Primed Property: How to stage a home to sell to the luxury buyer

Luxury-home buyers may be looking for something completely different than expected.

Toronto is the No.1 fastest-growing luxury home market in the world. Christie’s International Real Estate bestowed the distinction upon the city this spring after their annual sales study found Hogtown’s high-end housing demand trumped that of other markets, including Hong Kong, New York and Paris. Today, buying into luxury downtown will cost more than $3.6 million for a detached home and $1 million for a condo.

“The luxury market in Toronto is coming of age,” says Jimmy Malloy, a real estate agent for Chestnut Park Real Estate. He’s witnessed the high-end home market’s transformation first-hand. “Twenty or 30 years ago, it was all about (buying big homes), but as any market matures, it becomes more sophisticated… It’s quality over quantity.”

The sudden surge in interest for luxury is driven more by dreams than by necessity, he says. “People moving from $500,000 to $700,000 are usually doing so because of need — they need another bedroom or a new school district. People moving from a $2 million to a $5 million home are usually doing so for aspirational reasons.”

Sellers interested in attracting this kind of clientele, Malloy says, should focus on upgrading their space with above-average items or layouts.

“When it comes to the world of luxury upgrades, the common denominator is the equality of ‘his and hers.’ From his-and-hers ensuites, his-and-hers walk-in closets in the master to his-and-hers workout areas, the luxury market in Toronto is dominated by the power couple, where the wife and the husband spend as much time at the boardroom table as they do at the kitchen table,” he says.

High-end homebuyers are also interested in bright rooms that feel large and airy. Invest in putting new windows into your space, if that’s possible, and paint walls a colour that will make each room feel taller and wider. Plants and well-framed clean windows will also make the buyer feel like they’re part of the home’s surroundings. To maximize space further, declutter and stage.

Counterintuitively, you can skip cumbersome electronics or home management systems. These buyers aren’t fixated on watts, amps or BTUs.

“The luxury buyer isn’t interested in overly complicated gizmos and gadgets that become obsolete before they are installed (or move in),” Malloy says. The only exception is if you’re installing items like a Nest thermostat, which would enable them to control their home’s functions from their smartphone. “These buyers’ lives are complicated. They don’t want their homes to be. They want home automation that’s as simple as making a call (or swipe) on their iPhone.”

Skip extensive home renovations that increase the size of the space. As Malloy points out, at this level, an extra bedroom or finished basement isn’t going to be the clincher.

“The true luxury market is found in the home that can make the buyer’s life better, more glamorous, more the way they want it to be,” he adds “Buyers know it’s not just about going big, but rather going perfect. It’s about how the home makes them feel and how it tells their family’s story to the world… There is no glass ceiling when it comes to the luxury buyer in Toronto.”

Have a question about prepping your home for resale? Email us at primedproperty@gmail.com.

Source: National Post – Sarah Kelsey, Special to National Post | June 22, 2015 12:49 PM ET

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