WRITTEN BY Bek Mitchell-Kidd
We checked in with top-producing realtor, Ellen Kelly, about what makes a listing luxe—you may be surprised by some of the things she and her buyers notice and are willing to pay top dollar for!
“Luxury can come in any neighborhood, and it doesn’t have to be huge square footage. Luxury comes in the details: lighting, tile and countertops, flooring, appliances, plumbing fixtures, a smart layout, outdoor space,” says Ellen.
“The thoughtfulness in planning shines through when a homeowner knows luxury.”
What are some of the details that you look for in a listing that defines luxury?
The kitchen is a biggie; nothing says luxury like high-end appliances. Think: True, Wolf, Sub-Zero, La Cornue, Miele. Custom cabinets are always a win, but the true luxury is that everything has a place including larger pots and cookie sheets. Soft-close drawers and cabinets used to be an extra but are now expected in a luxury listing.
Sculleries are one of the newest luxury-based offerings, and bonus points if this area includes an extra dishwasher or two.
Countertops need to be quartz, marble, or soapstone—you want your hard surfaces to stand out. I also love seeing an island with a different surface than the surrounding counters.
The backsplash can be either a high-end tile, or often the counter surface is continued up the wall (as the backsplash) in luxury homes.
What can a buyer invest in that will elevate the listing to the luxury level?
Kitchens and bathrooms are still the best investment. Hire a designer to plan the layout and pick finishes if that is not your thing. You will spend a bit more on the front end, but a timeless design will last longer.
Clever design is one of my favorite things to see in a luxury home. When a homeowner has taken the time to make a well-thought-out plan with creative spaces, it shows well and impresses potential buyers.
What are some exterior features that make a listing luxury?
Outdoor lighting—whether it is exterior gas lanterns and lamps, or well-placed landscape lighting—is key. Subtle nightlights are a nice touch, too.
Investing in outdoor spaces is money well spent, especially in the Southeast, where the climate allows us to spend time outside year-round. Screened porches with fireplaces and/or kitchens are a luxurious treat. My pro tip: Definitely use stone for outdoor flooring; it will last forever.
Are most luxury listings staged?
If not staged, they are decluttered. If the seller has already moved out, I would absolutely stage the home. Remember that sometimes, only certain spaces need staging.
Any other tips?
Don’t forget the four-legged friends when it comes to luxury properties. Fido and Fluffy need fancy too. My favorite pet luxury is to see a pet bathing area, such as a dog washing station in the mudroom. One of the coolest things I have seen is a bone-shaped tile mosaic on the pet shower floor. Pet doors are also a smart extra.