The luxury real estate market in destinations such as Hawaii's Big Island has drastically changed through the years to accommodate a thriving full and part-time resident population, not just tourists coming for a short vacation. Just as a fluctuating market dictates the inventory available and asking prices, the needs and preferences of wealthy buyers can change as quickly as the tides.
Here are the top five qualities that today's high-end buyer is looking for in a home.
In the search for their own earthly paradise, most prospective luxury home buyers focus on the uniqueness of a listing, its hidden Edens and world-class amenities, proximity to the beach, ocean views and specifics involving the price.
However, the smartest buyers also pay attention to the quality of the neighborhood. Even if a buyer is looking for complete privacy, they are going to want to buy in an area that matches their lifestyle. And if they can't find the right fit, they can always buy the perfect piece of land to build their own private oasis.
Let's face it, everyone wants a view. When prospective buyers visit a home, they want to walk straight to amazing ocean, mountain or island views. As many homes that cost over $10 million come fully furnished, buyers are attracted to designs that do not block access to the view with bulky furniture or heavy drapes and blinds.
Individuals and families who can afford the steepest home prices usually have an army of personal assistants, helpers and relatives who need a place of their own. In many cases, the more bedrooms, the better. Sellers are now even converting useless space such as empty landings and halls into smaller bedrooms to make homes more attractive to buyers.
Today's buyers are all about minimalism. Unnecessary shelves, curios, cabinets or desks are nothing more than visual noise for potential buyers. In order to keep the home clean and clear after it is purchased, closets and garages are key amenities to help the new owners tuck away their own treasures.
Even when buying in an exotic or secluded location, high-end buyers are still accustomed to controlling everything from their smartphone. Being able to lock doors, adjust the home's climate, control lights (both indoor and outdoor) and set the alarm system with a touch of a button is a must-have feature for many luxury purchasers.
In warmer locations such as Hawaii, it is imperative to have a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience in a home. Finishes such as pocket doors and outdoor showers allow for a truly unique living experience. Owners feel like they are one with nature from the moment they wake up until they close up the house for the night. Outdoor kitchens and entertaining spaces are also on the top of many buyer's lists.
Harold Clarke, a resident of the Big Island and an expert in luxury real estate, is the owner and principal broker of Luxury Big Island by Harold Clarke. He has been named a Top Real Estate Producer by Hawaii Business Magazine every year since 2008 and has been inducted into the Hawaii Business Magazine Top 100 Realtors Hall of Fame.
All photos courtesy of Harold Clarke.