Real estate company

Upstate Down real estate company merges home selling and design

Stepping into the Upstate Down storefront on East Market Street in Rhinebeck is more like stepping into your smartest friend’s house, not a real estate brokerage firm.

A carpeted front window in the listings of homes is replaced by an airy entryway, white open shelves featuring purchases ranging from vintage wooden bowls and plush pillows to kitchen accessories. Further back, the business of buying and selling becomes known, but barely – isolated plans of houses available for sale or for rent adorn the gallery walls in gilded frames, an arrangement that resembles more to a decor than a sales pitch.

It’s a fitting juxtaposition for two entrepreneurs who are determined to transform the way real estate is done in the area.

“The reality is we want to be a brand and a company that – that someone wants a pillow because it helps bring joy to their living room, buy a new home, sell their current home, [or needs] a consultant on a rental or to maximize the existing value of their home – we want to be there to serve all of these people, ”said co-owner Delyse Berry.

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By designing a multi-pillar brand that serves local buyers and sellers throughout their lifecycle, she and her partner and husband Jon Berry have found a unique formula. But it hasn’t always been that easy.

Married at 21 (Delyse) and 24 (Jon), and deep in the trenches of parenthood soon after, the couple began their life together in Brooklyn. Jon spent long, ruthless hours in a financial business that demanded a lot but paid little, while Delyse set about raising their offspring of three young children. They were on government assistance at the time, with their zero bank accounts being a constant reminder of what was at stake as they started their families and pursued their dreams.

“We were completely broke, madly in love, and kind of like – let’s find out about life,” Delyse said with a laugh. The duo abandoned Brooklyn, heading north to the Hudson Valley in search of opportunity, a cheaper cost of living, and a slower pace of life.

For her part, Delyse, originally from New Jersey, has always aimed at the real estate market. The daughter of an interior designer, she began to feel the lure of the workforce as their children grew older. While preparing for her real estate license, she began asking her mother’s local clients if they would allow her to manage their home rentals on Airbnb, which was new at the time, creating an unconventional entry into a real estate market. booming that ended up paying off. in more than one way.

“The owners gained a lot of confidence in me as I managed their homes, and the guests who stayed there also got to know me,” explained Delyse. “It became so much easier for me to break into the region’s multi-million dollar market because I was building these relationships. “

A decade-long successful career as an agent followed, but Delyse found that the industry was not focusing on the importance of interpersonal relationships and multiple points of contact throughout a lifecycle. customer.

“I was not impressed with the way real estate traditionally works here,” she said. “The traditional model is, you know, one agent sets up a multiple ad service and it goes out to the big brokerage sites. I just felt the models hadn’t changed, yet real estate has changed so much. What is the future of real estate that can not be replaced by an algorithm? It’s thinking outside the box and inventing yourself in a new way that really creates value for customers.

Delyse envisioned a multidimensional real estate business that focused not only on getting clients to the right homes, but also helping them rent their properties, stage them for sale, navigate the renovation process and to design them for an accessible life.

“The Hudson Valley was an emerging market long before COVID hit – the more people understand the authenticity of the way of life and how amazing it is, the more it is being built, and I’m so excited about it.” , she explained. “I really wanted to develop a service brand that brings together both real estate and design elements, from the perspective of people who really believe in the area. “

Jon had spent the past 10 years establishing himself in the financial world, working his way up to a management position at Morgan Stanley, while wondering if this was his real passion. Growing up in Delaware, Jon lost his mother to cancer at the age of 14, giving him a unique perspective on the shortness of life. “As I approached my mom’s age, I thought to myself, if this is the last 10 years of my life, do I really want to spend that time behind a desk doing a lot of things that don’t make me feel good? “

The answer was an emphatic ‘no’ and, after an introspective birthday trip in early 2018, he left his established career to join Deylse in building the brand that the two soon dubbed Upstate Down.

“When he decided to leave [his job], it gave me the confidence to say, let’s let some of these dreams come true, ”said Delyse of the central role Jon’s presence has played in the business. “His endless support has given me the freedom to try and create something amazing.”

The couple expanded their team, hiring their first full-time hire in 2019 and building a roster of properties across the region, from homes for sale in Amenia and La Grange to rental properties in Clinton Corners and their hometown of Rhinebeck. Learning to translate their passion for each other – and for their family – into a business relationship was also a challenge, but the couple took it head on like everything else.

“Understanding how to keep everything in its way and let that be a great opportunity to create a more solid foundation in our relationship, instead of being negative, was something we really had to learn,” Delyse explained. “I think we were both very convinced of our commitment to find out.”

This positive attitude proved crucial last year. Suddenly, the successful business the two had built was threatened by house orders – and then, just as quickly, real estate was in excessive demand thanks to buyers looking for long-term rentals and snatching up more inventory. faster than you could. say “sold”. Delyse and Jon found the pandemic the perfect time to relaunch their business – this time, with a storefront in the bustling village of Rhinebeck, which opened in early June.

Delyse and Jon Berry have also translated their passion for each other and for their family into their working relationship. “I hope we teach our kids that the goal is to do what you love together with who you love,” Jon said.

Sharon Schuster Courtesy of Update Down

“To be completely honest we thought we were going to be operating mostly from home and doing some design and brokerage projects, but within a few weeks we saw the property for rent and I was like, we have to go check it out. “said Deylse.


Both men were keenly aware of using the storefront to meet the multiple needs of their community, meet locals “where they are” and connect with residents whether they have a home for sale or not.

“I like that it’s a store when you first walk in because it allows us to really put the emphasis on the lifestyle of the brand by creating a little perspective on the real estate and the interiors to which it all comes. the world can access by buying, ”said Delyse.

Often regarded as one of those quintessential movie cities of the Hudson Valley, Rhinebeck has proven to be the perfect location for the first iteration of the Upstate Down brand, although it certainly won’t be the last. . The duo say they are “100% positive” there will be another Upstate Down showcase this year, although they are still deciding where.

“Coming out of Brooklyn as an interracial marriage, raising three kids, we really felt like being in a community where you know you are welcome,” Delyse said. “It was like an added gift to be here, to know that we only felt the total love and inclusion of our community.”

The couple are already indoctrinating their children in the family business. When the family opted to rent out their primary residence during the peak of the pandemic while staying in a 700 square foot cottage on the property, they gave each child $ 5 a day from the rental income the couple had. was winning. Jon described the opportunity as a good chance for the kids to learn mobility, while Delyse instituted Children’s Rental Income to help the trio foster ownership of their space.

Ultimately, however, it’s not that important to Delyse and Jon that their kids follow in their footsteps in real estate, as they share the same passion for what sparked the couple’s entire journey: love.

“I hope we teach our kids that the goal is to do what you love together with who you love,” Jon said. “Like taking care of the family first and building our life around our family, but at the same time never being too afraid to take care of them.”

“We have followed our hearts,” added Delyse, summarizing their journey to marital and entrepreneurial success so far. “I hope they will be able to do the same.

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