There’s a lot of questions and uncertainty about the luxury real estate market from real estate agents of all backgrounds.
Most feel as if the luxury real estate market is some sort of elite band of special agents who happen to know successful people, therefore, they have no hope because they don’t know that many successful people.
While yes, luxury real estate agents are definitely some of the top agents you’ll find anywhere. However, to go as far as saying they can sell luxury real estate simply because they know affluent people is flat out incorrect.
The truth is that most luxury real estate agents became what they are now because they did one simple thing.
They just did it.
Okay, so it isn’t as simple as that. But the point I’m making here is that luxury real estate agents didn’t worry about who they had in their contact book before entering the luxury market, they just went for it.
That’s what I did, and I’m going to tell you how you can too.
What Makes the Luxury Market THE Luxury Market?
I don’t care who told you that selling luxury homes is the same as selling traditional homes. They’re wrong. There would be no divide between luxury real estate agents and general real estate agents if it were the same.
We’d all just be selling whatever home we can get our hands on. Not to say that we don’t, I’m saying that we shouldn’t.
Luxury Real Estate Requires a Lot of Work
With a traditional home, the general rule is that if you price it correctly then it sells.
Plain and simple.
Marketing might not even be required.
With luxury real estate, it’s a whole other ball game.
Luxury homes often require staging, video marketing, online marketing, print marketing, broker opens, open houses, and a plethora of other things.
Price matters too, of course, but it’s more likely you’ll be able to sell an overpriced luxury home with exceptional marketing versus an overpriced standard home.
Therefore, automatically, luxury real estate requires more upfront work to get a home sold than your standard $250,000 listing.
This implies you should consider yourself a specialist in luxury real estate, not just a real estate agent.
First Things First, How Do You Look?
Unless you have one of the greatest personalities God has ever created, you won’t get a $3 million dollar listing showing up in jeans and a T-shirt.
If you’ve done this before, my hat to you. But in the vast majority of cases, showing up like that is seen as disrespectful and kills your chances of getting a deal.
A luxury real estate agent needs to be perceived as equally professional to the person they’re meeting with. Most affluent members of society wear suits to their work. This means you should too.
Of course, every luxury market is different. In markets like New York City, the standard for men is a suit and tie and for women, it’s a professional dress or blazer.
In my market of Asheville, NC. You could get away with jeans and a blazer.
Personally, call me weird, but I’ve always loved wearing a suit and tie so that’s what I wear. I often choose a blue suit and a light-colored tie of pink or blue. Sometimes I switch up the tie based on who I’m meeting that day.
For instance, if I’m meeting with an older gentleman, I might want to consider a conservative tie. This would let him know that I most likely know what he wants because I understand his era of clothing.
For younger clients, I wear bright ties because that’s the style now and lets them know that I’m a cool dude and with the times.
Plus, I like bright colors more.
Highly successful people usually work in environments that require them to use big, professional words. This means you should talk to them like that too.
Remember, it’s all about creating equal professional footing.
I’m sure if you’ve been reading my blogs (which you should if you aren’t), I tend to be very casual with my language. I use big words but in a tone that conveys lightheartedness and fun.
This is good for me because I don’t like to be stuck up and boring. I like to flex my personality muscles and be the guy everyone wants to talk to.
But at the end of the day, when I’m sitting in front of a client granting me the hefty responsibility of selling their largest asset. You can bet that I’m being the most professional person I can be.
Real estate is a serious sport. Especially in the luxury market where millions of dollars are at stake.
These people are nervous about what’s going on with their money. My job is to provide them professional service and ease their nerves.
You can only do this by using assertive, professional language.
Don’t say “rich”, say “affluent”. Don’t say “big house”, say “spacious property”. Business Insider even has a table showing the words that have the most value in real estate.
You get the idea.
Learn Your Luxury Market
This seems obvious but you’d be surprised by how many luxury real estate agents don’t know anything about their market.
Without understanding the dynamics of your luxury market, how do you offer any value to clients and prospects?
Real estate is more than just putting properties on the market and waiting for the sales to come in. It’s a continuous state of education and awareness for what’s happening around you.
You should be checking the new listings, sold listings, expired listings, and withdrawn listings, on your MLS every day.
It’s really easy to find luxury homes. All you have to do is sort by the highest price and the entire luxury market is right there.
You should always also know the highest priced active properties within your luxury market as well.
In Asheville, as of writing this article (Jan 1, 2020), the highest-priced listing is $4.2 million. In Charlotte, the highest is $5.65 million.
These are things I need to know.
The next step is finding out where the luxury neighborhoods are. Pull up all the active luxury listings and use the map display option on your MLS. This will let you know where you should focus your direct mail campaigns, as well as help your buyers.
Then do a deep dive into these neighborhoods and learn about their price points, characteristics of the homes, neighborhood characteristics. Find out if there’s an HOA? Park? Flood zone?
Simply understanding the ins and outs of the luxury real estate market puts you at an advantage versus other agents.
Build Your Marketing Plan
Marketing is the most important aspect of luxury real estate.
Without a solid, cohesive plan, you won’t get clients or be able to sell the few listings you do happen to score.
You can also view Berri Properties’ official marketing plan here.
This should be your primary focus if you’re becoming a luxury real estate agent.
I’m telling you. Without it, you’re nothing.
Luxury real estate agents need to provide a level of service higher than the standard agent. The affluent clients we deal with are used to having the best quality they can get.
That means you need to learn about more than market statistics.
You need to take the time investment to learn interior design, architecture, construction, and other subjects.
This can be fun to learn about.
As luxury real estate agents, if we’re going to be able to sell the home then we need to sell what’s actually inside the home.
Since we sell lifestyles, understanding interior design to a degree where you can make recommendations or talk about how the interior design fulfills a lifestyle, can literally make a sale happen.
To learn about interior design, you should read blog articles, Wikipedia, magazines (Architectural Digest is my favorite), or whatever material you can find.
You don’t have to be quick at learning it either, but you need to start forming an understanding.
Overtime, you’ll become more proficient.
The same is true with architecture.
Learn about the different styles that sell in your market.
Here in Asheville, luxury homes are often traditional in style, but followed closely by arts and crafts and contemporary design.
Not only does knowing the specifics about architecture help you understand real estate a lot better. It also makes you sound incredibly smart.
If you need a hint, that’s what your clients want.
The truth is that most real estate agents, and we’re talking more than 90%, are not going to take the time out to learn about interior design or architecture.
They just aren’t.
As a luxury real estate agent, educating yourself as much as you can will separate you from the competition and make you the best.
Get Out There
The rule of real estate still applies to the luxury market.
The more you know, the better.
There’s no point in hanging out at home. You might as well be doing your work in a coffee shop where you might meet a new prospect.
I often make it a point to talk to the cashiers at any store I go to because you never know what might happen.
A couple months ago I happened to speak to the owner of a pie shop who happened to be looking for a house. I’m now their agent.
Go to charity events where you can network. Talk to people on the street if you’re bold enough. Make it a point to talk to someone new every day.
It can be hard at times, trust me, I know.
But I also know that at any given moment I could meet a person that needs to sell a $5 million dollar home.
I want to be their go-to.
If You Want to Sell Luxury Real Estate, Sell Luxury Real Estate
I won’t lie. It aggravates me when I see other real estate agents write in their biographies on social media and websites that they specialize in “new-buyers, luxury, foreclosures, and for sale by owners”.
That’s not specializing, that’s saying you are a standard real estate agent with a little more flare.
If you want to be a luxury real estate agent. Be a luxury real estate agent.
That means you sell above the price point of whatever makes the homes in your market considered luxury. For me, in Asheville and Charlotte, NC. That’s $800,000 respectively.
Now yes, I’ll help a friend that wants to sell for $350,000. I won’t turn them down.
What I mean is that I’m not actively soliciting members of society for listings below the luxury threshold.
I focus on luxury, and only luxury.
I believe that I’m the best luxury real estate agent in Asheville and Charlotte because I specialize in luxury real estate and perform at a level of service untouched by my competitors.
That’s the mentality you need to have. But it all starts with committing to luxury real estate.
If you have personal questions because I know articles like this can stir up a lot of questions. Feel free to comment below.