Giveback Homes Welcomes 2018 Advocates — Raj Qsar

Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group honored for his commitment to safe housing for all

Manhattan Beach, C.A., April 24, 2018 — The housing crisis is a growing issue, not just for the United States but for the world. Giveback Homes, real estate’s social good movement, today names Raj Qsar, Principal and Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California, as a 2018 Advocate for Social Good. This distinction is given to prominent individuals within the real estate community who have demonstrated their commitment to giving back and pursuing the goal of safe and secure housing for all, and are eager to do more.

“We started Giveback Homes because we saw the opportunity to bring a focus on social good to real estate,” said Blake Andrews, founder of Giveback Homes. “Through the years, we’ve found a tribe of real estate professionals who are going above and beyond in their communities and the world and the Giveback Homes Advocate program will aim to mobilize them even more. They will also help shape the future of Giveback Homes.”

The Advocate program is a select group of Giveback Homes members who each had to apply by describing what the future of Giveback Homes looked like to them. Some of their answers included, educational seminars about home ownership, meeting with Congress, referral programs, and partnering with more non-profits. The Advocates are dedicated to amplifying Giveback Homes initiatives, promoting new membership opportunities, and leading initiatives in their community.  The Advocates will meet once a quarter to strategize on social good projects and mobilize other industry professionals through their engagement.

As the Principal and Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group, Raj Qsar is known for his marketing innovation, use of technology and commitment to excellence in all aspects of the real estate experience. In 2017 Raj & The Boutique were awarded The Real Estate Influencer of The Year by Inman News, Most Innovative Brokerage, REAL Trends Finalist for Best Overall Website and the #1 Real Estate Video Influencer Award. As a national and international speaker, Raj travels the world and has taken the stage at some of the most prestigious real estate conferences. He has participated in multiple build days and fundraising events for Giveback Homes. “My team and I just love Giveback Homes,” added Raj. “They’ve helped us give back both locally and globally and I look forward to helping them continue on their mission as a social good movement in real estate.”

“Raj and The Boutique Real Estate Group are a very special group of people,” said Caroline Pinal, co-founder of Giveback Homes. “Raj is systematic when it comes to sharing the Giveback Homes story with his agents, clients, and other brokerages. We are so excited to name him as one of our Advocates. ”

Giveback Homes mobilizes the real estate industry to provide safe homes and clean water to families in need. Giveback Homes has provided safe and secure homes for over 200 families in Nicaragua, 50 affordable housing projects in the U.S., and water filters to give over 5,000 people access to clean drinking water. The company has mobilized funds for times of crisis in the wake of hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters. Through volunteer experiences, fundraising events, and impact reporting, Giveback Homes empowers the real estate community to take an active role in making the world a better place. To learn more, please visit GivebackHomes.com.

About Giveback Homes

Giveback Homes is dedicated to creating a sustainable relationship between real estate professionals, their clients, and communities in need throughout the world. Their goal is to create social change through the act of buying or selling a home. Through fundraising events, build days, and international trips they are dedicated to inspiring the real estate industry to take action for social good. Together with their giving partners, Giveback Homes has funded and built over 200 homes for families in need in Nicaragua. To learn more about Giveback Homes and join the movement for social good, please visit www.givebackhomes.com.

The Parker Principles- A Real Estate Manifesto

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.

Christina El Moussa of ‘Flip or Flop’ puts Yorba Linda home up for sale at $2.9 million

christina-and-house-fi
The Mediterranean home has undergone $1.5 million in renovations and boasts a rock pool and spa with waterfalls, a slide, grotto and torches. There’s also a putting green.(Composite by Marilyn Kalfus, Orange County Register/SCNG; Inset: File photo; House: First Team/Christie’s International Real Estate)
PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

“Flip or Flop” star Christina El Moussa is selling a five-bedroom, nine-bathroom Yorba Linda home she shared with her ex, Tarek El Moussa, for $2.995 million.

The couple’s divorce was finalized in January 2018, and Tarek El Moussa bought a three-bedroom house in Costa Mesa on Feb. 21.

Built in 2004, the 6,366-square-foot, Mediterranean home on nearly a half acre hit the market this week.

The house has undergone $1.5 million in renovations, according to the listing, and boasts a rock pool and spa with waterfalls, a waterslide and grotto, as well as an outdoor kitchen, barbecue and beer tap. There’s also a putting green.

Inside are a soaring entry, two-story dining room, home theater and “tech center.” Italian Travertine, hardwood floors and stonework are among the interior touches.

The kitchen was designed with Carrara marble and has Thermador and Sub-Zero appliances.

In the master retreat are a fireplace, tub, walk-in closets and a seamless glass shower. A gym with a bathroom could be transformed back to two additional bedrooms. The property includes a casita.

Dean Lueck of First Team/Christie’s International Real Estate is the listing agent. Christina joined the firm in February.

Tarek El Moussa last month purchased a 3,010-square-foot house in Costa Mesa with a master suite opening to a deck and swimming pool. The turnkey home includes a great room with a two-story vaulted ceiling, a California room and clerestory windows. A steam shower and free-standing tub are part of the master suite.

Despite their split, the El Moussas have continued to shoot episodes for their popular HGTV show. They share custody of two young children.

Here’s a peek of the grand staircase at the Yorba Linda house:

Did you miss?

Tarek El Moussa of ‘Flip or Flop’ buys $2.28 million Costa Mesa home

tarek-and-exterior-fi_

7 Web Design Tricks for Realtors to Get More Leads in 2018

by  | Feb 6, 2018

Via The Close

If you’ve had your website up and running for more than a few months, you’ve probably noticed something curious. You’re getting some traffic, but almost none of that traffic converts into actual leads…

What gives?

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

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via Hotjar

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:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks
Okay, I know. This is an extreme example from a team that has dozens of jaw dropping eight figure listings in Beverly Hills… Of course they’re going to encourage people to look at their listings first!

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:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks
The main choices here seem to be home search, and testimonials. Since these sites are all about generating buyer leads, this makes perfect sense.

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.

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks
To learn more about applying Hick’s Law to your website design, check out Usabilla’s excellent write up here.

2. Use Heatmaps to Find Out What Your Visitors Really Want

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks
One of the trickiest things to do when designing your website or landing page is figuring out where your visitors are looking for information. Even if your layout and navigation seems obvious to you, it may not be obvious to all your visitors.

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:

Problem 
Your visitors are clicking on images or text that are not linked to anything

Solution 
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.

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks
Image via Hotjar

Problem 
Visitors are navigating and clicking on too many areas of your page and ignoring what you want them to focus on

Solution 
Keep Hick’s Law in mind and simplify your page’s layout to encourage them to click where you want them to

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks
Image via Hotjar

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:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

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:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via Instapage

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:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Screenshot: thebotiquere.com

Here’s another:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Screenshot: pearsonsmithrealty.com

…and another:

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via: labs.hawaiilife.com

Here’s how you can take advantage of the “F” pattern on a blog post. Note where they’re placing the “Watch Live” button.

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Screenshot via: inman.com

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:

  1. Orange, green, and blue buttons seem to convert the highest
  2. Buttons whose color contrasts well with the background color convert well
  3. They are actual buttons, not just text links!
  4. 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”
  5. 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.

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via: Instapage
7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via: Instapage
7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via: Unbounce
7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

Image via: Unbounce

6. Use A/B Testing to Find the Perfect Layout, Copy, & CTA for Conversion

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

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

7 Clever CRO Web Design Tricks

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

Luckily, if you’re considering adding live chat to your website there are a ton of options on the market. ZendeskLiveChatPure Chat, and Ready Chat are all solid options.

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.

No End in Sight for Toll Brothers’ Luxe Push in OC

Toll Brothers Inc. is adding another high-end housing development to its Orange County portfolio.

Its latest addition, a 47-lot site in Yorba Linda, will likely be one of its highest-priced local communities, which is saying something for the Horsham, Pa.-based builder, whose local developments’ homes top $2 million.

The builder, whose market value is about $8 billion, recently reached a deal to buy the Stonecliff Estates development site in Yorba Linda, roughly 30 acres on the northwest corner of Lakeview Avenue and Bastanchury Road. It’s a little more than a mile northeast of the Richard Nixon Museum and Library.

The site was listed for sale a few months ago by Sal Provenza and Curt Crandall at the Irvine office of land brokerage WD Land.

It traded hands for about $44 million, a little under $1.5 million per acre, or nearly $940,000 per lot, among the highest per-lot prices for an OC housing development site not along the coast.

The land was technically bought by an undisclosed land banking firm that will sell the lots to Toll Brothers in phases, according to Provenza.

Stonecliff Estates has been in the works for nearly a decade and was sold by an entity listed in marketing documents as Bastanchury Holding Co. LP.

The sellers are affiliated with Kuwait Finance House, a large Islamic banking firm that was one of the initial equity investors in the development, according to Provenza. The property is believed to be its only OC land investment; it also has some commercial property holdings in the Los Angeles area, he said.

Toll Brothers, which bills itself as the country’s largest luxury homes builder, is no stranger to Yorba Linda (or OC, where it’s now selling at 16 different projects), and has built a few developments in the city over the past three years.

Its latest, the 119-unit Enclave project, is about a half-mile from the recently bought property. It opened last year with prices near $2 million, and was about half sold as of a few months ago, according to brokerage data.

Stonecliff Estates will likely have a higher price point, thanks to some of the largest lot sizes—about a half-acre, or a little more than 20,000 square feet—for a recent OC housing development.

Most of Toll Brothers’ other area luxe homes in Irvine and other parts of OC have lots in the 6,000- to 12,000-square-foot range. Its Alta Vista development in Irvine’s Orchard Hills community, for example, with some homes priced at nearly $3 million, has lots of about 11,000 square feet, according to WD Land.

Homes at Stonecliff Estates were envisioned to be a little more than 4,000 square feet to nearly 6,000 square feet on the half-acre lots under the prior ownership group’s proposed designs, which Toll will likely tweak.

A community opening should be in about nine months, according to WD Land’s Provenza, who previously worked on land acquisitions for Toll Brothers.

Record Year, Rents

Apartment construction in OC is projected to reach an all-time record this year, according to a new multifamily research report by the local office of Marcus & Millichap.

Nearly 7,500 units will be completed at large apartment projects across the county, a record level and one that will increase OC’s base of rentals by 3%, the report said.

The heavy development is having a slight impact on vacancy rates, which have ticked up to 4%. But that hasn’t slowed rental appreciation, which has also risen 4%. Average monthly rents now stand at $1,972.

Construction should keep pushing on into next year. There were nine apartment projects with more than 300 units under way in Anaheim and Irvine combined at the start of the fourth quarter, and two projects, each larger than 500 units, were going up in Huntington Beach, the report said.

10 Last-Minute Ideas for New Year’s Eve in Orange County

You forgot to make plans for the big night? We’ve got you covered with our best ideas for a variety of fun things to do on New Year’s Eve in Orange County.

via 

FAMILY FUN
Winter Fest OC will have two celebrations on New Year’s Eve for children young and old. A 3,000-balloon drop and fireworks are slated for 6 p.m. and midnight. These activities are included in your general admission to Winter Fest, which opens at noon on New Year’s Eve and also features an ice slide, inflatables, a Festival of Lights, rock climbing, carnival rides, and an ice skating rink. Ticket prices start at $12 for children online in advance and $17 for adults. Best value is the online value pack for $65 for four people, which includes a fast pass for the ice slide. winterfestoc.com

FAIRGROUNDS FOR ADULTS
For an over-21 extravaganza, check out Resolution NYE. There will be two stages over two nights (Dec. 30 and 31) featuring acts such as Young The Giant, Dirty Heads, Seven Lions, Illenium, Slander, and more. The festivities start Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. and on Dec. 31 the party goes from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. at the Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach buildings at the OC Fair and Event Center. Admission is $50, VIP tickets start at $100. resolutionnyeoc.com

ON THE BEACH
Get out on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach on Dec. 31 and join DJ Dig Dug and DJ Ravi Drums in a heated tent. The event also features live music, dancing, a photo booth, a full premium bar, and midnight balloon drop. DJ Ravi Drums adds live percussion and unparalleled technology as he plays at 180-degree angles on a custom drum set. Tickets are available for the New Year’s Eve event for $75 in advance and $100 at the door. sealegs.ticketleap.com/newyearsatthebeach

Water Grill

SEAFOOD FOR 2018
Join the folks at Water Grill in Costa Mesa for an interactive photo booth and live music from the Michael Physick Trio. There’s a special surf and turf entrée on the menu for this evening and the featured dessert is dark chocolate mousse. Festivities begin at 9 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. watergrill.com

Ways & Means Oyster House

ISLAND SPIRIT
Ring in the new year with Aloha spirit at Ways & Means Oyster House in Huntington Beach. The New Year’s Eve Hawaiian Bash starts at 6 p.m. and features a costume contest, music and dancing, giveaways, and bottomless well drinks for $55 starting at 8 p.m. wmoysters.com

 

JUST FOR KIDS
The Montage in Laguna Beach will host Paintbox, a New Year’s Eve party from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. for children ages 5-12. The evening features karaoke, a show, dinner, a movie, activities, and more. $150 per child. montagehotels.com/lagunabeach

LAUGH IN THE NEW YEAR
Head to the Irvine Improv for an East Coast Countdown or a West Coast Countdown with Rob Schneider, the “Saturday Night Live” alum perhaps best known as the hilarious “copy guy.” The East Coast event starts at 7 p.m. and has a dinner option ($100) or regular admission for $50. The West Coast event starts at 10 p.m. and will feature Champagne and party favors for $100. irvine.improv.com

1
Anqi

AN ELEGANT DINNER
AnQi will highlight one-night-only holiday specials, in addition to its regular dinner menu, including a steamed California sole and an eight-hour slow roasted brisket. A five-course prix fixe dinner is available for $145 per person. There will be a live band and a DJ, plus a balloon drop at midnight. houseofan.com

FAMILY ON ICE
Take the family to a Ducks game early on New Year’s Eve and get a good deal before you head out for the night. You can take advantage of the family pack that includes a ticket, hot dog, and soda starting at $31 each. The Ducks will play Arizona at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and every fan in attendance will receive a cell phone wallet. anaheimducks.com

CANYON RETREAT
Celebrate the start of 2018 at a tucked away location: The Ranch Laguna Beach. Highlights include music from the Shawn Jones Band, dancing, a photo booth, four snack stations, confetti, and Champagne at midnight. The event starts at 9 p.m. and costs $125 per person. theranchlb.com

Yard House top chef sells Yorba Linda estate for record $6.095 million

via OCregister

carlito-jocson-and-house-fi

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.

Raj Qsar and Christina Boladian of The Boutique Real Estate Group co-listed the house; Edward Englehart and Leslie Cole of First Team Real Estate represented the buyers.

 

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Inman Innovator Awards 2017

via inman

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.”

This is our 4th nomination for an Inman Innovator Award and we are truly thrilled, said, “Raj Qsar,” Founder & Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group. What we are doing is truly impacting real estate on a global scale and helping our agents and clients succeed.

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.

MOST INNOVATIVE BROKERAGE

 

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The Boutique Real Estate Group

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Episode 97 – Raj Qsar, Owner – The Boutique Real Estate Group

via tres online

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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.

An indie broker talks tech, trends and creation

Catch Southern California- based influencer Raj Qsar at the Indie Broker Summit

Raj Qsar is the principal/owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group and spends much of his time traveling to far flung destinations educating those in the real estate industry on the finer points of effectively using technology and social media.

The Southern California-based influencer will take the stage during Inman’s Indie Broker Summit on Monday, August 7 to address brokers from across the country on how to strategically think about their technology choices in their own practices.

 

Register Now

We caught up with Raj to get his take on the advantages of being an independent broker and what other indies should watch out for in the coming year.

What do you see as the biggest benefit to being an independent broker?

Ability to adapt, change and execute quickly and the freedom to create & curate stories from the ground up.

What are your best tips and tricks for building your client base?

Real life networking and using technology to become more efficient.

What do you see as the most important trends (good or bad) that independent brokers should be keeping an eye on in the coming year?

Good: The merging of multiple techs into one platform.
Bad: So much “copying” and not enough creation.

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