5 Features of a (Real) Chef’s Kitchen

via zillow

Home cooks and foodies, look no further.

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.

Refrigerator drawers

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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

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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.

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Stacked platewear

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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.

Tasting counter

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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.

Outdoor extension

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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 listing agents are Raj Qsar and Christina Boladian of The Boutique Real Estate Group.

40 Real Estate Social Media Accounts You Need To Follow

via propertyspark.com

Amazing Real Estate Social Media Accounts

Social media has been a powerful tool for the real estate industry. Real estate social media accounts have sprouted up everywhere! Brokerages, publications, investment firms and realtors are all on social media.

Below is a list of amazing real estate social media accounts! Click on the buttons below to skip to your favourite platform!

Facebook – Real Estate Social Media

The Boutique Real Estate Group

It’s safe to say that you could follow The Boutique Real Estate Group on any of their social media accounts. But, with over 30,000 likes on their Facebook page, we saw it fit to include them in this section! However, it’s not just about likes, they also get hundreds of likes, loves and wows on every post!

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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

How to create a digital real estate lead machine

via inman

Adjust your marketing funnel

  • You have only moments with your prospect to educate and nurture the prospect enough times to get them to choose to do business with you.

  • Recently, Raj Qsar outlined a more complex, but comprehensive, view of the modern marketing funnel in a Facebook post.

  • A savvy agent will master the paradox of appearing hyperlocal but also being everywhere.

Things progress toward chaos — that’s just how it is. It is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

But it doesn’t just apply to physics. In the world of real estate and online lead generation, the chaotic state is increasing.

An increasingly chaotic environment

Most international telecommunications agencies estimate that more than 3 billion people are using the internet. Between smartphones, tablets and desktops, there is a good chance that your next client is online right now.

But with a bombardment of banners, popups and ad word choices filling the margins of their screen, how are real estate agents going to grab potential clients from cyberspace and bring them offline, where the lead becomes your client?

Is your head still lingering in the circa 2006 cyberspace, where you register a domain and start a website with a landing page that forces people to register?

An obituary for this bygone process might read like this: beloved agent bought a lead capture website from one of the hundreds of real estate website providers, ran some Google AdWords or general Facebook ads that linked back to a landing page and watched the leads roll in.

Some very successful agents still swear by the simplicity of this method and utilize a widely cast net of web presence. Expert agents build sites with offers to buyers and sellers and then run their offer everywhere — Craigslist, Instagram, Facebook, blogs and search engines.

Once stuck in the web, prospects are now tied to the landing page, pushing them right into the agent’s customer relationship management system (CRM).

But again, the system is getting increasingly chaotic, so simply spinning a web on the internet and waiting for a client to fly into it is not enough.

Like sand through the hourglass

Funneling leads has gotten more sophisticated as attention has become an increasingly precious commodity.

Agents are establishing what are called marketing funnels. Think of sand through the hourglass (unless you are having a midlife crisis, then think of something else) — there is a lot of sand in the top of the hourglass, but only a few grains trickle down at a time.

For a moment, single grains are falling, unique and isolated, before they land and get lost in the sandy shuffle. So it is with the faceless, nameless and impersonal masses of potential clientele on the web.

Funneling, then, sounds a bit too automated. It is not so simple, and it requires the lead nurturing of agents and inside sales agents (ISAs) through phone calls, voicemails, text messages and emails.

You have only moments with your prospect — while that sand is falling from the mass of grains — to educate and nurture the prospect enough times to get them to choose to do business with you.

Your marketing funnel can have singular sources or many. There are the sources online that we discussed above.

Classic ads and print mail can also drive your leads to landing pages where, hopefully, the lead registers, and, generally, they get an automated response from the agent’s CRM.

This then sends the agent an alert, and the CRM continues to follow up with the lead until they respond.

An effective hyperlocal approach

But, in a recent post to the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents, Raj Qsar outlined a more complex (but comprehensive) view of the modern marketing funnel — the necessary paradox of appearing hyperlocal, but also everywhere.

Note the current web of interconnectivity necessary today to get in front of a prospect and stay there until they are a client.

This is where the digital lead machine comes to fruition. Qsar’s example is specific to Zillow’s platform:

  1. Lead registers via your online portal.
  2. Agents are notified via text or email (contact receives a notification as well — a phone call from a live assistant in under five minutes).
  3. They are transferred to an ISA.
  4. Prospect is uploaded (generally this is automated) to the agent’s CRM.
  5. CRM drips lead content such as stats, blog posts, events, etc.
  6. Prospect is uploaded to listing alert software.
  7. Zillow adds contact into drip campaign with 19 touches in 30 days.
  8. Ideally, you also have a retargeting digital ad campaign in the same ZIP code or city where this lead is looking, so you are “following them around the web” with your digital advertisement (various ads) creating brand and agent recognition.
  9. Print mailing campaigns in the same ZIP code or city as the initial lead.
  10. The print mailing has a lead capture landing page and retargeting pixel so you can follow them around the web.
  11. Handwritten letters are sent to any leads interacting with your marketing, and emails, generated from sign-ups or subscriptions, are dispatched weekly or monthly depending on volume.
  12. The more data received from these leads, the more you can hone and focus social media marketing campaigns, like city or ZIP targeted Facebook ads, Facebook groups and broader Google Ads to cast a wider range of coverage.

At this point, it is time to get local — get seen! Take the hyperlocal campaign from the web, where your ZIP code specific prospects are seeing your presence, to the streets — to “real life” through local appearances and events.

We asked in the opening paragraph: how do you pluck a prospect from the web?

Well, sometimes you need to make your presence known on the web through focused marketing efforts, and then move yourself from cyberspace into the real world.

This is where the moment of realization occurs for your prospects: “Hey, I’ve seen those ads, those emails, mailers, listings, etc. Let’s talk.”

If the commodity is a moment of attention — the moment the sand is falling from the hourglass — then focusing your digital lead machine with the above-mentioned tweaks could make all the difference.

Dale Archdekin is the founder of Smart Inside Sales and the current director of lead generation for Global Living Companies at Keller Williams in Philadelphia. Follow him on Facebook or checkout his Facebook group.

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Top 100 Real Estate Influencers on Social Media

via homespotter

Trying to be a better realtor, investor, and business woman is tough. To keep on top of your game, you know the value of learning from the best.

So, I did some heavy lifting for you to find some of the most influential real estate agents and influencers to learn from online. Then, I curated some of the best resources they created, as a one-stop shop.

Rather than list these experts in random order (or choosing our favorites), we took the time to rank each person based on their influence across social media, using scores from FollowerWonk, Klout, and our own judgment.

While not a perfect science, by ranking each influencer by their social impact, you will have a better sense of who you want to learn from as you master your craft.

As the Principal/Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group, Raj has invested heavily in bringing all aspects of the real estate experience completely in-house. From custom design, professional staging, architectural photography, cinematography and social media to technology, internet optimization, cloud based transaction management and global listing syndication. This design & tech-forward approach has earned The Boutique Real Estate Group accolades & awards worldwide.

In 2016 Raj was named to the prestigious SP200 Honoring The Most Powerful 200 People in Residential Real Estate. Raj was selected as Most Innovative Real Estate Agent in 2014. Raj was also selected as 33 People Changing The Real Estate Industry by Inman News and was also named Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders For 2013.
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West Coast Rents on Fire: San Francisco Rents Projected to Rise Faster than Any Other US Metro in 2016

Via RentCafe

 

With homeownership rates at historically low levels and a lack of affordable housing options in all major metro areas, renting becomes a challenge for renters all across the US, particularly low- and middle-income earners. Rents have been steadily rising for the past year, with the national average for an apartment hitting an all-time high of $1,181 in March 2016, up 5.7% from 2015.

Looking ahead, it becomes pretty clear that it’s not a question of “if” anymore, it’s about how much rents will increase this year. If the Southeast and the Northeast Corridor maintain a fairly normal pace in rent growth, the West is expected to rock the landlords’ world and post record-breaking price increases this year.

In San Francisco’s case it’s all the more dire as apartments here are already outrageously expensive – think $2,400 on average for a studio and $4,800 for a two-bedroom in the city. By year end, the Bay Area is expected to see a 10.5% jump in rent prices. The same goes for LA and Sacramento, where mild winters and lush scenery come at a price – not at all negligible and still on the rise.

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Amid historic rent hikes, Portland remains a bargain for San Francisco and Seattle transplants

The biggest surprise comes from Portland, where demographic and employment tailwinds keep demand for rental apartments up there as well. Rents in the city are expected to climb an impressive 8.8% this year, making Portland one of the main contenders for the “hottest metro for rent growth in 2016” title. But when compared to other millennial-magnet, job-centered hubs on the West Coast, Portland is actually much easier on the pocket. Whereas Portland apartments rent for $1,252 on average, both San Francisco and northern neighbor Seattle have higher average rents – $2,810 and $1,555, respectively.

Looking for cheaper rent? March South!

Headed to the Southeast? You’ve hit the jackpot! It’s where the jobs, the nice weather, and the low rents are. Atlanta, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, as well as Texas’ major urban hotspots – San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston – are top choices for those in search of a more relaxed housing landscape.

Check out the full list of the hottest markets for projected rent growth in 2016 in the nifty infographic below!

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How Agents Can Give Back

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As your business takes off in real estate, it’s important to maintain the relationships already established with not only your former clients but also in the communities you serve.

One of the best ways for agents to gain exposure and build new relationships with potential clients is through the gift of giving. Recently, Raj Qsar of The Boutique RE, a residential real estate brokerage in Orange County, California took this idea for a spin.

They teamed up with Giveback Homes and Soul Cycle for a unique way to give back to the community. By reaching out to their network, they organized a #RidetoBuild spin class to help raise the funds needed to build a home for a deserving family.

Raj and his realtor friends managed to raise the money and feel the burn while helping to better the life of a family in need with the guided help of Giveback Homes.

Fueled by the passion of real estate pros like Sindeo Advisory Board Member, Raj Qsar, and hundreds of other leaders in real estate, Giveback Homes has made the opportunity to give back easier than ever.

Giveback Homes provides their members with marketing and design services, tutorials on how to incorporate giving into their business, local Build Days, international Build Trips, and tangible results of the impact they’re making throughout the world.

Recently, Sindeo helped fund a home for Marie in Haiti and Arcadio in El Salvador, and has plans to join Giveback Homes for their first Build Day in San Francisco this Spring.

Want to help too? Click here to donate to the San Francisco project or any of their Build Projects throughout the world.

For real estate professionals ready to join the social good movement, enter “sindeo” as your building code for a reduced rate of $30/month.

11 Examples of Perfect Real Estate Branding

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Successful real estate branding can’t be accomplished with just a fancy logo or a catchy motto. The real secret behind strong real estate brands is a combination of creative elements and on-point messaging into a coherent identity. And if you want to become a real estate branding champion, it takes valuable content, a strong media presence, and regular interaction with your audience to convey that identity.

Each of the agents and brokers listed below (in no particular order) has mastered the art of branding in some aspect, so check out what makes their brands unique and memorable, and learn how you can emulate their methods to bolster your own real estate agent branding.

Raj Qsar, The Boutique Real Estate Group

Qsar’s brokerage has been a leader in the video marketing sphere for some time now — so much so he could be designated the King of Real Estate Video (should such a designation exist). From hiring excellent video marketing vendors to help him capture some amazing listings, likeHale Ali’i, to shooting his own recordings featuring his agents and the properties they represent, Qsar has shown a knack for crafting wonderfully attractive and charming videos that make you want to watch over and over again … even if you don’t happen to be in the market for homes for sale in SoCal. The videos have now become a trademark of his agency, and it’s thanks to some nifty real estate branding savvy from Qsar.

Lisa Archer and Laurie Weston Davis, “The Geeky Girls”

It’s hip to be square. The Geeky Girls Archer and Davis have taken this mantra to heart with their real estate branding approach — one that’s made them well-known in the world of real estate. The social proof is in the pudding: Just take a look at the duo’s Placester website homepage and you’ll see a multitude of industry members sporting Geeky Girls gear. A bold color scheme to accompany their creative logo and a sense of pride in their unique business persona have earned the pair quite a following. Want to emulate success? Don’t feel obligated to label yourself as “The [Insert Adjective Here] Agents.” Instead, focus on what separates you from other agents in your market and blend that information seamlessly into your real estate marketing. For instance, if you mostly sell great beachside properties, use language in your marketing messaging to denote your status as one of the premier beachfront property sellers in the region. A catchy moniker, like The Geeky Girls, is simply gravy.

Matt Beall, Hawaii Life

Matt Beall is a prime example of real estate branding done right for several reasons. He built his agency, Hawaii Life, rapidly — more than 200 agents and brokers have joined the firm’s 11 offices in just four years. He’s hosted a brokerage-sponsored real estate conference called Worthshop that has featured numerous big industry names. He positions his firm online as the preeminent brokerage in the state. And, on top of all that, he’s even managed to get his agency some airtime on HGTV, thanks to the aptly named series “Hawaii Life.” In other words, Beall has put in the work needed to build a powerhouse real estate firm and is now focusing on maximizing its potential by getting its name out through various channels.

Michael Thorne and David Fauquier, “Mobile Agent TV”

Not all real estate marketing strategies need to focus entirely on getting in front of consumers. Directing your marketing tactics at your peers can position you as a thought leader in the agent community. Take Thorne and Fauquier, for example: Their RE/MAX-sponsored “Mobile Agent TV” webisode series entails them interviewing the best and brightest in the real estate sector. These shows (like the episode above featuring Placester’s Seth Price) inform agents and brokers all over on how to better their bottom lines with the latest and greatest sales and marketing efforts, emerging technologies, and general business tips. Additionally, though, the series has transformed them into knowledgeable agents in the eyes of their local market. Each and every episode of “Mobile Agent TV” enhances Thorne and Fauquier’s status as a go-to resource.

Jill Hertzberg & Jill Eber, “The Jills”

It pays to work in one of the hottest (literally and figuratively) housing markets in the nation, but even that is no guarantee for success. Miami-area agents Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, who have capitalized on their first-name branding opportunity, understand that it takes some special marketing to stand out from the crowded field of real estate professionals operating in sunny Miami-Dade County. Thus, the dynamic duo has worked hard over the last several years to cement themselves as the premier agents not only in South Florida, but across the U.S. and world. Nearly every usage of their simple-yet-elegant logo is accompanied by copy denoting their status as “the #1 agent team worldwide.” When you’ve got the numbers to back up your claims, it’s an easy decision to take advantage of such a title. The Jills don’t rest on this logo and tagline, however — they also make sure to optimize their joint real estate website, produce detailed real estate videos, and take advantage of speaking engagements and other promotional endeavors.

Travis Greene, CountryWide Properties, Inc.

Branding for real estate businesses is primarily accomplished online these days, thanks to a bevy of inbound marketing tactics agents and brokers can implement. But offline marketing methods can also make an impact. For instance, Realtor and Placester customer Travis Greene has added his real estate agent branding to his truck, meaning he can promote his business simply by getting behind the wheel. Offline marketing techniques like this can go wrong (very wrong, in some cases), but Greene manages to incorporate his online branding into the real world effortlessly and attractively. Having a strong internet presence is vital to real estate marketing success, but spending some ad money on things like this can still offer reputational benefits.

Sue Adler, “Hear It Direct”

As we’ve discussed on the Academy before, agents have a wide array ofreal estate conferences available to them. Some of these conferences cover broad topics, like technology’s role in real estate and how to better organize your team. Others take a different approach — like Hear It Direct, a series of consumer-meets-agent events started in part by Sue Adler. What better way to market yourself than to speak with buyers and sellers in your area and answer their questions? As with the RE BarCamps that have become popular among agents nationwide, Adler’s Hear It Direct conferences have helped close the divide between agents and consumers, and make it simpler for both sides to understand one another. Adler can take a lot of credit for how successful Hear It Direct has become and deserves recognition for her selfless real estate branding. It’s a novel approach to a fundamental idea: Speaking and networking directly with those you want to work with.

John Hesse, Accelerated Realty Group

You have to go to great lengths sometimes to develop effective real estate agent branding — literally and figuratively. Sacramento-based Realtor Jon Hesse, for instance, flew a great distance to meet up with a branding firm he hired to get his photos taken for promotional images. The results? Well, just look at the “about me” infographic above, which features one of the images taken by the agency. It’s simple, yet shows Hesse is serious about his business because he’s willing to take the time to get professional shots taken. The same branding is used atop his real estate website and on all of his major social media accounts, meaning he’s taking full advantage of the branding services he secured. It can cost a pretty penny to get photos taken by seasoned pros, but if the fruits of that labor end up making you look reputable in the eyes of your audience, it’s more than worth the expense.

Marguerite Giguere, “The Skydiving Agent”

When you think “skydiving,” you may think “risky,” but perhaps that’s exactly what Giguere wants you to think: that she’s willing to take risks to help her clients close deals and provide excellent customer service. Look closer at her real estate branding, though, and you realize she’s much more than a gimmick. Giguere has charm and personality to spare, and clearly shows she cares about her clients. Email is a core element of her real estate marketing plans, as shown in this Academy post, while she also spends a great deal of time on her blog to inform the local community about interesting events, venues, restaurants, and other goings-on. Simply put, Giguere goes all out to make herself as personable and relatable as possible — and she passes that test with flying colors.

Julian Pilarski, Royal LePage Real Estate Services

To become a local, trusted brand name, real estate agents must implement some creative real estate marketing. A high-quality, appealing logo can be a great starting point for establishing your brand, but the real secret to broadening awareness and generating interest in your business is to use your brand marks in as many places as humanly possible. That means doing what Realtor Julian Pilarski has done, creating a beautiful real estate logo (like his below) to use on every page of your site, in your email marketing, atop your social media accounts, on flyers, in ebooks, and any other marketing collateral you create.

Pilarski specifically does an excellent job of using his logo in his real estate videos, as evidenced above. The branding is prominent at the beginning and end of his videos, and is even used in the corner of the screen mid-video. Seemingly small touches like these used hundreds of times over will add up over time and resonate more and more with local real estate customers.

Judith Weiniger, The Weiniger Group

Some agents forget to have a print real estate branding strategy in addition to online tactics. Look to Judith Weiniger’s marketing, for inspiration: She has mastered the art of the real estate mailer. Weiniger sends out print collateral like market reports and a home seller’s guide that are perfectly branded. They feature her agency’s logo, have a unified color scheme, and, most importantly, feature lots of valuable content that educates her audience.
Who do you think will be atop the list when recipients decide to buy or sell? Once again, consistency is key. Weiniger noted in a Placester Academy post that sending out mailers a dozen times annually is ideal. Doing so has helped get her and her company top-of-mind with qualified leads in her market.

Need some real estate branding ideas? Check out our Academy post 75 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Promote Themselves Online. What are some real estate brand examples you’ve seen that you loved? Share some notable instances in the comments section below!

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18 Inspiring Real Estate Instagram Accounts to Follow

San Clemente Pier

Instagram is a mobile force to be reckoned with. With 400 million users, it’s larger than Twitter, and advertisers report that ads on the service outperform those on other platforms.

But beyond the photo filters, Instagram can also be a new way to generate business. Real estate professionals like Anne Jones, Joyce Rey and Dusty Baker all make Instagram a core part of their branding and marketing efforts. Companies like Windermere and Houlihan Lawrence have turned the service into a powerful new way to promote their listings. And accounts like Haute Residence have built large audiences around their tempting listing photos.

If you’re looking to spruce up your Instagram feed, learn what’s working when it comes to real estate, or simply figure out if the service is right for you, we’ve put together a list of 18 inspirational Instagram accounts worth following.

Have an account we missed? Share it in the comments and we’ll add it to the list.

1. The Boutique Real Estate Group
2. Anne Jones, Windermere
3. Joyce Rey, Joyce Rey Real Estate
4. Dusty Baker, Keller Williams Realty, Montecito, California
5. Chad Carroll, The Chad Caroll Group
6. Nikki Beauchamp, Engel & Volkers New York
7. The Broke Agent
8. Shawn Elliot, Shawn Elliot Luxury Homes & Estates
9. Fredrik Eklund, Douglas Elliman
10. Windermere
11. Live Urban Denver
12. Caroline Gosselin, Prominent Properties
13. Kim Colaprete, Team Diva Real Estate
14. Audie Chamberlain, Lion & Orb
15. Ines Hegedus-Garcia, Team Miamism
16. Marguerite Giguere, Windermere Real Estate
17. Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers
18. Houlihan Lawrence 

 

 

Erica Boisvert: ‘There is no algorithm for nuance’

via Inman Select

Erica dishes on the economy and maintaining agent value in 2015

Are you optimistic about 2015?

An approaching year always carries a certain sense of hope and excitement, and I’m especially looking forward to seeing how work and new relationships from this year progress and grow in 2015.

The economy?

Yes; the economy has slowly, but progressively, gotten better, and the U.S. is working toward once again being a balanced and stable contributor to the global economy. Watching the unemployment rate get lower, seeing mortgage interest rates hover below 4 percent and knowing that the Federal Reserve is cautious about raising rates, which have effectively been around zero since 2008, leaves me feeling confident that slow and steady will win the race. Things are not as secure as we really need them to be, but we appear to be on the right path toward stabilization, which does leave me feeling optimistic about 2015. Also, with a presidential election on the horizon, it’s safe to say that things will continue to progress slowly and the Fed will proceed with caution.

The housing market?

The housing market has been fairly volatile in the recent past, but in late 2013 and into 2014 it feels as though things are getting back on track. Even with a little lull from the fall extending into winter the market is better now than it was a few years ago and appears to continue to get better.

Your success?

I’m very excited for a successful year … working with The Boutique Real Estate Group allows me the amazing opportunity to work with, and learn from, industry leaders. Whether it’s the introduction of the latest technological advancements, Raj Qsar stretching our company’s reach globally and teaching us about out-of-the-box market preparation for our client’s homes, or our in-house staff reminding us to build and nurture relationships, they all lend to our “boutique” culture of approaching real estate differently and effectively — and, as a result, thriving.

What are you worried about?

My worries tend to be more personal; will I connect with the right people?

How much do you fret about global events?

The global economy is such a force to be reckoned with and has so many constantly changing facets that it can be overwhelming … I don’t know that I worry about global events as much as I try to maintain a working knowledge of what’s occurring. Am I worried that the European and Japanese markets are set to tank? Yes. But I’m hopeful that the right people, who are much smarter than I am, are already addressing the potential problems. So, I tend to concentrate more on what I can do to affect positive change — I can make sure my clients are realistic and setting the listing price of their homes in a way that makes sense in their local market while still achieving their personal goals, and in the instance of buyers, I can work diligently to find them a home that is responsibly set within their budget while still allowing for future growth in their real estate portfolio.

Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?

It seems that “stability” is the name of the game … rates will move, they will respond to the climate set on Wall Street, but will there be drastic changes in either direction? Probably not. It seems that the Fed is set to keep rates low going into 2015 while we concentrate on maintaining the strength our economy has gained up to this point. 2016 going into 2017? Now, that’s a different ball game.

Will home prices appreciate next year?

As long as we stay the course, homes will most likely see a gain in 2015 … some homeowners have seen gains already this year.

Will agents be more productive next year? Why or why not?

Agent productivity is such a subjective thing — agents who are producing now will continue to do well; agents who are learning and implementing strong strategies now will do well next year. Personally, I plan on being massively productive, and my goal is to triple my numbers from this year.

Will the portals play a bigger role next year?

It will be interesting to see how Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia will play out in February; the industry impact could be dulled as the company experiences growing pains, and it’s possible that newer strategies will be implemented later in the year leaving the largest changes to occur in 2016. However, the portals will always play a large role — potential buyers and sellers are interested in the ease of use of these products that seem to offer tons of information freely at your fingertips.

What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?

This is still a word-of-mouth market; the biggest source of leads will always be current clients.

Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business next year?

Our company is growing at an amazing pace, and it’s quite a ride! It is my intention to grow with The Boutique and triple last year’s business.

What is the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming year?

Maintaining agent value is a main concern for me. It is easy for consumers to get caught up in the portals, to jump online and do some quick research and feel like they have good working knowledge of the local area. But it falls to our shoulders to show our clients that, actually, quick and easy is not the order of the day; websites like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc., cannot give an all-encompassing value estimate. There is no algorithm for nuance; there is no way to measure the subjective nature of home selling or the emotion involved on the consumer level. It is up to us to ensure that clients are aware of our value by sharing our comprehensive market knowledge, anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations in every transaction — and by offering them the personal touch that these websites cannot give.