Episode 396: Strategies to Become a Luxury Real Estate Agent in 2023

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For the 396th episode of Mail Right Show, Jonathan Denwood and Robert Newnan discuss different strategies to become a luxury real estate agent in 2023. Robert Newman, the CEO of Inbound REM, an inbound marketing firm, has been in the real estate SEO business for over a decade. Meanwhile, Jonathan Denwood is the joint founder and CEO of Mail Right. This platform builds beautiful websites on WordPress and combines digital marketing tools in a streamlined, user-friendly package.

There are different ways to become a luxury real estate agent. One way, though, is through a background of wealth, either through inheritance or a deep understanding of financial matters. For instance, someone may not have inherited wealth but entered the realm of luxury real estate through marriage. However, these things are not available for some; thus, it’s essential to recognize that alternative approaches exist to enter the luxury real estate market. This episode explores the different strategies for aspiring luxury agents who do not have the advantage of being born into affluence, receiving parental assistance, benefiting from nepotism, or marrying into privilege.

1. Elevate your Brand

How do you make yourself relevant to luxury properties? There’s this thing called Informational Branding, which is about telling the story of the hyper-luxury property.

From an informational branding perspective, you want to go to places where you can share videos and images because information branding is more about how you equate yourself through multimedia, such as visual or audio mediums.

You would go to Instagram and take pictures of homes and neighborhoods you want to represent, then talk about them. Tell a compelling story about the property you want to list, then put it on social media platforms, YouTube, Facebook, or Facebook groups, and work to make yourself known in conjunction with the property you want to list and sell.

Also, if you are doing information branding, you would like to go to the county’s recorder’s office, look in the neighborhood, and find two or three homes that pique your interest after looking at all the people who own the homes. For example, a luxury agent in Orange County only has four properties listed on his website, but all are worth 40 million and above. Each one of those properties has a written and video story. In each property, the agent is in front of the property, usually lounging around somewhere where the camera catches an excellent view of the property. Sometimes, he’s sitting on the bench in front of the property, then casually talking about all the people who have previously owned the property.

Do not try to represent luxury properties solely for money; instead, have a passion for digging into the details. For instance, find its value in luxury properties by diving deep into it. Your effort for doing this is justified because, in the end, there is a commission awaiting, making the journey to the Registrar’s office worthwhile.

2. Tailor Your Content For Luxury Communities in Your Market

There are different types of content you can create for marketing purposes. One common method is online marketing, which has become quite mainstream. In this approach, you use your smartphone to take photos and videos of properties in the communities you are interested in, but make sure that your content is tailored to your audience.

For example, California is a popular community; everybody knows what the gates of luxury properties look like. But, you should capture images of well-known features like community gates to show you’re dealing with luxury properties. When dealing with high-end properties that make up the top 3% to 5% of the market, make your content individualized by doing thorough research or deep dive into that single property. When you start hitting a high-cost level, you must have comprehensive knowledge of the property’s history, including previous buyers and sellers, to engage with your clients effectively.

You need to know what other properties are available in the same community, and you need to know the properties like the back of your hand. Christophe Chue, for instance, can generally tell you not only what’s available but also how he’s usually been to that property, walked through it, and understands it at an intimate level. How many bathrooms? What is the decor like? What are the rules for tearing the property down and then renovating it? When tailoring your content for a luxury community, part of that is how you speak about that property inside that community. As you delve deeper into understanding the properties, such as the origins of bathroom fixtures, whether they are imported from France or crafted by a custom marble maker, and the reasons behind these choices, the narrative surrounding the property comes to life. Sales, in general, is the art of storytelling, and you must try to be passionate about crafting and sharing compelling narratives.

3. Utilizing Video and Digital Marketing

Some people are discussing their successful incorporation of video content into their marketing strategy, particularly in transitioning to a higher price-level area. These individuals use video marketing, leading to their first sale within approximately three months. Their success can be attributed to their utilization of video content, complemented by an action plan. Furthermore, it is essential to demonstrate your grasp of marketing strategies and ability to position yourself.

Representing luxury properties stems from your desire to immerse yourself in storytelling, lose yourself in the intricacies, and connect with clients who share the same enthusiasm for the level of information you bring to represent the properties.

4. Do Property Tours of Luxury Properties

If you want to represent luxury communities, it’s going to be very helpful if you’re close to these communities so that people feel like you’re connected and committed.

When Christophe Choo chose to focus on Beverly Hills, he was initially working in the South Bay area of California. Then, about twenty-five years ago, he aspired to become a luxury real estate agent. He relocated his office for two primary reasons.

  1. He wanted to be closer to the specific communities and high-end properties he aimed to sell.
  2. And most importantly, back then, it was challenging to stay updated about when and where these properties were available for viewing. He found he could handle this aspect more effectively by moving his office to his target community. It’s worth noting that he was not yet an established agent during that period and didn’t have easy access to information.

It’s also all about embracing a particular lifestyle. Imagine you’ve got $5 million to spend; you wouldn’t want to work with someone who lives 15 miles away in an apartment and has no connection to the community you’re interested in.

If you want to serve luxury communities, it’s essential to be close to these areas, either living within them or nearby. This proximity helps people feel you’re genuinely part of the community and fully committed to serving their needs. 

5. Personally Prospecting Luxury Communities

When selling expensive properties, the traditional way is door-knocking, but it might not be effective for properties worth 40 million dollars or more. A better approach might be to attend events or join organizations where these wealthy individuals are members and build relationships with them. However, traditional methods like door knocking could still work for less expensive properties that fall into the lower end of the luxury market.

6. Go To Networking Community Events

Visit the places where your target audience connects with community events. However, remember that you may need some personal connection or interest in the event.

When dealing with potential clients in the luxury market, it’s essential to recognize that everyone you encounter is someone significant, given the high-value properties involved. Understanding your audience is crucial, and this is where thorough market research and strategy come into play. For instance, when Beyonce and Jay Z purchased their $80 million estate in Beverly Hills, there were additional sales nearby by their friends, although these didn’t receive as much media attention. You can spot potential opportunities by watching your network’s news and relationships.

What does all this mean for you? Consider figures from the music industry. Jay Z, for instance, has grown his wealth through clothing labels and designs. If you aspire to break into the hyper-luxury market, be prepared to step up your game. You must become a dedicated hunter, part of the top one percent of professionals. The top one percent set themselves apart by conducting thorough research. For instance, they might wear Jay-Z apparel to an open house, knowing they could run into a hip-hop celebrity. Why go through all this effort? Because it provides a natural conversation starter if you notice someone else sporting a similar street brand.

When you are in the public eye and want to appeal to as many people as possible, appearance can be an essential factor, too. You create a brand that represents yourself. For instance, when you see early films of Margaret Fatcher to what she looked like when she became Prime Minister of the UK, she had a whole team work on her. She had lowered her accent, her dress had been modified, and she became a power dresser, always wearing a blue suit or certain jewelry. But you see it; she had presented a brand which was herself— the same works with real estate with other people in the public eye.

Today, dressing for success is also about something other than wearing suits and ties. Some tech entrepreneurs appear casual in hoodies and sweaters, but these garments cost thousands. Understanding fashion and recognizing the brands people wear can be just as essential in making a lasting impression in the luxury market. You must know that if you’re aiming at this elite market.

If you’re looking for creative ways to generate interest, an older book that remains just as relevant today, if not more so, than when it was first written: “How to Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” by Harvey McKay, is recommended. It will help you draw valuable insights from McKay’s strategies that can be effectively applied in the luxury market.