Categories: Luxury Real Estate
St. Louis continues to enjoy a thriving luxury real estate market, with sales of residential homes priced at $1 million and above during the first six months of 2019 coming in at 13.9% higher than the same period last year. This is consistent with the upward trend since 2015.
For those who are dedicated and willing to learn, now is a great time to be a luxury real estate agent. So, we sat down with three top-performing agents at Janet McAfee and discussed the most frequently asked questions on how to navigate the luxury market.
Stephanie Connell has been a top luxury real estate agent since 2002, and with Janet McAfee for the past year.
Julie Lane has been a top agent in the luxury real estate market with Janet McAfee for 11 years.
Lisa Coulter has been a top luxury market agent at Janet McAfee for 25 years.
How can someone get started as a luxury real estate agent?
Stephanie Connell: Somebody thinking about getting into luxury real estate should know the area, market and type of luxury real estate that they’d like to concentrate on. In St. Louis, we define the luxury market as being $1 million and up. So, really discover what price point to concentrate on, define that and become an educator...not just educated. People who see you at social events often ask questions, and you want to be able to have information readily available so you’re marketing yourself wisely.
Lisa Coulter: It’s not easy in the beginning, but it really pays off to get a good base of knowledge. It would be great to shadow top producers so you can see what they do and how they do it on a daily basis. Ultimately, you have to have knowledge of pricing and recent sales in all the areas you want to work. That knowledge will help you as you make the connections you need to build your business.
Julie Lane: With this job, even when everyone else is not working, that’s when you have to be working. This segment of the market doesn’t follow the typical real estate calendar — meaning they don’t all buy and sell in the spring. It’s an ever-changing timeline. So, it helps to be very familiar with the area you’re trying to do business in. When you're armed with knowledge of the market that potential clients are trying to buy and sell in, it makes them feel really comfortable with you.
How do you become a successful luxury real estate agent?
SC: For luxury buyers and sellers, it’s a lifestyle. They don’t always have to move. So, you have to be able to communicate with clients and know what type of information they’re receptive to, like presenting data and facts to help with their decision.
LC: You have to develop good relationships, not just with your clients, but also other agents. If you build a reputation of being fair, good and communicative — all the things that other agents want to deal with — people want to work with you. It's important to make connections with other top producers, not only to build your reputation with them, but also to learn about homes that may not be on the market yet that would be perfect for your clients.
What would you say is the best way to market luxury real estate?
JL: I think it’s really important to get to know the client and the property. Ask sellers why they fell in love with the house in the first place, because that same reason can attract the next buyer. It can also help you make key decisions about what type of promotional materials to gather, like aerial shots, twilight shots or video.
SC: Everything has to be professional. From brochures to pictures, your marketing always needs to be that higher end presentation. Also, getting creative with open houses. We try to get other agents to come in and preview the house so they can share it with their clients however we can — whether it’s hosting lunch, a cocktail hour or by invitation only.
LC: The pre-market stage is the most important, working with the client to get the home market-ready before gathering photography and videography. Then, teasing the upcoming listing using those assets.
At Janet McAfee, we’re so lucky to be a part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International. Those marketing platforms have a global reach and expose our listings to a wide audience well beyond St. Louis. Being a part of organizations like this to market listings is a huge help.
What advice can you give on navigating a down market?
JL: Don’t stop working, continue on. You have to be even more focused on what’s happening when the market is down to be able to give sound advice to your clients. For example, you may know that a house in a great neighborhood is going to sell whether the market is down or not. But, you have to be able to discern that.
LC: Connections and networking are everything. Just as an example, the recession 10 years ago was a tough time for the real estate market, but my business partner and I actually had one of our highest producing years. This was mainly because we had connections with sellers that we knew had been talking to us about selling their house, and buyers that we knew were looking. So, we could put together deals on houses that weren't even on the market, which worked well for us. Looking at current listings in MLS just isn't enough to be in this luxury market.
Janet McAfee is a recognized luxury real estate agency in the St. Louis area. For more details about careers at our boutique firm or the luxury market, visit our website!