How top agents sell elite properties

When Sydney Sotheby’s International Reality Managing Director Michael Pallier listed this Point Piper waterfront mansion, he took an approach to marketing that was as unique as the property itself.

Edgewater, on Wolseley Rd, sold for an eye-watering $95 million, showing it was a was a marketing approach that worked, and should be applied to most elite sales, according to Mr Pallier.

“The first thing to remember when selling high-end properties, is that both the buyers and the sellers are normally very private,” Mr Pallier said.

“You can’t make the sale too public, so you can’t do open for inspections, you have to do private inspections instead.

“We often won’t put a sign board out the front either.”

While high quality sales agents often have similar skills regardless of the value of the properties they sell, when it comes to extremely high value homes, Mr Pallier says a special set of skills is required.

The most important traits? Discretion, trust, and patience.

“People won’t deal with you again if you’re not discrete,” Mr Pallier said.

“Patience is also required, as expensive properties can take a long time to sell.

“And finally, trust. Often there are expensive paintings and all sorts of valuable items inside these homes.”

Edgewater, on Wolseley Rd, Point Piper, has sparkling Sydney Harbour views.

That’s why you need to be able to effectively identify authentic buyers.

“A lot of people will want to come through to get design or architecture ideas,” Mr Pallier said.

“So, you need to be able to say no to more people than you say yes to.”

You’ll also need extensive product knowledge. Regardless of your buyer’s wealth, when you’re asking them to spend extraordinary amounts of money, you need to be able to justify it.

“These properties are very unique and aren’t always easy to value,” Mr Pallier said.

You need to be able to hold your ground, because sometimes buyers will want to push you down on price.

“But if they know it’s not going to happen, they’ll often pay the price.”

The impact of COVID-19 on elite sales

With Covid lockdowns restricting interstate or international buyers from viewing potential properties, the ability to sell high-end properties sight-unseen was a must, The Agency’s Ben Collier said.

That’s exactly what he did when he sold 1 Bronte Marine Drive, Bronte, breaking the suburb’s record by almost $5.5 million.

“This was a house bought for $8 million. The owners painted it, that’s it, then sold it for $23.388 million, effectively tripling his money in five years,” Mr Collier said.

1 Bronte Marine Drive, Bronte, sold for $23.388 million.

According to Mr Collier, the key to being able to facilitate such an expensive purchase, without an in-person viewing is high quality photography and marketing.

“Up until now, potential buyers haven’t had the benefit of being able to jump on a plane and purchase something,” Mr Collier said.

“They’re having to make huge commercial decisions sight unseen, so the quality of the video and photos is paramount.

“I’m surprised how little emphasis some agents place on strategy when it comes to the quality of their marketing, and how that’s perceived by the market.

“Every touch point needs to be at the same level or quality of the home that you’re trying to sell.

“For example, the photography of Bronte Marine Drive was a three day process – we got there at 5am in the morning and captured the various elements of that house throughout the entire day, for three days.”

Think outside the box

Pillinger’s agent Brad Pillinger, who has sold numerous $25 million-plus properties, said agents should take a unique and tailored approach to marketing high-end properties.

“Each property is different, each owner unique, mostly the owners are highly successful people who bring a lot to the table in ideas for their home,” Mr Pillinger said.

“Inevitably the initial strategy is to correctly privately approach select buyers who we know both have the capacity and desire to purchase that style of home. From there either a sale is made, or an approach develops.”

Mr Pillinger said while traditional methods were often employed in the end, broader thinking was definitely required in the early stages of an elite home’s sales process.

“Outside the square thinking is the go-to,” he said.

“To be a successful agent at this part of the market, thinking things through before acting is important.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a freelance journalist for Elite Agent.