While you’ve probably heard many negative stories about the real estate market over the past few years, there are many buyers who have actually taken advantage of the current market to great success. For savvy homebuyers, the current marketplace has yielded tremendous opportunity—most notably in the area of high-end or luxury homes.
If you’ve always dreamed about buying a luxury property but considered it just out of reach, the market may paint an entirely different picture today. Many homeowners, unable to sustain the costs associated with a luxury home, have been forced to sell. The general decline in home values in recent years has also put downward pressure on the prices of higher-end homes.
Buying a luxury home requires a specific strategy, however, so before you embark on the process, consider the following:
- Select the right agent. Working with an agent who is experienced and successful in the luxury home market is essential. A luxury-property specialist has the right knowledge and the right connections to help you locate and negotiate an offer on a high-end home.
- Know where to look. While traditional house hunts begin online these days, finding the right high-end home will require the right networking. Many of these properties are discovered through word of mouth or referrals. This is where your real estate agent comes in. The right agent will know about luxury finds before they’re even officially on the market.
- Consider cash. Many luxury buyers are also cash buyers and cash is king in today’s market. In fact, according to the May 2011 REALTORS® Confidence Index from the National Association of REALTORS®, 30 percent of all purchases between mid-April and mid-May of last year were financed with cash. The number was even higher for luxury properties. Investors and luxury buyers with cash are a welcome sight in today’s credit-crunched market where jumbo loans, in particular, are hard to come by. If you’re fortunate enough to be a cash buyer, your chances of getting a great deal on a luxury property will increase exponentially.
- Invest the time. As with any major investment, spending the proper amount of time on evaluating a high-end home is essential. Be prepared for this to take much longer than the walk-through of a typical home. Investigating a luxury property means taking careful note of a variety of details, such as how the home was constructed, security systems that may have been put in place, architectural and design highlights, outdoor areas and special features.
- Devising the offer. Making the right offer on a luxury property is tricky—lean heavily on the guidance of your agent. In market’s better day, luxury sellers were known to be very particular about who was buying their property as well as the final selling price, usually having the financial wherewithal to stay in the home until the right offer came along. While these tendencies still exist, many of today’s luxury sellers are in a distressed property situation. Be sure to carefully weigh these factors with your agent prior to making an offer.