5 Features of a (Real) Chef’s Kitchen

via zillow

Home cooks and foodies, look no further.

The term “chef’s kitchen” gets thrown around in real estate listings, but it can mean a lot different things. Whatever your definition, the culinary playground at 22750 Hidden Hills Rd in Yorba Linda, CA doesn’t disappoint. This home’s kitchen was designed by its owner, Carlito Jocson, the executive chef for Yard House Restaurants.

We asked Jocson to dish his home’s kitchen secrets. Here are 5 features we love.

Refrigerator drawers

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We’ve all been there: stirring a boiling pot when you realize you need to add something from the fridge. With refrigerator drawers in his kitchen island, Jocson has quick access to common ingredients. No fishing for things in the back of the main refrigerator — the essentials are an arm’s length away.

Wine staging area

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A mini wine fridge is a common amenity in luxury homes, but Jocson uses his as a staging area. The main course is downstairs: a temperature-controlled, 1,200-bottle room.

Jocson brings up what he needs to chill for the next meal or two, making his wine decisions before he starts cooking. This is both a time-saver and great way to ensure your meal and wine pair well.

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Stacked platewear

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Open shelving has been trendy for a while, but Jocson doesn’t worry about pretty displays. He’s a functionalist, stacking dishes so they’re easy to grab, like in a commercial kitchen. Plating is an important final step in meal-prep, and this kitchen makes it easy.

Tasting counter

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According to Jocson, chefs love good flow. He wanted his space to feel more like a tasting kitchen, with ample counter space and a breakfast bar with barstools.

Jocson says there’s room to cook for 50 people (he did so last Christmas), and four to six people can sample the food while he’s cooking.

Outdoor extension

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We couldn’t help admiring Jocson’s huge outdoor kitchen. But, this space isn’t just about the grill. A Wok Range, pizza oven, sink and ample counter space allow him to prep, cook and plate a meal without having to step inside.

Like what you see? Jocson’s kitchen is just one selling point of his $8.68 million Yorba Linda listing. (Check out the master bedroom overlooking the pool. The walls disappear, so you can jump out of bed into the deep end!)

The listing agents are Raj Qsar and Christina Boladian of The Boutique Real Estate Group.

Anaheim, CA: 10 Time-Lapse Images of the City’s Newest and Biggest Additions

via RENTcafé

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Orange County’s fairytale city of Anaheim has been growing since 1890. It remains a hugely popular vacation destination, business HQ, and playground for visionaries. From Victorian mansions, to Colony Historic District, modern homes, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the Disneyland Anaheim Resort area, with the backdrop of the snowcapped mountains of the Santa Ana Canyon, there is plenty to feast the eyes on here.

In 2008 the city announced plans to double the number of housing and commercial business spaces in the Platinum Triangle area around Angel Stadium, as well as to incorporate a new rapid transit system. So how has the city’s face changed since then?

With the help of Google Street View, we complied a collection of interactive time-lapse images showing how Anaheim has been improving its appeal in recent years. Simply hold and drag the arrow left and right to see the old vs new:

1. Walnut Village Retirement Community – West Anaheim

Year Built: 2009

Walnut Village is operated by nonprofit Front Porch, and has become one of the top rated centers of its type since 2010. The community provides assisted living built around a shop lined village square, was awarded Continuing Care Retirement Community of the Year by 50+ Builders Magazine, Gold Award for Best Small CRCC by the NAHB, and Beautification of Anaheim Award.

2. SpringHill Suites Anaheim Maingate – Anaheim Resort

Year Built: 2014

SpringHill Suites’ new hotel in Anaheim puts guests in close proximity to Disneyland, while catering to business travelers with interiors featuring desks and light spaces, as well as an on-site snack shop and small fitness center. Conveniently located near the Anaheim Convention Center, the hotel features its own modern, boutique meeting spaces.

 

3. Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance – Anaheim Resort

Year Built: 2015

The new 6-story Courtyard Marriot in Anaheim sits close to the theme park entrance, offers vibrant décor, a family-friendly atmosphere, and even sports its own waterpark on-site, complete with water slides. Some rooms offer views of the Disney firework shows at night. The design provides a unique blend of mission and modern aesthetics.

 

4. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Anaheim Resort Area – Anaheim Resort

Year Built: 2016

The brand new Holiday Inn Express & Suits Anaheim Resort Hotel offers 5 stories of accommodations, an onsite pool and splash area, and is just moments from all the excitement of Disney. Found right off the expressway and steps to Downtown Disney this hotel is well situated for families looking to get in every moment of action they can.

 

5. SpringHill Suites – Anaheim Resort

Year Built: 2014

The second new SpringHill Suites hotel on this list – this building puts visitors right in the heart of it, with easy walking to the resort and Anaheim convention center, as well as downtown amenities. Modern design, kid-friendly interiors, and an on-site CVS Pharmacy and coffee and tea shop make this a great convenient choice for tourists.

6. Hyatt Place at Anaheim Resort and Convention Center

Year Built: 2014

Another new hotel just down the street, Hyatt offers guests walking access to resorts, convention center events, the farmer’s market, garden walk, and art walks. Standing out from the others on the list, Hyatt Place boasts architectural elements that reflect the interior’s more business-like minimalist chic design.

7. Kaiser Permanente Orange County Anaheim Medical Center – Canyon District

Year Built: 2012

One of the largest employers in Anaheim has opened an expansive new medical facility encompassing 434,000 square feet. The building replaces the old Lakeview Hospital built back in 1979. The new campus is built around a 3-acre ‘healing garden’, hosts 262 private rooms, emergency treatment bays, labor and delivery rooms, and a helipad.

 

8. The Crossing Apartments – Canyon District

Year Built: 2010

In contrast to the other new buildings on this list The Crossing rental apartments in Anaheim offer a bolder exterior with modern lines and a dash of color. Taking sustainability seriously from start to finish, the LEED Gold Certified apartment building boasts a 94% landfill diversion and 75% recycling rate during demolition and construction.

 

9. Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) – Platinum Garden

Year Built: 2014

The spaceship-looking Anaheim Regional Transport Intermodal Center (ARTIC) is a bold addition to the architectural landscape of this area. This transport hub’s diamond quilt-shaped exterior was created to optimize sustainability. Solar provides 20% of the energy used by the building, which lights up in bright colors at night. Winner of the 2015 Public Works Project of the Year Award, and LEED Platinum Certified, it is also home to a Bitcoin ATM.

 

10. Ajax La Palma Business Center – Canyon District

Year Built: 2014

Ranked as one of the largest industrial real estate projects built in the Anaheim area in years, just shy of 100,000 square feet, the business center was built by Ottomans Construction.

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

RESAAS’ 2016 Real Estate Rockstars: Social Media

via Resaas Blog

Social-Media

Earlier this week we announced the 2016 Real Estate Rockstars winners and nominees for branding and real estate websites.

We’re only getting started.

Now it’s time to reveal the nominees and winners for social media.

It’s a no brainer that by now everyone knows social media is crucial for today’s real estate agent.

This year’s competition was steep. Brokerages, firms and coaches all came out swinging in hopes to be recognized as a 2016 nominee and ultimately the winner for social media.

Let’s walk you through the criteria.

Criteria

These days, it’s easy for anyone to hop onto a social media platform, create an account and post their lives away. It’s these special few that are able to keep their growing audience engaged by dishing out valuable, share-worthy content.

Let’s have a closer look at the criteria we used to shortlist our nominees.

Activity

Someone that knows their way around social media knows how to expand their reach through their social media presence.

Are they active on multiple social media channels?

Do they have a larger social following?

Are their users engaged?

Content

The rule of thumb for content is the ‘80/20’ rule.

80% of the content shared should be of use to followers and NOT a hard sell. The remaining 20% of content can be those “sales-y” posts. But, it should be kept minimal.

Does the account follow the 80/20 rule?

Quality

Sure, you have social media accounts but what are the quality of your posts?

The Boutique RE

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YouTube
RESAAS
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Here’s a brokerage that just gets it. The Boutique RE Group makes an effort to use their social media marketing to its full potential – posting beautiful photos, high-quality videos and selling a luxury lifestyle through their content. Let’s not overlook their hashtag game. Boutique RE Group makes great use of hashtags on each one of their listing photos to increase exposure of the neighborhoods of their listings.

Activity: 10/10
Content: 10/10
Quality: 10/10

Score: 30/30

2016 Zillow Premier Agent Forum Las Vegas

2016 Zillow Premier Agent Forum Las Vegas

What goes on in Vegas doesn’t always need to stay in Vegas, and what goes on at the Zillow Group Premier Agent® Forum this week can be caught by these amazing social media & real estate rock stars!
 
Raj Qsar (@RajQsar)
Scott Kompa (@Skompa)
Speicher Group (@SpeicherGroup_
Veronica Figueroa (@FigueroaTeam)
Anthony Lamacchia (Ajlamacchia)
Boyenga Team (@BoyengaTeam)
Vija Williams (@ViaVija)
Hedda Parashos (@Hedda_Parashos)
Follow these folks as they take over the Zillow Premier Agent Instagram Account:

https://www.instagram.com/premieragent/

 

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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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Him or Her? Featuring Raj Qsar & Christina Boladian from The Boutique Real Estate Group

via Give Back Homes

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.
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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.

                        

_________________________________________________________________________

Who is the better driver?

Christina: Me, he’s just on his phone all the time and its a green light and no one goes! He hits curbs all the times.

Raj: You should see my rims they’re so messed up.

_________________________________________________________________________

In negotiations, who is usually the bad cop?

Raj: That’ so me, I’m totally the bad cop and I love it.

Christina: I’m too nice.
_________________________________________________________________________

Who is more opinionated?

Raj: Oh dear god, that’s so you

Christina: No! Definitely him.
_________________________________________________________________________

Who is better at calming down clients?

Raj: That’s so me, for sure so me.
_________________________________________________________________________

Whose instincts are usually always right?

Raj: That’s both of us it really is, we both have good instincts.
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Tell me something unique about this property that nobody else knows.

Raj: We’re going to apply to have a helipad! Which is pretty cool.

Where?

Raj: Right here

Christina: So we can bring you in from L.A.

Raj: Uber helicopter!

Yes please 🙂

_________________________________________________________________________

With the sale of this home, Raj & Christina will be making a donation towards the Build Day in Orange County.

Push play below so you can fully experience this gorgeous home and it’s story.

 

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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Raj Qsar and team use RealScout for personalized lead conversion

via inman Los Angeles

RealScout could save you time and energy in converting leads

Key Takeaways

  • RealScout notifies the agent in realtime as buyers search for properties.
  • The Boutique Real Estate Group has been using RealScout instead of the MLS portal since March.
  • RealScout personalizes the platform to the agent and office according to needs.

When it comes to lead conversion, The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County has moved on from MLS to RealScout, a San Francisco-based software company that makes connecting with buyers as simple as a text message.

“I can do anything I want standing in line at Starbucks if it has to do with a real estate transaction,” said Raj Qsar, owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group. “Contracts, social media, technology.”

“I can do anything I want standing in line at Starbucks if it has to do with a real estate…”

Qsar referred to the current MLS as archaic in its ways of communicating directly with clients. The process of logging in and checking messages only through the MLS portal became a tether, he says, prohibiting engagement. With RealScout, agents are notified immediately of interested parties.

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What is RealScout to the buyer?

How it benefits different offices depends on the location. For Los Angeles, and more specifically The Boutique Real Estate Group, the criteria chosen caters to the demographic. In learning what buyers are looking for, RealScout is able to build a profile and inform them of other homes that offer similar amenities.

Once buyers find what they are looking for, they are then able to narrow down the search through the criteria: high ceilings, floor plans, and other details unique to each buyer. This information is also passed along to the agent, helping them secure the relationship.

“The common use cases are when the agent invites the client to use RealScout,” Andrew Flachner, president and co-founder of RealScout, said. Another entryway is through Zillow, which Qsar said has a direct impact on building a relationship.

Through API integration with Zillow, buyers can connect directly with agents. If during the search they click on a page featuring The Boutique Real Estate Group, users are automatically entered into the agency’s RealScout database and begin receiving notifications according to their search criteria.

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What is RealScout to the agent?

Converting leads from online sources is not easy. It’s hard enough getting your face and name seen, much less turning someone’s query into a sale. Through the buyer notifications, which are property listings based on prioritized criteria, RealScout helps to bridge the trust between agent and client.

“They can count on the info from RealScout and your happy, smiling face is what they’ve seen all the time,” said Erica Boisvert, realtor and operations manager at Boutique. “You’ve already got that trust.”

Flachner, who used to be a real estate agent, said that RealScout was developed out of necessity. When he was showing houses, he says his clients wouldn’t demand something like an exact square footage number because they are not robots. Instead, they describe how a cul-de-sac would be a safe place or how a backyard for the kids would nice, which is the criteria that he wanted to implement in RealScout.

“I wanted software that emulated what a good real estate agent is and helps me, almost like a superpower,” Flachner said.

The criteria for each location is different. Flachner said he has come across a buyer searching for a beachfront property that was able to see the surf break, which is not a common criteria in Seattle. Instead, criteria there features options for vicinity to Microsoft’s bus station.

“The answer is, agents helped us form these criteria,” he said. “We don’t normalize across the country.”

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