Luxury Home Marketing Tips

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


Luxury Garages Become A Swanky Social Space

Along with clothes, watches, and wine, high-end and vintage cars are a favorite collector’s item for high-net-worth individuals. And—just as many luxury homes have custom wine cellars and walk-in closets—luxury homeowners with treasured car collections are likely to want a special space for their high-end vehicles.

Luxury Garage

Top end luxury garages have little in common with the dusty cement rooms that immediately come to mind and they’re about much more than car storage. For individuals with prized vehicles—whether 1 or 100—the ideal luxury garage might be used for:

  • Entertaining. A high-end car enthusiast wants to be able to spend time socializing amidst their car collection, so luxury garages can boast an entertainment system, seating area, wet bar, and card table or billiard table to widen the space’s utility.
  • Showcasing. For car collectors, each vehicle is a work of art, and so a luxury garage acts as the gallery. Custom lighting and rotating turntable displays can enhance the presentation of a homeowner’s favorite vehicles.
  • Maintenance. Many car collectors like to get under the hood of their cars and a well-equipped maintenance bay is the perfect space to tinker.
  • Preservation. Finally, a collector will want their high-end vehicles to be cared for and protected from the elements, so climate control is a must in humid climates where weather can speed deterioration and encourage rusting.

If the luxury home is in an area without space restrictions, then an added garage can span thousands of square feet and accommodate dozens of vehicles without issue. For city dwellers, however, a car storage space can prove more elusive. One popular solution for wealthy collectors is a car elevator such as the PhantomPark, which starts at about $40,000, is custom built to fit the homeowner’s needs, and stores cars below ground. It is important to note, however, that while a lack of garage may diminish a home’s value and desirability, luxury garage renovations see a mere 52% return on investment in resale.


Enormous Basements Add Space & Value To Urban Luxury Homes

Londoners with limited space are digging deep

Over the past decade, many of London’s most famed and wealthy residents have been expanding their homes’ square footage by adding enormous basements below their gardens. The controversial trend came about when wealthy Brits wanted more space, but were bound by plot constraints and property laws that prevented them from expanding up or outward. The result: so-called “iceberg” mansions all over London, where what you see from the street is only a sliver of the home’s actual space. These basements can go many floors deep and often house the homeowners’ wildest dreams, from pools to ballrooms to 15 additional bedrooms.

Blockbuster British Basements

In the cramped and centuries-old streets of London, hundreds of mega-basements have been dug for the UK’s most rich and famous residents, including Prime Minister David Cameron, Foxtons founder Jon Hunt, and Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal. The basements belonging to these ultra-high-net-worth individuals are home to ballrooms, lap pools, vintage car garages with lifts and turntables, gun rooms, wine cellars, saunas, industrial-sized kitchens, movie theaters, dozens of spare bedrooms and bathrooms, and—in the case of British recording artist Damien Hirst—an art gallery.

Floorplan-basement

Hirst recently won a planning battle to add an enormous 150-foot-long backyard basement to his £39.5 million, 19-bedroom home in Westminster. The property, bought by Hirst in 2014, is considered unique for its half-acre yard and large garden, although his renovation proposal was contested based on the number of trees that would have to be cut down to carry out the plans. Despite protests, Hirst and his legal team prevailed in November 2015. Beyond simply adding more square footage to his home, the enormous bunker is destined to hold Hirst’s storied multi-million-dollar art collection, which includes works by masters like Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The subterranean art gallery renovation boasts double-height ceilings and an elevator that can lift art weighing up to ten tons.

Buried in Controversy

Although politicians, actors, and athletes seem thrilled to have the mega-basements of their dreams, the blowback has been widespread and multi-faceted. Neighbors resent finding themselves living beside noisy construction sites, and often fear what the fast-and-deep digging might do to their own homes. And their fears are not unfounded: Goldman Sachs’ Christoph Stanger undertook a basement renovation that caused his neighbors’ homes to slide toward the excavation site, causing their door frames to shift and trapping them in their own homes. Billionaires’ basements have proven dangerous for construction crews, too, as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive has reported 17 deaths and 27 injuries in the last decade. In a rush to respond to the wave of problematic and over-the-top mega-basrments, London boroughs are now tightening their regulations on subterranean renovation. In Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, for example, homeowners can now dig basements no more than one story deep and these additions cannot take up more than 50% of their garden.

Your Client’s Mega-Basement

 There are several important design elements to bear in mind for the luxury homeowner who is considering a major basement renovation or addition.

  • Open floor plans help to prevent the space from feeling too dark and cramped.
  • Natural light is vital for a luxury basement, so designers should opt for light wells rather than light switches. See-through glass stairs also provide an opportunity for light to filter down from above.
  • Light colors will help the space feel airy. Think white or beige walls, light-wood flooring, and neutral fabrics.
  • Egress to green space. Consider installing a door with a stairway up into the backyard garden, or even digging a lowered private garden at the basement level.
  • Great space for kids, storage, and quiet entertaining. When considering what to do with a big basement renovation, think first of playrooms, cinemas, laundry rooms, wine cellars, and gyms. Let more social spaces remain upstairs in the light of day.
  • Think twice about pools. While storage space, gyms, and playrooms often add resale value, this is not always true with pools.
  • Permits and insurance. Be aware of the laws and regulations that govern basement renovations and additions in your area, as well as the insurance options for during and after construction.

Denver Realtor and Institute Member Gives Back to Community in a BIG way

In 2006, Denver Realtor and Institute Member, Joan Rogliano, started a support group for her transitioning clients of divorce and widowhood. The Wildflower Group that was once a support group quickly became an opportunity to educate clients about options regarding their martial home. Subsequently, Joan began to offer educational workshops titled, Divorce and Your Home. Soon after delivering a few of these workshops, she realized there was a greater need for an expanded social community that provided support and trusted professional resources. After implementing, the workshops expanded and the schedule of events increased.

Recognizing there was also urgency for financial aid for this transitioning demographic, Joan created the Wildflower Women's Organization in 2010. WWO is a 501c3 nonprofit which provides educational, financial, and legal advocacy. Supporters include the Anschutz Family Foundation, Coors Foundation, and Jackson National Life Insurance.

Word spread quickly about Wildflower Group throughout the Denver metro area and it also garnered national attention. Recently, Joan was featured on the TODAY Show, her segment was focused on how Wildflower Group supports divorced and widowed women across the United States.

TODAY-Wildflower

Click the image above to view the TODAY Show segment

Wildflower Group is now operating in ten states as a national network of trusted divorce professionals providing education and community support. Current statistics show that women make 85% of consumer purchases in the United States and influence 85% of consumer decisions. Wildflower Group’s Marketing System offers potential Garnders a turnkey system that shows real estate professionals how to begin marketing to this niche market of consumers.

You can learn more about becoming a Gardner for the Wildflower Group by visiting their website.

 Website www.wildflowergroup.net


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.


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


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 www.LuxuryHomeMarketing.com/McKissock.