Real Estate

The modern luxury agent — what’s the same and what’s changed?

While the luxury real estate market continues to show resilience, there are other market segments that continue to fluctuate. I recently sat down with industry legend and superstar Jade Mills, president of Jade Mills Estates and Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Ambassador, to discuss how real estate agents can drive their business during a transitioning market. With over three decades of experience, Jade has seen real estate through the highest of highs and, yes, even the lowest of lows. Through our discussion, three common themes emerged: innovation, networking, and creativity.

I’d like to emphasize the importance of that first theme, innovation. More than ever, it is necessary for agents to have deep market insight and tools to help their clients navigate in today’s environment.

Keeping that top of mind, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury released “The Trend Report,” an in-depth look at the major trends driving high-end real estate activity in 2022. With survey insight from over 2,000 U.S.-based high-net-worth consumers, the sentiment is overwhelmingly positive; consumers are over 3x more likely to think that 2023 will be a better time to invest in real estate compared to 2022 — rising a whopping 42% from only 11% a year ago.

What follows is a version of my conversation with Jade.

Based on your experience, how has a luxury agent’s role evolved over the past three years?

Jade Mills

Real estate agents are now financial, wealth, and lifestyle ambassadors. They are the trusted resource to a community and all that it offers.

Connections outside of real estate are paramount; I’ve had clients rely on me to refer them to the most exclusive interior designers, the best shopping boutiques, local philanthropy efforts, and even yacht brokers! I’ve even been asked to name-drop for entrance into social groups and schools. This vast knowledge and my connections to other industries have played a role in the deep relationships I form with all my clients. It is so important for agents to be well-versed in predictive factors beyond market stats.

Newer agents are also increasingly relying on more seasoned agents for foresight and expertise. The power of amplifying your network — both in real estate and beyond — can set you apart from everyone around you. A seasoned agent with over 25 years of knowledge can guide clients and fellow agents in the right direction.

What are some common themes you’re seeing from luxury buyers and sellers this year?

We’ve seen a lot of creative financing. The Trend Report found that 48% of respondents financed the last home they bought using private wealth mortgages. I’ve also seen lenders offering 40-year fixed loans.

What types of luxury properties are popular now?

While $10 million+ homes are staying on the market longer, homes priced from $3 to $4.5 million are still selling more swiftly in Southern California. There are some shifts that indicate we’re moving towards an unconventional buyer’s market and coupled with international consumers returning to the U.S., there’s heightened interest in investment properties. Our survey found that 77% of respondents own at least one investment property. In addition, nearly 38% of respondents bought a secondary home in the last two years.

Where do you see the most opportunity for agents to shine?

Setting yourself apart should always be a top priority in any market. Successful agents will innovate and be strategic in keeping up with client touchpoints; I like to send congratulatory notes on life events and share old neighborhood happenings to stay connected to my clients. During slower months, agents have the time to truly dedicate hours in the day to networking and enhancing client bonds.

Leveraging the power of your network is paramount to your business. I’ve seen an increase in referral business both within the agent’s network and outside. Just recently, an agent outside of the Coldwell Banker family referred me to a prospective client.
Our survey found that 83% of respondents who have used a real estate agent to assist in purchasing a home in the past will use a real estate agent for their next home. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Specialists are here to provide end-to-end client support by leveraging the incredible power and prestige of the Gen Blue network.

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