What are luxury home buyers looking for?

Why do some luxury homes sell and others just linger on the market?  This question can't be answered in one word, it can depend on a number is issues.

The first possibility is location.  This is easily seen in Birmingham: while 93 luxury homes in Mountain Brook sold, on average, in 38 days over the past year, 8 luxury homes in Liberty Park sold in an average of 106 days and 14 luxury homes sold in Greystone in an average of 149 days.  The 93 homes in Mountain Brook sold at an average of $278 per square foot, while homes in Liberty Park sold for $174 and in Greystone $173 per square foot. You can see that location has a very strong influence on all aspects of sale of luxury homes.

The second and more controllable reason is presentation.  The first thing a luxury home seller must realize is that more than likely your buyer will be half your age and their tastes are different than yours, they have many homes to choose from, and they don't want to do any updating themselves. Often both husband and wife work, they've never worked with contractors and they don't want to have to learn how; they fear having to travel that road.

Over the past year Best of US Homes has developed its own Predictive Analytics Program to determine what sells and what doesn't sell.  We then compare our findings to those of a Trulia which scanned over 5.7 million listings to determine what needs to be present to achieve least days on the market and sale price closest to asking price.

We wanted to be able to advise our clients what they need to do to dress their luxury home to make sure it's in the sell column rather that the expired listing column, while giving them the highest return on investment.

So how does your house measure up? Here are the most popular design features, according to our analysis:

#1. Quartz countertops are more popular than marble, granite or anything else.

Quartz is more durable won't stain and is less likely to scratch.  Make it a light color so that you have a bright kitchen even if you don't have natural light.


#2. Soaking tubs are more popular than claw-foot.

Both are luxurious additions to any bath, but soaking tubs are deeper and tend to lean more modern. You want to make your master bath look like a resort hotel bathroom even the tub may seldom be used.

#3. Hardwood floors are more popular than carpet.

Wall to wall carpet may feel better on your feet on a cold winter night but put in the hardwoods the room will look larger and an oriental rug can give you those warm floors.

#4. White cabinets are more popular than dark cabinets.

White, light grey, or beige with silver pulls will make any kitchen bright and warm.  Women buy kitchens.  I know you love your natural wood cabinets and your you believe they're coming back but the house down the street painted theirs and it sold.

#5. Subway tile is more popular than basket-weave.

Basket-weave is a color commitment which leads to color conflict, you want your house to be a white canvas that the new owner can create their own painting.

#6. Pendants lighting

Remove several of the recessed light canisters over the kitchen island and install pendant lights, they'll give your kitchen an inviting "I want to eat my breakfast here feel."

#7. Bay windows are more popular than floor-to-ceiling.

This is not an easy add-on but if you've got them flaunt them.  Dress them as where you take a nap, read a book, eat dinner, and look out at the rolling hills?

#8. Gas stovetops are more popular than electric.

If your home was built in the 1990's you probably have an electric stove, get rid of it and get gas with the big grates and preferably a Wolf Range.

#9.  Stainless Steel Appliances

This is a must, enough said.

# 10. Privacy

A deck and or patio is part of most luxury homes, a pool and a golf course lot are part of many but your buyer is going to want privacy.  This can be achieved through thoughtful landscaping which can also add color and more luxury.

Make the Upgrades or Lower the Price? The natural tendency is to say let them offer a lower price and do these upgrades for themselves.  If you follow this strategy you've got a long road ahead. Let me put it this way, would you buy a used car and then take on upgrading the exhaust system, have it painted, upgrade the radio, and have Bluetooth installed.  Probable not, you wouldn't want the hassle and there are plenty of used cars out there that you can buy with what you want.  It's currently the same in the used luxury home market as a result of the Baby Boomer Sell-Off.

The third possibility is price.  This is also in your control. Your home is worth what the market will pay for it and this can be easily predicted from data from past sales in your neighborhood.  Most sellers start with what they paid for the house add the cost of any improvements and how much they feel the house has appreciated to determine the asking price. Depending on economic factors, particularly the market conditions when you purchased, or the current trending of the neighborhood, your home might be worth less than what you paid for the house, the market will tell you.

The key is to have a firm understand of your neighborhood real estate market; what the buyers are looking for, who and what you're competing with and then develop a plan to market your home.  Current technology is your friend, use the Internet (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, Zillow), use professional photography and video to present you home to potential buyers, email a copy of you homes video to all your friends, members of your club or church.  You're marketing a product, it just happens to be your home.



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