22 February 2017

Guide to selling a luxury home

What it takes to sell a luxury home

Sellers want to get things right considering the value of the luxury home. Often worth millions of dollars, these homes are substantial investments. Putting forward a positive vision of the property is the all important aim because there are fewer luxury homes out there.


You have to appeal to the right buyer, know what it takes to create value for money and be able to negotiate masterfully when selling the highest priced homes available. Ensuring you set the right price and a competent real estate professional are a couple of aspects to be mindful of when selling luxury real estate.


Don't stop, and you will learn the fastest way to sell your home for the highest possible price. Selling any home is stressful, this 'guide to selling a luxury home' will maximise both without having to resort a frontal lobotomy for it.


Create a psychological profile of the buyer


Starting off a list of the best luxury home selling tips with creating a psychological profile of the buyer may seem strange but it's not at all. Drawing in a high-end buyer, first and foremost you want to know who you are selling to.


Casting the widest net when selling a luxury home is not going to work very well because we are appealing to a specific audience. Obviously, the buyer needs to be comfortable producing the money. Buyers with low margins are the last people we want to target.


So what are we actually selling? Are you selling into a neighbourhood, close to a city, great schools or the best restaurants, cafes and boutique shops within a short walk? There could be many more examples, but these are just a few.


What separates your home from other luxury homes in the area is the way you market to your strengths. You and your real estate professional must have a firm grasp on what these strengths are. TREN has an excellent guide on "How to think like a luxury real estate professional". Knowing the motivation of the luxury home buyer is critical.


Price it correctly


From day one, it is most important a luxury home is priced correctly. It is challenging to get it right. It takes years to master correct pricing. To sell at the best price and in a timely manner means examining the market, assessing comparable homes, gauging the strengths and weaknesses of the home and knowing what to look for in a luxury home.


Pricing a luxury home compared to ordinary home adds another degree of difficulty. Each luxury home has unique features that some buyers will cherish and there are less of them to compare. Therefore, pricing a luxury home because of these features it then harder to price.


Applying a "widget cutter" approach is what some inexperienced agents do in the "ways of pricing a home by a square metre method". Getting the price wrong is all they will achieve! Luxury homes are much more challenging to price. To get the highest possible price, the price must be spot on.


The luxury home will sit on the market too long and not sell if it is priced too high. It will become stale in the eyes of buyers and they will think something is not right.


When selling luxury homes this is especially true. Buyers and their agents are sure not going to forget about the home that has something wrong with it. It's like a blanket of fear and stigma sitting over the home. The stigma will even linger if you take the home off the market and relaunch in the future at a lower price.


Hiring an expert in selling a luxury home to start with and then set a correct price. Knowing how one neighbourhood is different from another and understanding how location relates to comparable sales information is essential. The value the luxury home is influenced by the neighbourhood. As we always say, location, location, location.


Understanding the "factors that determine home values" is a skilled luxury real estate professional. It's critical to establish the true market price and likely settlement value. Great agents know that comparable sold properties are vital information. Looking at homes sitting on the market a long time and not sold is a waste of time. Selling a home fast and at the highest price starts with accurate analysis and the right decision of the price.


Timing is everything


Luxury homes are often located in neighbourhoods that take advantage of local attractions, geography and topography. A home along Yarrawonga Drive in North Ward will look out over the water to Magnetic Island, offer spectacular views of Castle Hill and probably the city. In a tropical setting of North Queensland, buyers can take all of this in all year round, and get a realistic feel for why the home is so extraordinary.


In the months of summer, the heat and heavy humidity, and the oppressive rain, and constant cloud cover will tend to obscure the many benefits of owning a home. Selling the home in better weather conditions would obviously yield a higher price in the best possible light. Taking advantage of "the best time of year to sell in your location" at a better price is a great tip for a luxury home.


Where I am located here in North Queensland, listing a luxury home in the depths of a sweltering summer heat unless your budget is a factor, would not make any sense. Taking advantage of the optimal weather conditions when more luxury home buyers are active in the market. Selling in spring is without a doubt the best time of the year to sell in North Queensland.


Selling a luxury home in spring gives the buyer complete access to the property to get a thorough understanding of the best selling points. Selling a home in summer can still give you access to the luxury swimming pool, tennis court, beach front gazebo, boat jetty, workshop and the magnificent landscaping. But your buyers won't be able to appreciate these features if the ground is covered in rainwater from the many tropical storms or even cyclones that threaten the region this time of year.


If you are selling a luxury acreage or waterfront home, the time to sell is a very important factor.


Marketing online effectively


Getting the message out about the luxury home for sale requires targeting and finding the right buyer. Just loading the home upon any multi-listing service on the internet is inadequate not only to sell a luxury home but for any home.


A credible real estate professional will suggest a variety of marketing strategies for your home in addition to pricing the home. Although the first option will be to go online, the agents' network with past clients and other real estate professionals involved in high-end real estate, will be the most effective marketing option.


Contact with another real estate professional may yield the best buyers or they could come from the internet. Finding the agent who can reach the buyers who want what you have to offer is your first point of deciding your marketing options.


Taking advantage of the 'best marketing tricks for selling a home' is what the top agents understand. Leaving nothing unturned is the agent's job to get exceptional results when selling a luxury top-end home.


To select the best real estate professional, you should look for one that has a dominant presence online. Use Google or Yahoo to search for a real estate professional that market luxury homes in your area.


For example, you can try searching for "who is the top real estate professional in (insert suburb name)?"  to receive a list of top performing professionals. Agents that appear towards the top of the list should have a great understanding of real estate marketing. Avoid the advertised listings usually located at the very top and bottom of each Google search page.


Knowledgeable real estate professionals in search engine optimisation (SEO) combined with excellent social media and email marketing skills are usually highly visible online. Nearly everyone has their favourite social media network they use, as more people spend an increasing amount of their time on a mobile phone, iPad or Tablet. Taking your online marketing to the next level means having a dedicated 'social media real estate marketing' plan to get the high-end home sold.


People love looking at luxury property whether it be on Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, Linkedin, etc. Every real estate professional especially a luxury agent must be able to 'market to elite clients'.


Video and photography for elite marketing


Most people are going to want to schedule a viewing of the luxury home, whether through contacts of the real estate professional or if the buyer finds the home on online. Quality listings include photos and video tours of the property. A skilled home photographer can make any home look its best just as a landscape photographer can make the sunset appear closer and more iridescent than it looks. Great photographers make the pictures tell a story and attract buyers to the home.


Using a professional photographer on a luxury home is not an option because it is one of the most important aspects of selling a luxury home. With some 'helpful photography tips for real estate', you can respond to anybody knowing it is top of the list on how to sell a luxury home.


Like photography, a video is very important in selling a luxury home. Buyers come long distances to view the home. Conveying what makes your home extraordinary, a video tour can give them an excellent idea of what living in the home would look like. The cost of producing a video tour can cost you extra money, but it is worth the investment. The quality of the way the video looks plays a big role in attracting the right buyer.


If a real estate professional does not offer a video tour service then you should move on to other professionals that do offer the service. There are plenty of video tours of luxury homes in North Queensland. Take a look at this example.




I'm interested to know if you agree this video marketing is an excellent example of the features of a luxury home being captured beautifully? Considering the importance of catching buyers attention at the marketing stage, a video is a way to create a great first impression. Just as important is finding a narrator that can engage and emphases the key features of the luxury home.


Effective offline marketing


Just as important as your online marketing is your print marketing material. Marketing a high-end luxury home comes with the expectation the budget must include additional funds for marketing material. Perception and appeal is everything so high-quality glossy brochures is a must.


Capturing the feeling of what it is like to live in the home on that street, town or city is best achieved with effective story-telling in the marketing material. Selling the neighbourhood is just as much part of the story as selling the home itself.


When marketing the home these aspects should be emphasised. The kitchen is the most important room in the home so don't hesitate to spend extra time on it in the marketing. For example, 'quality appliances' including Sub-Zero fridge, a Wolfe or Viking stove, Thermador oven, a Miele or Bosch dishwasher are features that must be emphasised. Buyers of luxury, elite homes are looking for these appliances in the kitchen.


Avoid open houses


Most sellers assume that open houses are required because they are used so often. There is no data or agreement in the real estate industry about the benefits of selling an ordinary home. When it comes to luxury homes, there is a consensus that open homes are to be avoided. Open homes on a luxury property attract all walks of life into your home.


People that cannot afford the luxury home will show up. Even if they do have the money, they may not be interested as an active buyer anyway. They simply want to compare, kill time to have something to do or to see how you live. These people are 'tire-kickers' as they are commonly described in any selling industry. So the question is asked, 'do open homes sell homes'? In the internet and digital age, open homes have become less important, especially for luxury homes.


Real estate professionals use the open home as a way to meet new clients and promote their own brand and services. In a busy market, they seek to attract unqualified buyers and groom other prospective sellers in the neighbourhood. A luxury home is going to attract a lot of attention. An open home is likely to bring people to your home that don't have any business being there.


But of most concern is the criminal type that is attracted to the values in the home. As it is impossible to supervise everyone that comes through the home, it allows unsavoury people to take things that are not theirs. Worst still, they may set up the home by unlocking doors, windows, disarming security systems with the intention of returning later, when nobody is home, and take anything they choose.


With luxury homes, the motivation of criminals to get a big payday means they are a breeding ground for unwelcome people. Avoid open houses and the risk of losing things is reduced to next to nothing. Be very wary of an agent who pushes for an open home as part of this selling strategy.


Inviting 'qualified conjunction agents' instead of buyers through an open home is a good idea. Encourage your real estate professionals to invite these agents especially the ones who specialise in the luxury home market. A conjunction agent (commonly known as brokers in the USA) open home gives the local agents an opportunity to see all the best luxury features of your home. They can then speak to their buyers with confidence having first-hand knowledge of the home.


Characteristics of elite home real estate professionals


The agent you select to market your home becomes more important because they are the billboard hired to get the word out there about your luxury home and its extraordinary appeal. What characteristics to look for in a luxury real estate professional include:

  • Highly effective communicator
  • Has an eye for detail
  • Has a comprehensive knowledge of the local market, inside and out and all attractions
  • Pricing homes or conducting accurate appraisals. Look for a great list price to sale price (low discount %) and lower days on market than average
  • Marketing expert in traditional and digital materials
  • Is influential in their profession
  • Excellent problem-solving and negotiation skills
When selling a luxury home, all of these skill sets are important from start to finish whether it is solving a problem that arises, communicating with you and other agents. The agent you choose must have more than marketing skills. That's why selecting the right characteristics in a real estate professional is the most important tip when selling a luxury home.

What it takes to sell


There are high-end features in a luxury home that are not found in any other property such as appliances, lighting, woodwork, cabinets and fixtures such as:

  • Wine cellars
  • Home theatres
  • Indoor swimming pool and sauna
  • Comprehensive secure systems including security cameras
  • Central smart control system for everything
  • Cooling and heating systems
  • Energy monitoring
  • Window coverings
  • Concealed compartments
In order to get the best price for the home, the real estate professional needs to understand every component and feature of the home. 'Location and neighbourhoods' are important factors also when dealing with luxury homes. Your agent must know how to sell all of these things and not every real estate professional is suitable.

Keep these things in mind when choosing your real estate professional because we are aiming for the best possible sale price. Understanding luxury home buyers and selling the home's features and benefits within the fastest time possible is the job of your luxury home agent.


Keep in mind this Guide to Selling a Luxury Home and the nine tips when selling a luxury home and you will be moving on to your next home soon rather than later.


***Do you have a luxury home to sell in North Queensland or other Australian states and want to work with a real estate professional that fits the luxury home profile? Check in with TREN and will be happy to refer you to an outstanding real estate agent in your neighbourhood who works with elite properties.***  


More helpful reading on selling to the elite buyer:


Millionaires in Australia are not rich anymore

Tips for selling luxury homes
Real estate agents for the ultra rich

You can never have enough awareness. Consider reading these articles to help in your journey on learning how to appeal to luxury home buyers and to get your property sold.

About the Author:

Aaron McLeod is the Owner and Principal of Rapid Realty Australia, Owner/editor of TREN (Townsville Real Estate News), CEO of McLeod Investments and Consultancy and Co-owner of Matching Pear Travel.