50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Carmel, CA

Actor-director Clint Eastwood once was the mayor of Carmel. Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, two of the most innovative and influential 20th century American photographers lived here. Each of these men are considered true masters in their own right and faithfully represent the rich artistic history that is at the core of Carmel-by the Sea, the center point of  California’s North Central Coast.

Over the years, the natural beauty of the area has inspired poets, writers, painters, and architects alike. Mike Canning, who represents Carmel's legendary Butterfly House, says, “It is one of only 5 true oceanfront properties in Carmel.  The home, designed by Frank Wynkoop, is anchored directly into the rocky shoreline and has panoramic views from Point Lobos to Pebble Beach. Captivating Carmel residents and tourists for decades, this oceanfront architectural landmark exceeds unique”.

According to Peter Butler, “Some of California’s finest architect-designed homes can be found in the Carmel-Pebble Beach area.  The homes are beautiful here and the lifestyle is casual, yet cosmopolitan. You can get just about anywhere in the area in 15 minutes. People live here because they choose to, not because they have to. As a second home market, properties tend to hold their values because there is a finite supply and a strong demand”.

Judie Profeta says, “One of the most enchanting aspects of the area is the diversity of people, topography and the compactness of the area. Highly accomplished people live here; they have come to Carmel, to Monterey or Pebble beach to relax and live the life they have worked very hard for.  The natural beauty is stunning. Cultural events are also plentiful, such as theatre, the famous Monterey Jazz Festival, the Bach Festival, and Concours d'Elegance, the world renowned auto show that features classic cars”.

Judie Profeta says, “One of the most enchanting aspects of the area is the diversity of people, topography and the compactness of the area. Highly accomplished people live here; they have come to Carmel, to Monterey or Pebble beach to relax and live the life they have worked very hard for.  The natural beauty is stunning. Cultural events are also plentiful, such as theatre, the famous Monterey Jazz Festival, the Bach Festival, and Concours d'Elegance, the world renowned auto show that features classic cars”. 

 

For those who seek the seclusion of a rural retreat, there are two magnificent master planned communities just a few miles outside of town:  Tehama (above Carmel) and Monterra (above Monterey). According to Mike Jashinski <http://www.mikejashinski.com> , who specializes in selling property in these exclusive enclaves, "Tehama is a Native American word that means ‘abundance of nature’. Guided by Clint Eastwood's vision of sustainable development, Tehama has preserved more than 85% of its land as pristine open space. With gated private access to its 2000 acres of rolling hill country, residents of just 90 estate lots, ranging from 4 to 17 acres can enjoy a social-fitness membership (fitness center, tennis, swimming and dining, included with purchase) and private membership (by invitation only) at the Tehama Golf Club, featuring an 18 hole championship course designed by Jay Moorish”. 

   Tim Allen, who specializes in oceanfront and ocean view homes, explains that “Carmel and Pebble Beach are natural second home or retirement home markets for nearby Silicon Valley residents as well as for San Franciscans who are only 120 miles away. Our world class golf is a major draw”. Pebble Beach Golf Links is the most famous course in the Western United States, and the only course which has ever beaten Pine Valley Golf Club for the top spot in Golf Digest's biennial list of America's 100 greatest. 

 

  Judy Midgely adds, “The Links at Spanish Bay evokes the original Scottish concept for the game of golf that was established over 500 years ago. The Monterey coastline is very rugged like the natural beauty of Scotland. Every evening the bagpiper closes the course in true Scottish tradition. It is pleasant to sit on your front porch and just listen even if you are not playing golf”. 

 

  Molly McGee says, “The town of Carmel has a very special charm. Every day seems like a vacation. The shopping, art galleries, and the food and wine scene here is terrific. Carmel is an amazing place to meet people from all over the world.”

 

 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: Luxury on a Dime!

In our home town of Santa Barbara, California we are extremely fortunate to be able to shop year-round at outdoor farmers’ markets five days a week (except for relatively few rainy days). It is one of the many amenities that contribute to the quality of life here. To participate, all of the farmers’ produce must be certified organic.

In our local supermarkets and specialty markets like our favorite, Trader Joe’s, you usually have a choice between organic and non organic produce.  Organic is usually more expensive.  Given the price differential, you could say that organic produce is a luxury.  In fact, understanding the buying decision between these two options in produce can shed some light on the very meaning of luxury, itself.

Here is how the USDA (Department of Agriculture) defines ‘organic’

Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

Many studies have demonstrated that organic is simply better for your health. This could be a justification to spend more on organic produce.  Many say that the peace of mind alone is worth it, even if they are not certain that organic produce is actually healthier. The price of illness far outweighs the price differential between the two choices.

Bananas are rarely grown by local farmers. Most bananas are grown in Central American and South America. Therefore, for us, Trader Joe’s is where we purchase bananas.  We like to buy them partially green so that they do not get over-ripe before we are ready to eat them.  But, up until recently, we purchased, non-organic bananas without thinking much about the difference.  That is because bananas supposedly are resistant to pesticides due to their thick skin.  

Recently, we could not find partially green bananas in the non-organic stand, so we bought organic as a matter of convenience.   Then, we had a big surprise! The organic bananas taste remarkably better. The flavor was more pronounced and so was the aroma. 

Now, we only buy organic bananas.  For 10 cents extra, the taste is worth it and in the long run, organic bananas are probably healthier.  What was interesting here is the decision making process that shed some light on the price differential that made organic banana a luxury.  Health, peace of mind, convenience and finally taste, these are some of the “quality cues” and the values that comprise the luxury mindset and justify a higher price point. Now, that is luxury on a dime!


  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: Saying Yes to Business and No to Busyness

"A 'no' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble." Mahatma Gandhi.

We keep hearing from the majority of luxury real estate marketing professionals that they don’t have time!  And given the condition of the market, they feel they need to do more.  Life is out of control. They don’t have time to work on their business (meaning focus on promoting new business) they are so busy working in their business. Many take calls while eating lunch or dinner and are going to bed with their cell phones on their night stand ready to answer regardless of the time the phone rings.

In a recent Harvard Business Review Blog, Tony Schwartz points out that we don’t take time to prioritize our lives, and have a tendency to say “yes” to requests and not mean it.  “Think of it as a madness loop — a vicious cycle. We react to what's in front of us, whether it truly matters or not. More than ever, we're prisoners of the urgent…Truth be told, there's also an adrenaline rush in saying yes. Many of us have become addicted, unwittingly, to the speed of our lives — the adrenalin high of constant busyness. We mistake activity for productivity, more for better, and we ask ourselves "What's next?" far more often than we do "Why this?"

Prioritizing our day’s work and our lives takes time.  In the face of all the things we have said yes to, we don’t have time to do that. Every to do becomes “urgent”.  Recently, we were contacted by a firm who wanted to set aside a day for time out and have a mini retreat to reflect on their leadership and create a fresh marketing plan for the new year.  They had to postpone this as every one of their clients wanted something that was deemed urgent, and they could not take a day off to reflect, nor could they see time available in their first quarter. 

Even though they are fully cognizant that their pipeline needs to be filled, they feel trapped by all the “yeses” they have committed to. The other aspect of this is that they cannot see the opportunities that are in front of them, and are apt to easily dismiss the very things that would assure their success.  They are out of focus!   This firm does have time to follow up on referrals or take on new business, which is absurd because it is the antithesis of their revenue goals.

Getting off the yes wagon begins with setting aside time to reflect on the scope of work for the day.  Prioritize on a daily basis. The result will be getting more done in less time, and having time to enjoy your lives.  Say “yes” to business and “no” more often to busyness.

 

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: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 1/26/2012 at 5:02 PM
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50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Malibu, CA


From the outside looking in Malibu has a very high profile due, in part, to the paparazzi and the media shining a spotlight on its glamorous surface.  Certainly, it is known as getaway for many Hollywood celebrities and titans of business.  The sitcom, Two and a Half Men takes place here. Even some Malibu real estate agents became local celebrities when they were featured on the reality TV show, Million Dollar Listing.  But, beneath the surface Malibu has the intrinsic values of a small, rural California coastal beach town with a Mediterranean climate and a close-knit community.  This, plus its close proximity to the diverse amenities of Los Angeles and easy access to the entire globe, makes Malibu one of the top 50 luxury real estate markets in the world.

According to Irene Dazzan-Palmer, “What makes the lifestyle in Malibu so extraordinary is the caliber of people you meet or run into daily.  With great people and outdoor living Malibu is like ‘Aspen at the beach’. One day you can go for a walk on the beach, the next day you can go hiking in the mountains.  You rarely need to leave town because there are so many wonderful shops and restaurants close by. It is wonderful to spend time in Los Angeles.  But, I always love to get back to ‘The BU’ as the locals call Malibu".  

Irene partners with her son, Sandro Dazzan, who was recently honored by Forbes Magazine as one of the ‘30 under 30 (years old)’ for closing $100 million in home sales in 3 years, including Malibu's 2011 highest). Sandro says, “In Malibu, you grow up in tune with your environment, especially if you are into water sports.  Surfing clears your head.  The water is always moving and is teeming with sea life. Sometimes you swim with dolphins or watch the silhouettes of pelicans diving to catch fish against a backdrop of an amazing sunset”.

Chris Cortazzo explains it this way, “Contrary to what many assume, the Malibu lifestyle is not pretentious. It is casual and comfortable. It may be sophisticated, but the hype about pretentiousness is false.  It is not about what you have, because not everyone here is rich.  It is about being nice. The ocean is definitely a grounding force; it has incredible energy that can bring out the best in you.” 

Malibu does have its private gated enclaves such as the famous Malibu Colony. But, very few of the 12,500 residents actually live right on the beach. According to Jim Rapf, “Although, it is true that some beach front residents own a section of the beach up to the mean high tide line, most of the beaches in Malibu are open to the public. The town itself actually encompasses 21 miles of coastline”.  

Shen Schultz points out that, “With fewer homes right on the water, these homes generally hold their value because they are usually in demand”.  Yet, living right on the beach does not appeal to many who treasure their privacy. Jack says, “Some people prefer the seclusion and solitude of the canyons in the mountains.  The tranquility in the hills means no neighbors and large gardens. Besides, you can drive by the ocean any time you go into town”. 

According to Ellen Francisco, “One of Malibu’s biggest draws is the public schools.  There is tremendous parental and community support for the schools here both in volunteer time and in private funding of projects, activities and sports programs. For example the music department is outstanding. Musicals at the high schools are comparable to professional performances”.

Marcus Beck says “The public schools in Malibu are comparable to private schools. Families here have the same values.  Parents spend time in the classroom; they will help grade tests, for example to free up the teachers to concentrate on other things. Fundraisers are very successful and help to provide Malibu kids with an excellent education. The indoor-outdoor lifestyle that makes Malibu so attractive to adults and kids alike, also enriches the children’s education because there are so many outdoor activities”.

Mike Cunningham, says, Malibu definitely has a small town feel that is very much family oriented. The weather is wonderful and it is just gorgeous.  There is quite a diversity of successful people who live here from the entertainment industry, to the sports industry to business.  Yet, they all have something in common. Once people move to Malibu they do not want to move away!”

 

 

 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. 

 Photos Are Courtesy of Top Local Agents & Brokers Interviewed for This Article

 


Jennifer Aniston Buys an Ultramodern L.A. Home

Looks like it's time to update the Celebrity Real Estate Heat Map: A-lister of A-listers Jennifer Aniston has reportedly scooped up new mansion for herself in Bel-Air, Calif.

The pristine 8,500-square-foot four-bedroom was designed in 1965 by noted Los Angeles modernist architect A. Quincy Jones; after first hitting the market for $29 million in 2008, the house was reduced to some $24 million, at which point Aniston swooped in and scored it for even less: $21 million.

And as if this lucky lady didn't already have enough of them, here are yet some more perks: more than three acres of land, views of the city and ocean, a pool, a guesthouse, a wine cellar, and—last but certainly not least—a vineyard. Let's not forget to look inside: those distinctly midcentury-feeling interiors boasts gleaming wood floors, full-wall expanses of glass, and some pretty stunningfireplace detail.

Aniston's had quite an impressive year in terms of real estate. The actress listed and then sold her spectacular Ohana estate, a Beverly Hills beaut that was once featured on the cover of Architectural Digest. She swiftly found another Beverly Hills estate in which to shack up with new beau Justin Theroux.

 


This article was featured on the Yahoo! Real Estate website (http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/jennifer-aniston-buys-an-ultramodern-la-home.html). The article was written by Sarah Firshein, Curbed.com on January 24, 2012 (http://curbed.com/archives/2012/01/24/inside-jennifer-anistons-sleek-new-piece-of-starchitecture.php)


Featured Property: Casa Piena

Deemed a “Sanctuary for the Soul” –the Casa Piena estate is an unexpected jewel of luxury set amidst a private, gated community just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego, California. Exquisite details that recreate the ambiance of a northern Italian villa, masterful artwork and craftsmanship that draws on the finest materials from around the world.

Grace with 43 rooms, the estate consists of 26,862 square feet of living space, including 11 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms. Four separate buildings comprise the property: the main house, guest house, pool cabana, and detached garage. Classic interior details included carved wood moldings, solid walnut doors, elaborate beamed and hand-painted ceilings, custom murals, and stone floors, exotic wood paneled walls, authentic Italian lighting and seven imported hand-carved stone fireplaces. The main house’s casino, theater, wine room, elevator, two offices, gourmet kitchen master suite and guest rooms are highlighted by spaciousness, authentic Italian details and more than 100 windows. The guest house features two bedrooms, a living room and full bath while the cabana offers a large patio, bar and full bath. A three-bay detached garage and three-bay attached garage provide ample room.

                Set amidst four-and-one-half acres with scenic valley and hill vistas, the estate also overlooks the Maderas Golf Club –rated the best golf course in San Diego County. The estate also features mature landscaping, a sunken tennis court, and a 3,000+ square foot swimming pool with two waterfalls, a Jacuzzi with a swimming river, a rock slide and a grotto.

                Ornate iron work complement the grounds and include a gazebo and arbors, a large backyard with two barbecue areas, a sunken garden, two large stone terraced areas, an olive orchard and a private jogging trail around the property. The state is fully automated as a “smart house” with one button controls for everything from lighting, sound, window/door locks, window coverings, security, air quality controls, and more.

                No detail was spared and authentic materials from 20 counties and expert craftsmanship was utilized. Just one example is the wine room floor-crafted from stones that paved the streets in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago. Mosaic walls in the adjacent wine room and bathroom were crafted by nuns in a monastery in Tunisia. Casa Piena is located in Heritage Estates in Poway in San Diego County, California.

                This property offers terrific privacy, ample land and easy access to freeways. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy life. 


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 1/25/2012 at 1:13 PM
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Center Hill Lake Estate

Situated on its own gated peninsula overlooking breathtaking Center Hill Lake in Smithville, Tennessee, the property offers the ultimate retreat. The sprawling wooded acreage, complete with dock and helipad, afford the most in luxury for the family looking for their own private getaway.

The 6,000-square-foot home offers a rare blend of seclusion and comfortable luxury, just over one hour from Nashville. The Hampton-style shingle and stone construction features five bedrooms, five baths, and ample room for entertaining. The original tract was the perfect spot overlooking the water to construct the main house. Recently expanded to encompass four parcels of land, totaling almost 4 acres, the compound now includes a four-bedroom guest house as well as a single-bedroom cabin. The main house has custom stone fireplaces as well as a new state-of-the-art kitchen and dining area. Professionally decorated, the interiors embrace the character of an historic home while offering modern amenities and the comforts usually associated with newer homes.

The property provides many entertainment choices for the whole family, from a state-of-the-art home theater to water activities focused on a large, private dock on Center Hill Lake. Included in the purchase is a custom houseboat perfect for entertaining guests. It comes complete with a kitchen and living area as well as hot tub. For the more adventurous, waterskiing, fishing and scenic cruise round out the lake’s entertainment options. A nearby waterfall provides an excellent destination. A pool, porches and decks all take advantage of the water vistas. The garage, near the main house, features a private helipad. 

 

The property is posed to offer priceless, unobstructed views of the widest part of the Center Hill Lake. “On the property, you are in your own world-no distractions, or intrusions on your private resort,” attests Rick French, broker at French Christianson Patterson & Associates. “It is the ideal getaway and retreat for the whole family.” 

 


Featured Property: Scrub Island

Luxury Residences at the British Virgin Islands Newest Private-Island Resort

 

 

As the newest private resort in the British Virgin Islands, Scrub Island has won international acclaim for its world-class 55-slip marina, spa and restaurants, along with its splendid recreational offerings in the surrounding waters of the Caribbean. Now the 230-acre island just north of Tortola, recently designated a Marriott Autograph Collection Resort, is attracting attention for its notable luxury real estate opportunities.

Scrub Island’s residential collection includes two-bedroom marina suites, stand-alone ocean view villas, and three-to-five bedroom residences with sweeping view of nearby Virgin Gorda, Great Camano and Beef Island.

 

 

“One of the most attractive elements about owning on Scrub Island is the management team that’s in place to look after your property when you are not here,” says Dr. Pablo Guzman, owner of a Marina Suite. “Plus, all the resort amenities are right at your fingertips. There are three beaches to choose from, along with some of the best snorkeling and fishing you could hope to find.”

At the heart of the community, the two-bedroom Marina Suites represent the authenticity of Scrub Island with an Anglo-Caribbean architectural style. Each suite features a combined living/dining room, gourmet kitchen, a master suite and guest bedroom, two-and-a-half baths, and an owner’s storage space for those who wish to rent their units.

 

 

Set privately on the hillsides of Scrub Island, the two-bedroom Ocean View Villas offer 2,172 square feet of living space and more than 900 square feet of outdoor terrace space. The multi-level layout of each villa is linked by a spacious foyer, which also serves as a main entry. The floor plan includes two master suites with a large bath and separate sitting area, along with a full kitchen, large wraparound veranda, and a private plunge-pool.

The three-, four- or five-bedroom Long View Residences are located on a hillside just a short golf-cart ride away from the resort. The building design has been broken into several multi-level pods. The lower level features a large bedroom that opens onto a beautiful, covered terrace, separate dressing area and bath. The main level houses a large kitchen with eat-in bar, separate dining room and large living room that opens onto a paved terrace with infinity-edge pool.


 

A large portion of Scrub Island will remain undeveloped with homes ranging from 1.4 acres to 5.5 acres scattered throughout the island and offering owners panoramic views of the BVIs. Owners can enjoy the freedom of choosing their own architect and builder but still enjoy the benefits of having their home managed for them.

For additional information on Scrub Island, please visit: scrub@bvisir.com


Featured Property: The Stone Mansion - Alpine, New Jersey

 

Located just 8 miles from New York City, the Stone Mansion in Alpine, New Jersey is the most extraordinary new property to come to the luxury real estate market. The home is located on historic property carrying the pedigree of the former Henry Clay Frick II Estate and is adjacent to the notable Alpine Country Club. Recently, bestselling author Michael Gross described the Stone Mansion as an “American Masterpiece.” The Stone Mansion is recognized as a truly one-of-a kind luxury home that would be a wonderful year-round residence or weekend estate.

“I wanted to build a home that was unlike any other mansion of this size, but was still livable,” says owner and builder Richard J. Kurtz. “The Stone Mansion is just that. It’s substantial in size and amenities, but it isn’t overwhelming. It’s an extremely comfortable home in a very inviting and warm environment.”

 

 

Rarely does an estate of this grandeur come available in Alpine, New Jersey, the nation’s wealthiest zip code (Forbes, October 2011). The Stone Mansion is located within the only double-gated residence in Alpine. The 30,000 square-foot mansion is situated on 6-plus majestic acres and surrounded by a stone perimeter wall for ultimate privacy. The home is controlled and visualized remotely anywhere in the world through 29 cameras with the touch of a smart phone through the advanced Creston Smart Home technology. With 42 rooms, this estate includes 13 bedroom suites, 19 bathrooms, 7 fireplaces, and grand-scale formal reception rooms, including a ballroom adorned by antique chandeliers. Forbes selected the Stone Mansion’s custom-designed kitchen by Christopher Peacock as among “America’s Most Decadent Kitchens.” Some of the state of the art amenities include a move theatre, indoor basketball court, 4,000-bottle-wine cellar with tasting room and fingerprint technology access, spa and fitness center, a tennis court, 65-foot outdoor salt water pool with Jacuzzi and pool house equipped with change rooms, outdoor and indoor kitchen, outdoor TV and fireplace.

Architect James Paragano described the extraordinary details of the home as “all contributing to a common thread of timeless elegance.” The recent completion of the Stone Mansion achieves a new standard for excellence in luxury estate living.

The Stone Mansion is available for private viewing.

Offered at $56,000,000



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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 1/20/2012 at 12:55 PM
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Scottsdale-Phoenix, Arizona

 

Scottsdale-Phoenix is a desert community that offers a rare blend of laidback living, cosmopolitan amenities, and dramatic vista. In-Scottsdale-Phoenix, you can live close to the native desert, yet be within minutes of upscale urban conveniences.

Home to no fewer than 50 major golf courses, the region attracts pro-circuit golfers and devoted amateurs alike. The regional cuisine includes Spanish, Mexican and Indian delicacies ranging from chocolate tamale to chili-cured duck. Thanks to the Scottsdale center for the Performing Arts and other vibrant cultural organizations the region offers a steady stream of musical and theatrical productions throughout the year. It’s no wonder the area is such a draw for real estate investors seeking a luxury retirement home, full-time residence., or vacation retreat. Yes, the summer heat may deter some, but residents are serious when they say they’d rather jump in a pool than shovel snow.

 

Arizona Realty Group

“It’s not a good time to buy a house in Arizona; it’s a good time to buy five,” says one local real estate analyst. Arizona has always been a great place to live, but because real estate is on sale practically throughout the state, there has never been a better time to move to this tranquil desert. Notably, Phoenix has experienced positive population growth through the recession, due in part to this city’s ability to attract a wide variety of successful people, including those just beginning their college or business careers, as well as people who have honed their entrepreneurial acumen in order to become facilitators of growth within the area.

Unruffled by hurricanes and other natural disasters, Phoenix and Scottsdale benefit from the desert’s predictably serene weather. While residents up north contend with frost, Phoenix is currently experiencing its most beautiful time of year. This is the perfect time to enjoy the region’s extraordinary landscape, allowing friends and family to partake in activities such as golfing, hiking and biking- outdoor mainstays that continue to draw individuals looking to relocate. Joe Morales of the Arizona Realty Group also emphasizes the fantastic downtown nightlife in Phoenix and Scottsdale, proclaiming, “It’s as good as or better than any major city. There’s a melting pot of people here infusing the city’s night scene with culture and diversity.”

Classical architectural gems featuring modern technology are hot on the market, including an array of Queen Anne Victorian homes. Luxurious brownstones within the context of urban development, featuring dramatic architecture and upwards of 5,000 square feet of living space are part of some of the most unique neighborhoods relocate to this thriving desert.

Dominion Real Estate Partners

Just a short plane ride east of Los Angeles or south of Las Vegas is another large metropolitan area, but without the constant hustle and bustle of a big city- Scottsdale, Arizona.

“There’s nothing like living in the desert,” says Todd Headlee of Dominion Real Estate Partners in Arizona. “There’s such a sense of peace with the gorgeous nightly sunsets, the sunny days, and the cool nights. I lived in Colorado and then in Los Angeles, and they don’t even compare to the laidback lifestyle of living in Scottsdale.”

Todd specializes in luxury real estate just north of Scottsdale in the aptly named town of Carefree, which is a bit more mountainous than Scottsdale and therefore cooler. Residents of Carefree enjoy a vibrant business district with fine dining and high-end shopping, just minutes away from upscale living in Scottsdale, as well as Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the United States.

As for the housing market, the outlook is positive as Todd notes that 2011 was the best business year he had. “Carefree and Scottsdale are a different story from what happened to most cities when the recession hit,” Todd says. “The two cities survived the housing downturn, because most people who live there already own their luxury homes. Homes that are for sale are moving at a fast pace.”

Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

“Scottsdale provides a quality of life much like a small town, but with the benefits of a major metropolitan city,” says Bob Nathan of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Scottsdale. “You have many cultural activities, golf courses, a magnificent system of trails, and professional sports in the area, but the city is also centrally located in the Southwest to enjoy the best of what the surrounding states offer. The skiing in Colorado, the beaches of California, the wonders of New Mexico, and the clear ocean waters of Mexico are all easy drives from Scottsdale.”

In addition to being ideally located in the Southwest region another ideal aspect of living in Scottsdale is the weather. “There’s sunshine over 300 days of the year, with cool nights and sunny days for eight months a year,” Bob says. “It’s practically perfect.” And like most major cities in the United States, now is the time to buy due to the increasing value of properties. As Bob Notes, The Scottsdale area has many sub-markets, all of which are doing well, and prices have stabilized. Inventories are at record lows, and activity us healthy.”

The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends have acknowledged Bob as being part of one of the top luxury real estate teams in the country. “I have been blessed with selling real estate in Scottsdale’s metropolitan area for 32 years,” Bob says. “If someone’s looking to move to Scottsdale, I’m here to help them.”


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 1/19/2012 at 5:20 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Serving the Ready Minded Consumer

 

In a previous post, we discussed ease of use for the consumers as one of the important keys to enhance your web site.  Once the ready minded consumer contacts you, what is your response time? Availability and response time go hand in hand.  If both are not in harmony, the consumer will go on to another site.   According to Gary Beerman, vice president of Alert Site, “The Industry standard is that a brand’s website has to load within four seconds, or the probability that the consumers will leave the page is quite high.”

If the response time is more than 5 minutes, the probability that the consumer will leave the site and go to a competitor’s site is also high.  According to a survey generated by Lead Response Management.org

When a lead is contacted in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes, it will produce a significant increase in qualified leads that have the potential of closing.

The best time to call to qualify a lead is mid to late morning (not before lunch) and late afternoon (4-5PM is best 5PM-6PM is OK).  The best days to follow up/qualify are on Wednesday and Thursday. The worst days are Monday and Tuesday.  Friday is good to make contact, but not to qualify.

It is a good idea on your web contact form to have a form which asks the prospect their communication preference, i.e., email, text, or phone.  Asking that question ensures the beginning of a fruitful relationship.

 

 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: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 1/18/2012 at 4:55 PM
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Maui Real Estate Market Update

As high season commences in Maui and visitors flock to enjoy what the Valley Isle has to offer, the most common question becomes: "So how is the market?" With many sectors of the market being segmented and experiencing significantly different levels of sales activity and valuation, it would be overly simplistic to paint broad statements across the marketplace. But as always, looking at data can show trends on which to base educated opinions.

For example, the Maui real estate market has seen a significant reduction in the amount of properties listed. In 2010, there were a total of 1,809 single family residences (SFR) listed, whereas 2011 decreased by 16.6% to 1,527. And the condo inventory saw an even more drastic decline, from 2,362 in 2010 to 1,821 in 2011, a decrease of almost 23%. The Wailea/Makena market experienced a similar decline, with SFR's decreasing from 77 to 62 and condos going from 253 listings to 201.

Maui Real Estate Inventory Comparison

In addition, volume of sales is a good metric to gauge how well the market is absorbing inventory. In 2010, there were 812 sales of SFR's, increasing in 2011 to 896. Condominium sales remained virtually flat, from 1,148 in 2010 to 1,152 the following year. The Wailea/Makena district remained flat, with 2010 having 28 SFR's and 104 condos sold, compared to 2011's 29 SFR's and 103 condominium sales.

Furthermore, one of the key aspects of analyzing the real estate market is seeing the average and median sales prices. In 2010, SFR average sales price was $745,367 with a median of $460K, compared to $788,115 average and $432,250 median in 2011. Condominiums show a decrease from an average of $647,582 and median of $377,500 in 2010 to $486,212 and $310K, respectively, in 2011. The Wailea and Makena market experienced marked improvements, with 2010's $3.796M average and $1.699M median for SFR's   increasing in 2011 to $4.146M average and $2.1M median; condos remained somewhat flat with 2010's $1.525M average and $852K median comparing to 2011's $1.548M average and $900K median. However, as a caveat, it is important to note that average/median sales price are not altogether reflective of declining or increasing values, as they are more indicative of the type of properties selling and can be swayed by a handful of sales (such as the Honua Kai effect and the record-breaking sales in the past 2 years).

Lastly, for many potential buyers, 'Foreclosures' and 'Short Sales' are the buzz words of the day, as typically they present particularly strong values in current market conditions. Many experts predicted that Hawaii's Act 48, enacted in May 2011, would have a significant impact on the amount of REO's that came on the market, as the bulk would now go through the longer, more costly judicial foreclosure process.  The theory was that now that it was more expensive and it would take longer to judicially foreclose on a property, lienholders would now be more open to negotiating on short sales.  However, the numbers tell a different story (at least so far).  In 2010, there were 259 single-family residence REO's listed and 266 condos, but REO's rose in SFR listings to 291 and remained relatively steady in the condo market, at 250. Interestingly enough, new Short Sales came on the market at a much slower pace: In 2010 there were 277 SFR and 304 condo short sales newly listed, but 2011 short sale new listings decreased in SFR's to 221 (21% less) and a shocking 198 condos (a decrease of 35%).

Maui REO's (Foreclosures/Bank-Owned) and Short Sales Comparison

The Maui real estate market, long known to be a long-term equity market, still presents some excellent opportunities for buyers, but the guidance of an experienced Realtor with specialized expertise in the subject area is critical in a successful real estate transaction.

This blog post contributed by Alex Cortez, a Realtor with Island Sotheby's International Realty. He specializes in Honua Kai condos and Wailea condos and homes.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 1/18/2012 at 12:35 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Evolution of Web Sites & the Consumers Who Use Them

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it is important to continue to meet the current needs of potential clients on your web site.  Luxury real estate sites need to evolve as consumers become more web-savvy, clearer about what they are looking for and more time-starved. 

Consumers now expect to instantly find what they came for and also be able to control the speed at which they consume the information they find.  “Flash” sites and rich media sites are a thing of the past.  They can be a turn-off or a distraction for the “ready-minded” person.

For example, watching a slide show or a video about a particular listing presents the information at the speed you set which is not necessarily their speed.  A slide show with thumbnails that they can click on, touch to view (on a touch screen) or hover-over at their own pace is now preferred.

Luxury real estate websites should be easy to navigate and facilitate immediate access to information in a self-serve environment.  The MLS can be viewed from a multitude of sites.  Property search is a commodity and it is free.  The days of having someone register to view properties are over unless you offer an extraordinary promise of value that cannot be found on your competitors’ sites. 

Less is more!  Pare down unnecessary information. Luxury buyers do not want to access properties in all the neighborhoods in a given marketplace.  They most likely are interested in the luxury areas only. Therefore, augment custom search functionality with pre-set search queries based on anticipated criteria, such as property type, location, and price range.  This offers them the luxury of time and makes it easy to get what they want which is an added value.

Less is more in design as well. Keep it simple and elegant. Think of website design as a map to guide your viewer’s eyes to what they want to see.  Your sellers want to see their properties displayed elegantly.  Your buyers want to see your listings as well as the rest of the relevant inventory in your marketplace.  Present the canned information (schools, demographics, etc) stylishly.  Do not take the easy way out and just give them a links to other sites. 

Today’s luxury real estate consumer expects to find original content in addition to commoditized information that most likely can be found on all of your competitor’s websites.  Blogs offer the vehicle to present original information from the author’s point of view.  Yet, very, very few luxury real estate marketing professionals properly maximize this opportunity to connect with web-savvy consumers.  If you offer truly original content, consumers will actually slow down and take the time to appreciate your unique slant because doing so is a luxury.

 

 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 New Frontier/Original Content Marketing


 

Another leading trend in the affluent sector that impacts luxury real estate marketing is the growing technology IQ of the affluent consumer.   The affluent consumer has become tech savvy, and understands the value of the internet as a source of original knowledge and up to date information.   

One of the most effective ways of marketing yourself on line as a luxury real estate marketing professional is to blog.  The old paradigm for blogging was to write posts that are laden with keywords interspersed with some relevant content, all for the purpose of extracting “Google Juice”. It also encouraged reposting the same post and changing a few words here and there. This type of blog (beloved by the Google robots) could definitely get that for you and may even catapult you to the coveted #1 position.  It will not build an audience of raving fans, which is the primary purpose of blogging. In fact it is a turn off, and it works against you.  No one wants to be treated like a robot.

 What today’s luxury consumer is looking for in blog posts is consistent, original valuable information, making them savvier about your marketplace.  They are looking for “insiders” insights, the newest and latest information.  A post that reviews a book written by a local resident as well as an invitation to a reading by the author would be an example of content marketing (pull marketing).  This type of engagement creates subscribers, grows audiences, referrals and a call to you from a potential buyer/seller. 

 

 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: Redefining Luxury in 2012

One of the leading trends in the affluent sector that impacts luxury real estate marketing is the change in how the affluent define luxury.  The affluent are becoming “value masters”, the new badge of smart consumers.  The annual Ipsos Mendelsohn Affluent Survey (by Ad Age) is a nationally representative behavioral study of more than 14,000 adults living in households with at least $100,000 in annual household income.

Value Matters
89% responded “When I decide to purchase a luxury item, I go out of my way to find the best price possible.”
60% responded “Even though the recession is 'officially' over, I am still spending money much more cautiously than I used to.”
 
Quality
78% responded "When it comes to quality, I believe you get what you pay for."
18% responded "I tend to buy based on price, not quality."
 
Online
68% responded "When I go shopping online, I usually know exactly what I want to buy."
64% responded "I regularly read online reviews of products before making an online purchase."
 
Offline
63% responded "When I go shopping in a retail store, I usually know exactly what I want to buy."
47% responded "I regularly read online reviews of products before making a purchase in a retail store."

In buying a luxury home whether as a primary or secondary residence, the new affluent buyer is researching the market place.  With value as the objective rather than the old paradigm of “being able to afford anything I want”, the premium of perceived value (i.e., buying on the “right” street or the “right” neighborhood) does not have the same importance as it once did.   They are also willing to wait for price reductions.    Given the new shift in psycho graphics in the affluent marketplace, how will you adapt as a luxury real estate marketing professional?


   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: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 1/13/2012 at 3:07 PM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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