Luxury Roundtable: Strategies & Ideas

By Deborah Ball Kearns

In luxury real estate, you can’t say enough about first impressions and strong follow-through. That’s why top producers never cut corners when they’re working multimillion-dollar transactions. And with The RE/MAX Collection, the network’s luxury real estate division, they don’t have to. In this panel discussion, two luxury stars explain how The RE/MAX Collection helps them stay on top.

The Panelists

Veronica Story, a Hall of Fame member with RE/MAX Equity Group in Lake Oswego, Ore.; and Austin Kay, a Circle of Legends member and Diamond Award recipient with RE/MAX Westcoast in Richmond, British Columbia

Q: How do you stand out in your market?

Story: I visit the headquarters of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers regularly to deliver personal real estate packets for new players. I’ve worked with coaches and players, and everyone in the organization knows me by name. The important thing is to be creative and service-oriented.

Kay: We focus on developing rapport with local luxury homebuilders. When you’re trying to get builders in your portfolio, offer a complete service package that includes helping them select the right lots at the beginning of the development, as well as offering advice on design floor plans and finishes. As agents, we know what buyers are looking for, so we should give that advice to builders from day one to prove our value in the process.

Q: What are the keys to successfully selling luxury real estate?

Story: Exceed clients’ expectations. For example, I packed up one client’s home after his son was injured, and he raved about it to friends for months. On an NBA player’s listing, I hosted a catered Christmas party and spent hours decorating the outside of the home ahead of time. I received two listings from that event because the neighbors noticed how hard I worked.

Kay: International buyers are a growing segment of many markets, particularly here in Richmond. Look at what countries buyers are coming from and make sure you have someone on your team who speaks the language and knows the culture so you can serve those clients. My wife, Anita, and I are Asian, and a majority of our luxury buyers are from China.

Q: What do you think of The RE/MAX Collection Magazine, the new customizable publication produced exclusively for RE/MAX luxury agents?

Story: My clients love the exposure, and it reinforces the perception that I’m an agent who truly works high-end properties, doing whatever it takes to market homes. I love the look of the magazine, and it sets me apart from competitors at listing appointments.

Kay: We promoted a listing in the initial version, and it looked great. The RE/MAX Collection presents an amazing image that speaks to the sophistication of the luxury homes my team lists. The magazine has a high-end appearance, and that’s important to our clients.

Q: How do agents get started in the luxury niche?

Story: You have to look the part; high-income people want to work with people they perceive as being successful. Invest in some sharp suits, and when you go on listing appointments, make sure your presentation is top-quality. Get involved in charity organizations you care about, and attend black-tie affairs where people who earn the big dollars are likely to be. Be relentless in your efforts.

Kay: It’s about doing the basics: prospecting, marketing, offering outstanding service, pricing and following up with past clients to generate new business. There’s no shortcut to success; you have to work hard and surround yourself with a team of people who share a customer-oriented mindset.