What Features Do Luxury Homes Have?
Standards of luxury change with the times. Fifty years ago, a two-car garage, a double-sink vanity, or a bar in the rec-room would have seemed pretty special in some houses. Today, those features are common, and one would be hard-pressed to find a new-build without things like walk-in closets, a security system, or a master ensuite. Heated floors, outdoor living space, swimming pools, and spas have become so mainstream that they are no longer the signatures of luxury homes.
So, what do real estate agents consider a luxury listing these days? Simply advertising “luxury homes for sale” is not enough. Sure, luxury homes are usually bigger and more expensive (typically in the top 10% of the local market as far as price). But what truly sets exclusive properties apart are the details that make them one of a kind.
What Luxury Home Buyers Want
There is no single definition of a luxury home because “luxury” means something different for everyone. That said, people typically look for a house that checks the following boxes for prestige:
Location. A prime locale, often with stunning views, signifies a luxury home. This might mean an urban penthouse looking out on a cityscape, an many-acre estate, a log home in the mountains, or a beach house on the coast.
Significance. Luxury homes stand out from other real estate for their notoriety. This might include homes on the National Historic Register or those of a favorite style (craftsman, mid-century modern). Specific people, for example, a well-known architect’s or designer’s work could be sought-after, as are homes with famous former residents.
Aesthetic. Luxury buyers are usually looking for something unique with a “wow” factor. Often this is tied to the location with a million-dollar view. Or, it might mean an impressive driveway, entryway, and foyer. Distinctive features can make a statement, setting the house, and the owner, apart from everyone else.
Exclusivity. The owner of a luxury home expects some perks that might not be available to just anyone. This might mean occupying the penthouse apartment, living in a gated community or on a golf course, having a concierge or doorman, or something hidden away down a private lane.
Every buyer has their own personal view of perfection when it comes to these factors. But in general, every luxury property stands out in some way in at least one, if not all four of them.
Taking Features from Ordinary to Luxury
Once a buyer finds a home with their ideal combination of location, significance, aesthetic, and exclusivity, they can turn their attention to which features will enhance their vision of a luxury home. Houses that already have these extra touches, or can accommodate adding them, are sure to attract buyers in the market for luxury property.
Things like spa-like bathrooms and restaurant-grade kitchens are expected in most high-end houses. Here are 8 things that could be part of any property, but in a luxury home can be elevated to something spectacular:
- Tech. Doorbell cameras and programmable thermostats are common in a lot of homes. Many luxury homes, however, automate nearly everything. From full-service security systems, an intercom system, climate control, and lighting, to window treatments that open and close at sunrise and sunset, all of the latest technology is definitely a luxury.
- Outdoor living. Luxury homes can go way beyond a patio and a backyard pool. Heat the pool and add a spa or hot tub. Create the perfect space with an outdoor kitchen and seating area with space heaters, or a projection screen for movies. If there is a separate pool house with a bathroom and changing rooms, it is almost certainly a luxury home.
- Dedicated rooms. Many people use a spare bedroom or part of the basement as a home office or workout room. Luxury homes, however, often have rooms dedicated to any number of interests and activities. Some examples: game room, media room with theater seating, gym, sauna or steam room, indoor pool, music room, wine cellar, library, atrium, safe room—the list is only limited by the square footage.
- Yard. Luxury homes do not always sit on a lot of land. If they do, they might include some of the following in addition to the abovementioned outdoor living space: a tennis or basketball court, a putting green, park-like play structures, gardens with water features, ponds, a green house, or an orchard. Or, the locale itself might make for a luxurious yard: a house in the woods, on the water with a dock, or on a mountain top.
- Outbuildings. A barn or shed does not make a home a luxury home. But if the shed is outfitted as a peaceful retreat, an artist’s studio or workshop, it probably qualifies. The same goes for stables or a guest bungalow on the property.
- Closets. A walk-in closet might be ordinary nowadays. In a luxury home, they can be truly spectacular. With built-in storage for every item of clothing, chandeliers, and plush seating, it is no longer a simple closet but a dressing room.
- Garage. Since people who buy luxury homes often also have luxury cars, they need a suitable place to park their expensive or vintage vehicles. If the garage looks more like a car dealership showroom than a storeroom for the family’s junk, it might be a luxury home.
- Guest quarters. Many homes have a guest bedroom. In a luxury home, there might be a guest suite, and at the very least, an ensuite bathroom. On the higher-end, luxury properties might even have separate guest houses, or self-contained private living quarters for a nanny or housekeeper.
Working With a Luxury Real Estate Specialist
As with any home purchase, buyers need to find a trusted real estate agent who understands their wants and needs. Because those in the market for luxury homes are looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, the right agent can make all the difference.
Luxury homes for sale are not always advertised in the same way as other houses. Instead, specialty luxury brokers often have the inside track, finding out about high-end homes through their vast network. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties’ Luxury Collection is an example. They understand the St. Louis market for luxury homes and can help find buyers a home that reflects their lifestyle and their personal definition of luxury.
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