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Selling a Luxury Home

November 13, 2007

When it comes time to sell a home, certain rules of supply and demand apply that are basic to any sales transaction.

Sellers (usually with the help of a professional realty agent) try to zero in on current market conditions to determine how to price the home, decide what type of buyer might purchase the home, and then market the home to reach the targeted buyers.

But what happens when the home involved is a "luxury home."

Luxury can mean different things to different buyers. For some, it might simply be a big and expensive residence. For others, the lure of a property with unique architecture or historic value might be more significant. Location can play a big part in determining the value of luxury. The $600,000 that buys a rambling two-story home in one location might only purchase a small condominium in another.

Whatever the characteristics of the property, sellers aiming for the luxury market need to keep a few things in mind. Here are some tips from Joan McLernon, the 2007 Pen-Mar Regional Association of Realtors Maryland Realtor of the Year. Joan is associated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Hagerstown.

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Perfection is taken for granted. Buyers of high-end homes assume the homes' appearance will be impeccable. Many homes in this range have been decorated inside and out by professionals (or at least give that appearance if the homeowners are talented in this regard). Where homes lack panache, Realtors will often recommend sellers consult decorators and/or landscapers to improve the appearance. Sometimes, valuable tips can be gleaned from all those home shows popping up on cable TV or from newspaper real estate sections.

Special attention must be paid to targeting buyers for a luxury home, since the potential pool of buyers is relatively small. A smart Realtor will contact area medical and legal associations, country clubs, corporate relocation specialists and other groups that might offer access to a buyer with the means to purchase a high-end home.

Niche marketing can play an important part in a luxury sale. Does the home have facilities for an equestrian estate? Is there water access for boating? Does it have historic significance? While most Realtors place ads on the Internet (virtual tours can be valuable in this segment), niche publications might be another asset in reaching the targeted audience.

The sellers and their agent will need to consult on whether to hold an open house. Any open house attracts a certain number of visitors, and the number will usually be higher if a luxury house is involved. Sometimes a Realtor will advise holding a Brokers Open, which is solely for real estate agents. Whenever an open house is held, preparations must be made to store valuables appropriately and to clean up any debris that might be tracked in.

Even in the high-end market, setting a realistic price for the property is important. Wealthy buyers are no more anxious to overpay than anyone else.

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