Inman Luxury Connect, which took place this week in Beverly Hills, was jam-packed with tips for cracking into the most exclusive parts of the real estate world — and debates about the current state of the industry. Here are the headlines and some of the most interesting news:
Two high-powered real estate agents said Wednesday that they like multiple listing services, but prefer to have freedom when it comes to marketing and don’t want to be “treated like children” — comments which allude to an ongoing policy debate about off-market listings.
Audie Chamberlain highlighted how a successful media strategy can significantly boost the profile of a property and, perhaps more significantly, an agent. And, of course, a higher profile should translate into more business.
Husband-and-wife duo Branden Williams and Rayni Williams explained that one of the keys to their success was consistently investing in their own business. They took out ads, bought the right vehicle and consistently invested their commissions in their business. And that allowed them to build a successful business.
Younger luxury buyers may have made their fortunes in technology IPOs or acquisitions, meaning their personal networks are very different from what old-money buyers bring to the table. And that means they end up connecting to agents via unconventional forums like blogs or review websites such as Yelp.
Krystal Aeby, chief marketing officer of Concierge Auctions, spoke Wednesday afternoon about the benefits of selling luxury homes via auctions in addition to listing them on a more traditional market. For starters, Aeby said, homes spend significantly less time on the market.
Mauricio Umansky, founder of boutique luxury brokerage The Agency, believes that art of genuine communication is dying, and it’s up to real estate agents to keep it alive or lose ground to disruptive real estate tech companies pushing things like iBuying.
When David Parnes and James Harris wanted to get into real estate years ago, they didn’t have a track record, contacts or anything else that agents typically need to succeed. But today, Parnes is a director at the famed luxury brokerage The Agency. He also appears on the realty TV show Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and said Wednesday that he and Harris have a portfolio of listed and coming-soon homes worth $1.5 billion. Door-knocking was a foundation for that success.
Jon Krabbe, founder of digital marketing firm Agent Image, advised agents to use their social media to “humanize” themselves. They can do that by posting about their passions, rather than just photos of listings they’re trying to sell. Or, Krabbe suggested, agents can focus on their communities. Either way, though, real estate professionals need to think of their social media as building a holistic brand rather than as a platform for simple advertising.
Gary Gold, who famously sold the Playboy Mansion a few years back, and other panelists offered tips for overcoming one of agents’ bigger challenges: giving sellers realistic expectations about what kind of experience they’ll have while their home is on the market.
Gold specifically explained that he tells his clients to think of what they believe their home ought to sell for, then he delivers the kicker: “Now take off 15 percent.”
Nikki Field, a team leader at Sotheby’s International Realty in New York, said that prices for luxury properties are down and international buyers have largely disappeared of late. But Field ultimately had an upbeat message.
“The luxury market is doing just fine,” she said.
Brad Inman kicked off the gathering by saying that the only certain thing in real estate these days is uncertainty. But to succeed, agents — particularly those who work at the luxury end of the market — need to be “smarter than the internet.”
Experts said that staging has lately become a “top priority.” They also said that video marketing is increasingly important for luxury properties and can be useful for telling a story about a particular property.