With a greater need for homeownership amongst qualified first time buyers I am seeing a widening divide between those buyers and large corporate brokerages. Do these brokerages really understand the needs of this buying demographic?...It is beginning to look like they do not!

There is an increasing effort to market the real estate business as about the BIG plans and "Branding" of these large brokerages than about the local home buyer and seller. There appears to me to be a missing link in the way big brokerages promote themselves and the way the average home buyer looks for a home. 


I noticed this divide especially after the latest trend on the part of large brokerages to brand themselves more and more as high-end experts, letting the $1million and under part of the market go fish! 

I personally feel that the Luxury market finds its own pace and is not neccessarily one that needs defining or branding efforts for that matter. The luxury buyer is a buying demographic who seems to buy on impulse more than out of need. This buyer buys only when they see the financial advantage of owning a property in the $5million to $10million and up range.

The luxury home buyer does not need to be "led to water" so to speak, whereas the under $1million range buyer needs the guidance and support that is required by a first time home buyer since most of them are just that!


There is a hidden danger in focusing only on the high end of the real estate market, as most who have been in the real estate business have long ago figured out. When the luxury buyer sees a financial trend they act swiftly and decisively because they know the financial implications of a slowing market place more than the average homeowner who is more apt to buy out of need.


First of all, the buying public is apt to feel less and less that they can benefit from these larger companies. Nothing wrong with being a large dominant real estate company but I have seen massive efforts in getting attention on luxury properties as if that is where they find their largest source of revenue.

It is true that a $5-$10million-plus property will bring in larger revenue but it is also true that when the high end market softens it leaves a brokerage and their efforts to market the $1million and under properties way off target. 


In my experience, when the large real estate brokerages use the typical corporate attitude to show "Local knowledge" in their corporate advertising they miss the mark in a major way. So many times what they see as important to the local market place is nothing more than a myth that is projected upon that particular community by a celebrity mindset and not what is sought after by the buying public.

Local targeted marketing is an essential tool to find the way to this first time buyer. Marketing to this buyer and offering accurate and detailed local information about an area will work magic in the way of building this "Grassroots" buying population. 

Nothing speaks "Local" better than a website with it's focus on informing the public about a community and it's laws and points of interest...realistic and accurate local information that fills the needs of a new home owner and all their requirements!  Now that is a terrific way to "Brand" your real estate name!

*I have used prices that apply to the Hamptons and may not apply to most selling areas...




                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 4 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • May 28 2017 04:24PM


My main business are the "bread and butter" homes in the average price point. I love my clients and they keep me busy. Sure, an occasional luxury sale is nice. But the time on market for luxury homes is several times longer than the lower price points. For me it doesn't make sense to specialize in them.

Posted by Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 305.81.HOUSE (46873), GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay | (eXp Realty LLC) over 1 year ago

Maggie: I see your point and it only adds to the reasons that I feel we are very wrong to focus on luxury properties only. There must be a better way to approad the "Big Divide" in the markets---luxury markets are known for not only taking forever to move properties but also to miss-guide a lot of agents into joining the profession only to discover that there is no "there" there when it comes to selling these monsters! Here in the Hamptons we see agents leave their jobs in the financial business, thinking they are going to make a killing on just the high end properties. There are a lot of empty desks out there in the real world of real estate!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Paula there are  a few agents in my area that market the luxury market extremely well and do quit a bit of business. And there are so many others that attempt to market luxury homes but their marketing efforts are lame, at best. My focus is on my long standing clients and I'm quite happy with that and it provides a good lifestyle as well.  Your area is vastly differnt than Phoenix - for sure!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 1 year ago

Anna: I think basically we are all in the same frame of mind though when it comes to the huge, over the top attention large brokerages give to their luxury listings. They do  it because they want the wealthy to know that we are up to the task--when "we" are not. My company just came up with a new marketing/branding plan that appears to be all about Elliman taking a more moderate approach. It is called "It's Time for Elliman"--leaving room, I am certain for the inclusion now of the need to target the more moderate buyer . I don't have anything to say about the way Elliman brands themselves but I must say, we lost the buyer for the more affordable properties, leaving them to find their own way. There is a void as big as the Grand Canyon (well, maybe not THAT big)  that has been left for whomever finds this lost soul. The other problem with the luxury market as a main target is that everybody who owns a home here in the Hamptons thinks their property is worth about 5 times as much as it is worth!! Why? Because that is the focus--luxury! The focus has too long been on that illusive luxury buyer and right now the luxury buyer has decided it is not the time to buy. (well, most of them!) Our top of the market sales are slow and have been for months now--it may be a little late to try to capture the more moderate home buyer--they are long gone to other parts of Long Island--leaving a deficit in homes for those who were born here! They have to leave the area because there is nothing left to buy!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago