How A Photo Canvas Helped Launch a Career in Luxury Real Estate

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What’s the most innovative way to launch a career in luxury real estate? For Jake Kuiper, an Institute for Luxury Home Marketing alumni and founder of Twin Cities Luxury, that question was on the forefront of his mind as he prepared to transition from medical sales to a new career in real estate. He had no idea the answer would hang on the wall of his first listing. A custom canvas he created ended up opening the door to creativity and success in his career. 

“Coming out of device sales, we had such an affluent audience that we were used to communicating with that it set our focus on wanting to crack into extravagant homes and large lake properties with cool courtyards and expansive master baths,” said Kuiper. 

The only problem was: he valued the creative energy his sales job demanded of him and was feeling uncertain about having to fit a perceived framework for how real estate agents are supposed to sell.

That’s when Kuiper decided to see if he could find some education from like-minded agents who also thought out-of-the-box. That’s when he discovered The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s Luxury Live training.

“Coming out of that course, I felt like I was outside of those [traditional] realms of thinking that I had to do real estate a certain way,” he said.  “I felt empowered to take a lot of the creativity and the custom touches that we wanted to implement and actually run with them.”

That lead Kuiper and his business partner to approach other luxury providers such as dealerships, tailors, hair salons and wineries with an offer to cross-promote each other’s services. They also began hosting large open houses and events that are a hallmark of their brand today. 

But one of his most stand out strategies was the first thing he tried — that canvas that launched him into real estate to begin with. It was his first luxury transaction and set the tone for the rest of his career so far.

“It was one of the ideas that was shared in the course,” he said. Essentially, you take a professional photo and blow it up on a canvas inside the home.  

“We took this cityscape view of Minneapolis with our home in the bottom of it,” he said. “It came down in the purchase agreement that they wanted that in the sale, the buyer wanted to walk away with it. We took it, ran with it, and it helped us sell a house.”

What Kuiper learned is that luxury real estate agents don’t have to follow a certain mold. It all comes down to embracing your creativity and catering to your market in unique ways. 

“It’s what I love about the luxury market,” said Kuiper. “You have this ability to take these incredible homes, it’s truly an honor to walk through them, and represent them. What I love is that we’re not working constantly Monday through Sunday. We’re taking a select amount of homes that we really believe in… we’re getting to do what we love and apply these creative touches to real estate.”

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