Selling Remote, Exclusive or Unique Real Estate is a challenge in any market but none more so than in South America

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Selling prime real estate in the complicated South American markets requires many business and selling skills. It is not for the faint-hearted. Vendors have a low level of trust in traditional selling systems for a good reason. Many salespersons in the industry are part-time, untrained, and unlicensed, putting the owners at risk. 

Advice for the  real estate broker looking to get into the Luxury  Property Market

Ok, you’ve just taken your first million-dollar-plus listing. After celebrating your victory over the area’s top luxury agent, reality will no doubt begin to set in. You may wonder what you’ve gotten into if you don’t know the first thing about marketing high-end properties, but you do know the owners, and they trust you.

However, you should be very worried if you do not have a plan with the marketing budget to implement it, or the owners will quickly turn on you.

You may panic.
But if you want to be a pro, you’ll do what all pros do – lots and lots of research before you start, which can take weeks or months.

Unique Challenges

Many established international luxury brokers recommend that the less experienced salespersons get their feet wet by working under or with a top-producing agent (ie as an apprentice or co-broker) who deals with higher-end properties regularly. The unique challenges of pricing, marketing and dealing with the parties are many and varied – not something one should tackle without considerable experience.

However, suppose you’ve already taken the listing. In that case, you may want to consider joining up with an international marketing specialist on the project to learn before it becomes apparent to the owner that you do not know what you are doing.

Let’s look at some of the unique challenges you’ll face with your first luxury property listing.

Pricing Unique Real Estate 

Luxury properties are not cookie-cutter properties. They aren’t mass-produced by a single developer. They are typically architecture-designed and custom-built in unique locations that appeal to an international clientele.

How will you price this type of property? The typical agent Comparative Market Analysis ( CMA ) is useless when determining the price of a luxury home mainly because there are few (or zero) comparables. Plus, the more custom amenities included in the property, the smaller the pool of comparables. ie polo facilities, golf courses, lakes,  native bush, high security etc.

Then there are the intangibles, such as views, mountain or beach access, privacy and history. How do these intangibles factor into the pricing decision?

The most important thing you can do is to get to know the area intimately, plus have a good understanding of the international market for these types of properties., according to international real estate specialist Geoffrey McRae CEO of GTSA.

Less experienced luxury agents “need to do their research,” Geoffrey suggests. They need to know pricing, market conditions, and particularities in competing markets for buyers from both international and local markets.

Marketing real estate requires a strong Internet presence, according to Geoffrey. “TV, Newspaper and print are useful for local buyers,” he claims. “They’re glossy and impressive, but they don’t produce buyers to the extent they did in the past.”  Think carefully about what you think the target buyers will read or watch. If it is high-end, it will be specialist business media, Linkedin ads, and specialist real estate websites in the target countries. Targeted mailing lists are essential but are tightly held by experienced brokers. If you do not have access to them, you need to spend more money on marketing than you would need to otherwise.

High-quality video ( drone ) and, still photography, professionally written copy are also essential for success. The quality of the marketing should reflect the quality of the property. Remember, buyers looking for second or third properties have much to choose from in a globalised world.

Geoffrey also warns that the luxury agent needs an extensive network of contacts, such as other luxury agents, attorneys, past high-end clients and high-end public relations people. “Get to know writers and reporters so you can create a buzz,” he recommended. Also of critical importance is knowing how digital marketing works. ie unique words, relevant mailing lists, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and last but not least, relevant Industry News Blogs.

All these considerable costs amount to investment by any vendor. Without it, you are like a man winking in the dark at a pretty woman. The pretty girl can not see you even if she knows you are there somewhere. Salespersons need to be transparent with their vendors showing where these costs need to be spent and the logic behind it.

Geoffrey listed one of the largest farms in South America of 1 million acres a few years back and credits the buzz he created internationally due to his good relationships with the press and other international brokers. “We got the farm into 400 International blogs and newspapers, resulting in multiple offers,” he said.

Marketing to the affluent also requires paying close attention to and highlighting the property’s custom features in all your marketing materials. This can be polo field designers, golf course designers, well-known architects, landscapers etc.

According to Geoffrey, marketing their properties will be challenging if you aren’t familiar with the lifestyle of the affluent.

He advises that the would-be new luxury agent find a mentor. “They need to offer to work for someone already in that market segment,” he explains. “They’ll learn everything from the inside out.”

To succeed with luxury sales, Geoffrey says that salespersons must immerse themselves in the environment and peer group.

Be professional to other brokers as well as your clients Geoffrey suggests. “If you create a bad reputation in the luxury market, it will be challenging for you to survive.”

Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, providing expert advice on property acquisition and investment tours. The Gateway Team – When You are Serious About Property


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About Geoffrey W W McRae

With a highly distinguished career spanning more than three decades across five different countries, New Zealander Geoffrey McRae has established himself as a leading authority on South American real estate, agricultural, and commercial matters. As the founder of Gateway to South America – a real estate consulting group specialising in six South American countries – Geoffrey has developed a reputation for discretion, expertise, and experience that has seen him represent some of the most prestigious clients in the region. His deep knowledge and experience of South American markets have placed him at the forefront of the industry and given him the opportunity to guide and advise with confidence and surety. His long and successful career – which continues to evolve and expand daily – is a testament to his talent, tenacity, and ambition.

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