It’s one thing to dream of helping affluent clients buy and sell beautiful up-market homes. But how do you actually become a luxury real estate agent? 

For the past 10-plus years, I’ve coached agents on how to attract and retain high-net-worth clients and the truth is, breaking into the world of luxury real estate is surprisingly simple. It does take some creativity, hard work, and tenacity, but mostly, you need a real passion for all things luxury. In this article, I’ll teach you how to become a luxury real estate agent using my 15 favorite tried-and-tested methods—and you can start today!

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First Things First: Understanding Today’s Luxury Real Estate Market

Getting Started: What You Need

So you’re ready to tackle luxury real estate. You should know that it’s a different type of animal. To start, you’ll need to be knowledgeable about the luxury market and have a strong personal brand. And while you might want a few years of experience under your belt, it’s not an absolute requirement. 

Above all else, what really matters is your commitment to becoming a luxury real estate agent. Those who excel in the high-end market provide service, consistency, and excellence. You’ll need to be passionate, creative, dedicated, and authentic every single day. And you can start right now with my proven tips below!

1. Adopt a Fancy Hobby

group of polo players on horseback

The best way to meet high-net-worth clients is by doing something you already enjoy. This can be as easy as joining a local antique car group, attending a few fine art shows, sipping your way through wine tastings, or finding a local polo club.

While you might not be in a position to buy your own polo pony, there are many ways to be an enthusiast. No 1955 Jaguar D-Type? No problem. Educate yourself on antique cars and attend meetups and car shows to show off your knowledge. Then, if you are attending a vintage car race, you can bring a list of luxury properties in your area that feature large garages or outbuildings that would be perfect for a vintage car collector.

But—and I cannot stress this enough—start with a hobby you actually enjoy or at least find interesting. No one likes a poser.

2. Make Luxury Part of Your Personal Brand

A key step to breaking into the luxury market is to make sure all your marketing materials—including your business cards, website, advertising, and social media—are cohesive and sophisticated. 

Attract the attention of high-end homebuyers by showing them the best of the luxury lifestyle in your farm area. Marketing the luxury lifestyle is easier than ever before with social media as the perfect place to “fake it until you make it.” It won’t cost you a lot of money to feature and discuss high-end restaurants, gallery openings, or golf tournaments on your social media accounts. 

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3. Get Involved With Charities & Causes

volunteers put together bagged lunches at a soup kitchen

It’s no secret that affluent people often support causes, attend charity events and auctions, volunteer, and fundraise. Target an issue that means something to you and get involved. Organize a toy drive, chair an event, join a board, or start donating a portion or your commission to a specific cause. 

Relationships and opportunities will develop naturally when your dedication to the cause shines through. From there, you can build a network that will lead to new opportunities.

This is another strategy that requires authenticity and sincerity. Don’t fake a love of rescue dogs if you don’t like animals—people will see right through you.

Related Article
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4. Sweat the Small Stuff

luxury property with terrace and wisteria climbing the walls.
(Source: Douglas Elliman)

In a property worth millions of dollars, every detail is important. You need to be ready to point out the luxury finishes, from the big obvious indoor basketball court to the tiniest cutting-edge audio speaker. You need to know about the Italian quarry where Calacatta marble is found, which high-end French range is en vogue, and how a property’s eco-friendly green roof is not just cool—it cools.  

If, for example, you work in a market with lots of expensive historic homes, you need to have the proper vocabulary: know a cornice from a corbel and the difference between balusters and the balustrade. And be familiar with easements and zoning boards that may get a say in future renovations and restorations. 

On the water? Know your boat lifts and dock permits. In the mountains of Colorado, what are the fire risks, and where are the best ski lodges and stocked trout streams? If someone is going to pay a premium for high-end property features, you need to become the luxury agent who knows what they are and why (or if) they’re worth it. 

Again, social media is key to showing off your expertise. If posting to social media doesn’t come naturally, you can get thousands of real estate social media templates from Coffee & Contracts. Sign up to get new Facebook and Instagram posts designed for real estate agents for every day of the month, plus lots of bonus material to keep your social accounts fresh and engaging.

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5. Consider Breaking Into Luxury Leasing

Even in the luxury market, the life of a real estate agent is ruled by the ebbs and flows of those commission checks. That’s why breaking into high-end leasing can help you diversify your income stream and your network. Even though these are rentals, the value of the lease can make the financial incentive comparable to a small property in your area. 

Working in luxury leasing also lets you bump elbows with affluent clients and owners. You’ll learn about the luxury market and its clientele. These connections can be valuable in long-term client relationships and generating referrals. For example, helping a high-net-worth individual find a rental for six months in a new city when they get established will foster that relationship for both when they’re ready to settle down and buy and for referrals down the line. 

Along with establishing your network and knowledge of the luxury market, you can use luxury leasing as a stepping stone to advance into selling luxury properties. Ingratiating yourself into the culture and context of the high-end market enables you to brand yourself as a luxury agent. When clients see success in this niche, it builds your brand in a way that only experience can. Shift your mindset into positioning yourself as the luxury market expert in order to pave the way for more opportunities in the future. 

6. Solve a Problem Specific to the Wealthy

If you want to make the leap from real estate agent to luxury real estate agent, you must offer more profound knowledge and broader expertise. Here is a list of common concerns for high-net-worth individuals, which often dovetail perfectly with your real estate services.

  • Real estate investing
  • Legal tax avoidance mechanisms and tax consequences of property purchases
  • Asset appraisal, privacy, protection, and preservation
  • Insurance
  • Zoning and land use
  • Development
  • Non-traditional banking jumbo loans
  • Common property and prenuptials

Think of one (and only one) problem that a luxury client may have that you can solve. You can then position yourself as the one person in your market who solves this problem for affluent clients. Reflect on your career and experiences and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What experiences, skills, and knowledge are valuable to a luxury client?
  • Which luxury clients would benefit from my skills and experience?

Then, write a positioning statement to use on all your marketing. For example:

“I help high-income individuals create, acquire, and manage a diverse property portfolio.”

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7. Teach a Relevant Course 

smiling teacher in front of whiteboard, facing her students

Once you know which specific problem you are uniquely qualified to solve, get out there and start educating your prospective clients. High-net-worth individuals may desire a deeper knowledge of real estate investing, 1031 exchanges, recent zoning changes, second home purchases, or development opportunities—and you can be the one to teach them.

Position yourself as the real estate educator and local authority by creating a 30- to 45-minute presentation or workshop. Ideally, you want to share all the ways that they can solve the problem without telling them exactly how to do it. End with a simple call to action: If they would like more information, they will need to schedule a meeting with you.

Focus on educating without getting anything in return. Even if you don’t set any meetings at first, you will eventually become a trusted authority on your chosen subject, leading to opportunities in the future.

🧁🍩🍬Don’t forget to bring snacks! Offering cookies, coffee, or even wine and cheese can go a long way toward breaking the ice. 🍸🧀🍷

Related Article
How to Explain 1031 Exchange Rules to Your Clients (in Plain English)

8. Master the Art of Networking & Self-marketing

People standing in a group, dressed professionally, holding drinks and chatting.

In luxury real estate, your network is your net worth. Being actively engaged in the community (and business events) is crucial to building your professional sphere. Regularly attend Rotary Club meetings and perhaps join a high-end athletic club. Explore your area to see if there’s a chamber of commerce that aligns well with your real estate niche

Don’t forget to include private lenders and wealth managers in your network. After all, they’re often already working with high-net-worth individuals. This way, you can gain insights into the luxury market—and perhaps even referrals. Invite them to an upcoming client appreciation event to help them build their base as well. Make sure you’re building mutually beneficial relationships so you’re the go-to real estate agent for their clients. 

Remember that effective networking isn’t just about attending events, though. It’s about following up, engaging with your community, and showing genuine interest in their activities. Find ways to provide value and help them commemorate milestones in their lives like anniversaries, birthdays, and important events—a small gesture goes a long way. Strengthening these relationships can pave the way for long-term opportunities. It won’t happen overnight.

9. Level Up With Designations

row of stately townhouses
(Source: Douglas Elliman)

If you want to become a respected luxury real estate agent, you need proof that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience to handle such an expensive asset. There are several designations and certifications explicitly designed for agents in the luxury real estate market.

While these won’t provide you with a luxury client as soon as you complete the course, they will provide you with a solid foundation to attract those luxury clients. Again, in luxury real estate, it’s all about networking. Clients in this space tend to value personal referrals and convey trust through connections. 

These programs often come with mastermind groups on Facebook and private referral networks. You’ll also be able to discuss market insights in depth with other agents. This continuous learning and exchange of ideas can help get your brain thinking about client acquisition. Plus, hearing success stories from how other agents broke into the market can keep your resolve going while trying to do the same yourself.

Related Article
9 Real Estate Designations That Will Actually Make You Money

10. Understand & Adapt to High-end Client Communication

Clean-cut & professional man in suit in the back of a car, with his laptop propped up on his lap.

In the world of luxury real estate, speaking the language of your clients goes beyond just knowing what to say. It’s about understanding their needs, preferences, and expectations. High-net-worth individuals often have specific ways of communicating and conducting business. If you get emails or texts with just short, one-word responses, don’t take it as rude or curt. Your clients are most likely very busy people and every second counts. So it’s important for you to be able to adapt to your clients (and not the other way around!).  

With luxury real estate comes an increased potential for global clients, meaning your understanding of cultural differences is key. This means being aware of and respecting different norms, customs, and communication styles. For example, understanding the importance of formal titles and when to shake hands: Many cultures around the world shake hands when beginning and ending a conversation. Notice and study these subtleties so they don’t catch you off guard. 

While many real estate pros recommend customizing your communication methods for each client, this is a must if you want to make it in the luxury market. Some might prefer a weekly detailed email update, while others might opt for a quick text or phone call with their assistant. Pay attention to these preferences to show respect for your client’s time—and how they conduct business. 

But the most important aspect of adapting to speaking their language is listening. Understand their desires, motivations, and concerns by listening carefully to what your clients are saying. Pick up those breadcrumbs throughout the conversation to help you tailor your advice and communication and build a stronger relationship with your client.

📌   Pro Tip

With the ProspectsPLUS! MapMyMail feature, you can target potential luxury buyers and sellers by demographic, geography, or lifestyle. You can also choose specific neighborhoods to send postcards and other direct mail to potential buyers.

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11. Hitch Your Wagon to a Star via Co-listings

You can gain serious skills and connections by helping other luxury agents with their marketing, events, and open houses. When you can show your well-to-do peers that you are hungry, they will be more likely to take a chance on you as a referral partner when they’re too busy to give their high-end clients the attention they often demand. 

Don’t be too proud to co-list, either. If someone is too busy to take on a luxury listing, offer to jump in and do the grunt work. Half of the commission of a luxury listing is well worth it. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from a more experienced agent. It’s not just about sharing the workload—you’ll be able to gain insights into the nuances of luxury deals, from client interactions to closing the deal. 

Plus, being associated with a high-end listing will instantly build your credibility and reputation in the luxury real estate community. You’ll now be able to associate your brand with a high-end property—use this to your advantage to boost your luxury profile.

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12. Mine Expired Luxury Listings & FSBOs

Luxury homes can take two to three times longer to sell than the average home because fewer people can afford them. Plus, many are custom designed and have unique features, making them more difficult to price correctly the first time. Some luxury listings can sit on the market for years and change listing agents multiple times before they sell. 

Luxury for sale by owner (FSBO) sellers can also find it difficult to attract “real” homebuyers for their premium-priced homes. This means that there is opportunity for savvy agents to prospect for both expired luxury listings and FSBOs. When I coach agents on how to get listings by prospecting expired luxury listings and FSBOs, I encourage them to present themselves as ambitious (yet professional) luxury real estate agents who offer the ultimate solution to a client’s problem. Listen to their issues and above all, be prepared to talk data. After all, there’s a reason that the first agent didn’t work out (or why they’ve decided not to list with an agent!).

13. Claim New Construction as Your Own

custom built wine cellar in a new luxury home
(Source: Douglas Elliman)

Hustling to become the representative for a new residential construction project is one of the fastest ways to establish yourself in the luxury market. If a developer has one project and likes the work you’ve done to sell it, chances are they’ll have another one … and then another one. 

Once again, networking is key here. Take any opportunity you can to get in front of developers and show off your skills. It might even be possible to consult on projects before they ever begin. After all, you’re the real estate expert and have plenty of knowledge about what the market will bear. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that can grow and develop over time.

14. Dress for Success

People in a room for a networking event, dressed professionally in suits and shaking hands.

Or should we say, dress to impress? In luxury real estate, appearances matter. Observe how your clients act and dress and aim to mirror their style—while keeping different cultural norms and expectations in mind. It’s not just about imitation; it’s about showing respect and understanding to your clients. 

However, don’t go overboard. It’s essential you stay true to yourself and your personal brand. Your clients choose you for your authenticity and expertise, so while it’s important to present yourself well, don’t spend all of your next commission check on a new wardrobe or wear clothes you don’t feel comfortable in. 

When you dress appropriately, it shows respect for your clients but also reflects your professionalism. Remember, we may be dealing with global clientele here. Whether the situation is a high-stakes negotiation or you’re showing a listing, your attire should be chosen thoughtfully and intentionally to ensure you leave a positive, lasting impression.

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15. Adopt a Service Mindset

High-net-worth individuals are used to a certain level of service. Promptly responding to emails and texts and answering the phone is just the beginning. Exceptional service is all about making the client feel like they are your first—and most important—priority. 

We’re not talking about splashing out on fancy gifts or splurging on expensive meals. Showing clients you care is often about the smallest details. Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and children’s names (and their hobbies or favorite sports teams) can go a long way. A simple handwritten note can speak volumes about the kind of agent you are. 

Too busy at the polo fields or charity auctions for handwritten notes? A service like Handwrytten crafts personalized messages and uses proprietary technology to recreate your handwriting to send a note that looks just like the real thing.

Bringing It All Together 

Becoming a luxury real estate agent sounds daunting, but in the end, it’s pretty simple. Connect with your passion. Be genuine in your pursuit of relationships and networks. Create a plan to meet affluent people who share the same excitement for luxury real estate properties that you have. Brand yourself appropriately, work hard, and provide a professional, unparalleled client experience. Take these steps and you’re already on your way to becoming a luxury real estate agent. 

Remember that, in today’s world, luxury is not strictly about price—it’s about the uniqueness of an experience and elite level of service. Do you have a way to break into luxury that we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comment section!

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