Closing the luxury real estate deal

April 14, 2006

Part 4: High-end property sales tips

Bernice Ross
Inman News

(This is Part 4 of a four-part series. See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

What's the best way to sell a luxury client a luxury property? Give them an experience of the lifestyle that you are selling!

Recently, my husband and I were in the market for a new car for his birthday. He drove several different vehicles, but we were in a quandary about which one to purchase. At each dealership, we took a 7- to 10-minute test drive. We liked the looks and the interior of the Lexus the best. Nevertheless, we decided to go back and ask for a second test drive of the BMW. Since the salesperson we spoke with initially was off, we were referred to a different salesperson. Instead of the short test drive, our salesperson took us off on a dark country road to let us see how the new headlight technology makes it easier to spot deer or other hazards on the side of the road. He had us do multiple circles in a parking lot to demonstrate the car's tight turning radius. He took the time to demonstrate all the bells and whistles on the car with an emphasis on having the "ultimate driving experience." This process took close to an hour, but he walked off with a sale.

The point here is that today's consumer loves to buy, but doesn't want to be sold. One of the best ways to motivate a luxury client to purchase a property is to let them experience how the lifestyle fits their vision. Darlene Richert, who has extensive experience selling in the ultra high end, shared a great example that uses this approach. When a couple expressed an interest in a custom home site, she wanted them to see and feel more than just the raw land. Given that there was no house to show, the challenge was how to provide the couple with a lasting memory that would motivate them to purchase. Darlene's other goal was to position herself as the agent to whom this couple would always refer any future real estate business. Darlene's solution was to plan a champagne dinner on the property at sunset. She hand-carried a bistro table and chairs to the site and had a catered gourmet meal waiting. The clients arrived on site to discover the quaint setting and a special evening that Darlene had arranged. She took a quick digital photo of the couple and then departed so that they could enjoy the beautiful sunset while sipping a glass of the finest champagne. The clients had an extraordinary experience, one that they will talk about for years to come. More importantly, it was the first dinner on the property where they would later build their dream home. Darlene created the ultimate real estate buying experience.

What can you do to make sure that your clients have the ultimate buying experience? First and foremost, find out what matters to them. If they love a certain type of coffee, don't serve them the awful stuff in the office. Instead, stop by their favorite coffee place and have it waiting when they arrive in your office. When you show them a luxury property, give them time to sit in the main rooms and experience what it is like to live in the property. The more creative you can be in this process, the more likely you are to motivate them to purchase.

Giving the buyers an ultimate real estate buying experience is not enough, however. Providing them with access to your personal network of resources before and after closing is also critical. This is especially true when your clients are relocating from outside your service area. Make sure that each person that you introduce them to is the crème de la crème. Know who is the best decorator in town, where to refer them to when their car needs to be serviced, who provides the best nail and hair care, where to find a competent dog sitter, etc. The more the person uses your network of services, the more likely you are to strengthen your relationship and to generate future luxury referrals.

Another important way to provide your luxury clients with an outstanding customer experience is to help them become integrated into the lifestyle of the community. If they have children who play soccer, introduce them to other people in your sphere who have children who play soccer. If they play tennis or golf, arrange a lesson with the best pro in town as a closing gift.

Ideally, the strategies that apply to the luxury market should apply to every client with whom you work. All clients deserve luxury service no matter what their price range is. Besides, you never know when that $100,000 first-time condominium buyer has a grandmother who is selling her multimillion-dollar estate.

Bernice Ross, co-owner of, has written a new book, "Waging War on Real Estate's Discounters," available online. She can be reached at

Copyright 2006 Innam News

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or