The 2016 Leaders in Luxury Marketing Awards Winners are...

More than 100 of our members gathered in Tucson, Arizona Monday night to celebrate another competitive year and recognize the winners of the 2016 Leaders in Luxury Marketing Awards.

These awards recognize luxury real estate professionals who demonstrate a successful combination of creativity and proficiency in marketing upscale residential properties. 

The waiting is over! Please join us in giving a round of applause to the winners.

  • Best Marketing Campaign for a Property

Debbie Murray, Allie Beth Allan & Associates 

  • Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing

Christopher Fling & Karen Yang, Keller Williams Realty | Fling Yang & Associates

  • Best Agent Market Report

Elizabeth McQueen, RE/MAX Crest Realty


  • Listing Presentation Achievement

Maverick Commins, , Keller Williams Supreme Auctions

  • Best Property Marketing Video

Susana Murphy, ALANTE Real Estate 


A sincere thank you to everyone who took the time to enter The Institute's annual Marketing Awards competition. We received a record-breaking number of entries and hope to continue the momentum in 2017. It’s never too early to set aside your most exemplary work!


The Institute

High Profile Speakers Lined Up for Leaders in Luxury 2016

In less than two weeks, the nation’s top performing luxury agents will meet in Tucson, Arizona for three action-packed days of useful education and powerful networking.

Leaders in Luxury 2016 will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain on October 10-12, 2016.

The event is designed exclusively for luxury agents who have earned the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® (CLHMS) designation – a mark that instills confidence in affluent buyers and sellers that they have chosen an agent with the proper knowledge and expertise for the luxury real estate market.

To learn more about becoming and Member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, please visit our website at

In addition to a rewarding networking experience, attendees will hear from bestselling authors, notable speakers and industry professionals on a wide range of relevant topics. Notable speakers include:

  • Terri Morrison — the co-author of five books on global business, including the award-winning, “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands”. Ms. Morrison knows that selling to sophisticated international clients can be complex, so she will provide real world guidance on how to:
  • Communicate clearly across diverse cultures and languages
  • Present yourself, and persuade Russian, Chinese or Arabic prospects
  • Interact with clients who follow different business and social practices
  • So much more!

Ms. Morrison is an in-demand speaker and trainer who offers seminars in intercultural communications for business, government and academic audiences. She has appeared on television and radio programs on CNN, CNBC and NPR.

  • Martin Latz — One of the most prominent experts on negotiation in the world and author of “Gain the Edge! Negotiate to Get What You Want.”

Mr. Latz will provide insight into how to effectively manage high-pressure situations like a pro – and get what you want. His session will teach agents:

  • A deeper understanding of persuasion techniques and how to apply them
  • Hands-on negotiation experience through customized simulations
  • Real-time feedback from the expert on how to improve your negotiation skills
  • An arsenal of real estate negotiation strategies to get what you want

Mr. Latz is also the founder of ExpertNegotiator Software, which empowers individuals and organizations to get better results based on proven research. He has taught over 100,000

business professionals around the world how to more effectively negotiate; drawing real-world knowledge from his time spent on The White House Advance Teams.

For more information about the exceptional event, visit You can see the complete event agenda here or email us at

Nevada Town Attracts Billionaires With Luxurious Lifestyle - And Zero Taxes

Nestled on the banks of Lake Tahoe is Incline Village — a gorgeous town that’s attracting a lot more than skiers and snowboarders.

Thanks to Nevada’s lack of state personal, business or corporate income tax, Incline Village’s lakefront homeowners now include billionaires such as Oracle’s Larry Ellison, PeopleSoft’s David Duffield and Zazove’s Gene Pretti.

Other affluent tech and financial executives — many of whom hail from California — are establishing residency in Incline Village before a liquidation event. This way, they can avoid tax liability while enjoying outdoor activities year-round.

“There are lots of great reasons to move to Nevada and Incline Village in particular,” says Trinkie Watson, CIPS, CLHMS, a real estate broker who specializes in the Lake Tahoe region. “It’s a thriving community full of year-round residents, many of whom work from home thanks to technology.”

When it comes to lifestyle, Watson notes the “seasonal weather that includes snow in winter/spring for skiing and snowboarding, summer with lake and water activities, hiking, biking, golf and tennis, and a beautiful fall with changing colors. And for frequent travelers, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is less than an hour away.”

But clearly, the financial advantages have been the catalyst for the increased interest in “Income Village,” as some call it. Because Nevada has unique laws protecting corporations, Incline Village has gained a reputation as a tax haven — one in which investors can register shell corporations and claim residency to avoid tax liability.

“As long as income isn’t derived from [other states like] California, they will not have any personal state income tax to pay,” says Watson. She also points to the ability of many people to “sell high” in the Golden State and get more value for a new home purchase in Nevada (which, ironically, is known as the Silver State).

Also contributing to this newfound interest in areas like Incline Village is the growth occurring a short drive away in the Reno-Sparks region. That area has been transitioning from a gambling economy to a manufacturing economy thanks to about 100 new companies. New additions coming soon include Tesla’s battery factory in Sparks and Switch — the company that developed the Supernap, which is the world’s largest data center ecosystem — is constructing a huge campus nearby.

Both the old and new residents of Incline Village see this situation as a “win-win” — the town gets cache from its new billionaire neighbors and enjoys growth, while these new residents enjoy the ability to avoid paying big tax bills.

Lucio Bernal Joins The Institute as an Expert Trainer

We are proud to announce the addition of renowned Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices luxury real estate professional Lucio Bernal to our roster of expert trainers.

Based in the Palm Springs (CA) region, Lucio is a successful luxury real estate professional — and much more. He’s a relocation specialist, an influential industry leader, and a highly skilled and experienced trainer.

“I truly enjoy giving my friends in the industry all the tools they need to succeed,” Lucio said. “Serving as a Trainer for The Institute on a national level allows me to help real estate professionals who want to learn how to succeed in serving the luxury real estate market.”

Lucio is currently a REALTOR and the Director of Training at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Palm Springs, where he is also a member of the prestigious Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chairman’s Circle. He has earned both the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® (CLHMS) designation and Million Dollar Guild® recognition from The Institute.

Additionally, Lucio has been recognized in the industry for his reputation for serving clients and his achievements in sales. Most recently, the Palm Springs Regional Association of REALTORS® (PSRAR) named him 2015 REALTOR® of the Year, and he has been elected President beginning in 2017.

“We are extremely excited to add Lucio to our team because he brings a unique combination of passion for teaching and performance with nearly 20 years of real estate experience. He’s a practicing agent who enjoys teaching others how to incorporate the tools offered by The Institute, which help agents succeed in the luxury market,” said Diane Hartley, general manager of The Institute.

You can view Lucio’s Institute bio here and learn more about our other expert trainers at

Seeking the Amenities Advantage in a Competitive Real Estate Market

In an increasingly competitive market, owners, developers and builders are having to “keep up with the Joneses” — especially if the Joneses have a car-sharing service, a personal shopper and pet grooming.

Because the vast majority of multifamily units that have been recently constructed in the United States are rental apartments, investors are flocking to this sector seeking healthy returns. And with more and more people turning to apartment living, demand is high — and property owners and managers are competing with each other by offering amenities that are usually found in the most luxurious of residences.

So what are these amenities being offered?

“Urban Living” lifestyles. Many renters want to be close to everything — work, home, shopping, restaurants, etc. — whether they’re in a major city or the suburbs. Many new apartment and condominium communities are designed to be walkable, while providing amenities and technology to enable this “live-work-play” lifestyle.

Luxury and high-end features. Previously limited to luxury developments, many more affordable communities are offering infinity pools, upgraded design options, and other attractive features to bring in renters.

Energy savings. From more efficient HVAC systems, central solar hot water systems, LED lighting, rainwater collection, and wind or natural gas turbines, there are numerous ways to provide renters with more affordable and environmentally-friendly living.

More useful common areas. While apartment sizes are generally shrinking, common areas are growing — and providing renters with features they crave. USB ports, WiFi, and other Web-access features are everywhere, as well as more durable furniture and carpeting — enabling both social and work functions. Some of these common areas are on rooftop decks and terraces, and even include big-screen TVs, kitchens with BBQ grilles and pizza ovens, and even cabanas.

Fitness centers with more muscle. While the fitness center has become a place where tenants gather, socialize AND work out, the options available have expanded greatly. With classes for yoga and Pilates, aerobics, spin classes and more, renters have more exercise choices than ever.

The latest technology. With more people “cutting the cord” from cable TV and leaving satellite TV, builders need to ensure that their projects are friendly for these tenants — installing cloud-connected devices and enabling the fastest Internet access available. In addition, more buildings are giving their renters more control over their environments thanks to technology — from their entry doors to lighting and HVAC systems.

There are many other amenities, features and options being made available to today’s renters. Here are some of the more popular ones that haven’t been mentioned above:

  • Bike storage and repair
  • Car-sharing service
  • Child-care service
  • Concierge
  • Cooking classes
  • Dry cleaning/laundry service
  • iCafe
  • Package delivery management
  • Personal shopper
  • Pet grooming
  • Rock-climbing wall
  • Spa/massage center
  • Tech/business center
  • Wine cellar

So whether you’re a renter or home buyer, a real estate professional or a building owner, it’s good to know the amenities that are now available — and which of them you might be looking for!

Vancouver Rules The World (of Luxury Real Estate)

As the most populous city in British Columbia — and the most densely populated city in all of Canada — Vancouver clearly attracts a lot of people and attention.

And according to the 2015 Prime International Residential Index developed by U.K.-based property consultants Knight Frank, Vancouver ranks #1 in the global real estate market. In 2015, the city’s high-end market was up almost 25% from the previous year. (Actual percentage is 24.5%.)

On the Index, Vancouver’s closest competitor was Sydney, Australia — which grew at a rate of 14.8% in the same time period, nearly 10% less than that of Vancouver.

Vancouver was one of only four North American cities in the top 20 (others including San Francisco at #7, Toronto at #12, and Miami at #14), and one of only eleven North American cities in the top 100. The others included Los Angeles at #22, Boston at #27, The Hamptons at #30, Washington, D.C. at #33, New York City at #39, Aspen at #53, and Chicago at #64.

The main reason for the city’s surge is a lack of supply in the face of increased international demand — while the weakened Canadian dollar is also playing a role.

Interestingly, Vancouver is not considered to be one of the cities that matter most to the world’s wealthy. In fact, Knight Frank notes that it is more reflective of the fact that many ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) who are educating their children overseas while working and living in multiple locations around the world.

When asked about Vancouver’s luxury real estate market, ILHM expert and Vancouver REALTOR® Alan Skinner noted that it "has been somewhat 'frantic' for an extended time, but we are feeling a ‘cooling-off’ approaching where rampant competition made (particularly investors) determined to "win" at all costs.

“Home seekers are being trumped by foreign investors and a levelling off of prices is likely,” Skinner continued. "Profit taking" (sale of residential property investments) may result in further price declines."

With regard to Vancouver’s appeal, Skinner opined that "desirability, livability and the spectacular natural beauty are clearly the reason demand for residential property is so high.”

Mr. Skinner continued: “Alas, the policies allowing for unrestrained investment prevalent over the past 10 years or so has encouraged not only immigrants, but substantial pure speculation by those intent on investing in a safe, appealing environment."

But this kind of phenomenon sometimes faces scrutiny and even a desire to control (or even slow down) the explosive growth. Some governments are trying to limit foreign buyers with new property taxes, as the negative effects on overall affordability can be worrisome for the average homebuyer.

Some relevant facts and figures about Vancouver:

  • Ranked one of the most livable cities in the world for more than a decade.
  • Ranked as having the 4th highest quality of living of any city on Earth.
  • 9 years ago, Forbes ranked Vancouver as the 6th most overpriced real estate market in the world and was second-highest in North America after Los Angeles.
  • Vancouver has also been ranked among Canada's most expensive cities in which to live. Sales in February 2016 were 56.3% higher than the 10 year average for the month.
  • Forbes has also ranked Vancouver as the tenth cleanest city in the world.
  • Vancouver is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit acknowledged it as the first city to rank among the top-ten of the world's most liveable cities for five consecutive years.

So while many would surmise that major metropolitan cities like New York, London and Dubai would be leading the pack when it comes to growth in global luxury real estate, it’s interesting to note that #1 — by a wide margin — is beautiful Vancouver!


Over the past five years, the Forbes magazine list of The World’s Billionaires has revealed — and continues to reveal — many interesting things about the wealthiest individuals around the globe:


  • In 2011, there were 1,210 billionaires (people with a net worth of $1 billion or more).
  • In 2015, that number rose to 1,826.
  • In 2016, the list actually shrank a bit to 1,810.


The top ten billionaires in 2016 (in order of wealth) are:

  1. Bill Gates
  2. Amancio Ortega
  3. Warren Buffett
  4. Carlos Slim Helu
  5. Jeff Bezos
  6. Mark Zuckerberg
  7. Larry Ellison
  8. Michael Bloomberg
  9. Charles Koch
  10. David Koch


A few interesting notes:

  • Five of the top seven billionaires from the 2011 list are still in the top seven: Gates (#2 in 2011), Ortega (#7), Buffett (#3), Helu (#1) and Ellison (#5).
  • We also see that the top three from 2011 (Helu, Gates, Buffett) are still in the top four.
  • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg rose from #52 in 2011 all the way to #6 today.


It should be no surprise that the tech sector continues to lead the way in creating billionaires. Also of note:

  • In 2011, about 1 in 3 billionaires (413, or 34%) were from the United States.
  • Today, 540 billionaires are from the U.S. — or 29.8% of the list.
  • Today, eight of the top 10 billionaires on the list are from the United States.
  • China has the second most at 251, and Germany is third with 120.
  • The Asia-Pacific region has 590 total — making it the region with the most billionaires.


Leaders in Luxury Advisory Board Named for 2016 Conference in Tucson

We at the Institute are thrilled to announce the 2016 Advisory Board for our annual “Leaders in Luxury” event — taking place at The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Tucson, AZ, from October 10-12.

We selected six of the industry’s top professionals to serve as Advisors for this year’s annual event. They are:

Every member of our Advisory Board is an exceptional luxury real estate professional from across North America or Canada and is a leader in his/her luxury residential market.

Our advisory board this year will be playing a more substantial role than in years’ past. We have asked these individuals to provide their expert input on everything from content, to speakers, to overall experience improvement. We’re excited about the ways in which we are raising the bar this year in Tucson on some of our signature LIL experiences that our attendees have come to love and expect, continuing in the tradition of being the industry’s preeminent luxury real estate event.

The incredible scenery of the Tortolita Mountains foreshadows the exceptional experience we’ll have — with world-class speakers, fresh industry-leading content, an unparalleled list of top-producing attendees, and much more.

For more information about Leaders In Luxury, visit or email


This story is about a luxury yacht with expected amenities — such as gorgeous sun decks and elegant eating areas — but also a high-tech twist or two.

Created by London-based architect Jonathan Schwinge, the Tetrahedron Super Yacht’s unique design is based on a three-based pyramid shape. But beyond the vessel’s four faces and six leading edges (which provide greater stability), it actually appears to float above the water — thanks to a single vertical strut on a torpedo hull that remains underwater.

According to Schwinge, the yacht will lift above the water (at speed) on side-mounted, adjustable hydrofoils. This enables the vessel to travel smoothly — even in choppy waters — and reduces seasickness by eliminating any rocking or heeling.

The yacht features a take-off speed of 15 knots (17.2 MPH), and can reach speeds as high as 38 knots (43.7 MPH) above the water line. Its range is 3,000 nautical miles.

Schwinge believes that his design will reshape the “modern superyacht” into a simple enclosure that can function as “an elevated mode of travel above the water line.”

While there is no price tag on the Tetrahedron Super Yacht, it’s easy to see that this kind of vessel would be coveted by high-tech fans who can afford such a luxury item.



Forbes magazine recently answered two important real estate questions:

Where are people moving to?

And where are people investing in homes?

At the end of this article, we’ll answer our own question: What are the most attractive cities for movers and for homebuyers?

To determine where people are moving to, Forbes examined the population growth (or decrease) in major cities throughout the U.S. They focused on a variety of factors — specifically, economic opportunities, affordable housing, and cost of living.

The cities that the most people are moving to are:

  1. Austin
  2. Raleigh
  3. San Antonio
  4. Denver
  5. Nashville
  6. Charlotte
  7. Orlando
  8. Houston
  9. Oklahoma City
  10. Dallas-Fort Worth


Austin and the other Texas cities owe much of their success to the state’s excellence in job creation and overall business growth — thanks in part to corporate-friendly laws and taxes that have supported new companies and attracted existing companies looking to relocate.

Elsewhere in the southern states, Raleigh and Nashville continue to grow thanks to the technology, manufacturing and business services strengthening their respective economies. And many movers are also heading to the Mountain States and the Pacific Northwest, taking advantage of the mostly strong economic growth and affordable housing costs.

It’s one thing to move, but it’s another thing to get a mortgage and purchase a home. The top 20 cities where people are buying homes are:

  1. Grand Rapids
  2. Orlando
  3. San Antonio
  4. Charlotte
  5. Salt Lake City
  6. Dallas
  7. Austin
  8. Fort Lauderdale
  9. Seattle
  10. Cape Coral/Fort Myers
  11. Indianapolis
  12. North Port/Bradenton/Sarasota
  13. Nashville
  14. Tampa
  15. Charleston
  16. Denver
  17. Madison
  18. Jacksonville
  19. West Palm Beach
  20. Boise


This list considered factors including job growth, population increases and expected home price appreciation. Although nationwide housing prices are on the rise, overall wages are unchanging — so many 2016 homebuyers are finding it difficult to afford a new residence. For investors buying rental properties, these conditions can be beneficial for their strategies.

Geographically, more than half the list includes cities located in Southern states — a good thing for the movers in the first list above. These cities include seven Florida locations and three Texas markets — indicating that movers and investors alike are finding these states to be appealing places.

Florida can attribute its success to lower housing prices, thanks to the recession which had retirees and vacationers staying at home — driving down demand. And Texas, shielded from much of the economic downturn, features affordable housing and a diverse economy that make its major cities a strong choice for investors.

By cross-referencing the 1st and 3rd lists in this article, we can identify the seven cities that are most attractive to movers and homebuyers (by appearing in the top 20 on both lists):

  • Austin
    • #1 on the movers list, #7 on the homebuyers list
  • San Antonio
    • #3 on the movers list, #3 on the homebuyers list
  • Denver
    • #4 on the movers list, #16 on the homebuyers list
  • Nashville
    • #5 on the movers list, #13 on the homebuyers list
  • Charlotte
    • #6 on the movers list, #4 on the homebuyers list
  • Orlando
    • #7 on the movers list, #2 on the homebuyers list
  • Dallas
    • #10 on the movers list, #6 on the homebuyers list


So, the answer to our question above — “What are the most attractive cities for movers and for home-buyers?” — appears to be a simple one: Cities in the South! (And Colorado, too.)