High-end homes require slightly different approach to sales

The Estemere Estate in Palmer Lake is on the market for $2.2 million without the furnishings or $2.7 million with them.

The Estemere Estate in Palmer Lake is on the market for $2.2 million without the furnishings or $2.7 million with them.

Selling a luxury home requires a Realtor who knows how to market estate homes in luxury publications, according to people in the high-end real estate business.

Trish Ingels wears two hats on this topic — she owns a $6.5 million home she’s trying to sell, and she’s a Realtor who sells executive homes for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.

Ingels and her husband Rick Delesk listed their home on the market last year and three years ago during the summer sales season.

Over time, they have marketed the 13,600-square-foot home nationally and internationally.

“The likelihood is that the buyer’s going to come from another area,” Ingels said.

“This summer, there were probably only three real buyers,” she added, saying many curiosity-seekers requested showings just to see the house.

Until summer, there’s typically little sales activity in the high-end real estate market, which is defined in Colorado Springs as homes listed at $1 million or more.

Most — 96 percent — homes sold in El Paso County tend to sell for $500,000 or less, said Kevin Patterson, a Realtor in the luxury market at The Patterson Group.

Many of the environmental factors, such as the school district, configuration of the neighborhood and community amenities, tend to have as much or more value to the buyer than the home, he added.

“We can have a beautiful home, but if it’s geographically located far away, it’s never going to make the list,” Patterson said.

The sales picture

There is an “abundancy” of inventory of luxury homes, particularly at the King’s Deer Golf Club, said Realtor Stuart Vestal, agent with Salzman Real Estate. King’s Deer is located north of Colorado Springs. Earlier this year, the golf course closed, while many people still live in the development.

“Quite a few sold at fire-sale prices,” after the closure, Vestal said.

“A year ago, we had three years of inventory, where you could expect your home to be on the market for 600 to 700 days,” Vestal said.

Last year, 10,975 homes, condominiums and townhouses sold in El Paso County. Of those, 483 were listed at $500,000 or more, said Patterson. Of the 483 listings, 223 of those were listed between $500,000 and $600,000.

Of the remaining, 70 homes sold with a list price of $800,000 or more, Patterson said. “It’s a pretty thin market. In many cases the buyers are cash buyers.

“I’ve not run into financing problems.”

Of the county’s real estate agents, “they all would like to sell homes at that range,” because the larger the sale, the larger the commission, Patterson said.

Luxury homes also demand luxury marketing, which means spending more money in advertising, he added. And if the house doesn’t sell, the Realtor does not get that money back.

Recession

During and after the recession, there has been a limited number of people able to afford to buy in the higher price range. Sales have recovered to pre-recession levels in the price range up to $700,000, Patterson said.

“Above $800,000, there is more supply than buyers financially able to purchase homes,” Patterson said. In the past three years, the market has recovered to a degree.

The market for selling luxury homes was strong until last May, Ingels said.

Instead of buying a used home, more people are building custom homes, said Ingels, whose husband Rick Delesk owns The Newport Company, a construction company that specializes in luxury estate homes.

“People in the high-end like to build their house and put their money where it’s important to them,” Ingels said. “New construction is picking up.”

Luxury market Realtor Jack Gloriod, who sells for The Becky Gloriod Team for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, said there were between 70 and 80 sales of $1 million properties during the years 2006-2007.

“We’re under 30 now,” Gloriod said. “Everybody tightened up quite a bit during the recession.”

Now, there is more confidence in the market than there was during the recession, he said.

Last year, Gloriod and his wife Becky sold four high-end homes.

“We used to sell about one a month, back in the good old days,” Gloriod said.

Rick Delesk and Trish Ingels’ 13,600-square-foot, $6.5 million Broadmoor-area home is on the market.

Rick Delesk and Trish Ingels’ 13,600-square-foot, $6.5 million Broadmoor-area home is on the market.

How to sell a high-end home

“Get a good Realtor, that’s the best start,” said Gloriod.

“As an owner, it’s important to get someone who actually sells these things,” he said. “It’s best to not get your best friend’s cousin.”

“They’re going to get it marketed everywhere — the Internet is absolutely critical.”

Gloriod markets in many publications, from national magazines on down to the local newspapers.

“We network with all the top agents with all the buyers,” Gloriod said. The Elite 25 is the club of Realtors who sell high-end homes on a regular basis; every year, Realtors have to re-establish themselves for this exclusive listing.

Palmer Lake classic estate

Roger Ward and his wife Kimberley purchased the Estemere Estate, a Victorian mansion in Palmer Lake more than 10 years ago.

At the time, they considered the 6.5-acre property their “retirement project. My wife and I wanted to fix it up and live in it forever,” Roger Ward said. “This is a labor of love.”

Later, after remodeling the six buildings and 11,000 square feet on the estate, they decided to sell Estemere and build a modern home to live in at Larkspur.

To sell Estemere, the Wards first chose a Palmer Lake-area Realtor.

“I think they did a pretty good job,” but did not sell the estate, Ward said. “Five years ago the market for any home wasn’t getting anywhere.”

The Wards have the property for sale now without a Realtor. The asking price is $2.7 million, including the Victorian furnishings; if a buyer wants the home without the furniture, the price is $2.2 million.

The Wards have had two interested potential buyers.

“Both of them said they’ll have the money next week,” Ward said. “It’s like free beer tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes.”

In its 120 years of history, the property has served as a school, lodge and YMCA camp, and it could be a bed and breakfast or a church property.

His goal is to find someone who respects the Victorian vintage of the home and has the ability to maintain it.

“It’s like having an antique car. If you want to drive it around, you have to respect it and take care of it,” Ward said.

Next, the Wards will probably choose Sotheby’s to market their home.

“We want a national firm with good name recognition,” Ward said.