Last call for tickets! 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.
Before you decide it’s your destiny to sell luxury real estate, Spyro Kemble — who sells luxury homes in Orange County — advises that you be careful what you wish for and check your bank account. He gives a personal anecdote as an example: “When I was in L.A., everyone wanted to date this socialite, the daughter of Peter Glaze, who was the head guy in Mission Impossible back in the ’70s. We went out on a few dates, and by the third date we both realized it wasn’t going to work — and I blew my entire dating budget before I realized that she wasn’t for me. It’s the same thing with luxury real estate: If somebody gives you a $10 million deal, you might want to consider not taking it because the capital it takes to sell a $10 million listing is a lot more than for a $500,000 listing.”
Kemble will be at Luxury Connect, October 16 through 18 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, discussing ways to prepare yourself for selling luxury real estate; you can hear his tips and advice and then make an educated decision about whether this segment is really for you, and how to elevate your game if you’re already selling high-end real estate.
“Take the ego out of the equation,” Kemble advises. “It’s not about you. What matters is serving the client and closing the deal. You have to have a healthy ego, but it’s really not about you or your ego — it’s about the property and the client.”
To that end, Kemble thinks that the best luxury agents are the ones who are able to get comfortable in the market. “Know your product and your inventory, and be comfortable with the agents who deal in the luxury segment — and be comfortable with the money you have to spend and with the long run of property sales. There is a 2 percent demand for properties priced over $10 million right now.”
Hear more from Kemble at Luxury Connect, October 16 through 18 in Beverly Hills.
What do you think the luxury agent of the future looks like?
Service. You’ve got such a threat right now — not so much in the luxury market but in the low-end market from people like PurpleBricks who are trying to capture market for $3,500 on the listing side, where no agent in the world who’s worth their salt can list a property for $3,500. The threat will come from apps and discount brokers to try to infiltrate a market that’s primarily dominated by good, intelligent, hands-on agents and brokers.
What we have to do is keep our mission statement in front of these sellers and say “you can go to a discount broker — but are you going to get this? Will you have someone who can negotiate on your behalf and who understands the intricacy of a market?”
I saw two properties side-by-side a few years ago. One looked at the ocean and the other looked down at the harbor, there was a $4 million difference. And agents have be able to work with other agents, work well with the people that are in the same market. People have to realize that the other agent is not my enemy, not my rival; we have the same goal. It’s not a matter of proving to your clients how tough you are — you’re a filter for your clients. We need to be careful what information we disseminate. The top 10 percent of agents know each other and work well together.
What do you feel are the challenges facing the luxury market this year?
Slowdown in demand. I think there’s an impasse right now; people are not willing to drop the price to where it should be selling. When you have 400 days of average market time and you don’t have any great incentive, there’s a gap between the demand and supply. The biggest challenge we face is too much inventory in the high-end market.
What are some of the biggest problems you’ve faced in growing your business?
Understanding the market you’re in, investing the capital and the time it needs to be sustainable. Be a concierge of a Realtor; don’t go after volume but go after quality. Make sure you’re available to your clients, make sure you have the capital to sustain yourself where you don’t press your buyers or sellers to act. All you are is somebody who’s supposed to facilitate, not pressure anyone, and I think a lot of people when they first start out, they’re so eager to do the deal that they don’t realize if you don’t put the client in the right property, they’re not going to come back and they’ll be unhappy.
How has technology changed your business, and what are you most intrigued by that you’re not currently using?
It’s a double-edged sword. Technology has been able to enlighten the sellers and buyers on the market, but again, a little bit of knowledge is very dangerous because you’re able to go on to Zillow and get a Zestimate; that Zestimate is probably off by 8 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent by their own admittance. If you’re dealing with a tract home, it’s easy to get an exact estimate; if you’re dealing with a custom home in a high-end market, you can’t count on it to give you an accurate assessment. It’s like me going to webmd.com to get an evaluation of my symptoms; it might be close, but it won’t be exact. To be able to use that number to represent yourself — you can’t.
Technology has been able to move me from a lot of print media to online to be able to market my property, not just in the four corners of Orange County but worldwide. In China I have to do a specialized website, so we employ a Chinese company to do the translating and get our properties in front of a Chinese market. In the past I’ve used a professional video company and professional drone footage. A lot of times I take a quick video fo what I’m doing that day and do Facebook Live. That’s cheap, it doesn’t take any time, and it gets a lot of attention.
There aren’t really any tech tools that I’m not using because we’re dealing with the high end. At the moment I don’t know what I don’t know; we’re rebranding and building a new website in November. I’m a little bit old-school, and I’m learning things about online marketing and what everybody has. That’s why I pay my staff a good cut of my commission, so they can handle it.
What’s the question you hear most from your clients? And what’s your answer to them?
“Do I even respond, and should I counter?” And my philosophy is that — in my younger days I used to be offended by below-market offers that came in, and I used to use the word “we” a lot. First of all, I have nothing to do with this, so why am I offended? It’s not my property. My philosophy since then is, I welcome every below-market offer because you can’t connect the dots until you get the initial dot. You need to have a buyer commit, and even if it’s way below what the client expects, let’s just counter, and even if it takes eight counters, it’s better than saying, “I’m offended by it and I’m not even going to respond.”
The other question I’m being asked a lot, “What about this or that site?” They’re on social media and they see everything online, so we have to educate them on what works and doesn’t work.
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.