How to Break into the Higher End Market
October 15, 2014
By Wendy Walker
This seems to be the constant question echoed by nearly every agent who earns a shiny new real estate license, including myself. I can remember sitting in the classroom anxiously awaiting the pearls of wisdom from the legendary luxury agents that I so admired, hoping they would share the secret formula on how to become a luxury agent. What I have since come to realize is that there are many paths to becoming a luxury agent, but they all require the same fundamentals:
1.) Educate Yourself. Learn the inventory. How can you sell a luxury home when you have no idea how to value one? One major difference in a luxury home versus a non-luxury home is that most luxury homes are custom. You are rarely comparing two properties that are exactly alike. You need to learn the value of different amenities and finishes. You also need to learn the marketplace, not only local but globally. Affluent people are often greatly affected by not only our stock market, but the economies and markets in other countries. It is important to establish yourself as a knowledgeable advisor to your clients and being familiar with the affects of the activity in various markets is key!
2.) Get to know the other luxury agents. Your fellow agents are an invaluable part of your success. They are not only the one who most likely will be on the other side of a transaction, but they may also be the one you may compete with on a listing appointment. Establishing a respectful relationship is so important. Other agents are likely to educate you the most as you begin the process of breaking into the marketplace. Becoming a member of the Area Luxury Home Tour Group or another luxury group is a great way to meet the agents and learn the inventory at the same time.
3.) Join Groups or Organizations that Expose YOU to the Affluent. If you need to create a book of luxury business, this is a great way to start. People like to do business with likeminded people. Be it a charity that is important to you or an organization that interests you, play an active role in it. Just make it something of genuine interest. It will not only be an outlet for you, but also a potential client could really connect with you thru your passion.
4.) Think about establishing a niche market. Pick a niche and become an expert in that area. Consider luxury areas such as golf communities, new builds, land, architectural style. Other business will follow, but finding a niche is a simpler way to breaking into the luxury market. Most agents give up because it takes a lot of time to see the results. But for those who stick with it.… it can become very lucrative.
5.) Team Up. This is a wildcard. However, if done well it can actually be the best way to enter into the market. Partnerships are very challenging in real estate, but becoming an assistant is a great way to really learn the luxury market and break into it easily. Consider it a residency or an apprenticeship. The pay is lousy, but it is the fast track to an invaluable education. It costs a lot of money to be a good real estate agent, but it costs a lot more to be a good luxury real estate agent. From magazines to photography, these homes are very expensive to carry. If you are trying to build your business and break into the luxury market, it requires some very deep pockets. Teaming up is a great way to spread out those costs.
Wendy Walker of Wendy Walker Fine Properties at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Wendy was voted as Best Realtor in Phoenix in 2011, 2012, 2013. You can reach Wendy at 602-717-5071 or Wendy@WWFineProperties.com.