In real estate, as in most areas of life, relationships are built on two very important factors: trust and understanding. In luxury real estate, those two qualities need to be amplified and reinforced as much as possible.
“It’s especially important to build trust with affluent clients because they have so much riding on a sale,” says Diane Hartley of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “Real estate is a very personal thing. Your home is a reflection of who you are.”
A recommended step in gaining and demonstrating expertise in the luxury market, Hartley says, is earning the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) designation. The Institute offers online and live classes, and on Oct. 28, The Institute will teach a one-day, live course at The RE/MAX Collection Luxury Forum in Seattle at the Four Seasons hotel.
Here are a few more luxury insights from Hartley, The Institute’s president:
Why does an agent in the luxury market need the CLHMS designation?
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing educates agents on how to understand the luxury buyer and seller, and how to get into the mindset of their expectations. There’s a different level of expectation from an affluent person. The agent must be better prepared.
What are the advantages of taking the course in-person?
Networking! If there’s a member in a particular city or a part of the country that would have a strong feeder market, we recommend they go to a live course in that market or area, meet agents there and make those network connections to begin expanding their business.
How can an agent become well-versed in the luxury world?
It comes with growing their business knowledge. We recommend that agents volunteer at local charities or museums, and that they get involved with anything where affluent clients might enjoy spending their time. They’ll get “it” by natural absorption. But do not, under any circumstances, hand out a business card while in those situations. A social card is the better way to go.
What does the training entail, and what do new members gain?
The training is offered in a live setting around the country as a two-day course – or a one-day course at The RE/MAX Collection Luxury Forum – and there is also a virtual offering through REMAX University. New members of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing gain a base knowledge of where they need to start and what they need to do to grow their business. They come away with essential, fundamental skills and with resources and tools they need to represent themselves. Marketing is very, very important. It speaks volumes about who you are. In the luxury real estate community, there’s a right way to present yourself. The details matter.
What advice would you offer an agent looking to enter the luxury market?
I recommend they look at their business, analyze what they’ve spent so far on marketing and advertising, and develop a tiered plan to get up to a certain area. It’s important they invest in themselves and take the live or virtual course so they can begin the journey by becoming a member in The Institute. They’ll then be on their way to earning the CLHMS designation, which is performance based and distinguishes agents as selling in the top 10% of their market.
What quality makes an agent successful in the luxury market?
Market knowledge; intimate market knowledge. Real estate agents who really know their market also know the people, how long they’ve been there, the various demographics of homeownership and how all of it compares to other markets in the area. Market knowledge is the No. 1 thing – and it’s not easy.
What’s the first step for an agent?
Visit The Institute’s website (luxuryhomemarketing.com) and take an in-depth look at the training opportunities and tools we offer members. Then click to register for an upcoming course in a specific area, or visit RE/MAX University via MAX/Center and select CLHMS under Courses. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 214.485.3000.