Las Vegas, Nevada took one of the hardest – if not, the hardest – hits when the housing bubble burst. While some Las Vegas real estate businesses went under, Lee
. Medick and her high-end firm, Luxury Estates Collection, stayed afloat. “When markets are tough, that’s when I increase my print exposure,” Lee told us in an exclusive interview. “In troubling times, people like to hold something in their hands. There’s something tangible about flipping the page and seeing the beautiful photos – it’s the tactile magic of print.”
duPont REGISTRY™: Give us a snapshot of the high-end market in Las Vegas and how it is changing.
Lee M. Riseman: When the country’s economy began its freefall, Las Vegas braced itself as elegantly as it could while its housing market took a showgirl stage tumble. Now, four years later, Vegas is rebounding. Homes are on the market fewer days. We’re seeing cleaner offers and quicker closes. In the $1M+ home market, it’s mostly cash. With inventory lowering and savvy investors gobbling up inventory, the time to buy is now. I can’t emphasize this enough.
How has the web changed the buying and selling of high-end properties?
First of all, 92 percent of the buyers in today’s market have researched their home on the internet and have a good knowledge of the market before they pick up the phone. This allows me to better understand their requirements, including the neighborhoods and specific properties that will fit the family’s lifestyle. Today’s home buyers are smart. They typically come to me with three or four homes in mind. This allows me to be efficient. My client’s time is valuable. Everyone wants a smooth process. The more efficient I am, the more confidence I instill.
What do you say to a home buyer who is on the fence about making an offer?
I usually start by saying, “Let’s step back and look at the big picture. What do you want in a house?” Homes are an emotional purchase. So I start with an emotional appeal – why I think this a great house for them. But then I back up emotions with facts, facts, and more facts by providing statistics that reveal why they are in a strong position to make an offer. I know it’s emotional for the buyer, but I see their concerns as an asset. I want to be sure I am making the best deal for them. Statistics put things in context. Every seven years, for example, markets take a dip. Understanding the market – the cycles – can help buyers feel more confident about making an offer
What do you say to sellers who want to price their home too high?
This is a delicate issue. I might say, “If you had approached me three years ago, and we were having this discussion about the value of your home, you would have been spot on. However, I need to show you similar homes in your market, what they have sold for recently, specifically in your neighborhood.” Then I’ll walk them through the original listing prices and what the final sales prices were for those houses. When you know the local market, you can set expectations for what the market will bear. Here’s something I live by: List to sit on the market, or to sell now!
What questions and concerns do prospective clients typically bring to you, and how do you win their confidence?
Again, it’s a blend of the emotions and logic. When I am talking to a prospective buyer or seller, I always sprinkle in a few of my recent sales to validate what I say. Right then, I put my clients at ease.
What new approaches does it take to be a successful luxury Realtor today?
Luxury Estates Collection has developed a team approach pulling exclusive high-end Realtors and combining their talents to best service the $1M+ market. With our top-producing agents worldwide, Luxury Estates Collection offers buyer/celebrity representation, an e-marketing guru, a professional writer, a commercial development specialist, and a contracts-and-negotiation veteran.
You’ve been highly successful at marketing yourself and your firm. What is your strategy?
Exceptional homes require exceptional marketing. A real estate firm needs to stay relentlessly consistent with its message, online and in print. Marketing is all about repetition and looking for the unique selling proposition. If you keep visible with a strong message, then you’re going to get a call when a prospect sees the ad and the timing’s right. When markets are tough, that’s when I increase my print exposure. In troubling times, people like to hold something in their hands. There’s something tangible about flipping the page and seeing the beautiful photos – it’s the tactile magic of print.
Why do you advertise with the duPont REGISTRY™?
Because the duPont REGISTRY A Buyers Gallery of Fine Homes® works! Last month, a client called and wanted me to list his home. When we got together, I asked him what prompted his call. He showed me a copy of your magazine and thumped it down on the table. “I love this magazine,” he said. “And I want you to list my house.”
This is one great reason to love the duPont REGISTRY™, but there’s more to it. To sell luxury homes, I need to reach beyond the Las Vegas market. I need to find the wider audience, nationally and internationally. With the duPont REGISTRY™, the research and homework are done for me. If I want to hit a specific luxury market, I know the magazine will get in front of the right people. That’s very important. I also like the fact that the duPont REGISTRY™ thinks outside the box. You take the homes magazine to luxury car and boat shows. Celebrities read it. It goes into locker rooms and airport lounges.
In the end, it’s the return – the bang for the buck – that keeps me coming back to the duPont REGISTRY™. When you are looking at a beautiful ad, you can get lost in the moment. That’s powerful. On the internet, there’s a lot more competition for a prospect’s attention. Of course, I also do online advertising to complement our ads with the duPont REGISTRY™.
Thinking about how you have built your business, what are you most proud about?
Luxury Estates has a strong reputation. We’re respected in the industry. In recent trying times, we’ve perfected our unique business model. We’re a real estate brokerage – our mission is the quality, not quantity, of listings. For international coverage, we take a team approach. We can pick up the phone and call someone in Chicago or Cancun. I uniquely package and show the homes I represent. I know everything there is to know – even the invisible things like the air filtration systems.
I just picked up another celebrity listing. We discussed what sells, what doesn’t sell. It was all very straightforward, and we got along fabulously. That combination of personal attention and local knowledge is what builds the relationship – and ultimately builds the business.
What keeps you motivated when times are particularly tough?
I love my job. Every day the phone rings, it’s a thrill. My motivation is a result of the power of positive thinking… that’s where it all starts.