They are the visionaries, the forward-thinking, the stubborn, the obsessed, the tech-savvy, the creative minds always pushing boundaries. They are entrepreneurs pushing the old ways aside, data scientists discovering new ways to examine behavior, marketers inventing new ways to showcase properties, agents developing new ways to reach clients, companies building new technologies, brokerages creating whole new ways of doing business. They are the Inman Innovator Finalists, and they’re leading us into the future of real estate.
He’s an entrepreneur who made himself into a media brand. She’s an agent who landed a $20 million listing after just a year in the business. It’s a company that developed an augmented-reality tool to show prospective buyers what an interior-decorated home might look like — during a showing, on their phones. They’re all finalists.
“We are honored to celebrate so much creativity and invention,” said Inman publisher Brad Inman. “Never in the history of the Innovator Awards has there been so much innovation and, therefore, never has our list of finalists been so large — these are exciting times.”
Who will win? The 2017 Inman Innovators will be revealed at Inman Connect in San Francisco the week of August 7-11, 2017, followed by the not-to-be-missed party that’ll wrap up Inman Connect San Francisco and celebrate the Inman Innovators.
So, how can agents replicate the success that Qsar gained from an “undesirable” listing? He says it’s all about hustling and “doing it right.” Here are some of his tips on how to get your hustle on:
Be prepared and willing to hustle 24/7
Qsar said one of the first questions he asks potential hires is “What is your hustle like?” He looks for agents who have the natural drive to build face-to-face connections rather than those who prefer to stay cooped up in an office all day.
These type of agents are harder to find, Qsar said, because many professionals in the business think that becoming a top producer is an overnight process.
“Most people think they can show up, do some social media posts and all of a sudden they’re going to be a top agent in their area,” he says. “It’s not like that. You have to meet people where they are.”
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye, we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming.” – Raj Qsar
Qsar says agents must realize that real estate is a total hustle. “You wake up hustling, during the day you’re hustling and you go to bed hustling, and then you dream about hustling,” he says.
So, what is the hustle? Qsar says it comes down to never saying “no,” executing each listing the right way and always putting your best foot forward.
“Even on million-dollar listings, if agents can take a reduced commission or they feel like it’s overpriced or whatever, they’re not going to put their best foot forward,” he said. “That’s just too bad that they’re not thinking downstream. ‘Cause the world is able to see anything that we drop on the Internet, and who knows what opportunity that will bring. It’s all downstream.”
Always do it right
Qsar says he knew he wasn’t going to make any money from the initial lease listing, but he decided to take the opportunity anyway.
He invested in professional photos and brochures, staging, a single-property website and even ordered custom signs that were up to the neighborhood’s code.
In addition to stellar marketing strategies, Qsar provided five-star customer service through appointment-only showings.
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye; we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming,” he says with a laugh. “We’re driving, taking time out of our day to make sure we can open the door for someone we don’t even know. That’s doing it right.”
Qsar says he treated the leased property like a million-dollar listing to “give the client the best chance of success.” Plus, he knew that his current efforts would lead to future rewards.
“What we preach at our brokerage is that it’s all about downstream. You’re not taking a listing for this listing, you’re taking it for the next listing,” he says. “You’re taking a listing for the digital content you’re going to produce, and you’re taking it for the online leads you’re going to generate from that one listing.”
Furthermore, Qsar says most agents are transactionally trained, which means they are trained for “this one and only transaction.” Basically, agents are playing a game of checkers when they should be playing chess, which puts them behind in the long run.
“[Agents are] not trained digitally, they’re not trained for content, they’re not trained to meet real people in real life,” he says.
Focus on making personal connections
Out of all the aspects of being a successful real estate agent, it’s clear that Qsar treasures his ability to make personal connections the most.
“Something that everyone seems to forget is that you’re going to meet real, live human beings from this listing,” he says. “That’s an opportunity for you to connect with people in real life, and when you connect with people in real life your chance of success is much greater.”
Qsar says that personal connections not only make it easier on the agent but also the client, which is what the work of real estate is all about.
The inspiration for this new position came from Raj Qsar’s father-in-law, a savvy business owner
The Boutique Real Estate Group has added a “Goodwill Ambassador” to its team.
Ambassador’s “sole purpose is to spread goodwill to everyone he meets.”
The Boutique Real Estate Group has added another person to its team, and it’s not another agent, marketing guru or office management whiz — instead, owner Raj Qsar opted to hire a “Goodwill Ambassador,” a person whose only job is to spread positivity wherever he goes.
The inspiration for this new position came from Qsar’s father-in-law, who has owned a commercial cleaning company for more than 35 years.
“The idea came from him and his good friend,” Qsar said. “They are in the soap business where they sell soap to restaurants.”
“His friend would always eat at restaurants and comment on how beautiful the silverware and stemware looked,” he added. “So after some time, he designated him as his goodwill ambassador.”
When thinking of the perfect person to take on this role, Qsar says he immediately thought of Chuck Underwood, a close family friend who recently listed his home through The Boutique.
“We recently sold his home in Orange County and found him a gorgeous new home,” he says. “Throughout the process, he fell in love with The Boutique and was so impressed by how we operated our brokerage and the way we marketed his home.”
Beyond his newfound passion for the brokerage, Qsar says Underwood’s experience as a business owner along with his wide network of friends, associates and colleagues make him the perfect person to extend The Boutique’s reach beyond the immediate community.
“I can’t think of a more qualified person for the job,” wrote one commenter. “Congrats, Chuck!”
Underwood will take on a number of projects, the first of which is attending a build day with Giveback Homes on June 3, and taking on the hosting duties for the brokerage’s new office opening in Brea, California, and all of the festivities surrounding that event.
Underwood says he was “a bit intimidated” when Qsar came to him with the idea, but he knew he had the chops to take on ambassador duties.
“The Boutique is such a powerhouse brand in the Orange County real estate market, but I knew that with my outgoing personality, dedication, drive and true enthusiasm I could get the job done for The Boutique,” he says.
“It means I have a weight on my shoulders and am determined to spread goodwill to everyone I meet every single day,” Underwood added.
Although Underwood is barely a week into this new position, Qsar says they’re planning to expand the program to include additional ambassadors.
“Yes, of course,” he says excitedly of adding more ambassadors. “We already have a waiting list of three prime individuals who have applied for the position.”
For more information the the Goodwill Ambassador program or to learn more about The Boutique please visit www.JoinTheBoutique.com
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!)
Social media has been a powerful tool for the real estate industry. Real estate social media accounts have sprouted up everywhere! Brokerages, publications, investment firms and realtors are all on social media.
Below is a list of amazing real estate social media accounts! Click on the buttons below to skip to your favourite platform!
Facebook – Real Estate Social Media
The Boutique Real Estate Group
It’s safe to say that you could follow The Boutique Real Estate Group on any of their social media accounts. But, with over 30,000 likes on their Facebook page, we saw it fit to include them in this section! However, it’s not just about likes, they also get hundreds of likes, loves and wows on every post!
As part of its “Meet The Intern” campaign, tech company HP filmed a series of commercials showcasing Fox Sports host and Extra co-host Charissa Thomson interning at four companies.
Two of them were Giveback Homes and The Boutique Real Estate Group — two hallmark brands within the real estate industry.
The campaign ads, which began airing on Super Bowl Sunday, show Thomson helping craft a travel packet for Giveback Homes and organize a swanky open house for The Boutique RE Group, all while showing off HP’s newest OfficeJet Pro printer.
Giveback Homes co-founder Caroline Pinal said HP found them through social media and noted Giveback’s “authentic social media presence,” and that the company was captured by co-founder Blake Andrews’ story and mission to spread the message of social responsibility to the real estate industry as a whole.
Pinal says the feedback on the ad has been positive, with supporters inside and outside of the industry giving their kudos.
“Giveback Homes Members are thrilled to see the Giveback Homes movement taking on a consumer-facing approach and proud to be part of it,” she said.
“Giveback Homes has also received online support from their friends like Toms Founder Blake Mycoskie, TV host Charissa Thompson, and animal conservationist Black Jaguar White Tiger.”
Raj Qsar, the principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group — who is known for his vibrant digital presence and strategies — said HP reached out to him via social media as well.
“It was a super fun project,” said Qsar, and the ads have brought amazing feedback and robust traffic to his brokerage.
The ad campaign is only the beginning for both companies.
Giveback Homes is taking their relationship with HP offline by hosting a “Build Day” on April 21 in Los Angeles, with Thomson continuing her “internship” by helping to build a home.
As for The Boutique Real Estate Group, Qsar says the brokerage will be working with other big name brands in the very near future.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.