12.21.21 / Selling
How to Sell a Luxury Home: Best Marketing & Staging Tips
Buying a house in Toronto is no small feat, and neither is selling one. When it comes to knowing how to sell your luxury home, there’s a lot to consider and prepare for. But don’t worry! This informative guide will help build your luxury home selling mastery to the level you need to get the deal done right – and quickly!
If you’re ready to learn what it takes to sell your luxury home, let’s get started by exploring some key areas you’ll need to be familiar with:
- How to sell a luxury home: 7 ways to attract buyers
- 5 Best ways to find luxury home buyers
- 7 luxury home staging tips to sell your home fast
Exceptional marketing and staging are vital to selling your house. So here’s what you need to do to set yourself up for success.
How to sell a luxury home: 7 ways to attract buyers
If you’re selling your home for more than $3 million in Toronto, it’s typically classified as part of the luxury real estate market. This means you have to find and attract unique buyers with sophisticated needs and expectations.
So you’re probably wondering: what is the best way to sell my luxury home? Here are seven ways to effectively take the guesswork out of how to attract luxury home buyers, navigate the selling process, and sell your luxury home fast.
1. Work with a realtor specializing in luxury homes
Working with a realtor who has a proven track record of buying and selling luxury homes for their clients is one of the best things you can do. On top of having specialized market knowledge to guide your pricing strategy, they also understand buyer expectations and how to negotiate to get you the best deal possible.
A good agent will also make lead generation easier for you. They’ll access their exclusive network of client contacts, and tap their well-established relationships with other luxury home realtors who may have buyers looking for a new place to call home.
✔ Working with an agent who excels in vetting prospects will ensure you’re only spending time on serious, qualified buyers.
✔ Choose a realtor who prioritizes trust, transparency, and first-class service for every buyer. Prospects will expect (and demand) it.
2. Lead with your wow factors & key features
The uniqueness of your home and its features will be key factors in your pricing strategy, as they affect your competitive position in the market. Luxury home buyers are looking for a ‘wow’ factor, so if your home has one (or more), lead with it in your marketing.
There are certain amenities buyers are going to prioritize over others. These trending features in luxury homes change over time, but it’s likely you will sell your luxury home faster if it currently offers some of these sought-after items:
- Outdoor living space – Water features, fire bowls, cozy seating areas, and heaters have become necessities for enjoying nature and entertaining year-round.
- Flex space / home office – Well-appointed home offices, au pair suites, and dining rooms that easily convert to conference rooms are multifunctional must-haves.
- Vehicle storage – The garage should be as attractive as the high-end vehicles in it. It’s about showroom quality car lifts, premium flooring, and sleek storage.
- Home automation / smart tech – From security to wireless systems, charging stations, home theatres, and window covering controls, tech customized to a homeowner’s habits is essential.
- Eco-friendly features – Homes with green technology that generate energy efficiency in air quality, backup power, and water flow are becoming common expectations.
- Multigenerational living – Being able to accommodate the growing lifestyle trend of having three or more family generations living under one roof is an advantage. Stylish adjacent or separate living quarters for privacy, along with barrier-free features, are sure to impress.
- Wellness / Self-Care Support – Water and air purification systems, pools, hot tubs, spa-like bathrooms, indoor gyms, and yoga/meditation spaces have become particularly enticing.
- Turnkey – Move-in ready conditions (particularly desirable by foreign investors) allow buyers to start enjoying the luxuries of their new home immediately.
- Location – Easy access to high-end restaurants, retailers, entertainment, and child-care services offers your buyer whatever they need nearby.
✔ Emphasize cubic footage if you have high ceilings, as well as brand names and measurements (where possible) in your features list. Specs sell.
✔ Emphasize ways the property and home can support the rising trend of stealth wealth.
✔ Include a walking score in your marketing materials – especially to high-end retailers, as well as locations that support wellness (such as trails and dog parks).
3. Price it right
Don’t let the fact that Toronto’s luxury housing market is currently outpacing the non-luxury market in price growth throw you off. You still have to have a solid pricing strategy, because it has to appeal to potential buyers within a limited pool. It should be competitive with other listings and market conditions, while still ensuring you get the most you can from what your home has to offer.
Pricing a luxury home involves the skill of balancing many factors: amenities, market, location, privacy, property size, and so on. Your real estate agent is your best resource for helping you do this successfully.
Also, a word of caution: don’t price your house too high initially, or you risk it sitting on the market for an extended period of time. This will eventually force you to reduce the price, which can result in receiving lowball offers and negotiating from a weaker position.
✔Pricing your home realistically will help attract the right buyer and shorten your home’s time on the market.
4. Dress to impress
Luxury home buyers are going to be much more critical and far less forgiving of flaws in your home’s condition than typical home buyers. This means making good first impressions is crucial to successfully selling your home. Boosting your property’s curb appeal, along with professionally cleaning and staging your home, are two easy and proven ways to capture and heighten buyer interest.
Hire a professional stager who is experienced in accentuating a luxury home’s best features. It’s one of the easiest and least stressful ways to put your home at the top of any buyer’s ‘must-see’ list. This will boost your ROI by increasing the number of offers and competitive bids on your home. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than unstaged offerings.
Properly staging your home is a big job. It requires specialized skills and talents to pull off, so you usually shouldn’t try to do it yourself. A professional stager will have a vision for the space, including identifying and supplying any contemporary decor or modern furniture pieces needed to bring it together.
✔Move-in ready conditions are highly desirable, so address any necessary renovations before you stage and list your home.
✔Declutter your home so your professional stager can purposely arrange beautiful decor pieces as focal points. This will create a sense of grandeur for the moment a potential buyer walks through the door.
5. List at the right time
The spring and fall are traditionally the most popular times to buy a home in Toronto. This is because most closing dates are 30 to 90 days removed from the sale date. However, there could be a competitive advantage to listing outside of those times (December to February or June to August), as it may mean having fewer listings to compete against for attention.
✔Selling your home will disrupt your work schedule, family routine, and school year. So choose a listing date that will minimize the stress of these changes.
✔If mortgage rules or interest rates are rumoured to change, you may wish to list sooner to stay ahead of them.
6. Forego the open houses for scheduled private viewings
If you’re wondering how to find luxury home buyers who are serious about making an offer on your house, offer appointment-only viewings and forgo public open houses. This satisfies the desire of luxury buyers for exclusivity and “white glove” service. It also ensures you’re not wasting your time speaking with nosy neighbours who have no intention of buying your house.
Furthermore, privately-scheduled viewings help you (as the seller) retain some privacy by protecting your identity and situation from the general public.
✔Give potential buyers enough time to fit private showings into their schedules. But don’t book so far in advance that they might forget about their appointments or lose interest in your house.
✔Have your realtor lead private tours with each prospective buyer and their agent. They can showcase the key selling features of your house, as well as answer any questions or concerns as they come up.
7. Create clear branding & marketing messages
The key to marketing to luxury home buyers is to sell the unique features and story behind your home. For that, you need to use emotional and engaging messaging, from the words your real estate agent uses in private tours to the messages in your sales material. You need to prominently position your home as an option that’s worthy of a buyer’s consideration.
Demonstrating how your home can fulfill a luxury buyer’s desires is extremely important, because they have the purchasing power to avoid compromising on what they want. So show them how your home has what they need!
Think of your home as a brand. What qualities do you want buyers to clearly associate it with? Exquisite design? Abundant opulence? Unparalleled quality? Turnkey convenience? Historical significance? Comfortable elegance? Once you have the answer, build your messaging around it.
If there’s an interesting story about your home’s history, property, construction process, neighborhood, or architectural design, share it! While luxury home buyers love tangible features, they love the intangible almost as much. It makes them feel like they’re buying something that’s beyond a building; they’re also gaining ownership of impressive stories to share with friends.
✔ Mention in your marketing materials the names of any well-known architects, builders, or interior designers who worked on your home. This can help to create intrigue.
✔ Have a graphic designer create a logo for you to use in your marketing materials. This will give you a symbol buyers can associate with your home, differentiating your property from other listings.
✔ Talk with your real estate agent about the type of buyer your home will attract, based on its price point and those of competing listings. Then craft marketing messages to target that type of buyer’s needs.
8. Invest in professional marketing materials
There are four key things you should hire professionals for when putting together your marketing materials for selling a luxury home. Whether you’re using printed brochures, presentation folders, online listings, a personalized website, or custom video tours, you’re going to want to invest in pros to help you with the following elements:
- Photography – Since most buyers will start reading a listing by looking at the photos, that first impression has to be captivating. So ask your real estate agent to refer you to a photographer who specializes in luxury homes. They will know the exact lighting, angles, and cropping to capture the best features of your home.
- Copywriting – The next important step is to sell the lifestyle your home will afford its new owner. Use carefully-crafted professional sales copy to flawlessly focus on the benefits of your home’s features. Your goal should be to exceed any prospective buyer’s expectations and needs.
- Graphic design – Your home is a multi-million dollar product you’re trying to market, so it’s not something you should try to sell with DIY marketing materials. Hire a professional who can leverage your photos and copy to successfully design engaging marketing content.
- Video – Luxury home buyers crave features that seamlessly enhance their lifestyles. So use professional video to show them the magnificent experience they can expect from your home and its amenities. You may even want to consider hiring a professional drone operator to capture footage of your property’s impressive exterior.
✔ If you’re listing your home in the winter, hire a professional photographer during the preceding summer to capture what your landscaping looks like in full bloom.
✔ Use enough professional photography in your marketing to satisfy the needs of buyers who may not be able to see your property in person (e.g. foreign investors).
✔ Make sure all your marketing material is optimized for online use or sharing. Buyers are busy, so your website and email attachments need to load and open quickly.
9. Sweeten the deal
A bonus (or two) might just be the competitive edge you need to differentiate your listing from similar offerings on the market. So try to include extra items you own with the house, such as a unique wine collection, gorgeous baby grand piano, or set of exquisite outdoor furnishings. Freebies like these are sure to sweeten the deal and make it harder for a buyer to walk away.
5 best ways to find luxury home buyers
Let’s back up here for a second. Before you start worrying about how to market to luxury home buyers, you have to figure out how to find them first! That means understanding what kinds of buyers you want to attract so you can determine the best way to reach them. To align your promotion with their buying journey, here are five ways to target these elite groups through niche marketing:
1. Your real estate agent’s network
Many luxury buyers seek more sophisticated means of finding a home, and are more intrigued with listings that come to them through exclusive means. So utilizing your agent’s network is an ideal place to start! Your agent’s connections are the best way to find (and market to) luxury home buyers, whether those are referrals, brokerage contacts, past clients, or other agents with affluent buyers.
2. Your personal and professional network connections
As the seller, don’t forget to tap into your own personal or professional networks. Do you know someone from work, a social event you attended, the golf and country club or a volunteer group who might be in the market to buy a luxury home?
3. Local luxury real estate ads
While word-of-mouth and referral advertising are the best ways to find buyers for your home, local luxury real estate publications can also be an effective avenue. Consider buying a full-page ad (or even a double-page spread) so you have lots of room to showcase your home’s beautiful photography and share its story.
Many publications circulate printed copies that put your ad directly in front of the right prospects. They usually also offer several online advertising opportunities to drive prospects to your listing. Some may include a digital copy of the magazine (with embedded links to your listing or agent’s number), website or social media banner ads, e-newsletters to select subscribers, or other targeted digital ads (like property spotlights).
4. Social media advertising (limited scope)
If you’re trying to attract younger affluent buyers, highly-targeted social media ads can be effective at reaching them because of how frequently they visit the platforms. Instagram is ideal because it uses photography to capture attention and tell a story.
5. International listings
Check with your agent to see which online real estate investment and listing platforms they (or their brokerage) typically use to find foreign investors looking for opportunities. Ideally, the website(s) you use will be able to fully translate your listing into the languages of the specific countries you wish to advertise in.
7 luxury home staging tips to sell your home fast
Staging can involve decorating, but it’s not the same thing. It’s the process of preparing your home so it’s in market-ready condition and appeals to as many buyers as possible.
80% of prospective buyers know if a home is right for them as soon as they step in the door. So since there’s rarely a second chance to make a first impression, staging your home properly is critically important. That’s why we recommend hiring a professional to help stage your home.
With that said, here are some luxury home staging tips that you can get started on yourself. They’ll enhance the charm of your abode and maximize its sellability.
Remove eclectic or excess furniture, as well as other clutter, from each room. Leave only a few select items. This will make the space feel bigger, cleaner, and more organized. Consider renting a storage unit to help with this process.
Depersonalizing your space is necessary to help a buyer imagine what their life could be like in this future home. Remove family photographs, ornate door decorations, religious items, collections, or wall accents of a specific taste from rooms. Pay particular attention to the kitchen, living room, dining room, and master bedroom.
You’ll also need to go through this process on the exterior of your home. Remove flags, wind chimes, garden gnomes, Christmas lights, bird feeders, and other yard decorations. This will create a simple, clean landscape that’s more attractive to buyers.
3. Put on a fresh coat of paint
One of the simplest ways to update your home is with a fresh coat of paint. Warm colour palettes of neutral tones are best for your walls to keep the space warm, inviting, and attractive to a wide range of buyers. Avoid distracting and bold colours that scream personal preference.
4. Repair or upgrade hardware & lighting fixtures
Take a look at the condition, age, and decor style of your hardware and fixtures to see they should be fixed or updated. Don’t overlook even simple repairs like replacing light bulbs and broken light switches, or fixing sticky locks, leaky faucets, or loose door knobs.
You may also need to install additional lighting in your hallways, entryways, or closets to make the spaces appear brighter and more spacious.
5. Tend to neglected areas
Bedrooms, closets, basements, and garages are sometimes forgotten when staging a home. They’re parts of the house that guests typically don’t see… but that doesn’t mean prospective buyers won’t look at them!
Bedrooms should showcase hotel-style beds with fluffy duvets, warm throw blankets, and beautiful pillows. You want to project a sense of calm, serenity, and comfort to impress buyers.
Closets should have about 50% of their contents removed, and the remaining items should be organized by color and type. Make sure that hanging items are all facing the same direction. Don’t forget to clear away any off-season items and clutter from the floor, too!
Basements and garages should be organized, clutter-free, and clean. Pay special attention to getting rid of cobwebs and spider webs!
6. Fix up your house’s exterior
Restain any brick facades on the outside of your home that need restoration. Also check for any sidewalk or driveway cracks that need to be fixed, leveled, or weeded.
Ensure your front door and exterior lighting fixtures are in pristine condition. These will usually be the first parts of your home a buyer sees, and the impression they give can set the tone for what the buyer expects from the rest of your house.
7. Impress with cleanliness
After you have decluttered, depersonalized, repaired, upgraded, painted, and finished moving furniture around, it’s time to clean the interior and exterior of your home. Have your carpets, windows, blinds, and ducts cleaned. Scrub and polish/wax your floors. Power wash dirty siding and roofing. Clean your mailbox. Scour bugs off outdoor lighting. Make every room in your house sparkle. Nothing shows pride of ownership and care like an immaculately-kept home.
✔ Professional stagers have an established network of reputable partners (like painters, floor installers, carpet cleaners, and more) they can access and pass discounts for hiring these partners on to you.
✔ For luxury home staging in Toronto, find a reputable professional with an impressive portfolio of work and client reviews. Also interview them first to see if they’re the right fit for your needs.
✔ Elite buyers appreciate the benefits of a professionally-staged property, and many of their real estate agents are more inclined to show listings that utilize professional staging.
Ready to Sell Your Luxury Home?
Selling your home is a big job, but it’s much easier when you enlist the help of a professional real estate agent and a professional stager. With the right advice, approach, marketing, and network of contacts, they can make the house-selling process much smoother and less stressful.
As industry leaders, we at Matthew Gravina Real Estate don’t operate with a “one size fits all” mentality. We know that every seller and every home is different. That’s why we take the time to get to know you, so we can custom-tailor a sales strategy that will deliver the results you’re looking for.
The right buyer for your home is out there. It’s time to go find them!
Call Matthew today at 416.805.2763 to get started!