A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is priceless when it comes to marketing unique and extravagant properties.
That’s why agent Martinus Geleynse of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada in Oakville, Ont. created a lifestyle video for his impressive $3,999,900 Beamsville listing.
“People do not buy property based on pictures of rooms, it’s what happens in those rooms that sell,” Geleynse says.
He figured out who was likely to buy the property and the lifestyle they were likely to lead, then worked with Sotheby’s to create a list of features to include in the video of the residence by the lake.
“It’s an aspirational portrayal of the lifestyle that goes with” the property, he says.
The video features shots of beautiful sunlit interior spaces, a Rolls Royce, a Land Rover, fireworks and more. It also shows a half dozen people enjoying all the amenities the property has to offer. They enjoy a drink on the 8,000-square-foot concrete pool deck, a dip in the 20×50-foot saltwater pool, a stroll through the vineyards and some time on the 2,000-square-foot rooftop deck. The deck has a kitchen, a hot tub, a fire table and lake and vineyard views.
Suitable as a year-round home, a cottage or second property for Canadian or international buyers, Geleynse says the house is like a resort. It has six kitchens, three self-contained residences, large and bright living spaces and an office with floor-to-ceiling windows and lake views. A large kennel for guard dogs, a to-die-for two-storey garage for car collectors (complete with an air compressor) and 27 security cameras are other features.
The upper level of the home boasts a huge lakefront office plus four bedrooms, including a primary suite with a stunning ensuite bathroom and balcony overlooking the surrounding vineyards.
The owner is thorough, Geleynse says. “He has done everything to the nth degree, from this trim with this highlight, to mechanicals to control the water pressure, to opening and closing the gates with the use of an app. There is glass fencing around everything.” Panels, of 10 and 12 mm glass, cost about $1,000 each and the two brackets that hold each in place are $500 each. “There’s no need to spend $100,000 to $150,000 on a fence, but he did it.”
To be prepared for anything, Geleynse prepared a spec sheet, then memorized everything on it, ready to answer all questions from prospective buyers. It’s no small feat, considering the property has about 6,500 square feet of indoor finished living space plus about 2,500 square feet of garage space, just over 3,000 square feet of elevated outdoor deck space and approximately 8,000 square feet of ground-level finished outdoor living space/pool deck.
Geleynse has been an agent for less than a year but says he has always had an interest in real estate, buying and flipping properties. He bought his first duplex in Hamilton, the city where he still resides.
He started a marketing agency after graduating from university in 2007, working with a variety of clients to brand, launch and sell residential and commercial developments. The agency also started a major annual film festival, print publications and digital properties. He sold the company in 2017. He and his wife, Nina, redeveloped multiple real estate projects in Hamilton. He then worked in marketing and communications for an Ontario financial institution for two years.
Before he became an agent, Sotheby’s agent Petrus Engelbrecht tried to recruit him, telling him he’d last only six months in the corporate world. “He wasn’t wrong,” Geleynse says. “The corporate world is not where I’m the happiest.”
He got his licence in October 2020 and joined Sotheby’s. His secret with high-end properties, he says, is to be “extremely hands on”. That includes the half hour before showings, when he says he runs around and turns all the lights on, opens up poolside umbrellas and does whatever else needs to be done. He says the big thing he learned when starting an agency and his own publication was the importance of a good work ethic. “That’s sometimes lost on agents,” he says, explaining that he is always willing to roll up his sleeves and work.
You don’t wait for the market to sell the place. You market to a specific, not a general, audience and it’s not just putting a sign on the lawn, he says.
Success hasn’t happened overnight. Seeds planted over the course of 13 years in banking with a credit union, working on a political campaign for someone running for mayor and his personal real estate dealings gave him a chance to meet lots of people. The seeds starting germinating. People heard he got his licence and he says his phone started ringing.
Awareness of the Beamsville area is growing and property values have appreciated 35 per cent year over year. It is about 20 minutes from Hamilton.
“This remarkable estate benefits from high appreciation with low taxes and is minutes away from both the highway and future GO Train station, yet completely hidden by vineyards on a cul-de-sac next to the lake,” Geleynse says.
There were four showings on the first day the one-acre property was listed. “The interest is encouraging,” he says. But he urges agents and their clients to come out and see the estate for themselves. “It needs to be seen. It’s even more impressive than in pictures.”