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.
Michael Dreyfus, an agent with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, has been selling ultra-high-net-worth real estate for more than 25 years, so he knows intimately how the industry has changed over time — especially when you’re selling to clients in the top 3 percent of income-earners in the country. “As you move up in price point, you have to have an even more concentrated marketing strategy to reach a smaller pool that you can only find in almost guarded places. You have to get to people who might have a lot of barriers around them; you can’t rely much on mass media, even good mass media.”
Dreyfus will be one of the stars of luxury real estate participating in a roundtable event at Luxury Connect, October 16 through 18 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
To provide top-notch service to that ultra-high-net-worth pool of buyers, Dreyfus says, “you have to really understand the people and their lives in the space. You’re going to deal with more professional consultants than you would at other levels — attorneys, wealth managers, accountants. You have to understand what that means, what their jobs are and what their motivations are; you have to really learn that whole world.”
Don’t miss your opportunity to talk to Dreyfus about how he’s forged a successful real estate strategy at Luxury Connect.
What do you think the luxury agent of the future looks like?
Pretty much like the luxury agent of today with maybe an even bigger territory. I think what’s interesting right now is this is becoming a little bit of a skill set, and that’s becoming more transferable than it was in the past. It’s quite possible that I could start selling homes in Los Angeles because of technology and the success of expertise. So basically, we’re having the best people do more. Markets are seeking better people, and the fact that better people can reach out farther is changing the game.
What do you feel are the challenges facing the luxury market this year?
I’d say up-to-date inventory or adequate inventory — inventory worthy of the price points. Aging infrastructure and homes in premium locations is our problem. If we could supplant those with brand-new places that are awesome, that’d be great, but as it gets more expensive and more of a negative life experience to build and redo places — which it is, every year it gets worse — we have a problem delivering what somebody expects for the money.
What are some of the biggest problems you’ve faced in growing your business?
Scaling, leverage, getting good people to allow me to scale, and to do it well. Too much business, not enough help. Having talent. The other one is cost — cost to deliver what’s required now. On a very simple basis, when I started there was print, then there was the web, then high-def pictures, and now there are drones, augmented reality is next and probably artificial reality after that. Nothing goes away; everything adds on.
How has technology changed your business, and what are you most intrigued by that you’re not currently using?
It’s all about productivity. The ability to do more just ramps up every year on a very simple anecdotal level; it’s really weird to think back about how I don’t put people in my car like I used to 20 years ago, and drive them around. They come already knowing the property, they have a huge depth of knowledge when they show up. It’s a time-saver and it makes the business more pure, being a consultant rather than a door-opener on simple terms.
The technology that I’m not using yet that intrigues me the most is this augmented reality ability to see homes in new states. I just started using the app that allows you to put furniture around the homes, that’s out there and coming — an architect can show you a home and start moving things around and playing with it. That technology is going to be really awesome.
What’s the question you hear most from your clients? And what’s your answer to them?
“Am I doing something stupid?” When you’re dealing with ultra-high-net-worth homes, and value is speculative at best, and the buyer has the wherewithal to pay whatever, kind of, that’s the question. They want me to be a gut check on what’s going on, and that’s lots of times how it gets expressed. Often the answer is “no” because the question often comes at the very end of all the work we’ve done, and obviously it probably comes because they’re paying some sort of new price — or it can come in a really bad market when no one’s buying. If we’re that far down the road and that’s their last question, 99 percent of the time we know we’re there, we’ve done the work, and it’s just a final gut check to make sure they’re not doing something out of pure desire, and there’s some logical check on it.
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.