After just four months on the market, a property on Star Island—a neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida—sold for $75,000,000. At press time, that number set a record as the most expensive sale in the history of Miami real estate.
The waterfront mansion, located at 8 Star Island Drive, sits on nearly two acres of land on the ultra-exclusive Star Island, a man-made island connected by a causeway. Celebrities who have called the tiny island of about 30 properties home include: Sean “Diddy” Combs, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Rosie O’Donnell and Shaquille O’Neal.
This record-setting home is unique, though, in that it is perfectly positioned on the island to offer unobstructed views of the Miami skyline. Named ‘Villa Lourdes’ after the seller—Lourdes Sanjenis, whose late husband purchased the property in 1987 for just $1.4 million—the 20,000 square-foot Mediterranean mansion has about 100 feet of direct waterfront.
We recently had the opportunity to discuss this historic sale with Sierra. Here, she dives deep into her and Lima’s strategy to sell the home and how other real estate professionals can follow in their footsteps:
Could you tell us how you and Elizabeth secured this listing?
Elizabeth has had a longstanding relationship with the former owner of the house. She built upon that relationship, and we assured the owner that we were the right brand to strategically market a property of that nature. I had the experience to assist as a managing broker.
The owner was loyal to our brand and how we wanted to target a very specific market. Sales in Miami have been crazy, and we needed to act if we wanted to achieve that number .
Could you explain your strategy for marketing this property?
We utilized BHHS’ Luxury Collection Marketing Program, the Wall Street Journal and, for copy that we utilized for brochures and in the MLS, we worked with the duPont Registry. A lot of the marketing was halted because it went under contract so quickly. The home was actually under contract by the time it was featured in the Wall Street Journal and the duPont Registry.
We also mailed beautiful, personalized mailers to a targeted list of luxury buyers in the area. These were detailed mailers that looked like high-end wedding invitations. We started calling luxury brokers and sending them photos; everything was very direct. Who wants to purchase a home for almost $80 million? With this strategy, we had four substantial offers within days of listing the property.
How do you determine a marketing budget for a property like this?
BHHS’ Luxury Collection pays for all of the marketing; the agents and seller don’t pay anything. This home was special so, in addition to the normal marketing that the Luxury Collection does, we also dedicated a cover and feature to the property in the duPont Registry, as well as a press release. We didn’t set aside any sort of budget for this property. We decided to pay whatever we needed to reach these luxury buyers.
What did you do differently when it came to listing and showing this property?
We really focused on the location. The home was built in the 1990s and hasn’t been updated, so the location on the island was the thing that was unique, with a view of downtown Miami. The location was the focus of all of the copy. We obviously didn’t have an open house…everything was very private.
By request of the previous owner, prospective buyers that toured the property were not allowed to take photos, had to sign a confidentiality agreement and had to provide proof of funds. And when we did showings, we tried to schedule them later in the day and spend a lot of time outside so that buyers could experience the incredible sunset.
Four months is exceptionally fast to sell a home such as this. Do you attribute that solely to your comprehensive marketing plan and an extremely hot market?
Yes, how hot the market is and a lack of inventory is what I’d attribute it to. We were also very strategic with planning before it went live on the MLS. We knew exactly who we would target as soon as the listing went live. We called these people immediately after the home hit the MLS and had appointments for showings the same week.
What would your advice be to any other real estate professionals who may be looking to dip their toe in the luxury market?
I think the best way to answer that is to tell you how Elizabeth was able to get into the luxury market, because this sale was the first one she handled of this size. About four years ago, the owner of this home told Elizabeth that she would give her this property when she purchased a home to downsize to.
Elizabeth told me this during a vision board meeting and, after that conversation, she started regularly printing out listings with price tags of more than $20 million and put her name over the agent’s name. She began to get cold feet when it came time to actually list the home, but I told her she would be doing an injustice to the seller if she backed out.
I told her we would sell it together, but she first had to educate herself and reach out to those luxury buyers ahead of time. She also created a mock MLS listing of the property to add to her vision board, as inspiration.
The importance of a powerful brand and the tools and resources available through that brand are also key to getting the right support in representing luxury listings, Sierra noted, adding that the two also credit BHHS because of its brand reputation in the luxury market.
Listed by: Elizabeth Lima, REALTOR®-Associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty