Tucson, Arizona: A Small, Vibrant and Enchanting City

With 25 years of selling luxury real estate in Tucson, Arizona, Adriana Loschener, Associate Broker of Long Realty Company, has seen the ups and downs of the housing market and how it has affected her marketplace. “We have a very unique market,” Adriana says. “Tucson is surrounded by mountains to the north, east and west. An Indian reservation is to the south of us. Because of this, we don’t have the urban sprawl of other big cities, so our inventory of homes for sale is limited. The luxury properties we currently have for sale will not be available 12 months from now.” 

Adriana notes that Tucson is surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west. An Indian reservation is to the south of us. Because of this, we don’t have the urban sprawl of other big cities, so our inventory of homes for sale is limited. The luxury properties we currently have for sale will not be available 12 months from now.” 

Adriana notes that Tucson is a small, yet vibrant and enchanting, city with many amenities. “You’d be surprised by how much there is to do in Tucson and the surrounding area,” Adriana says. An endless amount of outdoor activities, including golfing, hiking and biking, are favorites among locals and visitors alike, as is the city’s arts and culture scene. Perhaps the most interesting perspective of the city is that many people actually come to Tucson during the “monsoon season,” Adriana says. “You can enjoy a cool, early summer morning, watch the monsoons in the afternoon cool off the Sonoran Desert, and then appreciate the awesome sunsets.”

And when you come for a vacation to the Old Pueblo, there’s a good chance you will want to stay. “People come for a visit to Tucson, fall in love and make it their home,” Adrianna points out. “The housing market in Tucson is growing steadily. Real estate is at a great value, making it a perfect time to buy.”


50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Pristine and serene are words that best describe one of the most beautiful lakes in America. Yet, Lake Couer d’Alene in Idaho is just one of 13 magnificent lakes in a mountainous region that includes the towns of Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint and Hayden Lake. With 5 ski resorts within a short drive of these towns, the area is steadily gaining a reputation for quality of life that is unsurpassed, especially if you enjoy a full range of winter and summer recreational sports.  Located just 30 minutes from Spokane International Airport, the Coeur d’Alene area is not just a destination for vacationers it is a great place to retire or simply call home.

The scenic beauty in the Coeur d’Alene area is absolutely stunning. In fact, Sandpoint was recently named the most beautiful small town in American by USA Today and Rand McNally. Cheri Hyiatt says, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I look outside and something catches my breath. The people are beautiful here, too. There is a real sense of community with people who have a passion for life”.

Karen  Corcoran states,  “As a resort destination, the combination of mountains and lakes in the Coeur d’Alene area has a similar feel to Lake Tahoe in California”. Downtown Coeur d’Alene is a cross between the quaintness of Carmel and the beauty Tahoe. Living here feels like you are perpetually on vacation. The people are genuinely friendly. It started out as more of a retirement community.  But, now it has become more family oriented”.

According to Jan Keener, “Coeur d’Alene Lake is about 28 miles long with over 200 miles of shoreline. If you own a dockside home on the lake you can boat into town. There are wonderful restaurants right on the lake”.

Natalie Leatherman points this out: “One big difference between our area and the alpine resorts of California or Colorado is the lower altitude. You can comfortably go swimming in our lakes and rivers because they are much warmer in the summertime. With warm water and an average temperature of 85 degrees in summer months, boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, river rafting, and fly fishing become that much more enjoyable”.

Bob Schmand adds, “There are no mosquitoes and no poisonous snakes in the area which makes camping and hiking more fun. Golf is also very popular here. The Blackrock Golf Club in nearby Hayden Lake was first made famous by singer/actor Bing Crosby who grew up in Spokane.  The Crosby family still has a home there”.

Coming from a wonderful area in Southern California, Pam Jank can appreciate why people want to move to Coeur d’Alene. She says, “We live where you vacation especially if you are into recreational sports. We even play golf in the winter, “mukluk golf” that is! With snow shoes and tennis balls, we have a great time. People spend less time on freeways and more time doing things like this together here”.

Cindy Bond puts it this way: “Why not live where you can play?  The Coeur d’Alene area is the perfect scenario for those who are looking to get out of a metropolitan area, enjoy their hobbies and interests in great weather and in a safe community. The people who move to Coeur d’Alene as full time residents and those who purchase a second home are focused on enriching their lives. And, they bring the best of where they came from which enriches us all here”.

“One of the best features about living in Coeur d’Alene, according to John Beutler, is the variety of natural and cultural experiences available to you, plus the convenience of being close to a major city. While you are only ten minutes from the national forest you can reach Spokane, a metropolis of 500,000 people, in a half hour”.  Bill Fanning says, “For retirees a big concern about resort living is access to top medical facilities. Spokane has the biggest medical center between Minneapolis and Seattle”.

According to Sarah Mitchell, “The natural beauty of our area attracts artists and we do have a strong local art community.  It is like you ‘live in a painting’. We have ‘art walks’ in both Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene where the galleries stay open at night. We have art in public places, too. You may find a statue of a moose or a bicycle rack that resembles a fork and spoon. There is a very cosmopolitan feeling; I find that people in general here are well read and well traveled”.

What Christy & Randy Oetken appreciate the most about living in Coeur d’Alene is this:  “Simplicity of life!  People in our community are ready to help each other. It is simply less stressful to live 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. 


Luxury Real Estate Website Design: 7 Components of an “Authoritative” Website

So much attention has been paid to get website visitors to find you, but what is going to keep them on your site and keep them coming back so you can capture their leads? In marketing luxury real estate online your website should give the visitor a strong level of confidence that you are the expert, the authority in your field.  Visitors should feel like they do not need to look any further once they have discovered your site because they have found the most authoritative website in your marketplace or the niche in which you focus.

"Authoritativeness” is also one of the criteria used by Google in the page ranking system. They simply want to match the user with the expert who can best answer the user’s query.  The more the user is satisfied with the answers the more often they will come back to Google for search, and that means more eyeballs for the ads they sell.

Here are 7 components that comprise a successful authoritative website:

  1. An interactive “brochure” about you or your company that gives an immediate positive first impression.   Your portfolio of sold homes, especially if it is extensive, can quickly establish your authoritativeness.
  2. A strong marketing message in words and graphics that instantly sets you apart from your competition and demonstrates that you are the expert
  3. A  user- friendly self-service environment that is easy to navigate
  4. A window to the lifestyle of your marketplace
  5. Original content, content that no one else has
  6. Content beyond just real estate information that offers compelling reasons to keep coming back to your site, especially for local visitors, those who are not currently in the market to buy or sell. These are your potential referral sources beyond just your immediate sphere of influence
  7.  Remarkable content that sparks word-of-mouth advertising and builds an audience of raving fans.

If market leadership is your quest, building the most authoritative website in your marketplace or niche therein is of paramount importance.  But, website visitors are becoming savvier.  If you do not instantly differentiate yourself or your company from your competition and offer original content that is engaging your chances of capturing the all important lead is reduced significantly.  

 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. 


Fabulous Florida

Florida has seemingly endless possibilities with its gentle climate, booming business opportunities, major attractions, and diverse year-round recreational activities; you can be sure that you will always have something to do in the Sunshine State. And whether you’re seeking a spacious family home, a waterfront property, or an intimate and secluded environment, Florida has options that will perfectly suit your taste and lifestyle. Florida’s stretch of beaches, theme parks, golf courses, and many other famous attractions are always available when you want them. If you’re the type who likes to avoid the crowds, the Sunshine State also offers plenty of carefully preserved places to explore, such as its beautiful state parks, estuaries, natural springs, hiking and bike trails, and greenways.

Whether you want to come to Florida to vacation or live, the striking diversity of coastal and inland lifestyle choices will surely impress. 

 

BONITA SPRINGS

Located on the southwest coast of Florida, Bonita Springs is considered one of the most beautiful 0laces to live in America. “Some of Bonita Springs’ charm lies in its season-less, sub-tropical climate,” says Barry DeNicola Sr., a proud resident of the city, an established broker, and the owner of Barry DeNicola Realty. This translates to warm weather with cool breezes nearly all year long for its residents.

If you find yourself evading the cold by day and dreaming of ideal climate by night, this area could be a perfect fit. From 20 somethings to business professionals, families to retirees, Bonita Springs has quickly become a destination for many lifestyles because of everything it has to offer.

From a housing standpoint, Barry happily says property sales have increased by 40 percent this year and that his company closed the year with its best figures since 2006. “With the increase in sales, there has been a group in available property,” Barry says. “Now is the best time to come enjoy the perks of Bonita Springs, a city that puts the ‘sunshine’ in the Sunshine State!”

OCALA

As an equestrian’s utopia, Ocala is well known for its bucolic farms, horse ranches and estates surrounded by Marion Country’s rolling hills. Ocala’s climate celebrates warm weather, clear skies and just enough cold or rainy days to make its residents truly appreciate how beautiful the area really is all year round.

With easy travel to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, residents can take advantage of the coastal recreations that have attracted so many to the Sunshine State. Ocala also offers a number of other popular outdoor activities, such as tail hiking, road and mountain biking, and golf. Of course, it’s the full gamut of equine disciplines that make Ocala a paradise for horse enthusiasts. These activities include polo, thoroughbred racing, jumping, mounted shooting, dressage, carriage riding, and cross-country events.

                Ocala further offers a warm and friendly downtown area with superb restaurants and retail establishments. The city’s diverse, multi-faceted community also boasts fantastic artistic and cultural offerings, such as art galleries, theaters and even a symphony orchestra Ocala’s resident’s can also enjoy a calendar year’s worth of social gatherings, benefits, and a slew of other well-attended events.

Though there are ample reasons to live in Ocala, it’s “the people who really help distinguish this city from any other,” according to local realtor, Joan Pletcher. Joan exclaims that the city’s residents are very friendly and are “always willing to welcome someone new into the neighborhood.” Her advice? Experience Ocala’s intimate, “small town feel” for yourself!

WINDERMERE

The quaint town of Windermere offers some of the most exclusive, architecturally appealing real estate in all of Central Florida. Windermere is nearly placed amongst the Butler Chain of Lakes, providing an unrivalled view of the natural landscapes. A prime setting is just one of the reasons this town commands some of the most sought-after waterfront properties in all of Florida.

An example of the town’s exquisite lakefront properties would be the Villa Paradiso. “Designed with unprecedented architectural mastery, this waterfront estate celebrates Tuscan architecture and commands panoramic views of the famed Lake Butler,” remarks Carol Ann Hewitt, broker at Oxford Realty, Inc.

Windermere is part of the greater Orlando area, which Carol Ann describes as the “playground” of Florida. The small town is tucked away in the southwest region of Orange Country, with Disney and all of Orlando’s fabulous attractions only 15 minutes away.

Unlike some popular destinations in the Sunshine State, Windermere has achieved a harmonious balance of modern-world amenities and historic charm. Avoiding over-zealous development, the town has preserved its authentic roots, ensuring the town’s quaint character for future generations to come. If you are looking for lush landscapes, waterfront living, and proximity to world-renown family attractions, Windermere is a town not to miss.


Luxury Real Estate Web Design: Information Overload?

You may have heard the phrase, “sticky website” bandied about.   It has to do with the time a website visitor says on your website during a given visit.  The stickier the site the more time they spend there and the more chance you have for capturing their lead which is important if you want to gain or sustain market leadership as a luxury real estate marketing professional. But, is there point where providing too much information is detrimental to your success?

Content rich websites are sticky to the extent they offer compelling information.  But, how much information should you provide? It is possible to overwhelm your visitor with too much content.  The key is to find the best balance for your target market.  Compelling information is important, but compelling them to reach for more by contacting you is even more important. 

Get the idea of feeling satiated after a good meal at a fine restaurant. Any more food beyond that point is an overdose.  Now, get the idea of how you felt when the waiter brought you the dessert menu and offered you a choice of coffee or an after dinner drink.  You were not satiated, yet.  The meal was awesome up to that point and you wanted just a bit more. That is the point you want to achieve in terms of the amount of information on your website.

If you are a Monty Python fan you may have seen the film, “The Meaning of Life”. There is a scene in a French restaurant with an enormous man, Mr. Creosote, who is a glutton. The waiter offers him “one more petit four” and he literally explodes. 

Think of Mr. Creosote, when it comes to de-cluttering your website and finding just the right balance of information that keeps your visitors hungry for more.  That is an important factor to consider for a luxury real estate website, if you want to capture more leads.

 

  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. 


Vail’s Home of Homes

“Only the finest materials were selected for this astonishing 4,000+ square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath home,” says Tye Stockton, owner/broker with Ascent Sotheby’s International Realty. “No photo or single view can fully describe the splendor of 54 Beaver Dam Road.” This architectural masterpiece in Vail, Colorado, was painstakingly designed by its owners and master architect, Michael Suman, to incorporate luxurious finishes and details inside and out. The property boasts indigenous Colorado Buff stone and copper accents on the façade, Douglas-fir ceilings, a “Telluride Gold” stone-clad fireplace, European ash flooring, and rich cherry-wood walls and custom cabinetry throughout. 

The prestigious residence also features a dramatic outdoor living space, overlooking Gore Creek with panoramic views of the majestic Gore Range in the Rocky Mountains. One of the county’s quintessential mountain resort towns, Vail offers exception skiing and riding, thanks to the average winter snowfall of more than 360 inches annually. The warmer seasons are equally beautiful with average summertime temperatures in the 70s and low 80s and little to no humidity. The fall brings amazing opportunities for watching the leaves change colors with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop.

“With over $1.5 billion in public and private upgrades in Vail in the past six years, we offer the best combination of on-mountain and off-mountain options and amenities,” explains Tye. “A new sit-down option at Mid-Vail Dining Court, Elway’s steak house, Matsuhisha and Sweet Basil, gives residents and visitors a range of fine dining options.

Impressive are the finely crafted details, such as the in-floor lighting beneath the stone entryway, backlit green onyx in the main-level bathroom and “book-matched” lava granite backsplash in the kitchen. “ The rare combination of the home’s in-town location, creek-side setting, spectacular mountain views, outdoor space with fire pit and plunge pool, and some of the best finishes and technology available today,” says Tye, “make this home one of the most coveted addresses in Vail.” 

54 Beaver Dam Road – Vail, Colorado


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Featured Property: Hill Country Magnificence

Near San Antonio, Texas

 

Rarely does a luxury property become available that you can develop exactly as you wish-without having to start from the ground up. Such is the case for 533 U.S. Highway 87, a ranch near Boerne, Texas. With five dwellings-a main house, a lodge, a guesthouse, a cabin, and a lake house-located on more than 255 acres, this ranch can become whatever you want it to be.

“533 U.S. Highway 87 is everything you could imagine,” says Debra James of KW Luxury International. “The diversity of use is incredible. It could so easily work as a family compound, a corporate or religious retreat, an exclusive high-end hunting lease, a sports camp, or an equestrian property.” 

For anyone who enjoys a vacation getaway, there’s enough space to create a landing strip for airplanes, and four of five dwellings are already full furnished. For the athlete, it’s an absolute dreamland. On the property you’ll find an indoor sports complex, indoor clay and hard surface tennis courts, an indoor basketball court, three outdoor grass tennis courts, indoor and outdoor volleyball courts, two indoor fitness centers, a batting and pitching cage, a putting green, an archery range, and a diving pool. For avid outdoors enthusiasts, 213 acres are high-fenced for exotic game, while a seven-acre lake, fed by active springs, is stocked with bass, catfish, and hybrid perch.

Multiple water wells, with elaborate water conservation and catchment systems, are notable features of the property. “Having this much land with this much live water is a big deal,” Debra says, noting that water development is crucial for a property of this scale.

 

And if you find yourself wanting a different atmosphere after enjoying the ranch, San Antonio is only 45 minutes away. There you can explore the Riverwalk – the number one tourist attraction in Texas with the finest hotels, renowned restaurants, art galleries and theatre venues, featuring beautiful Moorish and German architecture dating back to the late 18th century.

 


Luxury Real Estate Personal and Company Branding: Is Your Slogan on Point?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional you can distinguish yourself from the competition with a great slogan.  The slogan is effective when you can distill in a few words the essence of your brand.  How are you distinct from your competition?

In the highly competitive world of auto insurance, there are many slogans.  One company is expressing its unique promise of value using this slogan:  “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”  Here is Mercury Auto Insurance’s slogan: “It takes more than a good neighbor to save you money!”

State Farm is promising neighborly personal service when you have a claim.  That is nice. Isn’t that what is expected from any insurance company?  Mercury Auto Insurance is saying that they are not just a good neighbor, they also save you money. Being a good neighbor is important, but isn’t it more important to save you money?   

In the smaller competitive world of Farmers’ Markets in Central and Southern California, one of the growers has this slogan, “No baloney just vegetables”. In a venue full of organic vegetables, fruit, etc, this has no validity except for expressing a sense of humor.  

A slogan has to be so compelling that in an instant it can communicate its value.  In women’s shoes Donald Pliner has a slogan which distinguishes his brand from other shoes made in Italy:  “Made in the Mountains of Italy”, which evokes an instant emotional response:  the notion of craftsmanship and attention to detail in a small town rather than in an industrial city such as Milan.

What is great about all the slogans mentioned here is the brevity of their communication.  The key is getting the entire value proposition condensed into just a few words.  That is the art of slogan writing which is what we strive in our strategic branding practice.

 

   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. 


Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Purchases Maui Property

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, Aerosmith lead singer and American Idol judge, Steven Tyler, bought an oceanfront home on the exclusive South Maui coast. Makena is also said to have other notable owners from the entertainment world such as Jennifer Aniston, and Clint Eastwood and Oprah, and from the financial luminaries including Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Mr. Tyler's new abode is 2 bedroom / 3.5 bathroom Makena home on 1/4 acre, which was originally offered at $6.495M but sold for $4.8M (one of the best values in Makena real estate). Featuring over 3,000 square feet of interior space boasting a floor-to-ceiling aquarium, the interior is seemlessly paired with 1,400 square feet of covered outdoor living space, showcasing a very distinctive 'Old Hawaii' feel to it reminiscent of Hawaii's rich history. A salt-water pool overlooking the ocean provides the ideal setting for outdoor entertaining and relaxation. It also enjoys a very unique location on a promontory, surrounding the property on 3 sides by the ocean.

For the fortunate few qualified buyers who are interested in enjoying a life of luxury in the ultimate island setting, the Makena and Wailea real estate will offer among the best options in the world.

This blog post was contributed by Alex Cortez, a Realtor with Island Sotheby’s International Realty, specializing in Wailea Luxury Condominiums.


Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Say “Audi-os” to Vampires

 

One of the best venues to understand the marketing arena is by watching the Super Bowl.  The Super Bowl reaches over 90 million viewers, and   the advertisers’ intent is to generate “buzz”, and to firmly establish their position in the marketplace.  As luxury real estate marketing and brand strategy consultants, we pay close attention to how luxury purveyors are differentiating themselves in their arena.

Luxury car makers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and now Audi are competing for eyeballs during the time outs of the most watched football events of the year.  In 2011, Audi clearly wanted to continue establishing itself as the “new” luxury car.  Its message was, “escape the confines of luxury.”  It showed wealthy people imprisoned (prison with gold bars) by their old standards of a chauffeur driven Mercedes and listening to Kenny G.  This commercial translated into measurable post game sales.

This year Audi has turned to vampires. In its commercial, a vampire driving his Audi S7 on his way to join his vampire friends drinking blood cocktails in the woods around a bonfire. As he approaches the grounds, he eliminates all his buddies because of the powerful LED headlights.  These lights are according to Audi the closest to daylight.

Check out the Audi Super Bowl Commercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw9ZeXB2uKs&feature=player_embedded

 

Here is what Andrew Lipman, communications manager of Audi had to say about this commercial, “Audi’s upcoming spot puts Audi signature LEDs up against the focal point of today’s most ubiquitous pop culture craze: vampires. As the most-viewed television program of the year, the Super Bowl is one of the best platforms to showcase a brand’s creativity and voice. The S7 is the epitome of luxury.”

 As viewed by Ron Schott, senior strategist at Spring Creek Group, Seattle. “I think this latest campaign is definitely a way for Audi to actually get a little closer with the average consumer during Super Bowl time, I really don’t think it portrays Audi as luxurious .”

This commercial is humorous and entertaining.  However, it does not communicate with the luxury consumer whose interest in vampires is minimal, and who is definitely not the average consumer.  Will the luxury buyer buy the epitome of luxury to kill vampires? 

This is a clear case of competing on features rather than differentiating yourself from the competition.  Mercedes already has LED lights around its headlights.  LED lights are not a unique feature, and installing enough of them to mimic daylight is not a differentiator.

As luxury real estate marketing professionals it is important not to depart to stay the course of your position (stay in your niche), and to compete on your fundamental difference (not features) in the marketplace.


   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. 

 

 


Living on the Water: The Luxury and Enjoyment of Coastal Ownership

 

For some tropical waterfront homeowners, living by the water affords an endless variety of activities and sights to behold-fishing, boating, bird watching, sailing, kayaking, swimming, and surfing.

For others, coastal living equates to a quiet refuge, a place to escape and connect with nature.

THE BAHAMAS

 

Take a quick 40-mile trip south from Florida, and you’ll reach a 700-island country unlike any other: the Bahamas.

“We have a monopoly on our location to the United States,” says Colin Lightbourn of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty in the Bahamas. “The Bahamas will always have an appealing location because of its proximity to the United States. You don’t have to go too far from home to reach paradise.”

The Bahamas and its capital, Nassau, has become a popular destination for travelers looking for the ultimate island getaway, but recently, many affluent buyers are looking for more than just travel. They’re investing in the island’s undiscovered rural areas for business and the niche luxury real estate markets were the property values are going up, Colin notes. “An investor recently purchased a private island for $100 million. It’s an indication that luxury real estate in the Bahamas is still in high demand, despite what’s going on with the worldwide economy.”

In addition, the Bahamian government has done heavy investing to improve the Bahamas, like putting $400 million into Lynden Pindling International Airport, the largest airport of the island, to create a new terminal. The government has also passed multiple legislative acts, including the Hotels Encouragement Act, which gives tax and development incentives to those who decide to build or restore hotels, like buyers from Europe, South America and Canada who have been purchasing boutique hotels throughout the island. And those who do invest can enjoy a tax friendly environment. The Bahamas doesn’t levy taxes on capital gains, corporate earnings, personal income, sales, inheritance or dividends, making it an ideal location to start a business.

But of all the pros of moving to the Bahamas, Colin believes the quality of life is what makes living in the Bahamas so ideal. “If someone wants a beautiful home with a great location and friendly neighbors, the Bahamas is the place to live.”


 

NAPLES

             

 

Naples has its own downtown municipal airport for private jets, which simplifies travel in and out of the city. Bill Earls of John R. Wood Realtors describes neighborhoods such as Port Royal, with entitlements like the world-class yacht basin and beach club which boast extensive docks and luxurious ships along Naples trend setting coast. The quaint, 1920s charm of Old Naples boasts exquisite shopping, dining and art galleries. Everywhere activity flourishes in this low-density, well-designed community.

                It’s no wonder that Naples is a top retirement choice for many captains of industry. With its eclectic mix of beautiful homes-ranging from custom compounds to Mediterranean, French and British Colonial styles-Naples offers one of the most desirable locations in Florida to purchase luxury real estate.

 

FORT LAUDERDALE


 

 

 

With its beautiful setting, cultural attractions and 300 miles of winding intracoastal waterways, Fort Lauderdale has earned the reputation as the “Venice of America” The south Florida city, acclaimed for its Mediterranean-inspired architecture, clean white beaches and sophistication, has drawn savvy international and domestic investors who appreciate the city as a haven for enjoying friends and family.

Boasting weather in the upper ‘70s to low ‘80s from November to April, Fort Lauderdale is one of the world’s yachting capitals, perfect for fishing and enjoying water sports on the Atlantic Ocean. Fort Lauderdale’s residents also enjoy the convenience of nearby executive and commercial airports, as well as easy access to the Broward Performing Arts center, the Fort Lauderdale Art Museum, and a wealth of fine dining and shopping. Luxury homes within the city often boast distinctive features, such as outdoor summer kitchens and open-air living areas to grace beautiful, custom resort-style pool areas which take full advantage of Fort Lauderdale’s balmy, tropical climate.

As Julie Jones, Associate Broker at Premier Estate Properties, explains, “Fort Lauderdale is truly a stunning city, with the waterways and beaches. It is clean and safe, constantly improving and are-inventing itself even during these recessionary times.” She adds, “just visit and see the mega yachts behind the waterfront mansions, and you can be assured that this is a great place to live!”

SOUTH BEACH



 

South Beach, Miami is best described as having something for everyone, no matter their age or interests. Known to the locals as SoBe, it is located at the southernmost tip of the main barrier island in the beautiful sunshine state, Florida. Whether you’re looking for tranquility, spectacular beaches, or just some excitement, South Beach is the perfect place for you. One of the best aspects of South Beach is that everything you would possibly want is close at hand.

Living in South Beach is like having your own personal looking glass into the different cultures and diverse people of the area. There are multiple emerging districts developing at a rapid pace, yet this changing landscape only adds to the multi-faceted appeal of South Beach, Diane Lieberman of South Beach Investment Realty says, “This is a world-class sophisticated neighborhood and is one of the most exciting places in the world.”

In addition to its famous beaches, South Beach offers exceptional dining, beautiful architecture, an exciting and energetic nightclub scene, relaxing spas, and many fashionable boutiques. It’s also home to the highly acclaimed New World Symphony. Diane adds, “South Beach is a fun place to live and work, and it seems that it just keeps getting better and better!”


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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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