April 20, 2015

The art and science of selling luxury real estate

Real Estate Luxury

Content sponsored by Anne Koons - Native 020715

Selling high-priced real estate is an entirely different task from marketing lesser-priced homes.  There are many reasons why the luxury residential market demands an experienced real-estate professional. Here are eight:

A small universe of buyers

Almost by definition, the higher the price of your home, the fewer potential buyers there are out there for it. A professional who knows the luxury field has contacts – both professionally and socially – within this limited buyer-base, and can market your home directly and efficiently to this elite group. He or she can help you avoid wasting time, energy and money promoting your expensive home to buyers who can’t afford it.

The rich are different

Or at least they make a different kind of purchaser. Wealthy home buyers are a breed apart – they are well-educated, extremely successful, often demanding, specific about what they want, sometimes impatient, and frankly accustomed to getting their own way. It takes a special kind of real estate professional to manage the expectations of – and to service – this high-maintenance brand of buyer.  

The stakes are high

In the world of luxury home sales, the fact that there can be multiple millions on the table at any moment during a deal raises the stakes all around. Pricing of the property has to be accurate out of the gate, despite the fact that there may be few comparables. Staging of the home, inside and out, must be flawless, and not slapdash or amateurish. And negotiations with sophisticated buyers who are used to dealing in large sums of money can be lengthy, challenging and not for the faint of heart.

More sophisticated marketing required

Where advertising an average home can be as simple as an MLS listing, marketing a luxury home can involve much more elaborate promotional outreach campaigns, including everything from glossy ads in high-end lifestyle magazines to direct-mail sent to high-net-worth lists to producing original aerial videography of the property for real estate websites. (For this, many real estate professionals are now employing video-equipped drones.)

Purchasers must be pre-qualified

For luxury homes, an important responsibility that falls to the real estate professional is qualifying buyers up-front – i.e., pre-screening them and making sure they have the assets to purchase the home before time is spent showing the property or entertaining an offer.

Knowing where the wealth is

One of the most valuable things about real estate professionals familiar with up-market homes is that they stay abreast of what sectors of the home-buying universe are spending big on real estate. For instance, Wall Street used to be the source of a great deal of home-buying wealth; in the last few years, however, it’s often younger people who work in the technology or creative/artistic fields who are spending the most on homes.

Discretion is important

These days, many buyers of very expensive properties will close on a purchase through a corporation-name or an LLC. These are buyers, often international, for whom privacy and confidentiality are paramount. Again, an experienced real estate professional will be comfortable handling these types of sensitive deals.

Deal-closing tactics

Often, with high-end properties, it is customary to incentivize potential purchasers by including in the deal upscale “gifts” or bonuses – everything from custom furnishings and media equipment to gym memberships. This is the kind of strategy that would be foreign to sellers of average, or mid-priced homes – but a professional with experience in high-end homes will know the rules of this game.

The bottom line is that it’s seldom a good idea to venture into a real-estate sale or purchase without a competent and experienced professional at your side. And when it comes to high-end properties, that holds doubly true.