They are the visionaries, the forward-thinking, the stubborn, the obsessed, the tech-savvy, the creative minds always pushing boundaries. They are entrepreneurs pushing the old ways aside, data scientists discovering new ways to examine behavior, marketers inventing new ways to showcase properties, agents developing new ways to reach clients, companies building new technologies, brokerages creating whole new ways of doing business. They are the Inman Innovator Finalists, and they’re leading us into the future of real estate.
He’s an entrepreneur who made himself into a media brand. She’s an agent who landed a $20 million listing after just a year in the business. It’s a company that developed an augmented-reality tool to show prospective buyers what an interior-decorated home might look like — during a showing, on their phones. They’re all finalists.
“We are honored to celebrate so much creativity and invention,” said Inman publisher Brad Inman. “Never in the history of the Innovator Awards has there been so much innovation and, therefore, never has our list of finalists been so large — these are exciting times.”
Who will win? The 2017 Inman Innovators will be revealed at Inman Connect in San Francisco the week of August 7-11, 2017, followed by the not-to-be-missed party that’ll wrap up Inman Connect San Francisco and celebrate the Inman Innovators.
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.
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.
Raj Qsar // The Boutique Real Estate Group // 714-412-5019
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.
So, how can agents replicate the success that Qsar gained from an “undesirable” listing? He says it’s all about hustling and “doing it right.” Here are some of his tips on how to get your hustle on:
Be prepared and willing to hustle 24/7
Qsar said one of the first questions he asks potential hires is “What is your hustle like?” He looks for agents who have the natural drive to build face-to-face connections rather than those who prefer to stay cooped up in an office all day.
These type of agents are harder to find, Qsar said, because many professionals in the business think that becoming a top producer is an overnight process.
“Most people think they can show up, do some social media posts and all of a sudden they’re going to be a top agent in their area,” he says. “It’s not like that. You have to meet people where they are.”
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye, we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming.” – Raj Qsar
Qsar says agents must realize that real estate is a total hustle. “You wake up hustling, during the day you’re hustling and you go to bed hustling, and then you dream about hustling,” he says.
So, what is the hustle? Qsar says it comes down to never saying “no,” executing each listing the right way and always putting your best foot forward.
“Even on million-dollar listings, if agents can take a reduced commission or they feel like it’s overpriced or whatever, they’re not going to put their best foot forward,” he said. “That’s just too bad that they’re not thinking downstream. ‘Cause the world is able to see anything that we drop on the Internet, and who knows what opportunity that will bring. It’s all downstream.”
Always do it right
Qsar says he knew he wasn’t going to make any money from the initial lease listing, but he decided to take the opportunity anyway.
He invested in professional photos and brochures, staging, a single-property website and even ordered custom signs that were up to the neighborhood’s code.
In addition to stellar marketing strategies, Qsar provided five-star customer service through appointment-only showings.
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye; we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming,” he says with a laugh. “We’re driving, taking time out of our day to make sure we can open the door for someone we don’t even know. That’s doing it right.”
Qsar says he treated the leased property like a million-dollar listing to “give the client the best chance of success.” Plus, he knew that his current efforts would lead to future rewards.
“What we preach at our brokerage is that it’s all about downstream. You’re not taking a listing for this listing, you’re taking it for the next listing,” he says. “You’re taking a listing for the digital content you’re going to produce, and you’re taking it for the online leads you’re going to generate from that one listing.”
Furthermore, Qsar says most agents are transactionally trained, which means they are trained for “this one and only transaction.” Basically, agents are playing a game of checkers when they should be playing chess, which puts them behind in the long run.
“[Agents are] not trained digitally, they’re not trained for content, they’re not trained to meet real people in real life,” he says.
Focus on making personal connections
Out of all the aspects of being a successful real estate agent, it’s clear that Qsar treasures his ability to make personal connections the most.
“Something that everyone seems to forget is that you’re going to meet real, live human beings from this listing,” he says. “That’s an opportunity for you to connect with people in real life, and when you connect with people in real life your chance of success is much greater.”
Qsar says that personal connections not only make it easier on the agent but also the client, which is what the work of real estate is all about.
The inspiration for this new position came from Raj Qsar’s father-in-law, a savvy business owner
The Boutique Real Estate Group has added a “Goodwill Ambassador” to its team.
Ambassador’s “sole purpose is to spread goodwill to everyone he meets.”
The Boutique Real Estate Group has added another person to its team, and it’s not another agent, marketing guru or office management whiz — instead, owner Raj Qsar opted to hire a “Goodwill Ambassador,” a person whose only job is to spread positivity wherever he goes.
The inspiration for this new position came from Qsar’s father-in-law, who has owned a commercial cleaning company for more than 35 years.
“The idea came from him and his good friend,” Qsar said. “They are in the soap business where they sell soap to restaurants.”
“His friend would always eat at restaurants and comment on how beautiful the silverware and stemware looked,” he added. “So after some time, he designated him as his goodwill ambassador.”
When thinking of the perfect person to take on this role, Qsar says he immediately thought of Chuck Underwood, a close family friend who recently listed his home through The Boutique.
“We recently sold his home in Orange County and found him a gorgeous new home,” he says. “Throughout the process, he fell in love with The Boutique and was so impressed by how we operated our brokerage and the way we marketed his home.”
Beyond his newfound passion for the brokerage, Qsar says Underwood’s experience as a business owner along with his wide network of friends, associates and colleagues make him the perfect person to extend The Boutique’s reach beyond the immediate community.
“I can’t think of a more qualified person for the job,” wrote one commenter. “Congrats, Chuck!”
Underwood will take on a number of projects, the first of which is attending a build day with Giveback Homes on June 3, and taking on the hosting duties for the brokerage’s new office opening in Brea, California, and all of the festivities surrounding that event.
Underwood says he was “a bit intimidated” when Qsar came to him with the idea, but he knew he had the chops to take on ambassador duties.
“The Boutique is such a powerhouse brand in the Orange County real estate market, but I knew that with my outgoing personality, dedication, drive and true enthusiasm I could get the job done for The Boutique,” he says.
“It means I have a weight on my shoulders and am determined to spread goodwill to everyone I meet every single day,” Underwood added.
Although Underwood is barely a week into this new position, Qsar says they’re planning to expand the program to include additional ambassadors.
“Yes, of course,” he says excitedly of adding more ambassadors. “We already have a waiting list of three prime individuals who have applied for the position.”
For more information the the Goodwill Ambassador program or to learn more about The Boutique please visit www.JoinTheBoutique.com
The term “chef’s kitchen” gets thrown around in real estate listings, but it can mean a lot different things. Whatever your definition, the culinary playground at 22750 Hidden Hills Rd in Yorba Linda, CA doesn’t disappoint. This home’s kitchen was designed by its owner, Carlito Jocson, the executive chef for Yard House Restaurants.
We asked Jocson to dish his home’s kitchen secrets. Here are 5 features we love.
We’ve all been there: stirring a boiling pot when you realize you need to add something from the fridge. With refrigerator drawers in his kitchen island, Jocson has quick access to common ingredients. No fishing for things in the back of the main refrigerator — the essentials are an arm’s length away.
Wine staging area
A mini wine fridge is a common amenity in luxury homes, but Jocson uses his as a staging area. The main course is downstairs: a temperature-controlled, 1,200-bottle room.
Jocson brings up what he needs to chill for the next meal or two, making his wine decisions before he starts cooking. This is both a time-saver and great way to ensure your meal and wine pair well.
Open shelving has been trendy for a while, but Jocson doesn’t worry about pretty displays. He’s a functionalist, stacking dishes so they’re easy to grab, like in a commercial kitchen. Plating is an important final step in meal-prep, and this kitchen makes it easy.
According to Jocson, chefs love good flow. He wanted his space to feel more like a tasting kitchen, with ample counter space and a breakfast bar with barstools.
Jocson says there’s room to cook for 50 people (he did so last Christmas), and four to six people can sample the food while he’s cooking.
We couldn’t help admiring Jocson’s huge outdoor kitchen. But, this space isn’t just about the grill. A Wok Range, pizza oven, sink and ample counter space allow him to prep, cook and plate a meal without having to step inside.
Like what you see? Jocson’s kitchen is just one selling point of his $8.68 million Yorba Linda listing. (Check out the master bedroom overlooking the pool. The walls disappear, so you can jump out of bed into the deep end!)
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.
As part of its “Meet The Intern” campaign, tech company HP filmed a series of commercials showcasing Fox Sports host and Extra co-host Charissa Thomson interning at four companies.
Two of them were Giveback Homes and The Boutique Real Estate Group — two hallmark brands within the real estate industry.
The campaign ads, which began airing on Super Bowl Sunday, show Thomson helping craft a travel packet for Giveback Homes and organize a swanky open house for The Boutique RE Group, all while showing off HP’s newest OfficeJet Pro printer.
Giveback Homes co-founder Caroline Pinal said HP found them through social media and noted Giveback’s “authentic social media presence,” and that the company was captured by co-founder Blake Andrews’ story and mission to spread the message of social responsibility to the real estate industry as a whole.
Pinal says the feedback on the ad has been positive, with supporters inside and outside of the industry giving their kudos.
“Giveback Homes Members are thrilled to see the Giveback Homes movement taking on a consumer-facing approach and proud to be part of it,” she said.
“Giveback Homes has also received online support from their friends like Toms Founder Blake Mycoskie, TV host Charissa Thompson, and animal conservationist Black Jaguar White Tiger.”
Raj Qsar, the principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group — who is known for his vibrant digital presence and strategies — said HP reached out to him via social media as well.
“It was a super fun project,” said Qsar, and the ads have brought amazing feedback and robust traffic to his brokerage.
The ad campaign is only the beginning for both companies.
Giveback Homes is taking their relationship with HP offline by hosting a “Build Day” on April 21 in Los Angeles, with Thomson continuing her “internship” by helping to build a home.
As for The Boutique Real Estate Group, Qsar says the brokerage will be working with other big name brands in the very near future.
This year’s competition was steep. Brokerages, firms and coaches all came out swinging in hopes to be recognized as a 2016 nominee and ultimately the winner for social media.
Let’s walk you through the criteria.
These days, it’s easy for anyone to hop onto a social media platform, create an account and post their lives away. It’s these special few that are able to keep their growing audience engaged by dishing out valuable, share-worthy content.
Let’s have a closer look at the criteria we used to shortlist our nominees.
Someone that knows their way around social media knows how to expand their reach through their social media presence.
Are they active on multiple social media channels?
Here’s a brokerage that just gets it. The Boutique RE Group makes an effort to use their social media marketing to its full potential – posting beautiful photos, high-quality videos and selling a luxury lifestyle through their content. Let’s not overlook their hashtag game. Boutique RE Group makes great use of hashtags on each one of their listing photos to increase exposure of the neighborhoods of their listings.
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.