In March of 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, I sold a home for $15.5 million in Scottsdale, Arizona. Today, it remains one of the highest recorded sales in the state.
Being only 27 years old and having been in the business for just a few years, successfully selling a property at this price point — let alone through a global pandemic — proved to be quite a challenge.
One of the many reasons I got into real estate was for the client interaction and relationship-building. Being able to meet new people at all stages of life and help them find the perfect property that fits their needs is one of the most fulfilling parts of being an agent.
Through my hard work and hard-earned reputation, I gained the opportunity to represent this breakthrough, 15,000-square-foot house in Scottsdale, and in early March of 2020, I put it on the market for $16 million.
Representing a property at this price point comes with its own set of unique difficulties — not to mention the challenge of trying to navigate the process just as in-person activity came to a screeching halt.
The entire business plan and marketing strategy I initially prepared for this property were no longer possible. Not being able to meet in person with clients and potential buyers presented an entirely new challenge.
To best represent this property in this new normal, I formulated innovative approaches to reach potential buyers and showcase activity to my clients. I limited private tours and open houses, and I also avoided the use of any print materials such as flyers, postcards and business cards.
Digital and social media became my main avenue for marketing and successfully selling this incredible property. Here are some important things I learned along the way as well as tips I have for young agents as we continue to navigate and grow in this industry.
1. Go back to basics
Shortly after putting this listing on the market, I quickly readjusted my business plan. I made sure all necessary information about this home was well displayed and easy to search for online.
It is important to share all the basics of the listing and make the information clear and accessible to find. Any marketing materials I had prepared, such as open-house flyers, were now offered virtually and shared across all social media.
Photography proved the most important asset of all. Top-notch imagery and video is the first entry point for people searching listings online. Having a clear, focused listing description, imagery and easy-to-find contact information was essential to successfully marketing a property throughout COVID-19.
2. Get buyers into the home (digitally)
While pivoting my original business plan from in-person to online, it was crucial for me to discover innovative ways to elevate this property on digital and social platforms. I immediately began creating engaging video content, from walk-throughs on TikTok to casual tours on IGTV.
I also developed mini-tours of the neighborhood, highlighting some of the best restaurants, high-ranking schools, parks and outdoor recreation areas, which were very much in high demand at the time. I added this content to e-blasts, personal emails, social media stories and reels.
By developing unique and original footage, consumers sitting at home could experience this incredible property — and even more importantly, its lifestyle from the comfort and safety of their home.
3. Target your audience
Strategically targeting potential buyers in the market for a listing like this is critical in the sales process. Given its price point, the home had a limited pool of buyers. Regardless of how hot the market is, it is still a challenging sale.
I learned the importance of honing in on the psychographics of a buyer of this type of property. Once I did this, I developed targeted, geographic-specific advertising.
For example, this property offered five bedrooms across over 12,000 square feet, with endless entertainment both indoors and out. I targeted buyers in major cities looking to relocate their families during the pandemic.
This property offered ample space for people to work, learn and play from home. I highlighted the incredible entertainer’s level and the sweeping views in my videos, description and virtual tours.
As people flocked from much smaller residences in cities like New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, my well-crafted marketing and ultra-targeted ads received exceptional traction and helped lead to a quick and successful sale.
4. Utilize your spheres of influence
One of my most important takeaways from this experience is always to go back to your sphere of influence. Your friends, family, past coworkers, neighbors and anyone in your network is essentially your bread and butter, and from that, referrals will come in time.
To sell this property, I called on the help and my professional network to share with their clients and social following. From The Agency’s Instagram, one of the most followed residential brokerages on the platform, to Mauricio Umansky, our CEO’s network, I could tap into and gain access to some of the best in the business.
While the homebuyer did not come through this avenue, calling on mentors and colleagues to guide me through the process allowed me to get in front of a global audience and gain unbelievable visibility.
I encourage any new agent to think of everything as a networking opportunity, whether working out at the gym, drinks with friends, waiting in line for coffee — you name it. Do not treat anyone as a stranger.
Gaining people’s trust and building relationships is critical. Even though the pandemic restrained in-person interactions, networking digitally proved the power of human connection.
5. Stay confident
Ultimately, showing this home involved meeting and interacting with many people with substantial influence. Although I’m young and was selling one of the highest-listed homes in Arizona, I remained confident and informed on the offering I was selling.
I memorized this home’s ins and outs — from the construction details to the number of exterior cameras for the security system, to how many bottles of wine the cellars held, and down to the brands of window manufacturers. I kept up to date with market comps and the latest market analysis.
The moral of the story is: Stay informed, and remain confident.