Our members are some of the most talented and hard-working real estate professionals in the business. After completing extensive training at our live or online trainings, Institute members are uniquely equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to support affluent clients’ real estate needs.
To demonstrate just how exceptional our members are, this month our Member Spotlight series introduces Jack Miller. Jack shows us how his focused approach and ability to diversify his portfolio not only keeps his business current, but ensures his continued success in the luxury market.
Jack Miller started his career in the technology side of industry, including the music industry – which doesn’t come as a surprise given that he is a long-time resident of Nashville. 21 years later and Jack is now the principal listing broker with stutts-miller properties, and a top-producing agent with Parks Realty.
Unlike many agents who gradually move their business into the higher-end property market, when Jack decided to become a Realtor he recognized that this was the niche he wanted to focus his attention.
As we will see, Jack is no stranger to maximizing opportunities. But where he differentiates his business is by acknowledging the need to always have a long term strategy that is carefully planned and implemented.
Continue reading to get the full Q&A with Jack.
How did you get into the real estate business?
While I enjoyed working in the technology side of music, I realized that I gravitated towards the sales and marketing side of business and working with people. Real estate was a natural fit because I was able to apply my technical and marketing skills to assist people in fulfilling their dreams. My uncle and aunt, broker-owners at Town and Mountain Realty in Asheville NC also strongly encouraged me to become a Realtor.
Within the first year I appreciated that I was more invested in marketing unique homes. I also realized that I didn’t have the expertise nor the experience that affluent clientele expected to see in my resume.
How did you overcome this obstacle?
First of all I took stock of my assets – passion, ability and a book of contacts from my previous corporate clients and music industry days. Then I implemented a three-pronged strategy.
I joined all the luxury real estate networks, including The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, knowing I had to learn from the best – in both professional training and skillset but also by connecting and engaging with successful agents. I shadowed their successes and began to formulate a strategy based on harnessing the methods that would work for me.
About this time the Internet was starting to open up networking opportunities. I reached out to other real estate professionals, seeking advice and knowledge but more importantly with the focus on building a referral network. Nashville has gradually become a location of choice – and I have been able to help my colleagues whose clients are looking to move here.
The third strategy was to look for an opportunity to create a niche for myself. Even though luxury is considered to be a niche market, drilling down and really becoming recognized as an expert in a particular field will set you apart quickly. Once established you can start to diversify.
Tell us about how you found your Niche Market
Sometimes you are given a choice between doing a job well and going the extra mile (literally in this case). My first $1 million buyer was based in Atlanta – approx. a 4 hour drive – and they were relocating to Nashville. Instead of waiting for the client to make a final decision on a broker and come to Nashville, I decided to drive down and meet the whole family at their current home.
Was it a risk? – yes, I hadn’t even made an appointment – but I wanted to show them that I was willing to provide them exceptional service and I immediately become the broker of choice. It also gave me a great insight into where they currently lived, the type of home they had and because, luckily they were home and invited me in, I was also able to get to know them in person.
I obviously impressed the client, as he then recommended me to his company and I became their relocation expert. So started my success in the niche of luxury relocation. Between the years of 2000 – 2008 I was closing 5-6 relocations a month.
This experience taught me that taking a strategic risk can make a huge difference and it also has stood me in good stead in learning how to stay successful when the market changes.
How have you continued to diversify your business as the market changed?
While Nashville is known for its music, it has also become the headquarters for many Healthcare, Technology and Acquisition companies. So I diversified my relocation expertise to understand the need of the individuals from these industries.
As my expertise grew, so did my reputation and I have been able to leverage my business to work with homeowners looking to move both up and down in the luxury real estate market. Recognizing the change of demand is critical to staying ahead and ensuring you meet the expectations of your clients. For instance, demand for mega mansions has declined significantly and today the demand is for designer spec homes of 6-7,000 sq feet.
What do you do when you have a Mega Mansion?
Mega mansions of 10-15,000 sq ft are not in strong demand as they once were and it’s therefore a challenge. However, taking the time to understand the attributes of the home and how they can be leveraged is the critical factor in marketing it to potential buyers.
Currently, I have Kelly Clarkson’s home on the market. It’s 20,000 sq ft and listed at $7.5 million. But it has something that most homes in Nashville don’t have – it’s lakefront and exceptionally private.
Tell us about something unexpected in your real estate career
We have talked a lot about how I have niched my career in luxury and how I have tried to diversify my business to remain current with demand. Well, currently I am working on a project that surprised me as I wouldn’t have considered this trend as having a foothold in the luxury market.
10 months ago, I was given the opportunity to become the Brand Ambassador of a luxury tiny home project about 1.5 hours outside of Nashville. At first I was a little sceptical thinking “who is going to buy a 400 – 550 sq ft home, no matter how luxurious the fixtures and finishes?”
But I also recognized that the market has changed – luxury is about experiences, lifestyle and maximizing time. The Retreat, consisting of 2 communities of 1/3-3 acre lots offers a mountain getaway experience, with a choice of designer cottages, cabins and vacation homes meets exactly these criteria. The perfect weekend retreat from Nashville.
Instead of doing the traditional marketing campaign, my partner Robert Stutts and I held presentations at many of the brokerage offices in Nashville. This included our competitors who specialized in luxury homes sales and we received an enthusiastic welcome. The first community of 48 properties sold out in less than 3 weeks. The second community, being launched in September 2019, is already 75% reserved.
What other trends are you seeing or predict in the Luxury Market?
One trend I see is the move back to urban living for the wealthy. They are downsizing from large properties and moving into smaller contemporary living spaces – often luxury condos and townhomes. They are moving to areas that are clean and safe, but also offer the high walkability scores of being near fabulous amenities and experiences.
What advice do you have for people wanting to break into the high-end real estate market?
First, find a mentor. Some of the best business advice and counseling I received in my early years came from those who were already extremely successful in the luxury home market. Rick French, an icon in our industry and co-owner of French King Fine Properties, has been a dear friend and mentor to me from the start.
Secondly, you don’t have to live a luxury lifestyle sell luxury real estate. Fundamentally speaking, luxury clients want the same thing all clients want: a broker they like and trust. But you do need to understand their wants and needs, and that’s what is unique to this wonderful niche market.
How has the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing influenced your career?
The Institute gave me a skillset and really helped hone my abilities and talent in a way that is meaningful. I use everything I learned from the Institute, leverage their tools and have created a network of professional relationships that I wouldn’t have had access to anywhere else.
Learn more about Jack at www.wipeyourfeet.net