How to sell a record-breaker: Tips and challenges to selling luxury real estate

Photo courtesy of The Invidiata Team RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp Brokerage

A $15 million property has just been put on the market in Mississauga and could set a new real estate record.

But before that happens, a lot of work has to be done by specialty agents like Christopher Invidiata, the principal broker handling the 12,500 square foot listing at the corner of Doulton Drive and Mississauga Road.

And while the number of foreign buyers has declined from places like Russia and England, the 2008 financial crisis has actually helped the industry sell more homes.

“People who have been hurt in stocks and bonds look at real estate as a safe investment,” Invidiata said, citing his recent successful sale of a $28 million lakefront property in Oakville.

The 27-year industry veteran spoke to about what it takes to sell this kind of luxury property and some of the challenges involved.

Have an active, detailed web presence

The internet has helped the industry by allowing for detailed information, photos, even 360-degree panoramas of luxury homes to be viewed around the world.

“The internet has helped tremendously,” he said, because more people around the world can figured out if a property fits their interest by looking online. “It’s become a real asset for the industry.”

Invest lot of time screening and prospecting potential buyers

“The first thing you consider is the privacy and security of the family,” Invidiata said by phone from Boca Raton, Florida. “We have a qualifying process to determine if people are real. That’s becoming almost a bigger challenge because everyone is curious to see a big home like that.”

Invidiata and his team constantly keep on eye on potential buyers to weed out fake or unqualified interest. “There’s a lot of fraud today due to interest in the market,” he said.”

Make sure the right people know about the property

Smart marketing means alerting the CEOs, CFOs, entrepreneurs and targeting the different high-end neighbourhoods of our local market in Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Area.

Invidiata is also strategic when it comes to potential foreign buyers by looking at immigration flow from places like China, India and Russia. “We have connections in each of those areas where we have relationships with those different agents, embassies and consultants that deal in high-end people that are immigrating.”

While the number of foreign buyers has declined from Russia and England, Invidiata said interest from Americans has remained strong.

Be prepared for a long process

Invidiata said there are definitely buyers out there for these kinds of luxury properties, but they require pretty elaborate showings beyond music and some wine. “We’ve become like event marketing,” he said. “We have our own Mercedes-Benz van-truck which is fully outfitted, we have red carpets and tents, we create a very unique experience for our clients. It’s quite a important part of the process how they’re executed.”

But even with the right screening and great showings, a sale can take as long as 18 months to complete, like in the case of Invidiata’s sale of the Oakville lakefront property.

But he compares a great, successful match like a Cinderella story. “When the shoe fits, it’s perfect.”

Know they won’t always be sold

The main reasons houses are not sold are price or the seller changing their mind.


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