December 11, 2019
Everyone in Hollywood wants to be famous – even the houses. The Boutique Real Estate Group founder Raj Qsar is merging entertainment and real estate to give each home’s story some screen time.
December 11, 2019
Everyone in Hollywood wants to be famous – even the houses. The Boutique Real Estate Group founder Raj Qsar is merging entertainment and real estate to give each home’s story some screen time.
As I walked into the lobby of the Cheddar Los Angeles TV building in #hollywood this morning I was hit with a huge neon sign that read, “do what you love.” 💡 My mind travels 100 MPH in a 55 MPH world so it is difficult to pause, reflect and take it all in and realize that I am doing what I love. So I made the most of my 6 minutes on the air today with co-hosts Max Godnick and Alyssa Julya Smith on CheddarTV 📺 chatting about my journey in real estate, video marketing, and social media. When we were done I just wanted more. I was like, “it’s over? Ask me more?” So what’s next? Video clip coming soon… 😉
By Debra Kamin // Nov. 12, 2019, 1:53 a.m. ET
Raj Qsar is eyeing the sky nervously. It’s early afternoon in Corona Del Mar, Calif., and his six-man camera crew is on the clock only until sunset. But clouds are rolling in fast over this wealthy Southern California neighborhood, and the next scene on today’s docket — a glamorous drive down the Pacific Coast Highway followed by a beachfront double date — is now feeling tricky.
On other film sets, the producer and director might huddle and order a break, or call it a wrap until tomorrow. But Mr. Qsar isn’t a director — he’s a real estate agent. And the star of his film is not a good-looking young actor (although there are four of those on set), but rather, a $1.7 million Orange County home. This short and sudsy film, he hopes, in which two young couples drink wine, play board games and wander through sleek, neat rooms, will do the trick to attract a buyer.
“Telling stories and creating connections with people takes more than just photos,” said Mr. Qsar, who heads a luxury brokerage called The Boutique Real Estate Group. “For us now, it’s all about the power of video.”
Video marketing is not new territory for home sales — wide-angle walk-throughs of staged living rooms and sweeping drone footage of leafy neighborhoods have become common tools in real estate agents’ kits. But cinematic mini-films, complete with paid actors, lighting crews and full-fledged story boards, are something new.
Mr. Qsar began dabbling in cinematic videos in 2008, just two years after leaving his job as a pharmaceutical sales representative to jump into the Orange County housing boom. He came across a wedding videographer who was producing emotionally charged, story-driven films for brides and grooms, and, he says, a light bulb went on.
“I had an idea about telling the story the same way, but as the story of a house,” he said. “One of the things I always tell my clients when they walk through is, ‘Can you see yourself having Christmas dinner here or birthdays and bar mitzvahs here?’ I wanted to really pull out the emotional aspect.”
After putting the wedding videographer on his payroll and investing $20,000 of his own money in video equipment, he made a handful of short film promotions for homes in the $1 million to $2 million range in Orange County, including a four-bedroom Mediterranean-style estate in Villa Park.
In that video, images of a young blond wife sitting at a piano and singing Frank Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” are spliced with images of a Porsche-driving husband arriving home from work. As he showers upstairs, the wife ushers in a flock of eager friends and children with balloons and sets up a surprise party by the pool. The song reaches its crescendo, the husband descends the stairs, and there’s his family, there’s a cake, and there’s a sweet, picture-perfect backyard celebration.
When that home sold, for $1.7 million, it set a record as the most expensive home sale ever in Villa Park.
“Once real estate agents started doing high-end video productions, putting in models and actors was a no-brainer,” said Jimm Fox, president of OMM Video Marketing, a Canadian agency that tracks trends in cinematic storytelling. “You’re not just selling an address, you’re selling a lifestyle. And to do that, you need humans.”
Production budgets for these films can range from $3,500 to $70,000. Often the real estate agent is picking up the tab, but in some cases, agents discuss their plans with sellers and agree to split the bill or have the costs added to their fees.
Mr. Fox said the trend for Hollywood-style videos kicked off around 2007 and was a natural progression from the lush but empty footage of staged homes that preceded it.
“Real estate at the high end is always an aspirational sell,” he said. “You want to showcase a lifestyle. So you start shooting homes, and then you add models to make it more vibrant, and very soon you want to turn it into a story.”
The Australian production studio PlatinumHD claims to have been the first to produce these Hollywood-style real estate films. In 2011, the studio helped the trend spread internationally by producing a video for the Queensland-based property management firm Neo Property.
In it, a young woman clad only in a lacy bra and panties and bound to a chair inside a hyper-modern luxury home, makes an emergency call for help and is asked to describe where she is. As she describes the home’s chef’s kitchen and waterfront views, its in-house movie theater and its private elevator, a SWAT team descends to rescue her, led by none other than Neo Property’s real estate agents themselves.
The film, of course, is as much about the appeal of the model as the home. But by using sex, helicopters and shots of a gleaming red Corvette to sell the property, Neo made it quite clear: In this sort of marketing, peddling a fantasy can help close a deal.
Ben Bacal began adding actors to his listing videos in 2014. The Los Angeles-based agent, a former film student who also dabbles in internet companies and has more than $2 billion in sales to his name, is a fixture on the high-priced home circuit in Hollywood. He offers his clients a professionally produced video for every home he agrees to represent, and he estimates that in 40 percent of those cases, he includes actors and a story line.
Some are sweet: A home in Bel Air, which he listed in March 2016 for $48.5 million, shows a brother and sister channeling their best Ferris Bueller impressions, faking sickness in their custom bedrooms before dashing out to their backyard infinity pool with skyline views after their parents head off to work. (The home sold for $39 million in December 2016.)
Others are more slapstick, like the film for a home on Rising Glen Road in Los Angeles (the house where the actress Brittany Murphy died), in which an adorable corgi named Sherlock Bones inherits the mansion listed for $18.5 million and heads there to live his best canine life. (That home sold in 2017 for $14.5 million.)
In all of Mr. Bacal’s videos, plots are thin but visuals, and humor, are laid on thick. That’s intentional, he says.
“Instead of telling a long dramatic story, I like to pull characters through the house and do something that makes it voyeuristic, where you can see the property. Focusing too much on story takes away from the home,” he said in a phone call from Mykonos, Greece, where he was on vacation. “I’m not Quentin Tarantino.”
His greatest triumph to date is a home on Hillcrest Road in Beverly Hills. Markus Persson, the Swedish video game programmer behind Minecraft, saw the short film that Mr. Bacal produced for the eight-bedroom, 15-bath home, showing two young women arriving in a Rolls-Royce and enjoying the home’s features, which include a candy room and a 24-seat theater. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were also reportedly interested in the property, which was priced at $85 million. Just seven days after seeing the film, Mr. Persson purchased it for $70 million.
Mr. Bacal credits his success to his ability to not just create compelling footage, but also to distribute it effectively.
He pours cash into boosting the films on YouTube, advertising them across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and promoting them in the right markets. In Mr. Persson’s case, Mr. Bacal had made the decision to promote the mansion not just in the United States but also in Sweden, a decision that paid off.
“It’s not just about creating a 90-second video. It’s also about knowing how to use video to effectively market that property. And that’s going to mean breaking it up into smaller components and using social media platforms to promote it,” said Mr. Fox, the Canadian marketing executive.
It makes sense that Hollywood-style promotional real estate is hitting a peak in Southern California, said Jonathan Miller, a New York City-based real estate appraiser and consultant. That’s because the high-end market from Los Angeles to San Diego is flush with inventory, creating longer marketing time, reduced foot traffic at open houses and greater competition between agents.
“In a market where there’s escalating supply but still anchored to another time, the sellers are trying to market much more creatively,” Mr. Miller said. In his mind, the sleeker and more expert-looking the video, the more likely it is that the seller is trying to justify a high price tag.
“When I see these videos, or something like a camel at an open house, that’s a clear sign of something that’s overpriced,” he said.
Mr. Qsar, the Orange County real estate agent, produces a video for every home that he represents, spending from $2,500 to the low six figures to produce them. He pays out of his own pocket. While he has had eight-figure listings, most of his sales are in the $1 million to $2 million range.
“Fifteen years ago, I never thought I’d be shooting films,” said Mr. Qsar. “I had a day job and just wanted to sell a couple houses and see what happened. But then I sold 10 and then 15 and 20, and then social media hit, and I thought, ‘O.K., how can I be different?’”
In the hypercompetitive world of Southern California real estate, he said, it’s worth it because his videos give him a definitive edge.
“Our listings are recognizable before they even hit the market, because people see them on social media,” he said. “So now, every time I get together with my team on a house, the first question we ask is, ‘What is the story going to be on this house?’”A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 16, 2019 in The New York Times International Edition. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
The amazingly talented agents, teams, and brokerages on this list have…
That’s why we chose them as having the best real estate slogans and taglines for 2018.
Another Los Angeles startup, Raj Qsar’s the Boutique has competitors that might make lesser brokers run for the hills. (Just not the Beverly Hills).
In order to help his brokerage stand out, Raj focused on branding that is friendly, and accessible, but still ticks all the boxes that well heeled homeowner’s and buyers need from their agents.
Their slogan manages to convey their dedication to service, but also highlights their focus on relationships rather than deals. An attractive proposition for people who may be less than excited to work with your typical stuffy luxury brokerage.
Let’s face it. Local knowledge is important to be successful in any region of the country, but in places like New York’s Hamptons, it’s absolutely crucial.
That’s why with 65 years of combined East End real estate experience, Town and Country Real Estate Hamptons highlighted their local roots in their tagline. It just works.
On other hand, as deep as the upper crust roots of the Hamptons go, it’s still ostensibly a relaxed beach town. Albeit one with a Gucci store… That means a softer edge than the hard charging Manhattan real estate cliche makes perfect sense here.
That’s why I love T&C’s other tagline: ‘The Hamptons Are Our Boardroom”. It manages to bring together business acumen and the laid back vibe a beach town offers vacationers.
Along with their new (and amazing) rebranding, Halstead has some creative and effective real estate slogans. From the ‘Our Agent of Change Will Move You” tagline in our featured image to ‘Move What Moves You” it’s abundantly clear that Halstead too the time, energy, and money to build a brand that will last as long as Halstead has.
With their new branding, Halstead is walking the same fine line between timeless luxury and up-to-the-second instagram worthy cool that characterizes so many great brands today.
Having risen from a humble background to become the number one sales team in Los Angeles, and number two team in California, Halton Pardee founder Tami Pardee knows a thing or two about changing lives.
That’s why I love that they’re using this tagline for their branding efforts online. What better way to help change someone’s life then counsel them on getting a great new place to live?
Founded by Y Combinator Alum Brett Hagler, New Story builds homes for those in need around the globe. Amazingly, New Story promises that every penny of your donation will be used to build homes.
With support from Docusign, Sotheby’s International, and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, New Story has enough real estate bonafides to go along with their slogan to make this list.
Since you all witness the joy that a new home brings you clients, imagine how much joy a new home might bring to someone without adequate shelter…
Sadly when it comes to real estate the bar for customer service quality is set very low. In many cities, the number of mediocre or even dishonest agents and brokerages sometimes outnumbers the good ones.
“Expect Better” speaks to that issue, and even adds an aspirational element for people who had just okay experiences with other brokerages. What if your real estate experience could have been ever better?
In the world of New York City real estate, Dolly lenz stands alone. Sure, there are a ton of “million dollar” brokers strutting down Park Avenue staring at their iphones, but Dolly Lenz has been doing it longer and better than all of them.
As you might imagine, here real estate slogan is about as good as they get. She manages to convey both her team’s dedication to clients, as well as their passion for closing. No easy feat, especially in 4 short words.
When your market is multi billion home builders like Toll Brothers, your taglines need to spell out what benefits you’re providing them. In Ben’s case, he boiled it down to what every single corporate bigwig wants more than anything else: simplicity.
Massive companies are almost always bogged down by complexity, so coming right out and offering them an incredibly valuable service, that’s easy is an offer almost too good to resist.
This might be part of the reason Ben Cabellero was recently named the Realtor to be added to the Guinness book of world records for most homes sold in one year; and astonishing 3,556 homes closed last year!
Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group honored for his commitment to safe housing for all
Manhattan Beach, C.A., April 24, 2018 — The housing crisis is a growing issue, not just for the United States but for the world. Giveback Homes, real estate’s social good movement, today names Raj Qsar, Principal and Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California, as a 2018 Advocate for Social Good. This distinction is given to prominent individuals within the real estate community who have demonstrated their commitment to giving back and pursuing the goal of safe and secure housing for all, and are eager to do more.
“We started Giveback Homes because we saw the opportunity to bring a focus on social good to real estate,” said Blake Andrews, founder of Giveback Homes. “Through the years, we’ve found a tribe of real estate professionals who are going above and beyond in their communities and the world and the Giveback Homes Advocate program will aim to mobilize them even more. They will also help shape the future of Giveback Homes.”
The Advocate program is a select group of Giveback Homes members who each had to apply by describing what the future of Giveback Homes looked like to them. Some of their answers included, educational seminars about home ownership, meeting with Congress, referral programs, and partnering with more non-profits. The Advocates are dedicated to amplifying Giveback Homes initiatives, promoting new membership opportunities, and leading initiatives in their community. The Advocates will meet once a quarter to strategize on social good projects and mobilize other industry professionals through their engagement.
As the Principal and Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group, Raj Qsar is known for his marketing innovation, use of technology and commitment to excellence in all aspects of the real estate experience. In 2017 Raj & The Boutique were awarded The Real Estate Influencer of The Year by Inman News, Most Innovative Brokerage, REAL Trends Finalist for Best Overall Website and the #1 Real Estate Video Influencer Award. As a national and international speaker, Raj travels the world and has taken the stage at some of the most prestigious real estate conferences. He has participated in multiple build days and fundraising events for Giveback Homes. “My team and I just love Giveback Homes,” added Raj. “They’ve helped us give back both locally and globally and I look forward to helping them continue on their mission as a social good movement in real estate.”
“Raj and The Boutique Real Estate Group are a very special group of people,” said Caroline Pinal, co-founder of Giveback Homes. “Raj is systematic when it comes to sharing the Giveback Homes story with his agents, clients, and other brokerages. We are so excited to name him as one of our Advocates. ”
Giveback Homes mobilizes the real estate industry to provide safe homes and clean water to families in need. Giveback Homes has provided safe and secure homes for over 200 families in Nicaragua, 50 affordable housing projects in the U.S., and water filters to give over 5,000 people access to clean drinking water. The company has mobilized funds for times of crisis in the wake of hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. Through volunteer experiences, fundraising events, and impact reporting, Giveback Homes empowers the real estate community to take an active role in making the world a better place. To learn more, please visit GivebackHomes.com.
About Giveback Homes
Giveback Homes is dedicated to creating a sustainable relationship between real estate professionals, their clients, and communities in need throughout the world. Their goal is to create social change through the act of buying or selling a home. Through fundraising events, build days, and international trips they are dedicated to inspiring the real estate industry to take action for social good. Together with their giving partners, Giveback Homes has funded and built over 200 homes for families in need in Nicaragua. To learn more about Giveback Homes and join the movement for social good, please visit www.givebackhomes.com.
In the spring of 2018 in Palm Springs, California, a diverse collection of real estate innovators, leaders and influencers gathered to hammer out a manifesto for changing the real estate industry. They were guided by the mandate of creating a better and more certain consumer real estate experience.
2. Simplify the process of buying and selling a home
As part of its “Meet The Intern” campaign, tech company HP filmed a series of commercials showcasing Fox Sports host and Extra co-host Charissa Thomson interning at four companies.
Two of them were Giveback Homes and The Boutique Real Estate Group — two hallmark brands within the real estate industry.
The campaign ads, which began airing on Super Bowl Sunday, show Thomson helping craft a travel packet for Giveback Homes and organize a swanky open house for The Boutique RE Group, all while showing off HP’s newest OfficeJet Pro printer.
Giveback Homes co-founder Caroline Pinal said HP found them through social media and noted Giveback’s “authentic social media presence,” and that the company was captured by co-founder Blake Andrews’ story and mission to spread the message of social responsibility to the real estate industry as a whole.
Pinal says the feedback on the ad has been positive, with supporters inside and outside of the industry giving their kudos.
“Giveback Homes Members are thrilled to see the Giveback Homes movement taking on a consumer-facing approach and proud to be part of it,” she said.
“Giveback Homes has also received online support from their friends like Toms Founder Blake Mycoskie, TV host Charissa Thompson, and animal conservationist Black Jaguar White Tiger.”
Raj Qsar, the principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group — who is known for his vibrant digital presence and strategies — said HP reached out to him via social media as well.
“It was a super fun project,” said Qsar, and the ads have brought amazing feedback and robust traffic to his brokerage.
The ad campaign is only the beginning for both companies.
Giveback Homes is taking their relationship with HP offline by hosting a “Build Day” on April 21 in Los Angeles, with Thomson continuing her “internship” by helping to build a home.
As for The Boutique Real Estate Group, Qsar says the brokerage will be working with other big name brands in the very near future.
via inman SF
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.
The Learn Lab will be Tuesday, August 2, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Hilton Union Square. Save your spot now here.
January 13th, 2016
Power is an elusive concept. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the ability or right to control people or things.” Of course that raises the question of what is meant by “control.” Control is defined as directing the behavior of, or to cause a person to do something. Power can also exist even though it may not be exercised, simply because having power can discourage others from challenging it.
Not easy, nor straightforward. So you can just imagine the healthy debate we had as to what criteria should be used in creating such a list. But we all agree what this is not. It is not a popularity contest. It is a not casual quick selection of people you know. It is not based solely on head count, office count or revenue, and it is not pay-to-play.
In the end, the SP200 is based on a great deal of research. We scoured the Web, read hundreds of bios, read hundreds of LinkedIn pages, sent hundreds of requests for additional information, made endless telephone calls to verify or confirm statistics, and cross-referenced data with surveys and reviewed company financials, and annual reports, and announcements. In short, we did more homework than anyone else does.
So after some 400 hours of evaluation, eight members of the SP200 Editorial Committee got together for a face-off to deliberate the nominees (see VIDEO here). Some people have entrepreneurial power, and some have financial strength, some hold high office, some have personal power, some have positional power while others have political clout. Some are innovators, some executives, some doers, some dealmakers. It doesn’t matter. We have tried to analyze them all and listed leaders in nine different categories – check the tabs at the top of the page.
Congrats to our very own CEO & Founder Raj Qsar for being named to the SP200 for 2016. Honoring The Most Powerful 200 People in Residential Real Estate for the category of Social Media Influencers.