Ever wondered what it takes to work in real estate with celebrities? You need both an understanding of luxury and the unique lifestyle that celebrities pursue. Here are some tips on how to work with celebrities, and how to tailor your approach when speaking with clients.
First, some main takeaways from Amy Herman, who has worked as an agent to the stars with Nest Seekers International. Here’s here approach to working with celebrities.
1. Privacy is always the best policy
“Privacy is usually the number one most treasured quality when working with a realtor. In NYC many of the newspapers and television crews are waiting to pounce when they hear stirrings of a celebrity moving.
We want to always protect the client’s best interest so when selling a celebrity home we have a vetting process which includes the buyer’s representative sending over documents regarding the buyer such as a bio and a potential letter of employment. We also use non-disclosure agreements before we go into the details of the property.
In turn, we have our celebrity or well-recognized seller put away all family photos and awards which would have their name or information that could giveaway who lives in the home.
When taking a purchaser around who is well recognized we usually register them with the listing agent under their manager’s name and we have the listing agent sign an NDA as well.”
2. Go all-in when it comes to customer service
“Other items that help with celebrities feeling more comfortable are understanding their favorite food and beverages and any other items we as realtors can have in the wings to make them feel at home. In the winter, cashmere blankets and gloves are great ideas for the commute around town to different properties.
We always have fresh water, gum, and candy and sugar-free snacks on hand too.”
3. Get to know the whole team
“Lawyers and business managers and even personal assistants are heavily relied upon in these transactions. Being versatile and flexible enough to help with furniture deliveries or other items, meeting with designers and contractors during and post-purchase will also ensure that you have gone above and beyond your role as a real estate agent and the A-list client will hopefully remember you and your skill set this way.”
Key phrases not to use with clients
Are you pushing potential celebrity clients away from the very first conversation? Here’s how to make sure you’re not positioning yourself in the wrong way with the words you use.
There are some words your client never wants to hear — and there are some words your client does want to hear but that you should never tell them. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most important phrases you want to edit out of your vocabulary to keep everyone happy.
1. “We will find the home of your dreams by [insert date here]”
Never, never promise clients you’ll meet a date for purchasing a new property — whether that’s by Christmas, before their film starts shooting or before the next sports season. You can certainly set goals and targets, but promising a definitive date makes you accountable for factors beyond your control including the inventory on the market, your client’s budget and your client’s personal taste.
“If you do not meet the mark, guess who is blamed?” said agent Denise Supplee, “You, the agent! And rightly so, because truth be told, one never really knows!”
2. “I will always be there”
When you’re first learning how to be a real estate agent it’s important to maintain a work-life balance. One way to sabotage your work-life balance goals right from the beginning? Telling your clients you’ll be available no matter what.
While it might sound like great customer service to be available at any time for your clients, it can be unrealistic. Making a huge promise that you can’t keep could even cause more frustration in your relationship down the line.
“It is not only difficult to maintain but impossible,” said Supplee. “I work in a team. I have back-up. And in a market where homes can go in a day, in order to prevent missing out on a client’s dream home, it is almost a mandatory practice. Especially, when working with investors.”
If you don’t have a team to share the workload with, set working hours and let clients know they can expect to hear back from you quickly within your hours each day.
3. “We can definitely sell your home at [your dream price] price”
You might feel like you have a strong grasp on the luxury market in your area, but it’s not a good idea to promise your clients anything when it comes to price because you have to be prepared for the unexpected.
When you’re learning how to be a real estate agent it’s important to manage the expectations of your client by educating them about the challenges and opportunities of selling their property.
“I always provide a range,” said Supplee. “I am honest with my potential sellers and make sure they understand how important proper pricing is. There are many listing agents out there, that sadly, just for the sake of listing a home, will tell a seller what they want to hear rather than the cold hard truth.”
Are you ready for your first celebrity client?
Networking and word-of-mouth referrals will be essential in securing celebrities as clients. Show others what you want and can bring to the table—eventually you’ll rise to the top of the tastemakers lists.