Five Questions With: Kylie McCollough

Kylie McCollough is an agent with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty, specializing in Newport properties. She has more than $13 million in active listings, including the Snug Harbor mansion on Bellevue Avenue. The property has been featured in Yankee and New England Home magazines.

McCollough may be recognizable to fans of Bravo’s “Real Estate Wars,” where she led one of the competing brokerage teams. A native of Maine, she and her family recently returned to New England.

PBN: What attracted you and your family to Newport? The information on your background page indicates you spent much of your career in California.

MCCOLLOUGH: The move back to the East Coast – I’m a native New Englander born and raised in Maine and attended undergrad in Boston – after 12 years in Southern California was largely motivated by family. My parents still live in Maine and we wanted them to be a bigger part of our children’s lives. We have two boys. Max is 9 and Cam is 6. We also have a 12-year-old golden retriever, MacGyver.

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We settled on Newport specially because of the strong sailing community. Newport is the yachting capital of the world and my husband, David, is a yacht designer. We stayed in Newport for the America’s Cup World Series stopover in the summer of 2012 and fell in love with the area. It’s been fantastic to be back on my home coast.

PBN: How did you get involved in “Real Estate Wars”?

MCCOLLOUGH: I got called by a producer who had seen my real estate profile online and asked if I would do a Skype call. I was a little skeptical and said no at first. Living so close to LA I got calls about being on reality shows pretty frequently. I found out the production company was World of Wonder, which produces “Million Dollar Listing” with Bravo. I’ve always loved “MDL New York” and “MDL Los Angeles” and have seen the careers of the agents on those series skyrocket.

The original name for our show was “MDL Orange County.” We filmed a pilot with me and two other agents – which is Bravo’s more traditional MDL model – but the chemistry wasn’t there. They came up with the idea to follow two brokerages: mine and my former mentor’s, instead. We shot over 100 days. Great experience. I’m a huge Bravo fan and it was a blast to work with the network. We had already made the decision to move to the East Coast when we started filming, so they worked that into the storyline.

Unfortunately, relocating to New England ruled out the possibility of a Season 2. I have done more live TV since, as a real estate contributor for CBS, NBC, AOL Finance, Haute Living, etc., and really enjoy that format. Would love to do more.

PBN: Why did you choose to affiliate with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s?

MCCOLLOUGH: I met with several agencies, but Mott & Chace was the clear choice. They are the top luxury residential firm in Rhode Island and No. 1 Sotheby’s brokerage in the state. With six offices and over $480 million in sales last year, there is no comparison. The unparalleled marketing and global reach of Sotheby’s is the best in the world. Much like our beloved quarterback, Tom Brady … who, coincidentally, chose to list his home with Sotheby’s this week.

PBN: How did you become interested in real estate as a career?

MCCOLLOUGH: My father was a contractor who built custom homes, including our own, and my mother was a real estate broker in Maine, so I was introduced to the industry very early. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to all seven continents and study architecture all over the world. I love telling the story of a home and creating a comprehensive marketing campaign to launch it.

The relationships I’ve built in the media world have allowed me to collaborate with magazines and TV networks and secure additional exposure for my clients’ homes. Real estate has been a full-time career for me for over 12 years. For most clients, a home is the largest financial asset they have or will be purchasing. That responsibility deserves a dedicated, experienced agent.

In 2007, after a tenure as an advertising executive at CBS in Los Angles, I started working exclusively in real estate. I was chosen for an internship with the top luxury broker in the country and have specialized in high-end, specially waterfront and equestrian property since.

PBN: What is your assessment of the current market for luxury properties in Newport?

MCCOLLOUGH: Nationally, we’re seeing longer days on market and an increase in inventory from the most recent peak at the end of 2017, beginning of 2018. This year started off slower than predicted and signaled a slumping housing market. The Federal Reserve issued a rate cut for the first time since 2008 at the end of July in hopes of continuing one of the most rapid economic growth periods in history. There has already been a 5.3% increase in mortgage applications reported.

As for the local luxury sector of Newport real estate, it is primarily a second-home market. A large percentage of our buyers are looking for summer homes and coming from Boston, Providence, New York, Florida, California and Texas. This is a major reason for my decision to affiliate with Mott & Chace Sotheby’s. The connections we have in these cities are invaluable. The highest sales in Newport for the last three consecutive years – 2016, 2017, 2018 – the buyer has come from California. Buyers get more for their money in Newport than in other resort towns, [in areas] such as Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and The Hamptons, and often buy when they visit Newport in the summer. Thus, our selling cycle is very seasonal.

The majority of buyers are cash, and the price points are moderate compared to other areas. We are seeing an unprecedented amount of inventory hitting the market. Estates that have remained in the same family for generations are being offered for the first time. This is great, as the listing of these storied mansions garner national news, but it also increases competition. If homes are priced right and show well, they are selling, especially on the waterfront. If not, time on market can be years, not days. Definitely seeing a strong Q3 and Q4 for Newport luxury real estate with several large homes going under contract this week.

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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