How to Find Summer Rentals in the Hamptons

Tips on renting a great summer house

Houses in the Hamptons

 Barry Winiker / Getty Images

On the South Fork of fish-shaped Long Island, New York, the Hamptons consist of two large towns, East Hampton and Southampton. It also is comprised of several smaller villages and hamlets, including Water Mill, Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, and Wainscott.

Just the mention of the place name, "the Hamptons," conjures up images of boundless beaches, celebrity sightings, and sprawling mansions owned by the rich and famous.

Every summer, many Long Islanders from parts near and far, Manhattanites and others who seek sun and sand look for rentals in the Hamptons. From Westhampton to Sagaponack, Amagansett, East Hampton, and other areas, the search is on for weekly, monthly, or summer-long accommodations when the weather turns warm.

But where are the best places to rent? To be on the beach or not? Gary DePersia, senior vice president of The Corcoran Group, offers the following tips for finding a summer rental in the Hamptons.

A Hamptons Summer Rental to Suit Your Specific Needs

DePersia advises thinking about which village or hamlet you'd like to rent in. He says that if you want to be closer to New York City, you might consider Southampton. Looking for a relatively quiet place? He suggests East Hampton, Amagansett, or Montauk. Need a central location? Some renters appreciate Bridgehampton or Sagaponack because of their proximity to areas east and west.

To Beach or Not to Beach?

To stay as close to the ocean as possible, DePersia suggests renting in the areas south of Route 27, or as the locals say, "south of the highway." If you go north of Route 27, you'll be closer to serene bayfront properties and woodlands, but you can still drive to the beaches.

Finding Your Price Range for Hamptons Summer Rentals

  • Because they are closer to other parts of Long Island and New York City, western and central parts of the Hamptons, such as Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, and Sagaponack, are often rented faster and earlier in the season and may cost more than areas further east.
  • Remember that south of the highway brings you closer to the Atlantic Ocean, but brings up the price of rentals. One way to save money is to rent "north of the highway," which is further away from the beach.
  • If you wish to rent "south of the highway," but your budget doesn't stretch that far, DePersia recommends looking for village locations closer to Montauk Highway or Route 27 where you can walk to shops, restaurants, and ocean beaches. Places like Watermill, Sag Harbor, and Amagansett fall into this category.

Best Time to Look for Bargains for Summer Rentals

Finding your dream summer rental in the Hamptons is a matter of timing. Should you rent early or wait for deals? Or will you risk not finding anything if you start too late in the season? DePersia cautions, "If you wait to the last minute to rent, hoping to get the best prices, your options actually decrease significantly... because... the homeowner has had no time to make alternate plans for the summer or the month."

He notes that July and August are the months commanding the highest rents in the Hamptons. But if you rent off-season, from September to May, he says, you'll pay a fraction of the summer rental costs. "If a house rents for $100,000 for Memorial Day to Labor Day," he explains, "that same house from September to May maybe $3,000 to $5,000 per month."

Other perks of renting off-season: the weather and ocean are still summer-warm, but the summer crowds and traffic are gone.

Still not able to fit a Hamptons rental into your budget? Consider renting for just one month instead of the whole season. "There are many homeowners anxious to rent for just a month so they can use their homes during the summer as well," says DePersia.

And lastly, remember that good tenants often get good prices. DePersia explains that prospective renters who are non-smokers, those who leave their pets at home, and people who come with good references are more likely to convince a homeowner to give them a great price on a rental.

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