How to Create a Tech-Enhanced Brokerage that Wins

By Raj Qsar, Principal | Owner The Boutique Real Estate Group

The real estate industry is changing.  Hand-written offers, filing cabinets and printers are a thing of the past.  Mobile offices, instantaneous responses, and data analytics are here to stay.  For a brokerage to survive in this new digital age, their agents need to be equipped with state of the art tools at their fingertips.

Now that the days of drowning in paper are over, it seems like a new real estate technology pops up every day and it can be easy to get overwhelmed and lost in all the options.  So how do you differentiate the useful from the useless and figure out which tools are right for you and your brokerage?

I spent a lot of time thinking about this very question for my team at The Boutique Real Estate Group.  I started this brokerage with the primary objective of providing a world class experience for our clients.  I have known from day one that in order to deliver on this goal my agents would need the right tech tools to do high quality work and provide a seamless experience to their clients.

I invest in technology that will improve the agent experience and the customer experience.  I have developed these 5 “rules” for picking the right technology to develop a tech-centric brokerage:

1. Set a vision for your brokerage

Spend the time to brainstorm and define what kind of brokerage you want to be.  What is important to you?  What does your brokerage stand for?  And how will technology help you achieve this?  Clearly define it.  Write it down.  Memorize it.  Now every time you look at a potential tool ask yourself if it fits into your tech framework and if not – pass!

2. Culture is everything

You’ve defined your vision, but how do you bring it to life? The answer is – culture.  Don’t underestimate the power of culture to get everyone in your office to achieve your vision. It is up to you and your leadership team to develop a culture that embraces technology and values change.

3. Mobile first

Any technology that you consider for your brokerage MUST be mobile and tablet friendly.  Agents, brokers and the modern customer need location independence – the freedom to work and sign on the fly.  In the high speed world we live in nothing kills a deal like time.

4. Integrating gives you magic powers

The real secret to the getting the most out of your technology investment is integrations. When data is seamlessly shared from platform to platform, your agents or transactions coordinators don’t need to waste time on tedious data entry. This can improve accuracy and allow your agents to focus on their clients.

5. Pick a partner

In the end, when you select the technology provider – you are selecting a partner that will be with you for a long time.  Make sure to pick a company that shares your values, that will answer the phone when you call and that is working to build the same future for real estate that you are.  Don’t necessarily pick a company just for your needs today, but for your needs in 5, 10, 15 years…

With these rules in mind, I have built a tech-enhanced brokerage that is leading the way into real estate’s digital future and is fully armed to deliver high quality service.  Now that I’ve shared my secrets, please add your own in the comments section below.

Congratulations!  You’ve already taken the first step to properly preparing your brokerage for success in the digital age. Next up: navigating the hundreds of options out there – good luck!

Raj Qsar, Principal and Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group, was named The Real Estate Influencer of the Year 2017 by Inman News. He has cracked the code for creating a tech-enhanced brokerage and The Boutique was named Most Innovative Brokerage. Find out more about what the Boutique Real Estate Group is doing by connecting with Raj on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Inman Real Estate Connect 2017 – Best Places to Eat

By Raj Qsar & SF.Eater

If your headed to Inman Connect in San Francisco this summer you are probably going to ask that question? Where are we going to dinner. Well, since this is my 6th ICSF and my 10th overall Inman Connect I thought I would share with you some of my latest research for the top foodie spots in the city.

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Most of us will be hitting some sort of happy hour, soiree, after party or after after party the entire week but sometimes you just wanna sit down with your friends, crack open an amazing bottle of wine and just catch up with some of your nearest & dearest. With that thought in mind I have hand selected a few hotspots for ICSF 2017:

  1. The Riddler: Champagne, caviar, and the coziest corner in Hayes Valley all led by some serious boss ladies. Ladies aren’t the only ones loving this elegant take on a European Champagne bar— it’s quickly become must-hang spot for San Franciscans of all stripes. Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 2.32.54 PM
  2. Hitachino Beer & Wagyu: After a much-hyped opening with reservations booking up for weeks at a time, Hitachino continues to be very popular destination. Drop in at dinner for a taste of ten Hitachino beers on draft, or attempt to snag a reservation for wagyu in the back, which ranges from tongue skewers to ramen. Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 2.37.15 PM
  3. Beretta: This Mission hotspot is always packed, with good reason. The menu is rife with antipasti, pizzas, pastas, risottos, and rotating daily specials like cioppino and short ribs. While you wait for a table, grab one of the excellent cocktails at the bar, and plot your dining strategy. It’s open late night (food til 1 a.m.). Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 2.42.18 PM
  4. Khai Restaurant: If the chef is going to personally serve me dinner then its a must stop while in SF. Originally known for Ana Mandara (which closed in 2012), chef Khai Duong is back with a $95 tasting menu-only dining experience in SoMa. The small restaurant is staffed by just a few, and dishes are often delivered by the chef himself. Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 2.46.57 PM
  5. Mourad: OMG. This place looks sooo bomb!! he restaurant itself is big and beautiful, matched only by chef Mourad Lahlou’s Moroccan-inspired flavors. Choose from a la carte options like duck basteeya and family-style, large format dishes of lamb and short rib, or go for the tasting menu. Drinks are equally inspired, featuring combinations like pineapple and artichoke. Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 2.49.46 PM

Hoping to meet as many of you as I can during Inman Connect SF 2017. I will be presenting at the Indy Broker Summit on Monday as well.

You can connect with me here:

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Just for Fun

Real estate agents make movies to sell mansions as traditional home tours become obsolete

via Financial Express

In a world of extreme competition, traditional home tours are becoming obsolete. Real estate agents are now using movies to sell mansions.

Home-tour

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.

The Best Fireworks In Orange County

By:  Brogyn Gage / The Boutique Real Estate Group

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!

Wherever you choose to spend your holiday, we hope that you have a perfect day celebrating and honoring the freedoms that we have here in the beautiful USA!  Enjoy your time with the people who mean most to you — Have fun! Eat that extra helping of potato salad!  And most importantly, be safe. 
 
From us here at The Boutique to you, Happy Independence Day!

July4

 

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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Giveback Homes Orange County Build Day

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MEDIA ADVISORY

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WHO:      Giveback Homes, The Boutique Real Estate Group, Commerce Mortgage, JJ Mazzo Summit Funding & Pango Escrow Group

WHERE:   4010 W. McFadden Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92704

WHEN:     June 3, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m

Giveback Homes and 25 members from The Boutique Real Estate Group, Commerce Mortgage, JJ Mazzo Summit Funding, Pango Escrow Group and local real estate agents are volunteering their time for a special Saturday build day at the Habitat for Humanity Santa Ana project. This project includes seventeen homes to be built in three phases at various locations in the city. The homes are being designed to be compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and incorporate green features including on-demand hot water, recycled sub-base aggregate concrete. construction waste reduction measures, and storm water infiltration systems to reduce the hydrocarbon run-off and recharge the groundwater aquifer.

Join Giveback Homes and Habitat for Humanity at this event to learn more about these homes and how Giveback Homes is contributing to addressing the need for housing in Southern California and around the globe.

Website:

https://givebackhomes.com, http://TheBoutiqueRE.com

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY:

Photo, interview & video opportunities available

Contacts:

Caroline Pinal // Giveback Homes // 661-992-6793

Raj Qsar // The Boutique Real Estate Group // 714-412-5019

About:

Giveback Homes is a community of real estate professionals who are committed to creating social change by helping build homes for deserving families around the globe. We work together to organize fundraising events, mobilize teams of volunteer homebuilders, and we inspire others to take action for social good.

The Boutique Real Estate Group is a boutique real estate brokerage founded in Orange County, CA, that focuses on brilliant design, beautiful marketing & luxury services. The Boutique has created a culture that spurs collaboration, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach. This design & tech-forward approach has earned The Boutique Real Estate Group accolades & awards worldwide.

 

Indie broker hires goodwill ambassador to spread positivity

via inman

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.

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“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.

After Qsar announced Underwood’s addition to the team on Facebook, a number of friends offered their congratulations, saying that he was the perfect man for the job.

“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.”

Screen-Shot-2017-04-14-at-3.04.01-PM-450x450For more information the the Goodwill Ambassador program or to learn more about The Boutique please visit www.JoinTheBoutique.com

A $10 Million Hollywood Hills-esque Yorba Linda Home High on a Hilltop

via orangecoast.com

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The whole of Orange County seems to stretch out below this two-story contemporary home at 22750 Hidden Hills Road. City, coastal, and canyon views are all on stunning display from the 8,320-square-foot interior and the ample outdoor spaces, where you’ll fi nd a zero-edge infinity pool and an open-air kitchen with a pizza oven.

But why distinguish inside from outside? In the master bedroom, two walls of sliding doors vanish, and the pool is steps away. The walls of the main living area do a similar disappearing act, all in service of that view.

“It’s Hollywood Hills-esque, with views that are truly breathtaking,” says listing agent Raj Qsar of the Boutique Real Estate Group.

That’s not all that’s pleasing to the eye. Landscape on the $10 million, 3-acre property is alive with desert simplicity, and 13 olive trees form the perimeter of a meditation garden. The home has stainless-steel, mahogany, and stone finishes, and there’s a home-automation system, a temperature-controlled wine room for 1,200 bottles, and a 13-seat theater. There are seven bathrooms and five bedrooms, plus a garage for four cars.

Listed by Raj Qsar, 949-612-2535

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RESAAS’ 2016 Real Estate Rockstars: Social Media

via Resaas Blog

Social-Media

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

We’re only getting started.

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

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

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

Let’s walk you through the criteria.

Criteria

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

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

Activity

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

Are they active on multiple social media channels?

Do they have a larger social following?

Are their users engaged?

Content

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

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

Does the account follow the 80/20 rule?

Quality

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

The Boutique RE

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YouTube
RESAAS
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

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

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

Score: 30/30

The 145 Most Influential People In Real Estate

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Via Inman News

The Inman Influencers List salutes industry professionals who shape, change and influence the industry. They bring a mix of credentials, viewpoints and backgrounds from all walks of the real estate business. Some are creative, intuitive and gifted. Some have power, reach and charisma. And some are controversial, rabble-rousers and disrupters.

All of our influencers contribute to change in one way or another.

The list is both young and hardened, made up of connectors, power brokers, high earners, CEOs, hackers, troublemakers and startup founders. It’s a list of entrepreneurs, big and small; the old-school and the new; controversial and quiet plodders.

“They are not cut from the same cloth, they do not speak the same language and they do not always necessarily share the same values. But they influence the industry by their work, through their followers and by expressing their opinions,” said Inman publisher Brad Inman.

In selecting this year’s Inman influencers, we considered recommendations from Inman readers, editorial staff and outside suggestions. Yes, thousands of real estate professionals make a difference in the real estate industry every day, but these are some we believe stood out this year.

Read The Full List Here

Raj Qsar // 2017 Inman News Real Estate Influencer