Modern or Contemporary: Why There are Really Only Two Schools of Thought on Luxury Interior Design

modern and contemporary design

Modernism is an intellectual and artistic movement that originated early in the twentieth century. It began as a rejection of traditional values, and a rethinking of aesthetics. In the realm of interior design, modernism reached its peak of influence in the 1960s under the influence of internationally famous architects and designers using new materials to create new forms without reference to antecedents.

In the twenty-first century, we are living in a post-modern world. Contemporary design uses many of the same techniques and materials of modernism, but with a reference to established, classical norms. Contemporary interior design is not limited by a single philosophy. Modern furniture and real estate is built with an eye toward the past, while incorporating the processes and craftsmanship that has been mastered in the past few decades. The result is a pleasing blend of styles that bring the best of both worlds in harmony, without sacrificing convenience or durability.

modern and contemporary designModern decor extensively uses materials that were not commonly seen prior to the twentieth century. Exposed metal and ductwork is a hallmark of modernism. Modernism is usually thought of as having severe angles and a sterile appearance. The field of engineering is the starting point for modernist design. For instance, the use of plastics and resins presents the problem of how to craft a comfortable chair by using the properties of these materials. The work of Charles and Ray Eames comes to mind, with their organically formed chairs crafted out of plywood and plastics. A living room outfitted with this modern furniture is a comfortable place that reflects the sensibility of material guiding form.

A modern office will have chairs that that allow for adjustable height, and a glass-topped desk with an stainless steel framework. Contemporary design will incorporate elements from the past, such as a traditional Oriental rug to add a touch of softness and familiarity to the decor. A more traditional wooden bookcase may face the desk, or the bookcase may lack distracting ornament. Contemporary interior design relies on a wedding of materials and styles to create a comforting and accessible look, retaining what is best about modern design, while blending it with other elements that are attractive to the main user.

modern and contemporary designThe bedroom is a place where many people prefer more conservative styling, but contemporary design does not preclude the use of leather as a main design feature, especially as it is incorporated into the headboard, or in seating as a major focal point in the decor. Modern furniture uses geometry and simple patterning to provide efficient comfort. Contemporary interior design makes use of the abstraction inherent in modernism without ruling out the use of inessential color to provide an accent, or to dominate neutral, natural tones. Contemporary sensibility, postmodernism, has a sense of playfulness about it. Contrast is not something to be avoided when it can be incorporated to pleasing effect.

The luxury kitchen has evolved over the past hundred years as time-saving appliances have become more numerous, and the variety of stylings has increased. Stainless steel appliances are extensively used in contemporary kitchen design, making the area more business-like and, perhaps, less homey from some people’s perspective. To counteract the severity of such an expanse of polished and burnished metal, marble, a very traditional material, is being used more extensively in countertops. Likewise, butcher block islands can provide natural warmth and texture. All of these materials are durable and attractive, adding to the function of the kitchen while promoting a clean and healthy environment in which to prepare meals.

Another area in which modern design elements are strongly favored is in the dining room. A glass topped dining table is a modern invention, as are chairs that do not rely on ornament for their effect. Contemporary design allows for mixing and matching styles from different eras. There is no reason why a chrome and glass table cannot be paired with antique chairs or table settings.

modern and contemporary designModern luxury design starts from a basic philosophy that one's surroundings should reflect the sensibility inherent in the materials used to construct and decorate a dwelling. When applied consistently, the result can be stunning in its ingenuity. A modern home office bespeaks of the technical savvy of the person who works there. It reflects a refined taste that dislikes clutter, and favors efficiency. The same applies to any room decorated in the modern manner. The best materials are used to create an open space designed for specific uses.

Contemporary luxury design relies less on applying a coherent theory, and takes the preferences of a client into consideration at the expense of including some discordant elements. When everything is paired together tastefully, a different feeling enters the room beyond the display modernism imposes. If something does not fit into a design pattern, elements are changed to bring the entire scheme into harmony, sacrificing nothing in the process.

Contemporary design is not better than modern design. It is a matter of personal preference. While the two may overlap in some of their concepts and methods, they remain distinct schools. Used effectively, either will make a home that is welcoming.

This blog posting has been provided by Ben Fisher, an agent at Summit Sotheby's International Realty in Park City, Utah. He services Park City Real Estate as well as Deer Valley. He specializes in online marketing for luxury real estate clients.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/30/2011 at 12:08 PM
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duPont Marketplace: Sarasota, Florida

 

Just an hour south of Tampa, Florida, you’ll find Sarasota- a small town on the Gulf of Mexico with the amenities of a big city.

“Siesta Key in Sarasota was recently voted as the No. 1 beach in the United States by Dr. Beach,” says Candy Swick, boker/owner of Candy Swick & Company in Sarasota. “The beaches in Sarasota have the powdery-white sand and warm, glassy waters that everyone looks for.”

But having the No.1 beach doesn’t mean Sarasota is a sleepy town. “The only thing Sarasota doesn’t have is snow!” Candy jokes. The city offers Olympic sports training; every water sport you could imagine; fine dining and shopping at St. Armand’s Circle; major cultural influences; like the Sarasota  Opera House, the Sarasota Ballet, and the Ringling Museum of Art; and exceptional education at all academic levels, including New College, which was recently ranked No. 2 Best Value Public Collage in America by the Princeton Review and USA Today.

What Candy believes makes Sarasota a unique gem is its residents. “You won’t find the paparazzi here and everyone has that Midwest-friendliness to them,” she says. “The residents are amazingly diverse and accomplished.”


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/30/2011 at 10:41 AM
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duPont Marketplace: Dominican Republic

“Owning property in the Dominican Republic is a great investment,” says Cheryl Bosa of Keller Williams Realty. “Compared to other lesser-developed countries, the Dominican Republic has a great amount of order and structure,” The economic and political environment in the Dominican Republic is stable, and has a sound framework for investments, like buying luxury property. The country also boasts a modern transportation infrastructure and and advanced and reliable telecommunications infrastructure. Not to mention, the country’s residents hold themselves to a higher standard. “The quality of life is high here,” Cheryl says. “All residents are extremely friendly, and they enjoy the natural beauty their country offers.”

One property in the Dominican Republic that Cheryl currently represents with her business partner, Michael Valdez, is in a category of its own: the $9 million estate sits on 71,000 in Casa de Campo’s La Romana Country Club, which is an “extremely exclusive, gated community for the world’s affluent,” says Michael.

The property features a huge Master Bedroom or Grand Salon, six guest rooms ensuite, staff quarters, a commercial-grade kitchen, a wine-cellar that holds 4,000+ bottles, a billiard room, a putting green and manicured tropical gardens- and that just skims the surface of the amenities featured.

“It’s hard to pinpoint this property because it is impeccable,” Michael Valdez says, “truly the ultimate private Caribbean playground.”


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/29/2011 at 2:41 PM
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Walt Disney's Los Feliz Home Sells for $3.7 million

 

The home Walt Disney built for himself in 1932 has sold after only a month on the market. The home, located in trendy Los Feliz, California, sold for $3.7 million. Originally built for only $50,000, the French Normandy style home sold for the same amount over its asking price of $3.65 million.

Disney, who lived in the gated home for 18 years, included a projection screening room in his 6,000 square foot mansion, as well as four bedrooms and five bathrooms. The two story living room features a Juliet balcony and vaulted beamed ceilings, as well as two bars and a full acre of lush gardens surrounding the hill-top home.

Listed in early July, the Disney mansion received international attention and multiple offers before going into escrow 12 days after being put on the market.

Blog via L.A. Times and AOL RealEstate

 


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/29/2011 at 10:31 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Is it Time to Retool, Re-position, Reformulate?

Now is the time to start thinking about your game plan for 2012. If you have discovered that you are losing momentum in your luxury real estate marketing practice, do not panic! Don't get derailed. Just re-invent yourself and change tracks.

Look around for new opportunities. You may discover that you need to make some fundamental changes in your normal operating procedures in order to take advantage of new opportunities, gain traction and build a new head of steam.

Here are three areas to consider that can help you get back on track:

Retool

One example of retooling is developing a better website that captures buyer leads more effectively

Re-position

You may need to learn additional skills or acquire additional specialized knowledge to work with clients that heretofore you have not worked with, such as investors, or second home buyers. Then, reposition yourself as a specialist in a new niche.

Reformulate-Re-focus

You may need to temporarily focus more on buyer vs. specializing in listing properties that languish on the market.

Once you have retooled, repositioned (yourself or your company) and reformulated the focus of your practice you then need to PROMOTE like crazy! Promotion begets new momentum of productivity.

Is it time for you to Retool, Re-position and re-formulate for 2012?

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/28/2011 at 9:16 AM
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New Materials on the Forefront of Kitchen Design

 

For years granite has been the only counter top surface acceptable in high-end homes. Granite’s beauty and functionality has helped prove this stone’s value and classic staying power. Recently though, with many developers and homeowners tiring of seeing granite in every home, new countertop materials have made breakout appearances on the kitchen design scene.

New production techniques have made many other materials, such as glass and quartz, just as resilient and beautiful as granite without giving homeowners “granite fatigue”. Granite, formerly only seen in ultra-high-end homes due to its high price has become increasingly available in consumer outlets, like home-improvement stores. The luxury homeowner often looks for the newest and rarest in home design in order to set their multi-million dollar pad apart from the one sitting next door. Many kitchen designers have turned to rare materials like lava stone, stainless steel and glass to set their client’s kitchens apart.

Lava stone which is harvested from volcanoes in France, is not only extremely different in looks, but can be textured and colored to match the home’s décor. Lava stone is heat, stain and scratch resistant, making its costly price tag worth it for use in a busy kitchen. Glass surfaces have been gaining popularity for both their beauty and clean look. Many glass countertops are lighted from underneath, adding an ambient glow to kitchens. Glass is easy to clean, a huge plus in today’s germ-a-phobe society. Stainless steel holds the same appeal; first popularized in restaurant kitchens and on appliances, the gleam of a stainless steel countertop is becoming increasingly popular in residential kitchens. New textures and finishes have fixed the problem of fingerprints and scratches making stainless a beautiful and durable option.  

The eco trend has made its way into kitchen surfaces as well, with the production of recycled glass and even wax-covered recycled paper countertops appearing in green-homes.

Granite countertops, while decreasing in popularity, won’t be going away anytime soon though. They have proved their staying power as a classic. The newer options have yet to be more than trend, and due to their high price tags they may stay just that.   

 

Blog via Sun Sentinel Homes Blog  Photo via Capital Sheet Metal


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/27/2011 at 12:31 PM
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Maintain Your Balance by Sticking with Your Winning Formula

It is interesting to consider that some luxury real estate marketing professionals are struggling to build a momentum of business while others are feeling overwhelmed trying to manage the abundance of business that they have attracted.   Each feels out of control, but in different ways.  Both feel like their business is running them instead of experiencing the surefootedness of running their business.

No matter how big you get, running a successful luxury real estate marketing practice is continuous balancing act.  First you have to get in balance. Then you have to maintain it.

If you have not yet found your winning formula, experimentation is the route for you. Only self doubt can keep you immobilized and feeling out of control. Keep trying different approaches until you find out what works, consistently. Then, once you have discovered your winning formula stick with it. Eventually, you will build up a momentum of success and break through.

But, it is very tempting to deviate from what works.  In fact, it may seem quite boring to continuously repeat the winning formula.  In a Broadway play or musical they have a term call “freezing” when they lock in the winning formula, including all of the music, the lighting, the special effects, the final script, etc.  Everything is mapped out and repeated over and over again for each performance.  Only minor adjustments and improvements are considered at this point.

One set of circumstances that can catch you off-balance is when a “right hand person” leaves you for whatever reason.  Think of a cast member in a play leaving. If a cast member leaves there is a completely documented “formula” that the new cast member must memorize in order to fill the role.  It the same manner a new hire should be able to get up to speed quickly if there is a well documented formula for that person’s position. 

Caste all doubts aside. Discover your winning formula.  Then stick with it.  This is the surest way to gain or regain your balance.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/27/2011 at 8:59 AM
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Most Popular Cities for the Wealthy

 

Just as wealth isn’t spread equally among Americans, wealth is not spread equally over America. According to this year’s Forbes 400 List the wealthiest Americans tend to congregate in certain areas, namely California, the Northeast and Texas.

Topping the list is New York City, with 53 of the 400 primarily residing in this finance and business center. It comes as no surprise, with adequate luxury housing and a thriving entertainment district that billionaires not only love to work in NYC, but live and play as well. Not only does New York City draw billionaires but the surrounding area is also popular place for billionaires to settle. Greenwich, Connecticut is home to another 8 super-rich, making the Northeast a prime spot for a billionaire’s home base.

Dallas, Texas boasts the second highest concentration of billionaires in the nation, with a mere 17 compared to NYC, residing in the area. Dallas’ neighboring Fort Worth is home to an additional 8 billionaires, making the Dallas/Fort Worth area home to a total of 25 member of the Forbes 400. Texas’ oil money and concentration of big-name corporations draw the ultra-affluent to the state which has a total of 47 billionaires. This number is up by 11 residents in just the past five years.

Some are surprised that the San Francisco area doesn’t rank higher on the list of desirable cities for billionaires, since so many tech companies call the area home. Companies like Google and Facebook have made their headquarters in the suburbs around the Bay Area, making California the leading state in terms of billionaires with 88 calling the sunny state home. 

 

 


Blog and Photo via Forbes


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/23/2011 at 2:30 PM
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Home Prices Rising in the Most Expensive Cities

Home prices in the 10 most expensive markets worldwide have climbed an average of 10 percent in the past six months. Hong Kong ranks as the most expensive market, with luxury real estate costing an average of $10,360 per square foot as compared to $4,768 per square foot in London.  The markets, which include New York City, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo and others have seen steady growth due to a global commodities boom. The ultra-affluent from around the world will continue to seek real estate in major cities, driven by the need for a safe-haven amongst global political turmoil.

These expensive markets are collectively experiencing higher growth than the mainstream markets in their home countries. Sydney, Australia has seen the largest jump in luxury home prices, with a 40 percent leap in the first half of 2011. Sydney previously had the lowest value among global luxury markets.

The market for luxury leisure and second home properties has not experienced as much of a growth in recent months. These markets have still seen a 33 percent boost in vacation home sales in the past six months. Leisure homes, often located in rural areas are more susceptible to downturns in local economies making them one of the first assets to be liquefied in hard times.

Asian markets are projected to continually grow, based on the increasing number of million and billionaires in countries like India, South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia.

 

Blog via Bloomburg Businessweek Photo via EVES


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/23/2011 at 11:36 AM
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Heath Ledger's Mid-Century "Tree House" on the Market

Heath Ledger's former home in the Hollywood Hills is back on the market. The home, which includes 1,861 square feet of living space and an additional 2,500 square feet of outdoor entertaining space is nestled on an "ultra-private" lot, among aging sycamore trees and lush hills. Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams purchased the home in 2005 from talk show host Ellen DeGeneres for $2.1 million and lived in it with their daughter until the couple split in 2007. The home sold following Ledger's untimely death for $2.5 million, and has been on and off the market numerous times since then.

The "Tree House", built in 1951, includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Spances of outdoor space include a projection cinema, a gourmet barbeque area and multiple other seating and entertainment areas. Like most other A-list homes in the area the property includes a long gated driveway and state-of-the-art security monitoring systems.

Ledger's home is currently being offered at $2.995 million and is located in Laurel Canyon.

Photos and Blog Zillow Blog


Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Achieve Market Leadership Faster by Narrowing Your Focus - Part 3

People the world over are insatiably hungry for original ideas and new talent.  That is why there is always room for a challenger to take on an entrenched market leader. If you can capture the imagination of your target market with a fresh approach in your luxury real estate marketing practice by giving them a compelling reason to shift their attention to you, they will also go out of their way to tell their friends about you. That is because there is social currency in being the first to share the latest and the greatest.

We often tell luxury real estate marketing professionals that the fastest way to achieve market leadership is to identify an uncontested market niche about which you are passionate, and then offer an extraordinary promise of value.  If you are first in a new category, you start off as the market leader!  If you have truly defined new territory, you simply render your competition irrelevant. What can be a faster way to top-of-mind status than to create your own new category?

Simon Cowell, of American Idol and X Factor fame, had an idea for a new pop music category, inspired by the success of Andrea Bocelli and the Three Tenors (Placido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti). He embarked on a two year audition to form an international quartette of young, handsome talented singers who could sing both classical opera and pop. Cowell branded the group as Il Divo which is comprised of a renowned Spanish baritone, two classically trained tenors (one Swiss and the other American) and a French pop singer.

Il Divo went on to sell over 26 million albums.  And, they were Barbra Streisand’s opening act for her highly successful 2006 tour.

If you haven’t already heard about 2 Cellos, treat yourself to a fresh new sound and a brand new category of music Two dueling cellists from Croatia, vying to win classical music competitions decided to join forces when they realized that they both shared a passion not only for playing classical music, but also for playing rock, pop and jazz music on the cello. They became an overnight success on You Tube with over 1, 000,000 hits.  When Elton John saw them online, he invited them to join his world tour. 

In both of these examples, it is obvious that these categories are very, very narrow niches.  However, when you are first in a narrow niche you not only have the competitive advantage of naming the category you can also create a brand name for yourself that defines the niche itself. Two pop/rock star cellists(brand new category) = 2 Cellos. Four pop/rock star opera singers = Il Divo.

The chances of competition in these categories are quite slim. Any challenger to your newly identified niche will most likely come off as and be dismissed by your target market as a “me-too” copycat. This gives you the additional advantage of promoting the category itself instead of just you or your company. 

Remember that people (and the news media, too) the world over are hungry for original, refreshing ideas and new talent.  When they spread the word about a new category they promote you in the process. That is the other competitive advantage of being first to name a new category: You create news!

Tap your passion. Think different and develop a new category or a new approach to an existing  category of marketing luxury real estate. Leverage social media to facilitate word-of-mouth advertising.  It can be the fastest way to achieve the top-of-mind status of a true market leader.

(Click here to see the video of 2 Cello on the Ellen show)

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/21/2011 at 9:55 AM
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Baby Boomers Poised to Reinvigorate Homes Market

 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Baby Boomers not Gen Xers are the future of the Real Estate market. Gen Xers are currently facing many roadblocks on their way to first-time home ownership. Stricter credit guidelines along with increasing number of banks requiring full 20 percent down payments are making it difficult for the younger generation to buy homes.

 Boomers, classified as individuals between the ages of 47-65, currently make up over one third of all households in America and 12 percent of change of address in the past year. The experienced home buyer has multiple advantages over first-timers, who were traditionally thought to be the backbone of the market. An older buyer can theoretically “swap” houses and trade up, considering the widespread affordability in the market at present time.  Additionally, older buyers may have more disposable income to put down on their new home due to longer savings careers as well as willingness to part with money for something just right. According to Sharon Dworken Bell at the 50+ Housing Council at the National Association of Home Builders says, “Boomers are looking for something different.” Boomers want homes that fit their needs, with master bedrooms on the first floor and open floor plans, and are willing to pay the price, or even build new to get their desires for their retirement years.  

 For the first time in years repeat buys make up 56 percent of home sales, a 40 percent jump in just the past year. A staggering 62 percent of these repeat buyers are over the age of 45. Unfortunately, many Boomers are reluctant to invest in the market that has seen better days and fear losing savings in their last years of earning. 

 

 

Story via Aol Real Estate


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Posted by: Gabby P
Posted on: 9/20/2011 at 3:43 PM
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50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Hawaii, Part 1

Many people associate luxury real estate with the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous, with conspicuous consumption, creature comforts and sheer opulence. Although, this side of luxury can definitely be found on the Hawaiian Islands, there is a deeper, transcendent story of affluence to be discovered here. It can be found in the richness of cultural diversity that is honored and championed on the Islands combined with a true sense of community, sharing and giving that is expressed in the Aloha spirit. 

The pure beauty of the Islands is a feast for the eyes. The fresh, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables excites the taste buds. The sweet smells of lush flowering trees provide aroma therapy and the year-round temperate climate calms the mind. Hawaii is a place to rest and heal. It is this balance of nature and community that makes owning a home in Hawaii one of life’s true luxuries.

OAHU

Each of the Hawaiian Islands has its own unique characteristics and identity. Selecting the right island to call home is an important decision. “If you are looking for a cosmopolitan experience, says Patricia Choi, the leading luxury real estate professional in the state of Hawaii, Oahu is the best choice for you”. She adds, “Many people do not realize that Honolulu (which actually takes in all of Oahu) is one of the ten largest cities in the United States.

According to Margy Grosswendt, “There are more world class cultural experiences to be found here than on the other islands. Oahu has big city shopping and many more fine restaurants.” On Oahu there is more commerce, more trade and more to do”, says Myra Brandt.

Jack Terrell specializes in marketing Honolulu’s premiere high-rise condominiums with panoramic ocean and Diamondhead views, such as Hokua and Trump International Hotel and Tower. He says, “The freedom to walk to restaurants, shopping, theatres or the beach, this is the carefree lifestyle that both foreign and American second home buyers crave here”.

Myron Kiriu has observed that “because Diamond Head is a familiar landmark for foreign buyers, the fine single family estate properties in this area are sold at a premium.  Asian buyers typically prefer to buy where their friends have bought. They like to congregate where others speak their language”.

“One of the major reasons that buyers select Oahu over the other islands is the incomparable medical facilities”, says Anne Perry.  Close proximity to health care can mean saving lives which is especially significant for those in their retirement years.

Anne Oliver notes that “many younger professionals are attracted to areas outside of Honolulu proper because they are able to work via the internet. They prefer more affordable properties with sandy beach access for the family. Yet, they can drive to town within a half hour when traffic is not at its peak”.

“With just 4.9% unemployment, Oahu is ahead of the curve in economic recovery, states Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn, who specializes in selling luxury homes in East Oahu, particularly Windward Oahu. She says, “The growth rate in jobs mirrors price increases in homes, although the luxury sector lags somewhat behind this trend here”. 

Bryn Kaufman explains that “The North Shore of Oahu is laid back.  It has a country feel with more land, less people, bigger beaches and huge waves. It is perfect for those who don't have t work in town. ”

“After traveling beyond Hawaii, says realtor Pat Case, I always smile on the way back. I try to sit on the window seat of the plane so I can see the Islands as I return home. When asked how she would sum up her experience of Aloha Spirit Pat said, “No burning bridges, just building bridges”. Broker Sachi Braden describes the Hawaiians in this way, “We are a gentle people with a proud history who welcome and accept differences in international cultures”.

Special thanks to Chuck Garrett for inspiring this article and also to Delores Bedionis and Tracy Allen for their insights.  Photos are courtesy of the realtors included in this article.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/20/2011 at 9:24 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Luxury Real Estate
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Danger of Ignoring Trends, Part 3

Photo by Falcon 1708

Perhaps the most important business skill that you can cultivate as a luxury real estate marketing professional is listening.  This does not only mean giving your clients your full attention in order to understand their needs.  It also means listening to your own intuition and paying attention to the trends in the marketplace.  The danger of ignoring your client’s needs, your own intuition and market trends as a market leader can leave you vulnerable to sharply focused challengers.

One of the most dangerous liabilities that a market leader can have is the inability or unwillingness to quickly shift paradigms. A paradigm is a mindset, a pattern of thinking or a model for something especially one that forms the basis of a methodology or theory. 

Shifting from the printed MLS books to the online IDX represented a complete paradigm shift in the real estate industry. So profound was this shift that the IDX could be called a “game changer”.  It empowered consumers to search for properties on their own, eliminating the gatekeepers (agents) to this market information. Those brokerage firms and agents who understood the significance of this trend and jumped on the IDX bandwagon when it first came out had a definite competitive advantage over those who were stuck in the previous paradigm.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this article series we covered how slow Microsoft was to shift paradigms with the advent of “cloud-based” software, smart phones, tablets and the apps that can be purchased for them.  Research in Motion (RIM-Blackberry smart phones), was also slow to shift paradigms to touch screens with apps.  They had an enormous competitive advantage as the preferred purveyor of smart phones for business.   

Had RIM quickly come out with a touch screen version of their smartphone featuring the best business apps, plus consumer apps that could be “used on weekends”, i.e., double as a consumer device, they may have been able to stem off their very steep decline in market share. In 2009, RIM shipped 54% of the smart phones sold in North America.  Now, it is shipping an estimated 13% in the second calendar quarter of 2011.

Being nimble, that is quick to respond to trends, is the ability and willingness to shift paradigms.  One of the key trends in luxury real estate is downsizing. No longer is it particularly a status symbol to have enormous homes.  Less can be more.  Ask your clients who own large homes if they may be interested in finding a smaller one.  Listen to their needs carefully and you may find hidden business right under your nose.

Listen to your intuition and pay close attention to trends. This will serve you well in marketing luxury real estate.  Ignore trends at your own peril.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/15/2011 at 7:49 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Achieve Market Leadership Faster by Narrowing Your Niche, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article serie3s we covered how narrowing your niche can speed up the process of achieving market leadership as a luxury real estate marketing professional.  Selecting the right niche is essential. Reigning in the scope of your target market to a potentially lucrative niche is the key.

Recently, Google announced that it will discontinue several of its products as the Internet behemoth narrows its focus. Google’s mantra, under Chief Executive Larry Page, is “Focus Drives Results”.

Once you have clearly defined your focus your world becomes “black and white”:  you are either on your brand signal or off.  Sometimes you have to give up things to get what you ultimately want.

The way this translates into running a leading luxury real estate marketing practice often comes down to out-sourcing business that is not within your narrow range of focus.  If you get a referral to list a home in a neighborhood that is beyond your sharply defined niche, you are better off referring it to a trusted colleague who specializes in that area.  This frees up your time and resources so that you can “double down” on getting more listing within your niche. It can also generate passive income for you in the process.

The only time you should even consider expanding to an additional niche is when you have solidified your position as either the #1 or #2 player within your current niche. Then, when you select a new niche to concur you are doing so from a strong power base. And, remember, when you expand, you are no longer the market leader in the new niche. You become the challenger, unless you have chosen an uncontested market niche.

Google originally challenged a company called Overture, the market leading search engine that Yahoo eventually acquired.  Overture was actually the first to monetize search with pay-per-click advertising. Google’s strategy was to develop superior search algorithms before they commercialized their product.  As soon as they added search advertising it was all over for Overture. Google dominates search with 64% market share.  Yahoo has 18%.

Then, Google challenged Apple by acquiring Android the software that runs smart phones.  They now own the lion’s share of the smart phone market in terms of the software (not the hardware).  Apple is the #1 in hardware and no other smart phone manufacturer uses its proprietary software.

Today, with Google+ they are taking on Facebook in the social media space where they have become the #2 player, virtually overnight. It was not clear when Google+ was first launched (by invitation only), that they had the vision or the focus to become a market leader in this category.  But, with this announcement that they are discarding some of their non-revenue producing “experiments”, it appears that they have the grit, to give Facebook a run of its money. In a blog post a senior Google executive wrote that the closure of more peripheral products means "we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people." Translation: Products that can generate billions more dollars for Google.

Narrow your focus. Stay focused. Do not expand into new markets or niches until you have solidified your powerbase in your current niche. Take on only those new market niches that you can be either #1 or #2. But, be sure that the niche you select has the potential to generate the dollars your seek.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 9/14/2011 at 8:12 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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