In the lap of residential luxury
Potential buyers with deep pockets may find the homes of their dreams during an upcoming tour in Clark County, Washington.
The Doorways to Luxury home tour, now in its eighth year, is an annual event that showcases homes for sale in Southwest Washington with listing prices of more than $700,000.
This year's self-guided tour, to be held June 2 from noon to 5 p.m., currently features 21 homes. However, brokers had until May 24 to submit homes for the tour, so that number could change, according to Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes, the event organizer
A non-profit organization, the Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes group formed in 2002 as a way for agents who specialize in luxury homes to join resources and support each other.
"It was very small, but it's grown into a very large group of Realtors," Lori Anderson-Benson, an agent with Remax Equity Group who also sits on the board for the luxury home group, said.
Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes holds monthly meetings for its membership, which currently stands at nearly 70 agents. Those meetings feature tours of homes that members are looking to represent on the market. The group visits anywhere from three to seven homes per tour, offering feedback ranging from suggestions for staging strategies to recommendations for adjusting listing prices.
"We all work together," Anderson-Benson said. "It's a collaborative group, which is really unique."
The members also work together to hold the Doorways to Luxury tour each spring, an event geared toward the general public.
The homes included in each year's Doorways to Luxury tour represent listings by group members; however, simply being a part of the organization doesn't guarantee an agent's house will earn a spot on the tour.
Each home must be listed for sale for more than $700,000 and must be of extremely high quality structurally and cosmetically. This year's featured home, for example, is a 5,300-square-foot residence in Camas. The $1.396 million house, originally built in 1991, features "a million dollar view" and recently underwent a high-end remodel, according to Anderson-Benson.
Setting the stage
Unlike traditional open houses, which are punctuated by brokers reciting not-to-be-missed details of a house, the Doorways To Luxury event offers a more low-key experience. A member of the Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes group is stationed at each stop on the tour, but there's a good chance that person may not be the actual agent for the house.
"It's a good opportunity for people to come and look at their leisure," Anderson-Benson said. "They're not inundated with information. The broker is mainly there for (basic) information."
Unlike the empty rooms found in most homes on the market, the homes on the tour have been staged with furniture and accessories brought in specifically for the event.
Those touches can often make the difference for potential buyers. A few years ago, Anderson-Benson said, she showed a couple an empty luxury home that was on the market. The couple wasn't interested. A few weeks later, the house was staged and included in the home tour. Anderson-Benson called the couple and suggested they visit it again. The couple not only revisited the house during the tour, they ended up buying it, Anderson-Benson said.
The map of this year's tour is expected to be available for download from the Doorways to Luxury website by May 31. While there's no cost to attend the event, the Greater Vancouver Luxury Homes group is inviting tour participants to bring non-perishable items to benefit the Clark County Food Bank. Collection barrels will be available at each home on the tour.
Because the tour is self-guided, it's difficult for the luxury home group to determine the total number of people who visit homes on the tour. However, estimates indicate that last year's featured house attracted about 1,500 visitors. Other houses on the tour saw a couple of hundred people visit. The event also regularly draws potential homebuyers from outside of Washington state, including a large number from the Oregon side of the river.
"It's a good opportunity for people from the Portland side to come over and look at the Clark County side and see what we have to offer," Anderson-Benson said.