Luxury lifestyle isn’t just about looking great anymore. It’s about feeling good too. Of course the world’s affluent still want jaw dropping properties with inspiring views, but they’re also looking for more substance included with the home. In today’s world where we are spending so much more of our time at home, the Luxury home buyer wants a home that can challenge them physically, calm them mentally, keep them centered and be their vacation/spa retreat too.
As a result, wellness-related amenities have exploded in recent years. In fact, properties with wellness— focused amenities sell for anywhere from 10% to 25% more money than traditional luxury properties. In the luxury world, this can mean a significant sum of cash.
But what exactly are the amenities that today’s Buyers are looking for? I have collected 7 features that today’s top tier Buyers have on their wish lists.
1. Meditation rooms
Quiet peaceful spots dedicated to self-reflection are quickly becoming a hot commodity for the world’s elite. Tech driven virtual mediation rooms are even hotter. These use a combination of reality technology and tranquil design to enhance the owner’s meditative practices.
2. Saunas and massage rooms
A dedicated place in the house to unwind, relax and detox. The saunas for removing all the toxins of the day. A private massage space for their masseuse to work on them in, for a Botox treatment, or having their hair done without ever leaving the comfort, safety and security of their home.
3. On-site organic meals
Access to fast, heathy, and sustainable sourced meals is important to the top tier Buyers. From having gourmet chef kitchen’s to rooftop vegetable gardens or indoor luxury gardens to on-site nutritionists Luxury real estate is offering Buyers their pick of healthy at-home dining options. Growing fresh produce, eating heathy all while and making it very convenient makes this luxury inclusion very special.
4. Yoga and Pilates Studios
Those dedicated to the art of yoga or Pilates often seek out properties with in-house studios — places they can hone their craft or enjoy one-on-one sessions with their trainers. In high rise condos, these might even take the shape of outdoor Yoga decks or rooftop private studios to be able to enjoy the sights and the fresh air. In a home the in-house studio might be located close to the pool or their tranquil gardens.
5. Tranquility gardens
These peaceful gatherings of greenery bring peace to the busy lives of their affluent clients. Typically situated on a high rise roof top in gritty, concrete-filled urban centers, they’re a haven of natural foliage to the affluent city-dweller who call these places home. Tranquil gardens can also be an extension of the home with a walk out to a stone patio or manicured lawn. Lavender makes a great plant for bringing peace, tranquility, fragrance, and color to the gardens. The healing and relaxing properties of lavender make it highly sought after for use in massages and therapy.
6. Oxygen chamber pods and cryotherapy therapy booths
One of the perks of affluence is getting to enjoy the latest technology and products before they become mainstream. In the well-world you can count on cryotherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy among them. Many of today’s top-tier clients are looking to bring these new and evolving approaches into their homes to improve their health and longevity. They’re very popular with athletes, runners, and fitness buffs as these high tech amenities are known to increase blood flow and improve energy.
7. Endless pools, plunge pools or pools you can use round.
Water and wellness go hand in hand and have fast become a best-selling feature for homes in 2020. Whether you are relaxing or exercising in your pool, it’s large part of your health and wellness.
What do your Buyers want?
Knowing what Buyers are looking for in your market, whether its health and wellness or the latest interior design is critically important in today’s Buyer driven market. It can help you determine what adjustments, renovations or changes need to be made to achieve your desired goals or more importantly help your property stand out from the competition.
Smart Technology’s Top Ten for 2021
The Internet of Things (IoT), or devices that communicate together wirelessly are increasing every year. If we have learned anything about the future it’s that smart technology will be more and more a part of our everyday lives. Products such as Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and Apple’s HomeKit are currently in use by 60% of customers. It’s enough to make George Jetson right at home. (Those born after 1987 may need to Google George Jetson.) It’s no surprise that in 2021 we have even more products and advancements that demonstrate how smart tech is getting smarter.
What if all the devices in your life could connect to the internet? Not just computers and smartphones, but everything: clocks, speakers, lights, doorbells, cameras, windows, window blinds, hot water heaters, appliances, cooking utensils, you name it. And what if those devices could all communicate, send you information, and take your commands? It’s not science fiction; it’s the Internet of Things (loT), and it’s a key component of home automation and smart homes.
Here’s a look at the Top 10 of what you’ll be seeing this year.
INCREASED HOME SECURITY AND SAFETY – home video surveillance continues to improve each year and you will see more of it. Updated products like doorbell companies (think Nest and Ring) provide detailed video of your entrances, and neighbouring cameras will coordinate for additional views with neighbour permission. We are also seeing smart locks that allow you automatic locking capacity and access via an app or voice technology. Additional safety features that are trending include warnings of water leaks and fires, allowing you to catch the issues sooner.
CLEANING – with each passing year continues to bring advances with vacuum robots. One of the ongoing issues of having to constantly empty the vacuum has been fixed with iRobot Roomba i7 that automatically cleans itself. The new laser sight technology allows them to attack dirtier areas and they have the ability to automatically leave and return to the charging station without you lifting a finger.
APPLIANCE – advances including self-cleaning toilets and stoves as well as Wi-Fi controls for washers, dryers, stoves and dishwashers.
HOME FRAGRANCE, – fragrance is the biggest extension of the beauty tech category. Products from companies like Kompoz and Moodo become your personalized home fragrance concierge. They use a jukebox-style system to deliver ambient scents to suit your mood or occasion.
BATHROOM’S – biggest news is smart toilets. They are motion activated, and light up when you approach. Not only do these toilets provide light, and seat warming but they now self-clean. The Kohler Numi even has a foot warmer. Other areas in the bathroom seeing advances are voice-activated shower and tub controls and increased tech with mirrors that allow you to check the weather.
KITCHENS – are seeing a lot of interaction with smart screens that provide more information and interaction in the kitchen. The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator has built in screens that function like a tablet. You can download directly from the internet or download apps that specialize in all things food related, including delivery apps for easy ordering. You can check your calendar, create a shopping list, get the kid’s hand drawn notes, and enjoy your favourite TV show or music. These screens also interact with doorbell security, lighting, and other IOT devices such as Alexa and Google assistant.
SMART TV – big news is that TV’s are getting larger, more detailed and some models even fold like a roller shade like the LG Display 65″ Wallpaper TV. The LG OLED Gallery series with speakers, and sound built in the TV while the unit is as thin as a picture hanging in a gallery. Alexa and other devices can start your favorite shows and adjust volume control without the need to stare at, or search for your controller.
BABY TECH, helps you track your baby’s breathing, vital signs and movement as well as record video, and more accurately hear and speak to the baby. Nanit’s Breathing Wear is a swaddling blanket that works with associated cameras to provide monitoring without cumbersome foot or hand bands. A new baby smart sock with camera can monitor your babies every move and be comfort for the child to wear.
PET TECH’s – dawn of the digital daycare for pets has arrived, allowing you to care for your pets while you are away, avoiding the cost of day care. Advanced microchip technology will track your pet’s whereabouts and communicate wirelessly with pet doors, allowing your pets in and keeping intruders out.
Installing a Sure flap micro-chipped pet door reads the pet’s chip code before allowing your pet in or out of the house. In so doing you eliminate any unwanted fur guests entering your home. There is more focus on devices that track, monitor and report your pet’s every move using advanced cameras, LCD displays and detectors. Your pets will be able to call you, and I’m told they will! You will also find increased focus on automatic pet feeders and waste disposal such as self-cleaning litterboxes and even a new smart toilet for dogs called InuBox.
SMART Health and Fitness solutions for everyone from beginners to advanced training with machines using 3D sensors and artificial intelligence technology to suggest the appropriate weight you should be lifting for each move, counting your reps, and offering real-time feedback about your form to keep you honest and safe. Peloton offers on-demand workouts with knowledgeable, motivating instructors with on line streaming for classes live classes.
You will continue to see more and more smart tech each year which means we can expect more in the way of convenience. The devices will take on all the tasks you hate and make the home life easier and more fun.
What’s not to like?
Homeowners focus on Wine Storage as Rooms replace Cellars
There is a shift in the way homeowners are storing their wines and it is getting an upgrade. I see 6 new trends in how wine storage is changing for the better, and is more exciting for wine enthusiast.
Cellars are being replaced with sleek, see-through glass doors and LED lighting. These contemporary walk in wine rooms are designed to showcase not only the various vintages, but also the impeccable taste of the homeowners that own them.
The liberation of wine rooms is being driven in large part by technology. Wine is finest when it’s kept in low light at 55 degrees Fahrenheit, in 65% to 75% humidity and away from finished off-gassing wood.
Trend # 1 —The Jewel Room. The room is a statement like a fine piece of art and the wine is the precious gem in the room. These magnificent rooms are sometimes in homes where the homeowners aren’t wine drinkers, but they feel that a home on a certain scale should have one.
Typically these wine rooms run $35,000 to $50,000 but can be in excess of $200,000.
The trend is to locate the wine room in a prominent and visual space such as the dining room and living room, and are designed to coordinate with the lighting, colour scheme, and style of the house.
Trend # 2 — Mix and match a combination of wood, metal and glass into the wine room.
Trend # 3 – Homeowners are using previously unused space to display their wine, and wine collections. Under the stairs with glass front provides a fabulous angled space to display the bottles.
Trend # 4 – Brass hardware and trim for the glass rooms. Brass is HOT right now in both the polished and satin finish.
Trend # 5 —The new age wine room features LED lighting with colour selection to highlight labels, bottles in different ways. Today sophisticated cooling systems, tempered double paned insulated glass and cool, energy efficient LED lights in white and a rainbow of colours create a controlled environment that lends itself to high designs.
Trend # 6 —The mini wine wall is also making a scene with condos and more space challenged properties.
Wine cellars and the tasting room can take up a considerable chunk of the house’s space, so some homeowners might put their dining room next to the wine room for wine pairing events, hors d’oeuvres, and dinner parties.
Trying to do a wine pairing event in the wine room could prove quite chilly. That’s why the glass walls are ideal, so they can see the wine and taste in a tasting room, or what is also called the wine enjoyment area. The luxury market has seen a trend toward entertaining and eating at home over the last year, and the wine wall, and wine room’s new technological sophistication makes a great talking point for a home dinner party.
At the very high-end there is a propensity to have multiple cellars in the same house right next to each other. There’s one for white, one for red, one for Champagne and one for humidors. This is over the top global trend is catching on in the high net worth world. What the mind can imagine is the only limit to these rooms.
Hot Architectural Style’s Part 1 & 2
Architectural concepts that every good Luxury Real Estate professional should know.
The most typical wish lists for Buyers might include open floor plans, large lot size, two car garage, neighbourhood features and community appeal. However, for some buyers a specific architectural style can be at the top of the list. In these cases, a solid understanding of some basic architectural concepts will be an important part of signing that client. In addition, if you are listing a home of a specific style, you’ll want to understand the features that make it unique so you can highlight them in your photographs, and brochure copywriting.
Staging and home improvements for a unique style might also involve choosing fixtures, finishes and design elements specific to the period or particular home style.
Here is a quick overview of 2 very popular architectural styles that you might encounter in today’s market when working with the upper tier clients.
MID- CENTURY MODERN
The Mid-Century Modern design began springing up in the mid 1930’s, continued through the 1960’s and was still prevalent until the end of the 1970’s. This era produced some prominent architects – most notably Frank Lloyd Wright. His Mid-Century Modern architecture was frequently employed in residential structures with a goal of bringing modernism into America’s post war suburbs.
The Mid-Century Modern architectural style has certain elements in common. Exterior walls are usually unembellished, with floor to ceiling windows and glass sliding doors. They were built to integrate natural outdoor settings with indoor living, making sure that as many rooms as possible had expansive outside views. By integrating fewer walls and more open spaces into the floor plan, it encouraged families to share space and be more engaged with each other.
Many Mid-Century Modern houses used a (then ground-breaking) post and beam architectural design that eliminated bulky support walls in favour of walls that were seemingly made of glass. Various levels of large, open geometric spaces were broken up with built in cabinets of varying heights. Sunken living rooms, and a split level design created varied heights and spaciousness.
If your client is in the market for a Mid-Century Modern home, it won’t come cheap. Due to the popularity of this style being restored, preserved, and maintained by historical organizations, the value of this style of home has skyrocketed.
The typical Ranch Style house is so simple, it may not even appear to have any style at all. This style grew out of a desire for homes that allowed for more informal family living in the suburbs that sprang up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Fast forward to the last 10 years, and the desire for one level and main level bedrooms has driven the popularity of the style to a renewed meteoric rise. Many Baby Boomers that grew up in a ’50’s — ’60’s home are downsizing to the home style of their childhood instead of choosing condos.
Distinguishing features of the Ranch House are one level design with a low pitched roof (commonly hipped), and a moderate or wide eave overhang. Quite often they are constructed a U or L-shaped floor plan, with large sliding glass doors and large picture windows. Usually built of local and readily available materials, they offered either large attached car ports or double car garages. Ranch Style house plans are well suited for casual entertaining and living. Rooms are large and flow freely into each other, eliminating the barriers between the formal and family parts of the home that were common in earlier styles of homes.
Three basic principles of the Ranch Style house are livability, flexibility, and unpretentiousness. The Ranch Style was also part of the movement to include the outdoors as part of the home itself. The houses were designed to give the occupants a direct visual connection to the outdoors through picture windows and sliding glass doors. Access to the outdoors was quick and simple with no need to step down from a formal porch. In fact, the Ranch Style house rarely have street front porches. Later variations include a split level ranch, and a high or raised ranch style. The Ranch Style has become very popular once again, and this reflects the price point that these properties command.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Contemporary/Modern and French Provincial. Hopefully, this overview will help you be prepared when you are preparing to list or work with buyers involving one of these trendy architectural styles.
PART 2: CONTEMPORARY / MODERN
This style has gained more and more popular in the last 10 years. Distinctive features include free flowing form, creativity and the extensive use of curved lines. Contemporary architecture is a form of construction that embodies the various styles of building designs stemming from a wide range of influences including eco-friendly features. This style emulates all kinds of creativity. Aside from different styles and influences, contemporary architecture uses the latest technology and materials. One such technique is the Tube Structure, which is used to design buildings that are high tech, stronger, and taller than most other buildings of previous generations.
With the help of modern software, and the use of simulations and computer-aided design, buildings can be constructed with a high level of precision and speed. Contemporary/Modern homes have exteriors that make a statement. They often feature asymmetrical elements, geometric shapes, and the use of natural materials such as stone, brick, and wood. With Contemporary homes, there is no such thing as cookie cutter. Almost every contemporary /modern home has its own unique look. Windows are huge in these homes, and often take up the entire wall or several walls. Rooflines play a big role in the architectural design. Modern homes tend to have flat expansive roofs or dramatically angled ones. This form of architecture is dominant all over the world and is not just specific to the U.S and Canada. In that regard contemporary is global.
Contemporary architects have a sense of sustainability that they achieve through designs that are energy efficient, using recycled materials, solar panels, and allowing for maximum natural light to pass through. You will be seeing more of this type of architecture as older bungalows are being demolished, to be replaced by Contemporary homes on a larger lot.
FRENCH PROVINCIAL or French Country
French Provincial style is one of the most popular genres, whether it’s describing the architecture of a home or the furniture within it. Just look at the Oakville and Burlington Lakeshore see the popularity of this style that has lofty origins. When French Provincial architecture appeared in the United States, it was actually classified as a revival.
Originally inspired by the original 17th and 18th century manor houses that dot the countryside of France, the second revival of this style started in the ’90’s and still going stronger than ever. For both the original manor houses in the rural provinces of France and the revival versions here in the U.S. and Canada several features stand out. These houses are built of brick or stone, and feature symmetrical, flat facades with a centered front door. Painted wooden shutters are common for the windows and doors.
These were large country homes that were usually at least 2 stories, sometimes including a third under the steeply pitched roof with dormers. This style of roof is called Mansard and is a gambrel—style hip roof characterised by 4 sides. The second stories of these homes were uniquely tall and featured high, arched windows that extended past the eave of the roof, adding to the architectural interest of the house. Such a steep roof called for a beautiful material worthy of looking at, so many French Provincial homes are topped with slate tile or copper accented roofs. This style of home can range from modest to large farm houses, to grand and detailed which we see the most.
French Provincial interiors have a low maintenance elegance that is timeless and beautifully simple. Colours match the landscape, with lots of creams and whites with brown, grays, and muted greens and blues. Texture is another key element in the design, with unfinished wrought iron and stone serving as accents and paying homage to the historic farmhouses of their origins. French Provincial is especially popular today because it’s a softer, more elegant take on minimalistic or rustic farmhouse decor. Plus, you won’t be rushing to replace it in a few years because it’s a classic we don’t see going out of style anytime soon.