The lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Little stone statues at the front of the entryway.
The allure is undeniable.
And for real estate agents, the chance to eat a slice of the luxury pie is an alluring prospect indeed.
...Especially if that slice comes in the form of a 3% commission off of a multi-million dollar listing.
But how does a realtor establish themselves as a luxury agent in the first place?
Well, it’s not easy.
You can obtain a Global Elite™ Certification, for starters.
This will walk you down the path of becoming a legitimate, certified luxury real estate agent.
But regardless, one thing is certain:
To deal with luxury real estate, an agent needs to buckle down.
They can’t just talk the talk.
In order to succeed, an agent needs to walk the walk.
“With the increased level of difficulty comes an increased level of expertise that is required to sell a luxury home.”
So, how do you learn how to walk the walk?
While we’re not agents ourselves, we have some friends who are.
And they just happen to be some of the real estate industry’s top luxury agents.
- Andrew Greenwell, Million Dollar Listing SF
- Justin Fichelson, Million Dollar Listing SF
- Raj Qsar, The Boutique RE
- Kristi Anderson, RE/MAX Excalibur + House Hunters
- RC Atlee, Compass RE
- Olivier Mevellec, Global Elite™
They offered up some excellent advice for anybody who’s itching to break into the luxury market.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Andrew Greenwell, Million Dollar Listing San Francisco
He knows a thing or two about luxury real estate.
After all, he is one of the stars of Million Dollar Listing San Francisco.
But even with his own TV show, he knows that breaking into the luxury market ain’t easy:
As Andrew so delicately puts it:
“People often assume that luxury real estate is really easy. It’s not."
"It’s easier to sell a three bedroom condo or home than it is to sell a 30,000 sq. ft. mansion.”
So how do you break into the luxury market?
Andrew says that to be in luxury, you need to know what the consumers want.
“It doesn’t mean that you need to grow up around that type of clientele. It’s a matter of educating yourself.”
Andrew spends hours reading blogs and articles that his target clientele read.
The takeaway from his research? It’s not so much playing in their league as it is speaking their language.
And he certainly speaks the right language.
Andrew just sold a listing for a mind-boggling $18,000,000.
18 million smackeroos!
But how was Andrew able to sell a $18M property?
Well, we can tell you it wasn’t with your ‘cupcakes and tea sandwiches’ style open house.
Andrew and his team treat every new listing as an event launch.
Some of which boast Cirque Du Soleil trapeze artists.
But some clients don’t even want their home to be listed publicly.
So how do you sell a private luxury listing?
Networking and co-listing.
“Often times, agents get greedy and would rather take on a listing on their own.”
But the clever and luxury-savvy Andrew left us with one golden tidbit with respect to co-listing, one that spoke volumes:
“Half of a lot is more than a lot of nothing.”
Well said, Mr. Greenwell. Well said!
- To break into the luxury market, co-list / co-market a listing wherever possible.
- Don’t be greedy! (Remember: half of a lot is more than a lot of nothing.)
2. Justin Fichelson, Million Dollar Listing San Francisco
Justin is another one of the luxury agents on Million Dollar Listing San Francisco.
Growing up in a San Francisco Edwardian-style home, Justin was always drawn to luxury real estate.
And who wouldn’t be?
With $47,000,000 listings coming his way, why would any agent move?
Listen to what he has to say:
This is Justin’s first tip:
“The real estate you’re going to attract will come out of your network.”
Justin’s second tip?
“Network with private lenders and bankers.”
Bet you didn’t think of that one, did you?
There’s always a chance that banks can refer you to the buyers in the market for luxury homes.
But even with all of Justin’s success, he still finds challenges.
Justin has a new listing in a marketplace where he hasn’t listed as many luxury homes.
What’s Justin to do?
“I currently have a listing coming up for $10,000,000 in Marin [California].”
“I know by co-listing with an established agent in that market, they will send me referrals in San Francisco since it’s not in their marketplace.”
Did you catch that?
Co-listing doesn’t mean less money for you now, it means more money for you down the line.
- Network with the types of clientele you want to attract.
- Reach out to private lenders and bankers.
- Co-list / co-market when trying to break into a new market.
- Always do a good job - referrals are ripe for the pickins when you do your job well.
3. Raj Qsar, Boutique RE
Raj is an established luxury agent in Southern California.
He broke into the luxury market by differentiating himself as a real estate marketing powerhouse.
“I wanted all of my marketing pieces to look a little bit differently from everyone else in my market.”
Raj looks at each of his marketing pieces as if he worked at an ad agency or marketing firm.
Turns out that having an eye for details pays off.
After sending his first mail out, the leads flooded in.
Raj was able to land and sell his first listing for $2,000,000.00.
Not too shabby!
When Raj wants to break into a new community, he gets out of the office and makes a temporary home in local coffee shops.
Inman Select also took note of this.
They featured Raj in an article that talks all about it.
“They’re recognizing me as an agent where they spend their time.”
We asked Raj what sort of luxury listings come his way.
You know what he said?
He told us all about an absolutely gorgeous listing he recently had for… (wait for it)… a mere $20,000,000.
But for $20M, you’re not just getting a piece of real estate, you’re buying your own sanctuary.
The home comes fully loaded, and we do mean FULLY loaded.
With features like 10,000 sq. ft, beautiful ocean views, a 2,000 bottle wine cellar and a full recording studio to name a few.
Watch this listing video to get a closer look:
4. Kristi Anderson, RE/MAX Excalibur
Kristi Anderson got her first luxury listing by proving her worth at a previous job.
After receiving good reviews from her first listing, she landed a spot on an HGTV’s hit show.
I believe you may have heard of it.
It’s called House Hunters.
Take a look:
After talking to Kristi, we were dying to know what was the most extravagant home Kristi had sold.
Here’s what she said:
It was a 8,900 sq. ft. $6,000,000 home perched up along the side of a mountain.
One of the bedrooms even had a customized fibre optics system affixed to the ceiling, so when the lights were turned off it would feel as though you were sleeping under a blanket of stars.
Now that’s class!
But here’s the reality:
How does an agent find the clients who are in need of 8,000 sq. ft. and who have a desire to sleep under a blanket of stars from the comfort of a California king-sized bed?
This may be hard to believe.
But luxury clients aren’t buying the home itself.
They’re more interested in buying into the agent who is selling the home.
(Online reviews go a long way.)
And it’s a matter of knowing the product.
“If I have a buyer who is interested in fibre optics affixed to the roof, I’d better be sure to know the name of company who produces those fibre optics and know its specs.”
Kristi’s expert tip on how to break into luxury?
Get a professional luxury certification.
Such as Global Elite™.
After all, image is everything in the high-end world.
5. RC Atlee, Compass RE
RC is a luxury agent in Hamptons, NY.
But it wasn’t always this way.
His rise to luxury is a fascinating story to listen to.
Here it is:
We’ve always heard about the Hamptons.
A place for the elite.
Where pastel-coloured shirts and khakis set the scene.
We couldn’t wait to hear what RC had to say about some of the homes he’s listed!
“One of my listings had its own bowling alley, a ballroom, extensive servants quarters and an entire corporate headquarters in a converted barn on the property.”
He even had another home with its own speakeasy in the catacomb basement.
(It had been built during the prohibition of the 1920s when alcohol was a no-no.)
But we were wondering one thing.
How does an agent find the clients to show a home with its own built-in corporate headquarters?
Content is key.
Working in marketing, RC knows the value of writing high-quality content for local publications.
Most local media outlets are under-resourced and are in need of good content.
“If you can come up with that good high-end content, then you’ve already got yourself a competitive edge.”
Another one of RC’s tips?
“Especially at the high-end, you may become something of caretaker or source for help.”
- Come up with unique content for unique listings
- Build trust with your clientele
6. Olivier Mevellec, Global Elite
What does a former professional European PGA tour golfer and a real estate coach have in common?
He was able to combine his network of country club folk and his love for real estate to help break into the luxury real estate.
And it certainly worked out.
Olivier’s first listing came from a friend located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
But at the time, Olivier was an agent in Dallas.
Are you wondering how Olivier was able to land a listing in one state, while licensed in another?
Hm, we were also quite curious.
So we asked him!
The answer was simple.
A professional luxury certification.
In fact, he actually went and developed the program in the first place!
It’s called Global Elite™.
(Previously known as the Global Marketing Certification™.)
It’s with this professional certification program that Olivier was able to sell a listing outside of his own marketplace.
But what else was Olivier able to do with Global Elite™?
Well here’s something:
He sold a castle in Scotland for $27M.
There you have it.
There are many reasons for an agent to jump into the luxury market.
But the path is not an easy one.
There are just as many obstacles as incentives.
...And there is one glaring obstacle that stands out above the rest:
- In order for an agent to obtain a high-end listing, they need to have already sold one.
It’s a catch 22.
And it makes sense!
A luxury seller simply won’t trust an agent who doesn’t have any prior experience with luxury properties.
After all, luxury home shoppers have multiple concerns they need to worry about.
And an under-qualified agent is not worth their effort.
So what if an agent hasn’t sold one before?
How do they get started?
This is how:
This is the single best way for an agent to break into the luxury market.
If you can team up with a current luxury agent and co-list one of their properties, then you will add that luxury property to your empty portfolio.
It’s as simple as that.
And the more you do this, the stronger your luxury portfolio will become.
However, there is one tiny little problem:
How the heck do you find a luxury agent to co-list a property with you!?
That’s the rub.
And that’s precisely why the Global Elite™ Certification was created.
What is Global Elite?
It is a professional certification program designed to help real estate agents break into luxury real estate from scratch.
But there are many other benefits as well.
(Not least of which is access to an exclusive network of luxury agents with whom you can network.)