So many people ask, what is a luxury home?  There is no one design, price, style, or size that embodies a luxury home.  A luxury home could be similar to our listing at 1126 Wings Rd in St. Albans, a gorgeous home that replicates a castle with four turrets on over six acres overlooking the Missouri River at $2,250,000, or it could be a more traditional home with custom details on approximately one half-acre with an in-ground pool, like our lovely listing at 103 Bogey Estates for only $499,900.  Although it can be difficult to quantify exactly what luxury means, most buyers know it when they see it.

In recent years, sales of luxury homes have been hitting record numbers across the United States.  Prices for luxury real estate have also seen significant increases over the last couple of years.  Affluent buyers that can afford high-end homes think differently. They buy for completely different reasons than a typical homebuyer.  This is one more reason why “regular” marketing strategies don’t work with affluent buyers.

It sounds obvious, but the typical advertising used to sell an average- priced home will not work when marketing a million dollar home.  Some real estate agents keep the actual advertising more or less the same.  They simply buy more ads, or buy larger ads, but it’s not that simple.  I’ve found you have to find a way to make the property stand out from the rest.  This is one of the many reasons I created this magazine in 2013.  I’m so proud to say that you can now find, “Tracy Ellis: A Guide to Luxury Real Estate,” in over 100 businesses throughout the St. Charles and St. Louis area.

According to the National Association of Realtors, nine out of ten buyers use the internet at some point when looking for a home.  Almost half of buyers found the home they actually purchased online before seeing it in person.  This is why we at the Rick & Tracy Ellis Team re-design our website every couple of years to stay on top of the latest technology and marketing trends.

Technology changes so quickly, and you constantly have to stay up-to-date.  By the time some things enter our market in the mid-west, they’ve usually been in other markets for a couple of years, and the next new thing is already on its way.  That is why Rick and I use companies in Miami, California, and New York for most of our technology needs.

I’ve created a great network with top agents all over the United States.  Those agents have found the best in the business to achieve the optimal marketing for their luxury properties.  Through their connections, I’m able to offer our clients the latest and greatest with our website and technology.  The latest version of www.tracyellis.com will be complete by March 1, 2016 and will offer our clients the ability to search for a home in seven different languages.

Clients will also have access to interactive maps, our preferred partners list for everything they could possibly need for their homes, and much, much more.

If you’re in the market for a luxury home, a qualified real estate agent who knows the luxury market may be your best bet for finding properties that are for sale, but aren’t necessarily easy to find.  Some high-end properties aren’t listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)or on  search engines.  An agent familiar with the luxury market may have inside information about listings before they even hit the market.  In order to protect their privacy, many sellers in luxury homes avoid putting information and photos of the property on the internet.

To prevent questions from nosey neighbors or passersby, luxury sellers may even decide to not use a sign in the yard.  As I’m writing this article, I have three listings that are MLS exempt homes, all of which are over a million dollars.

Another advantage of having an experienced real estate agent who knows the luxury market is that they’ll have the knowledge to determine the true market value of your home.  In most cases, residential real estate is valued using comparable or similar properties in the area that have recently sold.  This can be a challenge when finding the value of a luxury home, since they’re usually unique and custom.  When you work with real estate agents who know the luxury market, they have been in a lot of incredible properties, and this will make a huge difference in pricing your home.

Due to many factors such as owning a business, other properties, and so on, the loan process can take longer on a luxury home.  The amount of time it takes depends a lot on the buyer and whether or not they have their financials and documentation in order.  As a courtesy to our sellers, it’s very important to me that I have pre-approval or proof of funds before we show one of our luxury listings.  We want to make sure they aren’t leaving their homes and preparing them for a showing unnecessarily.  Another courtesy to our clients is that Rick or I will be present on all showings.  As listing agents, we know the property best, and it’s our job to get the property sold!

As with any real estate purchase, it is important to use specialized home inspectors.  A luxury home can have amenities that some inspectors may not be familiar with, such as:

Pools and spas
Fountains, ponds and lakes
Automatic screens and awnings
Bowling alleys
Heated floors and driveways
Sophisticated surveillance systems
Audio & media rooms
Safe rooms
Built in aquariums
Wine cellars

In most cases, when buying a luxury home, the “return” buyers look for is not financial. It is emotional.  Buyers want to feel good about their home.  They want to be proud of the place they call home and show it off.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, please contact me or an agent on my team.  I’d like the opportunity to develop a custom marketing plan to get your home sold for top dollar. Call me direct at 636-299-3702 or visit www.tracyellis.com.

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