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Selling the Luxury Lifestyle With Fancy Things Buyers Don't Get

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Manhattan super broker and star of Selling New York Michele Kleier recently told the Times she believed an expensive shoe collection left out during an open house woos buyers into paying a premium for the property. "People want to step into your life," she said. Well, that's if you've got 25 pairs of Christian Louboutins in the closet. But we thought surely there must be even more enticing items used to win over buyers. Hell, a buyer haggled on a Million Dollar Listing over the Shelby Cobra parked in the garage, and Madison went and tried to park a client's Lamborghini in the driveway because he's "selling the Malibu lifestyle." Back in the old days, this used to be known as "staging," and by golly, it's back with a vengeance. In the age of the Internet, this means photographing things that aren't included in the sale and sticking 'em up on the online listing anyway. Take a particularly expensive parcel of undeveloped land on the Spanish island of Mallorca. For $22M, the buyer—there's currently one in contract—is getting two newly constructed seaside mansions measuring 12,000 square feet. What they're not getting is this cute little island restaurant, which is "near the villa" (above). That didn't prevent the listing agents from using this as their lead photo. Tisk tisk!

? Down in Franklin, Tenn., there's one enormous—27,000 square feet on 700 acres—plantation property for sale, and the price isn't petite either: $27.5M. Sadly, that high-brow price tag hasn't prevented a little low-brow marketing, like photographing the owner's collection of American muscle cars. And frankly, we can't imagine that this weak three-car collection would impress someone with the resources to purchase the house. Not that there isn't space for a few more in that cavernous garage.

? It's none too surprising to find some expensive housing in tony Santa Barbara, Calif., like a 12,000-square-foot, sea-view mansion listed for $22M. What might come as a surprise is the wine cellar, complete with seating and table for tasting sessions, and the fact that it looks fully—and we mean fully—stocked and ready for even the most oenophobic buyer to entertain his wine-sipping guests. The wine might not be included, but surely the buyer could negotiate for that cliched French poster on the wall.

? Despite these examples of attempted hoodwinking, some sellers don't really have a choice about whether or not to include some of the furnishings. This chateau in the far South of France is a perfect example. Listed for almost $29M, the former country home of a paper products heir was built at the turn of the last century in the height of art nouveau style. This means many of the walls feature elaborate sculpture and painting, so much so that a new buyer could easily pocket their annual art budget, not to mention free wall space is rare in this 27,000-square-foot marble palace. Call it over the top, but even empty this place would look full.
· To Sell an Apartment, No Detail Is Too Small [NYT]
· Million Dollar Listing Recapped, Ep 3: When Nothing Sold [Curbed National]
· New luxury sea front villa, Mallorca [Sotheby's]
· Eagles Rest Farm, Tenn. [Sotheby's]
· Stunning Views Estate [Sotheby's]
· Chateau D'Aubiry [Sotheby's]