La Habra Movies in the Park May 18-Oct. 12
Join the Recreation staff for an outdoor, family-friendly movie on Friday nights. Participants should bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and can enjoy food vendors and the Bamboo Kids Club. Movies begin at dusk.
Time/Place: See website for schedule.
Contact: www.lahabracity.comNewport Beach Jazz Festival June 1-3
A star–studded lineup of musicians, delectable food and drink selections, and dancing on the lawn. The festival kicks off on Friday night featuring Michael Lington with Kenny Lattimore at the Hyatt’s Back Bay Amphitheatre. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival heads to the Back Bay Golf Course for two jam-packed days filled with the finest smooth jazz, R&B, funk and soul!
hyattconcerts.comRare Vintage Air VW Show June 2
Bring your VW to the Rare Vintage Air VW d’Elegance to kick off the Prado & Classic weekends. We have great raffle items from our sponsors. We are also having a 50/50 raffle. Grinderz will have great food, soft drinks and beer on site at a discount price.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Old World Village, Huntington Beach
Family Fun & Wellness Fair June 2
Free health screenings and checkups while enjoying good food, live music, and informative offerings from the exhibitors. Families will enjoy the various entertainments such as live music performances, face painting, prize giveaways, and more!
Time/Place: 9am-2pm / Pretend City, Irvine
Contact: 949-428-3900 / www.pretendcity.org/healthfair
San Diego Rail & Sail June 2
We will motor coach to SJC to board an Amtrak train for a coastal ride to San Diego’s waterfront shops and restaurants at Seaport Village and the “Headquarters,” with time at leisure for lunch on your own. Choose to spend the afternoon exploring the USS Midway or enjoying a San Diego Harbor Cruise.
Time/Place: 8:30am-6pm / Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, Mission Viejo
Contact: 949-470-3062 / www.cityofmissionviejo.org
Be More Healthy Expo June 2
Health and wellness related exhibitors will showcase their products and services to thousands of potential customers. Free admission! Open to the public.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Seal Beach Pier
Mission Viejo Film Festival June 2
Each screening will present films that meet the run-time guides for each category: “Short Films: High School”, “Short Films: College/Indie” and “Music Videos” The following five awards will be presented – the Mark Jennings Award, City of Hope Award, People’s Choice Award, The MV Award, and the Mayor’s Award.
Time/Place: 4-8pm / Saddleback Performing Arts – McKinney Theater
Contact: 949-470-3062 / www.missionviejofilmfestival.
Corona del Mar Scenic 5K June 2
Whether running the 5K course, participating in the 2-mile Celebration Walk, or simply cheering the kids on in the Youth and Dolphin Dash series, all registered participants are hosted to a complimentary restaurant row feast of local eateries. Don’t miss the festive post event party complete with live entertainment, unique sponsor and vendors, awards ceremony and more.
Time/Place: 6am / Ocean Blvd & Heliotrope Ave.
Huntington Beach Concours Classic Car & Motorcycle Show June 2-3
A fun event where car lovers and enthusiasts can come to enjoy themselves, while knowing that they are also helping a worthy cause, The Huntington Beach Library Children’s Resource Center. It is rated # 1 in California, please help us keep it that why by attending this year’s event.
Time/Place: Sat 9am-2pm, Sun 9am-4pm / Huntington Beach Central Park
Contact: 714-904-5034 / www.hbconcours.org
Dino Days June 2-3
There will be fun for the entire family with a walking DINO tour of a life-size moving T-Rex, Velociraptors and a Dilophosaurus. Wristband includes dinosaur tour, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon artist and unlimited games.
Time/Place: 10am-2pm / Nature Park, Lake Forest
Contact: 949-273-6960 / www.lakeforestca.gov
Fantasea of Quilts, Quilt Show June 2-3
Traditional and non-traditional style quilts will be on display. It brings together the “best of the best” in quiltmaking, with aisles of displays, retail exhibits and more. Opportunity quilt: Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows with Kaffe Fassett Fabrics, $1 per ticket or 6 for $5. $10 and parking is Free! Auction is at 1 pm on Saturday.
Time/Place: SOKA University, Alisa Viejo
Contact: 949-547-6961 / www.beachcitiesquilters.org
Lost & Found Vintage Flea Market June 3
Unique, curated, and rare vintage finds! Not everyone knows this, but The LAB stands for “Little American Business” and that’s exactly who we are and what we strive to support.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / The LAB Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa
Tustin Street Fair & Cook-Off June 3
The event features a one-day Chili Cook-Off, salsa competitions, craft booths, non-profit food vendors, commercial vendors, entertainment, kids area, music, family friendly contests, wine & beer booths, family plaza and carnival attractions.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Old Town Tustin
Contact: 714-573-3326 / www.tustinchilicookoff.com
Celebration of the Arts June 3
Dozens of artist’s exhibits and sales, including paintings, photography, ceramics, mosaics, jewelry, sculptures, wood carving, glass art, mixed media and cultural activities. This is a family friendly event offering free activities for all ages, sharing the creativity & talent of our community.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / Thomas Lasorda Jr. Memorial Field House & Hurless Barton Park, Yorba Linda
Contact: 714-996-1960 / www.artsyl.org
Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auction June 8-10
The auction event will provide the electric atmosphere of auction in the round auction block and also provide enthusiasts an outstanding destination to bring the whole family to experience their passion of classic cars.
Time/Place: 9am / Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
Laguna Niguel Summer Concerts June 8-Aug. 10
Bring your family and friends to enjoy a night of music under the stars! Food and dessert will be available for purchase from gourmet food trucks.
Time/Place: Crown Valley Community Park, Laguna Niguel
Contact: 949-425-5100 / www.cityoflagunaniguel.org
Annual Pier Swim June 9
Get yourself in shape, practice your stroke, learn the motions of the waves and you’ll be in good company when the pier swim arrives. Join or watch this annual tradition as groups of swimmers from 12 years old and up swim approximately 1/2 mile around the Huntington Beach Pier. $25 entry fee.
Time/Place: 7am / Huntington Beach Pier
Contact: 714-960-8870 / www.huntingtonbeachca.gov
Dana Point ArtFest June 10
An outdoor, top-quality juried art and music event that brings artists and community together. A free community festival of fine art, live music, food, and more.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Dana Point Lantern District
Flag Day Retirement Ceremony June 14
The City of Rancho Santa Margarita is proud to offer an opportunity for residents and guests of all ages to honor the American Flag with this observation and flag retirement ceremony. The ceremony is held to destroy properly – by burning – worn, damaged or otherwise unserviceable American Flags in a dignified manner in accordance with The United States Flag Code.
Time/Place: 7:45-8:30pm / Bell Tower, Rancho Santa Margarita City Hall
Chili at the Beach June 16
Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Tasting Contest. In addition there will be children’s activities with kid’s games and entertainment, all benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley. Attendance is free with unlimited chili and salsa tasting tickets.
Time/Place: Main St & PCH, Huntington Beach
Contact: 714-536-8300 / www.hbdowntown.com
Summer of Mud Run June 16
Celebrate summer by running (or come cheer on the runners!) the approximate +5k course beginning and ending at Irvine Lake. You will get wet and you will get muddy. Be sure to bring towels and a change of clothing.
Time/Place: 9am / Oak Canyon Park, Silverado
Fête de La Musique June 16
Held in conjunction with “World Music Day” to celebrate the coming of summer each June. The festival is celebrated worldwide on, or near, the beginning of summer. LBSCA has crafted its Fête de la Musique to promote Laguna Beach performing arts through live music by singers and musicians.
Time/Place: 1-4pm / Downtown Laguna Beach
Contact: 949-492-0883 / www.lagunabeachsistercities.
Summer Solstice Garden Gala June 16
An evening “under the stars” with an evening of exquisite food, fine wines, & moonlight dancing in beautiful gardens. This annual event raises vital support for the living and historical collections of the Fullerton Arboretum.
Time/Place: Fullerton Arboretum, CSUF Campus
Contact: 714-278-4792 / www.fullertonarboretum.org
Newport Beach Art Exhibition June 16
Artists, 18 years of age or older, may submit one or two original works of art to be displayed and judged. Entry fees are $30 for one entry and $40 for the maximum two entries. Categories include Painting: Watercolors and Painting: Oils and Acrylics, along with Photography and 3D Art.
Time/Place: 1-6pm / Newport Beach Civic Center
Contact: 949-717-3802 / www.newportbeachca.gov
Wags n Wine June 17
Great Food, Terrific Wine, Silent & Live Auction, Opportunity Drawings, Live Entertainment, Dancing, Dog Adoptions, Pooch Pageant & More! Raising money for Waggin’ Trails – rescuing dogs (and other animals) from certain death in our shelters or bad living situations ensuring they get placed in a forever home.
Time/Place: 1-5pm / Paséa Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach
Contact: 714-328-8661 / www.wagsnwine.com
Summerfest June 21-24
Carnival rides, vendors, food booths and the famous FV Classic Car Show, great entertainment, and beer garden. Preview Night on Thursdaywhere all rides are $1.
Time/Place: Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park
Contact: 714-839-8611 / www.fvsummerfest.com
OC Pride 2018 June 23
OC Pride celebrates the 10th annual OC Pride LGBT Parade and Festival. This event celebrates OC’s LGBT community for the opportunity to gather and show their pride.
Time/Place: 9am-6pm / Downtown Santa Ana
Contact: 657-234-7802 / www.prideoc.com
Doheny Surf and Art Festival June 23-24
A two-day celebration of the Southern California surfing lifestyle! Menehune Surf Contest, Surfers Vendor Village, 60’s Surf Contest, Tandem Exhibition, Surf Tricks Contest, Kona Beer Garden (with wine and spirits, too), Live Music, Polynesian Dancing, Great Food, Healthy Living Demonstrations, Surfer’s Art and Collectibles, Classic Longboard Exhibit, Classic Woody Car Show and MORE!
Time/Place: Doheny State Beach
A Taste of Greece June 29-Sept. 2
Art! Three stages of live music and entertainment! Cheap beer and wine! Outdoor eateries and cafes! Free hands-on art classes and daily art demonstrations such as glassblowing!
Time/Place: 10am-10pm / 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Contact: 949-494-3030 / www.sawdustartfestival.org
Via The Close
Well, to some extent this is the nature of online marketing; only a small fraction of the people who visit your site will convert. C’est la vie right?
Wrong. In 2018 there is an entire industry dedicated to using design and functionality to increase the number of conversions on your site. It’s called Conversion Rate Optimization. Or CRO for short. CRO uses data and analytics to determine design, copy, and layout changes.
Today we’re going to look at 7 clever ways to apply CRO oriented design to your personal website, landing pages, or single property sites.
1. Leverage Hick’s Law to Encourage Your Visitors to Engage
Named for British Psychologist William Edmund Hick, this law states that the more choices a consumer has, the longer it will take them to make a decision.
In a study on decision making in supermarkets, Hick set up two sample displays of jam. One had 24 flavors, and the other had only six flavors of jam.
The results showed that 60% of people stopped and sampled jam from the table with 24 flavors. However, only 6% ended up purchasing a jar of jam.
Meanwhile, only 40% of people stopped to sample jam from the table with six flavors, but an astonishing 30% ended up purchasing jam.
Applying Hick’s Law to Your Site Design
The takeaway here should be obvious. By narrowing the number of choices your visitors have, you can dramatically increase your conversion rate.
In order to do this effectively, you need to take the time to figure out exactly what it is you want your visitors to do on each page of your site. For a landing page this might be obvious. You want them to fill out a form and give you their contact info.
For other pages on your site, the answer might not be so obvious. For example, what is the main thing you want visitors to do on your homepage? Do you want them to read the latest from your blog? Check out your brand new listings? Schedule a listing appointment?
In order to get you thinking about this, it makes sense to check out the sites of some top producing Realtors for inspiration. To get you started, here is the main page for Los Angeles luxury brokers Williams & Williams:
Let’s look at a site on the opposite end of the spectrum that still uses Hick’s Law. Check out the homepage for Placester’s free NAR websites:
For landing pages or home value sites, Hick’s Law is even clearer. In most cases you don’t even have the option to do anything besides enter your address and contact info.
2. Use Heatmaps to Find Out What Your Visitors Really Want
Luckily, there is a clever solution to this problem. Using heatmap software, you can track exactly where your site visitors are clicking and navigating. Here’s how it works:
Sign up for a service like Crazy Egg or Hotjar and add pages from your site that you want to track. After a month or so, the software will create a heatmap showing an average of where all users navigated and clicked.
How Heatmap Software works: Heatmaps
Areas where users click or navigate to often are represented in red, while areas they click or navigate less are in yellow, green, and finally blue.
Using this data, you can tweak your layout, copy, and site colors to both improve efficient navigation, and subtly encourage your visitors to take a specific action. Depending on what you’ve decided that action is, this can mean signing up for an email list, entering their address, or browsing properties.
Here are a few common mistakes that heatmap software might uncover, and how you can fix them:
Your visitors are clicking on images or text that are not linked to anything
Consider moving your navigation, or CTA to the area they are clicking, or link the images or text in that area to a landing page or other relevant page on your site.
Visitors are navigating and clicking on too many areas of your page and ignoring what you want them to focus on
Keep Hick’s Law in mind and simplify your page’s layout to encourage them to click where you want them to
How Heatmap Software Works: Scroll Depth
Another useful metric that heatmap software can measure for you is scroll depth. This is the average “depth” a visitor scrolls down your page.
The same color codes used with heatmaps are used for scroll depth. Red areas are where the majority of users scroll down to. Going from red to orange, to yellow, and finally to blue where almost no visitor scrolls to.
Here’s what a scroll depth chart looks like using Hotjar:
As you can see, the percentage of site visitors who scroll down past “the fold” (the area of your website that is visible without scrolling) goes down dramatically toward the bottom of your site.
Scroll depth heatmaps can be a sobering wake up call for just how much of your website is never seen by your visitors. For example, on many pages, less than 10%(!!) of site visitors scroll down to the bottom of the page.
How to Use Scroll Depth data to Increase Conversions
The most common use for scroll depth data is for your blog posts. For example, if you have a post that’s more than say, 1,000 words, and less than 10% of your audience is getting to the end of the article, you need to make tweaks to get more people to finish the article.
Since longer articles do far better in search results than shorter articles, cutting down the length of your blog posts is not an ideal solution. Instead, break up the content of the article with images, graphs, and subheadings so people can skim the article.
People are busy and attention spans short. Letting your visitors skim an article and only read the subheading relevant to them will increase conversions.
3. Learn the “F” Pattern: Take Advantage of How People Scan Web Pages
According to eye tracking research by Nielsen Norman Group, people scan web pages and phone screens in an ‘F” pattern; they start at the top left then scan right, then down, then to the right again, then to the bottom of the article.
It ends up looking something like this on a heatmap:
While the “F” pattern is not the only way people scan article or webpages, it is the most common.
Here’s what a real estate homepage that utilizes the “F” pattern in its layout:
Here’s how you can take advantage of the “F” pattern on a blog post. Note where they’re placing the “Watch Live” button.
4. Make Sure Buttons and Text Boxes Are Easy to Use on Mobile
Is your website mobile friendly? If it’s not, there is a 100% chance you’re losing potential leads. According NAR’s 2017 Real Estate in a Digital Age Report 72% of home buyers used a mobile or tablet website or app in their home search. That’s a lot of lost leads…
Besides making sure the WordPress theme you’re using is responsive (aka works well on desktop and mobile) you need to pay special attention to buttons and text boxes.
In 2017, that means making your text boxes and buttons large enough even for people who are all thumbs to press. If you don’t, your leads may spend a few seconds trying in vain to get in touch with you then just give up.
Here are some of the buttons and text boxes you should pay special attention to on mobile:
- Call now buttons
- “Submit” buttons
- Personal information text boxes
- Page navigation buttons
- Drop down menus for property searches
5. Pay Special Attention to the Color, Shape, & Copy on Your CTA Buttons
Believe it or not, even the buttons you use on your CTA’s can have a huge impact on your conversion rate. Subtle changes in color, shape, and copy on your buttons can mean more leads and more closed deals.
The only problem is that the digital marketing community just can’t seem to agree on what changes exactly lead to increased conversions. That said, there are still a few rules that most marketing and CRO experts can agree on:
- Orange, green, and blue buttons seem to convert the highest
- Buttons whose color contrasts well with the background color convert well
- They are actual buttons, not just text links!
- They use specific action words in their copy- “Get My Home Value” or “Download My Free PDF” will work better than “submit” or the dreaded “click here”
- They’re in a strategic place on the page- Think headline, short copy, text box, button. Also keep the “F” pattern in mind, as well as data from your heatmaps.
Here are some CTA button examples from Unbounce and Instapage that follow these principles well.
6. Use A/B Testing to Find the Perfect Layout, Copy, & CTA for Conversion
Okay, now that you’ve got some new CRO inspired design ideas for your website, the next step is to test them on you site. After all, there is no secret formula for conversion. Some changes or combinations of changes may work better or worse depending on a huge number of variables.
In order to find out which changes lead to better conversion rates, you need to use what the industry calls A/B testing (also known as Split Testing). Here’s how it works.
Whenever you make an edit to your layout, buttons, CTA’s or any copy, record your conversion rate and compare it to your previous conversion rate. In order to get a more accurate measurement, it helps to switch back and forth between changes more than once.
Once You’ve identified a change that leads to a higher conversion rate, then keep it and make another small change to the site and runt the same A/B testing. After a few iterations of this, your site should be fully optimized for conversion.
A/B Testing Landing Pages
If you’re trying to optimize your landing pages, then A/B testing is pretty easy. Most landing page software (Unbounce, Instapage etc) have built in A/B testing functionality.
The best thing about A/B testing with landing page software is that they serve up different versions of your landing page to different users. This is important to rule out factors like the day of the week or season that might affect conversion rates.
A/B Testing Other Pages on Your Website
If you’re not using landing page software like Unbounce, A/B testing your website is a little trickier. If you’re using WordPress, you can simply run one version of your page, record your conversion rate, then run the second version and compare the two.
Crazy Egg also offers an A/B testing platform, but you’ll have to shell out for their software to use it. With plans starting at $29 per month, it probably won’t break the bank, but manual A/B testing using WordPress edits is free. You just have to be careful about the time periods you test.
7. Use Live Chat Buttons for Visitors Who Want Instant Answers
There’s a funny paradox when it comes to lead generation. Some leads want to talk to you right away, but they don’t want to call you, and they don’t want to email… Short of sending a smoke signal, what else is there?
Enter the live chat button. Live chat buttons are small buttons that sit in the corner of your website and beckon your visitors to have their questions answered instantly. Of course some visitors will just waste your time, but some won’t…
While there are a lot of options on the market, the best live chat software will ping your phone and allow you to respond to live chat via text message. This way you can answer questions and ideally get them to call you while you’re on the go.
Real Estate Live Chat Options for 2018
AI Chat Bots
Amazingly, some companies even offer programmable AI chat bots to interact with your site visitors and answer basic questions. Personally, I would avoid these solutions for now, as many of your visitors will be offended that you pawned them off on a robot…
The Bottom Line
If there’s one thing you do to your website in 2018, using CRO strategies to optimize for better lead conversion should be it. Pay attention to Hick’s Law, use heatmap software to track visitors, make sure buttons are easy to use on mobile, design them well, use live chat, and remember to A/B test your changes.
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!
Photo Credit: holidays.co.uk
Easter Egg Hunt at the Fullerton YMCA– April 12 from 11am to 2pm at Fullerton YMCA *FREE* More info at: http://bit,ly+/1lrkImB
2014 Egg-Stravaganza at Disneyland- April 10-April 20 (Park Hours.) Search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters at Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park. Have fun exploring the parks hunting for “eggs” that portray Disney Characters! Record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specialty themed Egg-Stravaganza map to represent that location. Maps and stickers can be purchased for $4.95, at select merchandise locations. More info at: http://bit.ly/QIGOH2
Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Irvine Park- March 29-April 19 (schedules times.) Held in the Locomotive Loop just behind the train station. You can hunt for eggs, meet the Easter Bunny and enjoy all of the other amenities of Irvine Park. (Bike rentals, wheel boats, etc.) More info (and coupons!) at : http://bit.ly//1pVRhsS
Easter Bunny Activities at South Coast Plaza- March 28-April 19. Ride the carousel, makes crafts and take pictures with the Easter Bunny! More info at: http://bit.ly.1gqUxqO
Easter Egg Hunt at Laguna Hills Community Center- April 12 from 10am-11am. Join Mr. Bunny and friends for some springtime adventure like crafts, an egg hunt, and pictures. More infor at http://bit.ly/1fOUF3Z
Easter Egg Hunt and Family Fun Day in Huntington Beach- April 19 from 9am-2pm. Bring the whole family for live music, games, vendors, photos with the Easter Bunny, face painting, and the popular Easter Hunt. More info at: http://bit.ly/1k3SdOk
Celebrate Easter at Newport Dunes’ Waterfront Resort- April 19 and April 20 (check scheduled times.) A twenty-two year tradition of sand, Easter egg hunting and the Easter Bunny! More info at: http://bit.ly/1h8oiCK
SpEGGtacular Easter in Yorba Linda- April 12 at 9am. 5th Annual Royal Riders Pony Club SpEGGtacular Charity Event. All proceeds will be donated to The Shauna Ann Stuewe Foundation. Ponies, puppies, Easter egg hunt AND Charity? Winner!! More info at: http://bit.ly/PqC7jT
Photo Credit: lovethispic.com
Are you prepared for the big one?
I am not a California native. I came to California in 1986 for my father’s career. We moved to Arcadia in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. Coming from Wisconsin, we were not prepared for the heat. Nor, would I learn, were we prepared for earthquakes. I still remember very vividly where I was when the 1987 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake hit. I was getting ready for school… out of nowhere, dishes were flying out of cabinets and the floor was seemingly gone beneath my feet. My mother grabbed my sister and I and we all ran outside. I wish I could find words to appropriately explain what I saw…the earth was flipping, side-to-side. Earthquake, you say, mom? What’s that? I was only 7 at the time, and coming from the other side of the country, we never spoke of such things. Tornados? All the time. Needless to say, we were ill prepared – no extra water or canned food on hand, no extra clothing, batteries, blankets…nada. It was a very serious quake, with several deaths and many homes destroyed.
Fast forward 7 years, we are living near Northridge, CA. We must have had a knack to follow where the next big earthquake would be. My mother and I were living alone in a condo, on top of a subterranean parking garage. I was awoken at 4:31 am by being physically thrown out of my bed onto the floor. I looked up and saw a huge free-standing mirror about to crash over me…instinct told me to roll under my bed while the mirror shattered where I had just lain. The intense noise, not just the shaking, is what was so terrifying about this quake – I screamed the entire time, as did my mother, neither of us hearing anything from the other. As we got our bearings and cautiously went downstairs, we had no idea what had happened. How big was that? Is there power anywhere (not here, obviously)? As we scrambled in the dark, I am still thankful that my mom had just recently decided it was time for an ‘earthquake kit.’ We had water, food, blankets, a flashlight, radio and extra batteries. We sat in our doorway for probably close to 3 hours, listening to the battery-powered radio in the dark, trying to find out how bad the quake was, getting tossed over and over with aftershocks. We stayed in the house for over a week with no power or clean water, until the fire department finally made its way to us. To let us know that we couldn’t stay. While the Northridge quake was a 6.7, the ground acceleration of that quake was one of the highest ever recorded in an urban area, making it feel more like a quake in the 7.5 range.
Looking back on both quakes, I am so thankful that we were more prepared for the second quake. Nothing can prepare you, really, for the disorienting feeling of having the earth beneath you come to life, and rock your senses silly. After this most recent La Habra quake, we are reminded yet again that we live in ‘earthquake country’ and most of us are embarrassingly unprepared for the aftermath of a good shake.
Here are some tips for an effective earthquake kit. Some things to remember: you may not have access to water, electricity or emergency services for a few days, if not more.
1. Water. The single most important item you’ll need. Another option: steri pen. Will sterilize water from any source. You’ll need at least one gallon per day per person in your house.
2. Food – canned food (don’t forget an opener), boxed food that has a long shelf life. Pastas, canned tuna, canned vegetables, etcetera. Camping food is another good option.
3. Camp stove and fuel, along with utensils.
4. Whistle, in case of need for rescuers.
5. Extra set of clothing & shoes.
6. Emergency cash, in small denominations
7. Tool kit (to turn off gas/water)
8. Copies of your vital documents.
9. Tarp, plastic bags – in case of rain. Or, if preferred, a tent.
11. Toys – if you have kids
12. Lanterns, flashlights & batteries.
13. Portable radio – don’t think your cell phone will work. You need the good ol’ fashioned antenna radio.
14. Solar panel for charging any items that might still work.
15. Portable power generator. There are solar versions out there as well. Most generators run on gas, and if there is a main break at your local station, no-can-do. There are other personal preference items you can bring, of course, but try to make your kit as accessible as possible. It should be in a waterproof container, easily accessed OUTSIDE. Do not keep it in your garage – you’ll probably not be able to access it if the damage is severe.
Nothing, like I said, will prepare you for the moment a large earthquake hits. The fear and adrenaline are intense and the disorientation is dumbfounding. But, your preparedness for the moments right after a quake can make the comforts of home enough to get you through mother nature’s moody behavior.
To connect with Melissa Sims please email her at Melissa.Sims@TheBoutiqueRE.com
“So in a sense our team has digitaized the real estate experience.” Raj Qsar
Q: As a full service Real Estate Brokerage What makes The Boutique Real Estate Group Different?
A: We had out “ah-ha” moment back in 2008 as technology and social media found Real Estate. We knew there had to be a better way of not only marketing real estate but there also had to be a better way of managing the mountain of paperwork and people involved in a real estate transaction. So in a sense our team has digitized the real estate experience. You will never find our clients running to a fax machine and most likely never even pick up a pen to sign anything. We are a paperless office. Completely mobile and can run an entire real estate transaction from our iPads and phones. Our technology does not require our clients to be tech savvy – it only requires our agents to understand the benefits of technology and to implement that technology with our clients.
Q: Your marketing platform is truly amazing. Can you share with us a little bit of why your team has become globally recognized for your work in Real Estate Marketing?
A: Real Estate marketing has truly evolved over the last 10 years. We have developed a comprehensive strategy which showcases our client’s home through real life video (actual movies), HDR Photography, 360 HD V-Tours (amazing technology), individual property websites for each individual home, staging & interior design, custom graphics & design, and a social media content strategy that reaches people on a global scale. We have had the pleasure of being able to bring all aspects of our marketing completely in-house. What that means is that we have complete control over our designs, feel and strategy when marketing luxury real estate. When surfing the web for real estate, our listings stand out: they have a unique look & feel and buyers recognize our listings as being “boutique-ified.” Every part of the marketing strategy has been touched by our in-house team to unsure absolute perfection.
Q: The Boutique Real Estate Group has a massive social and web-presence. Why have you focused so much on this part of marketing?
A: The world is on the web – advances in technology are changing the way businesses interact with clients. People are on their smartphones, heads down and focused. We know we need to be where our clients are, so we can be at the forefront of their minds. Our clients are on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter and Four Square. However, the Facebook user is different than the Linkedin user, who is totally different than the individual on Instagram. So when thinking about marketing, you will see that our strategy is different depending on the platform and who we are trying to reach.
Q: Why did you choose Corona Del Mar as your new home base for The Boutique Real Estate Group?
A: I am an Orange County Native and growing up, my family & I we always at the beach playing, surfing and just enjoying our time together. As a real estate professional it only makes sense that our marketing platform, our luxury services, and our attention to detail is needed in Coastal Orange County. Corona Del Mar was a natural choice – not only is it centrally located between Newport, Huntington, Laguna, and Dana Point, but it encompasses exactly what we stand for, laid-back luxury.
Technology meets Real Estate on the coast of Orange County in the beach city of Corona Del Mar as The Boutique Real Estate Group sets its eyes on the Coast of Orange County with the addition of an In-House Chief Technology Officer.
As Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, Ca, Jeremy brings technology and tools to help his team provide the highest level of customer service to their clients. Jeremy says, “Using mobile, social & cloud based technology, we are able to respond quickly to client requests, property inquiries and showings, create/edit/sign contracts, and communicate with our entire team faster than ever before.” Jeremy has been instrumental in creating a paperless office for The Boutique Real Estate Group giving their agents and clients the ability to manage an entire real estate transaction from their smartphones & tablets. As The Boutique Real Estate Group expands its operations to Coastal Orange County, Jeremy will be able to provide this tech forward approach to their agents and clients in the beach cities of Orange County
Jeremy is a second generation Realtor with a passion for real estate, marketing and bleeding edge technology. With professionalism and productivity at the core of his daily plan, Jeremy uses a client-first approach to every real estate transaction that delivers outstanding results. As an early adopter of technology and social media in real estate, Jeremy’s tech savvy nature has led him to national speaking opportunities and relationships with major companies such as Apple & Inman News. He also co-developed one of the industry’s first mobile MLS applications used by over 30,000 agents throughout North America.
Most recently Jeremy became the youngest president ever for the Pacific West Association of Realtors, one of the top ten largest associations in the U.S. and was named as Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders by Inman News. He also currently serves on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors. Furthermore, The Boutique Real Estate Group was named 2014 Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage for their relentless dedication to technology, flawless design & social media and their Year End Video for 2013 entitled “GoodByeHello” was named Top 20 Real Estate Videos in The USA.
When he’s not working, Jeremy loves spending time with his wife and 4 children, enjoying the parks and beaches of OC.
Posted By The KCM Crew On December 27, 2012, www.kcmblog.com
Predicting trends during volatile economic times in American is no easy task. However, we are going to give it our best shot. We strongly believe these are the five real estate items we should keep an eye on in 2013:
Demand for Housing Will Continue to Surge
The housing market has turned the corner and there is no reason to believe that buyer demand will not maintain momentum throughout 2013. Household formations shot up to boom-time levels in 2012 and are projected to increase at even a faster rate over the next twelve months. A lack of inventory will be more of a challenge to sales increases than will a lack of demand.
Generations X and Y Will Prove They Believe in Homeownership
Contrary to what many have hypothesized over the last few years, young adults (18-35 year olds) are just as committed to homeownership as previous generations. Recent studies have shown:
- 43% already own a home
- 72% see homeownership as part of their personal American Dream
- 93% of those currently renting plan to buy a home
This, along with the increase in household formations mentioned above, makes us believe that 2013 will be the year that many of these young adults will jump into homeownership.
Prices Will Continue to Increase
Pricing of any item is determined by supply and demand. Demand for housing will remain strong throughout 2013. At the same time, the supply of homes ready for is shrinking in many parts of the country. Outside of a few states that still have challenges with large inventories of distressed properties (NY, NJ, CT, IL for example), prices will appreciate nicely.
Even in the areas that are still dealing with high percentages of foreclosures and short sales, prices will not tumble dramatically. The increase in demand will absorb much of this inventory. In these areas, prices will either flatten or perhaps soften to a small degree.
Move-Up Sellers Will Return in Great Numbers
Perhaps what many will find as the biggest surprise of 2013 will be the return of the ‘move-up’ seller. Over the last several years negative equity has prevented many of these sellers from moving up to the house of their dreams. However, with prices recovering, more and more of these sellers will realize that now may be their greatest opportunity to make the move to a lifestyle they always wanted.
With home prices expected to increase and more stringent mortgage qualifications (QR and QRM) scheduled to be announced this year, we believe that the first half of the year will bring many of these sellers/buyers to the market.
The Consumer Will Demand That Their Agent Be an Expert
Real Estate professionals who have invested the money, time and energy to truly understand what is happening and why it is happening will separate themselves from their competition and do very well this year.
Those who take that next step of learning how to simply and effectively communicate the market to their clients will be seen as experts. These industry leaders will dominate their markets.
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