What do you think of when you think about luxury real estate? Does it start at $1 million or $5 million? Does it involve certain types of finishes or specific square footage? Is it about the market, amenities or a property niche like waterfront or resort?
Agents who want to start out in or move up to the luxury niche typically end up talking to different brokerages about their brand or their luxury appeal. Often luxury brokerage branding is based on a connection to an auction house, a reputation for high-net-worth clients or an international presence.
For me, luxury has never been about a price point. It’s a level of service that differentiates you as an agent, team or brokerage and naturally allows you to elevate your market and your price point. Here’s how to find and align with a brokerage that can help you make the most of the luxury service you provide.
What classifies a luxury brokerage and a luxury brand?
Some brokerages, like Sotheby’s or Christie’s International, operate primarily in the luxury space. Many others, like Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, are differentiated divisions of a larger franchise company specializing in the luxury market. Many independent brokerages specialize in luxury as well, generally in a specific market or niche.
Most brokerages and most brokerage brands have at least one agent who specializes in luxury properties and clients in their market, but what classifies a brokerage or team brand as specifically geared toward the luxury market? What qualities do the best luxury brands share and what talking points do they lean into when they define their services?
Many luxury brands focus on their international presence. This allows them to appeal to luxury homeowners who want to market their listings to the largest possible audience and to luxury buyers who are seeking luxury properties in any market around the world.
A brokerage doesn’t always have to have its own agents and branches in other countries; many participate in networks that allow them to partner with agents in any market anywhere to assist buyers and sellers.
Top-notch branding and marketing collateral
Generally, luxury branding and marketing collateral are different. See, for instance, the difference between eXp’s general website and the eXp Luxury website: While there are similar elements, you’ll see different colors, a different tone in the copywriting, and different visual elements.
According to eXp Vice President of Growth Amy Weaver, the luxury division strives to craft a “visually striking and modern identity” that’s reflective of its agents and the service they provide. To that end, it’s important to determine whether the brokerage’s branding and marketing resonates with you and your personal branding. If they are very different, you might need to consider whether your individual marketing and branding elements need a luxury overhaul.
Luxury clients, their attorneys and advisers know what they’re looking for and, frequently, have extensively researched your market. They understand the dollar value of the decisions they’re making and the properties they’re viewing. You must operate from a higher level of expertise when you’re working with them.
Collaborative efforts to “refine their expertise alongside top-tier professionals,” said Weaver, is essential for developing luxury-level service. If you’re just starting out in luxury real estate, find an exceptionally skilled mentor or join a successful luxury team and be humble enough to really listen to and learn from them. Even if you’ve been in the business for years, moving into the luxury niche will be a whole new ballgame for you.
If you’re going to be working with a luxury brand, it’s important to determine whether you’re ready and financially able to provide the higher level of service that luxury clients will require. When you’re looking at joining a luxury team, division or brokerage, you should talk to them about what they offer, what they can facilitate, and what is up to you.
For example, if you have clients coming in from another city to look at luxury properties in your area, does your brokerage help in some way with travel arrangements, car service or other ways to streamline their travel and home tours?
If you have a luxury listing, what marketing materials does your brokerage provide? What is considered a typical open house for your brokerage, and do they facilitate catering and event planning to help?
Wherever you decide to hang your license as a luxury agent, it’s worth taking the time to dig deep into what they provide, what they expect and what it will take to be successful in the luxury space. Make sure you’re ready, willing and able to provide a luxury level of service and that your team leader or broker can support you in that goal.