In the spring of 2018 in Palm Springs, California, a diverse collection of real estate innovators, leaders and influencers gathered to hammer out a manifesto for changing the real estate industry. They were guided by the mandate of creating a better and more certain consumer real estate experience.
1. Transform our industry from a sales profession to a service business
Incentivize real estate agents to focus on quality and service over volume and sales by obsessing over the needs of the consumer to drive innovation and best practices.
2. Simplify the process of buying and selling a home
We must make the transaction smoother and simpler throughout the process. Create more transparent transaction management tools to give consumers a better and more certain experience.
3. Create a transparent chain of industry accountability to benefit the consumer
From associations/MLSs to brokers, brokers to agents, and brokers and agents to consumers, we
must hold the industry to a higher standard of service, transparency and responsibility. The core of accountability is transparency across the industry.
4. Strictly enforce ethical standards to increase professionalism
We as a profession owe it to the consumer to
establish — and maintain and enforce — the highest standards of ethical behavior. We must invest in mid-level real estate manager training; refocus culture and policies toward quality and service above recruiting and retention in the brokerage; and establish better peer-based enforcement mechanisms to weed out bad apples.
5. Raise the quality of real estate services to create a delightful and more certain consumer experience
We must take ownership of competency. Create better and more experiential educational systems such as apprenticeships that allow unproductive agents to learn from peers, as well as higher and more meaningful standards in licensing/accreditation. Ensure more transparent information to consumers to allow them to evaluate real estate professionals and be more selective in choosing an agent.
6. Demand real estate associations be more transparent and impactful
We should create a culture and process that ensures every association member has an equal opportunity to be fully informed of key issues and to lead the organization. Focus money and effort on creating a healthy real estate market. Simplify the association’s role to a focus on creating opportunities for agents to sell more real estate. Encourage agents to take a more active role in their communities to make a difference in housing costs and community quality of life.
7. Free up property data feeds and remove barriers for innovators
We should create a world where property data can be used, reused and broadly distributed. Remove artificial and overly protective barriers to property data access and utilization via a universal licensing agreement. Remove artificial barriers to new ideas, inventions and business models that improve the real estate experience.
8. Insist on diversity in real estate leadership
We must create an industry proudly known for
inclusion and diversity. In the boardrooms, in the executive suite, on stages and in strategy gatherings, the industry at the top must reflect the overall
diversity of business. A new generation of leaders are ready to take over and they should be celebrated and empowered to do so.
9.Fight for more “available” housing
We must bring key stakeholders to the table including builders, policymakers, associations and real estate professionals to build more entry-level units and
mixed-housing projects to create more balanced, affordable markets and bring relief to the many Americans on the verge of homelessness.
10. Make our communities better places to live and work
We should use our influence as real estate leaders to give back and advocate for and support education (even if it means higher taxes), marginalized
communities and policy that will promote affordable housing and access to homeownership in the long term.
11. Selflessly give back to the world through service
We must recognize the importance of building service into our companies, organizations and our brand to authentically give back to the world beyond our own community.
12. Stand up to climate change and prepare for natural disasters
The industry must stand up for sustainability and commit to disaster preparedness. The industry should equip their clients with the knowledge to be responsible in using natural resources wisely and
supporting a sustainable community. We must make sure that our teams and their clients have taken the steps to be resilient in the face of extreme weather events and emergencies. We must be transparent with clients about the threats of nature, fully disclosing changes in the environment.
“Raj Qsar at Inman NYC // It’s time for Inman—it’s Inman time! In this episode, Raj Qsar is a blinding, brilliant light from heaven. He brings all of his energy and passion for video in real estate and just CRUSHES it. You’ll be inspired—just like we were—when you hear Raj talk about how he broke into the luxury market using video; the ROI of video in his business; and how much he can bench press. For real. He can bench press a lot.” -The Boom Real Estate Podcast
Carlito Jocson, the top chef for Yard House restaurants, has sold his modern, 8,320-square-foot house on three acres in Yorba Linda for $6.095 million. www.22750HiddenHillsRd.com
That sets a record for the most expensive home sale ever in the city, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
The house, on one of Orange County’s highest peaks, hit the market in September 2016 for $10 million. The price dropped to $8.688 million in February 2017 and $7.5 million in May.
The estate includes a full-size outdoor kitchen with a bar and wood-fired pizza oven. Flanking a zero-edge swimming pool are two glass-tiled fire pits. A meditation garden with more than a dozen olive trees and a disappearing entertainment system are among the outdoor features.
Inside, the solar-powered house has a restaurant-caliber kitchen, 1,200-bottle wine room and a home theater.
Jocson was one of the Yard House’s original founders and went on to become a vice president and the corporate executive chef.
In a world of extreme competition, traditional home tours are becoming obsolete. Real estate agents are now using movies to sell mansions.
It’s not easy to sell houses. In a market spoilt for choice, selling mansions becomes even more tougher. So real estate agents are finding new ways to lure customers and one of them happens to be making movies to sell mansions. A woman in a red dress twirls with a mysterious man through light-filled hallways. There is light music that surges in a romantically-lit courtyard, which overlooks a twinkling city. A mischievous coda plays, and then the credits roll. You could mistake it for a scene from a romantic blockbuster. Not really, as this eight-minute mini movie is a real estate advertisement—uploaded on Vimeo—for an $8.5-million, 1.5-acre compound in Encino, Los Angeles. The days of good old brochures with high-resolution pictures are over. So is successfully marketing a mansion using shots from an iPhone or even expensive videos shot by drone. In the days of ever-evolving technology and infrastructure, real estate agents need to do a little more hard work to pitch the perfect sale bid.
So luxury listings are now experimenting with full-on property movies—films featuring actors, story arcs, scores and tinseltown-caliber cinematography. The money is spent on movies to be recovered through million-dollar sales. In another movie for a mansion, gorgeous women dressed in bikinis, sipping fine wine, are sitting by the poolside. The short movie made by realtors to sell a $32-million Hollywood Hills mansion cost its makers a whopping $40,000. Real estate agents Rayni Williams and Branden Williams were one of the first ones who came up with such an over-the-top marketing idea to sell a mansion in 2015.
The storyline of the movie pays attention to showcase all the finer details of the mansion. The man of the house is out of town and his wife texts her friends to come over and party. So the director of photography used five different cameras and three drones to capture the home’s splendour. The eight-bedroom estate boasts breathtaking views, a theatre and a gym. The husband and wife realtor team also made a $100,000-mini movie to sell a $70-million property the same year.
People are short of time and so the classic, old-school walking tour of the house is becoming more and more obsolete. So here come movies for a generation that is short on attention, but is addicted to smartphones. A movie makes people feel attached to a story, and they want to stick around and see what’s happening. Making a movie doesn’t come cheap though. Typically, the filmmaking cost is covered by either the listing agents, sellers or both. Movie-style real estate videos can cost anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $30,000. Real estate agent Ben Bacal, an early innovator of high-gloss property films, worked with married clients Ori and Nafisa Ayonmike to craft a $20,000-film to market their home in Hollywood.
The Ayonmikes star in a fictional narrative that begins with Ori skulking through the sleek, contemporary rooms of his 5,500-square-foot, five-bedroom estate. In the next 11 minutes, Ori tells Nafisa that he wants a divorce. A passionate fight ensues, Ori gets kicked out and Nafisa chucks her massive diamond ring into the pool. Amid all the high drama, the camera-person captures the home’s 20-foot ceilings, high-tech security system, marble fireplaces and the tony Hollywood Hills neighbourhood.
The video of the property, listed at $3.65 million, has generated nearly 61,000 views since being posted on YouTube last year. As movies are doled out so are online video platforms, which have become a key component in property sales. Some 36% of home buyers used YouTube, Vimeo or another video-hosting website in their search last year, despite only 8% of real estate agents using films in their marketing strategies, as per the National Association of Realtors in the USA.
Bacal posted another movie trailer-listing video last year for a Bel-Air property, in which two children develop Ferris Bueller fevers and spend the day playing hooky. The pair splash in their infinity pool, shoot golf balls over the Los Angeles skyline from their lawn, try on outfits in their generous closets and have a puppy delivered by drone. The 14,230-square-foot spread sold in December for $39 million.
Not all of the properties are extravagant or overwrought. One narrative video, for a four-bedroom home in Brea that sold in October, focused on family. The movie trailer for the 3,008-square-foot property, posted on YouTube three months earlier by the Boutique Real Estate Group, features little girls at a sleepover, romping through various bedrooms and having a late-night living room dance party to Taylor Swift songs. Some properties take naturally to the camera.
Consider the 20,500-square-foot Opus spec estate in Beverly Hills. The $100-million listing—which includes seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two swimming pools, art by Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol, and a champagne vault with 170 bottles of Cristal—was featured last spring in a video inspired by David Lynch and Eyes Wide Shut. Producer Alexander Ali of the Society Group worked with Hilton & Hyland selling agent Drew Fenton and developer Nile Niami—who co-produced Steven Seagal’s 1998 film The Patriot—on the Opus film. Opus has now received inquiries from China, Russia, Brazil and India.
June 6th, 2017 – Raj Qsar, owner/principal of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California shares his unique journey into the real estate profession. Unique is an appropriate term, as no other guest has traveled the path Raj details. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so tune into Episode 97 of The Real Estate Sessions and enjoy.
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.
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
But with a bombardment of banners, popups and ad word choices filling the margins of their screen, how are real estate agents going to grab potential clients from cyberspace and bring them offline, where the lead becomes your client?
Is your head still lingering in the circa 2006 cyberspace, where you register a domain and start a website with a landing page that forces people to register?
An obituary for this bygone process might read like this: beloved agent bought a lead capture website from one of the hundreds of real estate website providers, ran some Google AdWords or general Facebook ads that linked back to a landing page and watched the leads roll in.
Some very successful agents still swear by the simplicity of this method and utilize a widely cast net of web presence. Expert agents build sites with offers to buyers and sellers and then run their offer everywhere — Craigslist, Instagram, Facebook, blogs and search engines.
But again, the system is getting increasingly chaotic, so simply spinning a web on the internet and waiting for a client to fly into it is not enough.
Like sand through the hourglass
Funneling leads has gotten more sophisticated as attention has become an increasingly precious commodity.
Agents are establishing what are called marketing funnels. Think of sand through the hourglass (unless you are having a midlife crisis, then think of something else) — there is a lot of sand in the top of the hourglass, but only a few grains trickle down at a time.
For a moment, single grains are falling, unique and isolated, before they land and get lost in the sandy shuffle. So it is with the faceless, nameless and impersonal masses of potential clientele on the web.
Funneling, then, sounds a bit too automated. It is not so simple, and it requires the lead nurturing of agents and inside sales agents (ISAs) through phone calls, voicemails, text messages and emails.
You have only moments with your prospect — while that sand is falling from the mass of grains — to educate and nurture the prospect enough times to get them to choose to do business with you.
Your marketing funnel can have singular sources or many. There are the sources online that we discussed above.
Classic ads and print mail can also drive your leads to landing pages where, hopefully, the lead registers, and, generally, they get an automated response from the agent’s CRM.
This then sends the agent an alert, and the CRM continues to follow up with the lead until they respond.
An effective hyperlocal approach
But, in a recent post to the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents, Raj Qsar outlined a more complex (but comprehensive) view of the modern marketing funnel — the necessary paradox of appearing hyperlocal, but also everywhere.
Note the current web of interconnectivity necessary today to get in front of a prospect and stay there until they are a client.
This is where the digital lead machine comes to fruition. Qsar’s example is specific to Zillow’s platform:
Lead registers via your online portal.
Agents are notified via text or email (contact receives a notification as well — a phone call from a live assistant in under five minutes).
They are transferred to an ISA.
Prospect is uploaded (generally this is automated) to the agent’s CRM.
CRM drips lead content such as stats, blog posts, events, etc.
Prospect is uploaded to listing alert software.
Zillow adds contact into drip campaign with 19 touches in 30 days.
Ideally, you also have a retargeting digital ad campaign in the same ZIP code or city where this lead is looking, so you are “following them around the web” with your digital advertisement (various ads) creating brand and agent recognition.
Print mailing campaigns in the same ZIP code or city as the initial lead.
The print mailing has a lead capture landing page and retargeting pixel so you can follow them around the web.
Handwritten letters are sent to any leads interacting with your marketing, and emails, generated from sign-ups or subscriptions, are dispatched weekly or monthly depending on volume.
The more data received from these leads, the more you can hone and focus social media marketing campaigns, like city or ZIP targeted Facebook ads, Facebook groups and broader Google Ads to cast a wider range of coverage.
At this point, it is time to get local — get seen! Take the hyperlocal campaign from the web, where your ZIP code specific prospects are seeing your presence, to the streets — to “real life” through local appearances and events.
We asked in the opening paragraph: how do you pluck a prospect from the web?
Well, sometimes you need to make your presence known on the web through focused marketing efforts, and then move yourself from cyberspace into the real world.
This is where the moment of realization occurs for your prospects: “Hey, I’ve seen those ads, those emails, mailers, listings, etc. Let’s talk.”
If the commodity is a moment of attention — the moment the sand is falling from the hourglass — then focusing your digital lead machine with the above-mentioned tweaks could make all the difference.
Dale Archdekin is the founder of Smart Inside Sales and the current director of lead generation for Global Living Companies at Keller Williams in Philadelphia. Follow him on Facebook or checkout his Facebook group.
Carlito Jocson, the top chef for Yard House restaurants, is selling his modern, five-bedroom Yorba Linda house on one of Orange County’s highest peaks for $10 million.
Set on 3.1 acres, the estate includes a full-size outdoor kitchen with a bar and wood-fired pizza oven. Two glass-tiled fire pits flank a zero-edge swimming pool.
In addition to an expansive parking area for guests, there’s space to add a helipad, says listing agent Raj Qsar of The Boutique Real Estate Group.
Built in 2011, the 8,320-square-foot home designed by David Streshinsky of DKY Architects boasts double-height ceilings, a restaurant-caliber kitchen, 1,200-bottle wine room and home theater. The house also has a solar-power system.
Grounds include drought-friendly landscaping and a meditation garden with more than a dozen olive trees. A basketball court and disappearing entertainment system are among the outdoor amenities, and the Pacific Ocean can be viewed in the distance.
The house is by far the highest priced Yorba Linda home offered on the Multiple Listing Service right now. The next most expensive one is a seven-bedroom, 9,411-square-foot residence built in 1995, with a $5.18 million price tag.
Jocson is a Yard House vice president and its corporate executive chef. He’s also an original partner. He said his favorite room is – of course – the kitchen, relishing the layout and plating his creations on the large island
“I wanted to build the kitchen with a sense of community,” he said. “It’s the (home’s) heart. From a chef’s standpoint, I love to feed people … I want them to watch me.”
When a chef friend created a seven-course meal at the house, Jocson added, “He didn’t skip a beat. It felt like (cooking in) a restaurant.”
He also savors how the master suite’s sliding glass doors open to the zero-edge pool. “I wanted to wake up in the morning and jump in the pool straight from the bed,” he said.
With four grown children out of the house, Jocson said it’s time to downsize.
Jocson and his wife Elizabeth for the past decade have been feeding homeless and needy Orange County residents through The Storehouse ministry of North Orange Christian Church, where they are members.
Yard House restaurants are known for their contemporary atmosphere, rock music, eclectic food and more than 100 beers on tap. The chain, with 13 states, was sold to Darden Restaurants by private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners in 2012 for $585 million in an all-cash deal.