Empires of the Sun

via The Sunday Times

Tempted by a beach house in paradise? Take advantage of the strong pound and make that dream come true. We find 10 fabulous pads to suit all budgets

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Golden sand outside the front door has long been a fantasy for urbanites stuck in the daily grind. And it seems more of us than ever are keen to live the dream: driven by the strength of sterling, inquiries from British buyers about beach houses abroad have risen by 109% in the past year on Rightmove Overseas, according to Aimee Valaitis, a data analyst at the property portal.

There has also been a hike in inquiries about homes with private beaches, she says. But buyer beware: whatever the brochure claims, your “private” strand may be invaded by hordes of sunbathers — this summer, King Salman of Saudi Arabia sparked mass protests on the French Riviera when he tried to close the nudist beach in front of his holiday villa. “Unless you are on a private island, it’s rare to find a beach that really is for your use only,” says Edward de Mallet Morgan, an associate at Knight Frank estate agency. “In many places, particularly on the Mediterranean, the public has a right of access on the coast. Almost no beaches in the Caribbean are truly private.”

That said, some are more secluded than others. Here’s our pick of the best beach houses on the market right now.

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Barbados £8.8m

Pool or sea? It’s the biggest dilemma you’ll face at Villa Bonita, a new six-bedroom property in Prospect Bay, St James, on the Platinum Coast. It has more than 9,000 sq ft of living space, direct beach access from a staircase, lashings of white marble and an inner courtyard. The cream and grey interiors are offset by the almost shocking blue of the Caribbean — and for added peace of mind, the villa has an alarm system and security shutters.

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Mallorca from £253,275

Once a fishing village, Puerto Andratx is now a Balearic hotspot, known for bling, superyachts and A-list visitors. A short walk from the beach at Camp de Mar, on the edge of the golf course, there’s a collection of 30 townhouses built in Mediterranean style, with a shared pool and gardens. They are part of a gated community, so a two-or three-bedroom home here would make a good lock-up-and-leave.

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Crete £247,000

On the seafront in Kalyves, a buzzing — but still traditional – village near Apokoronas, this three-bedroom Venetian villa has high ceilings and original floor tiles. It’s in need of TLC, but the mountain backdrop is stunning and there’s plenty of room to put in a small pool and off-road parking. You’ll have instant access to the area’s miles and miles of sandy beaches, while Chania airport is just a short drive away.

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California £8.6m

Lined with luxury villas, Broad Beach, in Malibu, counts Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn and Pierce Brosnan among its A-list residents. The LaFetra Beach House, the last building designed by the modernist Pierre Koenig, sits on a clifftop at the northern end of the beach. The solar-powered glass, steel and concrete home has four bedrooms, huge oceanfront decks, a plunge pool and retractable beach stairs.

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Hawaii £12.8m

Make like Mark Zuckerberg and buy a piece of paradise in Hawaii. Hale Ali’i, on Maui, is a 7,475 sq ft home a few steps from the white sands of Oneloa Bay; it’s a short walk from Kapalua Bay, often voted one of America’s best beaches. Built according to feng shui principles, the four-bedroom villa has a soundproof theatre and a limestone lanai (open-sided porch) with an infinity pool and a hot tub. The price has been reduced by £2.55m.

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Thailand £28.8m

The owner of this 20-acre private island can use the facilities at the five-star Soneva Kiri resort, on Ko Kood, just across the water. It’s for sale on a 30-year lease (with three automatic 30-year extensions), with plans for a 3,000 sq metre house that will have large terraces and a waterslide into the pool. The flight from Bangkok to the local airport takes 60 minutes by private plane; the resort’s speedboat will whisk you over to your home.

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Cayman Islands from £1.9m

Designed to provide a cosy enclave for UHNWIs — that’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals to you and me — Casa Luna is a development of 18 open-plan homes in a secluded cove on Grand Cayman. It’s dotted with waterfalls and there’s a pond stocked with ornamental koi carp. For £1.9m, you’ll get three bedrooms and views to the shores of South Sound; a front-line villa will set you back £2.4m.

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Algarve £1.1m

This contemporary three-bedroom townhouse is in the Vale do Lobo golf resort, a 20-minute drive from Faro airport. It has sweeping beach views and nearly 1,800 sq ft of clean, bright and mainly white open-plan interiors, including a well designed kitchen, as well as terraces and a garden. There’s no pool, though, so you’ll need to cool down in the surf — or use the resort’s facilities.

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Turkey £234,000

Bodrum may be rammed with tourists, but Gumusluk Bay, at the tip of the Bodrum Peninsula, has plenty to recommend it: large-scale development is not permitted, so there’s a low-key, traditional feel, and its fresh fish restaurants and scattered antiquities make it an idyllic holiday retreat. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa has beach access and a private pool; the weekly food and crafts market is within walking distance.

Presenting Sindeo’s inaugural Agent Advisory Council

via Sindeo

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We are pleased to announce the formation of our first‑ever Agent Advisory Council, consisting of a distinguished group of agents from across the country who have a proven record in company leadership and top‑level business innovation. The council, which will meet periodically throughout the year, is intended to provide strategic guidance and industry insights to Sindeo. Members will have the opportunity to impact the transformation of the mortgage industry as Sindeo builds a solution that leverages technology and high‑touch service to provide consumers and their real estate agents with an efficient and transparent end‑to‑end home financing process.

“We are thrilled to have such an influential team of real estate professionals interested in sharing their industry insight and vision with Sindeo,“ said Chief Industry Officer Ginger Wilcox. “With their expertise, we will be able to build a mortgage product that is truly purpose‑built for the real estate agent and their needs – ultimately helping them deliver a better experience to their clients.”

The inaugural Agent Advisory Council members include:

Vanessa Bergmark, Red Oak Realty

Vanessa is General Manager/Partner of Red Oak Realty, overseeing 90 sales agents in two offices located in Berkeley and Oakland, California. By rebranding and reshaping the entire organization, Bergmark is widely admired as a turn‑around expert for growing Red Oak Realty from a small agency ranked 12th in market share to 3rd in just 4 years. She has spoken about branding, culture and agent retention at several conferences including Inman Connect, NAR, CAR and Who’s Who in Luxury. She is part of CAR’s Strategic Planning and Finance committee and is an active participant in organized real estate at the state and local levels. In 2013 she was named as one of Inman’s 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate.

Jennifer Branchini, Better Homes & Gardens Tri‑Valley Realty

Jennifer is a recognized industry leader, having served as President of the Bay East Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors in 2014, as well as being an active member of the California Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors and the National Association of REALTORS®. Branchini is a founding member of the Bay East Association of REALTORS® Young Professionals Network and was the 2012 Chair of the California Association of REALTORS® Young Professionals Network. She was part of the Social Media Advisory Board and the Local Association Idea Exchange for the National Association of REALTORS®, and was named 2010 REALTOR® of the Year by Bay East Association of REALTORS®.

Mark Choey, Climb Real Estate

Mark is co‑founder, partner and CTO of Climb Real Estate, now one of the top brokerages in San Francisco. Mark helps manage the strategic vision and direction of CLIMB and is leading CLIMB | LABS – Climb’s innovation arm. He was SFAR MLS & Technology Committee’s Co‑Chair in 2012 and 2013 where he still actively contributes to SFAR’s MLS long‑term strategic direction. Mark is one of the City’s top‑selling real estate agents and is ranked in the top 5 agents in SF condo sales volume from 2011‑2014. Mark is also the founder of SF New Developments, where he provides resources for his clients to navigate the booming San Francisco residential new development landscape.

Sam DeBord, Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth

Sam is managing broker for Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, the top‑producing full‑service real estate office in Seattle, and the 2016 President‑Elect of Seattle King County REALTORS®. With a background in I.T. and management consulting, DeBord has earned a reputation for being on the cutting edge of issues ranging from technology to legislative policy. He was named one of T3 Swanepoel Power 200’s top 20 Social Influencers and has served as a director and spokesperson for local, state, and national REALTOR® organizations on the topics of industry technology, communications, and government affairs.

Michael DiMella, Charlesgate Realty Group

Michael is Managing Partner of Charlesgate Realty Group in Boston, MA. With a strong background in Economics and years of industry experience, DiMella’s ability to spot trends in the housing market and provide investment and development recommendations has made him a frequently cited expert in local and national news, such as The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal. He is a Principal of IGNITION Residential, an interdisciplinary multifamily development advisory and marketing firm, and Charlesgate Property Management, a full service apartment and condo association management firm. DiMella was recently awardedRealtor Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Realtors in America.

Heather Elias, Century 21 Redwood Realty

Heather is the influential blogger behind LoCoMusings.com, as well as a social media pro and brand‑building expert. An industry innovator and leader, she was Century 21 Redwood’s first Training and Technology Director and served two years as NAR’s Director of Social Business Practice. A sought after speaker, Elias has spoken at conferences nationally, including Inman Connect, NAR’s Annual Conference, BlogWorld, and RETSO. Elias is currently Vice President of Industry Engagement at CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty, spearheading the firm’s growth efforts.

Raj Qsar, The Boutique Real Estate Group

Raj is Owner & Founder of The Boutique Real Estate Group and their story goes like this. Beautiful design evokes emotion. Emotion stirs the soul and creates a connection between client, agent and the real estate experience. The Boutique has invested in bringing all aspects of the real estate experience in‑house, providing them with complete control of the design, marketing & technology of luxury real estate while giving them the look of a true marketing agency. This approach has earned Qsar awards worldwide, including Top 33 People Changing The Real Estate Industry, Most Innovative Real Estate Agent in 2014 by Inman, and Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders for 2013. The Boutique was selected as The 2014 Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage. Raj has taken the stage at some of the most prestigious real estate conferences across the country and continues to make his mark in the industry.

Gretchen Rosenberg, Kentwood Real Estate, Cherry Creek

Named Denver’s “Realtor of the Year” by the Denver Board of REALTORS in 2009 and “Broker Manager of the Year” in 2012, Gretchen has 20 years’ experience in residential real estate. She was among the founding agents and is now the Employing Broker at Kentwood Real Estate’s Cherry Creek office, which is now the most successful privately owned real estate firm in Denver and a NAR Top 100 brokerage in the U.S. Gretchen has served on the Denver Board of Realtors Grievance Committee, International Committee, Roundtable Committee and on the Board of Directors. Gretchen was also appointed by the 2015 NAR President as Liaison to India and is heavily involved in multiple philanthropic causes close to her heart.

Maui Estate Seeks Nearly $20 Million – A 16.6% Price Cut

via Mansion Global

The residence features ocean views and direct access to Oneloa Bay

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A beachfront estate on the Hawaiian island of Maui is taking a 16.6% price reduction, according to one of the listing agents, bringing the new price to just under $20 million.

The property was first listed for $28 million before it was taken off the market and relisted with new agents in October of 2014 for $26 million, according to Raj Qsar of The Boutique Real Estate Group, who is co-listing the property with Damien Zanolini of Coldwell Banker Island Properties. The price dropped to $23.9 million prior to the most recent cut.

“We’re now more in line with what’s on the market,” Qsar said. “There hasn’t been a sale on this side of Maui for more than $20 million in quite some time.”

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Situated within the Kapalua Resort, which is located in one of Hawaii’s largest nature preserves, the more than 7,400-square-foot plantation-revival home has direct access to Oneloa Bay. With four bedrooms and 5½ baths, the residence includes living and dining areas, as well as an office and a home theater. The backyard features a limestone lanai with a spa and an infinity-edge swimming pool that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

The property belongs to William and David O’Neil. The couple is selling the estate because they are spending more time at their homes in other parts of the world, Qsar said.

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The community is located within the Kapalua Resort, which features two marine sanctuaries, two golf courses and beaches, among other amenities. RUHM LUXURY MARKETING

View the $19.975 million listing here.

Why I went indy. A REAL estate story.

Sarah Trent Miranda // Realtor // The Boutique Real Estate Group

The beautiful brand and unique core values of The Boutique Real Estate Group have brought the romance back into real estate for me. The brand is not only captivating and effective, but it’s also crisp and classy; it stands out amongst the competition. Coupling this aesthetic with an exceptionally high level of service and an absolute commitment to excellence has allowed me to connect emotionally to all elements of the transaction. This connection is what has brought the passion back into the business. Taking the time to bond with my clients naturally sets the stage for a wonderful story. Everyone has a story to tell (see recent story from Zillow.com); it’s just about putting the extra time and energy into discovering the perfect way to portray it and push it out to the world. And at The Boutique the world does see it.

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The Boutique is unlike any other brokerage I have ever seen or been affiliated with. The entire process and concept is just different. From the moment a client or prospect comes in (web or walk-in), we speak human, not real estate. Once we digitally sign a listing agreement with a Seller or meet with a Buyer the first time, the next steps aren’t “in your face” aggressive, yet the process is still highly effective. It’s about having an emotional connection with the client and truly understanding their future goals, which allows us to better represent and negotiate on their behalf.

The incorporation of technology at The Boutique is truly world class and something brought in from outside the industry.  The digital tools I am now incorporating allow me to be more productive in a fraction of the time. I’m able to operate on a completely virtual platform and support a paperless transaction. I used to print out a copy of everything for the clients, which was overwhelming and extremely wasteful. Now everything is accessible to the clients and everyone else involved in the transaction via the web or mobile. With technology, prospecting effectively has taken on an entirely new meaning. Having a highly efficient Team CRM with the ability to set up immediate responses to incoming leads, set up workflows for current prospects, and then track progress is extremely straightforward and almost effortless.

The exceptionally high touch, luxury service offered by The Boutique is perfect for the Pasadena marketplace and consumers who love this great city. Pasadena has such a rich and diverse history that is exquisitely expressed through the gorgeous architecture found throughout the entire city. People who live here appreciate unique and that’s exactly what The Boutique offers, and then some! The competition is everywhere, mostly consisting of large offices that focus on quantity, not quality. When consumers in Pasadena and surrounding areas see what The Boutique has to offer – amazing photography, video and film production, 360 high definition walk throughs, in-house interior design and staging, in-house custom graphics and design, in-house social media, and dominating search engine marketing & optimization – they will see the way marketing should be done.

This passion for the creative process is portrayed in everything we do.  Just look at what Mashable said about one of recently shot in house videos, “PLAIN VIDEO HOUSE TOURS ARE ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT WHAT IF INSTEAD OF A DRY, ROOM-BY-ROOM TOUR AROUND A PROPERTY, YOU USED THE video to tell a story and sell a lifestyle? THE BOUTIQUE REAL ESTATE GROUP IS VERY GOOD AT THIS, PRODUCING A SERIES OF GLOSSY ADS FOR HOUSES THAT engage you WITH A SIMPLE PLOT DEVICE, MAKING THEM MUCH more interesting THAN THE AVERAGE TOUR. IN THIS EXAMPLE, SEEING THE KIDS RUN THROUGH THE BEAUTIFUL ROOMS AS THEY FIND A SUITABLE CUBBYHOLE FOR A GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK IS JUST A genius way TO SHOW THE HOME’S FAMILY-FRIENDLY, ATTRACTIVE LIVING SPACES.”

The emotional connection, advanced technology, luxury service, and creative offerings are all tied together with amazing support from the entire team at The Boutique. From the Founder//Owner, to the broker, to our concierge team, to the agents who are a part of the team, EVERYONE is constantly connected and here to support each other. The feeling of family and warmth here is exactly the type of work environment I want to be in. I really love knowing that my voice is heard and my concerns are addressed whether it’s a hurdle in a transaction or an opinion on a marketing piece. Real estate is a very personal business and it helps me be more successful having The Boutique in my corner of the ring.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Why This Family Did Both

via Zillow by Catherine Sherman

When you’ve found “the one,” letting go can be tough. But the Mohammads stayed close to home.

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It was their dream home: 4,300 square feet with sweeping views from Palos Verdes to Anaheim Hills. But in 2012, Steve and Yasminah Mohammad sold their Yorba Linda, CA house and bought another.

“Our tendency is to move somewhere every 5 to 7 years,” Steve said. After nearly 7 years at 4123 Dapple Gray Ln, they were ready to downsize.

“Financially, it didn’t make sense to have that big of a house at this time in our lives,” Yasminah said.

The couple used Zillow to see how much homes were going for in their neighborhood, and worked with Raj Qsar of The Boutique Real Estate Group to attract potential buyers.

“I liked his use of technology,” Steve said. “He came in and showed uMohammad-family-bda0d6-1024x768s what he does with everything on an iPad.”

Qsar made a video of the home and posted it on YouTube. He also staged the house using the Mohammads’ existing furniture, which ended up being a huge selling point.

“The buyers came in and they liked the way it was staged, so they purchased everything — including the furniture,” Steve explained.

The offer was too good to turn down. The Mohammads moved out with nothing but their clothes, pots and pans — and smiles on their faces.

“Selling all the furnishings was a clean slate,” Steve said. “My wife loves that. It was an opportunity to change her style.”

Like many, Yasminah’s tastes in home decor have changed over time. She doesn’t like homes that are too contemporary or too traditional, but rather prefers something in between.

“I take mental notes if I like something,” Yasminah said. “Putting it all together is a fun process.”

The couple ended up buying a house just one mile from their previous home.

“We wanted to stick around in Yorba Linda as much as possible,” Steve said. “That, for us, was huge.”

Even though they didn’t travel far, Yasminah has enjoyed making a new home.

“It’s [our] haven, where [we] come home and can put away [our] worries and just relax,” she said.

Inman Ambassadors Ready to Rock

40 industry professionals announced as Ambassadors for Inman Connect San Francisco 2015

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Inman, the leader in independent real estate and technology news, announced the 40 ambassadors selected for Inman Connect San Francisco, Aug. 4-7, 2015.

“This year, our theme at Connect is ‘Get Connected.’ We are bringing together our 40 Ambassadors to do what they do best: spark the connections to other industry leaders, opportunities, and technology,” said Brad Inman, publisher of Inman.

Inman Connect Ambassadors are real estate professionals chosen for their outstanding work in the industry, their dedication to the vision of Inman, and their work in raising the bar via education and events.

As an influencer within the industry, each Ambassador engages in outreach within their communities. They also showcase a passion for collaborating with Inman on the Connect experience.

“The Selection Committee chose Ambassadors that are committed to creating an engaging, fun, event experience for our attendees. I’m honored and excited to have each one of them on the Inman ‘team’ in San Francisco,” said Will Hansen, VP of events at Inman and staff director of the Ambassadors.

The 2015 Inman SF Ambassadors are:

Dusty Baker, @DustyJBaker

Realtor, The Epstein Properties, Keller Williams

Brooke Wolford, @brooke_wolford

Regional manager, Re/Max Results

Stephanie Lanier, @laniersteph

CEO/founder, The Lanier Property Group

Kelly Mirabella, @stellar247

Owner, CEO, Stellar Media Marketing

Chuck Garrett, @chuckgarrett

COO, List Sotheby’s International Realty

Nicole Mickle, @nicolemickle

Realtor, Olde Town Brokers

Sarah Trent Miranda, @mrstrentmiranda

Realtor, The Boutique Real Estate Group

Jennifer Snyder, @JenSMarketing

CEO/founder, Marketing Ideas for Agents

Sarita Dua, @AskSarita

Broker/MAPS coach, Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Tracy Freeman, @TracyFreemanNJ

Broker/sales associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Debbie Biery, @debbiebiery

Broker/owner, eXp Realty

Todd Miller, @LasVegasTodd

Broker/owner, Nevada Realty Solutions; CEO/founder, Homing In

Jimmy Wanninger, @JimmyMarin

Luxury property specialist, Pacific Union

Nick Solis, @realnicksolis

President and chief real estate junkie, One80 Realty

Linda Hobkirk, @lindahobkirk

Executive broker, Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette

Roberta Murphy, @RobertaMurphy

Broker/owner, San Diego Previews Real Estate

Hanvid Kim, @hanvid_kim

Agent, Best Realty and Investments Inc.

Steve Weiss, @StevenWeiss

Broker/owner, Coast & County Brokers

Bob Watson, @topbrokerOC

Founder, Social Media Mastermind Orange County #SMMOC

Ryan Bokros, @ryanbokros

Realtor, Legacy Texas Properties; director of industry engagement, IDXBroker

Becky Boomsma, @bboomsma

Licensed real estate associate and marketing director, Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International

Bret Calltharp, @REMAXJedi

Business development specialist, Re/Max Crest Realty (Metro Vancouver Properties Group)

Tiffany Kjellander, @Tkjellander

Owner, CEO, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Porchlight Properties

Hilda Ramirez, @hildaramirez1

Director of PR & education, communications, Santa Clara County Association of Realtors

Peter Brewer, @ThatPeterBrewer

CEO, ThatPeterBrewer.com

Tara Christianson, @TechwithTLC

Technology and training director, Century21 Redwood Realty

Jeremy Lehman, @JeremyLehman

Realtor/chief technology officer, The Boutique Real Estate Group

Elza Hayen, @Ehayen

Director of interactive marketing, ERA Wilder Realty

Laurie Weston Davis, @lauriewdavis

Broker, Scott Lincicome Properties

Sean Carpenter, @SeanCarp

Director of agent development, Ohio NRT Companies at Coldwell Banker

Sam DeBord, @SEATTLEHOMEoCOM

Managing broker, Coldwell Banker Danforth, Seattle

Joe Schutt, @JoeSchutt

Broker/owner, Unit Realty Group

Dane Briggs, @DaneBriggs

Director of sales technology & education, Lawyer’s Title

Valerie Garcia, @ValerieGarcia1

Director of training, North America, Re/Max Integra Ontario

Leighton Dees, @LeightonDees

CEO, chairman, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Generations

Nikki Beauchamp, @nikkibeauchamp

Real estate global adviser, Engel & Völkers NYC

Nate Ellis, @iN8LS

Director of training and education, Contra Costa Association of Realtors

Amy Curtis, @squarepegamy

Realtor, Coldwell Banker

Jacy Riedmann, @socialmediajacy

Vice president, Amoura Productions

Jason Rose, @jason_rose

Chief growth officer, Rental Express Property Management

Register here for Connect and view the complete event schedule here. You can also get the most up-to-date information about Inman Connect on the event’s Facebook page and Twitter page.

About Inman | Inman is the leading source of independent real estate news, information, advice, research, technology, opinion and commentary for industry professionals and consumers alike. Inman’s award-winning, unbiased and hard-hitting stories are known throughout the real estate industry. Agents and brokers globally trust Inman as their first source of accurate, innovative and timely daily real estate news. For more information, visit www.inman.com.

Summer Luxury: Fabulous Outdoor Fire Pits

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Summer nights: the perfect time to enjoy outdoor entertaining by the fire. Whether you’re roasting marshmallows with the kids, or lounging fireside with friends, an outdoor fire pit is an enjoyable addition to any backyard or patio.

These gorgeous properties for our Leverage partners offer expansive outdoor spaces and luxurious fire pits, perfect for summer entertaining:

A Villa Like No Other
Represented by The Boutique Real Estate Group

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The backyard of this private Southern California estate features a grand fireplace, custom built deck, and combination pool and spa.

Golf Course Views Surrounded by Trees
Represented by Madison & Company Properties, LTD.

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Entertain guests outdoors on the large covered patio of this beautifully designed Colorado home, showcasing a fireplace and outdoor kitchen.

Elegant Living Near Santa Rosa Foothills
Represented by Tradition Properties

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This warm and inviting La Quinta, CA home offers panoramic mountain vistas and a cozy fire pit to enjoy while watching the sunset.

442 Canterbury Hill St, Terrell Hills
Represented by NIX Realty Company

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With walls saturated by designer colors, this San Antonio retreat highlights an outdoor living space that rivals any resort.

The Best of the Best
Represented by Central Coast Realty Group

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Designed for entertaining, take advantage of the ample outdoor living space offered at this exquisite California residence.

Desert Mountain Splendor
Represented by Ventana Fine Properties

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Take in breathtaking desert sunset views while keeping warm by the outdoor fire pits at this spectacular Scottsdale contemporary.

Magnificent Historic Ross Estate
Represented by Vanguard Properties

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Nestled among the five buildings that make up this elegant masterpiece sits a natural fire pit, surrounded by redwoods and a meandering creek.

Contemporary Villa
Represented by Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage & Acquisitions

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Welcome to an oasis overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where crashing waves and a grand fire pit create the quintessential Malibu beach environment.

Gracious Living Near the Park
Represented by Evers & Co. Real Estate

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Enjoy a summer of barbequing and lounging outdoors at this lovely colonial, situated under a canopy of trees in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Which outdoor fire pit do you dream of having in your backyard this summer? Share your thoughts and leave your comments below.

6 Strategies to Kick Your Broker Marketing Into High Gear

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It’s an exciting time to be a real estate broker. Once a relative wasteland, the technology marketplace for real estate is growing rapidly, with more beautiful and powerful solutions appearing every day. In an industry as diverse as real estate, this is obviously a good thing — but it’s not without its downsides.

With so many new technologies to learn and options to choose from, building the right online presence for your real estate business can create chaos not just for brokers, but also for the agents they manage and the clients they serve. Consequently, many real estate professionals feel like they’re working for their digital marketing solutions. Here are six strategies to help you flip the script for your brokerage:

1. Take the lead

In the past, broker-provided software left much to be desired, with outdated features and clunky, complicated interfaces. However, today there are dozens of terrific, team-oriented solutions for everything from CRM to social media, and agents want more of it. Last year, 45 percent of Realtors said they wanted more technology from their brokers.

Unfortunately, many brokers are failing to fill this demand, partly because they lack the experience and the knowledge to make informed choices in a growing market.

“There’s a battle for attention online,” said Raj Qsar, owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California. “With so much noise, it’s difficult for the old-school leadership to find the right tools for their agents. So agents try to do it all themselves.” This fragmentation creates added challenges for brokers trying to coordinate their teams and market their brand consistently.

Instead, brokers need to take the lead in providing digital solutions for their teams, including websites, analytics, lead management, cloud storage and marketing automation. No matter your tech experience, this means you must be willing to take risks on software and strategies that might not turn out to be a fit for you and your business. You’ll learn what works by iterating on your technology, and, over time, you’ll build up a strong set of tools for your team.

2. Educate your agents

Tech adoption is higher than ever among real estate professionals — 91 percent of Realtors now use social media in their business — but that doesn’t mean agents have nothing to learn. To build an effective digital strategy, brokers need to provide their agents not only with the right software but also ample opportunities to get educated about it.

“Too many brokers don’t give their agents enough technology support,” said Scott Beaudry, broker-owner of Universal Realty in Las Vegas. “The average Realtor is 56. You just can’t give (technology) to somebody and expect them to learn how to use it.”

Furthermore, the education shouldn’t stop at a three-ring binder or even an online course — after all, no teacher has ever inspired students just by handing them a packet. To truly set agents up for success, brokers have to take a hands-on approach.

For instance, Beaudry does a one-on-one technology audit with every new agent on their first day. In addition, he also holds regular group workshops on Facebook, all while managing over 100 agents. By actively participating in your agents’ digital education, you’ll encourage accountability and show just how committed you are to their success.

Finally, it’s important to frame your agents’ education in terms of value. That is, it’s not just about learning the nuts and bolts of digital marketing tools — it’s about learning how those tools create value, both for agents and for the clients they serve.

3. Educate yourself

Your agents can’t do it all alone, but neither can you. That’s why you need to set aside time to educate yourself, particularly if you’re no longer “in the trenches.” Educating doesn’t mean taking one or two tech-oriented courses for your license upkeep.

“At the leadership level, you have to be absolutely entrenched in technology and continuously learn,” Beaudry said.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources out there to help brokers stay informed about digital marketing and tech for real estate. Start by following blogs such as Inman and Placester’s Real Estate Academy, as well as real estate podcasts such as The Water Cooler.

To stay on the cutting edge, you should also be attending conferences including Inman Connect and NAR’s Realtors Conference & Expo. Finally, build relationships with other brokers and agents who are using digital marketing effectively in their businesses. Share your knowledge and experience, and you’ll receive insight in return.

4. Use the right tool for the job

“You must incorporate the digital component because people have come to expect it,” said Nick Segal, president at Partners Trust in Los Angeles. “The question is how to do it artfully.”

Many brokers try to answer this question by maintaining a presence on all the popular tools and networks. But marketing successfully online isn’t about being everywhere at once: It’s about choosing the right tools for telling the right story to the right audience.

When considering a tool or channel to market your brokerage, don’t just choose the biggest or cheapest option. Instead, ask yourself how and whether it will help you promote your brand. For example, Partners Trust has invested in video marketing to not only enrich its listings, but also help agents connect with consumers. “All of our associates do short videos that warm the waters and help them build trust with people who have never met them,” said Partners Trust VP of Marketing Audie Chamberlain.

Nevertheless, what works for Partners Trust might not necessarily fit your brokerage or your audience. Before you dive into your digital investment, spend some time thinking about your positioning in the marketplace: who your customers are and why they choose you over your competitors. Then, use this information to find tools that will best communicate that value. “You’ve got to play to your strengths,” Segal said. “Video is a scalable component, just as Instagram is a scalable component. I think technology just scales a message.”

5. Collaborate and listen

Visionaries including Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have developed a cultlike following in business circles. But the truth is a certain group of people are central to the success of every great company — people who believe in and contribute to its overall mission. A great digital culture doesn’t flow in one direction — it’s a collaborative effort, one that requires input from the whole team.

“As an agent, you want training, you want experience, but you don’t want to be controlled,” said Sean Wiegert, Realtor at Circa Properties in St. Louis.

Instead of imposing digital tools and policies on your agents, offer them a seat at the table. Encourage questions, suggestions and experimentation. By getting buy-in from the start, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and trouble — but more than that, you’ll foster a culture of digital collaboration, with agents working together to achieve more and better results.

“Our company was founded on the spirit of collaboration,” Chamberlain said. “All of this technology just amplifies our opportunities to collaborate.”

6. Recruit wisely

We might be a culture that increasingly values instant gratification, but make no mistake: Digital marketing is a long-term strategy. To be successful, you need to assemble a team that will continue to push and improve that strategy in the years ahead. That means actively recruiting agents whose digital priorities and presence line up with your own.

To attract great talent, you first need to see yourself and your brokerage from your prospects’ point of view.

“Agents today should be looking for a brokerage that’s heavily invested in tech, online and creativity,” Qsar said. With that in mind, start by searching for your brokerage on Google — not just by name, but by the geographic areas you serve. What results come up? Do they paint a positive or negative online picture of your business? Is this a brokerage stuck in the traditional past, or is it a brokerage that values growth and innovation?

The flip side, of course, is that you should be looking for agents committed to embracing technology as much as you are. “I interviewed someone recently who basically had no online presence,” Qsar said. “That agent may do good business, but they’re just not the right fit for us and what we’re trying to do.”

Look for applicants who not only have a website and profiles on major social networks, but are actively promoting and using those tools to engage with consumers.

Finally, at the end of the day, brokers should recruit with integrity top of mind. “Younger people entering this business don’t have bad (technology) habits, but they’re impressionable,” Nick Segal said. “And when you consider the amounts of money we’re talking about, it’s very easy to be seduced by those dollar signs and do whatever it takes to achieve a result.”

As you build a team to carry out your digital strategy, don’t forget your ultimate goal: to give your clients an amazing experience, both online and in person.

Luxurious Outdoor Grilling Spaces Perfect for Summertime

Summer is quickly approaching, and we all know what that means… it’s grilling season! What better way to celebrate and soak up the sunshine than by hosting a fabulous outdoor soirée for your friends and family.

Fire up a feast and kick off summer in style, with these luxurious outdoor grilling spaces from some of our Leverage Global Partners:

Amazing Property & Avocado Grove
Represented by Central Coast Realty Group

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Situated on over 4.5 acres, this gorgeous property boasts ample room for entertaining and an avocado orchard in Arroyo Grande, CA.

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Represented by The Boutique Real Estate Group

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This is the perfect Southern California house to spend the weekend swimming in a resort-style pool and barbequing your favorite meal.

One Madison Condo
Represented by CORE

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This chic New York City home has a landscaped 2,413-square-foot wrap terrace, delivering unparalleled private space for entertaining.

Villa Esplendora
Represented by Timothy Real Estate Group

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Take in sunset and ocean views while grilling on the patio or swimming in your private infinity pool at this waterfront location.

Modern Home North of Montana
Represented by Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage & Acquisitions

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Designed with ecological conscience, the open floor plan of this entertainer’s dream home is perfect for indoor/outdoor living.

Prestigious Gated Alamo Highlands
Represented by J. Rockcliff Realtors

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This spectacular custom home offers a beautifully landscaped yard, multiple patio areas, and a gourmet outdoor kitchen for the whole family to enjoy.

Corner Single Family Townhouse
Represented by Sprogis & Neale Real Estate

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Tucked away in a historic 19th century Boston neighborhood, this newly renovated townhome features a back patio oasis with a built-in outdoor kitchen.

Gorgeous Equestrian Estate
Represented by Ascent Real Estate

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With wonderful design and detail, this San Diego equestrian estate offers a luxurious backyard featuring a pool and outdoor kitchen area.

Which outdoor grilling space do you dream of having outside your home? Share your thoughts and leave your comments below.

Cadillac + The Lime Truck + The Boutique Real Estate Group

The Boutique Real Estate Group + Cadillac + The Lime Food Truck // Thursday May 7th from 12-2pm.

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The Boutique Real Estate Group is excited to welcome Southern California Cadillac and The Lime Truck to our headquarters in Corona del Mar.  Stop by for a test drive, good food and amazing people.

Thursday, May 7th from 12 pm to 2 pm.
3653 E. Coast Hwy. Corona del Mar, CA 92625

http://THEBOUTIQUERE.com