5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Realtor to Sell Your Luxury Home
Selling your luxury home will involve quite a bit of preparation to guarantee you are presenting the best possible product, and I use the word product because that’s how you must think of your home. That’s what it is, a product, in the buyer’s minds until they buy it and make it their home. This is highly important because your luxury home needs to be elevated much more since buyers for luxury homes are looking for specifics in a home and want something that will justify the price. As with any product that you purchase you must also know the market and the competition. If you’re selling a Ferrari you must know the Porsche and Lamborghini brands. Like with exotic cars there are a limited number of buyers of luxury homes. In most neighborhoods, there are twice as many homes on the market for sale as homes that will sell in the following 365 days. If you don’t position your home as one of the best values relative to your competition your home won’t sell.
“When I consider a home as a possible listing the first thing I do is identify the competition, then I do my research to determine how many homes in this neighborhood, in this price range sold over the past five years. I divide that number by five and now I know, with some certainty, how many homes will sell this year. My team and I then visit the potential competition, every one of them, and score this potential listing against the competition. If this potential listing does not rank in the number that I know will sell we either do what it takes to get I there or we refuse the listing. I'm not a listing agent, I'm a selling agent” Kerry Grinkmeyer.
Luxury Home Photography and Video
As a Birmingham Luxury Home Realtor, I must make a better presentation of my homes versus marketing a non-luxury home. The differences can start with having more pictures of a luxury home versus a non-luxury home. There are more features and amenities to show off compared to non-luxury homes. There is more craftsmanship and detail and as in a Ferrari those differences must be pointed out to any potential buyer. Buyers looking for those luxury features and amenities will first want to see them in pictures before they decide a home is worth visiting in person. If the pictures can’t keep the buyer’s attention on a smart phone then the luxury real estate agent may not be doing their job.
Photography and videos of a luxury home must be shot with professional equipment and your typical point and shoot cameras or low light cell phone camera pictures will not deliver that quality. High definition videos of luxury homes expected by buyers to help better differentiate one home from another. By using high quality cameras and good video editing techniques you elevate the presentation of a luxury home and as a result impress viewers who now want to see your home in person. “I think of a video of a client’s home as a movie trailer which is designed to show you the features and benefits and get the buyer interested in seeing the whole house.”
Online and Offline Marketing for Your Luxury Home
Marketing does not stop with great pictures and videos for a luxury home. You must proceed as if your eventual buyer is not currently looking for a new home and you have to create a desire to own your home. 95% of your potential buyers are on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and search on Zillow and Trulia. If your agent is not using these tools to market you home their living in the past. Your agent should have his or her own website where their featured listings are presented.
The presentation of the luxury in the home using high quality brochures with detailed description and pictures of the home should be available for any buyer who walks through the home. Most buyers who view several homes in a day will have a tough time remembering the differences between them. A brochure with color pictures and detailed description will help them remember your home which will make them more likely want to revisit and make an offer.
Luxury Home Lifestyle
Is your luxury home on a golf course? Or does your luxury home have access to water front and boating privileges? Dose your home scream entertainment with a view, or seclusion with acreage? Does it leave the potential breathless only able to utter…Wow? Whatever the case may be with regards to your luxury home you must emphasize these lifestyle features in your marketing materials. People today don’t buy a home, they buy a lifestyle and the home gives them to the lifestyle that they desire.
Pricing your luxury home is the most critical thing that if done wrong will result in everything else being wasted. No one wants to pay more for something that they can get at a lower price somewhere else. The pricing of a home is based on the neighborhood it is in, the features that it has and the condition of the home. The starting point is the past years of sales data from comparable homes in your neighborhood. Compare square foot pricing then add or subtract for amenities , features and benefits. In a neighborhood that has luxury homes priced between $800,000 and $1,000,000 dollars at $210.00 per square foot, trying to price your home at $1,200,000 at $280.00 per square foot is a non-starter and will hurt you in the end. You have to make a decision; do you want to sell your home and move on with your life or do you want top dollar and hold out until your buyer rolls into town, no matter how long it takes.
The key is to have an agent that has done the research, knows the competition and has the ability and knowledge to market your home. There are a limited number of buyers of luxury homes because of The Baby Boomer Sell-Off, so price our home to sell.
Most luxury homes home require staging but decluttering is necessary. Rent a POD and put that oversized TV chair in it, pack up your collections and all the family pictures. You want to make the rooms look big and you want the potential buyer seeing their family in your home not walking through your home trying to determine who is living here. You’re going to pack all this stuff up once it’s sold, so get ahead of the game and pack it up before you put it on the market. If your home is vacant because you have already moved or it’s in an estate or divorce you’ve categorized yourself as a motivated seller and this is not a good thing. If the vacancy extends over a year the vultures will circle and everyone that does make an offer will low-ball you; don’t let this happen. There is a growing interest in flipping luxury homes and the flippers love to find homes that have been sitting empty creating negative cash flow for the owners; they step in and offer a quick cash out at heavy discounts, don’t let that happen.
Do not hire a Realtor to list your home, hire a Realtor to sell your home. Listing you home includes putting a sign in your yard, a listing in the MLS, and all the paperwork involved in the listing and closing, and handling any negotiations required. This is usually sufficient for a non-luxury home. In the luxury market, there are more sellers that there are buyers, in this market the better salesman wins if the products are comparable. Often when a buyer’s agent brings a potential buyer to your home they access the key to your front door through an electronic lock box that your Realtor place on your door. Your Realtor needs to open the door for them, they need to be there to sell your home. They know the features, amenities and benefits of your home the buyer’s agent has probably never been in your home, they don’t represent your interests. If your agent can’t or won’t represent your interests at every showing you need another agent. How would you feel if you went into a Ferrari dealership and there was no one there to show you the car; just look and make an offer. 5% X $1,000,000 = $50,000
The Bottom Line
A luxury home requires extra work to elevate the marketing and presentation of the home so buyers come to the home and want to make an offer. It also takes a commitment from your Realtor, the advertising, photography, video, promotion, website, brochures, and research costs money. You want a Realtor who believes in their abilities enough to front these costs. If it’s a $1,000,000 home with a 5% commission there’s going to be a $50,000 commission check cut out of your proceeds from the sale but if it doesn’t sell there is no check and your Realtor is out all that they have invested into the process. This is Ok, if you’ve hired a professional business person to represent you they understand their business and the risk and reward involved.
Kerry Grinkmeyer is a real estate agent in Birmingham, AL specializing in the marketing and sales of luxury homes. Kerry's a retired financial advisor, he sold his firm, one of the largest in the Ameriprise Financial Advisor system in 2005 to his son, daughter and nephew. Now he's building one of the largest boutique real estate agencies that he'll eventually sell to his grandchildren. He the author of the children’s book The Christmas Web- A Family Christmas Tradition. Kerry competes in the Senior Olympics in to 50M, 100M and 200M dash as well as the 5k and 10k time trial cycling events.
Kerry offers you his financial background, knowledge of the community, love of business and family and energy to assist you in one of the most important financial decisions you'll make in your lifetime.
205 919 6006