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Want to rent in the Hamptons this summer? Better hurry

This East Hampton house is available for rent

This East Hampton house is available for rent from Memorial Day to Labor Day for $300,000. Credit: Town & Country Real Estate

It's time to get serious about summer fun if you want to be part of the Hamptons rental scene this season. East End brokers say renters have already started staking their claims on prime properties -- some locking in their picks as early as October.

"The end of 2013 was filled with people renewing their leases already for the following year," says Judi Desiderio of Town & Country Real Estate. "We've done a considerable amount of re-lets -- probably over 100. That's more than we ordinarily see."

Diane Saatchi of Saunders & Associates agrees, pointing out homes "close to ocean, clean, nicely decorated" have gone first. "That started early because the latecomers got shut out of what they wanted last year."

Analyst Jonathan Miller attributes this year's relative uptick to two unusual forces that weakened last year's rental market. For one, the effects of superstorm Sandy delayed would-be early renters in fall 2012, he says. And in early 2013, "there was a surge in sales activity that poached rental demand, as consumers that may have rented opted to purchase before mortgage rates rose further," says Miller, president and chief executive of Miller Samuel Inc., a Manhattan-based appraisal and consulting firm.

Hamptons hopefuls whose dream homes have already been snapped up can still find great rentals, says Saatchi -- especially if they are willing to compromise on location. "We have tight inventory, so the area broadens up. I think mostly tenants want a fresh, new or newish, well-decorated, very clean house."

If that's what you're looking for, look north of the highway, suggests Danielle Hinz of Brown Harris Stevens. Increased construction there in recent years means the area boasts a number of newly built homes for rent, she says.

Local brokers say that while some hotly coveted properties may be fetching higher rents, by and large prices are about the same as last season. Says Miller: "Rental prices appear stable."

Full season rentals on Hamptons Real Estate Online range from an East Hampton three-bedroom Contemporary with a pool for $30,000 to a Southampton 12-bedroom estate for $1.3 million.

SOUTHAMPTON $1.3 million

LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day

WHY YOU WANT IT Splurge on this meticulously restored 1915 traditional home in the estate section of Southampton Village, and you can indulge your inner child (or actual child) with a splash into the pool via a big, red water slide -- inside the house. In addition to the indoor pool, the 10-acre estate boasts a heated outdoor pool with a pavilion, tennis and paddle courts, a carriage house and extensive gardens, which include a pond with a fountain. The 18,000-square-foot home has 12 bedrooms and 12½ bathrooms, and is well-equipped to feed occupants of every room -- the dining room and even the breakfast room seat 12.

CONTACT Michaela Keszler, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, 631-525-3810


LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day; other terms available

WHY YOU WANT IT Tranquil views of lush greenery seem to go on forever from this 6,000-square-foot barn-style home. The 2.2-acre property, which is next to 54 acres of preserved land, features a tennis court, screened-in porch and heated gunite pool. The six-bedroom, 5 1/2-bathroom house is also available for shorter terms -- or permanently: The owner, which public records show is reality show star Countess LuAnn de Lesseps of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City," has also listed it for sale for $9.45 million.

CONTACT Christopher Burnside, Brown Harris Stevens, 631-537-4320


LENGTH August to Labor Day

WHY YOU WANT IT It's convenient to Sagg Main Beach and Bridgehampton Village, but you may be tempted to just stay put and enjoy the Hamptons sunshine as you dine al fresco on the bluestone patio, swim in the heated gunite pool or enjoy the flowering gardens on this one-acre summer retreat. The four-bedroom, 4½-bathroom modern barn-style home is equally well-equipped for the odd rainy day with a media room and a finished lower level with a game room.

CONTACT Sarah Minardi, Saunders & Associates, 631-987-8916


LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day; other terms available.

WHY YOU WANT IT This oceanfront contemporary was designed with pampering in mind -- there's a steam room and spa, and the his-and-hers master bathroom features a steam shower and a Jacuzzi with a double-sided fireplace. For outdoor recreation and relaxation, the two-acre property includes a heated pool, tennis court and three-level decking. The four-bedroom, 61 / 2-bathroom home has views from every room, maximized by sliding glass doors throughout.

CONTACT Drew Smith, Town & Country Real Estate, 631-537-3200


LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day; other terms available

WHY YOU WANT IT You can curl up with a good book indoors or out: This 7,000-square-foot English Manor-style home features both a solarium and a library, while the secluded two-acre property offers lavish gardens for relaxing. When you're ready to swim, take a dip in the heated pool, which has a pool house, or head to the ocean nearby. The seven-bedroom, 6 1/2-bathroom home is convenient to Main Street dining and shopping, too.

CONTACT William Stoecker of Town & Country Real Estate, 631-324-8080

WAINSCOT $400,000

LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day

WHY YOU WANT IT This home gives new meaning to the term "wet bar." You can go from the beach to the pool to the bar without ever drying off -- the T-shaped pool has a beach entry and a swim-up bar area. The .92-acre property also features an outdoor living room with a fireplace and a cabana with a full bathroom. The six-bedroom home has seven bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. A retractable glass roof system and 18-foot glass wall panels take full advantage of the Hamptons sunshine.

CONTACT Christopher Burnside, Brown Harris Stevens, 631-537-4320

QUOGUE $50,000

LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day

WHY YOU WANT IT Equal parts quaint and convenient, this 2,695-square-foot house sits on a grassy 1.15-acre lot in the Village of Quogue, less than a half-mile from the beach. The Victorian-style home features charming architectural details such as a sprawling wraparound porch that seats 10. The five-bedroom home has 3 1/2 bathrooms.

CONTACT Robert Murray, The Corcoran Group, 631-871-3350

MONTAUK $37,000

LENGTH Memorial Day to Labor Day

WHY YOU WANT IT Golf lovers, you can't get much closer than this -- this three-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom home is situated at the sixth hole of the Montauk Downs State Park golf course, which you can see from the home's spacious upper deck. There's a second, more private deck with an outdoor shower off the master bathroom. The sunny house, which features an open floor plan with cathedral ceilings, is located just a mile from town and the beach.

CONTACT Constance Tighe (631-921-7271) and John Taylor (631-267-7453), The Corcoran Group

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