Laurent Demeure, CEO of Coldwell Banker France & Monaco, explains the global focus in his new book “Global Luxury Real Estate: The Secrets of Selling Real Estate to the Ultra-Rich”.
Despite the tremendous disruption the pandemic has caused to international travel, luxury real estate is an increasingly global business. Some of the biggest seven-figure sales in New York and Los Angeles often come from shoppers who were used to traveling between continents and who only spent a short time in one city.
Laurent Demeure, CEO of Coldwell Banker France & Monaco, explains in his new book “Global Luxury Real Estate: The Secrets of Selling Real Estate to the Ultra-Rich” why it really means ruling a global market to be an agent for the Will be rich. Luxury shoppers, who often remain loyal to their preferred agents, expect them to be familiar with markets in big cities like New York, Paris, Tokyo and London at the same time.
“Even with the COVID-19 situation, most of my clients are buying real estate around the world,” Demeure told Inman. “You are in the US, you are in Europe, you are in Asia. With the internet, people can work from anywhere and our situation is global. We started locally, but luxury real estate is now a truly global business. “
Inman asked Demeure for his tips on working across borders – both now that travel is severely restricted due to the pandemic, and due to the pent-up demand that is sure to come in the recovery phase.
Inman: Why is it important for agents working in luxury real estate to have an international perspective?
Demeure: Real estate is becoming more and more global. Despite the COVID-19 situation, most of my clients are buying real estate around the world. To be a successful entrepreneur in the 1960s [in France] meant you had your apartment in Paris, a second home in the country and a summer house by the sea. It was all in the same country. Nowadays, wealthy people have properties in different countries and travel the world. They’re in the US, they’re in Europe, they’re in Asia. With the internet, people can work from anywhere. Our situation is global. We started locally, but luxury real estate is now a truly global business.
But the pandemic has made all of that much more difficult, even for people with multiple passports and very large funds. Are you confident that it will recover?
Yes. It’s a lot harder now, but I have some customers waiting for me to go to the US because they want to buy in the US. You want to buy in the US because the dollar is weak right now and if you have planned to buy real estate [in euros] They have a discount of 20 to 25 percent. For them it is very good business at the moment, as we can borrow money at 0.7 percent in Europe and many are waiting for approval so that they can buy real estate on these more favorable terms.
Sometimes we try to sell online, but it works better when there is very, very little inventory and when you know the market very well. For example, I was just trying to buy a few apartments for a client in Boston [sight-unseen] However, it is difficult to form a real opinion about any place on the internet. When a customer has a real need to buy, for example when they come to Manhattan in a few weeks and need an apartment in Manhattan, they buy online. If it’s an investment and they’re in no rush, most will prefer to wait and travel.
Share some of your tips for working in multiple markets and with clients from other countries.
My first advice is to be aware of cultural differences. Never forget that. The vast majority of agents believe that everyone is familiar with the system in their country. But when you buy outside of your country, it’s a lot harder. The system is different. Mortgages are different, the buying process is different. In Manhattan, you need to know the difference between a cooperative and a condominium. In London, you need to understand the differences between property and lease. For most of the apartments in the city, you don’t own the land because it belongs to the Queen. There are certain areas in Paris that have very strict disclosure laws for noise and overhead flying. A good agent needs to keep abreast of all of this.
Another important point is never to assume that your high net worth client has no spending limit. It’s just the opposite, as many wealthy customers know the market very well, know exactly how much they want to spend, and want very good value for money. Many think that because they are a luxury agent and work in luxury they can sell anything to their customers. But you have to be adding value and actually having some degrees before you can say that.
How can agents go beyond their local market and have a truly global outlook on luxury?
Education and information are key. When you speak to customers from different countries, they expect you to know their country. We have to talk about Moscow, we have to talk about London, we have to talk about Miami and so on. Every morning I read the news in different countries. French news, UK news, Russian news and sometimes Italian news just to have a vision of everywhere and understand the various concerns and issues. For example, there was a major fire last week in St. Petersburg, Russia that may affect the market as some of our customers are from there. You have to know that. If you don’t know the situation in your customers’ country, you are not sure if they can work, travel or buy right now. My advice to the agents is to keep studying every day. You have to learn languages, you have to hear the news in different countries.
Most agents stay on the ground and don’t think outside their community, but the rest of the world is actually outside their community.
Email Veronika Bondarenko