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An Hermès Birkin bag. A Santos de Cartier watch. A Bugatti La Voiture Noire. Luxury buyers place a high value on acquiring the world’s most iconic brands, so it’s only natural they would appreciate an acclaimed name — and the assurance of excellence that goes with it — when making their next great real estate purchase.
American consumers invest deeply and emotionally in global luxury brands, as they promise to deliver the highest rate of return of luxury, prestige, and quality,” explains Gregg Lynn, Real Estate Associate at Sotheby’s International Realty – San Francisco Brokerage. “And similarly, affluent consumers seek exceptional experiences in their homes.”
For years, Lynn has brought the highest caliber of homes to the most elite clientele. The founders and executives of numerous Fortune 100 companies are among his buyers, and he has amassed more than $2 billion worth of sales to date.
As such, he’s consistently ranked among the top real estate professionals in San Francisco. Here, he shares his observations on what buyers desire and delight in when it comes to branded residences.
The secondary home is the new primary home
With the sudden preponderance of virtual and remote work, regions that were once considered second-home vacation markets became primary home markets over a remarkably short period of time.
“This changed our lives in a way that no one could have predicted — including not only where we live, but how we live in our homes,” says Lynn. “During this time, many of our clients purchased branded residences in vacation destinations such as Scottsdale, Maui, or Miami.”
He notes that this shift has long-term ramifications. Clients may wonder whether it’s worth purchasing a downtown condo in a luxury building or branded residence close to the office when they can indulge in comparable amenities while dwelling in a permanent holiday home. Nevertheless, branded residences remain relevant and have a unique value proposition that appeals to many buyers, whether located in an urban center or a vacation retreat.
Living in a five-star hotel full-time, all year long
What do elite clients demand from branded residences? It’s comparable to the white glove service they would expect from a world-class hotel on a luxury getaway. Bearing that in mind, here are three of the top must-haves.
1. Service without a wrinkle
“Buyers seeking branded residences expect their investment to return an extraordinarily high level of hospitality and service,” says Lynn. “Many buyers have previously owned non-branded residences and have been disappointed in the level of service provided. As the value of a global luxury brand can exceed billions of dollars and is always subject to risk, buyers are assured the service will not be compromised.”
2. An abundance of choices
The residence should spare no expense when it comes to amenities, which should surprise and excite even the most well-traveled buyer. But as Lynn notes, what exactly those amenities include will differ depending on the destination.
“In San Francisco, buyers seek bonafide hotel facilities such as fitness centers, pools, dining experiences, rooftop lounges, transportation services, and hotel rooms for guest lodging,” he says.
3. The creative differentiator
When Lynn sold San Francisco’s St. Regis Penthouse for $28 million, he set a record for condo sales that still stands. He recalls one of the reasons why this development is so exceptional.
“The St. Regis Residences offer a professional butler — a creative and anticipatory staff member not tethered to the concierge desk, able to perform errands for residents, such as picking up nearby prescriptions or assisting with small projects in residence,” he says.
Following this example, agents who are introducing their clients to a branded residence should understand the unique value-adds that set it apart.
Is a name-brand residence right for your buyer?
“Branded residences are not necessarily for all consumers,” cautions Lynn, “so always begin by asking open-ended questions. Be certain there is a match between the branded residence offering and the requirements of the buyer.”
And if there is a match, then these homes create a lifestyle like no other. “Branded residences are more fun when shared with friends and family,” says Lynn. “When clients move in and become branded residence advocates, be prepared — there may be referrals in the near future.”
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