Rosecliff Mansion.

High-End Homes: How To Buy Luxury Real Estate And What To Look For Before You Make An Offer

Rachel Burris5-Minute Read
December 11, 2021

Regardless of whether you’re looking to buy a new house, browsing high-end homes for sale can keep you entertained for hours on end. These luxury properties can possess stunning views, palatial scales, magnificent finishes and astonishing amenities. They can be so awe-inspiring that it can be difficult to imagine what it would be like to live in them.

So, what is it that actually makes a home high-end?

This article will discuss what classifies a home as luxury and explore how to buy luxury real estate so you can get into the home of your dreams quickly.

What Is A Luxury Home?

A luxury, or high-end, home is typically valued within the top 10% of properties on the local real estate market. High-end homes tend to be larger in size, located in prime areas, constructed and finished with high-end materials, and designed with uncommon architectural details that make the property stand out from others on the market.

While the features of these homes are highly coveted, they tend to be rare, as owners of these luxury homes tend to hold onto them for years.

You know your dream home.

We’ll help you find it.

Common Luxury Home Features

Luxury homes are often custom buildings with unique touches not found in other homes in the area. To be considered high-end, these homes typically have seven distinct qualities revolving around their location, price, size, materials, design, amenities and prestigious history.

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these qualities and see how they’re realized in different high-end houses.

1. Prime Location

Location is one of the largest determinants of property value, and high-end luxury homes are built in the most enviable of all locations. Whether you’re buying a lake house, a home settled in the mountains or at the center of a bustling city, these homes are found in prime locations across the country.

2. Higher Price

There are certain locations that are more coveted by homeowners; this can often drive up the price of real estate in those locations. While high-class houses are often found in these more desirable areas, they tend to be priced even higher than the majority of properties within the same area.

Depending on the property values within the local area, buyers looking to snag a luxury property can pay anywhere from a few million dollars to over $100 million.

3. Greater Square Footage

When it comes to high-end homes, size matters a great deal. The greater the square footage, the more luxurious these homes seem.

In some cases, greater square footage translates into a larger number of rooms – be they additional bedrooms, staff quarters or areas dedicated to specialized amenities. In others, this additional space makes for larger, open areas and colossal master suites.

4. Premium Materials

For high-end homes, quality is just as important as size. If the entire property is not constructed and finished with premium materials, it doesn’t matter how many rooms it has or how large it is.

Luxury homes use only the finest materials – think wooden herringbone floors, Italian marble countertops, decorative granite mantlepieces and top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances.

5. Unique Designs

Homes that appear distinctive are held in higher esteem than the cookie-cutter houses common in the suburbs. Therefore, high-end homes come in all shapes and styles. Luxury means something different to each person.

Often, it’s the unique designs of the home – based on the singular priorities of the homeowner for whom it was built – that furnish the property with the luxury label.

6. Decadent Amenities

High-end houses can blur the lines between private and public life, offering residents a slew of decadent amenities that most Americans would be hard-pressed to find in their towns. The features of these high-end homes provide comforts and pleasure that range from classic conveniences like swimming pools and tennis courts to more outrageous attractions like indoor rock-climbing walls and shooting ranges. If you can dream it, it’s likely that there's a luxury home out there that already has it.

7. Prestige

The prestigiousness of a home’s history can also cause it to be considered a luxury property. Whether designed in a specific architectural style, built by a well-respected starchitect or formerly lived in by a celebrity, homes that have prominent stories to tell tend to be viewed as more high-end. However, it’s challenging to put a price on prestige. Just because a home is renowned doesn’t mean there are necessarily buyers who will be willing to pay more for it.

How To Buy Luxury Real Estate

Identifying luxury properties and high-end homes on the market is relatively easy. Buying those homes, on the other hand, can be more difficult than you might think. Here are a few tips to help you get the home of your dreams.

Work With A Real Estate Agent

Luxury homes rarely hit the market, and when they do, they tend to go fast. The best way to increase your chances of success is to work with an experienced real estate agent. Look for a professional who specializes in helping buyers purchase luxury or high-end houses and let them guide you through the home buying process.

Need a real estate agent?

Match with a local expert.

Identify Your Must-Haves Early On

Luxury homes are custom buildings, and no two properties will be the same. That means you need to think about the types of features, amenities, decorative touches and square footage you want before you start looking at properties.

Create a list of must-haves and give this list to your real estate agent. They’ll be able to identify properties that meet your wishes and spare you the frustration of touring homes that aren’t the right fit.

Set Your Budget

Luxury homes can cost millions of dollars. Before you start looking, figure out how much you’re willing to spend on your new home and identify how you’ll pay for your new home. Remember, luxury properties often only qualify for financing with a jumbo loan. Make sure you’re able to afford the payments for the mortgage on top of covering routine maintenance costs, and choose a lender you’re comfortable working with.

Take Your Time

With luxury listings coming on the market so infrequently, finding your dream home may not happen as fast as you’d like. Rather than buying the first luxury property that catches your eye, take your time. Be willing to wait until you find the right home for your needs.

Tour Properties In Person

Pictures and virtual walkthroughs can only tell you so much about a luxury property. Rather than relying on pictures alone, try to tour each property you’re interested in. This will give you the chance to inspect the quality of the fixtures, identify any areas of concern and get a feel for the space more accurately.

The Bottom Line

While high-end luxury homes are located in attractive areas, designed with the highest quality materials and include enticing amenities, they’re ultimately only worth what buyers are willing to pay for them.

Regardless of how well they’re priced, these houses can still be expensive. The best thing you can do is get preapproved for your mortgage before you start looking. Apply online with Rocket Mortgage® today.

Get approved to see what you can afford.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you do it all online.

NMLS #3030

Rachel Burris

Rachel Burris is a writer covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders. Prior to joining Rocket Companies, she worked as an English teacher for the New York City Department of Education and a licensed real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens. She holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Bucknell University, a postbaccalaureate certificate in psychology from Columbia University and a master's degree in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University.