Luxury, or high end, homes are an increasingly sought after commodity in our area because of the rampant price increases on the mainland. Considering the value of luxury homes, it is understandable that sellers would want to get things right. These homes are substantial investments, often worth millions of dollars. The real estate market has changed and while there are fewer luxury homes out there, it is still very more important that the seller put forward a positive image of the home.
As the price goes up on a home there are generally fewer buyers for that home. You have to attract the right buyer, know how to make the buyer understand what makes the home worth the money, and be able to negotiate effectively when selling some of the highest-priced homes available. Having the right list price and the best real estate agent are two vital cogs in the sale of a luxury home.
Generate a Buyer Profile and Understand What Motivates Buyers
While it may seem a bit odd to start off a list of the best luxury home selling tips with creating a psychological profile of the end buyer, it’s really not. When selling you need to focus on the buyer. First and foremost you want to know who you will be marketing to when trying to draw in a high-end clientele. With a luxury home sale, you are not always casting the widest net to any and all buyers. Instead you are focusing your efforts to appeal to a specific audience. Of course, the buyer needs to be able to comfortably afford the home. The last thing you want to be targeting is those who are marginally qualified.
But what exactly are you selling? Beyond the magnificent features and stunning architecture of your home are you also selling close proximity to an urban area, oceanfront living, pristine natural privacy, an award-winning school system, the top neighborhood in the area, proximity to an iconic area attraction or feature, or the best restaurants and shops within walking distance? Yes any and all of these can help sell a specific home. You and your real estate agent need to have a strong grasp of what separates your home from other luxury properties in the area and you need to market to those strengths. US News has an excellent article on how to think like a luxury real estate agent. Understanding what motivates a luxury home buyer is important.
Understand the Market and Marketing
How many countless time have you heard that real estate is local? While this understanding is true, it is not always the case for the luxury home market. A combination of factors drive the luxury market. Proximity to high paying jobs, access to the high end jobs market, the specific area that the home is located within, the appeal of that area, local issues that affect the area, and the proximity of other home types and area features, attractions and distractions all can impact this market. In a smaller area this type of market may only represent a small single digit fraction of the total number of homes listings and sales.
Marketing a high end home often requires a different approach. Finding the right buyer requires getting the word out about the property for sale. Today the primary marketing channel is the internet, but putting up a listing on the multiple listing service (MLS) is not enough to sell a luxury property – or any home, for that matter. Merely putting the home on the internet and waiting for a buyer to come along just does not work. Running ads in a local newspaper is going to be similarly ineffective. So will placing ads in Kijiji and Craigslist. Getting back to an earlier point about high end buyer profiling you need to market where that buyer is spending leisure time and expecting to see such a home presented. Competent real estate agents will know and understand this and take advantage of it to get the exposure necessary to attract interest and the right qualified buyers. A reputable and competent Realtor will have a number of marketing options for your luxury home. The first will be online, but the most pervasive will often be the network he or she has with other Realtors, past clients and other people involved in high-end real estate.
The marketing material should tell a story both about the home as well as the city or town the property is located in. Selling such things as the neighborhood or outstanding education are all part of the puzzle. Often you are selling a lifestyle and this should be conveyed in the marketing material. Keep in mind that many luxury home buyers look for well know luxury brands. This should be reflected in your marketing. For example in the kitchen, high-end appliances include a Sub-Zero fridge, a Wolfe or Viking stove, a Thermador oven, a Miele or Bosch dishwasher. Luxury buyers look for these brands. When marketing the home these things should be emphasized. The kitchen and master bedroom are the most important rooms in the house so extra time should be spent featuring it.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
The best buyers may be found through the internet, or they may be found through a contact of the real estate agent’s. The point is to work with someone who has the ability to reach buyers who will want what you are offering. Top real estate agents understand the best marketing tips for selling a home and they take advantage of them all. Exceptional agents leave no stone uncovered when selling a high-end home.
The real estate agent you select to sell your luxury home should have a dominant internet presence. Use Google as a tool to seek out and find luxury market real estate agents in your area. You can try searching for “best real estate agent in city, province” to locate an exceptional agent. Typically agents that come up high in searches such as this tend to have a great understanding of real estate marketing on the internet.
A highly visible real estate agent will be knowledgeable in both search engine optimization (SEO) along with terrific social media skills. Let’s face it more and more people spend a ton of time on their smart phones and tablets. Everyone has their favorite social network they regularly use. Social media real estate marketing is just another way of going outside the box in getting a high-end home sold. Whether it is marketing on Facebook or other social media – people love looking at luxury properties. Real Estate agents should be well versed in marketing to affluent clients.
Find a Facebook-Savvy Real Estate Agent
Social media can help sell homes when used correctly and Facebook has some powerful options to help. However, make sure that your real estate agent uses Facebook frequently and knows how to market homes on the platform. Facebook, like Google, often changes it algorithm which affects how something shows up in someone’s feed. Trial and error is often one way to find out what works and what does not. Hire a professional who knows the ins and outs of using Facebook to sell a home.
People are visual beings and posts need to have great images to attract attention. The attraction should be strong enough to draw people to the property and to get them to make an appointment to view the home. Marketing is about getting exposure and generating interest and advertising focuses on selling so the deal can be closed. Professional photography combined with a focus on nearby amenities will add to the draw of the home to potential buyers. Getting the right type of ad in front of the right buyers is very important. This comes back to the previous point of creating a buyer profile and understanding what motivates a luxury home buyer.
Price to the Market
One of the most important tips for selling a luxury home is pricing it at the right price from day one. Pricing any home correctly is challenging. Having expert knowledge of the current market and knowing how to look at a home, measure its strengths and weaknesses, understand the appeal that it will generate, being able to effectively compare it to similar homes, examine the surrounding market and price it to both sell in a timely manner and for a good price – these are skills that Realtors take years to master. Luxury homes add another layer of difficulty when it comes to pricing. There are less comparable homes to reference, and each luxury home tends to be custom built and have unique features that only some buyers will value. Because of these differences, a luxury home tends to be harder to price properly to reflect its value and unique appeal.
Some inexperienced agents will try to use rudimentary ways to price the home like using statistics of comparable sales based on square footage or using price per square foot based on the size of the home .This is a sure fire way to get a luxury homes price wrong! There are significantly more challenges to pricing a luxury home. Most luxury homes are one of a kind and there often are no real comparable homes in the local area. Knowing who built the home and the quality of the builder is important. The price, however, needs to be spot on if you want to get top dollar.
Price a home too high, and it can sit on the market for months without selling. Eventually, it will become a stale listing and develop a stigma – buyers will assume there is something wrong with it. This is especially true with luxury homes, because with such a smaller supply, buyers and their agents are unlikely to forget about the home. They will recognize it, even if it pops up a year later at a lower price.
Pricing the home correctly is one of the biggest reasons to hire an agent familiar with luxury properties. The agent should understand the difference that location plays in the comparable sales data and how one neighborhood differs from the next. The neighborhood in which a property is located can have a huge influence on value. A skilled luxury real estate agent understands the factors which influence home values. Great agents know that comparable sold properties are vital to establishing true market value. They don’t waste a lot of time looking at homes sitting on the market that have not sold. Knowing how to sell a luxury home starts with accurate pricing.
Market at the Right Time of Year
Luxury homes are often located in areas that take advantage of local attractions and geography. A home along near the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal in the West Vancouver area will look out over the water, offer views of nearby mountain peaks and possibly the city. In the summer buyers can take all of this in and get a true feel for why the home is so amazing. In the last months of winter the cold wind, oppressive rain, and constant cloud cover will tend to obscure the many benefits of owning the home. Obviously selling such a home would be easier in better weather, and the home would most likely fetch a higher price if buyers see it in the best possible light. A great luxury home selling tip is to take advantage of the optimal season in your specific location.
Here in the Comox Valley, where I am located it would not make sense to list a luxury home in the dead of winter when it is rainy and gloomy unless your financial situation dictates it. With a luxury property, you want to take advantage of the best selling season where there are more buyers in the market looking for luxury real estate. Without a doubt, the best time of the year to take advantage of selling a luxury home is the spring. For a typical year in the valley our spring real estate season starts around the end of February – much sooner than the rest of Canada.
In the spring buyers can get a complete understanding of the grounds which is often a big selling feature in luxury homes. There are going to be things that you can’t appreciate in the winter such as the dramatic views of the Georgia Strait and the distant Coastal Mountain range, tennis court, magnificent landscaping and possibly many other features that can get obscured by fog and driving rain. If you are selling a luxury waterfront property this is certainly the case.
Use High End Photography and Video
Whether a buyer finds your home online, or through contacts of your real estate agent, most people are going to want to look at the listing before they schedule a viewing. A quality listing will contain pictures and a video tour of the property. Just as a good portrait photographer can bring out the best ¬in a person, a skilled home photographer can make any home look its best. You want pictures that attract buyers, which requires working with a professional.
Luxury homes deserve exceptional photography. If a realtor shows up with their cell phone to take pictures – run away. They clearly do not understand how to market luxury homes properly. This is one of the most important aspects of selling a luxury home. When someone asks how you sell a luxury home, photography will be at the top of the list! Here are some excellent photography tips specifically for real estate.
Video is becoming as important as photos when selling real estate today – especially when you are selling a luxury home. Buyers may be coming from across the country to view your home. Even if they are coming from next door, a video tour can give them a good idea of what living in the home would be like, and convey what makes your home special. Filming a quality video tour may cost a little bit of money, but it can be considered an investment. The better the video looks, the more likely you are to attract the right kind of buyer. While video can do a better job of conveying the flow and sense of a home, it does not replace seeing it first-hand. That sense if only available through the sensation that you feel when you drive up to the home and walk in the door. But, getting the buyer to that stage is a key element of marketing a home so that the home generates the interest necessary to get the potential buyer to do just that.
Avoid Open Houses
Open houses are so common when selling homes that most sellers just assume they are necessary. In reality, there is no consensus on the benefit of an open house when selling the average home. However, there is consensus on the subject of open houses for luxury homes – avoid them. When you have an open house for a luxury home, it attracts everyone under the sun into your home.
Plenty of people will show up that do not have the financial ability to buy your home. Perhaps worse is that you may simply not know who they are or what their background of motivation is in viewing the home. Even those that do have the money may not be interested in buying, they may come over just to compare, to see how you live or just for something to do. People often ask if open houses work to sell homes. The answer is they are completely unnecessary to sell a home in the digital age.
The benefit of an open house goes to the real estate agent who is using this time as a prospecting opportunity for both potential sellers in the neighborhood, along with buyers who can’t afford your home. Keep in mind with a luxury home there is going to be a high level of curiosity. This is going to bring through the door plenty of people who don’t belong. More worrisome is the criminal element that can be attracted to open houses. It is hard to keep track of everyone coming in and out of the house, which allows unsavory individuals to take things that are not theirs. Even worse, they may not take anything from the open house. Instead, they may use the open house to unlock doors or windows so they can access the home later, and take as much as they like. Open houses can be a breeding ground for criminals to enter your home and take what they want, especially when selling a high end home. Skip the open house and you won’t miss a beat. Be very leery of an agent who pushes for an open house.
Instead of an open house to the public do a realtors’ open house instead. Your real estate agent will invite all the local real estate agents and especially those Realtors who specialize in working the luxury home market. By having a realtors’ open house you are giving local agents the opportunity to see all the best features that make your property luxurious. If they are working with a luxury buyer, the agent will be well versed enough to speak intelligently about it.
Luxury Home Agents
When marketing and selling a luxury home the agent you select becomes even more critical. The agent you hire will be your voice in getting the word out about how magnificent your property happens to be. Some of the most important traits of a luxury real estate agent include:
• Very effective communicators.
• Extremely detailed oriented.
• Understand the local market inside and out. This includes all local attractions.
• Well versed in pricing homes correctly. The agent should have a great list price to sale price ratio and lower days on market than the average.
• Expert marketers.
• Have a good sphere of influence.
• Skilled in problem-solving.
All of these skill sets are valuable when selling a high-end property. Keep in mind your real estate agent plays a vital role in the sale from start to finish. Each aspect of the transaction is important whether it is communicating with you, the other agent or potentially solving a problem that comes up in the sale. Selling a high-end home is not just about marketing! Selecting the best real estate agent is one of the most important tips when selling a luxury home.
Promoting and Selling Luxury
Promoting and selling luxury homes is about luxury lifestyle and not just the home. High homes often have features that are not found in any other type of property. High-end fixtures, cabinets, appliances, woodwork, lighting, etc. More often than not luxury homes have features like:
1. Extravagant home theaters.
2. Incredible wine cellars.
3. Dining, sitting and other rooms for entertaining.
4. An indoor pool.
5. An outdoor recreation area with water features and fire pits.
6. An intricate security system.
7. Surveillance cameras.
8. A central music service (increasingly wireless).
9. Energy monitoring.
10. Thermostatic control.
11. Window covering controls.
12. Complete “smart home” capability.
Every one of these components and features needs to be understood by the Realtor if he or she wants to get the best price for the home. Location and neighborhoods are other factors when dealing in luxury real estate. Sometimes the place is just as important as the home. The agent has to know how to sell all of these things, something that not every real estate agent is not capable of. When you are aiming for the best possible price, you need to have an agent that understands luxury and knows how to sell it to potential buyers. Keep these things in mind when choosing your real estate agent.