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

www.kiawahisland.com


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

 


Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Do You Know What Your Time Is Worth?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is important to constantly improve the way you run your business.  Inefficiency in any business is equal to amount of time wasted.   In financial terms this is known as return on investment or ROI.   First, you have to establish what your hour is worth.  Then, keep a diary of all the things you do in a day and note the time you are spending on doing these items.  What is your return on the time you spent doing that cycle of action?  Could some of these items be delegated to someone else whose hourly rate is considerably less than yours?

Which items produce actual income?  Those are the cycles of action that lead to a listing/sale.  One of our clients has trained her assistant to shoo her out of the door on a daily basis.  They both know that when she steps out the door to get a cup of coffee or have lunch, she will invariably run into someone who has a listing or a referral or a clue as to what may be for sale, or who is in the market.  The longer she is out of the office, the more listings she gets. 

Recently, we spoke to another one of our clients who plays golf regularly.  This 4-5 hour activity (three times a week) has landed him several sales and listings in a month.   Another is an exceptional tennis player, and he plays at the club in his marketplace and in all the local tournaments. This enjoyable activity leads to sales and listings. 

Busy work and all the other minutiae that need to be done should be executed by someone who is good at it, and you should do what you are good at, which is bringing in the business. Delegating can be the springboard to increasing your business as well as increasing your discretionary time for yourself and your family.   Do we practice what we preach?  Absolutely, we have a virtual assistant and a local one.  We have found that we are happily getting a great ROI on the time we spend working. Do you know what your time is worth?


  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 Branding: Achieving Authenticity in Your Brand Signal

Luxury real estate marketing professionals who are bent on gaining or sustaining market leadership should constantly be on the lookout for people and companies in other fields who achieve top-of-mind status in their product or service category. It is a way to stay inspired rather than get complacent or spend too much time focused on your competition.  

The British recording artist and songwriter, Adele, is a shining example of achieving top-of-mind status in the recording industry while staying authentic. This week Adele became the first solo female artist to have three singles in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time, and the first female artist to have two albums in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 and two singles in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.

Adele won awards in all six of the categories in which it was nominated at the Grammy Awards in 2012. Previously, Beyoncé Knowles was the only artist to won six awards in a single night. Adele has also broken the record for the longest number one album on the charts by a woman in Billboard history. She beat Whitney Houston's record for the soundtrack of The Bodyguard.

What is most remarkable about Adele is that she needs no quirky costumes or costume changes for that matter; she needs no gimmicks, or special effects or grand production numbers with dancers to sell-out her concert performances internationally.  She does not use her sexuality to beguile her audience. Her voice, her lyrics and the arrangement of her songs are pure. She strikes a raw emotional chord while demonstrating extraordinary artistic expression.  This chord reverberates and resonates, like an undeniable truth inside the souls of millions of fans who confirm that she has a fresh, distinct talent that they have not experienced before.

Adele has become a “one-woman-brand”, a brand that stands for authenticity. She does not hide behind her music.  She does not have one persona on-stage and another off-stage. She is genuine and her audience knows it.   

Now that Adele has declared this brand signal and the media has broadcasted it to all ends of the globe, her biggest challenge is to consistently stay true to her authentic signal.  Sustaining market leadership can be even more challenging than achieving it in the first place.  That is why it is so important to constantly watch for evidence of excellence in market leadership:  to stay inspired and not get complacent.

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. 


Ocean House Condominiums, Miami Beach

 


Luxurious Ocean House
By Camille Rabbat

Located in Miami’s popular “South of Fifth” neighborhood (SoFi), Ocean House Condominiums is a boutique, courtyard-style development that occupies one of Miami’s most prime and pristine waterfront settings. Sildy Cervera, a proud South Beach resident, General Manager and Director of Sales for Cervera Real Estate (South Beach), remarks that “Ocean House offers a sophisticated level of luxury and style while maintaining a great balance between the peaceful daytime atmosphere and the exciting, energetic nightlife Miami is known for.” The Caribbean-like climate “quickly draws you toward the beach,” Sildy adds.  “You can enjoy the white sand, the cool and clear Florida water, along with a countless number of outdoor activities and other happenings the Miami area has to offer.”

Ocean House also offers its residents an array of amenities—a spectacular pool, Jacuzzi, state-of-the-art gym, and tranquil spa—along with sunset yoga classes, a convenient hair salon, and a gourmet outdoor kitchen. Residents also enjoy exceptional beachside and concierge services. Golf courses and Miami’s world-famous cultural, dining, shopping and nightlife choices are close at hand as well. These diverse offerings, matched with South Beach’s vibrant location, make Ocean House a hub that attracts people of all ages and walks of life. 

The SoFi district of Miami has been ranked among the five most desirable areas in the United States. With area sales of ocean-front properties increasing 20 percent, Sildy is pleased to report that Cervera Real Estate had an excellent year in 2011. The area also has seen a boom in business start-ups, along with career opportunities for business professionals.

Sildy sums it up neatly by saying that Ocean House and South of Fifth, coupled together, make this location “without a doubt, the place to be!”


50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Sun Valley, Idaho

 

Author Ernest Hemingway completed For Whom the Bell Tolls while staying in suite 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge in the fall of 1939. Olympic medalists including Gretchen Fraser, Christin Cooper, Picabo Street, and Muffy Davis have all called Sun Valley their home. Today, Sun Valley, known for its extensive cross country ski trails, is a serious contender to become the Official Olympic Nordic Training Site. It is also considered by many to be a top winter resort, a summer getaway, and simply a wholesome place to raise a family.

According to Jed Gray, “Sun Valley is the finest ‘private’ ski resort in the world because it is uncrowded.  There are no “weekend warriors” here.  Celebrities and high-profile business people are not hounded by the media. It has a rural feel with a tight knit sense of community”.

Alpine Touring is a popular winter sport in Sun Valley.  It is a form of skiing in which athletes make their way up the mountain on their skis that have special bindings and ‘skins’ that keep them from sliding back.  At the stopping point, the skins are removed and the skis are used to descend the hill. Eeva Pregitzer, a fan of the sport, shared this experience, “Recently, some friends and I ascended a nearby hill just to view the magnificent full moon from the top of the hill.  It was a wonderful way to commune with nature, with like-minded people who enjoy Alpine Touring and also get a great workout”.

The summer season in Sun Valley draws even more visitors than in winter. According to Tom Heinrich, “It’s not just about the great outdoors. Sun Valley has a vibrant arts community that offers a variety of opportunities through dozens of presenting organizations. Local and nationally known artists are represented in our art galleries, through concerts, theater productions, dance productions, opera, symphonic performances, film festivals and lectures.

Alex Higgins adds, “We have a writer’s conference in August, for example, that is usually sold-out well in advance.  It is a community of readers and well known writers who get together to discuss ideas in fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, and filmmaking”.

In Terry Palmer's opinion, “Mountain biking in the summer is the best in the world. There are nearly 28 miles of hiking and biking trails on beautiful Bald Mountain alone”. Suzanne Williams said,  “Sun Valley is the only place in the country that offers an outdoor symphony each summer for free for three weeks, supported by donations. It is like the Hollywood Bowl with the magnificent backdrop of the mountains”.

In Sun Valley, black diamond runs in the winter are matched by challenging links in the summer. Elkhorn Golf Club was the last collaborative effort between the well-known design team of father and son Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior. Mike Murphy says, “The back nine follows a creek and has a water hazard on every hole but one. With over 100 sand traps and bunkers, Elkhorn can be a very challenging course”.

More and more, Sun Valley is gaining a reputation as being a great place to raise a family because there is so much for kids to do here. Tom Drougas mentioned that, “Dollar Mountain now has a world class Terrain Park with more than 40 features including a new half pipe, 20 new rails & jibs, a Cross Course with rollers, jumps, and berms.  It is fun and challenging for skiers and riders of all ages and skill level. Plus, all Terrain Park features are included in the cost of a lift ticket”.

Sue Englemann says, “Kids thrive here because the schools are terrific and people are genuinely happy here. The Sun Valley Ski Academy offers promising athletes access to world-class coaching, training, and competition along with an outstanding college-preparatory program for locals as well as boarders. My daughter’s school does four camping trips each year. They actually build and live in ice caves for two nights. It gets the kids out of their comfort zones and builds character”.

We asked Dick Fenton to express what is unique about Sun Valley. He said, “In our small mountain village, that is so rich in culture, you can find true balance. There is an extraordinary balance of community, resort and recreation here”. 

 

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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A Day in the Life of Lee M. Medick: Luxury Realtor Wired for Success

Las Vegas, Nevada took one of the hardest - if not, the hardest - hits when the housing bubble burst. While some Las Vegas real estate businesses went under, Lee M. Medick and her high-end boutique firm, Luxe Estates Collection, stayed afloat. "When markets are tough, that's when I increase my print exposure," Lee told us in an exclusive interview. "In troubling times, people like to hold something in their hands. There's something tangible about flipping the page and seeing the beautiful photos - it's the tactile magic of print."

duPont REGISTRY™: Give us a snapshot of the high-end market in Las Vegas and how it is changing.

Lee M. Medick: When the country's economy began its freefall, Las Vegas braced itself as elegantly as it could while its housing market took a showgirl stage tumble. Now, four years later, Vegas is rebounding. Homes are on the market fewer days. We're seeing cleaner offers and quicker closes. In the $1M+ home market, it's mostly cash. With inventory lowering and savvy investors gobbling up inventory, the time to buy is now. I can't emphasize this enough.

How has the web changed the buying and selling of high-end properties?

First of all, 92 percent of the buyers in today's market have researched their home on the internet and have a good knowledge of the market before they pick up the phone. This allows me to better understand their requirements, including the neighborhoods and specific properties that will fit the family's lifestyle. Today's home buyers are smart. They typically come to me with three or four homes in mind. This allows me to be efficient. My client's time is valuable. Everyone wants a smooth process. The more efficient I am, the more confidence I instill.

What do you say to a home buyer who is on the fence about making an offer?

I usually start by saying, "Let's step back and look at the big picture. What do you want in a house?" Homes are an emotional purchase. So I start with an emotional appeal - why I think this a great house for them. But then I back up emotions with facts, facts, and more facts by providing statistics that reveal why they are in a strong position to make an offer. I know it's emotional for the buyer, but I see their concerns as an asset. I want to be sure I am making the best deal for them. Statistics put things in context. Every seven years, for example, markets take a dip. Understanding the market - the cycles - can help buyers feel more confident about making an offer.

What do you say to sellers who want to price their home too high?

This is a delicate issue. I might say, "If you had approached me three years ago, and we were having this discussion about the value of your home, you would have been spot on. However, I need to show you similar homes in your market, what they have sold for recently, specifically in your neighborhood." Then I'll walk them through the original listing prices and what the final sales prices were for those houses. When you know the local market, you can set expectations for what the market will bear. Here's something I live by: List to sit on the market, or to sell now!

What questions and concerns do prospective clients typically bring to you, and how do you win their confidence?

Again, it's a blend of the emotions and logic. When I am talking to a prospective buyer or seller, I always sprinkle in a few of my recent sales to validate what I say. Right then, I put my clients at ease.

What new approaches does it take to be a successful luxury Realtor today?

Luxe Estates Collection has developed a team approach pulling exclusive high-end Realtors and combining their talents to best service the $1M+ market. With our top-producing agents worldwide, Luxe Estates Collection offers buyer/celebrity representation, an e-marketing guru, a professional writer, a commercial development specialist, and a contracts-and-negotiation veteran.

You've been highly successful at marketing yourself and your firm. What is your strategy?

Exceptional homes require exceptional marketing. A real estate firm needs to stay relentlessly consistent with its message, online and in print. Marketing is all about repetition and looking for the unique selling proposition. If you keep visible with a strong messaage, then you're going to get a call when a prospect sees the ad and the timing's right. When markets are tough, that's when I increase my print exposure. In troubling times, people like to hold something in their hands. There's something tangible about flipping the page and seeing the beautiful photos - it's the tactile magic of print.

Why do you advertise with the duPont REGISTRY™?

Because the duPont REGISTRY A Buyers Gallery of Fine Homes® works! Last month, a client called and wanted me to list his home. When we got together, I asked him what prompted his call. He showed me a copy of your magazine and thumped it down on the table. "I love this magazine," he said. "And I want you to list my house."

This is one great reason to love the duPont REGISTRY™, but there's more to it. To sell luxury homes, I need to reach beyond the Las Vegas market. I need to find the wider audience, nationally and internationally. With the duPont REGISTRY™, the research and homework are done for me. If I want to hit a specific luxury market, I know the magazine will get in front of the right people. That's very important. I also like the fact that the duPont REGISTRY™ thinks outside the box. You take the homes magazine to luxury car and boat shows. Celebrities read it. It goes into locker rooms and airport lounges.

In the end, it's the return - the bang for the buck - that keeps me coming back to the duPont REGISTRY™. When you are looking at a beautiful ad, you can get lost in the moment. That's powerful. On the internet, there's a lot more competition for a prospect's attention. Of course, I also do online advertising to complement our ads with the duPont REGISTRY™.

Thinking about how you have built your business, what are you most proud about?

Luxe Estates has a strong reputation. We're respected in the industry. In recent trying times, we've perfected our unique business model. We're a boutique real estate brokerage - our mission is the quality, not quantity, of listings. For international coverage, we take a team approach. We can pick up the phone and call someone in Chicago or Cancun. I uniquely package and show the homes I represent. I know everything there is to know - even the invisible things like the air filtration systems.

I just picked up another celebrity listing. We discussed what sells, what doesn't sell. It was all very straightforward, and we got along fabulously. That combination of personal attention and local knowledge is what builds the relationship - and ultimately builds the business.

What keeps you motivated when times are particularly tough?

I love my job. Every day the phone rings, it's a thrill. My motivation is a result of the power of positive thinking... that's where it all starts.

Luxe Estate Collectionslee@luxeestatescollection.com


Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Does Your Website Have a Privacy Policy?

The Privacy issue continues to be a hot topic and one that has brought the warring factions of the Congress together.  Just yesterday, web firms have agreed to install a "Do Not Track button",and today's headline in the Wall Street Journal is "Tech Giants agree to Deal on Privacy Policies for Apps."

Some states such as California require that websites have a privacy policy. Luxury real estate buyers are usually privacy minded and guarded, when it comes to divulging personal information.  We have included a privacy policy in our websites and the websites whose designs we oversee.  They are written in plain English and not Legalese and are easy to understand.  We find that our web visitors do read that page.

As a luxury real estate marketing professional having a Privacy Policy engenders trust between you and your website visitors.  If you don't have one, stay ahead of the curve and add it to your website.  If you do, make sure you don't need to hire an attorney to understand it.

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: Pruning to Insure Your Success

What are the sweet spots in your business?  What are the most fruitful aspects of your luxury real estate marketing practice?  What is working to produce results consistently?  These are the questions that can get you focused on what works and know what needs to be discarded or pruned from your winning formula.

Once you are aware of the fruit bearing sources of your business, it is important to strengthen these sources.  A business can be likened to growing a fruit tree.  You need to prune and feed a tree in order to produce a healthy and bountiful crop.  The main reasons for pruning a tree are increased productivity, health and aesthetics.

It is crucial to your success to prune all those unusual solutions and business practices that that has not borne fruit—the time wasters.   Think of your luxury real estate practice as a money tree.  You need to eliminate all crossed branches that are at cross purposes to your success. 

Pruning may be a horticultural practice, but it truly does apply to marketing luxury real estate. Are some of your clients draining your energy and your resources by distracting you from those activities that bring you the best results?  It may be time to prune some of those toxic clients. If you are a broker, is it time to prune the dead wood in your office, the non-producing agents on your team?  These questions may sound harsh, but it is the health of your business and your own health that is at stake here.

Without pruning you cannot see the orchard through the trees!  Pruning lets in the light and allows for better air circulation which prevents disease as well. Your luxury real estate marketing practice should be a thing of beauty. It should be healthy and it should be bountiful.  Let in the light!

 

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 Trends: Eco Friendly Packaging in 2012

One of the important trends to take note is that many companies are considering alternative methods of packaging their products.  For instance, the photo above shows eco Vino, a chardonnay from Mendocino County.  The eco-friendly package (recyclable) contains the equivalent of 2 wine bottles.  I asked my friend Walt (the wine expert at our local Trader Joe’s) if the wine was good.  He said absolutely and added that this packaging was perfect for picnics, outdoor concerts (no glass is allowed). 

Here is their mission statement as stated on their website.

“At ecoVINO, we proudly source responsible vineyards that practice organics, bio-dynamics and sustainability to bring you the purest, cleanest, highest quality wine available. We focus on varietals that pair effortlessly with your favorite foods while maintaining functionality at the family picnic to the biggest dinner parties. Lastly, the result is beautiful, friendly wines that are as easy on the palate as they are on the planet.”

Other luxury vendors are rethinking their packaging.  A few years back gourmet biscotti and other cookies were packaged in beautifully decorated reusable tins.   This trend is coming back, because the vendors are realizing that the luxury buyer is more than ever conscious of considering the environment.

Whether you are a luxury real estate marketing professional or not, why not have your listing presentation printed on beautiful recycled paper? It will definitely show where your values are.

  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. 


Making the Grand Entrance

In this age of oversized garage doors, the front entry door has taken a back seat. Add value and style with a new front door.

Drive down almost any block of beautiful homes and you will discover that the front door has almost disappeared from view in many neighborhoods. “Nothing adds more welcome than a well designed door,” notes Neal Fiske of TriplePoint Design-Build in St. Petersburg. “It should be elegant and yet overwhelming.”

Mark Leek of DoorPro Entryways in Tampa suggest that the front door is the most important door in the house. “It not only sets the style but should reflect the architecture of the house,” he adds. On how many homes do you see the inappropriate door style-like a Victorian on a ranch house?

Ed bailey of Artistic Doors in Tampa whose custom doors have changed the personality of a house insists that a well-designed entry door creates curb appeal and sets the tone for the rest of the house. For example, craftsmen style and more contemporary doors make a vast difference when fitted to a similar style house. However, a great door is not just about good stylish looks. It should have strength and longevity as well.

In 2012, the Florida Building Code will change to include higher wind ratings and this will affect not only windows but exterior doors as well for new and replacement construction. This may be a good time to really look at your own door with better scrutiny.

There are new doors that resist the elements better than older ones. Popular in the high-end luxury homes, wood doors, which has natural warmth and beauty, requires maintenance over its lifetime. A new generation of wood doors now has options to enhance the durability and lifespan in areas where inclement weather can be a factor. The new Simpson WaterBarrier technology is available in over 200 of their wood door designs. “The secret is a one-piece overlay over the exterior which helps them withstand direct exposure; the result is the beautiful look of real wood on the inside of the door with the protection of WaterBarrier on the exterior,” says Brad Loveless, Marketing Manager for Simpson Door Company.

Perhaps, the most important decision is what the door is made of. Beside wood doors, which are generally more traditional in style, high-tech alternatives of fiberglass composite and steel doors have popular design choices. Fiberglass is a smart choice for harsh or humid climates as it is virtually maintenance-free. Many mimic the look of wood and can be stained or painted to match the other outdoor details. Steel doors are the most durable and they do not warp or crack. The new generation of steel door is also the best choice if security is an issue.

If you’re considering a glazed entry door, you’ll have many glass options to choose from, including clear, etched, beveled, leaded and many others with ornamental glazing. Low-e-window glazing is a popular option but if you are concerned about security; look into laminated glass that is designed to resist break-ins. The fastest growing category in front doors, vented sidelights, offer the ventilation consumers want without the inconvenience and obstruction of storm doors or sliding screens. A new alternative from Therma-Tru for their Fiber-Classic Oak Collection Smooth-Star Collection now allows you to let in light and fresh air into your home without sacrificing energy efficiency or style.

Some homes directly on the water are lucky enough to have two front doors, adds Neal Fiske of TriplePoint. “The front door on the road is about security and street presence. The water entrance is all glass, although these days the glass may be high impact and laminated.”

Not quite ready to make a door change? Lucianna Samu, color expert for Benjamin Moore Paints, suggests that the creative use of color can add life to an old door. And do not just pick one color but three instead. A low contrast door and trim combination can enhance details of a door. Select a color and then step the next colors up or down so the color mixture pulls your eyes beyond the door. Neighbors will think you have a new door. And you will never tell!


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 2/21/2012 at 5:26 PM
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Categories: Things We Love
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Focus is Your Crystal Ball

As a Luxury real estate marketing professional, have you taken the time to focus upon the source of your bona fide leads, i.e., those leads that have actually converted to sales or listings? What percentage of your overall sales volume comes from knocking on doors (cold calling), referrals, open houses, website leads, sign calls, your blog, networking (online or offline) or from some other source?  By focusing in this manner you can strengthen what is working, and also spend less time and resources on those things that do not produce strong results. Focusing can empower you to predict the future of your business. Focus is your crystal ball.

Focusing can also lead to discovering new ways to attract more business by finding alternative approaches that can yield more desirable results. By staying focused you have access to more solutions.  Your focus actually attracts answers that may be right under your nose. Being focused prompts you to ask better questions because you know more clearly what it is that you need to know. The need to know literally draws out answers from your environment and from people who have the answers or know where to find them. 

Sometimes it seems that the answers to your most pressing questions are eluding you. But, once you get clear on what you need to know, the answers are sure to come your way.  That is, unless you spend your time doubting yourself or the power of focus.  If you get frustrated because your answers are not showing up as fast as you want them to you might want to consider just chilling out for awhile.   It takes a mental state of relaxed focus and openness for the best answers to show up in your crystal ball.


 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.