Last night I read an interview with a luxury home sales agent in Southern California.
The part of the piece that really jumped out at me was when the agent told the interviewer about how she marketed a particular luxury home by placing an ad in an in-flight magazine, “. . . which I paid for myself . . .”
Now, why would that line in particular catch my attention?
Because I was appalled.
Who else did she expect to pay for it? She was hired to market a home and, especially since it’s a luxury home, she’ll be paid a hefty sum for doing so.
Unfortunately, this is how some real estate agents think.
If they even have a marketing budget, they’ll cut corners in it wherever and whenever they can. They may even expect you, the homeowner, to pick up the tab for some of the marketing costs.
Luxury homeowners should know that the sales process for high-end homes is quite different than that for other homes. The first difference is in how an agent will determine an accurate listing price for the home.
Home prices are based largely on the sales prices of comparable homes that have recently sold. Therefore, finding the value of a tract home is easy – there are lots of comparable homes.
Finding the value for a luxury home, which by its very definition is unique, is challenging. These homes require far more market research in order to come up with an accurate list price.
It’s not a job for the uninitiated in luxury home sales
The next difference is in how the home is marketed. An MLS listing and a sign in the front yard won’t cut it. The agent needs a network of affluent contacts, a tried-and-true luxury home marketing plan and, most importantly, a robust marketing budget.
It is impossible to market high-end homes on a shoestring
Most important, the luxury home agent should never, ever have the attitude that he or she isn’t responsible for paying for ALL aspects of a home’s marketing – out of his or her marketing budget.
Interview the Agent
When deciding who will represent you in the sale of your home, due diligence in hiring is critical. Ask the tough questions:
- How many luxury homes have you listed in the past year?
- What is your list-to-sales price ratio for these homes?
- How did you market the homes?
- How much will you spend marketing my home?
- May I see some examples of how you’ve marketed other luxury homes?
Never choose an agent that lacks either experience or a budget.
Carefully scrutinize the agent’s past marketing efforts. Believe it or not, there are many who try to pass themselves off as ace marketers, yet snap photos of the home on their smart phones. I see this every day in the MLS.
Pass on the agent who can’t afford or refuses to pay for an architectural photographer
Are the agent’s remarks in the MLS compelling or does he or she regurgitate information that can be found elsewhere in the MLS listing?
Where does the agent place the marketing for his or her high-end listings? Luxury home marketing efforts must be focused and targeted and show up in publications that attract the affluent.
When you decide to sell your luxury home in Madison, take your time during the hiring process to ensure you choose the agent who can best market the home.
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Jolenta Averill, Principal
Lake & City Homes Realty