Saturday, February 14, 2015

The 15 principles of selling a luxury home.

Selling a luxury home is a finely nuanced endeavor, requiring expert representation that is knowledgeable, experienced, well networked, and holds impeccable professional standards. So it’s crucial you work with the right real estate broker who specializes in selling homes in your area and has plenty of experience and a great reputation in the luxury market. Here are some proven principles to help you make the best decisions when selling your luxury home:

1. Pricing your luxury listing correctly.
Selling a luxury home presents certain inherent challenges because you have a much smaller pool of buyers who are interested and qualified. There are also far fewer true comparables because luxury homes are custom and unique properties. Of course you deserve to get top dollar for your home, but it’s important to adhere to the data and market research and price it correctly, with minor pricing adjustments with time if necessary.

2. Your Realtor should know the area intimately.
Remember that a luxury buyer takes immense pride in their home, and sees it as a statement about who they are and their lifestyle. So knowing (and selling) nearby amenities like country clubs, golf courses, business parks, town centers, arts and cultural events, bike trails, lakes, boat clubs, etc. all goes a long way in persuading the high-end buyer.

A potential buyer will also want to make a good investment, so they’ll expect detailed neighborhood data like demographics, trends on home values, crime reports, information on school systems, and planned developments in the area.

3. And know the home exclusively.
Luxury buyers consider their home the biggest investment in their lives so they want to know every detail about the property they’re buying. That includes information about any high end brands like wine fridges, artwork, chandeliers, or custom features like outdoor living spaces, Green or tech amenities. It also helps to have architectural blue prints from when the home was built, maintenance records, and a bio on the builder and designer.

4. Consider moving out during the listing process.
Research shows that high-end homes attract more buyers and sell faster if they are vacant during the sales process. While this may not be convenient, it could result in a far greater return on investment with a higher sales price. But this is a personal decision that’s completely up to the homeowner.

5. Professional staging is essential.
It’s essential to have your luxury home professionally staged before listing, which will allow it to be de-cluttered, de-personalized, and make display adjustments like neutral wall colors, furniture that maximizes space, and art work and decorations that makes your home shine.

6. Teaming with a good lender can help.
In the past, most luxury homebuyers paid cash when they purchased. But these days, there’s an increasing trend of buyers utilizing a mortgage loan for high-end purchases. Your Realtor should have a qualified mortgage broker who can provide information on loan options and specialize in jumbo loans to aid and encourage the buyer’s financial decision.

7. Decisions about showing and availability.
If the home is not being lived in during the sale, it’s much easier for other agents and buyers to see. But even if you’re living there, there are some important decisions to make: do you put on a lockbox so agents can come and go freely? Do you set up showings only by appointment so your Realtor can monitor who is coming and going? Or do you keep the listing information even more discreet for security and privacy concerns? A good luxury Realtor can advise you on all your options and help you come to the best decision.

8. Understand liability.
Safety is always a concern when listing a home, as is theft, privacy, and the liability of having people come onto your property. A great luxury broker will understand the risks and help protect you.

9. Consult with your trusted financial advisors.
It’s essential to consult with your financial team before, during, and after your home sale. That includes your financial planner, insurance broker, and especially your tax planner.

10. Networking.
Many luxury homes aren’t sold to strangers via the MLS, but through the local community and other people who are in the same economic grouping. So your Realtor should reach out to local businesses, like arts centers, galleries, wineries, etc., as well as promote your home through their extensive contacts in the luxury market. Even knowing how to get in touch with international buyers and relocation services for local businesses can help sell a listing.

11. Ongoing maintenance and cleaning.
It’s not enough to stage your home and let it be; you’ll want to hire a regular cleaning crew and do extensive yard maintenance so your home and grounds look pristine for any potential buyer.

12. Professional real estate photographs and virtual tours.
People who buy luxury homes are very discerning and expect the highest quality presentation to catch their eye. So make sure your Realtor can recommend the best real estate photographer who specializes in luxury homes.

You also may want to think about a professional videographer to record a virtual tour of your home, which are extremely effective in attracting luxury buyers. They can even work with your professional photographer and often use drones for stunning aerial shots.

13. Multi channel marketing, including technology.
The truth is that a luxury listing should be aggressively marketed through traditional channels: like networking with other luxury real estate agents, the MLS, print advertisement, press, community interaction, and also through the most cutting edge new technology.

These days, 95% of your potential market for high-end buyers are active and engaged on social media, and 90% of luxury buyers start their search for homes extensively via the internet or their mobile devices. So a luxury listing should have a strong social media presence, be featured on the Realtor’s web site and blog.

14. Consider community events for PR.
Open houses for luxury homes are a bit of a different animal than for a more humble home, because you won’t get (nor do you want) drive-by traffic and interested buyers shopping around. So you may want to consider working with your Realtor to opening up the house to community events instead, like wine tastings in coordination with your favorite local winery, allowing it to be used to host charity dinners or fundraisers, art gallery showings, or other events that will bring in plenty of distinguished people.

15. Patience is a virtue!

Selling a luxury home often takes more time and patience than a normal track home in the average price range because there are far fewer buyers and it’s harder to match them to a custom home. So patience and clear, business-first thinking is critical, as is great communication with your sales team.

The Alfano Group Real Estate Agency is the premier real estate concierge for high-end and luxury home buyers and sellers in the Sacramento, Placer County area. Please contact us if you'd like any more information or an analysis of your home's value.

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