How to break into the luxury real estate market

By Michael LaFido

As a real estate agent, it is difficult to break into luxury home sales. Many agents believe they have to be licensed for X number of years before they can sell luxury real estate, but that is false. Many agents believe they have to be affiliated with a certain brokerage to be able to consistently sell luxury homes. That, too, is false. Many agents believe they have to drive a luxurious car or live in a high-end home to sell luxury homes. Those ideas are also untrue.

What IS true is that luxury sellers rarely allow agents who are inexperienced in luxury home sales the opportunity to interview, let alone work with them, until you can show them that you have successfully sold similarly priced homes in that area. One of the most important truths to getting hired is that you have to build sellers’ trust and be likable. As psychologist Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner, discovered, people would rather do business with a person they like and trust than with someone they don’t, even if the likable person is offering a lower-quality product or service at a higher price. The bottom line is, be likable.

If you’re trying to “break into selling luxury homes,” my advice is to attend other agents’ luxury broker open houses in your market. You will gain an understanding of the styles, materials and construction involved, and you will gain confidence and more knowledge. Perhaps the listing agent may even grant you permission to “shoot a live video” from the property. You might also consider hosting an open house at another agent’s higher price point listing from your office.

I believe that when an agent is more knowledgeable, they will be more confident. When you are more confident, you will be more likely to step out of your comfort zone and know that you can work with high-end or luxury buyers and sellers. Once you make the first couple of sales, it’s easier to sustain business with those upper-price-point clients.

So, what exactly is a luxury home, Michael, you ask? Some people classify it by the style of the house, or perhaps by its finishes, or by the product brands in the home. So, how do we define a luxury home from a price standpoint? I know different brokerages and different real estate firms define luxury real estate differently. Many define a “luxury home” as a property that is priced at $1,000,000 or higher.  For the purposes of this article, we’re going to define a luxury home as a home that is listed for sale at at least three times the average sales price for that market. (There are four primary price points in most markets: starter-/entry-level, average, high-end and luxury pricing. I define high-end homes as homes that are two times the average sales price for that given area.)

Luxury is relative to that specific market. Most markets have luxury homes based on our definition; it’s all relative, however, because when people think of luxury, they often think of McMansions or estate homes, and that’s not always the case. To take action, you need to develop graphs and other visuals that can articulate the data for luxury and high-end real estate for/in your marketplace: Are you in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? High-end and luxury homes start at what price point for your market? You need to know this information. You also need to align yourself with luxury strategic partners and become a student of local and global luxury trends. Almost every ambitious agent in this business wants to break into the luxury market, so you need to set yourself apart by proving you have excellent market knowledge and proven plans to successfully help homeowners sell their homes. Now go prove to the luxury sellers in your market that you’ve got what it takes!

I love sharing our content to our e-mail database, as well as sharing them on other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and, of course, YouTube. I would love to hear from you. Let’s connect over Instagram @LuxuryListingSpecialist, and let me know how we can help!

Michael LaFido is the founder of the LUXE Designation (, founder of the Luxury Listing Specialist Podcast and author of the book “Luxury Listing Specialist.”

3 tips for dealing with burnout

By Ashley Harwood

It’s only February, yet many agents are already struggling with burnout. Without consistent rest and recovery time, of course these agents are exhausted. Who wouldn’t be? We’re humans, not real estate-selling robots. So, why is there so much guilt around taking a day off? As small-business owners, we experience a very common “hustle and grind” mentality in this industry. “Work hard, and you’ll be successful.” “If you’re not meeting your goals, put in more hours.”

Yes, hard work is important, but what’s even more important is strategically doing the right activities (lead gen) and balancing those activities with plenty of rest. Now, rest doesn’t necessarily mean taking a nap, although it absolutely could mean that. The definition of rest is allowing your brain to unplug and your energy to recharge.

It will look different for each of us. It could be taking a walk, reading fiction, binging a Netflix show, going on a little road trip to explore a new area or having a long lunch with a close friend. You choose your own adventure. The point is to do whatever it takes to step away from the details and stress of real estate and allow the brain to focus on something else for a day.

Consistent rest has several benefits: It allows the brain to tap into creative problem-solving and better handle stressful situations in a rational manner, it helps us be more patient, it’s vital for our physical health and building a healthy immune system (yes, getting enough sleep at night is a big part of this, too), and it simply makes us nicer people and better agents. When we are well rested, we are able to keep our clients and co-broker agents calm.

Taking days off is easier said than done, yet it’s critically important to building a sustainable career and avoiding burnout. Extreme burnout can lead to getting physically sick, which will force you to take time off anyway, and you’ll lose valuable momentum. And wouldn’t it be more fun to take a planned day off than a sick day?

So, here are three tips for taking days off consistently:

1. Use the buddy system.

Taking days off is easier for agents on a team — there’s always someone to cover. For solo agents, it can be challenging, and for solo agents without the budget for an admin or a virtual assistant/transaction coordinator, it can be extra difficult. So, partner up. Find another agent in your office who’s in a similar situation and cover for each other. Make sure you include their contact info in your email auto-responder and change your voicemail message.

2. Pick a day of the week strategically, and plan it in advance.

For most agents, weekends are busier with showings and open houses than weekdays. Look back over the past few weeks and decide which day of the week is typically slower for you. That’s a good day to choose as your day off. Of course, the day can change, and it doesn’t have to be the same day every week. But choosing your day off in advance, getting it on the calendar and protecting that time is key.

3. Realize there are very few real estate emergencies.

Most things can wait a day. They really can. When you have a solid, trusting relationship with your clients, they won’t fire you because you didn’t answer them for 24 hours. For anything that really is time-sensitive (like an offer), well, your colleague in the office is covering for you. No problem. There’s no science behind this, but most agents find that whenever they go on vacation or step away from their business, that’s when referrals tend magically to pour in.

If you’re currently feeling exhausted or burned out, I’d highly recommend scheduling a few days off ASAP. Find someone to cover for you. Tell your clients you’ll be unavailable but that they’ll be in your colleague’s extremely capable hands. Then, when you come back to work, you’ll have fresh eyes and a renewed spirit, and your productivity will skyrocket. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Ashley Harwood is the founder & CEO of Move Over Extroverts, a coaching/training company for introverted agents. You can reach her at and check out her website at