Kathleen Beckmann started the new year by closing her real estate business, Kathleen Beckmann Real Estate, at her house on Essex Street at the east end of downtown Montauk and joining the office of Town and Country Real Estate on Main Street.
When Judi Desiderio, who owns Town and Country, opened the Montauk location a little over two years ago, she said Monday that the first person she called to join her team was Ms. Beckmann. “I wasn’t ready,” Ms. Beckman said.
Ms. Beckmann’s children, who were visiting for the holidays, made a ceremony of her closing the office by taking down her business sign, which hung on an old-fashioned signpost, and placing a handmade sign on her front door reclaiming the former office space as their mother’s dining room.
But, of course, the day they left it became an office again, albeit temporarily, as she organized the final details of closing a business.
Town and Country has over 125 agents in eight offices between Westhampton Beach and Montauk and on the North Fork, and Ms. Desiderio visits all eight branches on a regular basis.
The agents who work for Town and Country are all independent, Ms. Beckmann said in her dining room while sipping a cup of tea. That means she can make her own hours, work whatever days she wishes, and even utilize the firm’s computer program to work from home, she said.
“I just needed some time off; it’s time for me to slow down,” she said, noting that because her business office was in her house, she worked seven days a week.
When she initially opened her real estate office in 1997 all the details “magically” fell into place, she said. Dave Webb, who owned the house, suggested she buy it and use the home office from which his father, Richard Webb, ran an architectural firm. A friend who was upgrading her computer gave Ms. Beckmann her old one. And she was off.
She had started selling real estate in 1984 working from the Martha Greene Real Estate office in Montauk. The economy was booming when she went out on her own and she built up a loyal clientele over the years, she said. “We’ve had a great run.”
While considering Ms. Desiderio’s offer, she made sure it was contingent on the fact that her employees also be welcomed. Some of them accepted but others went their own way. “That was important to me, to keep the working family together,” she said.
Her new office is just a block away. “I can walk to it,” Ms. Beckmann said. And with Town and Country’s longer reach, she said, “I’ll be able to serve my clients better.”