1. Make a hit list of the people you want to meet “in real life.” Connect is an amazing time to solidify some of those online relationships and connect with people who you admire and respect and make that true emotional connection. Some of the connections I have made at Connect have become lifelong friends of mine. They are the ones I call when I need advice and encouragement. Remember this quote from GaryV, “People are not addicted to social media. People are addicted to people.” Some of my favorite folks include 👉 Vanessa Jones Bergmark, Sara Sutachan, Seth Price, Andrew Flachner, Alyssa Hellman, Lynn Johnson, Rob Hahn, Laura Brady, Chris Smith, Jimmy Mackin, Matthew Shadbolt, Leigh Brown, Bill Lublin, Celeste Starchild, Katie Lance, Debra Trappen, Valerie Garcia, Joe Schutt, Jay Thompson, Heather Elias, Laura Monroe, Audie Chamberlain and so many others….
2. Attend as many sessions as you can possibly attend! DO NOT MISS ANYTHING. Specifically look for the sessions that pull you out of your comfort zone and will challenge you on a personal & professional level. See the full schedule here and meet the speakers here. This year…OMG 😳… Simon Sinek will be the Keynote and will be kicking off the festivities on the main stage at 8:55 am on Wednesday, January 24th. One of my favorite quotes from Simon Sinek that is totally in line with ICNY is, “Always plan for the fact that no plan ever goes according to plan.” Bonus: Please please please do not miss CAR’s #womanup on main stage on Wednesday at 11:45am moderated by Sara Sutachan.
3. Have you joined the Inman Coast to Coast Facebook Group? If not join here for all the latest posts, connections and updates.
4. The Party after the Party! Do I need to say anymore? We all know the real fun starts after 10 pm! So just ask around, jump in an Uber (download app here) or Lyft (download app here) and find out where the action is. Check your email for last minute invites to all the happening VIP parties and events. If you still can not find the party make sure to DM Chalmers or Carp (they will steer you in the right direction, I promise). If you are looking for the 🎤 top-secret karaoke party then there is only one name you should know 👉 Notorious.
5. Lobbycon! You have heard all the rumors and it is true! You will find everyone in The Broadway Lounge & Bar on the 8th floor of the Marriott and this is the spot where you will meet the CEO’s, Founders, Presidents, movers & shakers all just “hanging out.” Bring your selfie stick & business cards and make sure to say hi. BTW, when is the next time you will be in the same hotel as Brad Inman, Sherry Chris, Sharran Shrivatsaa, Joel Singer, Leslie Appleton Young & Elizabeth Mendenhall.
6. Get out into the city! New York is an amazingly gorgeous city with sights, sounds, history and killer food! And since our team at The Boutique Real Estate Group are total foodies check out this list of 100 Best Restaurants in New York City via Zagat. Or if you love to fly and want to get up in the air check out FlyNYON for a helicopter tour of the city. Hamilton! Enough said!
7. Stay fit! You will be eating, drinking & sitting in a lot of sessions. Make sure to stay fit at one of these locations: Peleton NYC, Soul Cycle, SOLACE Cross Fit, Core Power Yoga and Orange Theory are all amazing ways to keep the burn going while at ICNY.
8. Ambassadors. These are the ones who will lead us through ICNY. Joe Schutt & Laure Weston Davis have been “in charge” of this program for years now and if you have a question about anything ICNY these are the folks to ask. Have you met them? If not connect with them here.
If you made it this far and are headed to ICNY please find me in one of the sessions, lobbycon or at one of the after parties. I am currently slotted to speak at three sessions at ICNY this year so it would be amazing to connect with you!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.).
- 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.
- 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.
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:
In a world of extreme competition, traditional home tours are becoming obsolete. Real estate agents are now using movies to sell mansions.
It’s not easy to sell houses. In a market spoilt for choice, selling mansions becomes even more tougher. So real estate agents are finding new ways to lure customers and one of them happens to be making movies to sell mansions. A woman in a red dress twirls with a mysterious man through light-filled hallways. There is light music that surges in a romantically-lit courtyard, which overlooks a twinkling city. A mischievous coda plays, and then the credits roll. You could mistake it for a scene from a romantic blockbuster. Not really, as this eight-minute mini movie is a real estate advertisement—uploaded on Vimeo—for an $8.5-million, 1.5-acre compound in Encino, Los Angeles. The days of good old brochures with high-resolution pictures are over. So is successfully marketing a mansion using shots from an iPhone or even expensive videos shot by drone. In the days of ever-evolving technology and infrastructure, real estate agents need to do a little more hard work to pitch the perfect sale bid.
So luxury listings are now experimenting with full-on property movies—films featuring actors, story arcs, scores and tinseltown-caliber cinematography. The money is spent on movies to be recovered through million-dollar sales. In another movie for a mansion, gorgeous women dressed in bikinis, sipping fine wine, are sitting by the poolside. The short movie made by realtors to sell a $32-million Hollywood Hills mansion cost its makers a whopping $40,000. Real estate agents Rayni Williams and Branden Williams were one of the first ones who came up with such an over-the-top marketing idea to sell a mansion in 2015.
The storyline of the movie pays attention to showcase all the finer details of the mansion. The man of the house is out of town and his wife texts her friends to come over and party. So the director of photography used five different cameras and three drones to capture the home’s splendour. The eight-bedroom estate boasts breathtaking views, a theatre and a gym. The husband and wife realtor team also made a $100,000-mini movie to sell a $70-million property the same year.
People are short of time and so the classic, old-school walking tour of the house is becoming more and more obsolete. So here come movies for a generation that is short on attention, but is addicted to smartphones. A movie makes people feel attached to a story, and they want to stick around and see what’s happening. Making a movie doesn’t come cheap though. Typically, the filmmaking cost is covered by either the listing agents, sellers or both. Movie-style real estate videos can cost anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $30,000. Real estate agent Ben Bacal, an early innovator of high-gloss property films, worked with married clients Ori and Nafisa Ayonmike to craft a $20,000-film to market their home in Hollywood.
The Ayonmikes star in a fictional narrative that begins with Ori skulking through the sleek, contemporary rooms of his 5,500-square-foot, five-bedroom estate. In the next 11 minutes, Ori tells Nafisa that he wants a divorce. A passionate fight ensues, Ori gets kicked out and Nafisa chucks her massive diamond ring into the pool. Amid all the high drama, the camera-person captures the home’s 20-foot ceilings, high-tech security system, marble fireplaces and the tony Hollywood Hills neighbourhood.
The video of the property, listed at $3.65 million, has generated nearly 61,000 views since being posted on YouTube last year. As movies are doled out so are online video platforms, which have become a key component in property sales. Some 36% of home buyers used YouTube, Vimeo or another video-hosting website in their search last year, despite only 8% of real estate agents using films in their marketing strategies, as per the National Association of Realtors in the USA.
Bacal posted another movie trailer-listing video last year for a Bel-Air property, in which two children develop Ferris Bueller fevers and spend the day playing hooky. The pair splash in their infinity pool, shoot golf balls over the Los Angeles skyline from their lawn, try on outfits in their generous closets and have a puppy delivered by drone. The 14,230-square-foot spread sold in December for $39 million.
Not all of the properties are extravagant or overwrought. One narrative video, for a four-bedroom home in Brea that sold in October, focused on family. The movie trailer for the 3,008-square-foot property, posted on YouTube three months earlier by the Boutique Real Estate Group, features little girls at a sleepover, romping through various bedrooms and having a late-night living room dance party to Taylor Swift songs. Some properties take naturally to the camera.
Consider the 20,500-square-foot Opus spec estate in Beverly Hills. The $100-million listing—which includes seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two swimming pools, art by Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol, and a champagne vault with 170 bottles of Cristal—was featured last spring in a video inspired by David Lynch and Eyes Wide Shut. Producer Alexander Ali of the Society Group worked with Hilton & Hyland selling agent Drew Fenton and developer Nile Niami—who co-produced Steven Seagal’s 1998 film The Patriot—on the Opus film. Opus has now received inquiries from China, Russia, Brazil and India.
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!
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.