New York, NY—She got her start in property and estate management when right out of college she worked for a high-end family along picturesque Dune Road in Southampton as a housekeeper. Over 20 years later, Katy Hine now is one of Manhattan’s leading and go-to professionals in the business.
She remembers fondly her early beginnings on the East End. She said it was absolutely thrilling, because she never thought she’d be driving Quincy Jones in a Rolls-Royce or picking up her employers in a brand-new Mercedes-Benz from a helicopter pad to bring them home.
“My employers were in the concert promotion business, so they would host numerous parties with Jimmy Buffett there, as well as Rod Stewart and Tina Turner. That was an incredible experience for a kid who’s 21 just out college,” said Hine.
She eventually moved up through the ranks of management until she became estate manager for the client, and then multiple clients as well. Then in 2012 she moved the operation to Manhattan.
“I’m very lucky and privileged that I was able to land that job [in Southampton], and then have a career spun off of that job where today I’m still able to access these gorgeous homes and these amazing people that I work for, Hine said.
“They’re kind, and they’re incredibly intelligent and I just feel honored and privileged I’m able to assist them. I’ll take care of the details, I’ll take care of the grunt work, and I’ll take care of all the annoying parts about homeownership in Manhattan.”
Hine’s day-to-day entails facilitating all the necessary repairs and maintenance of high-end Manhattan homeowners by hiring high-end vendors who are licensed and insured so that the work is always warrantied.
So, whether the HVAC system is not performing properly, a room is too hot or too cold, the client is having a problem with an appliance in the kitchen, the roof is leaking, or the client needs a cleaning service to come in, she arranges all those services.
“We take that burden off of our clients, all they have to do is give us a quick text or a phone call or email and let us know what’s going wrong in their home,” noted Hine.
Hines and her colleagues will meet the vendors on site to make sure they do the proper job, and then escort them out. She gets their bill, checks it over for accuracy and the bill goes to the client, so they pay the vendor directly, while she bills her services separately for her time making all the arrangements.
“Clients may use us once a week, once a month, once a day, it really depends on their needs, we are there when they need us, no more no less,” Hine said.
One of the perks of the business is that she gets to see the interiors of some of Manhattan’s prime real estate. But as she likes to say, custom homes mean custom problems. The customization in the high-end apartments is so extensive, Hine notes, that there literally could be only one plumber in the entire country who can service a particular custom bathroom, or there is one manufacture in Germany who only finishes shower faucets a particular color once a year.
So, Hine’s job is to pinpoint and locate vendors and technicians to deal with these custom problems that are only in custom homes.
“Everything in a custom home has generally been perhaps not installed per manufacturer recommendations, and so that brings up a host of challenges because you can’t just bring in a traditional plumber or a traditional electrician to deal with a lot of these problems; things have been installed in a way that the architects and designers have decided was visually appealing but sometimes very difficult to maintain,” Hine said.
Obviously, her business took a hit financially during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because clients did not want any vendors or technicians entering their homes. But as New York has undergone four phases of reopening, her business has rebounded, and just in time for Election Day two weeks ago.
She was fielding a lot of audio/visual issues because clients wanted to make sure that, in some apartments, their nine TVs were working properly because they didn’t want to miss a minute’s worth of news coverage.
“They wanted to make sure that everything was checked out no matter where they walked into the house so that they could listen to and see what was happening at all times. Honestly, I’m still getting a lot of that,” said Hine.
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