Many luxury home buyers keep ridiculously busy, and when they find time to nest, their needs go beyond simple creature comforts. Their multi-million dollar homes often include theaters with stadium seating and projection systems. They’re sweating inside fully equipped gyms with spa amenities. And don’t forget a swimming pool.
Breaking into the luxury real estate market can present a challenge for real estate agents. While many of the usual tenants of diligence and determination apply to the luxury market, there are also special considerations.
“My advice for agents is to become an expert in the area they specialize in,” said Danny Hertzberg, who, as part of The Jills agency, teams with his mother, Jill Hertzberg, to sell beach homes and other properties in Miami, Fla. “In the new real estate world of Zillow, Trulia, etc., agents must add value above and beyond providing content from the MLS.”
Hertzberg began his career in 2009 with selling rentals, short sales and real estate owned properties. He pledged to increase his average sales price each year, starting with $900 per month rentals and $200,000 condos.
“I now have several listings in the $5 million to $10 million range and set a price-per-foot record for a $14 million sale last year,” he said.
Agents also have to consider their own lifestyles, said Diane Manns, of the John Arroe Group in Beverly Hills, Calif. Prospective buyers will easily sniff out if an agent is going through the motions with their primary objective being networking, Manns said. Actually enjoying swinging a golf club — instead of feeling like you’re being dragged to the course — makes an agent’s job easier. Becoming embedded in those communities by attending fundraisers and other events to bolster relationships is all part of agents establishing themselves, she said.
There is also understanding that buyers grow. Don’t underestimate anyone. One of the misconceptions in the Beverly Hills market is that everyone is a celebrity, Manns said, and that’s not the case. While a particular buyer isn’t currently making a bid on a multi-million dollar home, it’s important to sense the potential in a prospective buyer, she said. Life, jobs and salaries all change. Maintaining relationships can pay off for the future, as noted in the Inman.com article, “How to break into luxury real estate.”
Paying attention to simple demographics also helps. That includes keeping an eye on the stock market. A recent Wall Street Journal story trumpets how volatile markets may make buyers more reluctant to sell off assets and invest in lavish housing. Many of those in the market for luxury homes have occupations tied to the market. But in some cases, the uncertain markets have drawn interest in housing that’s under construction. A more pragmatic buyer would rather lock into the current interest rates than see them increase in the future.
“Again, it’s your lifestyle,” Manns said. “Not everybody can do foreclosure, not everyone can do short sales, not everyone can do commercial. It’s like law: you can be into family law and be really good, or divorce law. It’s about your passions.”