Success Stories

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!


The Institute

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.


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.


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.  

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.”

Luxury Marketing Awards

It’s time again for our Marketing Awards Contest which is open to attendees of our annual Leaders In Luxury event. There’s still time to enter. The deadline is September 24th, so start preparing your entry now!

In the meantime, we thought you’d enjoy seeing a few highlights from last year’s award winners. Entries were substantive, so what follows is a quick overview.

The Best Marketing Campaign for a Property was awarded to Joyce Marsh of Illustrated Properties, Daytona Beach (FL). Joyce did an exceptional job of telling the story of the home and highlighting what made the home special and unique. In addition, her photography was excellent, the marketing materials reflected the quality of the home and her comprehensive written marketing plan included a nice mix of traditional media – including luxury home magazines – and digital media, all designed to target the very successful.

TellingTheStoryWhat really caught the attention of the judge; however, was the story aspect of Joyce’s marketing strategy. Rather than just saying the property was custom built with special features and amenities, Joyce wove a complete story about the home’s construction beginning with how the owners knocked on the door of a home they admired in another state to ask who had designed it, only to find the owner was the architect. She described their discovery, on a visit to an English manor house, of a hand painted mural which they duplicated in the home’s dining room with the help of talented English artisans.

Reading Joyce’s property description, you quickly get the idea that much research was done and no expense was spared in the design and finishing of this property and that the price was warranted. All in all, a nicely done property marketing campaign which resulted in a record-setting sale price.

Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing with Emphasis on Agent Branding went to Brad Hermes with Hermes Fine Properties, Keller Williams in Houston (TX). Brad’s entry quickly became a prize contender when the judge saw Brad’s elegant luxury business card. Printed with a letter press printer on heavy, heavy stock with “Hermes” embossed. Brad’s simple card radiates luxury. It looks like the fine card from a billionaire’s private banker. One look and you feel like this guy knows luxury.

CardsStriking images from The “Life of Luxury” virtual tour on Brad’s homepage garnered extra points for him by setting the tone of his website.

Effective local networking with other luxury agents was another aspect of Brad’s entry. Not only does he send his attractive weekly flyer promoting his properties and reinforcing his luxury designations (CLHMS and Million Dollar Guild), to his consumer center of influence, he includes local luxury agents in the distribution. This helps keep his listings top-of-mind and boosts his showings. His sphere and other agents also receive virtual tours of his properties. Tours are also posted on facebook.

Brad reinforces his personal branding by sending “The High End” magazine to his center of Influence and past clients and customers. Personally branded for Brad, the glossy publication is a constant reminder of Brad and his services. Full page ads in private school directories and Hermes branded water bottles were other aspects of Brad’s marketing which appealed to the judge.

Best Agent Market Report was captured by George Harvey of The Harvey Team in Telluride (CO).  Our judge reviewed George’s submission and concluded, “George’s annual market update reports are easy to read and understand. They are presented nicely, both in print and online. They are comprehensive and use a clean, simple format which allows for quick interpretation.  But the thing that struck me the most was the warm, charming, and inviting tone.”  

TestimonialsThe language used is "cut-to-the-chase" straightforward, but simple and friendly too.  Anyone can "run the numbers" but it takes true expertise to distill complicated market data down to simple insights and present them in a way that makes you feel like you are enjoying a fire-side chat with a friend.   There are two very powerful words to describe this: Expertise and Authenticity.  

The Outstanding Personal Achievement Award is granted for either personal or professional achievement. Last year’s winner was Ed Kaminsky with Shorewood Realtors in Manhattan Beach (CA). Ed’s professional accomplishments led to the award.

SegmentsAfter ranking #2 in all his company’s award categories from 2003 to 2009, Ed finally broke through to #1 in the company in transactions, commissions earned, and sales volume as of 2010. Impressive; however, it was Ed’s focused marketing on three distinct market segments, using three different brands, that really caught the judge’s eye.

Under Ed’s “family of companies,” he has his regular real estate practice, branded as ITZ SOLD. He also does auction business through his Premiere Estate Auction Company and has created a network of agents specializing in sports stars through his SportStar Relocation venture. In short he works three niche markets successfully, all three of which tie to his luxury property focus. 

Is there really any value in professional designations?


RISMedia has just
published a great article ("Time for Summer Break or Summer School?") by Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX.  In it, Ms. Kelly highlights the value of education and professional designations.

As she puts it:

At RE/MAX, we’ve crunched the numbers, and without a doubt, education matters when it comes to productivity. In fact, last year, RE/MAX agents who held a CRS designation averaged $22,000 more in commissions than the overall RE/MAX average commission; CDPEs earned $15,000 more; ABRs $10,000 more. RE/MAX agents who held the CLHMS earned an astonishing $100,000 more on average!

She goes on to say:

If you’re really serious about your business, prove it. Show your clients and your competition that you hold yourself to a higher standard. Show them you want to be the best you can possibly be.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.  

After all, our mission has always been to help real estate professionals provide high quality service to the buyers and sellers of luxury homes and in so doing, maximize their own success.  

See you in summer school! 

“Principle of Sacrifice” strategy results in full price sale in 8 days

In our Institute for Luxury Home Marketing training we talk about sacrificing those buyers who will never buy the property you are marketing and instead focusing on the best prospects -- the prospects that are a match for the property based on property characteristics.  We call this targeted marketing  strategy “the principle of sacrifice.”

Paul  Basile -- a new ILHM member who is a Broker Associate with Douglas Elliman in Miami Beach --  contacted us to say he was testing the “principle of sacrifice” in the MLS description for one of his listings.  Here’s what Paul said in his email:

"I have a condo for sale in Miami Beach that was known as the "Land of No."  No renting, no dogs, no more than 3 people per unit.  I decided to take your advice and ‘sacrifice’ the 90% (who will never buy this property) and revise the remarks to target the 10% or even 5% that might actually be interested in my listing. 

Please note that the remarks are short because our Miami MLS only allows us to use 500 letters and spaces in our remarks section.  I will let you know if it sells faster with the revisions."

1510 Sq Ft Waterfront 3 Bed 2.5 Bath Corner Unit, Loft Condo w/10 Ft Ceilings Thru-out & Open Kitchen. Huge Living Room w/Great Light, Private Balcony Overlooks Intracoastal, Bal Harbour & Surfside. Watch Sunrises & Full Moons Over the Water. Loft has Windows Facing East, North & West and Multiple Walk-in Closets. Boutique Building Includes Waterfront Pool & Dock Availability w/No Fixed Bridges to Haulover Cut & Atlantic Ocean Boating! Rare Opportunity: High Ceilings, 3 Bedrooms, Cat OK & Low Maintenance.

Revised Principle of Sacrifice MLS  Remarks:
Finally Peace & Quiet! No Barking Dogs! No Renting! Tired of Noisy Neighbors? We Have Concrete Walls! Tranquility at its Best. Want Space? We Have 10 Ft Ceilings to Display Art! 1,510 Sq Ft Waterfront 3 Bed 2.5 Bath Corner Unit, Open Kitchen, Huge Living Room w/Great Light, Balcony View of Intracoastal, Bal Harbour, Surfside. Windows Face East, North & West. Huge Closets. Boutique Building w/only 24 Units Includes Waterfront Pool & Dock Availability!  Cats & Pets OK, but No Dogs! Maintenance $500

Did Paul’s new strategy work?  

Here’s what he reported -- he received a full price offer just eight days after he changed the description for his listing.  

Way to go Paul!  Congratulations.

Agent Branding in the Luxury Market

Brad HermesAt last year's Leaders in Luxury, Brad Hermes of Hermes Fine Properties (Keller Williams in Houston) won the Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing with Emphasis on Agent Branding award.  

What makes for good agent branding in the luxury market?  Quite simply it is a combination of reach, positioning and consistent execution.  Put even more simply, it is a function of who sees you, where they see you, how often they see you, what you stand for, and how are you perceived .

As the judge noted about Brad's entry, "Brad does a great variety of self-marketing, including social media and PR.  Plus, the quality of his materials, visual identity, and copy was superb."  

ElegantcardsTake his business cards for example.  The design is simple and elegant.  The card is uncluttered, with plenty of negative space and the typefaces used are "sophisticated" and evoke the desired positioning.  The cards are printed with letter press on a very heavy, fine paper stock and the thickness of each card is two or three times that of the typical business card.  They look and feel substantial.  

BrochureThis strong, visually simple branding is used consistently across his other marketing collateral, and on his website.    On property brochures large, professional photographs and clean design reinforce luxury brand positioning, and consistent use of logos and typefaces reinforce identity.  This is true across every "channel" and even extends to the labels on the water bottles his team provides to clients, as well as the wallpaper and lock screen graphics on the team's iPhones and iPads.

From a messaging standpoint, Hermes Fine Properties consistently positions itself around the notion of a lavish lifestyle with the tagline, "It's impossible to overdo luxury." A great example of this is the website home page which features a slideshow of outstanding photographs of fine homes of varying styles, designed to appeal to a variety of affluent lifestyles. Accompanying each photograph is a word that evokes luxurious excess, like "Opulence" or "Indulgence."  


In terms of reach, Brad seeks to be in front of his targeted prospect group in a variety of "channels." You might see him in the directories of exclusive private schools, in direct mail to a targeted farming list, in social media, in or in PR activities that result in articles in the local paper.  

Although Brad is a market where luxury begins at $500,000, his luxury branding sets a benchmark that still applies in the upper reaches of the luxury niche. founder fails to sell own home

Listing with real estate broker results in higher price, greater net to seller!

The Founder and former CEO of may be rethinking the value of listing a property with a REALTOR.  Colby Sambrotto listed his New York condominium on his own and promoted it on FSBO websites and in online classified ads.  All to no avail.  

After six months, he gave up as a FSBO and listed his 2000 square foot unit with New York broker Jesse Buckler.  His new listing agent recommended retargeting the property to different buyer groups and suggested a new list price.  

The Wall Street Journal reports that the listing sold for $2.15 million with a 6% professional fee to the broker.  Since the condo sold for $150,000 more that the original asking price, Sambrotto netted an extra $21,000 after the professional fee was paid.  

Bottom line -- it paid the FSBO website founder to use a pro!