Today I am going to be talking about how to find luxury home buyers that want to work with you!
Now, “luxury” in this post means higher priced listings so in some places like California it could mean multi-millions and in Clearwater, FL it could mean high $900,000 to a million. Back where I grew up in Pennsylvania luxury could mean mid-$500’s. You know your market and what luxury means in your area.
So here are my 5 top tips for prospecting luxury home buyers…
1. Know your buyer
You need to know the luxury market in your area! Are your best buyers tech “whiz kids” who are spending Google money or are they business owners who want a home to entertain clients.
Start thinking about this now because it will impact your marketing efforts later in this post. As you can see here, there are some really striking differences between luxury buyer types!
Here are some questions to answer:
How old is the average luxury buyer in your area?
If they are older you want to get familiar with upgrades that like first floor master bedrooms, accessible facilities and providing comfort. If they are younger you will want to learn about smart homes, technology solutions and features that appeal to that demographic.
If they have school aged kids start to find out about private and charter schools and what the school districts are like. You can’t just bury you head in the sand on this one, preparing for college might start in elementary school for some of these families.
What kind of jobs do they have?
If you have a large medical center in your area you might want to focus on providing housing for administrators and doctors. Or maybe your clients will want to know time/distance to the airport.
It really is your responsibility to have this information at your fingertips for your luxury buyers.
The nice thing about these kinds of features is that they are pretty universal to your area. You might consider doing a “buyer info packet” that addresses all these areas that you can overnight to your clients before you take them on any showings.
What are their hobbies?
If you live in the mountains your buyers may be looking for chalets and information about the local ski resorts. Waterfront buyers may want to know about boat docks, high and dry marinas or whether a property has deep water access.
Many luxury buyers will want to know about golf courses, tennis clubs and local country club details.
Not having this information available will make you look incompetent and unprepared, BUT the brilliant thing is that most of these types of places have staff members whose job is to share information with people like you!
Visit the local country clubs and get their marketing collateral to share with your buyers. Get marketing materials from local attractions to keep on hand in case questions come up!
2. Know your market
If you are just getting started prospecting luxury home buyers, the first thing that you need to do before you have a live person in your car is to visit as many of the local luxury listings as possible.
Keep a notebook of prices and amenities. Start figuring out what “luxury features” are actually worth showing to your buyers.
Then look at the tax records for these listings. Start to know how long these properties have been owned so you can figure out their motivation for selling.
Make friends with the luxury listing agents. These are the people who may have “pocket listings” that never get on the MLS. They also can give you a heads up on upcoming listings before they go on the market so your buyer can be the first one in the door (in a hot market these relationships are invaluable!)
Find out who are good luxury listing lenders. Most luxury homes will not quality for FHA financing (the current max is $625,500 for high cost areas of the country and lower in less expensive markets). You need to know about how to get jumbo loans or how to show available funds for cash sales.
3. Have luxury listings
Okay, this is the easiest one by far. As you may already know, most listings generate 2 buyer sales on average. That means for every luxury listing you are carrying, you can expect to close 2 buyer sides.
I KNOW, this is a post about working with luxury buyers, but having luxury listings means internet leads, sign calls and more buyers!
But what do you do if you don’t have luxury listings?
Join Luxury Teams
The first thing you can do is to join a team that specializes in luxury listings. This is a great opportunity if you are a newer agent as you will get luxury leads AND have agents around you who know more about real estate sales than you do!
Help Luxury Sellers
BUT, you don’t have to join a team to get access to luxury listings! You can offer to help agents in your office who have luxury listings.
Very few will not want help doing open houses or even working the buyer leads that they get from those listings.
If you are going to be working their leads, make sure to stay in communication with the listing agent. Let them know the status of the buyer on a weekly basis and do your best to follow up with every lead they give you!
The great thing about having access to luxury listings is that you can then post them to your social media and blog!
4. Do luxury listing marketing
Okay, this is the biggest part of prospecting for luxury buyers! You want to make sure that everything you do online and in the mail is reinforcing that image of quality.
You will be using images in your marketing on social, in the mail and on your website. Having pictures that prospects will immediately recognize as “like them” will make them much more comfortable working with you.
For example, which of these images projects “luxury buyers”?
All of these were purchased from the same stock photography website. There is not anything inherently wrong with any of these people, but it is obvious that some are more “well to do” than others.
Do not forget that we are all looking for “aspirational living”. By that I mean that we want to buy the perfect house for entertaining, spending time with our families, parties and good times that we will have.
I get the question all the time, should you have houses in every picture you use for real estate marketing and I think not! You can have houses, pools, amenities and the like, but humans also like to see pictures of people!
Collateral is all the printed materials that you give to your buyers and send to prospects. You will want to make sure that all your marketing pieces are high end and coordinated to make a bit impact.
As you can probably recognize there are “high end colors” like gold and blue or black and blue. Clean white and modern are a great option also.
You should also have brochures talking about your process for working with buyers and also the level of service you provide.
Your postcards and website should also reflect a high end vibe.
Let’s just get this out of the way up front… sending luxury buyers to your broker provided website will not work. First off, it is like so many other agents out there AND it doesn’t project that high end look that you want.
The one on the left is the Corcoran Group in New York City and it is clean, fresh and not all that opulent, instead letting the properties shine. The one on the right is a Keller Williams agent site. I can’t imagine that a high end buyer would find that to be inspiring.
Things You NEED On A Buyers Agent Website
I KNOW “everyone” says you have to have IDX on your website but I disagree, I think that you NEED to have information about you and how you work with your clients.
You will also need a data capture form (email signup) and then something to give away in exchange (maybe a luxury relocation package?)
Additional Resource: 5 Website Killing Mistakes Most Real Estate Agents Make
You should also have information that is important to buyers like neighborhood info, subdivision tours, local color and resources to help them (like plumbers, movers, etc.)
All of that can be done SUPER affordably and with an amazing look and feel without having to spend a fortune on a custom website. I recommend WIX if you are just getting started. (#promo)
Don’t forget! You can list the luxury properties that you “borrow” from the luxury listing agents (with their permission of course).
Prospect High End Apartment Complexes
Last but not least, when you are prospecting for buyers a simple way to make your dollars stretch is to do an “Every Door Direct” campaign from the post office. This allows you to mail into a high end apartment complex in your area (you know they are not homeowners yet) for as little as $.17 postage per piece!
5. Cultivate the luxury buyers you already know
People tend to flock together with people like themselves. With this in mind, you want to make sure and do everything you can to stay in touch with your past luxury clients. Here are three ideas to get you started!
Have a “Housewarming” Party For Your New Buyers
Want to meet more potential clients? Offer to help cater and organize a move in party for your clients who just moved in! You bring the wine and cheese and the introduce you to all their friends and family who might want to buy a house too!
Send Monthly Postcards/Personal Notes
If you are not as touchy feely, you could send a postcard monthly to stay top of mind with them! You could make them funny and seasonal or serious and market focused. The key is to not losing that connection over time!
Email Your Past Clients Market Updates
Last but not least is to send monthly updates about the state of their home. Now, this will take a wee bit of time each month, but imagine the impact if you emailed them a video or email telling them the homes that have sold in their neighborhood this month AND a little personal message about what the market is doing!
Bonus Tip – Know yourself
Before we go I just want to talk about YOU for a minute. If you are getting into luxury buyers because of the big paydays, make sure you like the things that make them happy too.
You cannot drive them around in your big old dented up Chevy Blazer if you are going to high end listings. You will have to have at least a decent new model sedan to make them comfortable.
You will also want to dress like they do. If they generally show up in a sundress and khakis then you will want to skip the blue jeans and go with a suit or at least a blazer.
That said, you don’t have to skip luxury buyers just because you are not fancy-pantsy. If you love your blue jeans, sell high end ranches where they are appropriate. Love your tattoos? Get in the with music crowd and help successful musicians find their dream homes.
There is something for everyone and you just need to make sure you build your business working with people you like being around!
Prospecting Luxury Home Buyers Wrapup
Prospecting luxury buyers is about a mindset. Knowing that you need to eductate yourself so you can serve your customers better than any other luxury buyer’s agent in your area.
If you focus on this challenge and do something everyday to move you towards being a luxury buyers agent you WILL succeed!