Selling Multimillion-Dollar Homes On A Smartphone
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Selling Multimillion-Dollar Homes On A Smartphone

These agents explain what it’s like to close high-end deals virtually.

By AMY GAMERMAN
Wed, Jun 2, 2021 12:01pmGrey Clock 3 min

Q. What is it like to do a remote transaction with a client on a multimillion-dollar property?

Ryan Flair

Partner, ranch broker at Hall & Hall in Bozeman, Mont.

I had been working with this client for close to 18 months, so I had a general sense of what he was looking for. Then Covid kind of creeps up and puts us in a situation. We were all in lockdown and couldn’t do much. No one was flying commercially, you had to quarantine for 14 days if you came in from outside the state. My client wasn’t inclined to travel.

One of my partners had a client with a really beautiful property that hadn’t been on the market in a long time—a 20,000-plus-acre ranch. He let us know it was going to come on the market.

I was texting with my client and he said, “I’m very interested, let’s learn more.” We had a tour of the property—five brokers in five trucks—with the ranch manager in his truck. I’m taking photos with my smartphone, and video and panoramas and narrating them, and as soon as I get back service, I’m sending them to him. I went back a separate time and spent six hours there, going around the ranch taking videos on my phone and geo-marking them on a map so the client could see where they were.

One of the most challenging things about the property is access. I had to video myself driving—“Hey look, this road isn’t great, you need to understand you’re not going to drive a motor home on it.” He does have a motor home—one of those super high-end ones.

We put in an offer. This wasn’t a couple-million-dollar deal, it was a very large price tag. My client knew it was one of those rare ranches that don’t come along often. Once we got the ranch under contract, we hired a helicopter. I did the same thing with my iPhone—taking video and narrating from the helicopter.

The sale closed before my client saw it. There were a lot of sleepless nights for me. The first people to see it were his family members and friends—so, hey, no pressure. But he loved it. The guy ended up with a great ranch. It was one of our biggest sales that year.

Jeremy Stein

Associate broker, the Stein Team at Sotheby’s International Realty, New York City

We were approached by clients—friends more than clients—who wanted to sell this absolutely spectacular townhouse in the heart of Greenwich Village. They owned homes in different parts of the country and had thought about living a different way. Then when Covid hit, it made the decision a lot easier for them.

We put it on the market for US$28.5 million. We created a very high-end video of the property, and we did a 3-D Matterport scan, which allows you to tour every nook and cranny. We had a number of virtual showings over the summer, where agents would come and FaceTime with their client in the Hamptons or Jackson Hole or Europe or wherever. We got an offer in the mid-$20 millions. Then an agent I know called and said, “I have a client who is not in New York. They’d like me to come and take a look at it and maybe FaceTime.”

So we did a FaceTime tour. I walked them through the house, just as if they were behind me, as their broker held the phone. I pride myself on reading buyers. Some don’t want to be talked to at all, and some are like, “Show me every drawer.”

I didn’t have that ability to see how the people were reacting. I did see her face to say hello, and from time to time the camera may have gotten turned so we were looking at each other.

These buyers wanted to know about the air conditioning. Maybe a few times they wanted to see what the view was like. If we went to the window, she was, “Oh, can you tilt up? What does the sky look like?” To this day, I don’t know who they are.

Soon after, I got a call from their agent, who said they’d like to make an offer: $27 million. She said, “But we want you to not show the house and not to entertain new offers, we really want exclusivity.”

My clients said, “We’ll do that, but it’s going to cost $1 million.” So we said $28 million. They accepted and we went to the contract stage. It closed last year in November. A few months after the closing they still hadn’t seen it.



MOST POPULAR

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Property
The locations where apartment rents are picking up the pace
By Bronwyn Allen 05/03/2024
Property
Hong Kong Takes Drastic Action to Avert Property Slump
By ELAINE YU 01/03/2024
Property
The Australian capitals experiencing world-class price growth in luxury real estate
By Bronwyn Allen 29/02/2024
The locations where apartment rents are picking up the pace

Stronger demand in some areas is pushing unit rents up faster than houses

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Mar 5, 2024 3 min

Renters are returning to the apartment market, leading to higher growth in weekly rents for units than houses over the past year, according to REA data. As workers return to their corporate offices, tenants are coming back to the inner city and choosing apartment living for its affordability.

This is a reversal of the pandemic trend which saw many renters leave their inner city units to rent affordable houses on the outskirts. Working from home meant they did not have to commute to the CBD, so they moved into large houses in outer areas where they could enjoy more space and privacy.

REA Group economic analyst Megan Lieu said the return to apartment living among tenants began in late 2021, when most lockdown restrictions were lifted, and accelerated in 2022 after Australia’s international border reopened.

Following the reopening of offices and in-person work, living within close proximity to CBDs has regained importance,” Ms Lieu said.Units not only tend to be located closer to public transport and in inner city areas, but are also cheaper to rent compared to houses in similar areas. For these reasons, it is unsurprising that units, particularly those in inner city areas, are growing in popularity among renters.

But the return to work in the CBD is not the only factor driving demand for apartment rentals. Rapidly rising weekly rents for all types of property, coupled with a cost-of-living crisis created by high inflation, has forced tenants to look for cheaper accommodation. This typically means compromising on space, with many families embracing apartment living again. At the same time, a huge wave of migration led by international students has turbocharged demand for unit rentals in inner city areas, in particular, because this is where many universities are located.

But it’s not simply a demand-side equation. Lockdowns put a pause on building activity, which reduced the supply of new rental homes to the market. People had to wait longer for their new houses to be built, which meant many of them were forced to remain in rental homes longer than expected. On top of that, a chronic shortage of social housing continued to push more people into the private rental market. After the world reopened, disrupted supply chains meant the cost of building increased, the supply of materials was strained, and a shortage of labour delayed projects.

All of this has driven up rents for all types of property, and the strength of demand has allowed landlords to raise rents more than usual to help them recover the increased costs of servicing their mortgages following 13 interest rate rises since May 2022. Many applicants for rentals are also offering more rent than advertised just to secure a home, which is pushing rental values even higher.

Tenants’ reversion to preferring apartments over houses is a nationwide trend that has led to stronger rental growth for units than houses, especially in the capital cities, says Ms Lieu. “Year-on-year, national weekly house rents have increased by 10.5 percent, an increase of $55 per week,” she said.However, unit rents have increased by 17 percent, which equates to an $80 weekly increase.

The variance is greatest in the capital cities where unit rents have risen twice as fast as house rents. Sydney is the most expensive city to rent in today, according to REA data. The house rent median is $720 per week, up 10.8 percent over the past year. The apartment rental median is $650 per week, up 18.2 percent. In Brisbane, the median house rent is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent over the past year, while the median rent for units is $535 per week, up 18.9 percent. In Melbourne, the median house rent is $540 per week, up 13.7 percent, while the apartment median is $500 per week, up 16.3 percent.

In regional markets, Queensland is the most expensive place to rent either a house or an apartment. The house median rent in regional Queensland is $600 per week, up 9.1 percent year-onyear, while the apartment median rent is $525, up 16.7 percent.

MOST POPULAR

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Money
Covid Slashed Consumer Choices. This Is Why They Aren’t Coming Back.
By PAUL BERGER 02/01/2024
Property
A Vision for Sustainable Cities And The Need for Change
By Robyn Willis 23/10/2023
Property
This Couple’s Milwaukee Home Lets Them Live Separately. They Couldn’t Be Happier.
By NANCY KEATES 23/12/2023
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop