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Okanagan luxury homes attract high-end realtor Christie’s

Christie’s may be best known for its art auctions but it has an international real estate arm dealing in high-end properties. And it’s looking to make a major expansion into the Okanagan over the next few months. This home in Okanagan Falls is listed for $3,195,000.
Christie’s may be best known for its art auctions but it has an international real estate arm dealing in high-end properties. And it’s looking to make a major expansion into the Okanagan over the next few months. This home in Okanagan Falls is listed for $3,195,000.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/FaithWilson/Christie's International Real Estate

Christie’s may be best known for its art auctions but it has an international real estate arm dealing in high-end properties. And it’s looking to make a major expansion into the Okanagan over the next few months.

“I’d like to have maybe a dozen to 20 agents there that are actively working and doing good business,” Faith Wilson, president and CEO of Faith Wilson/Christie’s International Real Estate, told iNFOnews.ca. “If we get to 30 in the next year, that would be great.”

Wilson, who used to live in the Okanagan, is now based out of Vancouver. Her brokerage firm is affiliated with Christie’s. She has two agents and an office in Penticton along with two agents in Kelowna.

She’s looking to open an office in Kelowna’s Cultural District by February and expand her list of realtors.

Faith Wilson is expanding her Christie
Faith Wilson is expanding her Christie's affiliated real estate brokerage firm in the Okanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Faith Wilson/Christie's International Real Estate

The main reason for the move is that Kelowna is increasingly on the world map when it comes to luxury homes.

“It is a gorgeous place to be,” Wilson said. “If you were looking to have second or third or fourth home, and you’ve got that kind of money, I would say the Okanagan Valley is a place you may choose if you want to be on the west coast in Canada.”

While homes priced at $750,000 or more can be put on the Christie’s website, it’s homes selling for more than $2.5 million that qualifies as luxury in the Okanagan.

Only one home sold in the region for more than $10 million this year, Wilson said, while 84 sold for between $3 and $5 million.

READ MORE: Putting Kelowna's $1 million for median-priced home in context

There seems to be a limitless supply of very wealthy people from all over the world who are looking to buy in that price range or higher.

With Christie’s international reach, the real estate agents can market to people from Europe, Asia, Dubai and elsewhere.

“The Okanagan has come of age to a certain extent,” Wilson said. “A part of that is the sophistication of the wineries – it’s good wine – the university, there’s a cultural aspect now. People realize they don’t have to stay in Vancouver and drive to work.”

She’s looking to recruit agents who believe in Christie’s principles.

“We’re looking for really good agents that have that high level of integrity and ethics,” Wilson said. “They understand discretion because it’s not all about you. It’s about the client and what they want and your ability to make that happen for them.”

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: $13M asking price on world class North Okanagan estate

Many high-end customers are very private and don’t even want their properties “touted,” even though some promotion is needed to get it sold.

And making sales doesn’t necessarily give bragging rights as agents are sometimes sworn to secrecy

Her job is to back up the agents because selling luxury homes is much more that putting a sign on the lawn and a listing on a website.

This home and winery in Cawston can be yours for $8,700,000.
This home and winery in Cawston can be yours for $8,700,000.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/FaithWilson/Christie's International Real Estate

Many of the high-end properties include expensive videos and extensive marketing all of which comes at a cost.

While, on paper, commissions on multi-million dollar homes may look great, it doesn’t always work out that way, especially when it can take years for such properties to sell.

“You may have put $100,000, $125,000 or more into the marketing,” Wilson said. “It adds up. All the time and energy of the people working on the website. All the magazines you’re in. All of that costs money, every time someone touches it. And then the travelling. If you lose that listing, you’re out that money. You don’t get paid and someone else will reap the benefits of all that.”

Christie's has a blog about the Okanagan market that can be seen here.

— This story was updated at 4:58 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, to clarify property prices.


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