Selling luxury real estate isn’t just about selling more expensive houses. As the price of a property increases, so too does the complexity of properly marketing it. The most successful professionals working in the high end understand how to craft a sophisticated, creative, effective and far-reaching marketing plan to best serve today’s affluent consumer.
Here are a few tips taken from the best of the best:
1. Interview the Seller – This is a great idea no matter what price point you are working in, but for a luxury property (generally defined as $1M-plus), a clear understanding of the seller’s emotional connection to their home is critical. Start by learning what drove them to purchase their home. Perhaps it was the proximity to a school, walking distance to local restaurants or close to walking paths or museums? Finding out their motivations will help you attract like-minded individuals and provide insight on how to most effectively describe the property and reach those most likely to make similar decisions.
2. Professional Photography is Key – Hire a professional photographer. This is not a “nice to have.” Professional photography is required for marketing a high-end home; anything less will make you appear like an amateur. Once the property is staged, decluttered and looking its best, engage the best local professional photographer to capture as many images as possible – in the perfect light – to put your best foot forward when you release it to the market. And be sure to consider all the angles. If it’s on a significant piece of property, drone images tell the story like nothing else can, and are no longer complicated or expensive to capture.
What not to do? Do not allow cell phone images to be taken, uploaded to the MLS and syndicated out believing you will completely replace the images with the professional ones once they are complete. More than likely, the original images will linger somewhere, no matter how diligent you are. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. Make it count.
3. Make it Easy for Non-Local Buyers – The more expensive a property, the more likely the buyer will not be local. The good news is technology has brought so many exciting tools to marketing significant properties that you do not need to look far to be creative and enable a non-local buyer to easily experience the property. Simply let the property’s amenities dictate what tools you use.
For example, if you have an interesting floorplan and really want to give potential buyers a “feel” for being in the space, consider using a company like Matterport, or one of their resellers, to capture 3D images of the property. Their unique cameras enable you to simulate the experience of walking through the property, and provide potential buyers with a true sense of the space. And remember, every property has a story, and some have really special ones. Today there is no better way to tell a story than through a mini video, highlighting the home and, more importantly, how to live in it. Talk to your photographer and ask for a referral, and investigate local colleges and universities for filmmaking students or investigate local filmmakers, as more and more now offer real estate filmmaker services.
4. Reaching a Global Audience – Being part of a network, franchise or an affiliation with a program like Luxury Portfolio provides the ability to reach a national and global market. Even if you or your brokerage are not part of a larger affiliation, there are still ways to gain global exposure through programs like Worldposting and ListGlobally, which showcase properties on real estate websites in upwards of 50 countries.
To understand how to target your advertising and marketing dollars outside of your market, look no further than your own website or company website. Talk to your broker or webmaster about reviewing the analytics for the company site to understand where traffic to similarly priced listings is coming from, and then focus your marketing efforts accordingly.
Keeping the aforementioned strategies in mind when developing your approach will help lead to successfully marketing significant properties today. Simply remember to stay focused on the affluent homebuyer’s needs, expectations, lifestyle and how you can connect to them emotionally.
Stephanie Pfeffer Anton is the executive vice president for Luxury Portfolio International. She has been with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World since Luxury Portfolio was introduced in 2005, and today oversees the day-to-day operations of a global, multi-faceted program representing brokers in almost 50 countries. Previously, she served as the vice president of marketing for a large Chicagoland brokerage and as the director of communications for a real estate franchise. Before real estate, she worked in advertising and public relations in Chicago and Boston. She frequently speaks to audiences around the world about the luxury industry, real estate marketing, and research and insights into the luxury consumer.