Upstate Down boutique real estate company brings together home sales and design

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Going in Upstate down The East Market Street showcase in Rheinbeck is more like the entrance to the house of his most stylish friend, rather than to a real estate brokerage firm.

The front window, wallpapered in house listings, is being replaced by a spacious entrance with white open shelving stocking everything from antique wooden bowls and plush pillows to kitchen utensils. Later, the business of buying and selling makes itself felt, but only to a small extent – individual shots of houses that are available for sale or line rental adorn the gallery walls in gold frames, an arrangement that looks more like a decor than a marketplace.

This is a fitting juxtaposition for two entrepreneurs who intend to change the way real estate is built in the area.

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

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By creating a multidisciplinary brand that serves local buyers and sellers throughout their entire lifecycle, she, her partner and husband John Berry have come up with a unique formula. But it wasn’t always that easy.

Married at 21 (Delise) and 24 (John), the couple soon after found themselves in the trenches of their parental family. Their life together began in Brooklyn. John spent long and merciless hours at a financial firm that asked for a lot but paid little, while Delize took on the responsibility of raising their three young children. They were receiving government aid at the time, their bank account zeroed out constantly as a reminder of what was at stake as they built their family and pursued their dreams.

“We were completely broke, madly in love, and something like that – let’s figure it out in life,” Delise laughed. The duo left Brooklyn and headed north into the Hudson Valley in search of opportunities, a cheaper cost of living, and a slower pace of life.

For her part, Delize, who hails from New Jersey, has always focused on the real estate market. The daughter of an interior designer, she began to feel the pull of the workforce as their children got older. While working to get her real estate license, she began asking her mother’s local clients if they would let her manage their Airbnb rentals, which was new at the time, creating an unconventional entry into the burgeoning real estate market that was ultimately profitable. turned off in several ways.

“The owners gained a lot of trust in me when I ran their homes, and the guests staying there also got to know me,” Delize explained. “It became much easier for me to penetrate the multimillion dollar market in this region because I was building this relationship.”

This was followed by a successful career as an agent lasting a decade, but Delize found that the industry lacked an emphasis on the importance of interpersonal relationships and multiple touchpoints throughout the customer’s life cycle.

“I was not impressed with how real estate traditionally functions here,” she said. “The traditional model, as you know, is that an agent puts a house on a multiple listing service and it gets passed on to the big brokerage sites. I just felt that the models hadn’t changed, but real estate had changed so much. What is the future of real estate I can not replace the algorithm? It’s thinking outside the box and reinventing ourselves that really benefits customers. ”

Delize imagined a multidimensional real estate business that focuses not only on attracting clients to suitable homes, but also helping them rent them out, preparing them for sale, navigating the renovation process, and designing them for affordable living.

“The Hudson Valley was an emerging market long before COVID hit: the more people realize the authenticity of the lifestyle and how incredible it is, the more it shapes, and I am so excited about that,” she explained. “I really wanted to develop a service brand that combines elements of real estate and design from the perspective of people who truly believe in the field.”

John has spent the past 10 years establishing himself in the financial world, moving up to a senior position at Morgan Stanley, but all the while wondering where his true passion lies. Growing up in Delaware, John lost his mother to cancer at the age of 14, giving him a unique insight into the brevity of life. “As I approached my mom’s age, I thought to myself – if this were the last 10 years of my life, would I really want to spend this time at the table, doing a lot of things that just don’t make me feel good? “

The answer was an emphatic no, and after an anniversary trip in early 2018, he left his established career to join the Dales in developing the brand they soon named Upstate Down.

“When he decided to leave [his job]It gave me the confidence to say, let’s let some of those dreams come true, ”Delize said of the key role that John’s presence has played in the business. “His endless support gave me the freedom to try and create something incredible.”

The couple expanded their team by taking their first permanent hiring in 2019 and building a roster of properties throughout the area, from homes for sale in Amenia and La Grange to rental properties in Clinton Corners and their hometown of Rheinbeck. Learning to translate their passion for each other – and for their family – into business relationships was also challenging, but the couple resolved it, like everything else.

“We had to really learn how to keep things at ease and let this be a great opportunity to create a stronger foundation in our relationship, not negative,” explained Delise. “I think we both took our quest to figure it out very seriously.”

This positive attitude proved to be decisive in the past year. Suddenly, the successful business the two had built was threatened by household orders – and then just as quickly, real estate was overshadowed by buyers looking for long-term leases and buying up inventory faster than you could say sold. Delize and John saw the pandemic as the perfect time to boost their business again – this time with a showcase in the vibrant village of Rheinbeck, which opened in early June.

Delise and John Berry have also translated their passion for each other and their family into a working relationship. "I hope we teach our children that the goal is to do what you love with the one you love," John said.

Delise and John Berry have also translated their passion for each other and their family into a working relationship. “I hope we teach our children that the goal is to do what you love with the one you love,” John said.

Sharon Schuster Courtesy of Upstate Down

“To be honest, we thought we would be working primarily from home, doing design projects and doing brokerage, but after a couple of weeks we saw the property for rent, and I thought we needed to see it,” Dails said.


The couple were superconscious to use the shop window to meet the many needs of their community, meet locals “where they were” and communicate with residents, whether they have a home for sale or not.

“I love that this is a store the first time you walk into it because it allows us to really highlight the brand’s lifestyle by creating a small perspective on real estate and interiors that anyone can access with a purchase,” Delize said.

Often cited as one of those movie-perfect Hudson Valley townships, Reinbeck proved to be the perfect setting for the first iteration of the Upstate Down brand – though certainly not the last. The duo say they are “100 percent confident” there will be another Upstate Down store within a year, although they are still deciding exactly where.

“Having left Brooklyn for an interracial marriage, raising three children, we were very sensitive to the community you know you are expected to be in,” said Delise. “It was just an added gift to be here, to know that we felt nothing but total love and involvement from our community.”

The couple is already involving their children in the family business. When the family decided to rent out their main dwelling during the peak of the pandemic, when they stayed in a 700-square-foot cottage, they gave each child $ 5 a day from the rental income the couple earned. John described the opportunity as a good chance for the children to learn to be mobile, while Delize instituted rental income for the children to help the trinity strengthen their ownership of their space.

Ultimately, however, it is not so important for Delise and John that their children follow in the footsteps of their real estate, as they have the same passion for what started the couple’s entire journey: love.

“I hope we teach our children that the goal is to do what you love with the one you love,” John said. “It’s like taking care of the family first and building our lives around our family, but never being afraid of it.”

“We followed our heart,” added Delize, summarizing her journey to family and entrepreneurial success. “I hope they can do the same.

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