner of Allan M. Schneider—David Bray—approached me about working in real estate.
INHABIT: Why do you find it advantageous to work as a team?
Brown: We decided to band together so that we might have more free time to enjoy the lovely area where we live and to travel more. We also wanted to have someone to bounce things off, since real estate can be a somewhat lonely endeavor. We found the companionship and trials and tribulations together more manageable and fun. Our being in two different areas gives us reach and breadth, not only for buyers but for sellers—and the eyes and ears of many more brokers.
INHABIT: Do you have a motto as a team or as individuals that helps guide you in your decision-making process?
Pearson: Count to ten before you react. Be compassionate and listen, and be intuitive.
Brown: Managing expectation is key, and we prefer to feel a connection to the people and properties that we work with. It now takes up to 12 months to sell a house, on average, in the Hamptons—even though our team does it in half the time or less than the regional average—so the client / broker experience isn’t a fling, it’s a relationship.
INHABIT: What is your personal connection to the Hamptons?
Pearson: I’d bought my home in Water Mill a few years before I moved out there permanently. I fell in love with the area, which is a blend of country, farm, wine and nature, plus peace and, of course, glamour.
Brown: I had been coming to the Hamptons for summers and year-round rentals since 1979. Eventually my then-partner and I decided that Upstate New York might be a better fit for us, so we purchased a 10-acre farmhouse from the 1800s in Greene County, near Hudson. I loved it for several years but knew I wanted to head back to the Hamptons, where there were all of the personalities, and the ocean that I missed dearly. I live on the water and, early on, specialized in waterfront Hamptons properties.
INHABIT: Do you both live in the Hamptons year-round? If so, where?
Pearson: Yes, Water Mill, on the border of Bridgehampton across from Mecox Bay, an area that truly is the center of the Hamptons universe.
Brown: I’ve been living here full-time for almost 22 years. I live in Sag Harbor Village on Morris Cove, next door to the Steinbeck property. Elaine Steinbeck was a buddy and she’d come over through the friendship gate we put up between our properties and regale us with stories about John Steinbeck and his goings-on while he lived there. Travels with Charlie was begun in Sag Harbor on Bluff Point Lane.
INHABIT: What do you enjoy most about living and working in the Hamptons?
Pearson: The nature and natural beauty of the area, and my fabulous garden that I walk through everyday—feeds my soul.
Brown: The landscape, the sea and the informality! I haven’t owned a suit or a necktie in 24 years. And I will never ever again.
INHABIT: What’s one piece of advice you would offer a prospective Hamptons buyer?
Pearson: Expectations run high, and this is an expensive area, so one has to be realistic about location and budget. Of course, we as brokers have to prepare our customers for this in the most diplomatic way.
Brown: Get your ducks in a row so that if you come up your ideal property, you can make the cleanest and best offer quickly. It’s true that the early bird gets the worm.
INHABIT: How would you describe your individual tastes in architecture and home décor?
Pearson: Eclectic, yet cottage-y. Have always dreamed of owning and living in an English cottage and my dreams came true. With the help of a good friend and fashion-business associate, I discovered my home, a 1920s shingle cottage with an English garden. My friends equate it to Howard’s End. The décor is a mix of antiques, modern pieces and some killer art.
Brown: I am not interested in cookie-cutter—it’s not my thing. I have an eclectic approach to aesthetics and I think if done right, it can elevate a shabby-chic cottage to a hard-edged modern creation.
INHABIT: What are some of your favorite shops, restaurants or local points of interest?
Brown: We live in a very special place. Beauty and nature less than two hours—on a good day—from the cultural hub of the universe? We’ve got it all! I love Channing Daughters and Wölffer wineries—both owners are friends of mine. I’d recommend Beal and Bell in Greenport for quirky, interesting objects and furnishings, as well as R E Steele Antiques and Red Horse Market in East Hampton. For art, the Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall, and Dia Art Foundation are a must. For fitness, try Jimmy Minardi’s beach workout on Main Beach, East Hampton, and the Decker Method in Sag Harbor.
INHABIT: Please complete the sentence: Home wouldn’t be home without…
Pearson: …my husband, Salvador; my dog, Pascha; and our amazing garden.
Brown: …my husband, John; and Willa, our 15½-year-old miniature pinscher.