The highest end of the luxury real estate market has long been the domain of a very few, well-connected brokers. However, now that the wealthiest buyers are out and looking again, some mainstream real estate firms hope to make $3 million-plus transactions a bigger part of their business.
Top brokers agree that success at the high end goes to those who can bring maximum value-add to their relationship with the client, in terms of information, service, and marketing know-how. Global reach, exhaustive market knowledge, and canny use of both electronic and print media are vital. Persistence is indispensable. Above all, connections count. The more access you have to the affluent buyer/seller, the more business you’ll do.
“The luxury market is very different from 20 years ago, when you could assume that your buyers would be coming from within a few miles,” says Alain Pinel, senior vice president/general manager of Intero Prestigio International in Menlo Park, Calif. “Now, buyers can—and do—come from anywhere, and they can buy anywhere. If they want something here, they’ll be open to the idea of buying on an island or on the Riviera.
“If you ask 100 brokers, ‘Are you able to reach the market globally?’ most will say yes, but in fact maybe just two of any hundred really have the means,” Pinel continues. “Putting properties on Zillow or Trulia isn’t enough; making your website accessible to anyone all the time isn’t enough. Those aren’t the media your target buyers are looking at. You have to use special newspapers with continent-specific editions, special magazines, etc., and you must be a member of a substantial global marketing network. If you don’t have this, you’re out of luck.”