Institute News

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!

Sincerely,

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 www.LuxuryHomeMarketing.com/BecomeAMember


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 www.LeadersinLuxury.com. You can see the complete event agenda here or email us at info@luxuryhomemarketing.com.


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 www.LuxuryHomeMarketing.com.


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 www.LeadersinLuxury.com or email info@luxuryhomemarketing.com.


Tips For Marketing To Wealthy 50+ Prospects

Capturing business from an offline generation

An October 2015 report from Forbes Insights, Engaging 50+ Consumers In A Digital World, examines the consumer behaviors of wealthy Americans 50 years old and above, a demographic which holds $3.6 trillion in annual income, or 49% of all after-tax income in U.S. Created in partnership with Wealth Engine, the report asserts that this demographic has wholly unique values and preferences concerning marketing from luxury brands and service providers.

1. Emphasize the property’s quality and craftsmanship.

To speak to the values of wealthy 50+ Americans, luxury real estate professionals should highlight the quality and craftsmanship of high-end homes rather than the related prestige of living in the home or community. The Wealth Engine survey shows that this group considers the most vital aspects of a luxury product or service to be quality (82%) and craftsmanship (66%). These values are even more important to baby boomers (51-70) than older generations, so this definition of luxury will be around for a while. In contrast, more traditional conceptions of luxury—prestige of ownership (19%), brand/maker name (17%), price (11%)—are not top-priority with respondents.

ChartWEBlog

2. Market online and offline.

While the Internet plays a part in their decision making processes, these consumers are tentative about the ever-changing technological landscape and thus unlikely to make buying decisions solely based on information received online. On the other hand, 50+ wealthy consumers are generally more receptive than younger generations to offline interactions, experiences, and marketing. 50+ wealthy consumers prefer to get marketing and advertising messages: (1) by word of mouth, (2) through an online search, (3) by visiting a known brand or retailer website directly, and (4) via print or direct mail.

While it can be challenging to strike the on/offline balance needed to engage these consumers, the Forbes/Wealth Engine report urges that careful, value-oriented marketing can really pay off: “While [wealthy 50+ consumers] might not be as digitally savvy as their children and grandchildren, they still have more discretionary funds to spend.”

3. Avoid email marketing with unknown leads.

Be cautious about how you use email to engage 50+ leads and prospects. The Wealth Engine survey shows that, while 17% of respondents rank “email from known brands” in their top 3 preferred methods of receiving marketing and advertising, only 8% appreciate emails from previously unknown brands. In fact, reflecting on the proliferation of unsolicited direct and email marketing, 21% say it makes them not want to do business with a brand, and 18% think it indicates that the brand doesn’t understand what they want.

4. Utilize data-driven targeted marketing, but don’t get too personal.

The wealthy 50+ demographic is particularly receptive to targeted marketing. Of respondents who decided to buy from a particular brand or service provider after seeing their marketing: 68% say they did so because “the timing of the marketing message matched when I wanted/needed to buy,” and 52% say that the inciting marketing message included a special offer that appealed to them.

On the other hand, Forbes notes that, “while they like the personal touch in real life, they are not as keen on it in marketing messages they receive.” 50+ wealthy Americans are hyper-sensitive to data privacy and liable to be made uncomfortable by over-personalized messaging. They will likely not appreciate messaging that mentions a birthday, recent purchase, or any personal information that indicates data mining practices.

5. Be direct when seeking referrals and reviews.

Wealthy 50+ consumers are comfortable giving referrals and recommendations by word of mouth, but very unlikely to sing their praises online. The Forbes survey and report shows that, for referring a brand or business, 84% are willing to share by word of mouth, while only 21% are willing to write reviews online. To capture referrals from this demographic, real estate professionals should directly ask whether the client has any friends or family members who are thinking of buying or selling real estate in the near future. In addition, agents should ask for a written review to include in a testimonial book or in the testimonial section of your webpage.


Renovation Angel Leads A Revolution In Luxury Home Remodels

It’s no secret: renovating a luxury kitchen has historically been an outlandishly expensive endeavor. For owners of a high-end home, a kitchen update can cost anywhere from $50,000 to well over $100,000. These renovations, however, imply another hidden cost: the loss of the existing luxury kitchen, which in many cases includes valuable appliances, cabinets, and fixtures with plenty of life left in them. Not only is this bad for the homeowner who is dumping their valuable property, but it’s also an unsustainable building practice that is bad for the environment. Since 2005, however, a New Jersey-based non-profit has been working to reduce the high financial and environmental costs of luxury kitchen renovation.

Recycling Luxury Kitchens

Steve Feldman founded Recovery Unlimited, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, after happening upon the renovation of a luxury mansion. Feldman explains, “The trucks, the piles of rubble, the ‘Demolition in Progress’ sign in the driveway all sparked an unexpected thought: Why did all this have to go to waste? Why couldn’t at least some of these luxury goods go to a worthy cause?” Thus began Renovation Angel, Feldman’s answer to the luxury renovation problem. Since 2005, Renovation Angel has recycled over 4,000 luxury kitchens and awarded over $2 million in proceeds to non-profit projects and charities. To date, Renovation Angel’s kitchen recycling program has diverted over 22 million pounds of waste from landfills.

It’s a great deal for homeowners, too: the individual incurs no cost for removing the old kitchen, receives a full tax deduction, and the premises are left clean and ready for renovation work to begin.

How Does It Work?

Luxury homeowners need only visit the Renovation Angel website to submit information and begin the appraisal process. If Renovation Angel specialists confirm that the items meet their benchmarks for quality and condition, the company offers free, insured, and professional “white glove” removal of all donated items. The organization accepts luxury items that are of high value and in good condition.

  • Kitchens: cabinetry, appliances, countertops, light fixtures, sinks, faucets.
  • Bathrooms: vanities, free-standing tubs, fixtures, mirrors, pedestal sinks.
  • Interiors: high-end and antique furniture, fine art, pianos.
  • Exteriors: generators, outdoor bars and kitchens, statues and fountains.
  • Showroom displays and inventory.

Renovation Angel has recycled kitchens from coast to coast, and can do removals in luxury markets nationwide. 

The Institute Members are welcome to attend a special webinar with Steve Feldman, President and Co-Founder of Renovation Angel, as our presenter. Join us February 25th, 2016 at 3pm CST, as Steve shares how Institute members can provide a fascinating resource to client’s who are looking to update a space without emptying their wallets, all while being environmental conscious. 

To register for this webinar visit, www.LuxuryHomeMarketing.com/Webinars

 


High-Rise Living: The World’s Wealthy Move Toward City Centers

The growing popularity of high-rise living is most notable in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Miami, where ultra-high-rise condo towers offer high-end amenities, high quality of life, great views, and unbeatable convenience for individuals who would rather not commute. High-rise living isn’t for everyone, but it presents a desirable lifestyle for wealthy international buyers who want a landing pad in a U.S. metropolis and U.S. families seeking hassle-free access to the city. These buyers are willing to pay huge sums for the high-rise lifestyle, and condo units regularly sell for prices starting around $5 million and climbing all the way to $100 million.

Record-Breaking Heights & Price Tags

The sheer, impressive height of today’s newest luxury residential towers afford residents two important things: status and killer views. One57, a high-rise condo development in New York City, stole the title for the city’s tallest residential tower in 2014. One57’s penthouse, taking all of the 89th and 90th floors and towering high above Central Park in Manhattan, sold for just over $100 million in January 2015. To date, the One57 penthouse is the most expensive condo purchase ever recorded.

Endless Amenities

Today’s high-end high-rise developments have truly thought of everything: high-speed elevators and private elevator landings, wine cellars, optional guest apartments and separate servants’ entrances, indoor-outdoor fitness facilities, deluxe swimming pools, exclusive resident-only terrace restaurants with world-renowned chefs, bicycle shops, terrace dog parks, room service and catering, and (unbelievably) so much more. Due to the difficulty of engineering these sky-high buildings, higher units in ultra-high-rise residential towers cannot have terraces or rooftop gardens. To address this shortcoming, residential skyscrapers include community gardens and parks, which are often available to rent for residents’ special events.

Starchitects

Celebrated “starchitects” from around the world are being invited to reimagine urban life for high-net-worth individuals. Uruguayan star architect Carlos Ott is responsible for Miami’s posh Echo Brickell; Pritzker-prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed 152 Elizabeth St., a 7-unit condominium complex in New York City; and World-renowned Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid created the curvy and futuristic high-end residential building at 520 W. 28th St. While ultra-wealthy individuals have always adorned their walls with one-of-a-kind works of fine art, it is becoming increasingly desirable (and possible) to live within a work of art.

Community

For those who make the move toward inner-city residential towers, the potential loss of community and social opportunity is of utmost concern. Many new high-end urban developments, however, are designed to be communities within themselves. Single-building residential high-rises include common spaces such as parks, entertainment areas, and playgrounds where residents can mingle and form friendships. Other high-end, mixed-use urban developments—such as London’s Battersea Power Station project—encompass entire neighborhoods and include office spaces, shops, restaurants, galleries, parks, music venues, cultural spaces, hotels, and residential towers.

Security & Privacy

In addition to status and luxury amenities, buyers are drawn to high-rise living because they seek a secure and private home within the city center. High-end high-rises boast top-tier security, floor plans that enhance the privacy of each unit, and reliable maintenance and upkeep services to take care of residents’ homes when they are away.


New Tech Means More Luxury Buyers Making Offers Site-Unseen

Consumers are looking for new ways to buy and sell real estate. A recent Redfin-commissioned survey of 2,134 individuals who had bought a home in the last 2 years shows that only 21% of respondents prefer buying and selling homes using the traditional methods. In contrast, 64% of respondents were open to unconventional, alternative, and innovative takes on the home buying and selling processes. But just what do we mean by “alternative” and “unconventional” ways of buying a home? One example: putting in an offer on a luxury home without ever setting foot inside.

The SurveyMonkey-run survey showed that 21% of buyers—or 1 in 5—had made an offer on a home without having ever visited it in person. And more than 50% of these site-unseen offers were made by high-end consumers who ultimately bought luxury homes with a purchase prices of $750,000 or more. Behind luxury homeowners, the demographics most likely to make an offer without seeing the property are millennials (30%) and single, never married people (30%). These numbers are huge and, according to SurveyMonkey’s review of the data, “a testament to the proliferation of online listings, mobile real estate apps, and cool things like 3D scans that take you inside and through every room of a home for sale online.

Technology & Lifestyle Marketing Are Key In All-Virtual Sales

So, how do you make yourself and your listings more attractive to prospects who might buy without stepping foot in the property—or even the same country? SurveyMonkey posits that “[it] has a lot to do with technology that enables people to know agents and properties intimately without a walk-through or face-to-face visit.”

Some important marketing and branding techniques to consider in attracting and closing these all-virtual transactions:

  • 3D virtual walk-throughs. Nothing offers a more realistic and intimate off-site home preview than 3D walk-through technology. Luxury real estate professionals can hire a service to photograph and construct the 3D walk-through, or buy their own 3D real estate camera and software packages, like the very impressive 3D Showcase from Matterport. Prospective buyers can navigate throughout the home, explore floor plans and specs, and even seeing what the view is like from each window in the house. In addition to increasing the accessibility of your listings, this exciting technology has the added benefit of differentiating you from other luxury real estate professionals.
  • Rich, up-to-date websites. With consumers relying heavily on property information found over the Internet, it’s vital to maintain an impressive and up-to-date website for your listings—or possibly unique websites for each of your biggest properties.
  • Statistics don’t lie: listings with video get 4x more inquiries than those without, and 85% of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video to market or showcase a home. Video is a fantastic way to bring a property and its lifestyle to life for a viewer.
  • High-quality photography. It’s always a must-have—especially in luxury—but site-unseen buyers want images that showcase minute design details and insinuate the lifestyle that accompanies your luxury listing.
  • Great lifestyle copy. For wealthy individuals doing their home shopping from afar, it can be difficult to get a sense of the lifestyle that comes with a property. Paired with video and area guides, good copy can change all of that by transporting the reader to their possible future in your luxury listing.
  • Social networking. Social media, blogging, and online networking present an opportunity to build an authentic, trustworthy personality over the internet so that your relationships can blossom before (or without) face-to-face encounters.
  • Testimonials. A simple way to build trust with far-flung consumers is via testimonials from your past satisfied clients.
  • Traditional printed property promotion. Where videos and 3D tech fail, traditional marketing materials, resources on local culture and amenities, and quality copywriting can bring high-end homes to life and help push the online buyer to make an offer.

If the 64% of consumers interested in alternative buying processes are any indication, then site-unseen luxury home offers and sales are likely to become more and more common in the coming years. Luxury real estate professionals who want to capture business from this growing market must leverage both new technologies and traditional marketing methods.


2016 Luxury Bathroom Design Trends

The luxury bathroom is becoming a haven for peace, relaxation, and pampering within the home. Since the bathroom is one of the most commonly remodeled rooms in the house and tastes are ever-changing, here are some of the most important luxury bathroom design trends to watch in 2016.

Walk-in shower.

In 2016, the luxurious walk-in shower is expected to continue growing in popularity. These spacious showers—sometimes as big as a guest bedroom—often feature frameless glass doors, although a step-up entry or small entry hall can eliminate the need for any door at all. Many walk-in showers are entirely walled-in by glass to highlight unique shower tiles and design elements within. If a homeowner wants to maintain some level of privacy, however, lowered walls are a fantastic option. Larger walk-in showers can feature multiple showerheads, bench seating, and even a steam room setup for the ultimate in-home spa experience. Regardless of size, walk-in showers are becoming a staple of the sleek, modern luxury bathroom, and the possibilities for utility and design are endless. (For inspiration, check out these incredible walk-in shower photos on Houzz.)

 

Radiant heat flooring.

Perhaps “trend” is not the right word, because this one is here to stay. Is there anything as luxurious as a heated floor? (And don’t forget to heat the shower bench!)

Freestanding bathtubs.

In addition to being a luxury home-spa necessity, freestanding bathtubs are an opportunity to introduce unusual and captivating shapes into a room that is traditionally full of straight lines and right angles. And when you place a sleek bathtub by a floor-to-ceiling window? Now that’s luxury. Pictured below, check out the Wissioming Residence bathroom by Robert Gurney Architect.


Complex Luxury Consumers Crave Experiences, Not Things

In decades past, luxury consumers were a primarily homogeneous group with ostentatious style and a taste for status-setting items with luxury labels. Today, however, these values are all but obsolete. Luxury consumers are more varied, diverse, numerous, and complex than ever before, and thus less receptive to old marketing and branding tactics such as regionally- and demographically-targeted messaging. Market research shows that the “new” luxury consumer—in all of her instantiations—demands a fresh approach from luxury brands and service providers.

Luxury Experiences In High Demand

One of the most important changes in the luxury consumer is the shift in interest from luxury “things” to luxury experiences. “Shock of the New Chic,” a recent research article by BCG Perspectives, reports that “newly affluent buyers tend to amass tangible goods that show off their wealth. Those who have acquired the ‘things’ they want tend to move on to one-of-a-kind experiences that they can share with others.”

From free-diving with hammerhead sharks to attending art auctions, the interest in luxury experiences is growing across all levels of affluence. American Millennials, for example, generally place much more stock in shared experiences than the elder and wealthier Baby Boomers. BCG’s 2013 Global Consumer Sentiment Survey showed that 51% of American consumers prefer enriching experiences to products. Remarkably, experiential luxury constitutes 55% of luxury spending worldwide, and sales of luxury experiences now outstrip sales of high-end products.

Adapting To The New Complex Consumer

As market research reveals the luxury consumer’s ongoing transformation and diversification, there is mounting evidence that it’s time for big changes in the luxury industry. Although luxury brands generally put less stock into research than their mainstream counterparts, opting instead for creativity and exclusivity, BCG Perspectives stressed that “the formulas for success have become much more complicated.”

Here are 3 ways that luxury service providers can change their “business as usual.”

  • Offer luxury experiences. This might mean organizing exclusive events, hosting community meet-ups for high-net-worth individuals, or throwing soirées featuring local luxury brands and products. Think of creative, on-brand ways to enhance your clients’ experience and enable them to share and “live” luxury, rather than just live in it.
  • Enrich your sales process. To excel with today’s consumer, all aspects and stages of your service need to be top-tier. “Turning sales activities into deluxe experiences in their own right is nothing new,” according to BCG’s research. “But the practice is reaching new levels of excellence across a widening range of luxury segments . . . and across all channels.” Ask yourself how you can enhance your sales experience in the office, online, and everywhere in between.

Test out new “experiential” business models. Over the past decade, the luxury market has seen a proliferation of businesses based on “sampling” luxury items or experiences, sometimes through rental or subscription models like those of Bag Borrow Or Steal and Birchbox. BCG noted that, “Although some see such businesses as democratizing luxury—perhaps even diluting the participating brands—the new model clearly resonates with consumers, especially Millennials.” In other words, it’s time to second guess the old assumption