The 3 most common questions luxury sellers ask

How to best address the top concerns of the high-end home seller

Today’s luxury consumers are decisive buyers and connoisseurs of what best suits their lifestyle. They’re also accustomed to receiving faultless service — and this expectation doesn’t change when they switch roles from buyer to seller. When it comes time for them to list their one-of-a-kind homes, your clients will rely on you for expert guidance.

To identify the most pressing considerations luxury home sellers face, we spoke with Michael Dreyfus, President of Silicon Valley for Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty. With over 25 years in residential real estate, he has a firm foundation in how best to respond to the concerns of the luxury home seller.

A committed real estate agent can provide the best counsel to luxury home sellers by anticipating some of their most common questions.

“How do you value a unique house?”

Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty

The high-end home market is anything but run-of-the-mill. What constitutes a “luxury” property can fluctuate depending on location, and it’s important to bring your dynamic knowledge to bear on valuing and listing exclusive or uncommon homes.

“What your money gets you differs dramatically around the country,” notes Dreyfus. “In many communities in the Bay Area, $2,000,000 will buy you a rather standard home. Not luxurious per se, but still a significant buyer.”

Using comps to help price a home is standard practice, but what about a situation where the property in question is one-of-a-kind? This is when a solid understanding of current inventory — at times internationally — coupled with an effective buyer profile can lead you to the right valuation of a high-end listing.

“You must understand the opportunity of the house, its unique attributes, and then estimate the size of the market that would value those attributes and can afford them,” says Dreyfus.

“How do you reach the more limited audience that can afford my house?”

An exceptional house calls for an exceptional buyer — and this is not the buyer readily found via traditional channels.

“Marketing outside of real estate internet sites is much more important to a high-net-worth seller of real estate,” says Dreyfus. “Sellers know this and want to know what your plan is to broaden exposure and attract buyers.”

One of your most powerful tools is your network: your past and present clients, your professional contacts and associates, any firms and brokerages you may be affiliated with. Your clients want to be reassured that you have the connections necessary to spread the word. An active social media presence can also help extend your reach to the right buyers in the right markets.

Also, spare no expense on marketing. Luxury buyers want to see top-quality photography and professional video, as well as an exhaustive list of the features they can enjoy — from architectural details, to appliances and amenities, to local attractions and lifestyle.

“How long will it take to sell my house?”

Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty

Like any seller, a high-end client will want to know how long their home will remain on the market. And Dreyfus sees this as intrinsically linked to their other inquiries.

“All three of these questions are related,” he notes of appraisal, buyer engagement, and selling times. By knowing the value of a home, you can infer the size of its viable buyer pool. “This, in turn, will give you a better estimate of time needed to sell. Fewer buyers, more time.

Of course, when you sell is just as crucial as what you’re selling. “This type of real estate is more vulnerable to market dynamics,” said Dreyfus. “A good communication plan is vital to keep the seller abreast of what is happening with the marketing of their house and the market in general.”

Anticipating the three questions that will undoubtedly come up with any luxury buyer — and being ready to answer them — will give you an edge and go a long way to earning you the trust of your perceptive affluent clients.


About Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.

The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.