This summer we’re looking at the state of the luxury agent & broker in today’s increasingly complex real estate market. In October, we’ll gather in Beverly Hills at Luxury Connect to share best practices, network, and create blueprint for the luxury agent/broker of tomorrow. Don’t miss it.
Rayni Williams, who owns and operates the Williams & Williams Estates Group real estate team alongside her husband, Branden Williams, has the team’s luxury social media game on point. “We try to target whatever it is that is going on that day or that week — because real estate is so busy, we usually have something to talk about,” she explained. But before they were quite so busy, they leveraged artistic inspirations, notable architectural buildings and more “evergreen” content to bulk up their feed on Instagram and elsewhere.
She’ll be participating in a “Meet Luxury Real Estate Winners” roundtable discussion as well as talking about how to retain a connection through a transaction using social media; it’s all happening at Luxury Connect, October 16 through 18 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Sometimes, she’s learned, popularity on social media can backfire. “We had a private event that got shut down,” she disclosed, because an overwhelming number of people saw the event on social media and decided to show up in the hopes that they could get in. “We had 400 people arrive in two hours. It was a good litmus test.”
In addition to interactive content — asking followers which living room they prefer, for example — Rayni Williams says that they’ve been getting a lot of traction out of Stories on Instagram, which often get better engagement than the posts themselves.
Read on to hear about Rayni Williams’ take on the state of luxury real estate today — and don’t forget to snag your tickets to see her in person at Luxury Connect.
What do you think the luxury agent of the future looks like?
I think the luxury agent of the future — it always looks the same, but as technology changes, you have to be on the forefront. In other words, you always have to be the local specialist, you always have to be the know-it-all, know who’s dying, divorcing, in debt, and where the disasters are. That’s being a specialist. Then you have to be ahead of each and every technological change that hits. Each time the MLS changes you have to be able to run it, deliver comps, do analyses, be on the forefront of — first it was Twitter, then Snapchat, then Instagram. You’ve got to be on it, there’s no way around it.
At the point that we are with luxury, all of us in the room, we are in a day and age where we have to be self-educated because we’re all out of school and if you’re working in real estate, you don’t have time to go back and take a computer class, it’s just jump in and learn hands-on. It’s also knowing that a computer can’t do what a human can, you have to recognize that. Otherwise we will be taken out by computers. It’s why the human touch, the emotional grab, why that’s so valuable. If you start only text messaging your clients, forget to send a Christmas card, forget the chocolates, forget the housewarming gift, you can be replaced by a computer.
What do you feel are the challenges facing the luxury market this year?
Politics, uncertainty caused by politics, uncertainty caused by foreign markets and raising the interest rates. There’s just uncertainty. And if the market were to collapse — I think the thing that we have going for us is it was a steadfast incline this time and it’s sustainable in California, it’s sustainable in prime areas because there have never been more billionaires, there have never been more hundred millionaires, and they all want homes around the world that they frequent. Even if they’re there for two months out of the year, they’d rather own a villa than stay at a hotel because they want what they want. And if they feel that they might retire or their kids might go to college there, they feel it’s a tangible asset that they’re not going to lose on, they will buy.
That’s what will always drive our market — the best weather in the world, every market from tech to Hollywood and everywhere in between. So if the market drops down, I’m not saying we’re bulletproof, but we’re certainly recession-proof.
What are some of the biggest problems you’ve faced in growing your business?
Staffing it is very hard. Finding employees who can complement you, support you, and work with you and not against you. I think it took us a good six or seven years to find our real crew, and we have it now, but it takes time to find people that you can trust.
How has technology changed your business, and what are you most intrigued by that you’re not currently using?
We’re using everything. We’re all testing out everything, and then we tailor-make everything so that we have a hand in everything. We’ve been doing 4D for a while now, our clients can come and put on a headset and look at renderings through a 4D process that makes them feel like they’re walking through a done space. It’s the touch and feel that’s lacking. A virtual experience doesn’t take away from stopping into your favorite store and seeing your latest Italian imports, touching and feeling it and saying “I have to have it.”
What’s the question you hear most from your clients? And what’s your answer to them?
Am I going to get stuck with this property if the market drops? I answer it by saying, “If the market drops, we won’t be down for long, you’re in the best city in the world, and the best thing in the world is to hold your real estate.” I have a motto, if you don’t have to sell, don’t sell, because holding is how you really accrue wealth and building people’s portfolios is what I’ve specialized in as well as letting them buy smart. I never let somebody buy in a bad area or buy something they can’t get out of.
So I say, “I’m always going to protect you where that’s concerned, but the market is cyclical, it can fluctuate, and when that happens you have to be prepared to hold.” It’s a 10-year cycle so we’re probably approaching a downtick, but because we didn’t stay down for long the last time, everyone wishes they had bought 10 or 20 years ago.
Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy those tickets together too. Just contact us to find out more.\