Oh say can you see…all the fireworks of OC! Independence Day, the day we look forward to all summer long is finally upon us. The day for BBQ’s, friends + family, parades and those mesmerizing lights that fill the night sky, also known as fireworks! While pretty much every major city in Orange County has some sort of firework display, (not including your neighbor’s snap-crackle-pop array going on outside throughout the evening), I’m here to break down my top 5 picks for this year’s professional pyrotechnic shows throughout Orange County!
Costa Mesa: BYOP (bring your own picnic), chairs and blankets to enjoy a pyrotechnic show at the OC Fair and Event center, located right off the 55 freeway at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa. The fireworks start at 9 PM, but get there early and enjoy live music, activities, food and vendors starting at 4PM. Free parking until 5PM — after 5, parking is $8. For more information visit costamesaca.gov
Dana Point: Beach views + Fireworks. Could you ask for anything more? Grab your lawn chairs and head to the beach for a firework show with synchronized music. Not kidding…tune into 88.5 FM at 9PM and heighten your senses with this incredible show over Doheny State Beach. A free shuttle will run from 8AM-11PM, picking up and dropping off at Dana Hills High School and Dana Point Harbor. If you decide to make it an all day event, make sure to pack your sunscreen!
Fullerton: Since 1990, Fullerton has hosted it’s annual ‘Annual 4th of July Fireworks Festival’ at Fullerton Union High School. While the show is usually hosted at the stadiums football field, this year the event will take place on the softball field. From 5-9:30, enjoy live music, food, drinks, and games. Best to get there early though; the event usually brings in around 7,000 people!
Lake Forest: If you plan on being in Lake Forest this Independence Day, make sure to get a good night’s sleep before, because this city hosts events throughout the entire day. The community will host it’s 26th annual 4th of July Parade, with this years theme “Let Freedom Ring,” from 10AM to noon. The parade will run along Serrano Road, Lake Forest Drive, Toledo Way and Ridge Route Drive.
The Lake Forest ll Homeowner’s Association also has an event beginning at 10AM at the Sun and Sail Club, featuring live music, food, beverages, and basketball and volleyball tournaments. The fireworks show starts at 9PM. Wristbands are on sale for $12 before July 4, and $15 on the day of the event. More information at http://lf2recreation.org/
Tustin: Visit Tustin High School Football field, located at 1171 El Camino Real for free entertainment starting at 6PM. You can pack your own snacks and drinks, or purchase from the school’s booster club. Also, Operation Warm Wishes – a non profit organization dedicated to helping and serving the homeless, troubled youths, struggling families, Veterans and senior citizens in need throughout Orange County, CA and the world will be on site, so be sure to donate some non perishable food items!
Wherever you choose to spend your holiday, we hope that you have a perfect day celebrating and honoring the freedoms that we have here in the beautiful USA! Enjoy your time with the people who mean most to you — Have fun! Eat that extra helping of potato salad! And most importantly, be safe.
From us here at The Boutique to you, Happy Independence Day!
They are the visionaries, the forward-thinking, the stubborn, the obsessed, the tech-savvy, the creative minds always pushing boundaries. They are entrepreneurs pushing the old ways aside, data scientists discovering new ways to examine behavior, marketers inventing new ways to showcase properties, agents developing new ways to reach clients, companies building new technologies, brokerages creating whole new ways of doing business. They are the Inman Innovator Finalists, and they’re leading us into the future of real estate.
He’s an entrepreneur who made himself into a media brand. She’s an agent who landed a $20 million listing after just a year in the business. It’s a company that developed an augmented-reality tool to show prospective buyers what an interior-decorated home might look like — during a showing, on their phones. They’re all finalists.
“We are honored to celebrate so much creativity and invention,” said Inman publisher Brad Inman. “Never in the history of the Innovator Awards has there been so much innovation and, therefore, never has our list of finalists been so large — these are exciting times.”
This is our 4th nomination for an Inman Innovator Award and we are truly thrilled, said, “Raj Qsar,” Founder & Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group. What we are doing is truly impacting real estate on a global scale and helping our agents and clients succeed.
Who will win? The 2017 Inman Innovators will be revealed at Inman Connect in San Francisco the week of August 7-11, 2017, followed by the not-to-be-missed party that’ll wrap up Inman Connect San Francisco and celebrate the Inman Innovators.
June 6th, 2017 – Raj Qsar, owner/principal of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California shares his unique journey into the real estate profession. Unique is an appropriate term, as no other guest has traveled the path Raj details. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so tune into Episode 97 of The Real Estate Sessions and enjoy.
So, how can agents replicate the success that Qsar gained from an “undesirable” listing? He says it’s all about hustling and “doing it right.” Here are some of his tips on how to get your hustle on:
Be prepared and willing to hustle 24/7
Qsar said one of the first questions he asks potential hires is “What is your hustle like?” He looks for agents who have the natural drive to build face-to-face connections rather than those who prefer to stay cooped up in an office all day.
These type of agents are harder to find, Qsar said, because many professionals in the business think that becoming a top producer is an overnight process.
“Most people think they can show up, do some social media posts and all of a sudden they’re going to be a top agent in their area,” he says. “It’s not like that. You have to meet people where they are.”
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye, we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming.” – Raj Qsar
Qsar says agents must realize that real estate is a total hustle. “You wake up hustling, during the day you’re hustling and you go to bed hustling, and then you dream about hustling,” he says.
So, what is the hustle? Qsar says it comes down to never saying “no,” executing each listing the right way and always putting your best foot forward.
“Even on million-dollar listings, if agents can take a reduced commission or they feel like it’s overpriced or whatever, they’re not going to put their best foot forward,” he said. “That’s just too bad that they’re not thinking downstream. ‘Cause the world is able to see anything that we drop on the Internet, and who knows what opportunity that will bring. It’s all downstream.”
Always do it right
Qsar says he knew he wasn’t going to make any money from the initial lease listing, but he decided to take the opportunity anyway.
He invested in professional photos and brochures, staging, a single-property website and even ordered custom signs that were up to the neighborhood’s code.
In addition to stellar marketing strategies, Qsar provided five-star customer service through appointment-only showings.
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye; we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming,” he says with a laugh. “We’re driving, taking time out of our day to make sure we can open the door for someone we don’t even know. That’s doing it right.”
Qsar says he treated the leased property like a million-dollar listing to “give the client the best chance of success.” Plus, he knew that his current efforts would lead to future rewards.
“What we preach at our brokerage is that it’s all about downstream. You’re not taking a listing for this listing, you’re taking it for the next listing,” he says. “You’re taking a listing for the digital content you’re going to produce, and you’re taking it for the online leads you’re going to generate from that one listing.”
Furthermore, Qsar says most agents are transactionally trained, which means they are trained for “this one and only transaction.” Basically, agents are playing a game of checkers when they should be playing chess, which puts them behind in the long run.
“[Agents are] not trained digitally, they’re not trained for content, they’re not trained to meet real people in real life,” he says.
Focus on making personal connections
Out of all the aspects of being a successful real estate agent, it’s clear that Qsar treasures his ability to make personal connections the most.
“Something that everyone seems to forget is that you’re going to meet real, live human beings from this listing,” he says. “That’s an opportunity for you to connect with people in real life, and when you connect with people in real life your chance of success is much greater.”
Qsar says that personal connections not only make it easier on the agent but also the client, which is what the work of real estate is all about.
The inspiration for this new position came from Raj Qsar’s father-in-law, a savvy business owner
The Boutique Real Estate Group has added a “Goodwill Ambassador” to its team.
Ambassador’s “sole purpose is to spread goodwill to everyone he meets.”
The Boutique Real Estate Group has added another person to its team, and it’s not another agent, marketing guru or office management whiz — instead, owner Raj Qsar opted to hire a “Goodwill Ambassador,” a person whose only job is to spread positivity wherever he goes.
The inspiration for this new position came from Qsar’s father-in-law, who has owned a commercial cleaning company for more than 35 years.
“The idea came from him and his good friend,” Qsar said. “They are in the soap business where they sell soap to restaurants.”
“His friend would always eat at restaurants and comment on how beautiful the silverware and stemware looked,” he added. “So after some time, he designated him as his goodwill ambassador.”
When thinking of the perfect person to take on this role, Qsar says he immediately thought of Chuck Underwood, a close family friend who recently listed his home through The Boutique.
“We recently sold his home in Orange County and found him a gorgeous new home,” he says. “Throughout the process, he fell in love with The Boutique and was so impressed by how we operated our brokerage and the way we marketed his home.”
Beyond his newfound passion for the brokerage, Qsar says Underwood’s experience as a business owner along with his wide network of friends, associates and colleagues make him the perfect person to extend The Boutique’s reach beyond the immediate community.
“I can’t think of a more qualified person for the job,” wrote one commenter. “Congrats, Chuck!”
Underwood will take on a number of projects, the first of which is attending a build day with Giveback Homes on June 3, and taking on the hosting duties for the brokerage’s new office opening in Brea, California, and all of the festivities surrounding that event.
Underwood says he was “a bit intimidated” when Qsar came to him with the idea, but he knew he had the chops to take on ambassador duties.
“The Boutique is such a powerhouse brand in the Orange County real estate market, but I knew that with my outgoing personality, dedication, drive and true enthusiasm I could get the job done for The Boutique,” he says.
“It means I have a weight on my shoulders and am determined to spread goodwill to everyone I meet every single day,” Underwood added.
Although Underwood is barely a week into this new position, Qsar says they’re planning to expand the program to include additional ambassadors.
“Yes, of course,” he says excitedly of adding more ambassadors. “We already have a waiting list of three prime individuals who have applied for the position.”
For more information the the Goodwill Ambassador program or to learn more about The Boutique please visit www.JoinTheBoutique.com
But with a bombardment of banners, popups and ad word choices filling the margins of their screen, how are real estate agents going to grab potential clients from cyberspace and bring them offline, where the lead becomes your client?
Is your head still lingering in the circa 2006 cyberspace, where you register a domain and start a website with a landing page that forces people to register?
An obituary for this bygone process might read like this: beloved agent bought a lead capture website from one of the hundreds of real estate website providers, ran some Google AdWords or general Facebook ads that linked back to a landing page and watched the leads roll in.
Some very successful agents still swear by the simplicity of this method and utilize a widely cast net of web presence. Expert agents build sites with offers to buyers and sellers and then run their offer everywhere — Craigslist, Instagram, Facebook, blogs and search engines.
But again, the system is getting increasingly chaotic, so simply spinning a web on the internet and waiting for a client to fly into it is not enough.
Like sand through the hourglass
Funneling leads has gotten more sophisticated as attention has become an increasingly precious commodity.
Agents are establishing what are called marketing funnels. Think of sand through the hourglass (unless you are having a midlife crisis, then think of something else) — there is a lot of sand in the top of the hourglass, but only a few grains trickle down at a time.
For a moment, single grains are falling, unique and isolated, before they land and get lost in the sandy shuffle. So it is with the faceless, nameless and impersonal masses of potential clientele on the web.
Funneling, then, sounds a bit too automated. It is not so simple, and it requires the lead nurturing of agents and inside sales agents (ISAs) through phone calls, voicemails, text messages and emails.
You have only moments with your prospect — while that sand is falling from the mass of grains — to educate and nurture the prospect enough times to get them to choose to do business with you.
Your marketing funnel can have singular sources or many. There are the sources online that we discussed above.
Classic ads and print mail can also drive your leads to landing pages where, hopefully, the lead registers, and, generally, they get an automated response from the agent’s CRM.
This then sends the agent an alert, and the CRM continues to follow up with the lead until they respond.
An effective hyperlocal approach
But, in a recent post to the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents, Raj Qsar outlined a more complex (but comprehensive) view of the modern marketing funnel — the necessary paradox of appearing hyperlocal, but also everywhere.
Note the current web of interconnectivity necessary today to get in front of a prospect and stay there until they are a client.
This is where the digital lead machine comes to fruition. Qsar’s example is specific to Zillow’s platform:
Lead registers via your online portal.
Agents are notified via text or email (contact receives a notification as well — a phone call from a live assistant in under five minutes).
They are transferred to an ISA.
Prospect is uploaded (generally this is automated) to the agent’s CRM.
CRM drips lead content such as stats, blog posts, events, etc.
Prospect is uploaded to listing alert software.
Zillow adds contact into drip campaign with 19 touches in 30 days.
Ideally, you also have a retargeting digital ad campaign in the same ZIP code or city where this lead is looking, so you are “following them around the web” with your digital advertisement (various ads) creating brand and agent recognition.
Print mailing campaigns in the same ZIP code or city as the initial lead.
The print mailing has a lead capture landing page and retargeting pixel so you can follow them around the web.
Handwritten letters are sent to any leads interacting with your marketing, and emails, generated from sign-ups or subscriptions, are dispatched weekly or monthly depending on volume.
The more data received from these leads, the more you can hone and focus social media marketing campaigns, like city or ZIP targeted Facebook ads, Facebook groups and broader Google Ads to cast a wider range of coverage.
At this point, it is time to get local — get seen! Take the hyperlocal campaign from the web, where your ZIP code specific prospects are seeing your presence, to the streets — to “real life” through local appearances and events.
We asked in the opening paragraph: how do you pluck a prospect from the web?
Well, sometimes you need to make your presence known on the web through focused marketing efforts, and then move yourself from cyberspace into the real world.
This is where the moment of realization occurs for your prospects: “Hey, I’ve seen those ads, those emails, mailers, listings, etc. Let’s talk.”
If the commodity is a moment of attention — the moment the sand is falling from the hourglass — then focusing your digital lead machine with the above-mentioned tweaks could make all the difference.
Dale Archdekin is the founder of Smart Inside Sales and the current director of lead generation for Global Living Companies at Keller Williams in Philadelphia. Follow him on Facebook or checkout his Facebook group.
Carlito Jocson, the top chef for Yard House restaurants, is selling his modern, five-bedroom Yorba Linda house on one of Orange County’s highest peaks for $10 million.
Set on 3.1 acres, the estate includes a full-size outdoor kitchen with a bar and wood-fired pizza oven. Two glass-tiled fire pits flank a zero-edge swimming pool.
In addition to an expansive parking area for guests, there’s space to add a helipad, says listing agent Raj Qsar of The Boutique Real Estate Group.
Built in 2011, the 8,320-square-foot home designed by David Streshinsky of DKY Architects boasts double-height ceilings, a restaurant-caliber kitchen, 1,200-bottle wine room and home theater. The house also has a solar-power system.
Grounds include drought-friendly landscaping and a meditation garden with more than a dozen olive trees. A basketball court and disappearing entertainment system are among the outdoor amenities, and the Pacific Ocean can be viewed in the distance.
The house is by far the highest priced Yorba Linda home offered on the Multiple Listing Service right now. The next most expensive one is a seven-bedroom, 9,411-square-foot residence built in 1995, with a $5.18 million price tag.
Jocson is a Yard House vice president and its corporate executive chef. He’s also an original partner. He said his favorite room is – of course – the kitchen, relishing the layout and plating his creations on the large island
“I wanted to build the kitchen with a sense of community,” he said. “It’s the (home’s) heart. From a chef’s standpoint, I love to feed people … I want them to watch me.”
When a chef friend created a seven-course meal at the house, Jocson added, “He didn’t skip a beat. It felt like (cooking in) a restaurant.”
He also savors how the master suite’s sliding glass doors open to the zero-edge pool. “I wanted to wake up in the morning and jump in the pool straight from the bed,” he said.
With four grown children out of the house, Jocson said it’s time to downsize.
Jocson and his wife Elizabeth for the past decade have been feeding homeless and needy Orange County residents through The Storehouse ministry of North Orange Christian Church, where they are members.
Yard House restaurants are known for their contemporary atmosphere, rock music, eclectic food and more than 100 beers on tap. The chain, with 13 states, was sold to Darden Restaurants by private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners in 2012 for $585 million in an all-cash deal.
What could be so special about a house that isn’t on the beach and doesn’t have a prominent ZIP code? Plenty, you’ll realize, just as soon as you find out who built it. Carlito Jocson is the corporate executive chef and vice president of Yard House restaurants, a popular chain with locations throughout the U.S. and endless taps of beer.
If you’ve ever been to one, you know the chain is tremendously successful, so the veep would likely spare no expense in creating a dream house anywhere he wants. And that’s exactly what happened.
Jocson hired David Streshinsky of DKY Architects to design a modern dwelling with Hawaiian influences, mixing the elements of steel, clay, fire, and water. In fact, as some of the best California homes do.
The house comes with a feng shui appraisal from feng shui expert Jessie Kim, which states, “The Pinnacle House is a great example of incorporation of Feng Shui elements.The strongest Feng Shui elements of this home — water, fire and wood — will provide its occupants with Power, Fame and Great Reputation. … When balance is achieved with these elements, a feeling of harmony and uplifting energy will be felt by anyone walking through the home.”
For all the good karma built into the house, size still matters. The airy home has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 8,320 square feet of space. It is strategically situated on a 3.1-acre lot on one of the highest peaks in Orange County. “There’s ample room for a helipad,” remarks Raj Qsar, who is the estate’s listing agent along with his partner Christina Boladian.
But you actually don’t need a helicopter to get around, because the property is quite conveniently located. Set in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Yorba Linda (not to be confused with the Hidden Hills area of Calabasas, which is cluttered with Kardashians and pop stars), the Pinnacle House is only 10 minutes from Angel Stadium, Disneyland, and the Honda Center. It’s about 40 minutes from Los Angeles and 25 minutes from the beach.
Of course the executive chef of a prominent restaurant chain is going to build extraordinary cooking and dining facilities in his home, and this one has several: a huge indoor show kitchen with professional-grade appliances, an adjacent 1,200-bottle wine room, a full-service outdoor kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven and a wok range, and a 12-person dining room with spectacular sunset views of the hills.
Adding to the feng shui philosophy of the home, the water features like the zero-edge, floor-level pool and the waterfall in the entryway flow from the outdoors in.
“We were able to install these beautiful sliding doors that open right up and disappear, and allow the bedroom to be indoor-outdoor. The thought process was, I wanted to wake up in the morning and jump in [the] pool straight from the bed,” Jocson says with a laugh.
“This home is very serene and has the feeling like you’re getting away,” he continues. “You can think better, you can think clearer, it’s just a wonderful place.”
Qsar believes that a buyer who values that type of lifestyle will find the property priceless, and that $10 million is a steal.
The Boutique Real Estate Group is a boutique real estate brokerage founded in Orange County, CA, that focuses on brilliant design, beautiful marketing & luxury services. The Boutique has created a culture that spurs collaboration, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach. We stopped by their new listing The Pinnacle House to ask them a few questions…
Who is the patient one?
Raj: Me, for sure that’s me I’m the patient one.
Who spends more time on their phone?
Raj: Me, but for work!
Christina: Not true! He’s on social media 24 hours a day! He snaps everything.
Focus on agent advice and easy-to-implement business building tactics
Inman and Lab Coat Agent founders Nick Baldwin and Tristan Ahumada have announced a new collaboration with Inman for Connect San Francisco. The Learning Lab at Connect is a two-hour hands on session featuring advice and insights popular on the Lab Coat Agents Facebook group.
Designed specifically for agents who are looking for practical, business building skills, the learning lab will be on Tuesday, August 2nd at Inman Connect San Francisco. Tuesday at Connect is free for Select members and included with a Connect registration. Non-Select members can purchase a Tuesday-only pass for $29. Register for Connect here or Tuesday only here.
Baldwin and Ahumada will host the lab and will cover tech and marketing topics including: video marketing, leveraging client reviews, branding and luxury listing marketing and, of course, using Facebook to build your business. Confirmed speakers include Steve Pacinelli, Laura Monroe, Raj Qsar, Sergio Gonzalez, Amanda Todd, Terry Waggoner, Jason Walters, and Travis Thom.
“Inman and Lab Coat Agents share the same vision: bringing together the best in the business to collaborate, network and share the latest, successful strategies,” said Brad Inman, publisher.
“Lab Coat Agents is thrilled to bring our hands on approach to discovering what works for today’s agent to Connect San Francisco. It’s the perfect platform to share and learn with the best of the best,” said Nick Baldwin, Lab Coat Agents.