In today’s age of technology, the online resources available to sell a home are endless. One of the most prominent websites of the last decade is Zillow, which in some markets offers to buy your house directly for cash, but there are countless websites promoting the “best new tools” to successfully sell a property.
So with all those resources, why are the majority of luxury properties still sold by real estate agents? And why does it seem it is always the same few agents who handle the luxury market?
The answer is simple: The key to selling luxury is often kept a secret because the process is part art and part science. It’s not standardized and not a result of a repetitive system with a one-size-fits-all, plug-and-play concept.
What is the definition of luxury property?
In large metropolitan areas, luxury properties typically make up a small segment of the overall real estate market. The generic categorization of luxury would be any property above grade to the rest of the market, with high-end finishes, architecture and property design.
In mountain areas, which is where I sell real estate, there is a prevalence of second homes with mountainside access, and luxury homes can make up as much as 30% to 50% of the market, in my experience. A luxury mountain property is typically built on a lot with premium and exclusive views, with amenities “at a glance” and offering total harmony with nature. The property flows in a way that relaxes and energizes those who live in it and is configured to create immediate harmony with both owners and guests.
Who is the buyer of luxury property?
Typically, luxury property buyers are experienced real estate purchasers, and the purchase is largely about their wants, rather than their needs. There is a desire to feel a connection with the property, for a certain lifestyle and design. Buyers look for elements that work with their daily routines, from the first steps of waking up in the morning to the overall flow of the days to come.
So, how do we sell luxury and what is the ‘secret’ to success?
Many of us in the business like to call it “the story.” When real estate agents market luxury properties, we work closely with the sellers to analyze and understand their habits, how their life looks in such a property, and what made them fall in love with the property or build it in such a way. No detail is left behind in understanding the psychology of the seller’s relationship with the property and their life in it.
In other words, the most important thing to understand is the space itself and the story behind it, because a luxury property buyer cares about the story as well as the numbers. The secret is in asking the right questions and listening carefully to the stories of the seller and the buyer. Once the space and the story are clear, marketing is the tool for storytelling — and specifically, targeting those who will be a great fit to purchase the property.
One of the most successful tools to writing the property story is cinematic video. Video advertisements for real estate have been around for years, but there has been a shift in what makes them effective and what makes individuals react to them.
The key ingredient to some of the most effective marketing videos is the human presence — using actors to transmit something that is unique to people, which is seeing things from another person’s perspective. Build a storyline based on a script of information collected in the discovery process with the current seller and the trends of the moment. Seasons have a big impact, and everything should be tailored to the current video of the listing.
The video should capture what it is like to be in the property without really being in the property. Seeing a person wake up and walk to the patio to look out at the view and take in a breath of fresh air connects with the luxury buyer. The typical stale, empty pictures of the property or plain video are fine, but they’re not as stimulating and do not allow for the purchaser to create an instant connection. Video is unequivocally one of the most effective tools to tell the story of the property.
This is where it is all part art and part science. We know the science behind a home search — we know where the buyers are coming from, who is looking and at exactly which properties. The art and the ultimate success in selling luxury properties happens when the buyers feel the connection to the property through storytelling. The best storytelling captures the imagination of the buyer and connects the buyer to the land, views and overall feeling of life in the property, all before the buyer sets foot into the home.
That is the beauty and design of luxury property storytelling.
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