Helen Coyle Bergstein has such a knack for real estate that when she lived in New Jersey, brokers in the area would call her for referrals before she even had her license. “I was always hyper focused on the current real estate market wherever I lived,” she explains, “I just got really obsessed, and would go to all these open houses. Then agents would call me asking for recommendations for their clients because I knew all the houses.”
She made her official foray into real estate about nine years ago, when she moved to the Hudson Valley. After several years with each Westwood Metes & Bounds and Coldwell Banker, she struck out on her own nine months ago.
Helen had contemplated beginning her own real estate agency in the past. She says, “When my daughter Lily went off to college in September 2014, I decided this was the time to do it.” She goes on to explain, “She is my last child, and the term ‘empty nest’ never sat well with me. I always felt it was the next best time in my life.”
Helen chose her company name carefully and gets maximum mileage out of it. With regard to the melancholic term empty nest, she says, “I wanted to reclaim it, reframe it, own it.” But that’s not all: “I also feel real estate is the best place to invest—so there is the idea of the nest egg and seeking the fulfillment of the next best time in my life. And of course there is also building your nest—your home.”
She is not just savvy in the home buying market, she is also a social media pro, with a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She says, “In social media I’ve started hashtagging ‘#Findyournest’ because I feel like that says it all. Finding your home, but also finding that next step, that next dream, which is what I’m doing.”
You may recognize Helen’s name from the magazine Edible Hudson Valley, for which she is a co-publisher. With typical entrepreneurial spirit, she does both jobs…full time. But rather than one detracting from the other, they seem to work in complement for Helen. “All of the people in the farm, agriculture, and food world that I get to meet help me so much in connecting with my buyers and sellers and really understanding what they’re looking for—what their next dream is. I have my ear to the ground and I am connected to what is happening with the food and the land in Ulster County.”
On the buyer side, “Everyone is looking for some land to really create that homestead.They’re interested in growing their own food, preserving their own food.” Clients are looking for a house with five or so acres of land, ideally with water on the property, and she adds, “if there is a barn—fantastic.” Due to her publishing work, Helen is uniquely positioned to support buyers with this interest set.
The other current housing trend properties where people can have short term rentals, for example for Airbnb. “A cabin, an apartment over a garage, a field for glamping tents. [Buyers] want income to help offset their mortgage. It’s gorgeous up here. Everyone wants to be up here, but not everyone can afford to buy.”
So how is the market these days anyway? According to Helen, “It was a very strong winter and spring. And it seems that the buyers are out and about. And the sellers for the first time in a couple of years are feeling that now is the time to sell. There are great houses coming on the market every day.”
Helen is a born matchmaker. She was previously involved in founding a global home exchange, a precursor of sorts to Airbnb, called Digsville. These days she has honed her focus to Ulster County, herself a New Paltz resident. “There is nothing like being represented by a broker who lives and plays in the area you are looking to buy.” She also works with a small number of buyers at a time, to ensure that everyone gets her full attention. “Nobody gets short changed when they work with me. I am always accessible through all means of contact. I enjoy working with them. One of my tag lines is, ‘Connecting you to the life you want to live.’ That’s what I do, I love matchmaking.”
Helen Coyle Bergstein
Nest Realty Co.Broker/Owner114 Plains Road, New Paltz, NY 12561845-417-7242 Mobilenestrealtyco.com