Real estate is rewarding by nature. Enabling people to take the next step in their home ownership journey makes deep sense in any market and at any price point.
However, working in luxury real estate elevates all aspects of the industry. The quality and caliber of the houses is high. Demands and expectations are raised. Buyers and sellers are often at the top of their professions. For agents looking to elevate their career, luxury real estate holds tremendous promise. How can you break into it?
As Tracey Corbusch, senior global real estate advisor at Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage, notes, you don’t necessarily have to start in real estate. “I’ve been a salesperson in the TV industry in New York City for 10 years,” she recalls. “This turned out to be a great training ground for learning how to take in a lot of different personalities, managing multiple accounts and responsibilities, creating and closing deals – all at a very fast pace.”
Jason Friedman, a real estate assistant at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, has also started his career outside of the industry. “I was a commodity trader and then a proprietary stock trader,” he explains. Why switch to real estate? “I was looking for something that didn’t involve sitting at a desk and staring at a screen all day.”
After establishing themselves for the first time in the real estate industry, Corbusch and Friedman have perfected their craft and moved into the luxury space. To help other agents hoping to follow in their footsteps, they give their three best tips.
Tip #1: Start by building extensive experience
Developing your knowledge is essential. But so is fostering a network of contacts that can help you support your clients – from merchants to financial advisors. “Grow your resource book to make your customers’ experience as seamless as possible,” says Koorbusch.
“Also remember that luxury clients are generally well informed about local, national, and global events, so be prepared to engage in conversations that go beyond real estate,” she adds.
Friedman’s previous economic experience served him well with a luxury audience. “While industry knowledge is certainly helpful, it is really up to potential buyers and sellers who have enough confidence in your abilities to manage the trade that is often their most valuable asset,” he says.
Corbusch agrees. New agents should expect to be patient, professional, humble, and hungry to learn as much as possible about all things real estate. Knowledge is really power.”
Tip #2: Find supporters who will cheer you up
Our strong contact list includes a network of professional peers who can help you take your career to the next level. “People who are successful in any industry don’t usually succeed because of luck,” Corbusch says. “They do the work even when it’s hard, and they ask for help if they need it.”
She advises agents to look for an experienced mentor who is willing to share their expertise and offer training through the operations of luxury real estate – whether it’s an open house on a high-end property, or navigating the intricacies of paperwork for listing.
Friedman agrees that surrounding yourself with the right people is key. “The best way to break into this segment of the industry is to join a successful team in your target market,” he says. “This allows the new agent to have immediate access to a desired market segment while learning from – and relying on – a team leader with a proven track record of success.”
Tip #3: Level up every aspect of your service
Anyone hoping to get started in the luxury market must demonstrate diligence and leadership that will earn customers’ trust and the respect of colleagues. “The difference between a more traditional agent and a luxury real estate agent generally comes down to a dedication to the profession and a willingness to pivot when things aren’t working,” says Koorbusch. “Building a business in luxury real estate requires the same kind of disciplined people as other markets, but perhaps more than that — someone willing to be available when their clients are available, which is often before or after work and on the weekends.”
It also requires resources, Friedman points out. “It takes an investment of time and money in order to properly disclose the property,” he says. This means first-time luxury agents may need to spend more than they used to when preparing for the sale. But quality leads to credibility – and like any good investment, it’s ultimately worth it.
This dedication is what allows agents to not only enter the luxury industry, but thrive in it.