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Luxury Insider: What Does a High-End Seller Want a Realtor to be & to do?

I’ll try to answer that, but first, another question that helps understand better and perhaps even answer the first one: How do the Wealthy become wealthy?

Some of them were born that way. Don’t know if it is good or bad but it sure helps to have plenty of betting money if you aim to get more of the same. Some others made it big overnight when cashing in on their share of an IPO. Talk about being at the right place, at the right time.

Aside from those two above scenarios (and a few minor ones that you can place under the header “luck”), the great majority of the wealthy became such because they earned every penny of their fortune. Perhaps they had a great idea, or a new product, and found a way to market their innovation brilliantly. Perhaps they were the 24/7-type, working hard and investing wisely. Perhaps they had exceptional business acumen and had the ability to focus on objectives.

No matter how they gravitated their way to the top, the wealthy share at least 3 basic common traits, besides having a lot of money:

1. They are (very) intelligent
2. They are (very) knowledgeable
3. They are (very) successful

So, to get back to the title-question, what kind of Realtors do you think these uncommonly affluent people want to work with, when looking to buy and, even more so, when looking to sell?

Well, guess what, they expect their agent to be:

1. Intelligent (I did not say “street smart”, I said “intelligent”)
2. Knowledgeable, about the market, the industry and all aspects related to a transaction
3. Successful. Enough to be confident without being arrogant.

Wealthy sellers or buyers have no time, or patience, or tolerance for amateurs. If they need to “live” with their agent for a while, they need a partner, a guide, a counselor, a trustworthy expert whose advice they will rely on. There is another thing which is not optional, although it is often overlooked by the agents themselves: the agent must be associated with a solid renowned real estate company, one which has the tools, the services, the network and the financial means necessary to execute on the sellers or buyers’ expectations.

It is easy for top agents to believe that they are so good that they would do just as well with any company, including their own if they were to consider opening their own store. Well, in 2014, I doubt it. At the end of the day, what matters to a high-end seller is not “Who” as much as it is “What”. The objective is not to list with a star-agent for the sake of it, the objective is to get the property sold. That objective depends greatly on the national & international scope and the pertinence of the marketing program that only the company can & will (or will not…) provide.

One more thing I want to quickly mention before I close this blog. Do wealthy people care how their Realtor is dressing? I hear that question all the time. The answer has many layers. First, in this day & age, dress codes per-se are largely gone. Most agents wear what they please depending on their mood, their taste, or the peculiarities of their marketplace. If they are successful, most clients are not likely to care one way or the other.

There is a “But” however, and it is a big one. Call it common sense. I am not going to surprise anyone by suggesting that today, the majority of the buyers at the top end (multi-million dollar market) are foreigners. They think and behave differently. If they do not know you or the local habits, they may regard the way you dress as a mark of respect or… as an insult.

As an example, I am willing to bet that Chinese buyers coming from the old country to look at property here for only a few days, are likely to judge you partly on appearance. Chances are they will not adapt to our ways overnight; meaning that if we want to earn their trust & business (that’s the idea, right?), we will have to adapt to theirs. So here is my $5 piece of advice: Dress for the part!

Alain Pinel

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