Join the exceptional and become a Sotheby's International Realty agent.
Luxury real estate clients have exacting standards when it comes to architecture and aesthetics, location and lifestyle—so it’s only natural that they have lofty expectations of their agents as well. Often, this selectiveness seems intuitive; the client can’t necessarily articulate what they’re looking for in an agent, but they can sense a top agent when they meet one.
Having spent over two decades working with buyers and sellers at the top of the market, I’ve made a point of understanding what qualities these clients value—knowingly or unknowingly—when vetting agents. I’ve found that there are four particular qualities that stand out:
- Clients care about an agent’s history of well-positioned and well-marketed sales.]
- They believe their agent should be accessible when the market requires it—and if that means reaching them after hours or on weekends, so be it.
- Clients want to see good—or better yet, great—branding and an extensive global network, so that buyers can discover their dream home, and sellers can connect with the right buyers.
- They desire world-class guidance, expertise, and resources to guarantee they’re getting the maximum value out of their deal.
Let’s explore each of these qualities in detail and the advice I’ve given to the agents I mentor and collaborate with.
Your prospective buyers and sellers will take stock of your professional credentials and business acumen, they’ll notice how you market your properties, and they may look into past sales and successes. This makes sense, considering that the smallest mistakes or oversights can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in lost value, or legal issues later on, when transactions are of this magnitude.
Personally, I always want my clients to be able to trust my judgment implicitly and recognize my credibility immediately. That’s partially what motivated me to become a certified member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, as well as one of the three percent of real estate professionals nationwide who hold a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation for outstanding professional achievement.
I therefore encourage agents to take advantage of whatever training, mentorship, and professional development their offices or brokerages offer them, as well as opportunities to earn relevant industry credentials. Align with a reputable agency that supports you in these endeavors.
Passion is so important. If clients can see that you’re personally invested in your work—and in their success—then they will want to work with you. Having an agent who’s both responsive and responsible is an invaluable asset to any luxury buyer or seller.
I entered this industry because I was naturally passionate about real estate. I wanted to advocate for others, learn about law and finance, and hone my work ethic and attention to detail. As a result, I found the right fit in this field. On occasion, I have encountered brokers who seem to think their job consists of nothing more than opening doors and filling out forms—and that’s a disservice to our entire sector.
Find what excites you in real estate, and follow where it leads. If you specialize in what you love, you’ll attract clients who need the knowledge and skill set you offer. I’ve heard it said that if you do what you love, you will never work another day in your life—and I’m inclined to agree.
Being a member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketers, branding matters to me a great deal. It also matters to potential buyers and sellers—so it should be a priority for you too. Always present your properties in the best possible light by hiring professionals for your staging, photos, and videos. Beyond that, present yourself in the best possible light as well by investing in top-of-the-line marketing materials and optimizing your social channels.
Actively nurture leads and prospects, stay connected with past clients and your referral network, and build professional relationships with colleagues and peers. By doing those things, you’re bringing so much value to your future buyers and sellers in the form of increased reputation and reach.
Having powerful industry insights and analytics at your disposal lets you parse the data, master the market, and deliver exceptional service. I advise agents to partner with a brand that provides leading-edge tools and technologies that can differentiate them in a crowded market. During a recent 30-day closing, I was able to share resources with my clients to help them reposition their credit picture and switch to a more conventional financing option, saving them hundreds of dollars per month.
But I can’t stress this enough—expertise comes from experience. Therefore, it’s critical for agents to continue educating themselves and striving for excellence. Hold yourself to a high standard of integrity, initiative, influence, and innovation, and you’ll find that you easily exceed the standards your clients set for you.
A Top Selling broker in Seattle and the Eastside, Pamela Bellah’s expertise in negotiating Top Selling sales has won her awards and distinctions including the prestigious Certified Residential Specialist certification, awarded to only 3% of Realtors nationwide based upon outstanding sales and specialized training. Pamela is a certified member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, and joined Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty with over 21 years of experience. Pamela attributes her success to her innate skills, education, and specialized training in Luxury Marketing.