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.
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.
Solution Leverages Data-Driven Insights, Collaborative Tools To Identify Best Homes for Each Client
Corona del Mar, California – May 5, 2016 – The Boutique Real Estate Group, Inc. (www.TheBoutiqueRE.com), a luxury residential real estate brokerage focused on brilliant design, beautiful marketing and luxury services, has extended its tech-forward business advantage with RealScout, a powerful solution that empowers brokers and agents to generate more offers in less time.
The Boutique Founder Raj Qsar said the addition of RealScout to the firm’s already extensive technology portfolio has empowered agents to generate more business and build stronger relationships through a variety of innovative features that foster collaboration and client engagement.
“RealScout takes the guesswork out of the real estate experience by providing critical, timely market intelligence that uncovers the best opportunities for each customer,” he said. “It offers uniquely targeted, data-driven insights and other tools that help our agents and clients work together in identifying the best homes based on lifestyle and feature preferences.”
Tech-enabled collaboration and marketing are at the core of The Boutique’s value proposition. Founded in 2013 and with agents serving Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties, the brokerage has mastered virtually every element of the luxury real estate buying and selling listing experience, with in-house creative design services, professional staging, architectural photography, cinematography and film production, world class social media, internet optimization, cloud-based transaction management, and global listing syndication. The firm was a finalist for the 2014 Inman News Innovator Award for “Most Innovative Real Estate Agent” and the 2015 Innovator Award for “Most Innovative Technology.” Furthermore, Qsar was named to the prestigious SP200 recognizing the “200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate for 2016.”
RealScout is an agent and broker-branded web and mobile platform that has facilitated billions of dollars in residential real estate sales by empowering agents and their clients to find the right homes through the use of highly detailed information extending well beyond MLS data. In addition, unlike conventional, third-party Web portals – which often disengage consumers from their agents – RealScout facilitates collaborative search within a broker and agent-branded environment.
“We were introduced to RealScout through a group demonstration and our agents were so enthusiastic about its capabilities that we decided to jump onboard almost immediately,” Qsar said. “It allows you to have an ongoing conversation with your client through the platform, and it is exceptionally easy to use for all parties.”
“Many real estate technology companies have tried to replace the role of the real estate agent, but RealScout is built around the exact opposite philosophy,” said RealScout Founder and CEO Andrew Flachner. “Everything we do at RealScout is based on the belief that agents’ local neighborhood knowledge and residential real estate transaction expertise, augmented with the right technology, provide clients the best advantage when making the most important financial decision of their lives. Raj and his team immediately understood the value RealScout could bring to their organization, and it is rewarding to see The Boutique build upon its success through our solution’s innovative features which help their agents generate more offers in less time.”
About The Boutique Real Estate Group
The Boutique Real Estate Group (TheBoutiqueRE.com) is a boutique real estate brokerage founded in Orange County, California, that focuses on brilliant design, beautiful marketing and luxury services. The Boutique has created a culture that spurs collaboration, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach. This design and tech-forward approach has earned The Boutique Real Estate Group accolades and awards worldwide: 2016 SP 200 “Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate,” 2015 Inman News Innovator Award Finalist nominee for “Most Innovative Real Estate Agent,” 2015 “Top 33 People Changing The Real Estate Industry,” 2014 “Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage,” 2013 and 2014 “Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders in the USA,” and 2014 “Real Estate Video of The Year.”
RealScout (realscout.com) is the brokerage and agent-branded home search platform that empowers agents and their clients to find the right home faster. RealScout supports the competitive needs of brokerages and agents by helping them work in concert with their clients throughout their property hunt. Home buyers receive exclusive personalized property matches based on their specific lifestyle and feature preferences. Agents have visibility into buyer activities to best meet evolving client preferences, boosting client loyalty and facilitating informed, data-driven decisions that generate more offers in less time.
The estates dotting the hilltops in Europe provided the stimulus for this custom-built residence nestled into the hillside of this Southern California guard-gated community known as The Country in Diamond Bar. 3015 Steeplechase Lane is a thoughtful compilation of horizontal building forms, brick elements and detailed accents that remind you of a quaint European village.
Get out of the office and make personal connections that generate leads.
Starbucks and other places like it are great locations to generate leads.
Be consistent and focus on creating relationships that build credibility and lead to sales down the line.
Always bring marketing materials and discreetly advertise yourself with branded accessories, such as a laptop cover.
Starbucks isn’t only the place to pick up your daily triple nonfat latte with a drizzle of caramel and extra foam on the side — it’s also a great place to find leads.
In Lab Coat Agents, James Michaelin recounts how he got two leads in one morning at Starbucks thanks to good listening and quick action.
“I overheard a business meeting that someone was starting a business and they brought up needing to find a Realtor for a location,” he wrote. “Well, [the] keyword Realtor was said so of course I introduced myself, gave my card to both of them and they [wanted] to get together soon.”
Twenty minutes later, James got another lead from a man who overheard his conversation with the two businessmen.
As it turns out, Michaelin isn’t the only agent who uses Starbucks as a lead-generating tool. There’s been a lot of chatter online over the past two months about the power of Starbucks and other places like it, such as Panera Bread or even Dunkin’ Donuts.
Here’s some of the advice agents gave on how to make Starbucks work for you:
Agents aren’t the only people who use Starbucks as a second office. Most of the people are there are to get work done and rarely look up from their phone, tablet or laptop.
So how do you let people know a Realtor is in the room? JT Takacs suggests telling the cashier to write “Realtor (insert name)” on your cup, so when the barista calls your name, everyone will know your profession.
3. Discreetly advertise yourself with branded accessories
Order a customized laptop cover that has your name, logo, website URL and a great call-to-action. Amanda Miller Hudson says: “I have the Realtor ‘R’ logo in sticker form over the apple on my MacBook Pro. It works! I picked up a seller lead last November at Panera.”
4. Focus on making personal connections before generating leads
What agents love about Starbucks is the chance to get from behind the tech wall and make real-time, face-to-face connections. Don’t stop in with the expectation that you’ll walk out with a handful of deals each day, because as many will attest, there will be days and weeks when you won’t.
But you will build the relationships and familiarity crucial to establishing your brand and long-term success.
5. Offer on-the-spot advice
When Zillow evangelist Jay Thompson goes to Starbucks, he brings a sign that says: “Have a real estate question? Fire away!” And he buys a cup of coffee for those who are brave enough to take the offer.
6. Bring marketing materials
This seems like a given, but some may feel apprehensive about bringing their regular marketing materials with them into Starbucks. David Fresquez suggests having a set of “ready-made buyer or seller folders that includes information about you, your latest accomplishments along with some social proof.”
Keep these folders in your briefcase, backpack or bag and give them to your potential lead once your conversation is done.
7. Small sacrifices can hook a big fish
At Luxury Connect in October, Josh Altman shared a story about how he was able to snare a sale at Starbucks. He frequents one Los Angeles store in particular and had purchased his coffee when he saw a well-known celebrity join the line.
So Altman threw out his just-procured drink and stepped in line behind the celeb, struck up a conversation and discovered he was looking for a home. He offered the star $1,000 to come with him to a place he thought would fit the bill — certain it was perfect. And it was. Being willing to throw out the coffee and offer money to show sincerity generated a happy ending to the story, a $12 million sale.
Do you have any extra advice for getting leads at Starbucks? What are some other places you like to hang out? Share them in the comments below.
Champagne, Hot Chocolate, Donut Bar and Open Air Photo Booth with Mrs. Claus & her Elves!
The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the community’s most popular event of the year! This is an absolute can’t miss special event filled with holiday festivities for family, friends, residents and visitors looking for a spectacular way to ring in the holiday season. Each year “The Walk” brings together thousands of fun-loving people into the Village of Corona del Mar for live entertainment, food, prizes and games in true holiday spirit!
>Toys for Tots Drive
>Corona del Mar merchant promotions throughout Corona del Mar’s Business District
>Live Entertainment with over 12 signature bands in strategic locations
>The popular Fireman’s Grill BBQ provided by the
NB Fire Department
>Restaurant tastings and celebration parties.
>Kid’s entertainment including snap shots with Santa Clause, bouncy houses, bungee jumping, holiday characters, a petting zoo and more.
>Unique vendor exhibits in the popular vendor faire at the center stage.
>Beer & Wine Garden located in Bandera’s Lower Parking Lot with Signature band “Pinch Me”
>Famous Opportunity Drawing with over $15,000 worth of prizes.
>Langford Properties Raffle, stop by their booth
>Performances by High School and community organization
Win Great Prizes!
Christmas Walk Opportunity Drawing
Langford Properties Raffle: Enter your name at their booth 11-4PM
Pre-sale tickets Avail / Winner Need not be present:
Each year local merchants donate prizes for the popular Christmas Walk Opportunity Drawing and the odds are spectacular. Purchase tickets to win unique gift items, hotel stays, restaurant dinners, spa packages, gift certificates, services and more than $15,000 worth of prizes. Winner need not be present so get your tickets in advance. Tickets also make great gifts for clients.
Ticket prices = $1 ea.
11 tickets for = $10
25 tickets for = $20
In our latest #SindeoSitDown, Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group and video guru, Raj Qsar, sat down with us to talk about how and why realtors everywhere should be leveraging video to grow their business.
So…what did we learn? For starters, if you’re not already using video to market your listings you should be! Listings that use video receive 4x as many leads as those without. Video has become the #1 ROI for money spent and returned for Raj and his team, as is the case for most realtors doing video successfully.
What kinds of things can you add to video to make them exciting and “sticky”?
Add a human element – Create videos that are about more than just the property. Feature pets, give the house a story, include actors that “live” in the home, find ways to make it feel real so viewers can relate.
Include the community – B-roll footage is key. Buyers aren’t just moving into a house, they’re moving into a community. So, show it to them! Shots of local businesses, parks, beaches, and amenities go a long way. Plus, this content is evergreen, meaning you can use it again and again.
Make it cool – There are so many hi-tech additions you can incorporate to put your video above the rest. Use hyperlapse, add filters, film aerial shots with a drone!
1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are more serious buyers!
2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you!
3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there
will be less demand for your particular home! Less demand means less money for you!
4. Houses show better when decorated for the Holidays!
5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price!
6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a working week!
7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons!
8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait until Spring to buy, you must be on the market now to capture that market!
9. You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings during the six or seven days during the Holidays!
10. You can sell now for more money and we can allow for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year!
11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the Spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money! This will allow you to sell higher and buy lower!
While many American real estate brokers would name features such as safe neighborhoods, proximity to top schools, and good sunlight as big factors upping a home’s value, some new elements are becoming equally important: stairs that don’t face the door, a stove that’s not placed below the master bedroom, and a bathroom that’s not in the center of the home. Thanks to growing Chinese demand for property in the United States, houses that align with good feng shui principles are earning big money and have propelled a cottage industry of feng shui-literate agents, developers, and design consultants in the U.S. real estate industry.
The results of a new survey by the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and AREAA find that the feng shui design philosophy plays a role in home selection for the vast majority Chinese-Americans. A philosophical system that translates to “wind and water” in English, feng shui is focused on harmony with the surrounding environment and has traditionally been used in China to plan the orientation, architecture, and interior design of buildings. Out of 500 Chinese-American survey respondents, a staggering 86 percent say that feng shui will play a role in their future real estate purchasing decisions. A total of 76 percent said that they are familiar with feng shui principles, with over half of those familiar saying that they use it in their daily lives. Out of those surveyed who are homeowners, 81 percent said that feng shui had factored into their purchase.
Feng shui is already having a major effect on luxury home design in America as a result. In Arcadia, California, an upscale suburb of Los Angeles nicknamed the “Chinese Beverly Hills” due to its large Chinese population, developers are buying up older houses devoid of feng shui influences, tearing them down, and constructing new ones following the proper rules governing the flow of qi, or the invisible forces that govern the universe, according to the philosophy. This includes not only floor plan and layout, but the placement of the home itself—developers are most interested in buying lots that are in the middle of the block and facing south, while corner homes are less auspicious.
Photo Courtesy of The Boutique Real Estate Group
These principles are being employed at luxury developments across America as feng shui experts are called in to guide designers on how to appeal to wealthy Chinese real estate investors flocking to the United States, after they spent $22 billion on U.S. property last year. In Queens, New York, a condominium development called The Grand at View Sky Parc placed entrances in a way that would prevent the flow of negative energies, while strategically placing stones, plants, water, and wood in its rooftop park. Meanwhile, the waterfront Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach employed Hong Kong feng shui expert Patrick Wong to make sure the design and decor of the building were feng shui-compliant for its properties, which range from $2 million to $40 million.
This big investment in feng shui can lead to some major profits for developers, as a total of 79 percent of survey respondents said they would pay an average of 16 percent more for a home with proper design. Meanwhile, 90 percent of respondents said that they believe implementing feng shui elements will help improve a home’s resale value. Agents with knowledge of feng shui are especially prone to success with Chinese buyers, as 36 percent said they wouldn’t even work with an agent with no knowledge of feng shui.
For home sellers, poor feng shui now comes at a price, since many respondents saw negative elements as “deal breakers.” A home being at the end of a dead-end street is the worst, and would prevent 31 percent of those surveyed from buying it, while 29 percent wouldn’t buy a house with stairs directly facing the front door or with a sloped backyard, and 24 percent couldn’t accept front and back doors aligned with one another.
Feng shui, of course, isn’t the only important selling point for a home marketed to Chinese buyers. In Arcadia, new homes are also being tricked out with wine cellars, marble-lined double-entry halls, multiple master-bedroom suites to accommodate extended family, and separate “wok kitchens.”