Marketing Luxury Homes in the Age of the Internet

Selling real estate is a competitive business. It is also one in which there is both tremendous risk and high earning potential. That is especially true in the case of high-end luxury properties.

Real Estate Professionals Market Luxury Homes

For real estate professionals, marketing luxury homes requires different strategies than selling more typical homes and properties. When trying to sell a half-million dollar home, and ad in the local Sunday newspaper is not the most effective approach to take.

How to Distinguish a Luxury Home

The luxury home market is usually defined, depending on the local market, as the top 10% of homes listed by asking price or homes listed above $500,000. Something that makes luxury home sales different from others is that each property often requires its own marketing plan. Another difference is that the buyer is more likely to be from out-of-town or state, often more than 500 miles from the location of the property.

Luxury Property Market

Another common challenge in selling luxury properties is that many of them are highly customized to the needs, wants and tastes of the current owners. Unusual and special features make a home unique but to many buyers, these homes would appear to require extensive renovating to make them more suitable for them.

Traditional Marketing for Luxury Property

Placing ads in newspapers, local real estate guides, and running open houses is not the most practical approach to reach potential buyers of these homes. These tried and true techniques of selling homes often do not reach people genuinely interested in purchasing high-end luxury properties. Rather, they often attract people who are described as interior decorating tourists or just those curious about what’s inside these stunning homes.

Reach Luxury Home Buyers on the Web

The Internet has opened up better avenues for reaching buyers interested in luxury homes in markets across the country and around the globe. Listing a luxury home online can extend a real estate agent or broker’s reach by hundreds or thousands of miles instantly.

List a Luxury Property Easily

In addition to multiple listing services (MLS), the Internet is also home to a variety of sites offering other ways of listing real estate for sale. There are listing sites that sell nearly everything imaginable and others that are exclusive to homes and property.

With the ability to include detailed description of a luxury home and its amenities as well as photos and, sometimes, virtual tours or at least a link to drive traffic to an external site for more information, these sites are very economical to a real estate agent’s advertising and marketing budget. Some offer free listings or charge a nominal fee while others charge more for deluxe features.

Websites Where Luxury Property Can be Listed

Craigslist.org is one example. Anyone can list almost anything, including real estate, largely for free. Craigslist.org is a collection of some 30 million online classified ads in 450 markets in all 50 US states, and over 50 countries. With billions of page views each month, craigslist.org is one of the most visited English language sites.

There are sites that are more specific to buying and selling real estate. One example is houselist.com. This site has different levels of listing from free to several hundred dollars annually. Each level includes more selling features for an unlimited number of listings. Like craigslist.org, houselist.com is searchable by state and city or by country.

Another option is to use an auction site. eBay is probably the best known of these online companies. Listing expenses are generally linked to the value of the item for sale. There are nominal insertion fees for posting the item on the site. When the item is sold, additional fees are applied amounting to a percentage of the value of the sale.

Realize Your Dream of Owning a Luxury Home

When we walk around an elite neighborhood comprising of country estates, elegant mansions, and chic penthouse condominiums, the dream of owning one such real estate is rekindled at the bottom of our minds. Like me, you must also have asked a question to your mind – who are the people who buy these stylish homes? What are their income and lifestyle profiles? Let us explore all these questions in this article, and provide you some useful tips for buying a luxury home in case you decide to buy one.

The profile of a luxury home buyer, as discovered by a survey conducted by a banker is as follows:

• 31% pay full cash at the time of purchasing the house.
• The predominant buyers of luxury homes are top executives of big corporate houses.
• 67% of the buyers belong to the “baby boom” generation (between ages 35 and 55)
• 88% of the luxury home owners are married.
• If you think about luxury home amenities, then designer kitchens come up as the first priority area.
• 89% of the luxury home buyers want their dream home to contain a minimum of four to five rooms.
• Nearly half of the luxury homes sold have an area between 4000 to 6000 square feet.

Let me now provide you some useful tips that might come to your help if you plan to buy your own luxury home.

When you are targeting a new luxury house, talk to your potential neighbors first. Try to dig out information from them about the problems they are facing. Simultaneously, also ask them about the amenities they are enjoying in their neighborhood. You also need to possess a copy of the current homeowner’s association rules, regulations and guidelines. The association rules of upscale neighborhoods generally have strict guidelines such as, home color, and the number of cars that can be parked in your driveway.

You need to check out the local zoning laws as well. It is a very important consideration that your home should be protected from township developments such as creation of a new super market, or a commercial office building. In a nutshell, try to gather as much information as possible about your neighborhood. This will enable you to quickly adapt to your new neighborhood.

While comparing two or more luxury homes, do not depend on their photos only. There are many beautiful and large homes that are not that photogenic and you need to see them in person to admire.

You need to have a good agent who can assist you in the purchase of your dream luxury home. The agent should be familiar with the area of your target home. If you are eyeing a high-end property, then you might face certain restrictions to get access to them. Your agent can be the mediator in those cases. As the stake in a luxury house is quite high, your agent should be thorough and professional enough to seal the deal in your favor. The agent should be able to negotiate with financial institutions and lenders to make the home financing process a little easier for you.

Sometimes, bank can provide you some useful information about the luxury homes that are up for sale. If you have a bank that has attached a relation executive to you, approach him or her. They usually have a portfolio ready for luxury home buyers. Learn from them the difference between a pre-approval letter and a pre-qualification letter. To obtain finance from the bank, you need to keep all your financial documents up and handy. In this niche, high-end market, you should be able to show your proof of income to the bank.

To become safe and secure after the purchase, you need to get title insurance for the property that you have bought. The title insurance will safeguard you from unwarranted problems that you have forgotten about. Make sure that you look at the exceptions page of the insurance papers.

You may need to redecorate your luxury home before you move in. You will save a lot of your headaches and multiply your happy moments after relocation to your new home. For example, you may want to opt for carpet flooring instead of hardwood; or paint the interiors of your house to a different color; or change your garden landscape to suit your taste. Contact with your interior decorator well in advance and roll out the renovation process.

Lastly, and most importantly, you need to evaluate your financial position before you take the plunge. You need to sit down with your realtor and figure out how much you can afford. Your realtor will tell you about every cost involved, including interest, taxes etc. Next, you need to sit down with the bank representatives who are willing to lend you. Watch on the repayment interest rate. Your realtor should act as a liaison between you and your banker. Take advantage of your realtor’s experience in this field. A luxury home in a posh locality can cost up to millions of dollars. Therefore, make an honest assessment about your creditworthiness before you jump to any decisions.

Houston Texas Luxury Homes

Houston offers Texas luxury homeowners many of the same amenities of the Big Apple but with a southwestern flavor. Only New York City has as many Fortune 500 companies as Houston. The city is known as the ‘energy capital of the world’ and is also home to the world’s largest medical and research center-Texas Medical Center. The Houston Astros, Texas Oilers and Houston Rockets provide top notch athletic events for Houston’s visitors. And the Houston Museum District offers culture and variety that many say rivals New York’s museums. The city is one of the wealthiest in the nation and luxury homes are found throughout the metropolitan Houston area.

The Museum District is where many looking for Houston luxury homes begin their search. Many new high rise condominiums are opening. These homes are great for young executives how want a home without a lot of maintenance. Some like a large penthouse but other prefer the coziness of a smaller condo. Many of these have the luxuries of large homes-wine cellars, guest quarters and indoor hot tubs.

From it’s pristine golf course to the long list of celebrities that live there, River Oaks is considered by many to be the most luxurious areas of Houston. Many of the homes there are not just beautiful-they are large. Many include 10 or more bedrooms and an area for the maid to live. New luxury homes are being constructed every day as older ones being replaced. According to the United States Census Bureau, this is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country.

West University Place attracts professionals from almost every type of career. The neighborhood is home to oil executives, NASA employees and those from the medical community. West University Place is a mixture of tree lined streets with family homes and larger luxury homes. The community is an incorporated city with its own city council and fire protection.

Located west of the downtown Houston, Hedwig Village is another incorporated community with many luxury homes and more are under construction. Hedwig Village is governed by a mayor and city council and offers city services such as garbage pick up. Like West University Place, Hedwig Village is a mixture of luxury homes and upper middle class residences.

Tanglewood is another exclusive community in Houston. With home ranging in price from half a million dollars to more several million dollars, the area is known as Houston’s exclusive community. Tanglewood, located west of the city, is known for its large trees that line the streets. The Houston Country Club is just minutes away.

Not only does Houston have a variety of luxury home communities, but a variety of styles of homes. These styles include:

• Tudor style home
• Traditional ranch style homes
• Colonial-style mansions
• Mediterranean style luxury homes

As mentioned earlier, Houston has many downtown luxury condominiums. You will also find many luxury town homes in the area.