9 Tips for Selling a Luxury Home
September 4, 2020
BY Laura Mueller
The real estate market is different when you’re selling a luxury home. If you have a high-end property to sell, everything from how you price it to how you market it has to be optimized for the right buyers. In fact, the higher up you go in the price bracket the more you’re going to have to make carefully chosen moves that appeal to a subset of buyer with a lot to spend and a lot of expectations for what they’ll get.
If this is your first time selling a luxury home, you may be a bit wary about stepping foot into this exclusive market. The more money a house is listed for, the narrower the buyer pool becomes, which means you might have a long road ahead of you. But there is good news: Realtor.com’s luxury home index showed a 25% increase in luxury home sales across the U.S. last summer, with 17 out of 91 luxury markets seeing a 10% price growth increase year-over-year. So while the luxury market might be tough, there’s definitely a lot of action.
Overall market trends are certainly important, but at the end of the day it’s your job as a seller to do the best you can to sell your luxury property—and sell it fast. There are no guarantees in real estate, but there are certainly things that you can do to make your luxury home stand out even more than it already does and rope in the right buyer. Here are nine tips for selling a luxury home that can help you edge out the competition.
1. Work with a realtor who has experience in the luxury market
You’re going to want to be sure to work with someone who has proven experience successfully navigating the luxury real estate market for sellers. All real estate brokers have their specialties, and it’s imperative that yours understands the ins-and-outs of selling a luxury home, particularly when it comes to pricing and advertising.
To find the best realtor for the job, start with your personal network. If you know anyone who has successfully sold a luxury home in your area, ask for a referral—even if that agent isn’t a good fit for you, they might know somebody else who is. In the event that you don’t have somebody you can ask, limit your search solely to luxury real estate groups and be sure to look at their past-sale portfolios and read any reviews that you can find.
2. Bring in a professional stager
One of the most important parts of selling a home is staging the property so that buyers can picture themselves living there. This is especially true in the luxury housing market, where homes are often completely customized to individual tastes. While it’s not necessary to strip your home down to its bones so that a new owner can make it their own, they should be able to see the potential in it and to view the property without being overwhelmed by your own personal style.
Staging your home to sell is a major undertaking and it’s difficult to do on your own, so bring in a professional stager who can guide you through the process. In addition to helping you optimize your home for potential buyers to come through, a stager can also assist you in finding ways to highlight it’s most exclusive features.
3. Find a balance when setting your price
Setting the correct price is one of the trickiest parts of selling a luxury home. Price it too high and you risk letting your home go stale on the market; price it too low and you might end up getting less for it than it’s really worth.
It’s up to you and your realtor to find the happy middle ground and settle on a price that speaks to what your home has to offer and its true value without potentially deterring a large chunk of your buyer pool. The goal is to remain competitive while also getting as much as you can for the property. This again speaks to why it’s so critical to not just work with any real estate agent, but one who has experience pricing and selling luxury homes.
4. When it comes to photos, think quality and quantity
Shoddy photos doesn’t cut it in the standard real estate market, and it’s certainly not going to cut it here. To get potential buyers into your home, you’re going to have to invest in high-quality photos, and lots of it.Your realtor will be able to recommend a photographer for getting the job done right and can oversee the process.
In addition to still photographs, give your listing an extra boost by including videos and a virtual tour of the property. Drone shots can also work to provide buyers with everything that they need to decide whether it’s worth coming out to view the property, especially if your home is on a lot of land. Having lots of imagery is important, particularly when it comes to appealing to foreign buyers, who often make up a lot of the luxury buying market but can’t always come out to see a property firsthand.
5. Market wisely
When it comes to selling a luxury home, a yard sign and an MLS listing shared on your Facebook page aren’t going to cut it. Luxury buyers aren’t looking for homes in the standard places, so that’s not where you should be focusing your marketing efforts. It takes money to make money, so expect to invest in top-quality printed marketing materials, in addition to professional staging and photography.
6. Skip the public open house
You need to cultivate an air of exclusivity when selling a luxury property, which means, in part, ditching the public open house in favor of appointment-only viewings. There are two benefits to doing it this way: one, you make buyers feel that seeing the property is a privilege, and two, you avoid having to waste your time setting up your home for an open house that will likely be filled mostly with non-buyers who are just curious about what the property looks like.
Because your buyer pool is limited your viewings probably will be too, but that’s okay! In luxury home sales, it’s much less about getting as many buyers as possible through the door as it is about getting the right buyers through the door. And those buyers aren’t coming to a public open house. If you do want to bring in multiple buyers at once, talk to your agent about hosting an invite-only event.
7. Focus on what makes your home stand out
Back in the early 2000s, the term “McMansions” took off to describe a certain subset of luxury homes that were large and expensive but relatively tasteless. Avoid falling into the McMansion trap by working to distinguish your home from other properties at the same price point—specifically by downplaying the things that buyers will find elsewhere (such as marble counter tops) and highlighting the things that make your home so special (such as that wine cellar in the basement).
The unique, high-value features of your home are your main selling points. They should be featured prominently in the photographs and videos on your listing and be mentioned as assets in any written marketing materials. Don’t assume that your home speaks for itself and that buyers will see its best features when they come for a viewing—lead with those features, and let them be the pull that brings the buyers in.
8. Develop a “brand” for your home
One of the keys to effectively marketing and selling anything is building it a distinct identity, and the same goes for your house. You don’t need to go over the top with how you reference and speak about your luxury home, but you should absolutely have a focused message that guides all of your marketing materials. Consider purchasing an individual logo for your home that can be put on any relevant content, or even coming up with a slogan. Your brand identity doesn’t need to be overt, but it should underlay the marketing strategy.
9. Offer some perks
The more value you can offer, the better, especially if there are other luxury homes for sale that are boasting similar features to yours. Can you part with that grand piano? How about that custom master bedroom furniture set? Sweetening the pot with a few added bonuses is a good way to separate yourself further from the competition and might just give you the edge that you need in a saturated market.
Selling a luxury property, like selling any property, requires a give and take between your own wants and desires and those of your ideal buyers. And although it may require a little bit of luck to sell your home quickly, having a good foundational strategy is necessary. Follow the tips above and you should hopefully be under contract sooner rather than later with your luxury home.