How We Sold It: Malumba Estate

Not just any old marketing campaign will do when the home you’re selling is worth many millions. You have to know your target market, present the home perfectly and cast a net wide enough to generate interest from multiple buyers. Next Property Group agent Melissa Schembri explains how she did just that to get the best result possible for her vendors when selling Malumba Estate.

When Melissa Schembri sells a property, she focuses on three essential elements.

First, she ensures every property, regardless of value, is presented in its best light.

She uses the best photographers and videographers and takes particular care to get the home’s styling just right.

“I do everything I possibly can to nail the presentation,” Melissa explains.

Secondly, the Next Property Group agent formulates the ideal pricing strategy based on her vendor’s needs, the uniqueness of the property and market conditions.

“Sometimes we put a price on it; sometimes we go to auction,” she says.

“It just depends on the property.”

But it’s the final element that has the biggest opportunity to create competition for a property and improve the result for the seller.

“You have to nail the promotion, which is the marketing,” Melissa says.

“I want to send out as broad a net as possible because the more buyers you have, the more competition you create, and the more competition you create, the better the result you can generate for the seller.”

That’s exactly the formula Melissa used to sell Malumba Estate at Buderim on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Set on 10 lovely acres, just minutes from Mooloolaba Beach, the Box St property sold for $17 million to Brisbane philanthropist Alex Sekler.

Melissa and the vendors used News Corp Australia to run a print campaign in The Courier-Mail and Mansion Australia magazine, which is distributed monthly with The Weekend Australian.

They also ran a digital campaign using News Xtend Property Marketing Prestige.

“If you’ve got a multi-million dollar property, you’ve got to be spending a few tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, on marketing,” Melissa says.

“It’s got to match the calibre of the property.

“You don’t do a quarter-page for this type of property; you do at least a full page or a double page.”

1. List the property

Initially listed with another agent, Melissa was called in to sell the estate when the vendors, who were her personal friends, failed to get the desired outcome the first time around.

“I’d also been smashing some Sunshine Coast records, so they asked me to sell the property,” Melissa explains.

The property sold in just eight weeks, with multiple parties fighting it out.

It’s not hard to see why the estate was so highly sought after, with it once being considered as the home of a five-star resort.

While that didn’t eventuate, it has been rented out for holidays, events, filming and photoshoots.

Features include a Hampton’s-style residence with sweeping ocean views that take in the white sands of Moreton Island and beyond to the Glass House Mountains.

There are three luxurious bedrooms with water-cut marble ensuites, a gourmet kitchen with a butler’s pantry that looks as though it belongs in the pages of Vogue, multiple living rooms and outdoor entertaining decks, a self-contained guest suite and a north-facing mineralised pool.

Fittings and fixtures include oak parquetry flooring, French doors, grand fireplaces and an infrared sauna. There’s also a 240sq m events building.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful property,” Melissa says.

2. Marketing the property

Melissa says her marketing strategy always takes a three-pronged approach, starting with advertising on the main property portals.

But she says it’s not enough just to advertise on those platforms as buyers for high-end properties such as Malumba Estate are often not actively in the market.

“At that level, sometimes people aren’t necessarily actively looking for a new home, but when they see something that really captures their heart, they go for it,” Melissa explains.

With this in mind, Melissa says it’s important to diversify your marketing options.

“You need to have your foundation on the main property portals to capture the active buyers and then you want to also have some digital display ads on top of that,” she says.

“Then you also want to have print on top of that. 

“You also want to use social media as well, because the broader your net, the more people you have, the more people you have, the more competition you create, the more competition you create, the higher the result.”

3. The digital campaign

The digital campaign for Malumba Estate included social media advertising on Facebook and Instagram as well as display advertising on News Corp Australia’s news and lifestyle websites. 

Google Search Ads were also used, with potential buyers seeing the property when they typed in key search terms.

All of the ads then pointed back to a dedicated website set up specifically for the estate, which featured Next Property Group’s branding.

This is a key part of the digital strategy as the user’s attention is focused on the estate without other competing properties interrupting their experience.  

“What the digital campaign does is follow the buyer around,” Melissa says.

“So if you look at the property on one news or lifestyle website, it then pops up on other sites or articles, so the buyer is seeing it multiple times.

“This is known as retargeting and it’s really good for exposure.”

Melissa notes there’s one school of thought that says high-end buyers won’t come from social media, but she’s sold more than a few properties through two degrees of separation.

“It’s important to get as much exposure as you can for a property as you just never know who will know, and who’s connected to, someone who is looking for a property like this,” she says.

4. The print campaign

The print campaign for Malumba Estate included a full page ad in the Coast & Country section of the real estate lift-out in The Courier Mail and a full page ad in Mansion Australia magazine.

Melissa says the print campaign was focused on casting a ‘wide net’ for high-end buyers, with Mansion Australia targeting those on a national basis.

“With a property of Malumba’s magnitude, you need to cover all bases, which is why we use a selection of marketing mediums,” Melissa says.

Melissa said the key to creating eye-catching print ads is selecting the right “hero” image, which ended up being the shot of the helicopter in front of the sprawling residence and lush green garden backdrop.

“It was the most agonising decision to work out which one was going to be the hero shot and which one was going to attract the buyer,” she explains.

“We settled on the helicopter photos for Mansion Australia magazine because it brings prestige to the property, and it certainly did grab people’s attention.”

In fact, it grabbed the buyer’s attention, with the new owner spotting the ad in the magazine.

5. The vendors and the buyers

The vendors were Heidi Meyer and Kim Caroll, with The Courier-Mail reporting after the property sold that it had development approval to turn the property into a resort.

That plan didn’t come to fruition, and Melissa said the new owners were actively looking for their next luxury home.

They plan to live at the amazing property and enjoy its features, which include extensive entertaining decks surrounding the residence, including an extended champagne deck that’s perfect for race day lunches, and a spring-fed dam to enjoy a picnic by.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.

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