Luxury Real Estate Marketing

If you’re a real estate agent, the reason for wanting to focus on luxury real estate is straightforward: higher sales prices bring higher commissions. But how to go about it? The rich, as they say, are different, and to reach them you’ll need a different marketing approach.

If you’re a real estate agent, the reason for wanting to focus on luxury real estate is straightforward: higher sales prices bring higher commissions. But how to go about it? The rich, as they say, are different, and to reach them you’ll need a different marketing approach. Indeed, you’ll need to ingrain luxury real estate marketing into every part of your business.

Forget Mass Marketing

No advertising on bus benches, grocery carts, taxicabs, the pennysaver… forget it.  These are rarely that effective with getting any clients, much less high end clients.

Get a Designation

Yes, designations are a touchy subject within the industry. But here’s why you need one in this case: potential sellers are going to ask you if you’ve sold high end real estate before. They didn’t get rich by not doing their homework, after all. If you’ve never sold luxury real estate, this can make for an awkward answer. One workaround is to go out and earn a luxury marketing designation such as “Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate” or a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.  Aside from providing training, these allow you to smooth over your initial lack of experience by showing them your credentials instead. Your brokerage may also have a high end designation, which you should really make an effort to get.

Upgrade Your Luxury Real Estate Marketing For All Listings

Before you can land a high end client’s listing, you’ll need your marketing to speak for you. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a fully custom website, letterhead, etc… but you do need a unified, high end image present through all your marketing.  One way to get started with this is to create a single property website for all your listings. This provides you with an elegant image that you can consistently broadcast to Trulia, Zillow, craigslist, email flyers, print flyers, Facebook and more.

You’ll also want a professional photo of you in formal business attire (or at least something elegant and stylish if you prefer more casual).

Now For The Obvious: Get In Front of High Net Worth Individuals

Now that you’ve got a little credibility and marketing to match, it’s time for the hard part. There are three ways I know of to market to wealthy people:

  • Network at high end events, organizations, and gatherings
  • Identify and intensively farm a small, high end neighborhood
  • Create a highly focused advertising campaign targeted towards luxury real estate magazines, sponsorships, etc.

Networking…

The first one is the most obvious, and is great for born networkers. It also doesn’t necessarily require you to be wealthy, but it does require careful selection of what events/ organizations to join.  It may seem cynical, but different non-profit groups have different mixes of volunteers. If you volunteer, you should be doing it for the right reasons. If you already are, then there’s no harm in also identifying one that could help your business. One way to find these is to subscribe to your city’s “society magazine” or something similar, then look at the photos of socialites/ parties/ etc. In the caption, you’ll see that they’re almost always raising money for a charity. Look for the charity that they’re donating to, and see if it pops up more than once. If it does, it may be a good place to consider. I’m starting to feel a bit cynical myself talking about this, so we’ll move on to my preferred method and the one that I use…

Farming…

This is my preferred method. Luxury real estate sellers want the same thing as all sellers: a smooth selling process and the best price for their home.  I won my first luxury real estate listing through the following method:

In my market, there are several high end luxury condominium buildings such as the Ritz Carlton Residences, St. Regis, and others. I put information about these buildings on my website/blog, then I sent out  a targeted mailing to owners in these buildings. I created password protected “private owner’s sections” where they could review sales data, current listings, and more. They needed to contact me to request the password, which was the start of the conversation.

Marketing…

I don’t recommend this, simply because it’s incredibly expensive to make it work. The general rule of thumb I’ve heard for advertising is that you need to do it consistently for at least six months. If you’re putting a half page ad in a luxury real estate glossy magazine, this is going to get pricey. I believe you’re better served to put that money into your personal brand, and your listing marketing, so that when you do come across high end clients you’ll have the credibility you need.

Flickr photo from Uggboy