Celebrity Realtors: Selling With Star Power

Every little edge helps in today's real estate market especially if it's putting your home up for sale in front of millions on television. That's the advantage for newly minted real estate celebs like "Million Dollar Listing" star Chad Rogers (left) and "Selling New York" stars Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern and Maggie Kent.

"I've been very fortunate that TV has been good to me," says the Beverly Hills-based Rogers. In fact, he's built a mini-media empire around his fame with a blog, regular contributions to In Touch magazine, a catchphrase ("Talk is cheap") and even Chad Rogers merchandise. And all that media means more attention to his listings.

"I feel fortunate for not being coined a reality star, I've always been represented as a celeb real estate expert," he says, a distinction that he feels has helped rather than hurt his credibility.

But how do the clients feel about the exposure?
Rogers says it's been an advantage for his celebrity client base because his persona is out there just like theirs. "It's like, OK, you understand me; automatically there's a trust level and a comfort, it's really helped me." Rogers can definitely speak to the need for security: He says that he recently bought an $850,000 condo with "Fort Knox security" because of a couple of overly enthusiastic fans.

Morgenstern (near left), whose mother and sister also are agents at New York's Gumley Haft Kleier, is in the midst of filming the second season of "Selling New York" and says the show's been good for them. They're constantly recognized on the street and the firm's even hired new brokers to take on the added business.

"Our sellers love it because it gives them national exposure for their properties," she says. The leverage of going into a meeting with a potential client and not only telling them it will be featured on TV, but also covered in real estate blogs following the show's every move is very desirable, she says.

And since the million-dollar properties they're representing can take longer to find the right buyer, they may still be on the market when the show airs. In a couple of cases, interested buyers have called after seeing a particular property on an episode.

But what about the wealthy Park Avenue clients who don't want to reveal their budgets on television?

Morgenstern and Rogers say that despite the perception that cameras are always around, their clients can choose whether they want to be on the show or not.

So what advice do these star agents have for buyers and sellers in today's stagnant market?

1. Hire a pro

"It's very important to hire a professional broker who doesn't have so many listings that [she] doesn't have enough time to pay to your property," says Morgenstern.

"Pick your real estate agent wisely," says Rogers. "Interview them like you'd interview for a job. A lot of times I see people using family members
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but that doesn't mean they're going to be able to negotiate effectively for them. You really need to hire a real estate expert because at the end of the day it's an investment." (Also see "Top Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent.")

2. Don't overprice

"It's so so so important to not overprice your property," says Rogers. "You'll end up making more for your property at the end of the day if you price it right from the beginning." Morgenstern concurs: "Price realistically for this market (and not the one three years ago)." (Also see "How to Price a Home to Sell Fast.")

3. Open your home and make it look good

Be flexible in the showing time, you may eliminate potential buyers if your home is only open for showing during certain time windows," says Morgenstern. "And definitely have your property in showable condition," says Rogers, "if that means staging it or fixing it up, there's nothing worse than walking into a property where the lawn needs to be cut or the dining room table is missing. Make it look lived in but neutral. It will give them a sense of where they can put their own furniture; it's important to spell it out for[buyers]." (Also see "How to Stage a Home Yourself.")

4. Take the first offer

"Often the first offer is the best offer," says Morgenstern. "They've probably been looking for a while, they're the serious ones. Then there are those that are waiting, they're the low bidders and they come on later." (Also see "How to Negotiate a Home Offer.")

For more about working with real estate agents see these AOL Real Estate guides:
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