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March 2012

Where in the world of real estate was Laurie Moore-Moore?

Take a look at Laurie’s photograph this unusual sculpture, around the corner from a local real estate office.  Do you know what city and country this is?  

If you know, email us the answer.  The first ILHM Member to email us the correct answer will receive 50 Member seals and 50 business card jackets.


  • Franz List played here in 1820 at age 9
  • George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin held a summit here in 2005
  • It was the center of the “Velvet Revolution”

These photographs provide more visual clues:





Congratualtions to Institute member Espie Franky of Prudential Florida Realty in Miami/Coral Gables.  

She was the first to respond with the correct answer of Bratislava, Slovakia and is our winner this week!  

Stay tuned for another "Where's Laurie" challenge on Friday.

Million dollar housing market small but brisk in 2011

How many million dollar and above home sales closed last year in the U.S?  

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Research Division, there were 68,200 closed residential transactions at a million dollars or more.  This represented just 1.6 % of all home sales in 2011, evidence that the luxury market at the million dollar and above level is a small segment of the market.  

But, last year for the first time, the $500,000 and above market segment represented 10% of all home sales.  Both the anecdotal and statistical information indicate that although the luxury niche is small, it is outperforming the market in general.  

It’s a good time to target the upper-tier.  

Follow up: Where in the world of real estate was Laurie Moore-Moore

Thank you for your responses!  

Martine Addison of Denver Colorado was the first to respond with the correct answer of Vienna, Austria.  Congratulations Martine!

Clearly, you all are a competitive group who know your European cities, because we received TONS of responses!  Interestingly, Martine’s response came in a FULL DAY earlier than anyone else.  How did she do it?  She was reading the blog.  Once the blog is updated, the new posts are there for the world to see, but there is a delay of a day or so before the new posts go out via email and Facebook.  

So, to level the playing field, here’s a head’s up on the schedule:  We’ll be posting a new “Where’s Laurie” each Friday at 9:00 a.m CST (if you know don’t know what time that is in your time zone, Google it!) for the next 4 weeks.  

Good luck!

Where in the world of real estate was Laurie Moore-Moore?

Take a look at Laurie’s photograph of this real estate office.  You will recognize the brand, but can you guess in what city and country this office is located?  


If you know, email us the answer.  The first ILHM Member to email us the correct answer will receive 50 Member seals and 50 business card jackets.


  • This city in not in North America
  • Croissants were invented here in 1683 and the city is still noted for its pastries
  • This city was home to the Habsburg dynasty
  • Mountains cover 60% of the country in which this city is located. 

This photograph will give you another visual clue:


Millionaire Households Rising

The Spectrem Group recently released their 2012 Affluent Market Insights report which shows an increase in the number of Americans with investable assets of $1M or more.  According to their numbers, there are 8.2 million "Millionaire Households" in the U.S., up for the third year in a row.  Here's a summary of their findings.  

Spectrem_net_worth_countThe Spectrem numbers are a little bit different than the numbers from last year's Merrill Lynch Cap Gemini World Wealth Report, but both show continued growth of the number of wealthy at or above pre-economic crisis levels.

Agent Branding in the Luxury Market

Brad HermesAt last year's Leaders in Luxury, Brad Hermes of Hermes Fine Properties (Keller Williams in Houston) won the Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing with Emphasis on Agent Branding award.  

What makes for good agent branding in the luxury market?  Quite simply it is a combination of reach, positioning and consistent execution.  Put even more simply, it is a function of who sees you, where they see you, how often they see you, what you stand for, and how are you perceived .

As the judge noted about Brad's entry, "Brad does a great variety of self-marketing, including social media and PR.  Plus, the quality of his materials, visual identity, and copy was superb."  

ElegantcardsTake his business cards for example.  The design is simple and elegant.  The card is uncluttered, with plenty of negative space and the typefaces used are "sophisticated" and evoke the desired positioning.  The cards are printed with letter press on a very heavy, fine paper stock and the thickness of each card is two or three times that of the typical business card.  They look and feel substantial.  

BrochureThis strong, visually simple branding is used consistently across his other marketing collateral, and on his website.    On property brochures large, professional photographs and clean design reinforce luxury brand positioning, and consistent use of logos and typefaces reinforce identity.  This is true across every "channel" and even extends to the labels on the water bottles his team provides to clients, as well as the wallpaper and lock screen graphics on the team's iPhones and iPads.

From a messaging standpoint, Hermes Fine Properties consistently positions itself around the notion of a lavish lifestyle with the tagline, "It's impossible to overdo luxury." A great example of this is the website home page which features a slideshow of outstanding photographs of fine homes of varying styles, designed to appeal to a variety of affluent lifestyles. Accompanying each photograph is a word that evokes luxurious excess, like "Opulence" or "Indulgence."  


In terms of reach, Brad seeks to be in front of his targeted prospect group in a variety of "channels." You might see him in the directories of exclusive private schools, in direct mail to a targeted farming list, in social media, in or in PR activities that result in articles in the local paper.  

Although Brad is a market where luxury begins at $500,000, his luxury branding sets a benchmark that still applies in the upper reaches of the luxury niche.

Second Home in Switzerland? Not so fast...

Interesting news item in OPP this morning:

Swiss push through ban on second home development

The Swiss voted in favour of a ban on the development of new second homes this week. At a national referendum on Sunday 11 March, 50.6 percent of the electorate voted in favour a popular initiative from environmentalists to strictly limit the number of new second homes being constructed...
The Federal level vote means that Switzerland will now limit the construction of second homes to no more than 20 percent of the stock being created.

As we all know, price is a function of supply and demand, so this should have some interesting and significant effects the price of existing second home stock and those new developments that are allowed.  And of course more Swiss may now be looking beyond their borders when making purchases...

How do you think a ban like this would go over in your market?