In Baltimore, most established luxury agents (there are only a handful) carry listings with massive days on market. They have convinced their sellers that it takes years to find the buyer for their unique properties. Allow me to challenge this notion; you don't have to be distressed to want results in 60 days.
I suspect these aforementioned luxury agents are not well acquainted with the new luxury buyers that have taken up residence in the DC area. Who are these people? Let me introduce you.
Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Regional Information Systems market data for closed transactions at or above the $1,750,000 threshold in the last 90 days show that over 80% of these properties were sold to cash buyers.
The chance that these buyers were born in another country is high. If you are selling luxury real estate and you are not appealing to this demographic you are wasting your time.
If they amassed a fortune and made it to the United States, you can know with certainty this is because they did not think like everybody else. This elite buyer is more frugal than flashy. They may have a Rolls Royce Phantom as well as a beat-up Mercury Contour (true story!). I first started to sell luxury real estate in 2007. During showings I used to look for the high-end luxury cars pulling up in the driveway as a sign of potential buyers. Now I’m looking for the Honda Odyssey. The guy in the Mercedes Benz is not my buyer; it’s the guy in the Odyssey. These properties are huge – you’re looking for the big family to fill the rooms! If there is a Mercedes, I hope it belongs to the agent.
How do you reach this demographic? I don’t really want to give all my trade secrets away. I learned them by working in the auction industry. I could dazzle you here with some really innovative ideas, but you’re going to have to hire me first.
Here’s a hint:If you look up the word “Auction” in the thesaurus, the first synonym is the word “Bargain”.
These buyers aren’t really getting a bargain. Last Spring I was hired to sell a luxury residence outside of Washington DC that had been on the market for several years. At the auction, I had 7 people competing to purchase the property. My seller, unfortunately, choose not to accept the result. Seven weeks following the auction he ended up taking a contract I brought him for over $100,000 less. In this example, the auction buyer (a cash buyer) was due to pay significantly more than our standard buyer. I got to work longer for less income. Do I wish I had pushed my seller harder to accept the auction result? Yes. Some people just have to see what is behind door number two.
What else does it take to reach this demographic and sell luxury real estate in 60 days? A healthy advertising budget and some investment in the result; this may include staging, events, and customized promotional videos.
I’m not kidding about the video. These buyers have a lot of family and friends overseas and they want an easy and exciting way to show them the property they are thinking about buying.
In conclusion, it does not take years to sell a luxury listing. It takes a dynamic plan and a determined agent. If your luxury listing has been on the market for years, you may only be helping your agent sign more deals. Your pretty place has become the bait on their hook to catch more sellers like you. These agents figure if they have enough listings like this, chances are occasionally one will sell. Meanwhile you’re waiting to move on with your life.
It’s time to take a fresh approach to selling luxury real estate in the Baltimore-Washington area. Your property is like none-other, your agent should be too.
Broker / Owner Guerilla Realty and
Vice President Tranzon Fox Auctions
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