6 Smart Home Tech Gadgets Perfect for Luxury Real Estate

by Chuck Roper 30. October 2019 06:36

The global smart home tech market is on track to reach $103 billion in annual revenue by the end of this year. At an estimated compound annual growth rate of 11% — that number is projected to skyrocket to $157 billion in annual revenue by 2023. So, how does this tie into luxury real estate? The answer is simple: property value. 


Smart home tech is on the rise and in huge demand with luxury buyers — especially the socially conscious and eco-friendly millennial generation. Adding just a few smart features to a home can pay off when making the sale. In fact, according to Chad Curry, MD of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a home with integrated smart features can receive a premium over standard alternatives in the same neighborhood. 


Though, there are certain gadgets affluent buyers are more interested in when searching for smart-enabled houses, such as smart security, eco-friendly options, and enhanced entertainment. These tech gadgets go beyond Amazon Alexa or Google Home. 

 

With this in mind, we rounded up six options that are perfect for luxury real estate.


6 Smart Home Tech Gadgets Perfect for Luxury Real Estate

1. Arlo Ultra 

[Image Credit: @arlosmarthome via Instagram]


The Arlo Ultra is a wire-free and WiFi-enabled security camera touting some impressive capabilities. For example, 4K high-dynamic-range (HDR) image quality, enhanced night vision, auto-zoom and tracking, and more. Its weather-resistant build means that it works rain or shine, snow or sleet, to protect the home. It also has a smart subscription service that incorporates things such as advanced object detection (like notifying the owner of a package delivery) and 911 emergency services connections. 

2. Lutron Dimmers 

[Image Credit: Lutron Electronics via Facebook]


Lutron offers a full line of “eco-home dimmers, sensors, and timers,” that can be placed throughout the home to reduce electricity usage and extend the life of the light bulb. Utilizing their advanced technology, the homeowner can control the latest energy-efficient light sources, such as LEDs — making it easier than ever to go green. 

3. Rachio 3

[Image Credit: Rachio via Facebook]


Rachio 3 is a smart sprinkler controller that optimizes a home’s in-ground irrigation system through an automated watering schedule. It’s available in eight or 16 zones, and uses weather intelligence to predict changes in lawn watering needs. It also adjusts its schedule to ensure no water is being wasted. Rachio 3 works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, and more. 

4. Ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control

[Image Credit: @ecobeeinc via Instagram]


Ecobee’s SmartThermostat with voice control is the crème de la crème of smart thermostats. Change the temperature, control the home, call friends and family, and more, all with voice command. The SmartThermostat also introduces a SmartSensor, which detects both temperature and occupancy to heat or cool the rooms that need it most.

5. Kaleidescape Strato Movie Player

[Image Credit: @kaleidescapeinc via Instagram]


Kaleidescape Strato is an award-winning movie player that’s capable of playing 4K ultra-high-def movies with high-dynamic-range at 60 frames per second, with immersive audio. It can be integrated with modern AV systems to automatically control light dimming or screen masking to adjust to a proper ratio. Think state-of-the-art home movie theater. 

6. Brilliant Control

[Image Credit: @brilliant_tech via Instagram]


Think of Brilliant Control as an all-in-one smart home hub, where the homeowner can manage all smart home systems from one seamless control panel on the wall, or through a mobile app. It features a 5-inch color touch screen that can change the temperature or lighting, play music, show who’s at the front door, and more. 


What smart home features have you noticed luxury buyers looking for in the market? Comment below!


Janet McAfee is a recognized luxury real estate agency in the St. Louis area. For more details about careers at our boutique firm or the luxury market, visit our website!

Navigating the Luxury Real Estate Market: An Inside Look from Top Agents

by Chuck Roper 30. September 2019 07:21

St. Louis continues to enjoy a thriving luxury real estate market, with sales of residential homes priced at $1 million and above during the first six months of 2019 coming in at 13.9% higher than the same period last year. This is consistent with the upward trend since 2015. 


For those who are dedicated and willing to learn, now is a great time to be a luxury real estate agent. So, we sat down with three top-performing agents at Janet McAfee and discussed the most frequently asked questions on how to navigate the luxury market.  



Stephanie Connell has been a top luxury real estate agent since 2002, and with Janet McAfee for the past year. 


Julie Lane has been a top agent in the luxury real estate market with Janet McAfee for 11 years. 


Lisa Coulter has been a top luxury market agent at Janet McAfee for 25 years. 


 

How can someone get started as a luxury real estate agent?


Stephanie Connell: Somebody thinking about getting into luxury real estate should know the area, market and type of luxury real estate that they’d like to concentrate on. In St. Louis, we define the luxury market as being $1 million and up. So, really discover what price point to concentrate on, define that and become an educator...not just educated. People who see you at social events often ask questions, and you want to be able to have information readily available so you’re marketing yourself wisely. 


Lisa Coulter:  It’s not easy in the beginning, but it really pays off to get a good base of knowledge. It would be great to shadow top producers so you can see what they do and how they do it on a daily basis. Ultimately, you have to have knowledge of pricing and recent sales in all the areas you want to work. That knowledge will help you as you make the connections you need to build your business. 


Julie Lane: With this job, even when everyone else is not working, that’s when you have to be working. This segment of the market doesn’t follow the typical real estate calendar — meaning they don’t all buy and sell in the spring. It’s an ever-changing timeline. So, it helps to be very familiar with the area you’re trying to do business in. When you're armed with knowledge of the market that potential clients are trying to buy and sell in, it makes them feel really comfortable with you.


How do you become a successful luxury real estate agent? 


SC:  For luxury buyers and sellers, it’s a lifestyle. They don’t always have to move. So, you have to be able to communicate with clients and know what type of information they’re receptive to, like presenting data and facts to help with their decision. 


LC: You have to develop good relationships, not just with your clients, but also other agents. If you build a reputation of being fair, good and communicative — all the things that other agents want to deal with — people want to work with you. It's important to make connections with other top producers, not only to build your reputation with them, but also to learn about homes that may not be on the market yet that would be perfect for your clients. 


What would you say is the best way to market luxury real estate?


JL:  I think it’s really important to get to know the client and the property. Ask sellers why they fell in love with the house in the first place, because that same reason can attract the next buyer. It can also help you make key decisions about what type of promotional materials to gather, like aerial shots, twilight shots or video.  


SC: Everything has to be professional. From brochures to pictures, your marketing always needs to be that higher end presentation. Also, getting creative with open houses. We try to get other agents to come in and preview the house so they can share it with their clients however we can — whether it’s hosting lunch, a cocktail hour or by invitation only. 


LC: The pre-market stage is the most important, working with the client to get the home market-ready before gathering photography and videography. Then, teasing the upcoming listing using those assets.  


At Janet McAfee, we’re so lucky to be a part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Luxury Portfolio International. Those marketing platforms have a global reach and expose our listings to a wide audience well beyond St. Louis. Being a part of organizations like this to market listings is a huge help. 


What advice can you give on navigating a down market? 


JL:  Don’t stop working, continue on. You have to be even more focused on what’s happening when the market is down to be able to give sound advice to your clients. For example, you may know that a house in a great neighborhood is going to sell whether the market is down or not. But, you have to be able to discern that. 


LC:  Connections and networking are everything. Just as an example, the recession 10 years ago was a tough time for the real estate market, but my business partner and I actually had one of our highest producing years. This was mainly because we had connections with sellers that we knew had been talking to us about selling their house, and buyers that we knew were looking. So, we could put together deals on houses that weren't even on the market, which worked well for us. Looking at current listings in MLS just isn't enough to be in this luxury market.


Janet McAfee is a recognized luxury real estate agency in the St. Louis area. For more details about careers at our boutique firm or the luxury market, visit our website!

 

Here's What $5 Million Can Buy in Greater St. Louis

by Chuck Roper 20. August 2019 05:35

Affluent buyers with at least $1 million to invest in their luxury home can experience refined living in the Midwest. Increase that to $5 million in St. Louis’ highly sought-after luxury market, and buyers can lavish in vistas, exceptional craftsmanship, wine cellars, heated pools and more. 


Here’s a closer look at what $5 Million can buy in Greater St. Louis:

1. St. Albans

[1091 Wings Road, St. Albans, MO 63073]


List Price: $4.9 million 

Square footage: 12,031 

Acres: 15.7

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 6 beds, 7 baths 


The 5,400 acre community of St. Albans is recognized as a premier golf course development within Missouri offering exclusive courses, exquisite country clubs and the utmost privacy. For buyers who enjoy a quiet neighborhood, this St. Albans home offers stunning amenities. 


At $4.9 million, "La Charrette" sits on 15.7 acres of land offering spectacular bluff views of the Missouri River. It was designed by renowned architect Jack Arnold and features breathtaking architectural details, including Cathedral ceilings and interior trusses made from 800-year-old Douglas Fir. 


Take a look around:


2. Huntleigh

[18 Huntleigh Woods, Huntleigh, MO 63131]


List Price: $4.25 million 

Square footage: 6,517

Acres: 2.05

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 4 beds, 5.5 baths 


Huntleigh is one of the most alluring and exclusive neighborhoods in all of Greater St. Louis. A grand, two-story entryway, spacious walk-in closets, in-ground pool, luxurious pool house, bonus studio apartment and wet bar are all included in this sophisticated estate. Situated upon 2.05 acres, the home is just a short drive to fine dining, boutique shopping and top-rated public and private schools.  


Take a look around:


3. Ladue 

[809 South Warson Road, St. Louis, MO 63124]


List Price: $4.125 million 

Square footage: 7,240

Acres: 1

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 5 beds, 7 baths 


Affluent buyers will find this St. Louis estate a stunning oasis. The tree-lined property offers extreme privacy, with multiple amenities for outdoor entertaining, alfresco dining and lasting memories. 


Inside is a work of true art and craftsmanship, from the wood floors to the immaculate finishes. A 2,000-bottle wine cellar, media room, exercise room, and suede granite countertops offer the true splendor of luxury living. 


Take a look around: 


4. Clayton

[29 West Brentmoor Park, Clayton, MO 63105]


List Price: $3.45 million 

Square footage: 8,876

Acres: 1.51

Number of bedrooms and bathrooms: 5 beds, 7 baths 


Clayton has significant buyer appeal and a prominent luxury market that attracts businesses and resident owners alike. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do in the gorgeous community. Shaw Park includes a pool, skating rink, ball fields, gardens, sculptures, gorgeous pavilions and more. 


For $3.45 million, buyers can get an 8,876 square foot home with over three stories, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, five fireplaces and an attached guest apartment. Not to mention, a 5,000-bottle wine cellar that replicates a cave for the true collector.  


Take a look around:



These sophisticated luxury homes are just a slice of the thriving St. Louis luxury market. To view more fine homes in key central corridor communities, view Janet McAfee’s Luxury Collection


We are a recognized local leader in luxury real estate. For more information, give us a call at (314) 997-4800 or visit our website.

How to Sell a Historic Home

by Chuck Roper 29. November 2018 00:31


For some unique luxury buyers and sellers, the history of a house or property plays an important role in their home search. But, finding a real estate agent who knows how to navigate the historic housing market can be equally as important—if not more. Experienced Janet McAfee luxury real estate agent, Kevin Hurley, shares his advice about how best to sell an historic luxury home.


Is there anything luxury sellers should do before deciding to list?

I think the key for anyone selling a home, and especially an historic home, is to make sure the house is in great condition. Luxury buyers are critical buyers and expect a certain level of condition and presentation.


In the end, luxury homes are significantly different from most listings in that you must make a significant time investment to document the heritage, detail amenities and updates, and address lifestyle considerations.


What are luxury buyers looking for in historic homes?

I mostly list historic homes in the Central West End near Forest Park. There, buyers looking at one-hundred-year-old homes or older are generally looking for architectural integrity. They're looking for homes that have been well-maintained, updated to a certain degree and also enjoy a good location.


The West End that has a limited amount of these unique homes which are impossible to replicate. So, it's a very special buyer—one who likes history but enjoys today’s modern amenities.


What kind of updates are luxury buyers looking for in the Central West End?

Kitchens and bathrooms. More specifically, an updated master bath is typically the first thing on the list. But for the most part, they just want a home that’s in good condition because they’re buying these homes for the historic details and often have the resources to customize the updates.


Tell us about a recent luxury sale that you have made. How did it sell?

First of all, you have to have professional photography because that's how a home is first presented to a potential buyer. Then, it’s important to have good marketing materials, brochures, etc., especially because these are very complicated, extensive listings.


Luckily, I've lived in an historic house in the West End. I’m well-aware of both what people's concerns are and what attracts people in the area. It’s important to counsel potential buyers about those considerations.


Is there anything unique about the way homes in your area sell? How do your clients find you?

I've lived in the West End for 40 years.  I have a network of agents who regularly call to ask questions about my listed homes and see if there is anything else coming up. I place print advertising in the West End Word, I promote my listings on social media and I send out postcards of newly-listed and just sold properties. This helps solidify my reputation in an area.


I have former neighbors who refer me to clients with interests in the area. I am lucky because I've been in that specific area for quite some time which helps because I can keep my eye out and reach out to people when I know something’s coming up.



Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury home? At, Janet McAfee our real estate agents are seasoned experts in selling luxury homes. From how to research the value and market your home to helping stage for specific buyers, our luxury clients truly reap the rewards of working with a Janet McAfee agent—and you can, too!

How To Choose a Luxury Real Estate Agent

by Chuck Roper 16. November 2018 01:51


Before deciding to buy or sell a home, finding the right real estate agent to guide you through the entire process can be the most important first step. Real estate transactions are complex and stressful. A good agent will help. Find out what Janet McAfee luxury real estate agents Julie Lane, Katie Curran and Kevin Hurley have to say about finding the perfect luxury agent for you!


How do buyers and sellers typically find a real estate agent?


KC: Referrals from satisfied clients are my best source of business. In addition to referrals, you need to be active on all marketing channels. Research shows that 95 percent of home buyers begin their search online. Having an online presence and being active on social media is crucial. I also do direct mail, promotion of my listings, and print advertising.  


What is the most important factor to consider when looking for a luxury real estate agent?


KH: You need an agent with experience selling luxury properties and knows today’s luxury market.

They need to have first-hand knowledge of the neighborhoods and the houses and know how to work with luxury sellers on how to price and market their luxury homes. These same factors are important when working with luxury buyers.


The best example is my experience with the Central West End. I have personally sold many of the homes on the private streets four to six times. This gives me a tremendous competitive advantage.


What other attributes are important in a luxury real estate agent?

 

JL: Besides experience, an agent must have strong communication skills, a verifiable record of activity and performance, and a vast social network. I work hard to be accessible to my clients 24/7 through call, text or email. I want to be communicating consistently throughout the home buying and selling process. I publish my sales history, my client profile, my geographic focus and my listing performance on my website. I also am involved with my community. I am in frequent contact with other Realtors as well as donating my time and talents to community organizations.


With that, is there a benefit to choosing Janet McAfee over other agencies?


JL: Definitely. We have a really good social media presence, but we also have a great network. The reason why I've always been with Janet McAfee is that they know everything that's happening and have their finger on the pulse of what's going on in the market. As an agent, you want to be able to give your client that competitive edge, whether they're buying or selling, so it helps to be able to know what's out there and what might be coming so that they don't miss out.


KC: We're definitely a boutique company, and our name is the best in St. Louis. From our brand to our team at Janet McAfee, everyone is a team player and incredibly knowledgeable. Anytime I turn a corner in the office, I can ask someone a question or bounce ideas and get great advice because everyone wants each other to be successful. A lot of times we do in-house deals because someone will say, “Oh my gosh, I have a buyer for that!” and we'll do what's called a ‘one-shot transaction’. That happens a lot in our office, and I love that.


In an office, lots of information is constantly going in and out, and in an area like St. Louis, everyone knows a little something about the market. Whether it’s from word-of-mouth at a country club or being on the board of a charity— we’re always in the know and constantly getting information on what’s going on in the real estate market.



Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury home? At, Janet McAfee our real estate agents are seasoned experts in selling luxury homes. From how to advertise and market your home to helping stage for specific buyers, our luxury clients truly reap the rewards of working with a Janet McAfee agent—and you can, too!

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Luxury Homes: Hear From an Expert in Kitchen Renovations

by Chuck Roper 29. October 2018 11:33


Luxury kitchen design and amenities can be the true selling points of a home. For deeper insights, we talked with Chuck Schagrin, a luxury kitchen design professional and founder of Amherst Corporation, to take a look at the latest design trends and important elements for kitchens in today’s luxury market.


Can you give us a quick one-minute bio about yourself and what you do?

I’m Chuck Schagrin, and I have an masters in architecture. I don’t practice as an architect, but I apply the design skill from my masters and renovate numerous kitchens and custom projects driven by clients.


How many kitchen renovations do you do in one year?

Many of my kitchen projects are either kitchens for newly-built houses or remodels to existing homes, and I work on about four to six of these custom kitchens per year.


What defines a luxury kitchen?

Luxury is in the eye of the beholder. Typically, it involves high-end appliances and materials such as granites, marbles and even some of the new synthetic quartz materials. Luxury also includes valves, sinks and how the lighting is distributed. For example, there is a new home on Clayton Road with a beautiful luxury kitchen that has custom cabinets handmade by a carpenter and finished with a custom glaze.


How important is hiring a designer for a luxury kitchen?

I’m a firm believer that hiring a designer for a luxury kitchen truly pays off for homeowners, in multiple ways. First, the designer is in a position to take the thoughts and ideas of a client and lead that client to review options and make a final choice. Further, an interior designer or design professional is able to work with other materials and designs in the home and tie those into the kitchen so that it all comes together in a cohesive way. There is a world of choices and opportunities that the homeowner alone could never have access to—so having a designer will help immensely.


Why would someone choose to redo their kitchen?

My work is a mixture. One type that’s not in this mix is someone who wants to update their kitchen in order to sell their house. Instead, a number of my kitchens are in newly-purchased homes/condos. The other type I’ve worked on are with owners who have lived in their houses for 12+ years and want to update their kitchens because their appliances are outdated. Lastly, I do projects in new houses that are still being built.


How important is the layout in a kitchen?

The layout is critically important for several reasons. It needs to be user-friendly—both for someone who does a high-volume of cooking and someone who is a more casual kitchen user. A layout is also important because of the flow of guests and how you want to interact with them while you’re in the kitchen. Finally, it’s important to the design style. You can’t have a kitchen where the layout doesn’t complement what you’re trying to accomplish.


How do you help customers balance what is trending now vs. a more timeless look?

It comes down to the client’s personal preference—but again, a design professional is extremely important to understanding what a client wants and how to accomplish it.


What is the most common issue with kitchens in older homes?

Kitchens in older homes often have more structural restrictions. Whether it be with the lines, plumbing, etc., all of these issues can obviously be addressed, it just comes with more of a price.


What is your favorite part of designing kitchens?

Personally, my favorite part of designing is when a client comes in with a shopping list of ideas for their kitchen, and at the completion of the process, the client says: “That is exactly what I wanted.” Part of this process is giving them the information they need to understand the choices that are being made, then watching them have that ‘aha’ moment and seeing that this is exactly what they wanted.



Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury home? At, Janet McAfee our real estate agents are seasoned experts in the ins and outs of selling a luxury home. From advertising and marketing your home to staging, our luxury clients truly reap the rewards of working with a Janet McAfee agent—and you can, too!






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IT’S THE RIGHT TIME FOR MOST TO BE IN THE MARKET

by Chuck Roper 22. October 2018 04:10

Luxury Portfolio’s newly released white paper Luxury Real Estate: What Matters To Today’s Global Elite concludes that 38% of the world’s affluent consumers are interested in purchasing real estate in the next 3 years.  Moreover, 23% affluent consumers are interested in selling real estate in the next 3 years. 

Their research also states that luxury buyers are motivated by the emotional value of the home more so than physical features.  The report sites what is important to affluent consumers is having a life well-lived, feeling secure and having a customized environment with room for many happy memories.

Luxury buyers rank “value” twice as important as “price.”  This means getting a good value for the money and investing in neighborhoods where there is appreciation.

Janet McAfee is the exclusive St. Louis member of Luxury Portfolio International.  For a copy of the whitepaper, Luxury Real Estate: What Matters Most to Today’s Global Elite, please contact jhorlacher@janetmcafee.com.

Janet Horlacher

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