The Wilson Team: Actualizing Success Through Friendship

Living and working in real estate on the East End is a staggeringly lucrative and competitive industry that requires 24/7 commitment and a hint of bullish stamina. It can make dreams come true and it can dash them as well. But it sure helps to have a BFF to stand by you while working your way to the top. Jennifer Wilson and Treacy Cotter are local to the Hamptons, raising their children and ultimately coming together to create the Wilson Team under the flagship of Saunders & Associates. The rest is history, as they say. We are excited to learn more about how a successful fashion executive turned stay-at-home mom and pharmaceutical sales maven teamed up to become one of the most successful duos on the East End.

Your partnership is a wonderful journey of two local East End women coming together to build a very impressive business. When and how did it come together?

Jennifer Wilson: I started selling real estate in 2007 after a twelve year career in sales with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. I grew up in East Hampton and I have always loved the beauty of the East End and the properties and landscape from the ocean to the bays. Treacy and I grew up together and Treacy’s work ethic was always impressive to me. She has a background in design and sales, and when she was ready to go back to work after raising her boys, I asked her to join me. I was confident in her and knew she had what it takes.

Treacy Cotter: Jen and I have been life-long friends, we met in the second grade on the playground at John M. Marshall Elementary School here in East Hampton. We have helped each other throughout our lives with everything from work, family, you name it. Jen has been in real estate for almost fifteen years and I was a stay at home mom. When it became time for me to sell my house, I was relying heavily on Jen for advice. This started the dialogue about getting my license and coming to work with her at Saunders. It was great advice that I am so glad I listened to her.

Do you delegate certain aspects of your business like one handles sales, the other rentals, or do you both cover the full gamut of services?

JW: Treacy joined me at the end of 2019, and when March 2020 hit it was all hands on deck. We cover everything together, from sales to rentals, and we have fun doing it! We are a full service, hand holding team!

TC: We share most everything. Jen has more years of experience and has taught me so much by letting me work side-by-side with her through every aspect of our business. We have a natural ebb and flow.

Treacy, you were in the sales end of the fashion business in New York City prior to returning to the East End. Do you think that having this unique experience has elevated your eye for architecture and this aesthetic enhances your clients’ and customers needs?

TC: Absolutely! Working in that industry has helped tremendously. Obviously from an aesthetic standpoint, I have developed a sharp eye and truly love helping people with all aspects of their homes-selling or buying experience — and everything in between! I had a large staff and tremendous customer base which helped me learn how to navigate through our diverse pool of clientele and getting them what they need quickly.

You’re both moms with children. How did you balance the last year and a half during the lockdowns as you were homeschooling, coupled with the unprecedented influx of Hamptons buyers looking for homes or selling them?

JW: My oldest daughter is going to be a senior in college and my youngest just graduated from East Hampton High School. It was a crazy year with many moving parts, but it was the best year of my fourteen-year real estate career. Treacy and I value family and we give each other permission to stop and be present for our kids. That is the greatest part of being a team of working moms — we always have each other’s back.

TC: Jen and I both put family first and foremost but work was insane! During the lockdown we were both on our computers non-stop working, twelve hours a day. We were able to manage both fairly well since there are two of us and we communicate constantly. It was a challenge to keep up with the influx of buyers but I think we did more than alright.

How else did the Covid-19 crisis affect your business? Are you getting nervous about the new variants taking hold and affecting your work?

JW: Covid has definitely changed the landscape in the Hamptons and the real estate market in general. I don’t think that the majority of people who bought and moved out here are going to go back to New York City full time. I foresee many people splitting their time between the Hamptons and New York City, especially with the efficiency of all of the technology that we have been using over the last 15 months. NY state is over 70 percent vaccinated, so I am not worried that the new variant will affect our business.

TC: We did a lot of site unseen transactions during Covid. The beauty of real estate is that we were able to keep working during the pandemic. Saunders was so helpful with the way we had to adapt our business during that time. Things still ran very well and I am confident they will continue to no matter what may come down the road.

So, you’re both seeing a permanent migration to the East End? 

JW: I do see a permanent migration. The people who bought and rented out here during the last year have experienced what we as locals have always known, that this is one of the best places to live. From boating, to water sports, or enjoying our beautiful ocean beaches year round, hiking trails and great restaurants, there is so much to do out here and in such a beautiful setting. I have spoken to a lot of professionals who moved out here and say that they are never going back full time.

TC: Yes. People are making huge life-changing decisions regarding city-living, realizing they don’t have to be there full time for work. We are seeing a change in the usual work week. People are now choosing to be here on a more full time basis and hopping back into the city for a few days as opposed to the Monday through Friday city work-week that was common pre-pandemic.

You’ve probably seen amenities or trends that you’ve never seen before become required by buyers directly caused by the pandemic. What are they and how do you deal with buyers looking for something that may not exist?

JW: A home office, and possibly a couple of home offices have become extremely important. That as well as a home gym, or space to create one.

TC: Simply put, I think the biggest challenge out here now: cell service and WIFI – someone please help!!!!

Amen to that, Treacy. Have you noticed any neighborhoods that might be of interest to buyers?

JW: Springs has become very popular among young buyers. They would rather be in Springs than North West Woods for example because there is a lot more going on. There are fantastic waterfront restaurants, the Springs General Store, and a thriving art scene and shows at Ashawagh Hall.

TC: Every neighborhood! Due to the shortage of inventory people are looking anywhere and everywhere.

How has the market been in 2021? Was there any slowdown? How do you see the market playing out for the rest of the year?

JW: The only reason we have had a slow down is because we sold all of our listings and there is not much inventory. We are working with a lot of buyers, and in the past a buyer would come out and look at ten houses. Now they come out just to see one or two.

TC: We are still very busy. It’s just not as frenetic as last year. It has shifted for us as the inventory out here has shifted. We had twenty-plus listings and have sold them all. We are busier now with buyers. It will be interesting to see what the fall brings, if people will change their minds and go back to the city.  I believe we will stay busy here in the Hamptons.

The process seems to have been changed in 2021, in that the homes go so fast and above the asking price. What is some advice you have for sellers right now?

JW: My advice is to my buyers is to be prepared to act quickly. Be the first to see a property and make an offer right away. Cash is king. Even if the buyer is getting financing, their offer should not be contingent upon financing. Treacy and I look at the new listings and price reductions every morning and afternoon and call our customers right away if a property comes on that fits what they are looking for.

TC: Do not hesitate. Speak to your financial advisors and be prepared before you go look at a home. We are here to get you through the rest of the process. You have to go to a showing prepared to make an offer.

Is there a new objective towards attracting buyers to the scale of homes that you sell?

JW: I have always spent a lot on advertising both in print and online. We try to get all of our listings in front of the biggest audience as possible. We get buyers from these ads as well. In today’s market, having any listing will attract many buyers, and advertising that listing correctly is key.

TC: It’s all about communication. We sell in all ranges. We stay on top of the market daily, hourly, and stay in touch regularly with all of our clientele.

Why Saunders & Associates and not another agency? What do they offer that appeals to you?

JW: Andrew and Colleen (Saunders) are so smart and hands on. I’ve worked for two other agencies and Saunders is truly special. We have the most creative people running our marketing department, and agents do not have to jump through hoops to get things done. We are a data driven company and Saunders positions all of their agents for success.

TC: I watched Jen during her journey with real estate and she has never been happier than she is at Saunders. Saunders treats their agents like customers. Andrew and Colleen are a pleasure to work for and they will do anything to help. My first open house I had a question and had to call Andrew. I had yet to meet him and he picked up the phone on the second ring and it was huge help and relief. The admins in all our offices are amazing as well!

What marketing channels are you using that you find to help your business?

JW: Local print ads and local online ads in those same publications have always been a successful strategy for me in addition to advertising on social media. People see the local ads and always comment to me that they love the ads and that they stand out. That’s why we are advertising in James Lane Post!

We are so grateful to have such an amazing team supporting us as well, so thank you!

TC: Well, we love James Lane Post!!!! We are doing a lot with social media. The reach you have with Instagram and such is tremendous and it’s free. Jen and I are even diving into TikTok now as well.

Completely agree, Treacy! Social is definitely key in pushing real estate as we follow quite a few real estate rockstars as well on Instagram and TikTok. Are there any homes that you’ve sold that you’re particularly proud of?

JW: Big or small, I love selling homes. The reward of finding someone a home that they love is so much fun.

TC: All of them! 73 Scotline Drive in Sagaponack was a fun one. Beautiful home!

That is a gorgeous house and congratulations on selling it! What do you both do for fun when you’re not working?

JW: I love boating and the beach in the summer! Treacy and I have a great group of friends that we spend time with on the beach along with all of our kids. We are so lucky to live where there are such beautiful ocean beaches. In the winter months my husband and I head out to Aspen to ski for a few weeks every year.

TC: Jen and I actually spend a lot of our down time together. The beach is our biggest go to. I teach group fitness classes at Sag Harbor Gym as well which is super fun.

We wish you continued success, Wilson Team!

To learn more about The Wilson Team or to view their current inventory and sales history, click here or email

Ty Wenzel

Co-Publisher & Contributor

Ty Wenzel started her career as a fashion coordinator for Bloomingdale’s followed by fashion editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine. She was also a writer for countless publications, including having published a memoir and written features for The New York Times. She is an award-winning writer and designer who covers lifestyle, real estate, architecture and interiors for James Lane Post. Wenzel is also a co-founder of the meditation app for kids, DreamyKid, and the social media agency, TWM Hamptons Social Media.

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