The Wilmington area’s booming real estate business often draws attention locally and nationally, but the region also reaches international channels through Realtors.
In a recent example, Wilmington-based Intracoastal Realty became a client of U.K.-based Mayfair International Realty, an international real estate marketing firm.
“The British are Coming!” announced posters on the doors at Intracoastal Realty’s offices on Oct. 20 at Lumina Station. “Intracoastal Realty has expanded across ‘the pond’ and now has marketing offices in London!”
Mayfair International’s Annette Reeve, operations director, and Nick Churton, managing director, traveled to Wilmington that week to meet with Intracoastal Realty agents and tour the area.
“It’s important that if we’re going to be representing firms, that we understand the area, the product and the draw that an area has,” Churton said.
For Intracoastal, the relationship represents a chance to tell the story of Wilmington.
“We’ve had some international interest, but we’re still kind of a wellkept secret,” said Lake Slacum, vice president of marketing for the firm.
Intracoastal connected with Mayfair through a referral by Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Co. of Sarasota, Florida, a Mayfair client and friend of Intracoastal CEO and founder Jim Wallace.
“We only want to work with companies who have been introduced to us by an existing member firm, and we only act for one firm in each geographical area … because the relationships is so close,” Reeve said.
In addition to the exposure Intracoastal Realty will get for its listings, one major facet of what Mayfair will be able to do is make the Wilm- ington area part of its conversations with global media outlets. Started in 1995, Mayfair expanded to the U.S. in 2004.
“We’ve built a relationship with the British press of the last 30-odd years, but the British press is extraordinary in that it is an international one – the Financial Times, The Telegraph – these are not only seen in print but online all over the English- speaking world and quite a lot further really,” Churton said. “So to have that relationship with real estate writers and editors, because we act for so many firms in so many different areas, our dialogue is a daily one with these publications.”
) gave a recent example. “Just this morning I’ve had two U.K. journalists contact us – one looking for spooky castles for Halloween, and the other one looking for houses that are on the National Historic Register … they are really random topics they like to write on,” she said.
But some could be relevant to Wilmington, Slacum said.
“For an individual firm to be doing this takes a huge amount of time because it’s a mud-slinging exercise. We send lots and lots of stuff into the journalists; they may pick nothing, they may pick something. You just don’t know,” Reeve said.
) added, “We have to make sure no stone is left unturned in making sure we try and marry up what the press is looking for with what we’ve got.”
And it’s not always about reaching those born outside of the U.S.; some of the marketing efforts can also reach Americans living elsewhere, Churton and Reeve said. Churton used the example of a home designed by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei that was featured in an article in the Financial Times.
“That weekend in Singapore, an American saw that, called his wife in New York, said, ‘Go and have a look at it.’ She did and bought it four weeks later for $4.25 million,” Churton said.
During the Luxury Property Show in central London in October, Mayfair represented its clients at a booth. Information about Intracoastal Realty and one of its listings – a home in Landfall with a price of nearly $3.6 million – was featured in Mayfair International Realty’s show catalog.
If a firm wanted to attend that show themselves, “it would cost tens of thousands of dollars,” Reeve said. Slacum said, “One thing we’re really looking for in this relationship is more exposure on how great of a deal it is in our location relative to other areas.”
Mayfair is not Intracoastal’s only outlet to reach international investors. The company is also affiliated with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and its luxury division, Luxury Portfolio. And Intracoastal is also not the only company in the Wilmington area reaching across oceans for potential homebuyers.
In another example, Jessica Edwards of The Carolinas Finest Jessica Edwards & Associates, a team at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, is a Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist, a title that requires extra training, certification and sales metrics.
Marketing homes in the Wilmington area internationally is made easier by Coldwell Banker’s extensive worldwide presence with 90,000 agents in more than 3,000 offices in more than 43 countries, Edwards said.
Coldwell Banker Global Luxury is the luxury portion of the Coldwell banker brand, she said.
“We have all of these things that people don’t even realize that we’re doing to market internationally,” Edwards said. “We work with List- Hub Global, which has 100 different portals across 55 different countries and 16 language translations.”
She also has access to a Global Luxury directory and has formed direct relationships with Coldwell Banker Dubai and Coldwell Banker France and Monaco, among others.
“We definitely have taken advantage of these things with certain properties,” she said.
Locally, the luxury market has been experiencing an upswing; Edwards’s team alone has sold more than 10 homes at prices above $700,000 or more this year.
“This kind of marketing is absolutely critical for these properties,” she said.