5 Secrets to Selling Luxury Homes

sell luxury home

Every home deserves professional photography and 3D home tours (a new standard). Most every home would also benefit from a floor plan PDF. Some homes may also need drone photos if they have a wonderful view or if the home is on a large lot. Some homes may need physical staging or virtual staging. Others will simply require interior design consultation (work with the décor already in the home) by myself or one of our professional partners. Closing on over 2,000 local home sales has taught me as much.

Secret #1 to Selling Luxury Homes: Nail the Basics

Here’s the basic list of what you should expect selling any home:

  1. Professional Photography
  2. 3D Home Tour
  3. Floor plan (some homes)
  4. Staging (physical, virtual, or consultation)
  5. Drone photos (some homes)
  6. A well written home description
  7. An accurate MLS presentation (inputting the correct data that matches your home)

A quick note on home videos. One may note I didn’t include video as an essential service. That is because there is no research in place to suggest video has an impact on a home sale. Hundreds of pages worth of research is conducted by NAR (National Assocotion of Realtors) every year to help determine what exactly makes a home sell. To summarize the research, photos are number #1, 3D is number #2, written description is number 3#, floorplans are number #4, and videos don’t even make the list. Why don’t videos make an impact? The major real estate portals (search sites) online don’t allow you to connect a video to the listing. Home buyers don’t search on Youtube or social media sites in general to search for and act on homes. Home buyers pretty much exclusively use online search websites in combination with a Realtor using a local MLS system to look for homes. Proven research shows videos don’t sell homes, they get little engagement and few views. In contrast, 3D tours get wild numbers of views (thousands or tens of thousands), have high user engagement, and 3D tours are featured prominently on home search websites.

Secret #2 to Selling Luxury Homes: Bypass MLS Limitations

Why go beyond pro. photos, 3D, drone, floor plans, and staging? Because the MLS places significant limitations on what the Realtor can display on behalf of a luxury home. While the basic list above will sufficiently cover most homes for sale, a luxury home that is either massive in size, or massively stuffed with a long list of updates and amenities, cannot fit property within MLS limitations. The MLS limits photo count, the MLS has a limited number of checkboxes to pick for home amenities. The MLS limits the description space (we’re stuck at a measly 500 character (not word) limit in our local MLS, RMLS, which includes spaces!).

It is tricky getting past these MLS limitations on what we can display about a luxury home. Some agents bypass this by creating a printed book or magazine for the home and leaving it on the kitchen counter. This looks nice, but does nothing to sell the home, not according to research. The extra information about the home has to be available on Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, and all the other places home buyers are searching online. Printing out something nice to get past MLS limitations does nothing. NAR research also highlights this fact. Getting out all the detailed information about the luxury home online, where the buyers are looking, will sell it. And as we’ve spelled out above, creating a nice video to bypass MLS marketing limitations also is not effective and simply doesn’t work.

How do we bypass the MLS marketing limitations online? It is relatively simple. Virtually every website the home for sale will be found on will have a virtual tour link connected to it. We put a message in the photo set (one slide) and we put a message in the public description that goes something like this, “Click virtual tour link for additional photos, room by room feature brochure, garden brochure, floorplan, 3D tour, and (whatever else we’ve created for the home)”. Then for the luxury home we put everything on a single mobile responsive website for the home we created. There the potential buyer can easily one-click download any PDF brochure, can easily walk through the home virtually on the 3D tour, easily browse additional photos, etc.

Secret #3 to Selling Luxury Homes: Bypass Realty Networking Limitations

Local MLS systems are a powerful tool to getting homes sold across the country. Another powerful tool is the networking opportunities within the Realty company itself that has listed the property for sale. One might think, list your home with the biggest Realty company there is (highest agent count). But that doesn’t work for one simple reason, most of the legacy Realty companies are established franchise models. One agent at a local office might not be able to even reach another agent at the same “company” within the same city because each office is, “independently owned and operated”. EXP Realty, an international Realty company with a strong presence in all 50 states, is the largest non-franchise Realty company in the world and the fastest growing (currently 4th largest agent count). When we have a luxury home for sale, we can easily network the home (match buyers and sellers) on the same online shared platform used for the entire company, reaching every agent without limitations.

Secret #4 to Selling Luxury Homes: Global Internet Marketing

Once again, while it is true that local MLS systems are powerful tools for getting homes sold, they do come with significant limitations. One of those limitations is a lack of global reach. The available MLS systems in Oregon and Washington simply do not broadcast the home outside the U.S. in any significant fashion. While the local MLS sends the home to tens of thousands of home search sites within the U.S., the home will have no, or almost no online international presence what-so-ever. Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com and other major real estate search portals are primarily domestic, with little to no international reach. Major European countries, China, India, and beyond, have their own set of real estate search portals. In order to place a U.S. home for sale on these sites, an agent has to enlist the services of a Global Syndication provider. There are a few to choose from, the one we use we believe has the strongest reach and has made the most impact for our clients.

Secret #5 to Selling Luxury Homes: List on Multiple MLS Systems

What’s better than one? Two. What’s better than two? Three. There are plenty of MLS restrictions an agent must work within. For instance, the agent cannot typically list a home for sale in an MLS system that resides in a different state. However, what most clients (and some agents) don’t realize is there are multiple MLS systems in nearly every state. For example, Oregon has three major MLS systems: RMLS in Portland, WVMLS in Salem, and MLSCO in Bend. Washington has two major MLS systems: NWMLS in Seattle and RMLS (in SW Washington). When we list any home for sale, we never list it on just one MLS.

Who is incentivized to make money on the sale of your home? Only agents licensed in the same state your home resides in can earn commission (advertised in the MLS) if they bring a buyer to your home. So why reach only the agents in the state who are part of a single MLS? Why not reach all the agents in the state? MLS systems do a fantastic job notifying local agents of when new homes hit the market and provide them with exception tools to assist their buyers. Local MLS systems also let that agent know what they’ll make if they bring an offer to the table. It is advisable to get all of the agents in the state working to sell your home, that is the power of the MLS.

Pay less and get more.

I’ve been licensed since 2003 and since then my small real estate team has completed over 2,000 home sales in Oregon and Washington. We have dedicated sellers agents trained and ready to promote your luxury home in an effective and comprehensive manner, providing a luxury marketing program without limitations. Read more about our home selling services here, chat with the bot on our site, or give us a call direct at 503-714-1111.

May 2, 2022

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.5% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.