Kofi Nartey, the Founder of GLOBL RED, is no stranger to working with luxury listings and recognizable clientele. In fact, he’s built his entire brand around providing an elite real estate experience that caters to professional athletes and other faces you can pick out of a crowd. In this Side View, Kofi chats with five agents focused on high-end listings, who do a collective $5 billion+ in business each year, to uncover what luxury clients want.
What makes real estate ‘luxury’?
Artemis Real Estate Co-Founder, Payton Stiewe, has an excellent analogy for luxury real estate agents. He says, “You’re stepping over this threshold where [real estate] is no longer a commodity used to house yourself. It[’s] a piece of art, and you become the art dealer.” So how do you cater to clients who expect a curated listing from a knowledgeable real estate connoisseur?
“You’re stepping over this threshold where [real estate] is no longer a commodity used to house yourself. It[’s] a piece of art, and you become the art dealer.”
– Payton Stiewe, Co-Founder of Artemis Real Estate
Time is a critical factor; treat it as such
A common thread for these agents is being able to provide a seamless experience while protecting their client’s time. Kofi experienced this level of accommodation when he worked as an actor. If he had to fly somewhere, he’d get straight on a plane and get cozy in his first-class seat, bypassing the hours of waiting most folks have to do in an airport.
As an agent focused on luxury, you’re often working with very busy professionals with demanding schedules. With this in mind, you should make it your goal to not only respect your client’s time – but to give time back whenever possible.
Kofi also cautions not to be too hard on yourself if your luxury listing portfolio doesn’t blow up overnight. He explains that contrary to what reality TV shows would like you to believe, high-end listings typically don’t just fall in your lap without a fair amount of effort on your part. It’s also not uncommon for it to take years to sell a unique luxury listing.
Get creative on your listing search
Sarah Knauer, a Sales Partner with Amalfi Estates, explains that luxury clients are often looking for access to pocket listings or off-market homes. “[They’re] looking for a lot of specialized knowledge and access to homes that aren’t on the market. They want something that nobody else has seen before. They really want something special and unique that they got privileged information for.” Doing the legwork and going the extra mile is part of the process.
“[Luxury clients] want something that nobody else has seen before. They really want something special and unique that they got privileged information for.”
– Sarah Knauer, a Sales Partner with Amalfi Estates
Be prepared to go above and beyond
Sometimes, you have to do the dirty work. Artemis Real Estate Co-Founder Arrian Binnings recalls standing in the front yard of a luxurious estate in a full suit prior to a showing, using a leaf blower to enhance the property’s curb appeal. He says, “It’s not about you having a luxurious lifestyle; it’s about your client having a luxurious lifestyle.”
“It’s not about you having a luxurious lifestyle; it’s about your client having a luxurious lifestyle.”
– Arrian Binnings, Co-Founder of Artemis Real Estate
It’s also your job to elevate the home buying or selling experience by providing your client or their representative with extra value. In many cases, you may be working with a member of your client’s staff rather than the client themselves. In this case, building trust is absolutely paramount. Sarah Knauer, with Amalfi Estates, says, “Make sure you’re impressing that business manager. Make sure they’re extremely protected and extremely knowledgeable about every aspect of the purchase.”
Build a boutique brand with a unique value proposition
Artemis Real Estate Co-Founder, Arrian Binnings, says, “Did you know you can drive across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, and you can get gas at the same gas station, eat lunch at the same restaurant, and stay at the same hotel all across America, and never have a unique experience? Real estate is going through a ‘McDonanald’ization, where listings are on a conveyor belt in a factory, just coming one after another. When we talk about luxury, that’s not what our clients want. They want unique, they want bespoke, they want something tailored.”
Not only is this true in terms of finding the right listing, but it’s also true in terms of finding the right agent and brand to work with. Arrian says, “It was always our dream to have a boutique, but it wasn’t really feasible until we became educated on Side’s business model and how we could achieve this long-standing goal we have.”
“It was always our dream to have a boutique, but it wasn’t really feasible until we became educated on Side’s business model and how we could achieve this long-standing goal we have.”
– Arrian Binnings, Co-Founder of Artemis Real Estate
Build trust and be consistent to generate referral business
Luxury clients have a trusted network of people, and they operate primarily through word of mouth. Before they invest time into any type of transaction, they typically ask friends and trusted colleagues for a referral. So how do you become the real estate guy or gal for an A-list client? Make the whole process as easy and stress-free as possible.
Jeff Biebuyck, the Co-Founder of Frontgate Real Estate, provides an example of an experience he recently had as a guideline on how to treat others. “I went to a car dealership, and they took really good care of me. They came up and sold me the bells and whistles of the car. They looked at me and said, ‘Oh, this guy is into the sound system; he’s into the tech. [The sales rep] knew right where to go.
I didn’t have to wait in line. I was in and out of there in no time. And I walked away going, ‘I’m going to come back to that guy.’ He just made it so easy for me, and now he’s a part of my team. He’s my ‘car guy’ I’m going to go to – who I’m going to refer to. If our team takes really good care of our clientele, they’re going to refer us.”
His Co-Founder, Dana Olmes, adds, “We strive to continue to work off of referrals, and the only way you’re going to get referrals is if you do a good job, stay true to who you are, [and] represent [your clients] in the best light.” She notes that networking with other great agents in the luxury space can be another fantastic source for referrals.
“We strive to continue to work off of referrals, and the only way you’re going to get referrals is if you do a good job, stay true to who you are, [and] represent [your clients] in the best light.”
– Dana Olmes, Co-Founder of Frontgate Real Estate
Dana further adds, “At the end of the day, a celebrity is just a person.” Much like any other person, luxury clients want to work with a trusted advisor who communicates well and who will work hard to meet their needs.
To succeed with luxury clients, you must respect their time, provide a seamless transaction experience, communicate openly and honestly, and keep their best interests at heart. By doing all of the above, you’ll not only impress your client; you’ll have an opportunity to earn their referral business.
Want more great insights from these leading luxury agents? Watch the full 60 minute video.