Shedding (Crocodile) Tears for Luxury Real Estate Agents

When Bill Gates, home seller, tells his Realtor after receiving an offer, “I think $20 million is too low — let’s wait for $30 million” (or $40 million, or ???) . . . you know he can.

Can you say, “no (financial) motivation??”

In a nutshell, that’s the conundrum facing agents who work with truly upper bracket clientele — at least, agents who like to occasionally close deals . . . and get paid!

Aggravating matters:  the kinds of real estate that the super-wealthy tend to own — truly magnificent, one-of-a-kind properties — by definition have no true Comp’s (“Comparable Sold Properties”).

Fair Market Value? You Tell Me

That means such trophy properties are especially difficult to value.

In fact, it’s commonly said of such homes that they’re worth “whatever a Buyer and Seller, acting at arm’s length and with no duress (rules out foreclosures) . . . agree they are.”

So, values are arrived at more subjectively, through negotiation.

Lots and lots of negotiation.

Thin Air

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, it can take a long time to reach agreement on exactly what that price is.

In turn, that helps explain the long market time associated with selling upper, upper bracket homes (the other reason: there just aren’t that many people in the market for properties over, say, $10 million (in the Twin Cities, make that > $3 million).

Of course, as long as the home remains unsold, it’s incumbent upon the listing agent to keep marketing it, making sure the photos are fresh and flattering; funding an ongoing advertising campaign; staying in front of prospective Buyers and their agents on social media, through formal and informal networking, etc. (note: the industry term for all that sustained effort is called “carrying a listing”).

Given all those unique demands, who do you suppose is the ideal Realtor to represent the super-rich in their real estate transactions?

An agent who is super-rich (I wish I knew any 🙁  ).

P.S.: While luxury Realtor pay days may be few and far between, when they occur (it goes without saying), they (more than) make up for the extra effort and patience.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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