Ever wonder how in the world one becomes a successful real estate agent in the luxury market? You’re not alone.
The luxury real estate market often has an air of “exclusivity” that feels impenetrable if you’ve never sold a listing or helped a buyer in those upper tier price points. And if you’re a brand-new luxury real estate professional, or aspiring to be, you might be asking yourself…
“Do you have to have connections?”
“Do you need to have sold a million-dollar listing before you can ‘join the club’?”
“How do you get your first client if you’ve never sold in that price range?”
The good news is, like anything, becoming a successful real estate agent in the luxury market is easier than you think when you have the right resources and mindset.
Does it help to have connections and experience? Of course. But even if you have neither, the doors are still open.
The truth is, becoming a successful real estate agent in the luxury market requires just as much effort as becoming a successful real estate agent in the traditional market. The most notable difference, however, is your return on investment.
Both markets require a deep understanding of real estate marketing strategy, the ability to network, and a knack for building meaningful relationships. So, why not go right for the higher price points?
If you’re ready to take the leap, here are 12 tactics to put you ahead of the curve.
1. When in doubt, co-list.
The biggest barrier to breaking into the luxury real estate market is inexperience, which of course creates a “catch-22” situation.
How do you start selling higher price points if everyone wants an experienced agent?
The answer: co-listing.
When you co-list a property, you’re not only building up your portfolio, you’re also seeing how more experienced luxury real estate professionals handle a high-priced transaction from start to finish.
In other words, you get a hands-on lesson in selling luxury real estate while still making a hefty commission—even if you’re sharing with the agent you’re co-listing with.
The other advantage to co-listing is growing your professional network. You’d be surprised at how many experienced agents are open to co-list, even if you’ve never met them in person before.
Why? Put simply, they’re also gaining commission from the transaction, which creates a win-win situation for the both of you.
2. Find a mentor.
Yes, this can include co-listing.
However, mentors don’t always have to co-list with you. Maybe your mentor is a luxury real estate coach or a retired luxury real estate agent or someone farther along in their real estate journey who works at your brokerage.
Whomever they may be, having a mentor gives you a major advantage by giving you another set of eyes on your business. This also keeps you from focusing on tasks that don’t move the needle in your business and keeps you from making costly mistakes.
3. Systemize your follow-ups.
Ever heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth”? That’s especially true when you’re on your way to becoming a successful real estate agent in the luxury real estate market.
The problem is most real estate professionals don’t systemize their follow-ups. Yet, the reality is, it can take years for some leads to turn into sales. In the traditional market, that wait might not result in a huge payoff. But in the luxury real estate market? A few years of nurturing can result in a multimillion-dollar sale.
With that in mind, it makes sense to create touch points with your network on a regular basis—not just when you need the business. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, it’s important to put follow-ups on your calendar and stick to the schedule.
4. Create a separate marketing budget.
It’s true: when you own the listings, you own the market.
Listing agents in the luxury market enjoy plenty of benefits, from a more predictable schedule to bigger commissions.
But, to own the listings, you have to have a marketing budget.
And the best way to have a marketing budget? Create a separate account just for your real estate marketing.
Keeping your marketing budget separate from your personal budget negates some of the pressure you might feel when you start listing. Clearly seeing your budget for ads, email marketing, print marketing, web hosting and anything else you’re going to spend on lets you know exactly where you stand at a glance.
This also helps you sort your taxes and accurately calculate your return on investment to see what’s working in your real estate marketing strategy and what’s not.
5. Nurture relationships with vendors.
Successful accountants, lawyers and financial advisors tend to have the same clientele as any successful real estate agent in the luxury market.
So, while it’s important to expand your network with folks who might become future clients, it’s also important to network with professionals whose clientele overlap with your own.
In fact, they should even be included in your scheduled follow-ups and nurtured with as much value as you would give any potential home buyer or seller.
6. Invest in your online presence.
Wouldn’t it be great if every time you created content, the right people saw it?
These days, most content won’t get seen without paid advertising. That means if your goal is to become a successful real estate agent in the luxury market, you have to invest in your online presence.
Besides paid advertising, you may also want to look into having a real graphic designer, web developer and copywriter help you create a professional website if it’s within your budget.
7. Automate your business where you can.
Time is money, especially in real estate. Having automated email flows for new and existing leads, pre-scheduled social media, and even automated outreach with the help of VAs and lead generation funnels can save you a ton of time on the back end, while allowing you more time in the field to create meaningful connections.
8. Never stop learning.
“Continuing education” doesn’t exactly have an exciting ring to it, but the more you learn, the more valuable you become to your clients. And the more valuable you are? The more you earn.
The most successful real estate agents in the luxury real estate market are the ones that never stop learning. They attend events, trainings, read, listen to podcasts and hone their knowledge and skills regularly.
9. Set goals just beyond your reach.
One thing most successful people have in common is the ability to not only set and reach their goals, but to keep raising the bar. It’s easy to get comfortable after your first few wins, but real success comes from setting goals that feel just beyond your reach.
Once you hit a milestone in your business, it’s important to keep setting goals so you don’t stagnate. In one of our recent Estate of Mind podcast episodes, Michael Lennington talks about planning for business success, and how to set yourself up to have more urgency to reach your goals.
10. Decide on a niche.
As a new luxury real estate professional, it’s smart to take just about any deal that comes your way. But as you grow and find your strengths, you’ll grow even faster when you double down on what works best for you.
Maybe you like to help new millennial luxury buyers? Or maybe you get along best with “old money” clients? Whatever your niche, be aware of it in your marketing—whether you seek it out yourself or it comes to you with time and experience.
11. Use both print and digital marketing to your advantage.
In real estate, there’s a tendency to dismiss certain marketing media if they don’t work the first time around. However, nearly any mode of marketing works if your message, brand and offer are dialed in. So, before you decide you’ll only invest in digital marketing or you’ll only invest in print, try both and optimize as you go before you pour more effort into one over the other.
12. Invest in your Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™ designation.
What if affluent clients were looking for you? When you earn your Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist™ (CLHMS) designation, it can happen.
A CLHMS™ designation not only puts you in The Institute’s public Member Directory, it also tells affluent clients that you’re an experienced, knowledgeable marketer who operates within their price point. And really, that’s all most luxury real estate clients want.
Earning your CLHMS™ designation starts with becoming an active Institute member, which alone gives you access to a number of done-for-you marketing resources, tools, and an elite network of luxury real estate professionals.
Want More Resources Like These to Grow Your Luxury Real Estate Practice?
The Institute has a wide range of resources for you to invest in yourself at any stage in your luxury real estate career—even if it hasn’t begun yet.
– Subscribe to our Estate of Mind podcast and/or Estate of Mind video series on YouTube for monthly deep-dives into specialized luxury real estate topics with industry experts
– Take our Luxury Livestream or Luxury Online training to qualify for Institute membership and its many member benefits
– Visit your Membership Portal for brand-new training sessions, as well as our book, “Rich Buyer Rich Seller: The Real Estate Agents’ Guide to Marketing Luxury Homes,” which is available for free to all Institute members and also available on Amazon.
Diane Hartley is the president of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market. Hartley brings her passion for luxury marketing and more than 20 years of experience growing and leading businesses to her role as president of the Institute.