Baker Ranch | Melissa Sims | The Boutique Real Estate Group

via Melissa Sims

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Times, they are changing…

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” -Charles Darwin

 

Times are definitely changing, and it remains to be seen whether these changes are going to have a positive impact on local communities.  The recent influx of developers coming into our towns and creating more housing seems to have created quite the stir of emotions for current residents.

 

I run a Facebook page, called Around the Ranch, which I created for the residents of Foothill Ranch to connect with one another, while providing an open platform to discuss our community.  When I asked everyone’s opinions about the new developments coming in, the range of answers was staggering.  Too much traffic, unwanted demographic changes and negative impacts on our schools seemed to be the largest concerns.  However, many pointed out that it could also help our micro-economy through local businesses gaining new customers and create the need for more shopping and dining choices.

 

The Toll Brothers, known for their impeccable luxury design, has teamed with Shea Homes, a leader in master-planned communities, to bring us Baker Ranch, the largest of the new developments to impact Foothill Ranch.  Baker Ranch will bring just over 2300 new homes, 6 parks and a focus on outdoor recreation.  “Village One” as they call it, will contain six neighborhoods, with homes ranging from 1200 sq. ft. to 3200 sq. ft. and will be ready in early 2014.  Prices have not been released, but most anticipate them to start in the $300,000 range for townhomes and $500,000 for detached homes.  If the development rings true to Shea and Toll Brothers’ past accomplishments, the result will be beautiful luxury design, coupled with an outstanding focus on community atmosphere.

 

Sounds great, right?  Well, residents in Foothill Ranch are mainly concerned with this development’s impact on our local elementary school, Foothill Ranch Elementary (FRE), which is part of the Saddleback Valley Unified School District.  A straight answer is somewhat hard to come by from city officials and planners, as to what school the new residents will go to.  FRE already has an overwhelming traffic issue, which could be exacerbated by the incoming population.  The teacher-to-student ratio is high at FRE due to cutbacks over the past few years.  However, FRE’s attendance is down this year, and new students could prove beneficial to funding for the school.  Baker Ranch will use Saddleback Unified for it’s district, and is required to pay the district around $8,500 per unit for improvements to whichever school is impacted.

 

The effect of Baker Ranch on local resources will soon be realized, but whether it is a positive or negative impact could be in the attitude we all have toward change.  The changes are coming, and it is how we adapt to those changes that will determine the future of our community.

 

 

Top Resorts in Southern California | Melissa Sims | The Boutique Real Estate Group

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Recently, Conde Nast magazine released their annual ‘Top Resorts In Southern California’ list.  Four of the resorts in the top ten are right here in Orange County, believe it or not.

Just making it in to the top ten, the St. Regis Monarch Beach received the #9 spot on Conde Nast Traveler’s list.  With numerous awards, from Forbes five-star, AAA Diamond, Travel & Leisure Top Spas, it is no wonder that this resort has withstood the test of time.  Probably best known for it’s challenging, award-winning Robert Trent Jones golf course, the resort has been a staple in Orange County for decades.  Rumor has it that the sand in the bunkers has crushed abalone to help give it that ‘sparkle’ that no other resort around has.  Designed with impeccable detail, the St. Regis has a Mediterranean flair, complete with grand fountains and courtyards.  The entire resort and golf course have spectacular views of the gorgeous Orange County coastline.  Visit http://bit.ly/Hd6Lda to reserve.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point is #7 on the list.  Located atop a 150-foot bluff, the Ritz-Carlton encompasses luxury.  It evokes a kind of romanticism that feels novel-worthy.  The resort’s impeccable design, coupled with its gold standard of service, have given it an impressive track record of success.  World-class surf just below, amazing restaurants and some of the best weather anywhere, and views up and down the coastline of Orange County make you realize just how special the resort is. http://bit.ly/Hd6IxZ

Almost topping the prestigious Conde Nast list is The Montage in Laguna Beach, making it to the #2 spot. Perched on a cliff in the arts and crafts city of Laguna Beach, the Montage lends a sense of serenity and artistry that is, in my opinion, unmatched.  Laguna Beach began as an artist’s colony in the 1800s and continues its tradition of creativity through art festivals and galleries, a world-renowned outdoor theater and spectacular restaurants.  No hotel could fit the mold of this town more perfectly than The Montage.  From the bungalows, to the chic pool, to the 5-star dining, the Montage lends an air of sophistication that leaves its guests feeling elite and its onlookers feeling mystified.  To make reservations, visit http://monta.ge/H8rizc

I have saved the best for last…The Resort At Pelican Hill embodies everything that is Orange County: extraordinary, awe-inspiring beauty, exclusivity, and elegance without being ‘stuffy.’  The list of awards received is too numerous to detail here; Pelican Hill has not only received the #1 resort in Southern California but also the #1 resort in the entire US.  Having been built in a Palladian style, the resort appears as if it is nestled in the rolling hills of Northern Italy.  Pelican Hill is located in the prestigious and exclusive Newport Coast, home to some of the world’s most spectacular views and exquisite homes.  With a 36-hole Fazio designed championship golf course, award winning dining, enviable views and a location unmatched by any other resort in Orange County, it is no wonder that Pelican Hill has received the honor of the number one spot.  To learn more about this exclusive resort, visit http://bit.ly/18GZFax

I am not surprised that Orange County is home to some of the most beautiful resorts in the world; after all, it has earned the nickname “The Golden Riviera.”  Today, I may just take a moment to enjoy this paradise I am so fortunate to call home.  Drive down the coast, stop by one of these amazing resorts for a spa treatment, a round of golf with a friend, or a bite to eat.  Or maybe I’ll just drive past and be immersed in a sense of tranquility and beauty that is incomparable – a tranquility and beauty that is Orange County.

For more information, please contact Melissa Sims at 714-616-6442 or www.TheBoutiqueRE.com/Melissa-Sims

2013 Next Generation Brokerage by Better Homes & Garden Real Estate and 1000 Watt Consulting

We are honored to be selected as the 2013 Next Generation Brokerage by Better Homes & Garden Real Estate and 1000 Watt Consulting.  The Boutique Real Estate Group is a new breed of real estate brokerage.  We are attracting and engaging new customers. Empowering our agents and clients with the latest, most flexible technology and building meaningful brand.

 

Team-2013

The story of the real estate agent turned broker is a familiar one. A natural progression in the industry.

Raj Qsar is that broker. After working for 12 years in the business as an agent, in 2013 he opened The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, Calif.

His vision? Build a brokerage that is outstanding at visual marketing.

Design is the rule, not the exception

The first rule of real estate has always been location. But Raj and his team are proving that today it’s just as much about design. Design in web and print marketing, video, and the homes themselves.

This is why Raj’s company team page contains nearly as many professional designers and creative roles as it does agents.

Bypassing a typical brokerage organizational chart, Raj’s team includes a creative director, interior designer and cinematographer. From day one, Raj has made quality design a key part of Boutique Real Estate’s unique value proposition.

“We’re a sales and marketing team, but we happen to focus on real estate,” Raj said.

Boutique’s approach to design in digital marketing really shines in their single-property websitesHDR photographyHD virtual tours and high-definition videos.

Every home is staged and professionally photographed for inclusion in custom designed print and digital marketing materials. They shoot a video of nearly every listing, and own all of the necessary equipment from cameras to lenses to lighting and sound.

“We’re a sales and marketing team, but we happen to focus on real estate.”

This treatment is engrained in the Boutique Real Estate customer experience. Raj and his team are uncompromising on this. From the full-time stager they’ve hired to the in-house videographer and graphic designer, clearly this is where the brokerage breaks the mold.

Video is the rising star

In 2010, Raj and his team started experimenting with video, realizing quickly that it paid off in terms of return on investment. “People were showing up at our open houses knowing it was us because of the videos and photography they’d seen in marketing materials,” Raj said.

“I figured out quickly, though, that hiring third-party vendors was a losing investment,” he said. That’s why he purchased all of the necessary audio and visual equipment and brought on a professional videographer to focus solely on videos.

While plenty of brokerage companies and agent teams create video in their marketing, Boutique Real Estate’s take is different. They use high production value without going over the top, subtle humor, contemporary music and an imaginative and fun approach to the typical home tour.

Check out a few of their recent property videos here, and you’ll see it feels more like you’re getting a taste of the lifestyle associated with homes than just a straight walkthrough on camera. And that’s the goal.

Natural selection

In keeping with a focus on high-quality marketing and building a unique brand around that value, Raj’s approach to recruiting is to be highly selective. “We say no to more people wanting to join us than we say yes to,” he said.

Part of this is because the whole notion behind the “boutique” brokerage is working with a highly focused small team. Also, the allure is customized marketing, which becomes challenging at a larger scale.

In general, Raj looks for sales associates who are passionate, relatable and people-oriented, and who are active participants in their community.

What lies ahead

When thinking about the future, Raj and his team remain open-minded. He likes to make sure they’re always thinking ahead to what consumers will want and need five years from now – how they’ll want to do business, how they’ll want to view properties and how agents will work best.

One goal is to open Boutique offices in select California markets, including Corona Del Mar, Napa, Palm Springs and North San Diego.

Of course, no one can predict the future, but Boutique Real Estate will continue to keep an eye on design trends and lead its real estate marketing in these same trajectories.

See more at: http://nextgenbrokerage.com/company/the-boutique-real-estate-group/#sthash.z57bEFuL.dpuf

 

What’s In A Name

Via TruliaPro
Average Price Per Square Foot Based on Address Suffixes
Who knew address suffix could make such a difference? Each square foot on a “street” is $31 dollars less then a square foot on a “boulevard.  What do you think?

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Getting Business Done. Everywhere.

Customer Story: Jeremy Lehman

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You always hear about how technology can solve this problem or that problem, or help you do something better or more efficiently. While it might seem like there are endless possibilities – sometimes knowing how to leverage technology or “use it” can be more of a challenge than finding the right solutions.

Meet Jeremy Lehman – he really “gets it.”

Jeremy is a technology enthusiast turned real estate agent in Orange County, California who is always on the go. I gave Jeremy a call the other day as he was in-between a quick stop at the Apple store and picking up his kids from school. “I would say that I am on my mobile devices ninety plus percent of the time,” Jeremy told me.

 

Having his phone on him 15 hours a day  is not uncommon for Jeremy. “I am rarely on a computer and it’s not that my mobile devices have completely replaced my computer because it is necessary, but it’s because I am on the go so much it makes sense to use my mobile devices to get things done rather than waiting until I get back home or wherever,” Jeremy said, adding with a chuckle “I spend almost no time in the office, almost to the dismay of my team.”

The Boutique Real Estate Group

Jeremy is a Realtor and CTO of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California.

However, just because Jeremy’s not in the office doesn’t mean he isn’t working, in fact he sees it as just the opposite. “I don’t believe that someone who’s always in the office is doing incredibly well, because the reality is business gets done everywhere but the office these days,” Jeremy said. He still prefers doing business “belly to belly” with his clients because after all real estate is a service-based business. Being mobile allows him to be more efficient with his time and proactive with his clients. “If I am driving my car and I get a call from my assistant, client or another agent who needs a specific document for a deal, I need to be able to access any document from the road at any given time,” Jeremy said. He added that it doesn’t matter if he is on vacation or on the golf course – he never has to tell a client he is too busy doing personal things to get back to them. “I don’t think those sort of answers are acceptable these days,” Jeremy said, adding it’s okay if he’s using his time for personal reasons because he can still get the job done and is not delaying transactions.

Boutique-Property

I asked Jeremy what sort of mobile tools he uses while on the go and he said he uses an iPhone, iPad and a stable of core apps that included Cartavi and DocuSign. He also said his group, The Boutique Real Estate Group, uses mobile forms that are tablet compatible and that he uses DocuSign Ink as a signing solution for his iPhone and PDF Expert for his iPad. He said PDF Expert allows him to write on the contract through his iPad to add additional terminology. He also uses MLS Touch, which allows him to access MLS listing at all times. Jeremy’s suite of mobile solutions is pretty impressive and allows him to do everything on the go, which is what I meant when I said “he really gets it!”

Jeremy does not just use technology to stay on the road though; he also uses it to get more business. He maintains a significant web presence and uses social media to market his offerings. “I think it is important that we have profiles on any place that a client is going, so if clients are going to Zillow then you need a presence on Zillow, if they are going to Realtor.com – then you need a presence there.”

Jeremy said most of the people in his group also have personal websites and are very searchable. His personal website is http://about.me/jeremylehman and came up immediately when I searched his name on Google.

Boutique-Property

Jeremy also said he is doing mostly listings now even though his business used to be more 50/50 buyers and sellers. “We are in an extreme sellers market,” Jeremy said. He also added that shifting business models’ is difficult but he has used the internet to establish himself and develop a steady stream of listings. “I guess it is marketing the whole negotiating dynamic, using technology, but also offering a high personal level of customer service,” Jeremy said. I asked Jeremy how he got into real estate and he said was actually working with a title company but a Senate bill would have gotten rid of the services that he offered so in 2007 he decided to get his real estate license and become an agent, and as he puts it, “I always sort of ‘got’ real estate.”

Jeremy is also very involved in leadership and serves on the Board of Directors at the Pacific West Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors. He is also a technology trainer and mentor, and occasionally does real estate technology workshops for Apple. He will tell you though, for as savvy as he is with technology, “I’m not nearly as technical as people think I am. I just sort of understand technology and how to use it.” Even though Jeremy has figured out how to use leverage technology to his advantage, he still prides himself on providing “likable” customer service, fast response times and doing a very professional job.

If you are thinking about listing a property in Orange County, just look-up ‘Jeremy Lehman’ and you’ll find him at his Personal WebsiteFacebookTwitterLinkedinTrulia,YourSoCalAgentInstagram… the list goes on and on. He is not hard to find, trust me.

Not Today The Movie | www.NotTodayTheMovie.com | In Theaters Nationwide April 12th

via Friends Church Yorba Linda, April 12th, 2013

Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?

Traveling with his friends to Hyderabad, India on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard. But not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong—only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.

Caden’s eyes are now opened to a world few Americans know still exists: a thriving human-trafficking trade. Add the dehumanization of Kiran and hundreds of millions of other Dalits due to India’s caste system, and Caden could easily turn his back.

Yet spurred by a true purpose, an unlikely new friendship, and the prayers of his mother and girlfriend back home, Caden chooses to help in Kiran’s unlikely search to find his daughter.

Starring Cody Longo, Walid Amini, Shari Rigby, and John Schneider, NOT TODAY challenges moviegoers with a purpose that goes beyond its gripping story. The movie was produced by Friends Church Yorba Linda, a congregation committed to educating the Dalits and ending human trafficking in India.

NOT TODAY is a powerful reminder that change is possible if we’re willing to open our eyes … today.

 

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Raj Qsar | 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders | Inman News | 2013

So truly honored & humbled to be able to share this recognition with this exceptional group of individuals.

Being named as Real Estate Industry’s 100 Most Influential Leaders truly has me speechless!

 

Inman News today releases the Inman 100 report, an annual list of the Most Influential Real Estate Leaders that recognizes those who embody leadership, ingenuity, strength, conviction, power, persistence, perseverance and progress — their voices and actions can move the industry toward change.

They include the industry’s brain trust, power brokers and deal-makers, and those outside the industry who impact the business of buying and selling homes.

Inman News accepted and reviewed hundreds of reader nominations via an open, online nominations process. An Inman News in-house review and selection process considered reader-selected nominees and also suggested additional individuals worthy of consideration.

See The Top 100:  http://www.inman.com/inman100

View Raj’s Recognition:  http://www.inman.com/inman100/2013/raj-qsar