“Luxury homebuyers aren’t like other buyers,” says Jim Remley. “You don’t find them in the same markets, or sell to them the same way you would other homebuyers.”
Remley would know. At age 19 he listed over 150 properties in a 12-month period and is listed as one of the top 1 percent of REALTORS® nationwide. Now, Remley is the author of three books, including Real Estate Presentations That Make Millions. He writes weekly for Realty Times and Broker Agent News and has an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist designation. What Remley knows best is how to market luxury properties. He shared his expertise in a recent webinar, “Marketing Luxury Homes,” talking about everything from building buzz, invitation-only open houses to best places to list luxury properties.
Luxury home sales are on the rise, with sales expanding across the country. According to Remley, “The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently put out a study showing there’s actually been a double-digit increase in the sales of homes listed at $750,000.”
However, these aren’t your average homebuyers. They see themselves as unique, special and exclusive, and they expect to be treated that way. Because of their wealth they’re often skeptical of people’s intentions, so they tend to go to friends, neighbors and business partners they trust to find out where to live, what to buy and who to buy from.
Yes, we all do that, but the affluent do it more so because they really don’t trust the mass media. They’re also drawn to things like private showings or open houses that are invitation-only and include almost a party vibe at a showing, with finer touches like wine, food, and live music. They’re primarily emotional buyers who don’t just want a great home, but a great home with great features.
What’s the Best Way to Market a Luxury Listing?
“Thirty-eight percent of the agents we poll tell us their number-one method of marketing a luxury home is through ‘social marketing,’” says Remley. “That means they reach out to their colleagues, network and even competitors to locate affluent buyers.” Once you catch potential buyers’ attention, keep in mind that these luxury buyers love ultra-exclusivity. Remley suggests creating a branded, property specific luxury home book for each of your luxury listings to distribute to higher-end clients. Use professionally produced, full-color photographs that show off the home’s interior and exterior. This powerful approach creates ultra-exclusivity for the buyer.
In addition to this, it’s important to tap into the emotions of potential buyers. People are willing to spend millions on a home because of the way it makes them feel. All of your marketing should be directed towards making them feel good about the property. To do this, use ads that focus on benefits of the features. For example, rather than saying, “This home has a great deck,” consider something like, “Couldn’t you see yourself hosting a great graduation party for your kids on this deck?” Engage buyers emotionally so they can connect with the home and imagine their future in it.
Build ‘Buzz’ around Your Luxury Listings
We all have networks, or what we call our ‘sphere of influence.’ Among our connections are what Remley calls, network hubs—people who are more socially engaged than others. These connections are social machines. There are three levels of network hubs to target to help build buzz about a listing:
Network Hub: People who are active at work and volunteer in their community. Oddly enough, people most likely to become millionaires are volunteers first.
Mega Hubs: These are people who are really visible, like reporters, CEOs, celebrities and people with high visibility
Social Hub: These are people who are leading a social group, either at their church or Rotary Group, or some community group.
Identify these social network hub people by using the acronym ACTIVE:
A: Ahead in adoption of new ideas, technology etc.
C: Connected to the community — they volunteer, show up and engage with people.
T: Travelers — they move around the community, area a lot and connect with others.
I: Information hungry — they’re always curious and asking questions.
V: Vocal in their opinions — they’re outspoken, not wallflowers.
E: Exposed to the media — they keep up with the news and what’s happening around them.
While you might be eager to build buzz, take your time and remember these simple rules from Remley:
Keep it short and concise. Don’t ramble on. Mention the listing and move on.
Use the focus feature. The focus feature should be buzz-worthy. What is the most remarkable feature of the home? It may be an architectural feature, a layout, a view, or a specific room, but it should generate interest and curiosity in the listener. However, keep in mind that the focus feature doesn’t always have to be physical. Did Frank Lloyd Wright design the house? Did a famous author live there? These could also be focus features to help sell the home.
Don’t oversell the home. People don’t want to feel pressured to push your listings. If you oversell, people shut down and don’t want to hear about it.
Ask their opinion. People like to be considered experts and to contribute their thoughts. They’re more likely to share the information if they’ve been a part of the conversation.