RE/MAX Mainstreet: Work with Luxury Listings, Celebrities

Star athletes. Actors. Top business executives. Several RE/MAX Associates have been involved in serving such high-profile clients. They gain referrals and leads from a mix of knowing the right people and building stellar reputations through quality service.

Here are some examples of celebrity RE/MAX transactions:

Scott Turow, crime novelist

Karen Breen Elia received a referral from another RE/MAX agent to help a wealthy Thai business executive purchase Scott Turow's $5 million mansion in Glencoe, a north-shore suburb of Chicago. The Lake Michigan property, with its cedar exterior, soaring ceilings, lake views and ultra-modern design, was the perfect fit for Breen Elia's affluent buyer who paid cash for the property.

"These clients are used to a sophisticated level of service," Breen Elia says. "You still need to provide quality to your clients regardless of the price tag, but there are certainly higher expectations when you're dealing with multimillion-dollar homes. You have to follow up extensively and work closely with their managers and personal assistants."

Breen Elia advises that if you want to earn the commissions that come with luxury homes, you need to be handle the heightened pressure and stress that comes with working with a more exclusive clientele. Also, she says, your reputation and track record speaks volumes of your ability to get results.

Orlando Magic player

One of the Orlando Magic's most famous players turned to Karen Arbutine in late 2008 to purchase a home in Longwood, Fla. With her help, the NBA star bought the $8.1 million Chateau d'Usse – a record-breaking sale for the county.

The player's manager approached Arbutine to help find a home after the two had met several times at charity and sport association events. The 11,000-square-foot chateau features a cathedral entry and a lazy-river pool and waterfall. To celebrate the purchase, Arbutine organized a party complete with 25 bottles of Mo‘t et Chandon and a banner on a front balcony that read, "Welcome Home Warrior 12."

"To work with these clients, you have to be where their agents and managers are and get your name out there," says Arbutine, a 100 Percent Club member with RE/MAX Central Realty in Lake Mary. "It's easier to work with a celebrity buyer if you first get a luxury listing, then market it aggressively to have your name associated with luxury homes. How you market a high-end property and the kind of service you provide is paramount to a successful sale." Being with RE/MAX also makes it easier to secure and sell an affluent listing because of the company's global brand-name recognition and reputation for being a network of real estate leaders, Arbutine says.

"People like to be associated with an agent who's part of a superior-caliber company. I definitely wear my RE/MAX badge with pride."

By Deborah Ball Kearns, RE/MAX Times Online Associate Editor