Vail Daily column: What is a ‘luxury Realtor’? |

Vail Daily column: What is a ‘luxury Realtor’?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

What is a luxury Realtor? I am looking to put my property on the market next spring and depending upon the market it will be over $900,000 … hopefully, over $1 million, if the market gets stronger. Do I need someone who calls themselves a luxury ​Realtor​? What does that mean, and how important is that in getting my property sold?

Dear Possible Luxury Seller,

Whether or not they (Realtor) call themselves or your home luxury is not nearly as important as their knowledge of the real estate and how it gets sold in this valley.

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You have hit upon ​a​ question​ with many facets to the answer. First of all, let’s look at a definition of a luxury Realtor. If you call yourself an expert at anything, say skiing, tennis, business investments, dancing,​ etc., then does that make you an expert? Not necessarily, but it does show you at least aspire to be good at that chosen field! There are designations for luxury Realtors in many of our different companies. There also are a few international organizations like the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

In The Top 10 Percent

For most all of these designations, you need to have sold a certain number of properties in the top 10 percent of dollar sales volume in your area in a certain time frame. When I got my designation, the minimum sales price to qualify was a $2.4 million sale in the Vail Valley. By these terms, anything under a $2.4 million sales price was not considered luxury. If this is true across the board, then you would not want a luxury Realtor. However, nationwide, a luxury sale is generally considered anything over $500,000. Obviously, it greatly depends upon the area you live in.

Location, Location, Location

Personally, I believe that there are different luxury values in our own county and your home very well may be considered luxury in your community. The location of the lot is critical in all real estate, and especially in resort real estate. We all know the value of a ski-in/ski-out location, but there are also other excellent locations throughout the valley with fabulous views, golf course community amenities and large estate-like acreages or ranches. A great (not necessarily designated as luxury) Realtor can help you evaluate your location and improvements to get the most money the market will bear when you choose to list your home.

I believe that it is most important that you find a Realtor that will work well with you and do the marketing and networking necessary to sell your property. Whether or not they call themselves or your home luxury is not nearly as important as their knowledge of the real estate, and how it gets sold in this valley, combined with the determination, social networking and experience it takes to make an excellent sales person. I have always felt strongly, along with most of the ​successful ​Realtors in this valley, that it is more important to concentrate on offering luxury service to all of our clients, rather than being so concerned with whether or not we have the luxury moniker in our title.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlack, 970-337-7777 or

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