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Luxury Insider: The Difference Between Ok, Good and Very Good

Can any agent sell a multi-million dollar residential property? Theoretically Yes…Practically, no, not really, or not readily. At that level, it takes a very special person who can relate to the client’s means & needs, has a well-tested knowledge of the regional as well as global luxury market, shines with confidence and is a star negotiator. Not every agent can play the part and be a maestro at comfortably managing the entire transaction with the clients’ trust.

There are lots of so-called High-End Realtors, a few hundreds of them. I feel fortunate knowing most of those in the Silicon Valley and many in the US & abroad. They are good at what they do, irrespective of their company affiliation. They are smart, knowledgeable and genuinely devoted to serving their clients and customers to the best of their ability. They do care about their fiduciary duties.

That, of course, does not mean that they are equal and interchangeable. Some are better than others. This is especially noticeable at the multi-million dollar level..

If I were to generalize a little, I would say that there are three classic levels of real estate professionals. Some gravitate from one to another during the course of their career, while some get stuck in the same box, or eventually retrograde, if they cannot or don’t care to change their profile. Here is the picture, painted with a very big brush to make the point:
The average agent: sincere, friendly and committed to the principal’s satisfaction, but usually a train too late in a fast market to be truly effective and therefore successful. Typically, he/she waits too long to preview the new listings when they are fresh on the market. When they are finally ready to see them, at the weekly brokers’ tour or when they have an opportunity to show them to a customer, those listings are often already under contract. No matter what you know and how good you are, if you have the complacency & nonchalance virus, you cannot be very successful as an agent.
The better agent: energized, mobilized, he/she knows and keeps current with the inventory of active listings, understands market trends and the menu of mortgage options….But most of them are still waiting for the office phone to ring. They rely on what may fall from the sky rather than the business they could generate on their own. They don’t prospect much and they don’t promote themselves in the media. The result is predictable: they don’t have listings and they have a hard time finding buyers. Here again, a wait-and-see attitude stands in the way of excellence.
The great agents: they are ready 24/7. When the phone rings, they answer. No time to listen to voicemail. They “own” the market. They know every street and nearly every house within their “farm” area. They know who bought what, when & how. They often know the owners’ names and even the people behind the names. They are the top guns. They just relish this challenging yet exciting market at the high-end. Who worries about a listing drought when you know the people who would agree to sell their luxury property given the right price and the buyers who can pay cash to buy it?

There are only a few superstars in each marketplace, mostly in very affluent towns or districts. They know each other very well and like to work between themselves, in spite of the different company flags. If a $25 million listing comes on the market, on or off the MLS, chances are it belongs to one of them, and chances are one of them will sell it. They sell within the “club”.

The top guns know best how to leverage the strength of their company’s marketing & technology to complement their own. They are so powerful that you would think they are “making the market” instead of merely adapting to it quicker and better than others. They are smelling the trends before anybody does and pricing properties based on their anticipation of the traditional tango of supply & demand.

There is no substitute for knowledge, preparation, business acumen, high-end flair, focus and ambition. That’s the winning script in the fast lane.

Alain Pinel

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