The Art of Pricing a Luxury Home for Sale

Pricing a luxury home is more art than science. Here’s everything you need to know to get top dollar in Portland’s competitive real estate market.

Lake Oswego Home

When it comes to luxury homes, no two are alike. That’s what makes pricing a luxury home more art than science. You can’t simply compare square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms, and general condition of the home.

What Is a Luxury Home?

Most luxury homes were custom built in a coveted location and often have unique features that reflect the esthetic of the original home owner. In the luxury home category, you’ll find a wide array of eye popping amenities. Imagine acreage, stunning views, swimming pools, water features, waterfront, boat houses, tennis courts, professionally landscaped grounds, gated entrances, chef’s kitchens, spa-like bathrooms, outdoor entertaining areas, outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, custom flooring, floor-to-ceiling window walls, and other luxuries that make your heart go pitter-patter.

Boat on Oswego LakeThere’s nothing cookie-cutter about a luxury home. In fact, DISTINCTION is the hallmark of a luxury home.

Arguments over what factors qualify a home for luxury status abound, but this is Portland, not Los Angeles, and we like to keep things simple. So although not every home with a price tag of $1,000,000 or more is actually a luxury home, that’s the line we’re going to draw in the sand. In Portland, it usually requires at least $1,000,000 to create a truly distinctive home in a setting to match.

Homes on Oswego Lake

But wait! Don’t jump to another blog post just because you have a home you want to sell in a lower price category. Everything we say here about pricing a luxury home for sale applies to lower priced homes as well.

Related: Guide to Selling Your Home (Our proven strategy for getting your home sold fast for top dollar.)

Every luxury home in the Portland Metro area has a different combination of luxury amenities. It’s like comparing a Cheetah to a Peregrine Falcon. They are the two fastest animals in the world, and yet the differences are enormous. Which one is worth more and how much more?

Pricing a Luxury Home for Sale

At SkyBlue Portland, we specialize in these unique properties. We have a finely tuned process for evaluating a home’s worth in today’s competitive marketplace. And we work with each of our luxury home sellers to price their home to maximum advantage and ensure that it attracts maximum attention right out of the gate from potential luxury home buyers.

Market research is key. We spend umpteen hours each week touring luxury homes for sale in Portland Metro neighborhoods. We focus on neighborhood first, because pricing is determined by competition within a rather small geographical area. You can’t for instance, compare luxury homes in two different areas. The exact same luxury home will sell for a different price in two different areas.

Outdoor area 1

What makes real estate such a difficult asset to price is that price is ALWAYS determined by local competition at a given moment in time, what people are willing (and able) to pay at a given moment in time, and what a bank is willing to loan at a given moment in time.

Notice the emphasis on time. The value of a particular home is not determined solely by its quantifiable, measurable features. Its value is determined by what buyers are willing to pay for the home TODAY. And that amount may vary from what they are willing to pay for the same home TOMORROW (or next year).


The value of a home today has nothing to do with what the current owner of the home paid for it or what the current owner needs to net to move on to the next home. That fact can be a hard pill to swallow.

But remember when I said that pricing a luxury home is more art than science? This is where we can help you most. Because we know a secret that few other real estate agents really understand.

Are you ready?

Living room

Perception Is Everything

We know that in real estate today—and especially in luxury homes—PERCEPTION is EVERYTHING. Perception is driven by EMOTION. And emotion can be INDUCED.

The truth is that humans are driven by emotion in all things, no matter what our rational minds tell us to the contrary. We make split second decisions on EVERYTHING. And then, when the mind receives that information, it tries to rationalize the decision that we already made. Funny, huh?

I’m talking about SEDUCTION here. I’m talking about creating an experience that captures the heart and mind of every potential buyer that walks through the front door of your home. And actually, this begins long before that eventful first step.


It begins on the web—where almost all buyers begin their search for the perfect new home. If you don’t wow them on the web in 60 seconds or less, you will never see them at your home.

The more potential buyers we can get into your home, the better the chances for multiple offers, some of which may be above asking price. That’s another weird thing about the human psyche. We want what others want. The more people that want it, the greater our need to get it. In real estate, this is called a bidding war, and it can be a very good thing for the seller.

Master suite

Selling the Dream

That’s why we partner with the best home staging, photography, 3D virtual tour, video tour, and aerial photography professionals in Portland. These cutting-edge firms don’t just arrange furniture and take pretty pictures. Any competent designer or photographer can do that. They tell stories. They create dreams. And dreams, as we all know, create desire.

Related: To Stage or Not to Stage Your Home for Sale

These dreams they create don’t just affect the perceptions of potential home buyers. They also affect the perception of the home appraiser. Shocking, right?

Outdoor Fireplace

But it’s a statistical fact that homes that are professionally staged and photographed appraise for more than homes that aren’t.

Why? Because professionally staged and photographed homes are perceived to be better maintained and in better condition than unstaged homes. Perception is everything and can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in the sale price of a luxury home.

White living room

The Competitive Advantage

Pricing a luxury home in today’s market requires a deep understanding of the market, the neighborhood in which the home is competing, and the psychological factors that influence today’s home buyers.

Understanding the complex dynamic between these factors gives home sellers a competitive advantage in today’s real estate market. And we can help.

Let us show you what a difference we can make in selling your luxury home quickly and for top dollar in Portland Metro.

Next Steps

If you’re curious what your home is worth in today’s market, visit our automated Home Value website. This will give you an estimated value of your home based on public information about your home and current sales in your neighborhood.

If you’d like to get a Full Market Study on you home, contact our Lead Listing Agent, jb@skyblueportland.com and he’ll get the ball rolling.

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Learn More About How to Sell and Buy a Home at the Same Time

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