10 High-End Luxury Home Real Estate Companies in the US

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Luxury homes come with a hefty price tag. They also suggest a lifestyle typically desired by the affluent homeowner, whether that lifestyle centers around tax advantages, views, exclusivity, or other amenities.

Buying and selling high-end luxury properties demands an expertise not found in the average real estate agent. Professionals like Cyndi DePalermo, a top real estate agent in Dickinson, Texas who deals with high-end properties, are held to higher standards; the level of expectation is greater.

If you’re searching for high-end real estate companies or an experienced luxury home Realtor®, we’ll help you with your search and show you what you should be looking for in an agent.

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What is a luxury home?

Luxury properties are commonly described as those valued at $2 million to $40 million — and up. That depends, however, on the market. Perhaps a better yardstick is to consider luxury properties to be within the top 10% of the local market. Thus, the price could range from a million to 100 times that.

According to DePalermo, luxury properties are “geographically defined.” What is considered high-end luxury on the coast will be different than in the suburbs. “It can be a price point or an amenity.” In southeastern Texas, where she works, waterfront properties command a premium. In other areas, it might be a view. For many rural communities, it’s acreage.

It typically takes longer to sell a luxury home than an average home, DePalermo observes. However, while higher interest rates have decelerated the real estate market in many parts of the country, those on the hunt for a luxury property have been largely unaffected by the changing economic conditions.

Recent data from the Robb Report indicates that high-end properties in places like Silicon Valley and Seattle are maintaining sales at a fast pace. As of August 2023, the average time a single-family home spent on the market was 46 days. Comparatively, high-end homes in Silicon Valley are selling in 39 days, while luxury homes in Seattle are averaging 43 days on the market.

Since the pool of buyers for high-end luxury homes is smaller than for the average home, and days on market (DOM) can be longer, it’s important to find the right agent: someone with experience, connections, knowledge of the area, and the right pricing and marketing strategies.

Only a select group of real estate companies qualify to work with the ultra-high-net-worth individuals (classified as individuals with assets of $30 million or more) looking to purchase or sell luxury properties featuring premium materials, upscale amenities, prime location, and unique architecture.

What is a luxury home real estate broker?

There are several qualities and qualifications to look for in a luxury real estate broker. DePalermo is a member of the Luxury Home Council and an accredited luxury home specialist. She took courses and had to sell a specific number of luxury properties within a defined time period to earn that designation. She also has to know patterns and trends in the market, and the needs and desires of the clients, along with where they live, work, and play.

Beyond knowing the market, agents in the high-end real estate market should have a list of contacts — both clients and other agents — ensconced in the luxury trade. This could include a network of exclusive organizations.

A high-end real estate agent should have a savvy marketing strategy that includes the use of digital marketing and social media. Nearly 4.5 billion people worldwide use various forms of social media, with more than 1 billion of them on Instagram, a photo-rich platform conducive to showing properties, and more than 2.7 billion monthly active users on YouTube, another platform ideal for showing the features of real estate listings.

What makes a good high-end agent or agency?

When you’re looking for a brokerage, real estate company, or Realtor, keep these criterions in mind:

Reputation and experience with high-end luxury home sales: Reputation and branding are important in all business transactions, but perhaps even more so in the high-end real estate market. An agent should be an expert on the market. And remember, they are selling a lifestyle. “An agent should dress the part,” DePalermo says. They should also drive luxury vehicles and join the posh clubs.

Ability to provide niche services catering to luxury homebuyers and sellers: Luxury home sellers and buyers can be a demanding group. Providing top-notch service might include drone footage or short videos highlighting the property’s features. It could involve contacting target markets. DePalermo’s clients “want everything in one package.” She develops a customized plan that includes staging at no cost, the offer of closing electronically (particularly for clients living abroad), and recommendations for moving companies.

National Association of Realtors certification: Agents can study the niche luxury market to learn pricing strategies, negotiation tactics, and more. By completing 13 credit hours of programs and passing exams, NAR members may earn a Luxury Homes Certification.

10 of the top luxury real estate brokerages in the U.S.

We identified 10 of the top luxury real estate brokerages. If you’re in the market, check them out.

1. Sotheby’s International Realty 

Sotheby’s International Realty is a luxury real estate brand founded in 1976 by the fine art dealers of the same name. With 1,075 offices in 81 countries and territories, Sotheby’s does $167 billion in annual sales.

2. Christie’s International Real Estate

Another spin-off of a fine art auction house, this wholly owned subsidiary established in 1995 deals in real estate priced at $1 million and higher. Christie’s International Real Estate closed over $500 billion in real estate transactions in the last five years and has consistently set residential real estate sales records around the world.

3. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices ranked as the nation’s third-largest real estate firm, with more than $150 billion in annual sales, with nearly 1,600 offices and more than 50,000 agents.

4. Keller Williams Luxury International

Part of Keller Williams Realty Inc., the largest real estate company in the U.S., Keller Williams Luxury International is an exclusive group of real estate agents that operates across five continents. The company sold 58,433 Properties over $1 million in 2021.

5. Nest Seekers International

Established in 2002, Nest Seekers International is a small but fast-growing company, with just 30 offices and 1,500 agents around the globe. It incorporates an unconventional approach with a technology-driven listing process. Its agents are often featured as experts in print and TV media.

6. Distinctive Collection by Better Homes and Gardens

Launched in 1978 by Meredith Corporation, Distinctive Collection by Better Homes and Gardens retains a connection to the magazine with which it shares a name. Comprised of independently owned and operated franchises, with more than 10,000 affiliated agents throughout the country, it is known for offering a high level of customer service akin to Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

7. The RE/MAX Collection

Parent company RE/MAX has been in operation since 1973, expanding to more than 110 countries and territories, where more than 140,000 agents work in almost 9,000 offices. The RE/MAX Collection is the company’s luxury arm, dealing only with homes that sell for at least twice the average sold price in that zip code.

8. The Corcoran Group

The one-day sale tactic used by real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran launched one of New York City’s largest, privately owned residential real estate firms in 1973. She sold the company for $66 million in 2001. The Corcoran Group has since expanded and features more than 3,900 independent agents in 90 offices.

9. HomeSmart International

Built by brokers in 2000, HomeSmart International has streamlined technology with proprietary software to become the “leading 100% real estate brokerage” in the nation, with more than 26,000 agents across over 200 offices and 49 states.

10. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

With approximately 2,800 offices in 41 countries and territories serving the high-end luxury real estate market, it’s no surprise that Coldwell Banker Global Luxury transacts $288 million in sales volume on a daily basis. The luxury brokerage utilizes its own platform to advertise properties and also leverages Homes & Estates Magazine and other media outlets.

What experts say you should know when selling a luxury home

All the basics of selling a home still apply to the luxury property market: take quality photos; price it right; clean, prep, and stage it; and market it properly. However, selling a luxury home may require a little tweaking of the typical strategy.

Work with the right real estate agent: Select an agent who knows the local market and has experience with high-end properties. If you don’t already have an agent, HomeLight can help you find a real estate agent who can get top dollar for your home, whether you’re selling a luxury home or something a little more modest.

Skip public open houses: Luxury home owners tend to be private. “They don’t want a lot of looky-loos at an open house,” DePalermo points out. Especially with high-end properties, it’s less about mass appeal and more about finding the right buyer. Appointment-only showings highlight the exclusivity of the property. DePalermo prefers invitation-only wine-and-cheese parties or Realtor-only showings. Often, luxury homes never even hit the market; they’re sold as pocket listings.

Sweeten the deal with furnishings: One-of-a-kind luxury homes are often outfitted with custom furnishings that may not fit your next home. DePalermo recently sold a luxury property for $1.3 million, complete with a grand piano in the foyer and a 20-piece dining table. She frequently sells beach properties fully furnished. Buying a truly turn-key property appeals to some buyers who can skip the time and expense of furnishing their new home.

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Q&A: More answers about luxury home sales

Still have questions? Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about high-end real estate companies and luxury home sales.

Take comfort in a strong luxury market

If you’ve been considering selling your luxury home, the time is now. In 2023, home prices and single-family home sales have been on the rise for luxury properties, according to the Institute for Luxury home marketing.

Remember to accurately identify whether your home is considered a luxury property for your area. If it is, give it the gold-star treatment with professional photos and staging as part of a savvy marketing strategy designed to appeal to high-end buyers.

An experienced luxury real estate dealer knows how to sell for top dollar in your market, whether you have a luxury home or a small bungalow. If you don’t have an agent, you can easily find a top-rated real estate professional near you with the help of HomeLight.

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