We met Debbie Fisher from Handsome Properties in Florence in 2012. For both it was our first time in a Luxury Real Estate Conference, and since then, we have met yearly in each International Luxury Real Estate Conference. It is always interesting and productive to share knowledge with international companies like Handsome Properties because it is a way of getting different points of view on the real estate market, a way of learning new marketing strategies and finally a way of building strong relationships which benefits both companies.
It is a pleasure to realize how Handsome Properties, despite being founded in a difficult time for the real estate market, has triumphed. With passion and belief in marketing the outcome has been successful for Handsome Properties, as it has been for us during the Spanish real estate downturn. Below Debbie Fisher, owner and Broker-in Charge of Handsome Properties, talks about her company, real estate markets and MLS. And finally, we just congratulate Debbie because they were recently awarded with the Best Website Award from Luxury Real Estate.
Can you explain a little about your company and your market?
I started Handsome Properties in 2008 when the market in the United States was just starting to take an economic downturn. Fortunately, this was to my benefit and I was able to brand myself and my company through strategic marketing at a time when everyone else was pulling back on their marketing. I created positive “lifestyle” ads that really connected to the way people wanted to live again. I branded myself through my luxury listings showcasing emotion. This seemed to work so I kept repeating the theme gaining listings and clients in a tough “Old Charleston” market place.
In addition, I also started Handsome Properties International forging new advertising venues and partnerships in France, Spain and Italy. These international connections have helped give me a true perspective on the global marketplace and a surprising number of people in Charleston travel to Europe each year. Charleston’s market is continuing to grow at an exponential rate each year and was recently voted “#1 City in the United States” by Conde Nast Traveler for the third year in a row in 2013.
More people are starting to realize that Charleston is a great place to work, live and play and that has really translated nicely into a strong and healthy real estate marketplace in the past few years.
From your point of view, what are the benefits of belonging to associations like Luxury Real Estate or Prestige-MLS?
Luxury Real Estate has been a wonderful source of advertising, referrals and education. In the last 3 years I have joined two other International Affiliations focusing on Western Europe, China, and the UK, namely Prestige MLS, Caimeiju, and Mayfair. I was introduced to two of these affiliations through fellow members of LRE and find the knowledge that comes from being a member of these organizations is invaluable. Belonging to associations such as these also helps boost your credibility with clients and lets them know you are committed to exposing their property on an international platform.
Can you explain how potential American buyers see the European real estate market? Which locations in Europe do you think are the most sought-after?
I think potential American Buyers see the European real estate market as a great place for investment and opportunities for second homes. The most popular areas I would say are Paris, Provence, South of France, Tuscany, and Barcelona. Many Americans will also do 1-2 year stays in Paris so they can enrol their children in one of the great international schools that Paris has to offer. Sometimes, long term rentals can result in sales and Americans will end up staying longer than they expected because they enjoy the easy going lifestyle of France.
Do you know Barcelona? What do you think people like about the city?
I have been to Barcelona before and I absolutely love the energy that the city exudes. With a vibrant culinary scene and incredible historical landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, it’s hard not to fall in love with Barcelona! La Rambla and the open air markets are also favorite attractions. The people are so welcoming and proud of their city, too. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t enjoy their visit to Barcelona.