For Homeowners Across the Country, Spring Signals a Time to Sell

WSJ’s Seller’s Guide includes exclusive analysis of the top buyer’s and seller’s markets in the U.S., plus expert advice from real-estate agents and home sellers

20190814032009628226000000-o.jpgEagles Nest Lane, Whitefish, MT
Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty

Ready, set, sell. While all real estate is local, as the saying goes, the one constant is that February is the month when the spring market looms and sellers nationwide begin prettying their properties and readying them to list.

To help aspiring sellers prepare, The Wall Street Journal, with an analysis by, identified the top 10 luxury markets that currently favor either buyers or sellers. ( News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates under license from the National Association of Realtors.) We then looked at the mavericks who eschew hiring a real-estate agent—with their attendant 5% to 6% commissions—and market their properties themselves. The result is the first Seller’s Guide, a deep dive into today’s market conditions, with insight, strategy and advice from sellers, agents and experts who have recently closed deals in every market condition.

Continue Reading Here…

The Northern Lights Will Glow Across the U.S. This Week – Here’s Where To See Them

This coming week, skywatchers across the northern United States may well be treated to an excellent aurora display. The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is predicting a night of strong solar activity on the night of March 4th; on that night the Kp-index is expected to be higher than 4. On a scale of 0 to 9, the Kp-index is a measure of predicted aurora activity. Most nights in great aurora destinations fall between 1 and 3, so a night of activity that’s higher than 4 is a good chance to try and see the northern lights.

A level 4 or higher means that the aurora may be visible across the northern part of the contiguous U.S. that night (or surrounding nights – always check the weather and aurora forecasts before heading out!). If you live along the U.S.-Canadian border, or are willing to take a last minute trip, here are some of the top places that you can enjoy the northern lights this week or all winter long.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Unsurprisingly, Glacier National Park is a fantastic destination for night sky experiences. Far from the development that causes light pollution in some other national parks, Glacier is remote and a wonderland for those who love cold, snowy weather and starry winter skies.

The nearest major cities are Missoula and Helena, Montana, and Calgary, Alberta – all are between a 2-3 hour drive to reach Glacier National Park. While the most famous drive in the park, Going-to-the-Sun Road, is closed for the winter, you can still set up along St. Mary Lake in the east and Lake MacDonald in the west for good aurora viewing.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Fairbanks is widely known as one of the best aurora destinations in the world thanks to low humidity and precipitation, placement under the auroral oval, and fewer cloudy days during the aurora season than other places in the globe. If you’re ready to hop on a plane, it’s only a 3.5-hour flight from Seattle to Fairbanks, a common flight route for aurora chasers.

You don’t need to head all the way to Fairbanks to see the aurora. Alaskan locals and visitors should be treated to aurora displays as far south as Anchorage and Juneau too.

North Cascades National Park, Washington

Western Washington’s northernmost national park, North Cascades, is a better aurora chasing destination than other parks – like Olympic National Park where clouds may interfere or Mount Rainier National Park where light pollution from the Seattle-Tacoma area may obliterate your aurora views. North Cascades is home to some of the state’s tallest mountains and has great northern views toward less developed British Columbia across the border. It’s a two-hour drive from Seattle to the national park, or under three hours from Vancouver – flying into either of these cities will give you easy access for an overnight trip.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park, Michigan

Located at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Headlands International Dark Sky Park was certified in 2011 as the ninth dark sky park in the world. Today it draws crowds year round for astronomy programs and northern lights viewing; straddling Lake Michigan and Lake Huron gives the park a great vista of the northern horizon and any aurora.

It’s a four-hour drive from Detroit to Headlands International Dark Sky Park, which necessitates making this an overnight or two-night trip. You could also fly into Grand Rapids (3.5 hours by car) or Traverse City (2 hours) if you’re willing to make a connection.

Acadia National Park, Maine

There are only a few great pockets of dark skies in the Eastern Seaboard; Acadia National Park is one of them, and during the busy summer months the park is host to a variety of astronomy programming. In the winter, it’s a good spot to try and see the northern lights too. Hike or snowshoe up Cadillac Mountain for the best view overlooking the entire surrounding region with plenty of views toward the northern horizon; an alternative spot is Jordan Pond, which can be accessed via Maine Highway 3 during the winter months. The easiest way to reach Acadia is by flying to Portland, Maine. It’s a three-hour drive from there to the town of Bar Harbor, where you can base yourself for exploring the park.



Source: The Northern Lights Will Glow Across The U.S. This Week – Here’s Where To See Them | FORBES

The 5 home features milliennials love

How the emerging affluent buyer is choosing where to live

It seems like just yesterday that the millennials were considered tomorrow’s emerging affluents. Now, many are in their mid-to-late thirties and constitute an ever-increasing share of the luxury real estate market. Some millennials may be looking to enter the market for the first time, while others are established homeowners and perhaps already looking for second or third properties.

But regardless of their age or real estate experience, many members of this generation desire similar things in their dream homes. Here, three top real estate agents give a glimpse into the five features millennials look for first.

1. Streamlined, convenient living

Convenience comes in many forms, but it’s always a leading consideration for millennials. “They are looking for ease of maintenance and prefer full-service condominiums versus townhomes, with a gym and swimming pool in the building and rooftops for entertaining,” says Mae Bagai, Global Real Estate Advisor and Associate Broker with Sotheby’s International Realty in New York. “If they can afford it, they will solely focus on new constructions which include smart home integration for their appliances and devices.”

Elliot Machado, Broker Associate with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty, sees similar demands in the Miami market, with amenities such as rooftop pools, dedicated entertainment spaces, and gyms driving buyers to certain buildings. “The attention to detail and quality of the build are really starting to be focused on,” he says. “This is a big plus for the millennial buyer and just the overall market.”

In Denver, where detached homes are still popular among millennials, Kylie Russell, Broker Associate with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty likewise sees a strong demand for intelligent, connected technology. “Another feature that I see buyers seeking — if square footage allows — is a home office space,” she says. And if their condos won’t allow space for an office, her clients opt to live close to work.

2. Urban settings

That leads to another top priority for millennials: location. “It’s a lifestyle identity for millennials,” says Machado. “Some of my buyers’ decisions can change if they’re even a couple of blocks away from the action.”

Bagai has buyers who will limit their search to specific blocks to be near their offices. “In Manhattan in particular, we are seeing millennials wanting to live downtown — particularly Chelsea and Flatiron, as there is an influx of tech companies in those neighborhoods,” she says. “Both locations are centrally located and walking distance to the best restaurants, lounges, shopping, parks, fitness facilities, and major transportation.”

While millennial buyers in markets like Miami and New York opt for condos in the city center over larger homes out in the suburbs, the trend of downtown living extends to more outdoorsy markets like Denver.

“I see a lot of my millennial clients choosing to buy closer-in, prioritizing location over square footage, but also seeking nearby parks, trails, and easy access to public transportation,” says Russell. “Being able to walk to at least a few restaurants and bars is a top priority to my younger clients; and bonus points for walkability to coffee shops and yoga studios where they feel like they belong to a community.”

3. Built for socializing

luxury living area interior

This desire for a sense of community is another critical consideration for millennials, who seek places that let them nurture their pastimes. “Whatever their passions are, they want their home to complement and enhance it,” says Russell.

Because this demographic is so socially inclined, open-concept spaces are still very much in vogue. Bagai cites open kitchen layouts as one of the main things her millennial clients look for, as does Machado. And he has a theory as to why that is. “Being able to cook in an open gourmet kitchen that flows seamlessly into the living spaces means millennials never have FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out,’” he says.

Young affluent buyers also tend to spend more money on creating memories, as opposed to amassing possessions, and Russell sometimes notices this in the properties they choose. “I see my millennial buyers being a bit conservative on their budget and seeking to buy below their means in order to save money for travel, experiences, and long-term plans.”

4. Room to grow

Many millennials are thinking long-term and big-picture, for themselves and for future generations. “My millennial buyers, like most buyers, want a place they are proud to call home — a place that has longevity and gives them the flexibility to grow as they get their first pet, have roommates, couple up, and maybe even start a family,” says Russell. “They are ambitious and up for DIY projects that help differentiate their home. They grew up with HGTV and are not intimidated to do work.”

This eagerness to renovate doesn’t apply in all markets, as Bagai notes that many of her clients have multiple residences around the world and are looking for turnkey smart homes that require as little work as possible. However, there’s a consensus that millennials are more aware of environmental problems than their predecessors, and place more emphasis on sustainability.

“LEED-certified, energy-efficient buildings and homes are important to my clients,” says Bagai. It seems that when millennials think long-term, they’re not only thinking of their own personal wellbeing, but the planet’s as well.

5. Outdoor access

luxury patio

Knowing that preserving the planet is of high value to millennials, it’s not surprising that this generation prizes greater access to green spaces. Russell mentioned that her clients often want homes near trails and parks — but it goes further than that. “More than ever, my clients are into gardening,” she says. “We see a lot more composting and an increasing number of buyers that want chickens.” And in Denver, clients are often able to choose between detached housing with a yard or a condo or townhome with amazing rooftop mountain views.

Downtown-dwellers in Miami and New York may have to settle for houseplants — and their affinity for them is well-documented. But they also want to feel the fresh air. “A big expectation for my market is larger terraces that open up and seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living,” says Machado.

To engage, anticipate

Millennials have high expectations of their agents, as well as their homes. For agents, this means leaning on the time-honored tradition of responsiveness. “They’re looking for efficiency and streamlining in their homebuying process,” says Bagai of her younger clients. “They want quick response times and someone who understands their lifestyle and needs.”

This generation prefers to communicate with agents by text, not email or phone, and Russell utilizes group chats to ensure all her clients are on the same page. She also relies on video chat apps like Marco Polo where videos can be rewatched multiple times — helpful for clients reviewing footage of a potential home. Machado, for his part, leverages automation. “For me, it’s all about personalization and creating real-time e-alerts so they get the right properties directly to their phones,” he says. “I always try to stay as innovative as possible to add value.”

No matter what your millennial buyers are looking for, providing exemplary service tailored to their preferences ensures that you’ll be with them when they find it.



Source: The 5 home features millennials love, Leading in Luxury, Inman

PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT | Brand New Missoula Townhomes & Condos

The Row at Milwaukee Trail

201 South Catlin Street, Missoula, Montana

Units A – H | $345,000 – $362,000




Welcome to The Row at Milwaukee Trail! These brand new Edgell-built townhomes feature modern design and innovative floor plans! With 3 levels, each townhome has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 living areas, with a bonus room which could be used as an office or workout room. The 2nd floor offers 1 bed, 1 bath and an open-concept kitchen and living area, with a pantry, eat-in kitchen island, and deck off the living room. The other 2 bedrooms are on the 3rd floor with another full bathroom, laundry area, second living room and vaulted ceilings. Both living rooms and the 2nd-floor decks face the trail, and each yard has a gate to serve as front-door access onto the trail. Completion in Spring 2020.

Listed by Gillian Fetz | Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty
406.529.4602 |

The Condos at Grand Ave and North 3rd Street

1025 Grand Avenue, Missoula, Montana

Units 1, 2 & 4 | $254,000 – $262,000


Welcome to the Condos at Grand Ave and North 3rd Street! These four brand new condos are nestled into Missoula’s hip Northside neighborhood, blocks from downtown, restaurants and breweries. All units are 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom with beautiful design and a contemporary aesthetic! Each condo comes with a detached garage for storage and parking. Finish selections provided upon request. Built by Edgell Building, condos should be complete around May 1, 2020.

Listed by Gillian Fetz | Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty
406.529.4602 |

What Your REALTOR® Brings to the Closing Table

…Much More Than Just a Sale

16-10-28 1204.jpg109 Hidden Hills Lane, Whitefish, MT

As the internet continues to permeate into seemly every facet of our lives, more and more industries are finding themselves competing with online counterparts for consumers’ business. Cashiers share a workspace with self-checkout registers, customer service agents work in tandem with automated customer care bots, and REALTORS® now compete for listings with iBuyers.

While these newcomers to the real estate business aren’t robots, they are relatively hands-off internet buyers. iBuyers, a term shortened from instant-buyers, are seeming to take housing markets across the country by storm. These iBuyers purchase homes without in-person contact, making the transaction much quicker but often presenting below-market offers. Major players in this game include Open Door, Zillow Offers, Redfin and Offerpad. The question is, are these virtual buyers really any competition for the level of service provided by an experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy REALTOR®?

In short, the answer is no. Professionals in the real estate business often times have spent years in the markets they specialize in and have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of various communities they buy and sell in. This knowledge is used to help match buyers and sellers with the perfect neighborhood, home, and environment for their individual needs. Understanding the housing market in a particular location also helps REALTORS® assist sellers in accurately pricing their homes. Both buying and selling a home is an important financial decision. Having a professional to guide you through the process could be the difference between getting your home’s full value or getting less money than you could have.

Further, the difference between a REALTOR® and just any old real estate agent, is that a certified REALTOR® is part of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). According to NAR, the Code of Ethics “is what separates REALTORS® from non-member real estate agents.” New members agree to abide by NAR’s Code of Ethics & Professional Standards, which outlines duties to clients, the public and to other REALTORS®. Members attend an orientation and continued education throughout their membership.

REALTORS® act as trusted advisors. The REALTOR® you use to buy your first home can also be who you use when considering investing in a second home. REALTORS® build relationships with their clients and help them locate the best neighborhood for their lifestyle, home for themselves or their family, or even the best sushi restaurant in your new town. Your REALTOR® is your personal consultant whose number one goal is to help you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.

“Selling your home to an iBuyer is a convenience play. But this convenience comes at a cost, as the iBuyer business model is to pay sellers less than the true market value of their home, then re-sell it for a higher price,” says Diane Clow, a REALTOR® at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “Good REALTORS® have a real pulse on the market. They know what buyers are looking for and know how to best stage, photograph, and present your home, and know what price the market will bear for your property. An experienced REALTOR® can help you get top-dollar at sale time.”

The purchase or sale of a home is not something that should be taken lightly. Don’t take the risk of trusting an online entity to look out for your best interest. Only a professional REALTOR® can provide the level of service that all sellers and buyers deserve.


Source: What Your REALTOR Brings to the Closing Table – Much More Than Just a Sale, LIV Sotheby’s International Realty Colorado Real Estate Diary, Amanda Molitor

Mood Board | Peak Season

As enthusiasts pray for fresh powder and adventurers assemble their gear, take inspiration from this scenic mood board that contains all things ski: cozy interiors, inviting saunas, and the thrill of the hills. Think of it as an avant-ski; we’ll leave the après up to you.

For more frosty views, dive into Scandinavian design and check out our ski listings for life on the slopes.


Clockwise from top left: 1. Propriétés de Courchevel Sotheby’s International Realty 2. Propriétés de Courchevel Sotheby’s International Realty 3. Propriétés de Megève Sotheby’s International Realty 4. Aaron Benson / Unsplash 5. Sotheby’s International Realty Canada 6 Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty 7. Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty 8. Propriétés de Megève Sotheby’s International Realty 9. Patrick Robert Doyle / Unsplash

Source: Mood Board | Peak Season – Sotheby’s International Realty | Blog

Unlocking the Power of Joyful Design | A Conversation with Ingrid Fetell Lee 

New York, New York | Michael BollaSotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

We constantly receive advice on how we could be happier—cleanses, retreats, mindfulness—but according to industrial designer and author Ingrid Fetell Lee, the secret ingredients of joy may be found in our surroundings.

Lee has built a career studying the science of joy, and how everyday surroundings can engage us in ways that influence our emotional well-being. That’s the subject of her bestselling book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.

Her journey started with simple curiosity while studying for her Master’s in Industrial Design at the Pratt Institute. “I really didn’t set out to study joy at all,” she says. “I had always thought of it as an intangible feeling—the idea that tangible objects could lift our emotions was confusing me. I started to ask professors to explain how things could bring a feeling of joy, and they couldn’t answer. That began the journey: if joy could be designed, then how?”

Lee has gone on to answer that question through her practice, and in the past decade, her knowledge has been sought out by brands from Condé Nast to Kate Spade. How can Lee help homeowners intentionally imbue a sense of joy into their spaces? Here are a few of her discoveries.

Define Happiness for Yourself

Palm Beach, Florida | Jeff Cloninger & Ridgely FosterSotheby’s International Realty – Palm Beach Brokerage

“I start by asking people, ‘How do you want your space to feel? How do you want to feel when you walk in the door? What kind of life do you want to live in this space?’” says Lee. Joy, after all, is a subjective state: it’s a little different for everyone.

Lee has identified ten “aesthetics of joy” that can infuse any designed environment with positivity, albeit in different ways. Take energy, for example: the energy aesthetic harnesses bold, bright colors to enliven your space with warmth and excitement. The abundance aesthetic, in contrast, brings together prints and patterns, blankets and pillows, to create a space that embraces you with plenty. Both are sensorial experiences that express joy through design, but they don’t work the same way.

Tune Into Your Inner Child

Palm Beach, Florida | Cristina CondonSotheby’s International Realty – Palm Beach Brokerage

Have you ever found yourself completely spellbound by the simple act of blowing bubbles on a sunny day, or been entranced by the decadent circular cakes in your local bakery? Your response to these things is subconscious—and it’s largely driven by geometry.

“It turns out that the amygdala—a part of your brain associated with fear—activates when you look at angular shapes,” explains Lee. “When we have a space with more curves, it feels more joyful and it puts our unconscious minds at ease.” The round objects we fixate on as children—from cookies and balloons to hula hoops and carousels—naturally resonate with us on an unconscious level.

It’s a similar story with symmetry. “There’s a study out of the University of Chicago, where they had half the subjects take a math test while exposed to pictures of very odd, asymmetrical spaces. The other half looked at symmetrical spaces that were neat orderly.” When given the opportunity to grade their own work, the first group were more likely to cheat when marking their tests.

Even though everyone from small children to adults can sense that curved shapes and balanced environments are emotionally satisfying, we live in an overwhelmingly rectilinear world. So what can we do about it when designing our living spaces?

“Furnishings are one way to do it,” says Lee. “If you can get a round coffee table, that changes the way a living room feels. Lighting fixtures are a great solution because there are so many beautiful round bulbs and shades. And you can solve angles through renovations if you have the budget: a curved wall or arches are another way to create roundness. Adding a porthole or circular window is a very playful way to embrace shape as well.”

Rethink Conventional Color

New York, New York | Michael BollaSotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage

As with the study of shapes, watching how children use color can help us better understand the unconscious, elemental experiences that make us happy. Lee encourages people to think beyond the basic associations of chromotherapy—red as passionate, blue as calm—and pay attention to the nuances of saturation and light.

“It’s less about which hue you choose, and more about how bright and vibrant the colors are,” she says. “You can have a really invigorating space where all the color comes from a natural element, such as plants, so there’s no neon but it still feels joyful. It’s more about having a palette to work with.”

Designing for joy, it turns out, is quite a subconscious process; people simply need to follow their instincts and intuitions. For instance, Lee points to the popularity of hyper-minimalist spaces, whose success is mostly a cultural phenomenon, not a natural one.

“If you imagine our ancestors trying to choose where to settle, if they saw a lush forest to the left and desert to the right, it’s obvious which way they’re going to turn—they’re going to choose the lush forest. Some people do want a minimalist environment, but in general, research suggests we’re more productive when our spaces are not totally bare, and have at least some plants and art.”

You Only Need to Impress You

Johannesburg, South Africa | Wayne BrownhillLew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

Many luxury homes have all the building blocks for joy—spacious layouts, high ceilings, great lighting, outdoor areas, gorgeous views—and yet their interiors, however magazine-worthy, are stark and grey.

“When you look at the luxury market, the focus is on sophistication, not on joy,” notes Lee. “I think the reason for this is that we tend to associate joy with childhood—bright colors, sumptuous curves, abundant textures—we see those things as joyful, and we forget that they can also be sophisticated.”

Homeowners frequently ask Lee how they can incorporate joyful aesthetics on a budget—so it’s exciting to think about what can be done in luxury homes to support the psychological and physiological well-being of residents and guests. Lee encourages homeowners to take a step back and rethink the entire design process.

“Designers like to start with style: they ask questions about modern or traditional, minimalist or maximalist—and while those questions can help, I think it’s starting in the wrong place,” she says. “They’re trying to find an externally defined idea of what is good. I want to help people see what feels good to them.”

Source: Unlocking the Power of Joyful Design | A Conversation with Ingrid Fetell Lee – Sotheby’s International Realty | Blog

Market Watch

Curious about the market in Western Montana?

Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty puts together Quarterly and Annual Market Reports to keep current and potential real estate buyers and sellers informed.

Click the images below to see the 4th Quarter and Year-End Reports for 2019.

4Q`19 Market Reports_Final_Page_01


Year-End 2019 Report_Lakeside_Page_01

Whitefish Carnival crowns GSIR’s Marcus Duffey in first round of royalty

Whitefish Winter Carnival Prime Minister Marcus Duffey, Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty

Dutchess of Lark, Sara Straka

The Whitefish Winter Carnival is off and running for 2020, embracing a theme of “The Roaring 2020s” that will weave through all carnival activities in the coming month.

Marcus Duffey was crowned carnival Prime Minister and Sara Strake was named Duchess of Lark Saturday night at the annual Merry Maker event.

Duffey hails from West Texas, but left Texas to attend Gonzaga University. Marcus met his wife, Audrey Peterson, there and they married soon after graduation. They moved back to Audrey’s hometown of Whitefish as quickly as they could. The Duffeys have enjoyed life in the Flathead Valley with their four children for the past 12 years. Rearing their children — George, 7, Charley, 5, Jane, 3, and Ruth, 1 — in Whitefish was a dream of theirs.

Duffey grew a prominent local business for nearly a dozen years and has participated in dozens of local events and organizations. Today he maintains much of his community involvement as he sits on the North Valley Hospital Foundation Board of Directors and chairs the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Duffey currently is a Realtor with Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty. He enjoys the great outdoors as a fisherman, hunter, skier and golfer, and has a passion for cooking and gardening.

Straka is a Whitefish native, born in 1985 to Joe and Cindy Straka, who relocated to Montana from the Midwest in the early 1980s. She was raised in Whitefish with her younger brother Sam, attended Whitefish schools and graduated at the top of her class in 2003.

Straka attended college at the University of Notre Dame and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Longing for the mountains and the familiarity of her hometown, she moved back to Whitefish shortly after finishing college.

Carnival activities continue on Jan. 18 with the coronation of King Ullr LX and Queen of the Snows in downtown Whitefish, followed by a Disco Party at the Great Northern Bar.

Prince Frey and Princess Freya will be crowned Jan. 24 at Whitefish High School between the girls and boys varsity basketball games.

The carnival culminates with a parade and full day of activities on Feb. 8 in downtown Whitefish. For a full schedule go to

Source: Daily Inter Lake – Local News, Carnival crowns first round of royalty

The 4 industry conferences top producers never miss

How to make the most of your convention calendar

With busy schedules and set budgets, it can be challenging for agents to choose which annual conferences to attend from among the myriad options available. Which gatherings will yield the most useful learnings and the best opportunities to connect with peers?

Michael Valdes, REALOGY

There’s no surefire way to know which event will deliver the greatest benefit for your practice, but one rule holds true: you get out what you put in. “I think the right conferences provide an excellent return on investment if the agent is invested in the process,” says Michael Valdes, Senior Vice President of Global Servicing at REALOGY.

With investment in mind, we spoke with three leaders in real estate to hear their insights on how to make the most of any convention — and their recommendations on the industry conferences agents should have on their radars.

A conference tour de force

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

One of the value-adds of conferences is that they often take you to other cities, granting you a chance to visit global real estate hubs where you may represent a property or homebuyer in the future. “Those events that have an international component to them are the most rewarding,” says Valdes.

For luxury agents, here are some favorite stops on the conference circuit:

  • The National Association of REALTORSⓇ Conference & Expo is a November tradition that offers hundreds of sessions and features learnings from the industry’s top experts. It’s an excellent opportunity to network with both national and international peers, as the conference attracts some 1,500 global guests.
  • MIPIM is high on the list for many luxury agents. The annual event takes place in March at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, and connects high-level professionals from across the entire real estate value chain. The nearly 27,000 participants include financial institutions and investors, developers, tech innovators, and business leaders, among many others.
  • As the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) understands, there’s an ever-growing roster of Asian luxury buyers who are investing globally in high-end real estate. The AREAA Global & Luxury Summit is therefore a unique opportunity to make inroads with this exclusive market.
  • The annual Inman Luxury Connect conference is the perfect milieu for luxury agents looking to focus in on the issues that affect the higher end of the real estate market. Not only can you meet fellow luxury professionals, but break-out sessions and immersive discussions ensure that agents are receiving information and connections that can directly lead to new business. Stay an extra day or two to catch the broader Inman Connect Las Vegas conference, where franchise executives, marketers, and tech entrepreneurs all come together to trade business cards and expertise.

Tye Stockton,

LIV Sotheby’s
International Realty

“Industry conferences have been vital to my success,” says Tye Stockton, Global Real Estate Advisor with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty. “In a small community like Vail, having the ability to tap into knowledge and talent outside of our market has been a great way to bring a fresh approach to my buyers and sellers.”

Conferences provide an opportunity to expand your horizons — literally and figuratively — through traveling abroad and connecting with colleagues from outside your own niche. Stockton says he averages three to four conferences per year, though if you haven’t been in the business for long, it can be in your best interests to register more often.

“Newer agents should be attending as much as possible, as their learning curve is more important,” notes Joel Schemmel, J.D., REALTORⓇ with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

Bigger isn’t always better

Joel Schemmel, J.D.,

Premier Sotheby’s
International Realty

A smaller-scale conference may not have the pomp and circumstance of the year’s major events, but they can be just as educational. They’re often thematically designed to target select issues, and may speak to a challenge you’re experiencing in your own day-to-day.

“I have attended large and small conferences and have found the smaller regional conferences sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates to pack in a lot of valuable information,” says Stockton. “They tend to have a meaningful and targeted message most relevant to expanding my marketing offerings and deal negotiations.”

Likewise, Schemmel is a regular at real estate seminars because of the specialized lens they provide — whether it’s examining the intricacies of 1031 exchanges or working with international clients. “The most beneficial seminar I attended recently was on Ninja Selling,” he recalls. “It was almost a full week, and was interesting for me, as an experienced and high-volume agent, to see how many aspects of my business could be refined.”

Ask the experts

Luxury home dining room interior

Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

Networking with other agents at conferences is a good opportunity to grow your sphere of influence and lay the groundwork for future referrals. To that end, Valdes recommends seeking out agents in your direct feeder markets. But the greatest benefits are the connections you can forge with other industries. “Ancillary allies like finance and legal are important to have so that you can offer consumers a ‘one-stop’ deliverable,” he says. “That’s going the extra mile for a client.”

For Stockton, building these connections at conferences has been critical to his business. “I consider these contacts to be personal consultants to my business, and I stay in regular contact with several I have met,” he says. “Don’t think of conferences and networking as a referral source but rather as a best practice opportunity. What you learn will make you successful every day, unlike a referral, which may deliver a good piece of business once.”

As Schemmel points out, conferences should never be a passive exercise. “Just going and listening is not going to do it,” he says. “You need to attend with the goal of learning and building your network. Only with effort and commitment will you reap the benefits.” Most importantly, you can then share those benefits with your colleagues, your team, and of course, your clients.

Source: The 4 industry conferences top producers never miss – Inman