Maine Agents Get Creative to Sell Luxury Real Estate

About 650 homes for sale in Maine are priced at $1 million or more, and with the recession making it twice as hard to sell such homes, real estate agents in Maine are resorting to a lot more inventive marketing techniques.

High-end homes have to be promoted onto the market like a new products, Tom Landry, a Realtor in Portland, told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Indirect marketing done by offering such properties for private events or photo shoots to raise their profiles is becoming more common in Maine.

"When we first launched this property we contacted some of the local magazines to offer the property up as a destination photoshoot area for them, if they had celebrities in town, etcetera," Landry said. "We were actually taken up on that by Portland magazine, and they used the roof on their cover shot, and they overlaid one of their celebrities onto that cover shot."
The magazines apparently attract the attention of high-end buyers, who must like seeing their future homes looking all sexy in a photo shoot.

Most home buyers are probably used to a real estate agent simply putting up a sign and maybe baking cookies for an open house. But with the recession causing half the number of $1 million-plus homes to be sold last year compared to before the recession in 2007, agents have to get creative at open houses. They're not just shopping for buyers.

Landry and other high-end Realtors frequently pull out all the stops at these events to encourage brokers to attend in the hope they can put them in touch with a buyer. Refreshments are usually provided, but so are free gifts, such as dinner at a local restaurant.

Financial incentives are also being offered to other agents, such as higher co-broker percentages, or a flat bonus fee for selling a property.

Realtors are also spending thousands on other marketing costs not required a few years back. Benchmark Real Estate recently spent about $5,000 sending postcards out to targeted property owners in the greater Portland area.

It might help real estate agents to know what high-end home buyers want. Since they're more accustomed to seeking professional advice, they're more likely to go with an experienced agent who they'll keep busy by typically looking at 12 homes before buying, according to Luxury Home Digest.

And since their average down payment on a luxury home is 33.6 percent, Realtors don't have to worry about helping with financing since buyers already have mortgage financing in place.

One company that specializes in auctioning luxury real estate compares it to auctioning fine art. Exclusivity and a more concentrated marketing effort can help get more people interested and lead to a quick sale, boasts the Grand Estates Auction Company.

Of course the best way to attract a buyer to a high-end home may be to move it to the water.

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