The Secret to Selling Celebrity and Architecturally Significant Homes 

Because of my tenure in and expertise with the luxury housing market, I see part of my professional role as educational and mentoring. I want to advise sellers of top real estate on how best to showcase their property and mentor other real estate professionals. Through my experience, I aim to help sellers, buyers, and other professionals reach their real estate goals.

How is it that you become successful at selling in the luxury home market? What is the secret ingredient to selling celebrity homes or architecturally significant structures? Is there a secret sauce? The answer to this question would be yes. Today I’m sharing part of my method to selling in the luxury home market.


Not everything is roses. What is the value of a celebrity or architecturally significant home?

Representing a celebrity seller or star architect is not all it’s chalked up to be when it comes to selling the property. On the upside, the value of the listing is automatically boosted by its attachment to fame—the name of the celebrity or architect. On the downside, agents representing the listing learn quickly that there are rarely comps for such properties. It’s worth far more than the value of square footage. The value is only that which is perceived by a potential buyer.

It’s hard to attach a number to the property. Is it worth $29 million? Is it worth $25 million? Is it worth $32 million? What it ends up being worth is in the eye of the beholder. But how can this value be known?


Know how to assess value and work with the client.

When it comes to deciding value of a listing it is an art and not a science. You need to consider type of neighborhood, curb appeal, recent sales off market and on market, and who lives adjacent to the property. Ultimately, whether it’s a $500,000—or $50 million dollar house—the details remain equally important. Knowing the market, the media landscape, and how to communicate these to sellers is invaluable knowledge for any realtor. The key is learning how to tailor these concepts specifically to your situation.

As an agent, remember you are the expert, your client is not. Your sellers, whether famous or not, are your clients and must be given hard facts. You would never say to someone their baby is ugly but you must tell a celebrity seller anything you find that will stall the sale of their home and that includes price.


A hard balance—exposure or over-exposure.

In this privileged world, over-exposure can be a curse. Once you list that celebrity home, the clock starts ticking and how fast and how much it sells for will either boost or diminish your, and your celebrity client’s, reputation. You will get negative press if it doesn’t sell quickly for a ton of money. In this regards, it is much better to privately and quietly sell, through your sphere and marketing channels if at all possible, before you bring it to market and have TMZ chasing you. Try to avoid social media if possible. Most likely you will be selling to high profile individuals who don’t want homes that have been rejected by others or have been over-exposed. 


You are selling a lifestyle not a home.

One of the keys is not selling the home, the property, even the five minutes of fame a buyer will get when their name pops up on the news… sold to X. It is not any of these things they are purchasing. The potential owner wants a lifestyle. And the idea of homes as a “lifestyle-first” purchase is backed up by data. Luxury Market Report reports that a key trend in luxury real estate was not size or location, but  finding a more “holistic approach to living.” The report shows that savvy homeowners, luxury real estate professionals, developers, architects, and designers place significant importance on the infusion of a healthier cadence into our everyday working and living environments.

In other words, buyers don’t just want to just see the house they can live in—they want to imagine the fruitful life they can live. 


So how do you convey a lifestyle? Be the storyteller.

Everyone wants to hear the story behind a home and it is a wonderful way to express the soft value of the property. Yes, you must know all the hard facts of the home, bedrooms, baths, sq. ft., architect schools, etc., but after conveying those details, talk about what brings this home to life, what the current owner enjoyed, perhaps why they chose this property, and maybe why they are leaving (make it positive, they may be chasing a professional or personal dream in another location). If the home has architectural significance or an architectural story, talk about that. What is the architect’s story? What did he/she hope to achieve? What influenced the features? Stories bring these facts to life. 

In recap, my success method for selling celebrity and architecturally significant properties includes valuing property correctly, being honest with clients, not over-exposing the listing, and selling a lifestyle by storytelling.

Questions? Looking to buy or sell? Contact me.

Catherine Bassick

Senior Global Real Estate Advisor

See my listings

Brokered by EXP Realty


  • Sold The First Single Family Home Over $100 Million in U.S. History
  • America’s Top 250 Real Estate Professionals & Top 100 Agents in the U.S. – Wall Street Journal
  • Best-Selling Author Of Luxury Home Selling Mastery
  • “Top 40 Influential Business Women” – Business Journal
  • Certified Luxury specialist, Christie’s

MA LIC# 9558155

CA DRE# 01380305