Category Archives: Sellers

Why List with a Boutique Luxury Broker?

After extensive tenures as a broker with RE/MAX and Keller Williams I experienced something interesting. The buyers interested in my listings paid no attention to the firm I was with as a listing agent.

Yes, they paid a lot of attention to my marketing campaign and of course the home itself, but often, when speaking with them, they did not even notice what brokerage firm I was affiliated with.

At first I thought it a bit odd. After thinking about it for a while, it made sense. Why would they care? It is not about the listing agent in the eyes of the buyer. It is about the home. It is also about the emotional hot buttons that my campaign triggered. But I was invisible to them for the most part and so was RE/MAX or Keller Williams.

The other reality is that big box brokerage firms, national brands, virtually do nothing to help get listings sold. It is all the agent. This creates a dilemma for most home sellers. Most real estate agents have no formal education in marketing and advertising. I was lucky in this regard. My grandfather owned an advertising agency and packaging design firm. I grew up around advertising. I graduated Beta Gamma Sigma from a great business school with a degree in marketing. I guess it is in my DNA.

So all of this motivated me to study the best way to market luxury homes across the globe. Thrive has an unparalleled global marketing strategy for luxury listings that includes extensive syndication, ads in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Herald Tribune, The Robb Report and much more. This is expensive but it is the way to get top dollar. It is called Thrive Global Reach. Please emailPrint us to learn more.

Hiring the right broker to sell your home is a big financial decision. He or she better be a master marketer. Don’t be fooled by the logo on their business card. Dig deeper.

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How to Get Top Dollar for a Luxury Home in Southern California – Starting in the Kitchen

Getting top dollar for a luxury home for sale in Southern California depends primarily on the appeal of the home’s amenities and enhancements. And the top draws are kitchens, bathrooms, eco-friendly green features, and smart technology throughout the home. Arguably, the most important luxury draw is the kitchen.

Savvy sellers know that the kitchen is considered the most important room in the house. It’s the room we cook and often dine in. The room where family activities – and more and more entertaining activities – take place. In short, the kitchen holds top place for the most coveted luxury home improvement today.

So what should a luxury kitchen contain? Superior cabinets, kitchen islands, Energy Star appliances, natural stone, glass, granite, and even concrete counter tops – these are all key elements of a sumptious kitchen’s appeal.

No matter what the actual features, the main goal is to increase comfort by installing items like wood, cork, bamboo, or custom tile flooring, hand-crafted fine wood cabinet doors, or cabinets crafted from stainless steel or bamboo – all heavily sought materials. The over all idea is to create striking design elements throughout the kitchen, from unique counter top surfaces to cabinet designs that reflect a chosen theme, whether rustic or ultra-modern. Apron front sinks, and tiled back splashes are strongly coveted design elements.

Luxury kitchen design should also include plenty of storage such as a walk-in pantry. You’ll also want pull-out drawers for pots and pans, cabinets with glass fronts to display dish and glassware, and built-in, recessed lighting for cabinets and shelves.

Today’s appliances may be called upon to be energy efficient, programmable and smart, and to serve a multitude of uses. For example, many refrigerators include built-in deep freezers. Built-in, temperature controlled wine cellars are another frequently sought-after touch. As for the oven, smart controls allow users to set an oven’s temperature, mode, and timer from phone or computer, and include quick self cleaning features, such as a steam option. Precisely controlled induction heat cook tops, ultra-quiet dishwashers with integrated water softeners, pot fillers to save carrying heavy pots to and from the sink are additional appliances that a well-appointed kitchen should include.

Entertainment systems such as flat screen TV’s or music systems are also considered must-haves in today’s most upscale kitchens.

While the kitchen may very well be the most sellable feature of any luxury home, we’ll look at other features that enhance high end home selling price in upcoming articles.

Co-Authored with Genie Davis.

“Selling My Home and I want a Great Agent” — Communication seems to be Paramount

Selling my homeselling-my-home

“I and selling my home and I want a great agent”. But after the sale the seller is not satisfied.

Here is a fact that always surprises young real estate agents when they learn it. 

When home sellers are surveyed by the California Association of Realtors and asked about their biggest complaints that they have about their real estate agent after the home has sold, what do you think that might be?

Invariably most agents say price when trying to guess the answer to this question. That is the obvious answer. Of course homeowners wish the home had sold for more money. Right? 

Wrong. Time and time again when home sellers are surveyed, their number one complaint is that their agent did not communicate well enough or often enough with them during the home selling process. 

Wow. I have always found this fact interesting. But when I think about it, I know why. Many times agents list a house, through it on the MLS, put on the key box, through together a flyer to place in the home and get on with other things. They wait for the offer to come. They do not follow up well or sometimes not at all with showings and the buyer’s agents. 

If the house does not sell, the listing agent avoids the seller like the plague because they don’t know what to tell the seller except lower the price. And they avoid the call because they fear the seller will tell him or her that they not doing his or her job well enough. Many time sellers have to chase down the listing agent to get updates. 

When I observe this type of poor customer service, it is no wonder why the survey reveals these frustrations so many sellers have. 

So what’s the solution for sellers? Find an agent that has communication systems. A listing agent/client communications system. This system should include a follow up system for every showing to obtain feedback. It should also include a communications schedule with the seller to provide critical market feedback among other things. 

We have a training session in our agent online university devoted to teaching these systems. 

We like to think of the relationship with our sellers as a partnership, not a potential Selling my homeconfrontation.   So we train our agents, when you hear “Selling My Home” turn on the customer service and communication systems. 


How much is my house worth?

That is a great question.

In today’s digital world there are many ways to search for that answer. Big sites like Trulia and Zillow use tax data and algorithms to determine value. These robots can be very misleading to home owners.

An example could be two very different tracts on homes right next to each other, the same age but one has a freeway right next to it. The robots look at factors like square footage, proximity, number of bedrooms and other data and then average them without any intelligence to differentiate these micro neighborhoods.

Take for example the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. Two houses can be right next door to each other and both 4,000 square feet and the same age. One sells for $4,000,000, because Action Film Al has decked it out to the nines and the other for sells for $1,500,000 because it is a tear down. These two transactions make the robot go blue screen on you and spit out useless data.

Many years ago I partnered with some friends and bought a tear down in California for $800,000 and built a large spec that sold for close to $3,000.000. Robots cannot see the reality of these situations. The more eclectic the neighborhood the harder it is to figure out home much is my house worth.

You can use a search site and analyze the solds and try to do your own comparative market analysis but that has limitations as well.

Here is another situation. Lets say you have been in your home quite a while and your neighbor sells his house and the buyer does a massive upgrade and adds footage. The neighborhood is on the upswing big time so you ask what is my home worth now? Good question. Your neighborhood is a hot ticket now and your robot is a cold machine. “Open the pod door Hal”.

While technology is great, the best way is the old fashioned way. Find a true neighborhood expert that is a full time Realtor, sans the nametag and gold jacket. Then ask him or her to do a market analysis without cost of obligation. We love to do them and if the relationship blossoms over the time, all the better.

Find an agent that knows the minute details of every deal sold in the area. That’s the ticket. The truth will set you free… to do the right deal.