Archive for the ‘Luxury Buyers’ Category


When smaller is better – house downsizing

May 30, 2009

Is it me or is everything getting smaller?

I know this a luxury blog but luxury no longer equals HUGE. Lavish displays of extravagant wealth are no longer de rigueur. You can be opulent and tastefully small.

I have watched, with our current market conditions, as homeowners are downsizing in record numbers. People still want to be surrounded by beautiful things – just not so much of them. Maybe there is too much of a good thing.

I have also watched people who had extraordinary home settle for something sweet and simple. When the world around you is teetering, just a bit, it is good to have something that is warm and cozy and feels like home.

In the end, this may not be a bad thing at all. Luxury in a box, a delicious, delightful and small box. I think I may try it myself.


Sotheby’s Survey says…

July 12, 2008



Survey Findings Contradict Media Perceptions in the Marketplace

New York, N.Y. (July 7, 2008)-Despite media reports to the contrary, real estate is still considered a sound investment and affluent consumers are confident both in the current housing market and that the value of their home has remained constant, according to a consumer research study undertaken by Architectural Digest with Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. In the newly commissioned survey, “Seeking an Extraordinary Lifestyle,” 85% of respondents agreed with the statement, “I think real estate continues to be one of the better investments a person can make.” The study further revealed:

* 72% of respondents believe their primary home value has remained constant or increased in value over the last 12 months (46% remained constant; 26% increased).

* Nearly two-thirds of respondents report that current conditions have “no effect” on their likelihood to sell their primary home (63%).

* In the coming year, 79% believe the value of their primary home will continue to remain constant or increase (55% remain constant; 24% will increase).

* In the next year, more than half (54%) of the million-dollar homeowners plan to buy, sell, build or invest in a new home.

* 69% of million-dollar homeowners agree that now is a good time to add to one’s real estate holdings.

* 71% agree, “Over time, nothing beats real estate for building one’s personal wealth.”

The respondents feel that the media plays a role in the perception of the current real estate market conditions:

Half (50%) of respondents think the media exaggerates conditions to make the market seem worse than it is.

“This study confirms that even in a downturn economy, our readers are what we call ‘recession- proof’,” said Giulio Capua, vice president and publisher of Architectural Digest. “They continue to spend money on real estate and other luxury goods and services.”

According to Michael R. Good, president and chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, the study proves that real estate continues to be seen as a valuable investment opportunity, especially among consumers in the luxury market.

“This study validates the assertion that real estate is one of the best long-term investments a person can make, regardless of current market conditions. Affluent consumers know that real estate plays a key role in their long-term strategy to increase personal wealth,” said Good. “And among those consumers seeking to add to their real estate portfolio, the top criteria for choosing a property are location, price, amenities and home features.”

Research Methodology

Beta Research Corporation conducted a geo-specific mail survey to 3,500 Architectural Digest subscribers with a household income of $100,000+ and a home valued at $1,000,000+ on behalf of Condé Nast Publications in the following designated market areas: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Boston, Atlanta, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, Denver and Detroit. The survey was conducted between February 19 and March 14, 2008. There were 510 respondents.

About Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest is the world’s definitive design magazine, reaching an audience of over 4 million readers each month. The magazine features the work of world-class authors and photographers and regularly presents a “first look” at the homes of leaders in the fields of entertainment, fashion, business, society and the arts. For more information, visit

About Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 9,500 sales associates located in more than 485 offices in the United States and 32 other countries and territories.

Founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings, the Sotheby’s International Realty network was designed to connect the finest independent real estate companies to the most prestigious clientele in the world. In February 2004, Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services, entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a full franchise system by Realogy’s subsidiary, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. Affiliations in the system are granted only to brokerages and individuals meeting strict qualifications. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC supports its affiliates with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Franchise affiliates also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit


Say What?

March 8, 2008



One of the best pieces of advice that was given to me when I started this business can be summed up in two simple words (although not very eloquent) and they are “shut up”. When you work with clients, they need to be THE focus. It sounds simple but too often sales executives want to talk and they can simply talk too much. I practice the art of questioning and then paying attention to the answers provided. It is so important to really pay attention to the client’s responses instead of thinking about the next question you wish to ask…our client wants to know that we comprehend and are paying close attention to their verbalized needs, wants, and desires. The skill of listening is truly an art form


You Don’t Need A Crystal Ball

November 5, 2007


In a recent article, Phoebe Chongchua notes the decline in print advertising for home sellers in 2007. This is not a passing fad and is truly a forecast of things to come in the real estate industry. Why has the newspaper market dried up? For a number of reasons.

Firstly, the newspaper industry has an agenda beyond selling homes. Sometimes rightly and often wrongly, newspaper coverage about the real estate market and real estate agents is often negative. Why should real estate agents support an industry which does very little to promote the positives of the market and the players in the market, both nationally and locally? More on that to follow.

Secondly, real estate agents realize that most people begin their search for a home on the internet. More than 80% of prospective buyers start searching on the web. It has cut out the newspaper as the lead source of news for real estate and rightfully so…at least they get the facts on line. You don’t need a crystal ball to see where this is going. Print real estate ads as a useful tool for selling homes will disappear within the next five years. The internet will reign supreme.



September 25, 2007

By Linda Hutchinson 

I find this question to be intriguing and I would have to say that the high-end homebuyer wants value for the dollar, they want luxury items that are sensible, they want multiple homes, and most importantly, the high-end luxury home buyer wants to know costs. As a recent article in “Lore” magazine states, people used to say “If you have to ask what it cost, you can’t afford it…” The author goes on to say “That’s not true anymore,” The current buyers know the value of a dollar and want to keep tabs on costs.” I don’t know about you but I just think that is the sign of a smart investor and a smart homeowner.


Pricier Homes Still Selling

September 19, 2007


by Linda Hutchinson

A recent search of the Mid Florida Regional multiple listing service reflects that there have been 219 homes sold in ORANGE County, Florida for $1M or more since January 1st of 2007. This is only slightly lower than the 251 sales for the same time period in 2006. However, it is important to note that the highest price sold in 2006 was only $8.815M with 2007 boasting a recent sale of a 15,000 sq. foot, $10M mansion in Isleworth. In total sales volume, luxury sales are on pace to meet or exceed last year’s statistics. This is good news indeed.

For those who are interested, the majority of homes sold in the $1M plus price range were in Windermere with almost 100 homes sold this year. Winter Park is a distant second at 49 homes sold. The balance of homes sold is spread out around the county. Most homes over the million dollar mark feature at least five (5) bedrooms and 4,500 square feet of living space. It would appear that market conditions (whether real or imagined) have not adversely affected the luxury home market in Central Florida.


Wine Storage Tips From Sotheby’s Wine Auction Experts

September 18, 2007

Whether it’s a toasty chardonnay with salmon, a bold cabernet sauvignon with grilled steak or a smooth merlot with roast lamb, we often take great pains to pair our favorite wines with the ideal gourmet cuisine.

To ensure a wine’s fine qualities, homebuyers are increasingly seeking homes with wine storage facilities. Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty, as a premier provider of luxury real estate in Central Florida, has experienced a growing trend towards homes with distinctive wine storage facilities. This luxury real estate firm offers many extraordinary homes offering such features.

According to Jamie Ritchie, senior vice president of Sotheby’s Auction House wine department, we may be making great strides in wine and food pairings, but we are not taking the time to properly store our favorite drop. Ritchie recommends making the most of preferred wine selections by storing them in the appropriate conditions. Wine aromas will intensify, colors will deepen and flavors will enhance the taste of the most scrumptious of fare.

For optimum taste and enjoyment of wine treasures, Ritchie suggests the following storage tips for all types of wine stored for more than a couple of months:

Maintain temperature-

The ideal temperature for wine storage is a constant 55 degrees. If the wine is too warm, it will mature too quickly and the flavor will decline. If the wine is too cold, the complexity of the flavors becomes dull and flat. Storing wine at the ideal temperature will allow it to reach and maintain peak aromas and intensity.

Rest it on its side-

Bottles must rest on their side for the wine to maintain contact with the cork. This keeps the cork moist, preventing air from getting into the bottle and oxidizing the wine.

Keep it still-

Ensure that wines are in a vibration-free location. Store them away from the boiler room or areas of high traffic in the home. Keeping the wine static will enable the naturally forming sediments in the bottle to fall away and ensure a clean and clear-tasting pour when it comes time for serving.

Turn out the lights-

Store wines in the darkest room in the house, preferably in a cellar or a dark closet. Light will prematurely age a bottle of wine and potentially ruin the flavor.

According to Ritchie, the single biggest mistake that wine enthusiasts make is to store their wines in the kitchen. “Unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled storage unit, the kitchen, including the refrigerator, is the worst place to store wine,” Ritchie said. “The refrigerator is too cold, and the kitchen is an environment of frequent changes in light and temperature as well as extreme traffic and movement – all conditions to avoid in proper wine storage.”

Considering that wine cellars are found in only select luxury homes, finding such estates means working with the right real estate firm that specializes in extraordinary properties.

Linda Hutchinson proudly represents the Seller of just such a home. This extraordinary property offers a brand new nearly 5,000 square foot home, under construction, in downtown Orlando that will be one of the few homes in the Central Florida region with a full basement that features a wine storage facility ensuring proper care for an expensive wine collection. Please review the information (on this blog) for the listing at 335 N. Hyer Street in Downtown Orlando. This estate home is priced at $1,800,000. More information on this home can be found here.

In addition to the firm’s main office in Orlando, Florida, Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty, also operates offices in Dr. Phillips, Windermere, Heathrow, Winter Park and Ormond Beach. Additional information is available at, as well as at




September 17, 2007

by Linda Hutchinson

The “idle” rich moniker no longer seems to hold true according to Robert Frank, a senior writer for the Wall Street Journal. He reports that the uber-rich are now seeking discrete, savvy and educated professionals for their home staffing needs. The luxury homebuyer now seeks professional help through headhunters and employment services. In addition, there is a greater reliance on professional help when it comes to managing wealth. I believe this also holds true for real estate agents. It is no longer good enough to be a licensed real estate agent, one must know and understand the high-end buyer or sellers needs, wants and desires while having an expanding market knowledge and ability to advise clients on making sound financial decisions with the purchase of first, second or multiple homes.