Sellers of Luxury Homes Don’t Have The Luxury Of Waiting Until Summer To Sell
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If you have a luxury home to sell, it should be on the market right now.
That strong advice comes from Elaine Beck, a real estate professional affiliated with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services’ Homes of Distinction division that spotlights homes for sale over $1 million. Beck, with the real estate company’s Hudson office, said the luxury market really begins in January when re-location clients start searching for high-end properties.
“So many people want to wait until the flowers bloom to list their home, but we start seeing buyers after the Super Bowl,” said Beck. “I always say that’s when the husband gets off the couch to help look for a house. By June 75 percent of our market is sold.”
A number of northeast Ohio real estate companies officially consider a luxury home in this region as one priced at $750,000 and above. Beck prefers to give the description to homes at the $1 million mark and above, although there are many houses, she says, that are “certainly lovely” below that figure.
Sellers of luxury properties must have really suffered in 2020 when the pandemic played havoc with the real estate industry and our lives, right? Not necessarily.
“I was surprised,” admitted Beck. “We sold more high-end homes from $750,000 to $2 to $3 million in 2020 than we did the year before. The purchase price per square foot was also higher in 2020. But the square feet of luxury homes was about the same as was the number of days the house was on the market.”
Beck puts buyers of luxury homes in the market region in two categories: discretionary buyers and metropolitan transplants. Discretionary buyers may already live in a community that they love, along with its schools and the attractive housing stock. But the pandemic has hit everyone, and Beck says even the well-off can find their relatively large homes a bit cramped when two home offices are needed and the kids need better places to study and play indoors. Also, these families may have second or vacation homes, but they aren't going there now.
Buyers coming to Northeast Ohio come from metropolitan areas, including California, Chicago and New York, may be returning to where they grew up and want a calmer, safer lifestyle for their families, according to Beck. They are telling the kids “grandma and grandpa will be there and we’ll have a whole new lifestyle.”
“These buyers are used to higher prices and they are paying that for luxury homes. They are looking for even more in a home than the discretionary buyer is. It’s not that the discretionary buyer doesn’t want a big patio, or pool or screened in porch. But metro buyers take it to a different level,” she said.
Real estate experts say sellers of luxury properties need to really target qualified buyers. Working with agents who specialize in this market and who already have impressive connections can speed the process. Other advice includes highlighting unusual amenities to set the luxury property apart in the listings of other million dollar plus homes. Pools? Gyms? Horse stables? Ten-car garage? “Everyone” has those in this market. But if the house has a professional grade observatory for night star gazing or a wall-to-ceiling aquarium filled with jellyfish, that’s more interesting.
And most of us are pushovers for properties that are named, including the most expensive. After seeing 20 houses, the one on Peaceful Acres or named Fire in the Sky may stand out more (or at least be more easily remembered) than those with just an address. Luxury real estate specialists like to create a brand or personality for each property. That idea can be used to create a comprehensive marketing strategy for listings and marketing.
Of course, luxury living means different things to different people. Luxury buyers can pretty much buy a variety of lifestyles they want in northeast Ohio - if they find what they are looking for during this period of low inventory.
Recently Howard hanna offered a 3.99-acre horse farm in Valley View for $2,800,000. Keller Williams Chervenic showed a brick and stone home built in 1997 on six acres in a gated community in Richfield for $1,469,000. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty (formerly Stouffer Realty) presented a 9,000-square-foot Nantucket-style inspired home in Bath’s Crystal Shores neighborhood listed for $1,795,000. In addition, Street Sotheby’s International Realty reduced several times the 2019 $8,650,000 asking price for a mansion built in 1927 on three acres in Akron to $2,950,000 in 2020. The estate, located on Twin Oaks Rd., is the former estate of Harvey S. Firestone, Jr.
One of the most expensive homes for sale in Ohio is a five-bedroom, five-bath home that features a theater and pub on 33 acres in Loveland. As of last month, it was offered for $5.8 million by Ownerland Realty.
If buyers are seeking a luxury condo and townhouse life on Lake Erie, 700 Lake in Rocky River should do the trick. The 25 one-floor condos and eight three-floor townhouses developed by Brickhaus Partners are scheduled to be ready for occupancy January 2022. Townhomes begin at $765,000 and feature 2,000 to 2,2000 square feet and living space. Condos start at $1.3 million and range from 2,200 to 3,600 square feet, not including their balconies and terraces.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity,” said Kim Crane of Howard Hanna’s Rocky River office, who is handling sales. “700 Lake is fresh and modern. I didn’t think everyone would like the style, but it is timeless and people want change right now. If everything would have been completely built right now, we would have been sold out already.