This month we focus on marketing strategies for luxury listings, which we define as properties over $1 million. As the recognized leader in this segment, the Janet McAfee reach is extensive, selling the finest homes in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, St. Charles and Franklin County (home of St. Albans Country Club). You may be surprised to learn there are 356 listings over $1 million, and out of these, 66 have accepted offers to purchase. So, who is searching for million dollar homes and what are they looking for?
Our Luxury Portfolio International website reaches 3 million high net worth visitors annually. Among those planning to purchase a luxury home:
· 95% are homeowners
· Average age is 36 years
· 97% are college educated
· Average household income is $372,000
· 57% own a second home
What is the affluent buyer looking for and how do we engage them? Again, we draw upon our past experiences through years of marketing to this segment.
1. Lead with Brand Names. Luxury buyers need to be convinced of quality in order to justify paying the high price. Marketing brochures and special feature sheets include the names of architects, designers, high end appliances, uniquely sourced fixtures, cabinetry designers and craftsmen. Luxury brands are important to luxury buyers.
2. Invest in the Best Photography. Technology has allowed us to present luxury homes with exquisite high definition images, twilight photograph, soaring aerial shots, drone videos and intricate floor plans. The first property viewing is virtual, so the online representation must be absolutely flawless in order to bring them across the threshold.
3. Advertising should present an Inspired Lifestyle. Buyers are looking to enhance their lifestyle, not be inundated with a tedious list of every factoid you can think up. Our job is to show prospective buyers the experience of living in the home and how the amenities will enhance their lives.
4. Tell the Home's Unique Story. Many historic and architecturally significant listings have remarkable histories about former residents who shaped St. Louis. For a newer home, it could be a story about choices made during the construction or why a specific architectural element was selected.
5. Place Advertising to Reach Affluent Buyers. Yes, it’s true that active buyers are all looking on line. But, people are ALSO reading the Wall Street Journal, coffee table magazines and society pages. It’s surprising how often someone, who is not actively looking to move will become a motivated buyer after seeing the right property in a beautiful ad.
6. Please, please DON’T “Test the Water” with your introductory price. Affluent buyers are not stupid. Yes, you may attract a wealthy Californian, but they are still going to do their homework and analyze comparable home sales. They are not going to waste their valuable time going to see a listing which is overpriced and out of their price point. Luxury buyers demand a good value and they’re not afraid to pay for it.
Principal, Janet McAfee Real Estate
Exclusive member of Luxury Portfolio International