Institute News

Institute Members Receive Industry Leading Online Education and Advanced Resources through New Partnership

The Institute announces new strategic partnership with McKissock Learning

Starting in 2016, all Members of The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing will receive free online Continuing Education (CE) and Professional Development courses from McKissock Learning, a national leader in real estate education. The list of benefits for Institute Members is already extensive - including access to WealthEngine through Online Wealth Lookup (OWL) and a free standard account with the international MLS Proxio - and now unlimited access to McKissock Learning’s online course library represents yet another competitive edge for Institute Members.

As a result of this new strategic partnership between The Institute and McKissock Learning, Institute Members will have unlimited access to online courses free of charge, including state-required credits for license renewal as well as a growing collection of elective professional development courses to help real estate professionals take their careers to the next level.

Here is just a small sample of elective topics from the company's Real Estate course library:

  • Pocket Listings: Is This Trend for You?
  • Navigating a Hot Seller’s Market
  • Millennials are Changing Real Estate: Are You Ready?
  • Navigating a Hot Seller’s Market
  • Technology, Relationships, and the Digital Consumer

The benefit to Members won’t stop there! Throughout 2016 McKissock Learning, in partnership with The Institute will be producing and launching a special series of luxury focused Continuing Education (CE) courses, all of which will be made available to Institute Members at no cost.

McKissock is among the best-regarded continuing education providers in the U.S., with tens of thousands of real estate professionals rating courses an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. “We are excited to bring this new benefit to Institute Members,” says Tyler Duncan, General Manager of Real Estate for McKissock Learning. “In today’s ever-changing real estate market, continuing education and professional development play a vital role in the success of a real estate professional’s career and we look forward to helping members of The Institute capitalize on that knowledge.”

Curious to know more about this benefit and other benefits The Institute offers? Contact The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing at 214-485-3000. Institute Members can access this benefit along with more detailed information under their membership accounts at

2015 Leaders in Luxury Marketing Awards Winners

Thank you to all those who submitted entries for this year's Leaders in Luxury Marketing Awards. We were blown away by the amount of entries submitted, and what our members have accomplished. Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Leaders in Luxury Marketing Awards.


Jennifer Egbert, Dawn Thomas, Christine Battista, Carl Battista, Norka Parodi, Patrick Ryan

2015 Best Agent Market Report

Winner: Dawn Thomas, Dreyfus Sotheby’s International Realty, Palo Alto, CA

2015 Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing

Winner: Jennifer Egbert, JP Egbert Associates, Modern Luxury Real Estate, RE/MAX Alliance; Boulder, CO

2015 Best Marketing Campaign for a Property

Winner: Norka Parodi The Norka Group, Boca Raton, FL

2015 Outstanding Personal Achievement

Winner: Patrick Ryan, Ryan Residential, Related Realty Chicago, IL

2015 Best Marketing Video

Winner: Carl Battista & Christine Battista, The Battista Team, Keller Williams Denver Tech, Denver, CO

Watch for more on these winning entries in upcoming blog posts. Also watch for a webinar in the next few months featuring the marketing award winners’ entries.

Middle Eastern Royalty Negotiating for Lavish 68-room Sardinian Estate, Will $541 Million be the Final Price?

Saudi king blog post
Rumors are rife that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is selling Villa Certosa, his lavish estate on Sardinia’s exclusive Costa Esmeralda, to Saudi Arabian royalty for $541 million. The estate sprawls over 296 acres and features 68 rooms, six swimming pools, an underground grotto where small boats can dock, an amphitheater, and a man-made volcano that erupts on command.

Arabian Business reports that Saudi Arabian Prime Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, is buying the property on behalf of his uncle King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera previously reported that Berlusconi was seeking $552 million for the secluded Mediterranean estate, which became a symbol of his flamboyant lifestyle during his years in power.  

The Luxury Shed: So Much More Than A “Man-Cave”

She Shed
I know what you’re thinking: luxury shed? Sheds have historically been used as a place to store farm equipment, garden supplies, firewood, and seasonal sports equipment. Not so long ago, you would’ve been more likely to find a possum in a backyard shed than someone reading a novel on a rainy day! But you can forget the corrugated metal and plastic siding. Luxury homeowners today are recasting backyard sheds as a vessel for their dreams, built and decorated with the same attention to detail and quality of materials as the main household.

You Call That A Shed?

A “man cave” is a room in the house dedicated to a male head of the household—essentially a no-girls-allowed clubhouse for adult men. The trend of tricked-out sheds really took flight when homeowners began moving these so-called “man caves” out of the house and into the outdoors. The women’s equivalent, which some refer to as the “she-shed,” is becoming increasingly popular.

In general, luxury sheds are designed to provide a private hideaway for working or relaxing. (Because sometimes being behind a locked door in the same house just isn’t enough space!) Sheds also offer an opportunity for homeowners to attain the home of their dreams. If the existing floor plan doesn’t have a room with adequate space or privacy for one of the homeowner’s needs, a luxury shed can offer the perfect solution.

Some of the most popular uses for luxury sheds:

  • Cozy, private reading room complete with coffee maker
  • Gardening shed and greenhouse for growing things year-round
  • Master bathroom expansion (if you want the bath to be really relaxing, put it in a different building)
  • Woodshop, workshop, or hobby space
  • Artist’s studio for painters or sculptors
  • Recording studio
  • Backyard home office
  • Adult tree house (for the young at heart)
  • Backyard bar or cocktail lounge

Endless Possibilities

For luxury real estate professionals, sheds are a way to expand the client’s possible uses of a given space or piece of property. If you are showing a home and the client says they are looking for something closer to the forest, why not suggest a luxury shed in a secluded wooded corner of the property? If an existing luxury home doesn’t have the right space for a bar and lounge, a private office, a craft space, or a recording studio—why not inform your client about the endless possibilities afforded by luxury sheds?

The best part? They are affordable, comfortable, and customizable. Because of their small footprint, sheds can be built virtually anywhere and erected in a matter of days.

China’s NWBs: Coming to a Luxury Home Near You

According to NAR’s 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, China is the second largest source of international buyers in the United States. Chinese buyers rank first in terms of dollar value of sales because they most often buy high-end luxury homes. The recent drop in Chinese stock markets, however, wiped out an estimated US$3.35 trillion of wealth. Where U.S. luxury real estate professionals are concerned, these turning economic tides might bring a change in clientele.

What’s an NWB?

Have you heard of NWBs? If not, you should make yourself familiar. The world’s fastest growing wealth segment is that of the NWBs—or “new wealth builders”—who hold financial assets between US$100,000 and US$2 million. While high-net-worth individuals (those with more than US$2 million in assets) accounted for US$43 trillion in global wealth last year, the NWB segment accounted for more than US$88 trillion. Translation: NWBs have a total of double the wealth of high-net-worth individuals! China’s NWBs, in particular, are amongst the world’s wealthiest and fastest growing economic group. It is estimated that China’s NWBs will hold double the wealth of American NWBs by the year 2020.

Most importantly, China’s NWBs seem to be fairing the economic storm better than most, and they are consequently in search of investments that protect their wealth, appreciate over time, or provide stable revenue streams. This makes them prime prospects for luxury real estate professionals in the United States.

Chinese NWBs: What They’re Looking For

A recent McKinsey Quarterly report shows that 69 million Chinese citizens possess the wealth to invest in U.S. properties. This figure is expected to reach 220 million by 2022. These numbers will likely yield an uptick in the number of Chinese buyers who invest in luxury homes abroad. In general, Chinese buyers are likely to be looking for these key features in U.S. real estate:

  • Great educational institutions. As far as Chinese buyers are concerned, education is king.
  • An expanding market with room for new businesses. Chinese buyers are looking to set down roots, and many want to open a business in the U.S. city where they buy a home.
  • Long-term ownership. Property laws in China effectively dictate that individuals hold long-term leases on properties, but can never fully own them. Chinese buyers want to own their homes outright so that they can pass them from one generation to the next.

Amongst Chinese buyers in general, NWBs are unique. Here are some things that luxury real estate professionals need to know about them:

  • Compared to individuals in the higher income bracket, NWBs are younger, more internet savvy, and more likely to rely on online resources when making investment decisions.
  • Chinese buyers take six months to research properties before they begin visiting and making purchasing decisions.
  • NWBs are more likely to look for investment opportunities in secondary cities.
  • NWBs are likely to only visit properties or work with real estate professionals that were visible online (and behind the Great Firewall of China).
  • Chinese prospects prefer to do their research in Chinese, on websites hosted in China.

China’s NWBs seem to be fairing well amidst economic upheaval and will likely be looking to make stable, long-term investments in foreign markets. For luxury real estate professionals, marketing your services and listings on Chinese sites will be paramount for reaching this growing group of international prospects.

Leaders in Luxury Advisory Board selected for 2015 event in Puerto Rico

Ten luxury professionals have been selected to serve on the Advisory Board for Leaders in Luxury (LIL), The Institute’s exclusive, invitation-only educational and networking event for real estate professionals who work in the million and multi-million dollar home and estate market.  This year’s Leaders in Luxury event is scheduled for October 4-6, in San Juan, Puerto Rico at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and will cater to professionals who are true experts in the luxury residential market – those who work from the $1,000,000 to $100,000,000 price point.

The 2015 Leaders in Luxury Advisory Board includes

  • Val Arbona, RE/MAX Vintage, Houston (TX)
  • Christine Battista, Keller Williams, Denver Tech Center, Denver (CO)
  • Ann Chiasson, RE/MAX  Sea to Sky, Whistler (BC)
  • Christopher Fling, Fling Santy, Keller Williams, Phoenix (AZ)
  • Colleen Hensley, Keller Williams, Carlsbad (CA) 
  • Maggie Miggins, Keller Williams, Short Hills (NJ)
  • Margaret Parma, Kuper Sotheby’s International, Austin (TX)
  • Loretta Phinney, Royal LePage, Toronto (ON)
  • Raziel Ungar, Pacific Union, Christies International, Burlingame (CA)
  • Jim Walberg, Pacific Union, Christies International, Danville (CA)   

Our LIL Advisory Board is made up of a diverse group of luxury professionals from across North America who are leaders in their luxury residential markets.  What they have in common is strong expertise in the luxury home niche and a commitment to providing outstanding service to affluent buyers and sellers.  The Advisory Board provides input on topics and speakers for the event and helps promote the meeting to their peers across North America and abroad.

For information: Leaders in Luxury


Advisory Board Selected for Leaders in Luxury 2014

VIP event scheduled for Denver, October 27-29, 2014

Six Institute members will serve on the Advisory Board for this year’s Leaders in Luxury (LIL), our annual, invitation-only educational and networking event for Institute members who have earned the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® (CLHMS) designation and work in the million and multi-million dollar home and estate market in the U.S. and Canada.

Advisory Board
Leaders in Luxury 2014

Ron Armstrong
Keller Williams Professionals
Asheville NC

Carol Best
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Barrington IL

Deanna Carter
RE/MAX Associates
Park City Luxury Home Group
Park City UT

Eric Copper
Keller Williams Austin Portfolio Real Estate
Austin TX

Edward Kaminsky
Shorewood Realtors
Manhattan Beach CA

Lisa Wadey
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty
Scottsdale AZ

 The LIL Advisory Board is made up of a diverse group of professionals who are leaders in their residential markets. Each one is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® and has earned Million Dollar Guild® recognition. Each has strong expertise in the luxury home niche and a commitment to providing outstanding service to affluent buyers and sellers.

“We are delighted to have such an outstanding group of professionals for this year’s board,” said Institute President Waco Moore. “2014 marks our tenth annual luxury event and we have big plans. We’ll begin with a real estate mini-movie workshop and film festival plus a networking cocktail party and a gala marketing awards dinner on the first day. In addition, we’ve planned two days packed with valuable presentations, insightful panels and extraordinary networking. Our goal is to continue to set the benchmark for luxury retreats. This advisory board is providing guidance for an outstanding event!”

For more information visit or call us at 214-485-3000.

Advisory Board Selected for Leaders in Luxury 2013

VIP event scheduled for Seattle, October 28-30 


Seven Institute members will serve on the Advisory Board of this year’s Leaders in Luxury (LIL), our annual, invitation-only educational and networking event for Institute members who have earned the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) designation and work in the million and multi-million dollar home and estate market in the U.S. and Canada.

Serving this year on the Leaders in Luxury Advisory Board:

-   Dawna Borg, RE/MAX Premier, Vaughan/Toronto (ON)

-   Debbie Murray, Allie Beth Allman& Associates, Dallas (TX)

-   Keiko Okubo, RE/MAX Accord, San Francisco (CA)

-   Roman Pavlik, Keller Williams Eagle Realty, Miami (FL)

-   Nancy Rondeau, Sotheby’s International Realty-Canada, Vancouver (BC)

-   Friley Saucier, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Naples (FL)

-   Joyce Tawes, Realty One Group, Scottsdale (AZ)

“We are pleased to have such a great group for this year’s board,” said Institute President Waco Moore. “This year’s meeting is our ninth annual luxury event and we are pulling out all the stops to make it our best. We’ll begin with a luxury property tour, a networking cocktail party and a gala marketing awards dinner on the first day.  In addition, we’ve planned two days packed with informative presentations and panels and a special event at Nordstrom.  Our goal is for this meeting to set the benchmark for luxury retreats.  This advisory board will provide the guidance we need for an outstanding event!”

The LIL Advisory Board is made up of a diverse group of professionals who are leaders in their residential markets.  Each one is a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and has earned Million Dollar Guild recognition.  Each has strong expertise in the luxury home niche and a commitment to providing outstanding service to affluent buyers and sellers.

For more information, visit or call us 214-485-3000.

Q&A with Laurie

Q.  You have so many tools.  Can you please talk about one you think is really useful and how to use it effectively?

A.  First, thanks for asking this question.  I am perplexed when members don’t check out, much less use, the tools we are providing for them.  They are leaving money on the table and that’s a shame.  So, let’s start with a valuable Institute tool which is underutilized.

I recently spoke with a member who was using our National Luxury Market Report to motivate a buyer prospect to make a buying decision before the market shifts to a seller’s market.  Using that week’s National Luxury Market Report, which she found on our website, she could show her buyer that prices are rising, inventory is low, and the market is moving away from a buyers’ market.  That data reinforced the idea that now is the time to act.  A great way to create a sense of urgency.  National Luxury Market Report

The ILHM National Luxury Market Report is an up-to-the-minute look at trends in the luxury market around the country based on active listings from more than 30 representative markets.  You’ll find the report on our website.  It is updated every week.  While the executive summary of the national market is available on our blog and website, the full report and city reports are only available to our members.  Using this report is one more way to differentiate yourself with good information.

For example, if you look at it this week, you’ll see that the list price of luxury homes is trending up, asking price per square foot is rising, inventory levels have been falling, average days on market for current listings is holding at about six months, and we are moving out of a buyers’ market toward a balanced market.  If you have a buyer who is on the fence, you might want to share this info as an incentive to make a buying decision before it becomes a seller’s market.  Use this info with a seller to talk about the advantages of selling while inventory levels are low.  One of our members used this report to give a presentation on the luxury market to her local Rotary Club.

This information also is available for about 30 individual markets.  You’ll find these local charts in the members’ only section of the website.

Many agents post the PDF of the executive summary of the national report or their local metro area market report on their website.  This is a smart way to set yourself apart as a professional who knows the luxury market.  Just be sure you’re clear on what the charts indicate, so you can handle questions.

Institute member closes highest priced sale in Sarasota in two years

Marcia Salkin, a Million Dollar Guild member of The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing and agent with Michael Saunders, just sold a waterfront home on Siesta Key for $10,000,000.  This is the highest priced sale in Sarasota since early 2011 and sets the all-time record on Siesta Key.

“The property is sensational and deserves this record setting price,” says Salkin.  On nearly two acres of prime waterfront, this estate overlooks downtown Sarasota and features a grand “Old Florida” residence, resort-like pool, and a one-of-a-kind double vessel boathouse on the deepest water in the area.

Marcia Salkin, a top performer in luxury real estate in Sarasota for nearly three decades, credits her continued success to her “customer-first, win-win attitude.”