How to hustle like a real estate rock star

via inman

Always doing it right, thinking downstream and focusing on connections are the keys to success

  • Be prepared for and willing to hustle 24/7 for your clients.
  • Make decisions with your future in mind. Think about how taking a listing you don’t want now can benefit you later.
  • Success in real estate comes down to the personal connections you make, so get out and network.

Recently, Raj Qsar — the principal/owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group — composed an intriguing and inspirational post on the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents about how a listing for a leased property, which he made no initial profit from, snowballed into at least 11 subsequent sales, countless connections and increased visibility over the course of the past three years.

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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.”

 

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Think downstream

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.

Indie broker hires goodwill ambassador to spread positivity

via inman

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.

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“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.

After Qsar announced Underwood’s addition to the team on Facebook, a number of friends offered their congratulations, saying that he was the perfect man for the job.

“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.”

Screen-Shot-2017-04-14-at-3.04.01-PM-450x450For more information the the Goodwill Ambassador program or to learn more about The Boutique please visit www.JoinTheBoutique.com

Meet the Intern: Charissa Thompson & the HP OfficeJet Pro Printer at The Boutique Real Estate Group

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When TV Host Charissa Thompson visited The Boutique Real Estate Group, a worldwide luxury real estate brokerage firm, her ideas and the lightning-fast HP OfficeJet Pro 8720 printer helped to make an open house a success! She easily printed from her smartphone and took advantage of two-sided printing for superb productivity. Get your OfficeJet Pro printer at Staples: http://hp.tl/60548Pox2

How to create a digital real estate lead machine

via inman

Adjust your marketing funnel

  • You have only moments with your prospect to educate and nurture the prospect enough times to get them to choose to do business with you.

  • Recently, Raj Qsar outlined a more complex, but comprehensive, view of the modern marketing funnel in a Facebook post.

  • A savvy agent will master the paradox of appearing hyperlocal but also being everywhere.

Things progress toward chaos — that’s just how it is. It is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

But it doesn’t just apply to physics. In the world of real estate and online lead generation, the chaotic state is increasing.

An increasingly chaotic environment

Most international telecommunications agencies estimate that more than 3 billion people are using the internet. Between smartphones, tablets and desktops, there is a good chance that your next client is online right now.

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.

Once stuck in the web, prospects are now tied to the landing page, pushing them right into the agent’s customer relationship management system (CRM).

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:

  1. Lead registers via your online portal.
  2. Agents are notified via text or email (contact receives a notification as well — a phone call from a live assistant in under five minutes).
  3. They are transferred to an ISA.
  4. Prospect is uploaded (generally this is automated) to the agent’s CRM.
  5. CRM drips lead content such as stats, blog posts, events, etc.
  6. Prospect is uploaded to listing alert software.
  7. Zillow adds contact into drip campaign with 19 touches in 30 days.
  8. 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.
  9. Print mailing campaigns in the same ZIP code or city as the initial lead.
  10. The print mailing has a lead capture landing page and retargeting pixel so you can follow them around the web.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

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4 Ways to Grow Your Real Estate Marketing Content — and Business

via inman

Here are a few innovative tips to garner engaging local content

You can’t open a trade publication these days without seeing an article urging real estate professionals to generate content in order to build their brand and get more business. It makes sense — who buys and sells houses? People. What do people like? To be enlightened, informed and entertained. That’s what great content does.

Why content?

Many real estate professionals ask whether content creation has any real tangible benefits in getting homes sold. Top producers tend to look at the bigger picture. Tim Smith of Smith Group Real Estate says, “High-quality marketing increases the perceived value of the property.” In other words, when you make a video about a house, you’re saying to the world, “This place is worth it.”

“When we show up at a property with a truck and equipment and actors and a tent, it causes curiosity within the neighborhood,” said Raj Qsar, principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group. “It gives us a way to connect with the neighborhood on a hyperlocal level. Then they tell their friends and family about the house, and word gets out. It’s a long-tail plan.” Let’s face it: Nothing makes a seller happier than to see their home being given the star treatment.

“There’s a misconception across the industry as to why people do content marketing,” Qsar said. “Video is not just for the one listing — we make our video evergreen so it can live forever.”

And it sure doesn’t hurt to have an amazing video to show in your next listing presentation, either.

But for many Realtors, the thought of creating content tends to generate more guilt than inspiration. What kind of content should you be making? And how in the world are you expected to write a script or learn to edit video when there aren’t even enough hours in the day to generate leads and get deals done?

Good news: You don’t have to do it yourself. Here are four options to get great content.

1. Beef up your team.

Most brokerages that are serious about content creation begin by hiring in-house creative talent. “Content marketing needs to start with the leadership and culture of the brokerage,” Qsar said. “If the brokerage takes control and hires an in-house team, it only makes the agents and the brokerage more successful.”

Smith Real Estate has created a core in-house marketing team. They started out using outside production studios to generate their marketing materials but decided to bring production in-house in order to have more control over the creative product. “Outsiders don’t have direct communication with the sellers like we do,” Jade Schuck, public relations and marketing coordinator, said. “When the production is done in-house, we know the home, and we can do a lot more with the money.”

Pacific Union built an entire in-house journalism department to bring their clients the latest news via their blog. “We decided we had to become a journalism company,” CEO Mark McLaughlin said. And it worked. Back in January 2012 their blog had “zero traffic.” Now they have 5,800 unique users on their blog every month. McLaughlin puts this in context. “We sold about 5,700 homes last year. So, that means we have about as many people at our blog every single month as bought homes in a year … so we feel it’s a really relevant tool for our real estate professionals.”

2. Supplements are good for you.

Even with a strong in-house team, most brokerages bring in freelancers or even full production companies to round out their marketing team for larger listings.

“The content is all us, 100 percent,” said Qsar, who employs an in-house team that includes a social media manager, director of creative design, cinematographer and editors. They do bring in specialists as needed, such as drone operators and hyperlapse photographers, but they’re careful to set and maintain the creative tone and direction themselves.

The real estate team knows the home best, so it’s crucial that whenever you outsource, you communicate with the production company to convey the key selling points of the home and any details about the target demographics.

Schuck said when we get a listing, their process begins with a brainstorming session where they distill the essence of the home’s personality. Then they create different packages of marketing materials based on the sales price. They bring in freelancers with special skills as needed.

Schuck offers some advice for smaller real estate offices whose budgets might not allow an in-house production team: “Use your network to find good people to help.”

3. Be a patron of the arts.

If hiring a marketing team doesn’t work for you, there are other options. Any given neighborhood is packed with creators who just love to make content. They eat, sleep and breathe journalism, storytelling and photography. They’re constantly churning out videos and articles, blog posts and photographs. All you have to do is find them, and then work out a deal that works for both of you.

Try these sources:

Local bloggers: They know your neighborhood and what makes it significant. See if you can sponsor their work by making a small contribution. Being quoted in an article about the five best kid-friendly restaurants in town makes you an instant local expert.

School newspapers and videos: School newspapers can always use a few extra bucks to give their kids’ reporting a boost. Help them out and your name might be the one that shows up when prospective buyers search for their dream schools.

Filmmakers and videographers: In these days of YouTube, everyone from your babysitter to your mortgage broker has a script for a Web series somewhere on their hard drive. What they often lack is funding to get it made. Provide that and voila, you have yourself a grateful content creator who will mention your name, and maybe even give you a cameo role.

4. Ask your audience.

Another way to get great content is perhaps the most obvious: Just ask for it. User-generated content (UGC) is the buzzword, but what it means is getting your network to share their own photos, videos, articles and lists.

Consider holding a contest for the best photos of your local dog park, or give a shoutout to local bands to write a song in honor of your hometown. Then all you have to do is curate the best and put it online. People will come to your site to check out the latest and greatest — and they’re sure to notice your listings along the way.

At the time of this writing, Trails West Real Estate had just announced a competition asking students to create the best video about living in northwest Montana. They’re offering $12,000 to the winning school’s video and technology departments. This is a great way to get lots of content for your money, while becoming known as a local expert and supporter of the community. It’s likely we’ll see more and more content competition like this in which everyone comes out a winner.

Bottom line

The industry agrees that offering great content is the ideal way to engage your audience more deeply and for longer periods of time. That translates to leads, listings, sales and clients for life. Now you have some ways to get your hands on amazing content while keeping your focus on what you do best: selling real estate.

What unique ways have you found to generate content? Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.

 

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Luxury listing: Pinnacle House in Yorba Linda

via inmanLA

More than 8,000 square feet of modern beauty

This beautiful hillside estate in Yorba Linda is minutes from the esteemed Black Gold Golf Course, but with a stunning backyard and infinity pool, wine cellar and in-home theater, you might never want to leave.

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The five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home is listed at $10 million by Raj Qsar and Christina Boladian with The Boutique Real Estate Group.

 

Inman Innovator Awards 2016 Nomination

via Inman

The Inman Innovator Awards are given each year to recognize and celebrate industry innovation and accomplishments.

Who qualifies?

In some cases, a specific app, technology or business process qualifies someone for consideration. In other cases, the company as a whole consistently tries new things, adopts new technology or creates a new culture or approach to real estate.

How does the selection process work — and who decides?

The process for selection begins with identifying companies and individuals who meet these standards. A list of prospects is culled from input from the Inman editorial team and leaders in the industry.

The final decision on finalists and winners is made by editor Amber Taufen and publisher Brad Inman, and the Inman editorial team gives feedback throughout the process.

Innovator Bash

This year for the first time, Inman will be announcing one winner in each category plus two runners-up — for a total of three noteworthy names.

The winners will be announced when the red carpet is rolled out for the Innovator Bash. Do not miss this one-of-a-kind industry event, August 4, 2016, at 8 p.m. at Inman Connect. Dress up, walk down the red carpet, drink, eat, dance and celebrate industry innovation.

 

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West Coast Rents on Fire: San Francisco Rents Projected to Rise Faster than Any Other US Metro in 2016

Via RentCafe

 

With homeownership rates at historically low levels and a lack of affordable housing options in all major metro areas, renting becomes a challenge for renters all across the US, particularly low- and middle-income earners. Rents have been steadily rising for the past year, with the national average for an apartment hitting an all-time high of $1,181 in March 2016, up 5.7% from 2015.

Looking ahead, it becomes pretty clear that it’s not a question of “if” anymore, it’s about how much rents will increase this year. If the Southeast and the Northeast Corridor maintain a fairly normal pace in rent growth, the West is expected to rock the landlords’ world and post record-breaking price increases this year.

In San Francisco’s case it’s all the more dire as apartments here are already outrageously expensive – think $2,400 on average for a studio and $4,800 for a two-bedroom in the city. By year end, the Bay Area is expected to see a 10.5% jump in rent prices. The same goes for LA and Sacramento, where mild winters and lush scenery come at a price – not at all negligible and still on the rise.

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Amid historic rent hikes, Portland remains a bargain for San Francisco and Seattle transplants

The biggest surprise comes from Portland, where demographic and employment tailwinds keep demand for rental apartments up there as well. Rents in the city are expected to climb an impressive 8.8% this year, making Portland one of the main contenders for the “hottest metro for rent growth in 2016” title. But when compared to other millennial-magnet, job-centered hubs on the West Coast, Portland is actually much easier on the pocket. Whereas Portland apartments rent for $1,252 on average, both San Francisco and northern neighbor Seattle have higher average rents – $2,810 and $1,555, respectively.

Looking for cheaper rent? March South!

Headed to the Southeast? You’ve hit the jackpot! It’s where the jobs, the nice weather, and the low rents are. Atlanta, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, as well as Texas’ major urban hotspots – San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston – are top choices for those in search of a more relaxed housing landscape.

Check out the full list of the hottest markets for projected rent growth in 2016 in the nifty infographic below!

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World Class Luxury Estate Home/ Yorba Linda / Coming Soon

Offered by The Boutique Real Estate Group

Presented by Raj Qsar & Christina Boladian

Coming Soon to Yorba Linda. World Class Luxury Estate Home.

Designed by David Streshinsky of DKY Architects

For more information please call//text Raj Qsar at 714-412-5019 for all inquiries.

All square footages are estimated:
1st Floor Living: 6,238 sq ft
2nd Floor Living: 1,909 sq ft
Garage: 1,029 sq ft
Outdoor Bathroom: 173 sq ft
Total square footage = 9,349 sq ft

Lot Size = 132,794 square feet

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Photos used with permission.

Raising the Real Estate Bar with Raj Qsar

via PLACESTER

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Years ago, real estate agents were the gatekeepers. If you as a consumer wanted to know what was on the market, you had to go through an agent. But those gates are gone. Real estate consumers now have access to all the property data they could ever want. Today, you need to give them something unique, something they can’t Google—and Raj Qsar has a few ideas about how to do it.

Raj is truly on the cutting edge of the real estate business. In 2015, Inman News named him one of the 33 People Who Are Changing The Real Estate Industry. As principal of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California, Raj has led the charge to create content and experiences that provide value for real estate consumers far beyond the MLS.

“I wanted to do something that was different,” Raj explained. So, in 2009, Raj worked with a local filmmaker to produce an emotional short film about one of his listings. “Not only did we sell a price record on that home, we got like every listing for the next three years in that neighborhood.” Today, The Boutique Real Estate Group continues to produce high-quality videos that offer prospective buyers a beautiful, intimate look at their clients’ listings.

Whether it’s through video or some other avenue, Raj says, today’s agents need to focus on adding more value for their clients. “Give them something they don’t know,” Raj told us. “‘Hey, did you know that this neighborhood on the 4th of July actually shut down the streets? There’s a live band, a taco cart, and the local fire department comes up and does a parade with all the kids?’ [That’s] the stuff that…provides value to these people who wanna spend a couple million bucks on a home.”

Of course, it’s not just the agent’s responsibility to add value: brokers also need to step up and provide for their agents. “They need to create value within the brokerage to be able to push it to their agents, so the agents can push it to their clients, and give [them] the opportunity for success,” Raj explained. That value consists not just of modern tools and great design, but also intensive, one-on-one training in how to use these resources effectively.

“Most of the agents [we hire] are at these big brokerages with 500, 600, 800 agents,” Raj told us. “They feel like a fish. They feel like they have a number. They come here and they’re like, ‘I can’t believe how much one-on-one time I got. I can’t believe that you sat down for three hours and didn’t look at your phone one time.’”

In this interview, Raj explains how video can tell powerful stories around your listings and neighborhoods, and describes how today’s brokers should be investing in each of their agents.

Listen to the Podcast here.

– Matt & Seth