Wonderful Estate Home in Windermere, Fla.

A charming country-club community offering a wealth of lifestyle choices

Just 15 minutes from Disney and all of Orlando’s attractions is the quaint, family-friendly town of Windermere.  This quiet town is nestled on the shores of the famed Butler Chain of Lakes, a series of 11 lakes connected by navigable canals.  Windermere’s magnificent luxury homes are snuggled along the shorelines and embraced by lush Florida landscapes.  It’s no wonder that several well-known corporate leaders and sports celebrities call Windermere their home.

Windermere offers a pedestrian-friendly downtown, where you will find passersby seated on benches enjoying an ice cream cone or stopping in for a barbeque sandwich in a bustling local cafe.  To add to the quaintness, and at the request of residents, some of the roads leading to the lakes are still unpaved.  Just a short drive away are mansions in exclusive gated communities, where homes boast elaborate theaters, billiard rooms, polished marble floors and ornate towering ceilings.

What is so special about Windermere is the tremendous variety of lifestyle choices. For those who love city life, fine shopping and cultural activities, Orlando is just a short drive.  For those who favor a more relaxed approach, the town of Windermere offers access to all its beautiful lakes and golf courses.  Activities for young children, such as fishing, swimming, water sports, tennis and golfing, can often be found right in their own back yard or within their own community. At Windermere, you will discover a rare combination of small-town conviviality and sophisticated country club living, with an array of amenities for all ages. Windermere is simply a wonderful place to raise a family—or enjoy your retirement years.


Offered at $5,499,000

Carol Ann Hewitt, CIPS, CLHMS
Oxford Realty, Inc. – International Luxury & Estate Brokers
sales@oxfordrealty.com | www.oxfordrealty.com

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Posted by: Natalie Watson
Posted on: 3/24/2012 at 9:46 AM
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Wexford Jewel

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
By Natalie Watson

Set between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean is Hilton Head Island, a reputable resort community off the coast of South Carolina. Exquisite homes sit on the 11-mile stretch of smooth sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. Private residences, or “plantations” like Wexford Plantation and Long Cove Club, are one of the island’s best-kept secrets along the Intracoastal Waterway.

“Hilton Head is surrounded by natural beauty and strives to be an eco-friendly community,” says Steve Timperman, broker with Charter One Realty on Hilton Head Island. Its year-round gorgeous weather makes family-friendly recreational activities like biking, running, golfing, tennis and boating popular pastimes for residents and visitors.

Southern hospitality characterizes the approximately 36,000 full-time residents of Hilton Head Island. The island is inviting and offers a relaxed, unpretentious and secure environment.  The island is rich in culture and diversity, attracting people all over the world. Many visitors like it so much they become residents. “Seven days is just not enough to scratch the surface,” says Timperman.

A mending real estate market and booming rentals makes it a great time to buy on Hilton Head. One of the island’s premier residences can be found at 55 Bridgetown Road, behind the gates of the exclusive Wexford Plantation, a community featuring a private-controlled lock system marina, Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, tennis and clubhouse. The 6,727-square-foot home sits on the harbor with astounding marina and golf views. Amenities include a rooftop deck with kitchen and fireplace, two Jacuzzis that flow into the black- bottom swimming pool, a seven-car garage and 70-foot private boat dock.

Offered at $3,795,000


Charter 1 Realty & Marketing
Steve Timperman

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Evolution of Print Ads- Good Bye Head/House Shots and QR’s

Although it is in vogue to downplay the value of print marketing versus digital marketing, in many luxury real estate markets we are working in, print still plays a dominant part in a luxury real estate agents’ marketing budget.  Many sellers still insist on seeing their homes prominently displayed in a luxury magazine, the local newspapers, as well as in digital format.   Those agents who are using print media also began using QR’s aka Quick Response squares used to drive traffic to the websites for more buyer information.  The majority of luxury real estate ads looks identical—house shots and head shots.

In the upcoming April publication of Vanity Fair, several luxury brand print advertisers (Ralph Lauren, Prada, Versace and Chanel) have upgraded their print ads to an art form aimed at the affluent consumers. This focus to print advertising as an art form sets apart the luxury brands in a digitally focused world.  In this issue Chanel shot an entire 8 page campaign in black-and-white, taking a definite artistic route.  Given this emerging trend, the average looking ad will be overlooked. The house and head shot ad has to be rethought.

Another new technological advance is embedding an invisible watermark in the print ad; here is a quote from Digimarc the source of this new technology,

“The Digimarc Discover™ Online Services Portal embeds imperceptible digital watermarks into images or behind text without additional software. Detectable by today's most popular smart phones — your digitally watermarked content will deliver a wide range of new, rich media experiences to readers and consumers of your printed content.” 

In the April issue of Saveur Magazine, Starwood Hotels and Resorts who is the first in using this new technology explained their strategy:

“We had previously advertised in this publication and we were looking for ways to drive users to the Web more effectively, if not sooner,” said Michael Troy, Honolulu, HI-based director of field marketing at Starwood. ”This initiative allowed us to have users go right to content while still reading a magazine without having to go to a desktop or laptop computer. The publication’s targeted audience matched the demographics we want to be in front of with a visual message,” he said. “It also allows us to more effectively measure print views by tallying those users that went to the link via the print ad link.”

Unlike the QR square, the watermark is invisible to the eye, which makes the ad work as a unique entity.  The watermark is only visible if you have downloaded the app, and the phone will detect the watermark.  Readers can access the ad’s content on their Smartphone’s by pointing the phone’s camera at the full-page ad.  More than one watermark can be embedded in the ad for additional content and interaction.

Innovation is the hallmark of a market leader.  This new technology leverages the effectiveness of your print advertising for luxury real estate marketing and sets you apart from your competition.  Become known as an early adapter of new technology and stay on the leading edge.

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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 3/22/2012 at 12:00 PM
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Enchantment Marketing – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article series we differentiated Enchantment Marketing from what many luxury real estate marketing professionals claim as “exceeding expectations”.  Consumers have come to expect less and less professionalism from service providers.  We advised you not to fall in the trap of thinking that delivering excellent service and exceeding these lower expectations is the same as enchantment marketing. 

In today’s time starved world competition for attention is fierce. Achieving market leadership is all about attaining and sustaining top-of-mind status. First, you need to capture the attention of your target market.  Then you need to hold their attention over time.  That is what enchantment marketing is all about. To enchant means to charm, captivate fascinate, enthrall and delight.

The biggest challenge of enchantment marketing is being consistent.  You may be able to cast your “spell” of enchantment with a single action.  But, if you are not consistent, the spell will be broken and your clients may become disenchanted with you.

Nowhere is the challenge of consistent enchantment put to the test more rigorously than in the restaurant business in a major city. Here is a tale of two outstanding Italian restaurants in Los Angeles that have been around for decades which is a major feat in a town that can be extremely fickle. Both of them consistently serve excellent food. Both consistently provide excellent service. Each of them is owned by a master of enchantment.   But, for us, the spell of enchantment was broken by one of them.

Over the years, Restaurant #1 gained the reputation of being one of the best gourmet Italian restaurants in the world. We were taken there by out-of-town guests in the year it opened. It is expensive, but worth it because of the enchantment of the owner. Whenever we wanted to celebrate a special occasion or entertain clients this was the restaurant that came to mind first. We became friendly with the owner and introduced him to our friend who became his pastry chef. We never looked at a menu; the owner always ordered for us. He would select our wine and serve it himself (after his usual explanation of the wine’s origin and its characteristics) .

Restaurant #2 is the quintessential trattoria. One of the largest restaurant companies in Japan studied his operation for years before selecting the owner as their partner to open Italian restaurants in Japan. Being less expensive and less formal Restaurant #2 became an extension of our home when we were too exhausted to cook for ourselves.  We were immediately enchanted by the owner on our first visit while we were waiting for our table.  He brought us a glass of fine Italian wine and a slice of pizza “on the house”, because the place was literally swarming with people who arrived without reservations and the wait was longer than expected.

We also became friends with the owner of Restaurant #2. In fact, as commercial real estate brokers, we represented him in three restaurant transactions in Los Angeles.  We went to his wedding; we skied with the chef and have remained friends throughout the years. Each visit to Restaurant #2 is still special. There is always something unexpected brought to the table—a special glass of wine to try, a new recipe.  And, we always leave with a huge hug.

It was Restaurant #1 with which we became disenchanted during a recent birthday celebration. We have not lived in LA for over 10 years now and it was 5 years since our last visit. Prior to our arrival we were warned that Restaurant #1 was no longer up to par but we ignored it.

On this visit to Restaurant #1, the service and the food was excellent as usual.  But, the “sorcerer” never came over to our table to chat, to discuss our order, to select and serve our wine. The birthday dessert, which was always on the house, was forgotten. He acknowledged us only briefly when we arrived and was absent at the door for his typical Italian farewell. 

On the long drive home to Santa Barbara, where we now live, we questioned the value of the dining experience at Restaurant #1 for the first time ever.  The spell had been broken.  Our willingness to pay the higher prices for the enchanting experience evaporated.  There is no question that if we were to call him and tell him about our disappointment, we would be invited back for an extravagant meal at no charge.  Perhaps if the restaurant was in our new home town we would do it.  But, we are rarely in LA for dinner unless we are staying overnight before a flight from LAX.

Since the disenchantment with Restaurant #1 we have been to Restaurant #2 twice and we continue to feel like #2 is an extension of our home.  Consistency is the biggest challenge of enchantment marketing.  As a luxury real estate marketing professional, are you up to the challenge?


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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 3/22/2012 at 9:41 AM
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50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Telluride, CO

Imagine a world class ski resort with no traffic or long lift lines, and no driving once you've arrived.  That is Telluride, Colorado. The Telluride Historic District (the majority of the town) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of Colorado's 20 National Historic Landmarks.

According to TD Smith, “Telluride is a rejuvenated mining town that still has its roots as a community first and a resort second.  The developers were very sensitive to the importance of providing ample housing for locals who work at the resort.  There is no pretentiousness or glitz here.  We co-exist in a laid back, uncrowded environment where everyone can enjoy the scenic backdrop of the mountains and the active lifestyle”.

Jim Jennings explains this phenomenon in this way, “People who otherwise would have zero in common have a blast together at our annual Blue Grass Festival, for example”.  The event can be sold out months in advance!”

George Harvey says, “Telluride is stunningly beautiful; it takes your breath away. Ironically, one of our best attributes is the challenge to get here.  Most people arrive in Telluride via Montrose Regional Airport, located 67 miles to the north which has direct flights from many major cities.  The upside is that no one bothers the affluent visitors and home owners who deliberately choose Telluride for its leisurely lifestyle; those who treasure their privacy yet want to participate freely in our fine community. Children can roam around town and parents and grandparents can know they are safe. We have a free taxi cab service in Mountain Village seven days a week, so you can enjoy that extra glass of wine with dinner and not be concerned about driving home.”

According to Erik Fallenius, “Telluride is known not only for its magnificent setting but also for its charm. We are a pedestrian town; you do not see cars here. We have two unique communities: Telluride and Mountain Village. The two towns are connected by a free gondola, the only transportation system of its kind in North America. A 15 minute gondola ride takes you up to fabulous mid-mountain restaurants all year long with spectacular views along the way.  The free bus system, called Galloping Goose, makes a complete loop around the town”.  

According to Nels Cary, “We are the youngest of the major ski resorts.  It is not commercialized; there are no national chains, no neon lights.  The closest stoplight is miles away. It feels like a mountain town, not a tourist town.  We have a fully trained volunteer fire department comprised of community members who have participated for years”. 

Steve Catsman says, “Telluride is a beautiful place to work, to play and raise a family.  It is particularly exciting in the summertime when over 10,000 people come to visit and partake in the many cultural events that are featured here.  That is a lot of people for a town that is only ½ mile wide.   For skiers and snowboarders, the winters are great. Lift lines are virtually non-existent.”   

“For many people Telluride is a relaxed getaway that is now widely recognized as an all-season resort”, says Lars Carlson.  He adds, “In the summer, there are festivals just about every weekend including Mountainfilm and the Telluride Film Festival.  The outdoor lifestyle is a great way to meet cool people.  The raw beauty of the surroundings and the quaintness of our mountain towns are unparalleled”.

Photos Courtesty of the Agents & Brokers Intereviewed for 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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

Brigadoon Farm

Located two miles west of Middleburg, Virginia, Brigadoon Farm is more than just a farm – it’s a “complete escape from the realities of urban living,” says John Ballenger, current owner of Brigadoon. Named after Ballenger’s favorite musical, this farm offers more than meets the eye: a rich line of historical ownership, a plethora of potential uses, and an incomparably serene setting.

Brigadoon Farm was originally owned by philanthropist Paul Mellon, who passed it down to John Warner – Secretary of the Navy at the time – after his marriage to Mellon’s daughter, Catherine. When the marriage ended, Warner kept ownership of the land, using it for a cattle-farming operation. In 1976, Warner married Elizabeth Taylor, and two years later, he made his first run at the Senate. In order to assist in financing his campaign, Sen. Warner sold a part of his land holdings to Ballenger, who notes, “Sen. Warner and Elizabeth [Taylor’s] signatures appear on my deed as the prior owners.”


When Ballenger took ownership more than 30 years ago, he used the land primarily for his Black-Angus cattle operation, but he also built a home designed to reflect 15th-century European gatehouses. In 1991, the Stone Institute of America Magazine recognized Ballenger’s home as the best-designed country stone house in America.

Though Brigadoon Farm is fully equipped to use for any farming operation, Ballenger notes that the property is adaptable. “It would make an ideal location for a horse farm or equestrian facility, while another part of the land would be perfect for growing a vineyard,” Ballenger says. “I built and designed the home so that is could be used as a weekend escape, but also as a full-time residence, depending on what one wanted.”

With the home overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ballenger says there’s something about Brigadoon that makes people realize the bigger picture. “It is a spot for someone who thinks he or she has everything, until they taste and feel the quietness and elegant beckoning privacy of the Brigadoon ‘call’ – that’s when one senses that, without Brigadoon, life really is not complete.”

The Spear Realty Group
Kim Spear
(703) 618-6892

La Pumada, 1929 Reginald Johnson

La Pumada, 1929 Reginald Johnson
Montecito, California
Rebecca Riskin & Associates with Village Properties



La Pumada is a rare  confluence of architectural significance and modern luxury, set against a truly incomparable landscape.

Sited on nearly five private acres in the heart of the Golden Quadrangle in Montecito, California, La Pumada  is surrounded by breathtaking panoramas of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Built circa 1929 and designed in the spirit of classical Florentine villas, this palatial residence was created by renowned architect Reginald D. Johnson, whose work includes such impressive Montecito landmarks as the Biltmore Hotel and the Clark Estate.


A long, sweeping driveway leads through orchards and rose gardens toward the grand motor court. Imbued with an elegant ambience, the main residence is adorned with such original design elements as tile pavers, gleaming oak floors, and hand-stenciled beamed ceilings. The ground floor includes an entry foyer and a main gallery that connect the living and dining rooms, a sunroom, and a handsome library— all with impressive vistas of Montecito’s coastline and the Channel Islands.


Upstairs, four bedrooms and separate staff quarters provide generous accommodations. The lavish master suite, situated in a private wing, is replete with a sitting room, a coffee bar, his and her baths and dressing rooms, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and a dramatic terrace.


Yet to be built, the estate’s newest elements will include a state-of the- art kitchen with an adjoining ocean-view family room, and a two-bedroom apartment above the three-car garage. A new, elevator-accessible lower level will offer a theater with stadium seating, recording studio, billiards room, and wine cellar.

Connecting interior and exterior spaces is a south-facing loggia that reveals classically inspired grounds bordered by oaks and punctuated by sublime ocean vistas. Originally designed by acclaimed landscape architect Lockwood De Forest III, the gardens are highlighted by an elevated lawn that steps down to a walled pond with a fountain. The grounds also feature two guesthouses, a detached office, garage space for eight cars and, to be completed, tennis court, pool, and party pavilion.

Not to be replicated, this property offers the rare combination of a highly coveted and private Montecito location, graced with the quintessential villa and sweeping ocean and mountain views.

Offered at $29,500,000


Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Enchantment Marketing

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, you know that referrals are the best way to ensure the success of your business.  The number of referrals you get are indicative of the service you give, and the success you will continue to have. When you give your clients something remarkable to talk about, they will go out of their way to refer you.

A recent blog written by David Johnson, a digital marketing strategist whose niche is the automotive dealer industry, emphasized the importance of ROE (return on enchantment).

“Word-of-mouth is gold and social media is the vessel we use to promote it, but how exactly is it accomplished?  As businesses we are always looking for ways to lower the cost of acquiring new customers.  Give your customers something positive to talk about. This goes a long way to influencing a higher rate of word-of-mouth; let’s call it your ROE or "Return On Enchantment."

Many businesses and professionals, including those who market luxury real estate, claim to “exceed’ clients’ expectations.  But, what does that really mean?  Consumers have come to expect less and less professionalism from service providers. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking that delivering excellent service and exceeding these lower expectations is the same as enchantment marketing.

Here is an example of enchantment marketing in the automotive world from Mr. Johnson’s blog:

“A customer comes in to your dealership to purchase a vehicle for his daughter’s 16th birthday. You decide to take things to the next level by getting the car wrapped for him, complete with a big bow on top. But you don’t stop there because you really want to enchant your customer so you give to his daughter a year’s worth of free oil changes, 5 complete details and a $150 gas card.”

This kind of service leads to buzz.  When it happens to you, you cannot wait to tell everyone you know about it, and chances are it will be on a social media platform.   Someone just made a customer for life, a customer who is enchanted.

One of our clients has an investment buyer who now keeps sending her business after experiencing her take on enchantment marketing.  Her buyer had always wanted to eat at the most famous (and most expensive) restaurant in her marketplace. But, the buyer knew that it took three months to get a reservation there.   Since our client was a dear friend of the owner/chef, she reserved a table for him, treated him to dinner, and had the chef sign the menu.  Furthermore, she had the menu framed with a picture of the chef and the buyer.  This is part of her enchantment marketing budget.  The cost of this is significantly less than a full page ad in a magazine. 

Thoroughly delighted, this buyer turned around and invited her to the Masters’ Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.  He sent his private jet for her so that she could be introduced to his friends at the Masters’.  The return on enchantment continuously evolves and multiplies.  As a result of this trip, she now has several new potential buyers, people that she never would have met otherwise. 

Enchantment marketing goes far beyond what most luxury real estate marketing professionals call exceeding expectations.  Professionalism should be a given. You know that you have enchanted your client when your client goes out of their way to promote you, when your efforts truly spark significant word-of-mouth advertising about YOU.  That is your Return on Enchantment.

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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 3/16/2012 at 9:03 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Is Your Target Market on Social Media?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, you know that your presence on different social media platforms can be a relevant venue to market you and your properties.  However, given that your time is at a premium, it is also important to understand the demographics of the individuals frequenting those sites to make sure your time is well spent.

A recent infographic study on social media by Online MBA uses the following criteria for demographics: education level, income, age, gender.  In addition, they include the number of registered users, geographical locations, time spent on sites, as well as user occupation.

Recently there have been several articles published about Pinterest as the new “hot” place to be in social media.  Here are some of the facts on Pinterest included in the study which may surprise you: 82% of the users are women.  The majority of these women are interested in crafts, gift ideas, hobbies, interior design and fashion.   The top geographical location is East South Central (Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee).  Is this your target demographic?

Another new social media with 90 million unique visitors is Google+.  Unlike Pinterest, Google+ is favored by men (71%), early adopters, engineers and developers.  Fifty percent of Google+ users are 24 or younger. Is this your target demographic?

If income is one of your criteria, it is interesting to note that out of Facebook’s 845 million users, 8% are in the $100,000 plus income category, whereas Twitter (127 million) has 15% in the same income category. Is this a high enough concentration of your target market to warrant the amount of time you spend on these sites to drum up business?

Is your time well spent? This is a good criteria to evaluate your participation on a given social media platform.  If you have not seen a significant ROI you may consider spending more of your business marketing time socializing or networking in person.

To read more about this study, here in the link to OnlineMBA.

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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Art of Storytelling

Engaging buyers who are interested in purchasing properties in the upper tier of the market is really about showing them how they can live out their dreams in a given home in a particular marketplace.  That is why some of the most successful luxury real estate marketing professionals are those who have learned the art of storytelling.  They know how to romanticize their marketplace.

Human beings have been telling stories even before recorded history. The paintings on the walls of the Lascaux Caves in southwest France, as depicted above, are estimated to be over 17,300 years old. These cave dwellers were telling stories mainly about animals which were obviously a central part of their lives.

Storytelling comes naturally to some. For others, it is a skill that can be developed over time.  As authors of the Language of Luxury we strive to continuously sharpen our storytelling skills as we build our audience.  We also understand that every great brand tells a great story that is compelling to its customers or clients.  And, we help our clients to develop their own distinct brand story.

Recently, we heard a presentation by one of the Academy Award winning storytellers at Pixar, Andrew Stanton, who wrote Toy Story, WALL-E and John Carter, which was just released by Disney.   We wanted to share some of his points with you in this article:

  1. Keep your promise that your story will lead somewhere that is worth the investment of time by your audience.
  2. Your audience wants to work for its “meal”.  We are all born problem solvers.  We enjoy using our deductive or inductive logic.  We like to think.  Do not give all the answers.  Let your audience solve the problems.
  3. A strong theme always runs through a well-told story.  Get clear about what your theme is.
  4. A great story is uplifting in some way. 
  5. Does your story evoke wonder?  Does it confirm that life is worth living?

What are some ways that you can become a better storyteller as a luxury real estate marketing professional?  One way you might consider becoming a great storyteller is by practicing the art of storytelling in each of your blog posts.  How can you romanticize your marketplace in each of your posts?

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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

Golf Living - Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Photo courtesy of golfhiltonhead.com
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hole 18; Photo courtesy of golfthiltonhead.com

Hilton Head Island, a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, is one of the nation’s leading golf meccas. With oceanfront and riverfront courses, courses that wind through the centuries-old maritime forests, and courses edged by live oaks, tall stately pines and saltwater marshes, Hilton Head Island is sure to provide a memorable experience for golfers of all skill levels.

“The quality of life is amazing on Hilton Head,” says Steve Timperman, broker with Charter One Realty on Hilton Head Island. “The natural beauty of the landscape and the beautiful weather makes playing golf in Hilton Head different than anywhere else.”

Hilton Head Island has 25 golf courses, including the ever-popular Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort, home of the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament. In addition to the public golf courses, the island is famous for its private courses designed by some of the most prestigious golf architects in history. Wexford Plantation, a premier residential community in the heart of Hilton Head, is home to the only Arnold Palmer Signature course on the island. In Long Cove Club, a private community on the south end of Hilton Head Island, is a golf course designed by nationally renowned architect Pete Dye.

It is no wonder Hilton Head Island has been named No. 10 on the list of world’s best golf resorts by Golf Digest readers.


Article by Natalie Watson

Personal & Company Branding: Regaining, Obtaining and Retaining Trust

Developing a personal or company brand for luxury real estate marketing professionals involves the same branding process that is required by any major corporation.  The fundamentals are the same whether you are targeting the upper demographic or Middle America, whether you offer a product or a service, locally, regionally or globally.  The primary goal of branding or rebranding is regaining, obtaining and retaining trust.

Here is an overview of the branding process:

  1. Take the time to understand the most pressing needs of your customers or clients in the context of your capacity to fill that need.
  2. Tune in to your own “DNA” and determine precisely what your unique promise of value is or can be in that context.
  3. Distill that promise of value into a compelling marketing message that can be expressed in just a few words.
  4. Craft a symbol (logo/brand identity) that further accelerates the speed of communication of that promise of value and also the speed of trust
  5. Align all of your marketing efforts (from the first contact with your client to the follow up after the sale) in such a way that you consistently communicate this singular message

Did you happen to see the very funny JC Penny re-branding commercials with Ellen Degeneres?  In a matter of 180 seconds (three 60 second commercials during the Academy Awards) the commercials began to positively turn around the perception of this 100+ year old company and give it new life. Behind this transformation is CEO Ron Johnson, who first worked with Target to pioneer the retailer’s “cheap chic” image.  But, more recently Mr. Johnson was the creative genius behind Apple’s retail stores where he spent a decade changing the way Americans shops for electronic gadgets.

In these brilliant commercials Johnson drives home the singular message that Penny’s is fun, that they have cut out heavy discounting and now provide services not just products. Ellen perfectly conveys the company’s values with great warmth and her down-to-earth attitude.  The message that she conveys through the commercial is their new focus:  “Be in sync with the rhythm of our customer’s lives and operate in a ‘Fair and Square’ manner that is rooted in integrity, simplicity and respect”.

JC Penny’s announced that part of its strategy is getting rid of hundreds of sales it had each year and is now focused on everyday pricing. It will offer discounts on a group of different items each month and have clearance sales on the first and third Friday of the month when many of its customers are paid.  They plan on creating an open area in the center of its stores called ‘Town Square’, similar to Apple’s Genius Bars, that will offer services yet to be announced.

JC Penny’s ‘Fair & Square’ message, intended to regain the trust of its customers and win new ones, comes across loud and clear in the commercials and is also reflected in its new square logo.  The sheer brevity of the messages delivered by America’s favorite talk show host, with humor, demonstrates all of the fundamentals of great branding or rebranding.  Here are the messages from the commercials:

  • No coupons, just great prices
  • Return any item, any time
  • No games just great prices
  • No door-buster sales, just great prices all the time

Notice that the new logo is in red, white and blue, the colors that resonate most with Middle America—JC Penny’s target market.   There is an entire psychology of color involved in the branding process.  It is one more component that needs to be aligned when the intent is to accelerate the speed of trust. 

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, is it time for you to brand or rebrand yourself, your team or your company?  You target market may not be the same demographic as JC Penny’s but the aim and the process is the same. Regaining, obtaining and consistently retaining trust is the name of the branding game.  That is how customer/client loyaly is created over time.

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. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

109 Flyaway Drive

109 Flyway Drive
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
By Jaime Hyneman


“There are very few double ocean-front lots with such stunning views,” says Candace Dyal, owner of the spectacular 109 Flyway Drive estate. “The pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the fairytale castle-like bathroom in the separate guesthouse makes this home a one-of-a-kind gem.”

The beautiful Nantucket shingle-style home is located on the picturesque barrier island of Kiawah Island in South Carolina, less than 40 minutes from Charleston. In 2009, Candace and the team at Christopher Rose Architects embarked on a major renovation that transformed the estate, while preserving the best of its original old Georgia-style features. “We kept the footprint of the first two floors, including the wide-plank wood floors,” says Candace. ”We opened up the back of the home so multiple views and light can be dispersed around the home. We saved and preserved the cherry paneling in the library and  insulated the home to preserve energy.”  The result is an award-winning home offering both privacy and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Its water views, beach access, and quality design and construction earned it a “Top 25 Oceanfront Home” designation by Ocean Home magazine in 2011.  The home also boasts the distinction of being the first home on Kiawah Island to receive a Silver LEED (Leadership Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. 


This magnificent estate has 3,263 feet of outdoor living spaces – including a piazza, covered porches, a summer kitchen and a saline pool – that provide the perfect, relaxing setting for enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean.  The dazzling ocean views that are the heart and soul of this estate are focal points throughout, from the spacious great room, with its French doors opening up to an outdoor living area, to the luxurious guest and master suites.  “This is such an unforgettable place,” remarks Candace.  “The story, the love behind the home, the honoring of nature, the private ocean-front setting, and a first-class building team all make 109 Flyway Drive a home that’s impossible to replicate.”



Contact Information:
Kiawah Island Real Estate

1 Kiawah Island Parkway | Kiawah Island, SC 29455
Toll Free: 800-277-7008


Jumbo Loans, An Overview

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jumbo loans are large home mortgage loans. They have balances which are above the "conforming loan" limits set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, meaning that these government-sponsored agencies will not guarantee them. Since they are typically backed only by the borrower's ability and willingness to repay them, jumbos typically carry higher mortgage rates and stricter qualification requirements.

Conforming Loan Limits
Fannie Mae, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), and Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), are private companies with government sponsorship, known as government-sponsored entities (GSEs). Their aim is to make home ownership more affordable by making mortgages easier to obtain. They do this by buying mortgages that lenders make, packaging them together and reselling them on the global financial markets with a guarantee that is implicitly backed by the U.S. Treasury. This frees up money for mortgage lending and also reduces rates since investors will lend money to GSEs at much lower rates than they will lend money to individual home buyers.

Since their goal is to make ownership more affordable, they limit the size of the loan that they will buy under the assumption that loans above the limit are being used on homes for people who can afford home ownership without help. The limit is called a "conforming loan limit" and varies from locality to locality and from year to year. It is typically set well above the median price of a home, though. Jumbo loans are loans above the conforming loan limit and, as such, must be made on the private market.

Jumbo Loan Terms & Application Process
Jumbo loans typically carry higher mortgage rates than conforming loans. Although market conditions determine the pricing premium, a good rule of thumb is that a jumbo loan will cost between 25 and 50 basis points more than a conforming loan. Also, although 30 year fixed jumbo mortgages are readily available, some jumbo borrowers will only be offered loans with adjustable rates or with balloon payments.

The key difference with qualifying for jumbo loans is that borrowers need more money. Most jumbo loans require more money down, with 25 percent down payments typical. In addition, jumbos frequently carry higher loan origination fees. Since the lender takes more risk making a jumbo loan they will be much more selective about the strength of the borrower. For instance, while a relatively weak 650 credit score is usually adequate to get certain types of conforming loans, few, if any, jumbo lenders will accept a borrower with less than extremely strong credit. Finally, jumbo borrowers need higher monthly incomes to meet lender requirements that they be able to service the large payments that come with a large mortgage.

Alternatives to the Jumbo Mortgage
For borrowers who have no option, a jumbo mortgage is an excellent way to buy a home. It carries rates that are still reasonable, terms that are fair, and the same tax deductibility as a regular mortgage. However, many borrowers can structure their loan to avoid falling into the jumbo category without resorting to buying a less expensive property. One strategy for homeowners who have ample cash is to simply put more money down, reducing the mortgage balance to the conforming limit. Another strategy is to take out a smaller conforming loan as a first mortgage and then to take out a second mortgage to bridge the gap between the first mortgage and the down payment. Although the second mortgage may be a bit more expensive, the savings on the first mortgage can easily cancel the extra cost out.

This blog posting has been provided by Jonah Trenton, Editor at Refinance Mortgage Rates, located in Palm Coast, Florida.

Publisher’s Showcase: Villa De Madre Estate

Suisun Valley, Near Napa, California

California living has never been so ideal until Villa De Madre, located near Napa Valley and only one hour from San Francisco. Enjoy views of vineyards from every window of the beautiful 22,882-square-foot Georgian mansion. Entertain guests in one of the three auto barns. Or shoot a round of skeet. These are just a few of the plentiful opportunities for enjoying life at this crown jewel of Suisun Valley.

“My wife and I built this dream home in 2002,” says Willis Johnson, current owner of Villa De Madre. “We wanted my mother to live with us, but also wanted her to have her independence. With a 1,896 square foot guesthouse—including a living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry room and two bedrooms—connected to the main house, it was perfect for her privacy.”

The property encompasses 70-acres of gated vineyards, equipped with surveillance cameras for top of the line security. Producing approximately 150,000 bottles of Cabernet wine yearly, the property could be a “full-blown” winery business, Willis notes, especially with his and hers offices off the master suite.

In addition to the private offices, the mansion features a double-winding staircase; six bedrooms; eight full bathrooms and three half baths; six fireplaces; a chef’s kitchen featuring Viking appliances; an exercise room overlooking an in-house swimming pool, spa, built-in barbeque and enclosed patio/play area; a game room with adjoining bar; a climate-controlled wine cave; and a two-stop hydraulic elevator. Incredible hand-painted ceilings and murals are featured throughout.

Also found on the property are three auto barns, and a combined 44,195 square feet of secured storage space. The showcase barn includes a main garage, a storage area for parts and maintenance equipment, and three restrooms. In the second auto barn, you’ll find three complete maintenance bays with two twin post rotary car lifts, a retro gas station, an office, two storage rooms, and a mechanical room. The third auto barn was modeled after “Main Street USA,” with detailed storefronts and a fully equipped diner. You need only step outside to practice your aim at the skeet shooting range.

Villa De Madre is offered at $19,998,000

For additional photos, please visit www.VillaDeMadreEstate.com