By LISA KLEIN
The job of a real estate agent is to sell properties, but in the luxury sphere, they must sell something else first: themselves.
Luxury Portfolio International’s latest installment of the 2022 State of Luxury Real Estate report details what buyers and sellers are looking for in an agent based on a survey of top high-net-worth consumers.
To get the job of selling luxury listings, agents have to show homeowners that they are the right person for it by building up their brand, connecting with clients and proving their professionalism.
Name recognition is critical in luxury real estate – affluent buyers and sellers stick to what, and who, they know.
Sixty-one percent of potential clients go straight to the source and visit a local brokerage office or open house in-person. They often choose which one based on their knowledge of the brand, be it brokerage or person.
Media exposure is key in building up a brand. Seventy-six percent of luxury buyers and sellers shop through media, and not just by seeing paid advertisements.
Potential clients learn about an agent’s business through social media posts, magazine articles, newspapers and editorial Web sites. Good public relations practices will land brokerages, agents and properties in articles that highlight what they have to offer and come from a trustworthy source.
Affluent buyers and sellers also know how to do their homework, and say they check up on an agent’s “proof points” before choosing one – their online presence, both professional and personal, and testimonials or references from previous clients.
Agents must keep their message consistent across every media channel to build a cohesive brand since clients are likely to see some or all of them.
Although many aspects of a real estate transaction have gone digital, still nothing can beat good old-fashioned word of mouth.
When it comes to choosing an agent, 81 percent of affluent clients say they use someone they already know – an agent that they have worked with before, a friend of family member, or a realtor they know who brings a pocket listing straight to them.
Being well-connected will get agents far in the luxury world, with 75 percent of potential clients say that it is important to them.
Clients want the person they work with to have a network of buyers, sellers and friends in the local community, preferring someone who is at least known within their own professional or social circle.
Successful agents will meet clients where they are, participating in the community and in activities that they enjoy.
Topping the list of where affluent buyers and sellers are in their free time are equine stables and riding trails, racetrack, marina or boating supply store, tennis courts, art galleries, auctions and antique shops.
It will not matter how many people an agent knows, however, without the character to match their connections.
Luxury homeowners say they want an agent who is trustworthy, honest, reliable and responsive. All of them say professionalism is important.
BUYERS AND SELLERS want a data-driven assessment of the market and properties, not opinions.
Seventy-seven percent want an agent who is well-versed in deciphering information and 79 percent want communication to be clear and concise without extra fluff.
When it comes to luxury real estate, an agent’s name and connections will get them in the door, but personality and professionalism will seal the deal.