Interview with Raj Qsar | The Boutique Real Estate Group | www.TheBoutiqueRE.com

“So in a sense our team has digitaized the real estate experience.” Raj Qsar

Q: As a full service Real Estate Brokerage What makes The Boutique Real Estate Group Different? 

A: We had out “ah-ha” moment back in 2008 as technology and social media found Real Estate. We knew there had to be a better way of not only marketing real estate but there also had to be a better way of managing the mountain of paperwork and people involved in a real estate transaction. So in a sense our team has digitized the real estate experience. You will never find our clients running to a fax machine and most likely never even pick up a pen to sign anything. We are a paperless office. Completely mobile and can run an entire real estate transaction from our iPads and phones. Our technology does not require our clients to be tech savvy – it only requires our agents to understand the benefits of technology and to implement that technology with our clients.

Q: Your marketing platform is truly amazing. Can you share with us a little bit of why your team has become globally recognized for your work in Real Estate Marketing?

A: Real Estate marketing has truly evolved over the last 10 years. We have developed a comprehensive strategy which showcases our client’s home through real life video (actual movies), HDR Photography, 360 HD V-Tours (amazing technology), individual property websites for each individual home, staging & interior design, custom graphics & design, and a social media content strategy that reaches people on a global scale. We have had the pleasure of being able to bring all aspects of our marketing completely in-house. What that means is that we have complete control over our designs, feel and strategy when marketing luxury real estate. When surfing the web for real estate, our listings stand out: they have a unique look & feel and buyers recognize our listings as being “boutique-ified.” Every part of the marketing strategy has been touched by our in-house team to unsure absolute perfection.

Q: The Boutique Real Estate Group has a massive social and web-presence. Why have you focused so much on this part of marketing?

A: The world is on the web – advances in technology are changing the way businesses interact with clients. People are on their smartphones, heads down and focused. We know we need to be where our clients are, so we can be at the forefront of their minds. Our clients are on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter and Four Square. However, the Facebook user is different than the Linkedin user, who is totally different than the individual on Instagram. So when thinking about marketing, you will see that our strategy is different depending on the platform and who we are trying to reach.

Q: Why did you choose Corona Del Mar as your new home base for The Boutique Real Estate Group?

A: I am an Orange County Native and growing up, my family & I we always at the beach playing, surfing and just enjoying our time together. As a real estate professional it only makes sense that our marketing platform, our luxury services, and our attention to detail is needed in Coastal Orange County. Corona Del Mar was a natural choice – not only is it centrally located between Newport, Huntington, Laguna, and Dana Point, but it encompasses exactly what we stand for, laid-back luxury.

 

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The Boutique Real Estate Group to Open New Luxury Real Estate Office in Corona Del Mar

Brilliant design, luxury services & cutting edge technology are headed to the coast of Orange County, Ca with the launch of The Boutique Real Estate Groups second office in the beach city of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach.

The Boutique Real Estate Group is a boutique real estate brokerage in Orange County, CA, that focuses on great design, beautiful marketing & luxury services and is set to open their 2nd office in the beach city of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach. Raj Qsar, Principal & Owner has created a culture that spurs collaboration, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach.

Their story goes a little something like this… Beautiful design evokes emotion. Emotion stirs the soul and creates a connection between client, agent and the home buying process. The Boutique Real Estate Group has invested heavily in bringing all aspects of the real estate experience completely in-house. From design, staging, photography, cinematography and social media to technology, internet optimization & cloud based transaction management. This not only provides them complete control of the design, marketing & technology of luxury real estate but also gives them the look & feel of a true boutique marketing agency. This design & tech-forward approach has earned The Boutique Real Estate Group accolades & awards worldwide.

Most recently The Boutique Real Estate Group has been recognized as the 2014 Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage by Better Homes & Garden Real Estate and 1000 Watt Consulting. Raj Qsar & Jeremy Lehman, The Boutique’s CTO have both been recognized as Inman News Top 100 Most influential Real Estate Leaders for their work & dedication to raising the bar in the Real Estate industry. And their #GoodbyeHello video was named Top 20 Real Estate Videos in the USA in 2013.

Look for their new office in the beach city of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach as they launch into the Coastal Orange County Real Estate Market in 2014.

The Boutique Real Estate Group

2013 America’s Best High Schools – Newsweek

newsweek

 

2013 America’s Best High Schools

This year our ranking highlights the best 2,000 public high schools in the nation—those that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready grads. The list is based on six components: graduation rate (25 percent), college acceptance rate (25 percent), AP/IB/AICE tests taken per student (25 percent), average SAT/ACT scores (10 percent), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10 percent), and percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent).

 

Click the link below to see the list. Some of our local Orange County Schools have made the list!

http://www.newsweek.com/2013/05/06/america-s-best-high-schools.html

32 Home Buying Tips from Some of the World’s Most Popular Realtors

CaliLove

Via Scott Riley @homebuyernation www.HomeBuyerNation.com

After the success of the last expert roundup, I knew another one was in order. This time I asked some of the world’s most popular Realtors from around the country to share one uncommon tip for a first-time home buyer.

They all delivered with some priceless insights and wisdom. We even had 3 agents from the hit TV show Million Dollar Listing weigh in with tips for the HomeBuyer Nation!

I learned a ton and I think you will too. After you’re done, I’d love to hear which one you thought was the most helpful, in the comments.

For full article, follow this link:  http://bit.ly/I1bTBB

5 Real Estate Trends to Look For in 2013

Posted By The KCM Crew On December 27, 2012, www.kcmblog.com

 

Predicting trends during volatile economic times in American is no easy task. However, we are going to give it our best shot. We strongly believe these are the five real estate items we should keep an eye on in 2013:

Demand for Housing Will Continue to Surge

The housing market has turned the corner and there is no reason to believe that buyer demand will not maintain momentum throughout 2013. Household formations shot up to boom-time levels in 2012 and are projected to increase at even a faster rate over the next twelve months. A lack of inventory will be more of a challenge to sales increases than will a lack of demand.

Generations X and Y Will Prove They Believe in Homeownership

Contrary to what many have hypothesized over the last few years, young adults (18-35 year olds) are just as committed to homeownership as previous generations. Recent studies have shown:

  • 43% already own a home
  • 72% see homeownership as part of their personal American Dream
  • 93% of those currently renting plan to buy a home

This, along with the increase in household formations mentioned above, makes us believe that 2013 will be the year that many of these young adults will jump into homeownership.

Prices Will Continue to Increase

Pricing of any item is determined by supply and demand. Demand for housing will remain strong throughout 2013. At the same time, the supply of homes ready for is shrinking in many parts of the country. Outside of a few states that still have challenges with large inventories of distressed properties (NY, NJ, CT, IL for example), prices will appreciate nicely.

Even in the areas that are still dealing with high percentages of foreclosures and short sales, prices will not tumble dramatically. The increase in demand will absorb much of this inventory. In these areas, prices will either flatten or perhaps soften to a small degree.

Move-Up Sellers Will Return in Great Numbers

Perhaps what many will find as the biggest surprise of 2013 will be the return of the ‘move-up’ seller. Over the last several years negative equity has prevented many of these sellers from moving up to the house of their dreams. However, with prices recovering, more and more of these sellers will realize that now may be their greatest opportunity to make the move to a lifestyle they always wanted.

With home prices expected to increase and more stringent mortgage qualifications (QR and QRM) scheduled to be announced this year, we believe that the first half of the year will bring many of these sellers/buyers to the market.

The Consumer Will Demand That Their Agent Be an Expert

Real Estate professionals who have invested the money, time and energy to truly understand what is happening and why it is happening will separate themselves from their competition and do very well this year.

Those who take that next step of learning how to simply and effectively communicate the market to their clients will be seen as experts. These industry leaders will dominate their markets.

East Coast Meets West Coast | Three Tips For Buying A Home

Three Tips for Buying a Home!

Have you always wanted to own a home? Do you feel overwhelmed by even starting the search? Anyone can research and buy a home with the right tools and resources. Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, has three important tips for the first-time homebuyer looking for a great deal on a great home. With a little prep work — a little commitment to the process — you can walk away with your first starter house or what may be the home of your dreams!

 

Do Your Homework

Whoever heard of anyone who bought a house without doing a little research? If you are going to seal the deal on the home of your dreams, then you need to know what you think its worth and to determine what you are willing to pay for it by doing your homework. Survey the neighborhood. Research the homes in the area. What do they cost? How do their floor plans and specs compare to the home you are looking at in the same neighborhood? Research the school district near the neighborhood. Is there public transportation nearby? These sometimes help determine home values, too, and change depending on whether you are looking to buy a house in an urban or in a rural area. Herman stresses that it is very important to do research on the neighborhood, school districts, and similar properties to get an idea of the prices in the area and to decide whether you are willing to pay around this amount. “It’s an opinion of what you think the home is worth, based on how you are going to use it,” says Herman.

 

Determine Personal Value

Keep in mind that every buyer measures the value of a home differently. Therefore, what you are ultimately willing to pay for the home will be different as well. To this end, the concrete research you dig up will help you know what price you are willing to pay. In the end, the final price of the home is what you are willing to pay for it after accessing what you think is the value the home offers to you and your family. “Cost and value are not what the price of the home should be or shouldn’t be,” Herman says.

 

Seek Out a Broker

You are going to come out ahead when you have the best information and advice.  A broker is a trained professional who is licensed to guide you through all of the complex steps in the home-buying process. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hire a broker once you have done your homework and determined what you see as personally valuable to you in the home. Your broker will be able to give you excellent financial and legal advice and also to act on your behalf to get the best possible deal on your new home. Your broker can help you answer more practical questions such as, “What’s the property worth with the conditions we are in today?” Herman advises.

Prudential Douglas Elliman is an industry leading full service real estate brokerage.  We provide our customers with a comprehensive range of services to meet their every need.  Elliman is based out of New York City and has been the #1 office for seven consecutive years in the Prudential network.

Raj Qsar is Principal & Owner of Premier Orange County Real Estate.  We are a boutique real estate team based out of Orange County, Ca.  For over 15 years Premier Orange County Real Estate has held the philosophy to give the best service and most qualified advice to both buyers & sellers.  Implementing honesty and integrity at the highest level possible and to enjoy the entire process along the way.  From HDR Photography, Hi-Definition Video, Interior Design & Staging, Custom Graphics & Design, Complete Social Media Engagement & Search Engine Optimization we do marketing the right way! We are truly passionate about real estate. Connect with us today at www.RajQsar.com

 

 

 

Home Thermostats, Wallflowers No More

By FARHAD MANJOO

A COUPLE of months ago, a Silicon Valley start-up invited me to review its new home thermostat. I wasn’t expecting much.

Can you blame me? Thermostats are annoying. Many models require that you study a cryptic manual to set your heating and cooling schedule; on some models, even replacing the batteries can test your patience.

If you do go through all the trouble of setting up an ideal schedule, then when the weather or something else in your life changes (say, your cold-fearing relatives from Florida move in for a few weeks), the thermostat won’t adjust to your new circumstances. Then you have to program it all over again — or, more likely, forget about programming it and manually change the temperature a few times a day.

Over the last few weeks, though, I’ve become unreasonably excited over these devices. That’s because I’ve tested several new models that all offer much-needed improvements over the run-of-the-mill thermostats that most of us have on our walls.

Depending on the model, these new devices can accomplish several amazing feats. They connect to the Internet, which means they can be adjusted from afar, using the Web or your phone. The Internet connection also allows them to get information about your local weather and tailor their work accordingly.

Lastly, these thermostats all have more advanced, sometimes easier-to-use interfaces, to make programming less of a chore. Indeed, the device made by that Silicon Valley start-up, called the Nest Learning Thermostat, even promises to automatically create a schedule suited to your tastes.

Let’s start with the Filtrete 3M-50 Wi-Fi Remote Programmable Thermostat, made by 3M. The Filtrete sells for about $100. A basic thermostat is $20 to $60, but $100 is much lower than the price of the other high-end thermostats I tried — although this low price comes with a few disadvantages.

The 3M-50 does have the Web capability of the new crop of thermostats, but to connect it to your Wi-Fi network requires a special power cable that runs between your heating or cooling equipment and your thermostat. Many older homes, including mine, don’t have this wire; I had to repurpose another wire to get it working, but you may need a professional to install the device.

I also found the 3M-50 operating manual to be convoluted and the touch screen not very precise; sometimes when I was trying to press one button, I wound up engaging another.

The 3M-50 comes programmed with a schedule designed to save money on energy. I found this preset schedule fairly comfortable; I just needed a few tweaks to achieve an ideal temperature. The manufacturer promises that if I stick closely to the preset program, I could save up to one-third on my energy bills.

More costly than the 3M-50 is the Honeywell Prestige HD thermostat, which can be combined with several add-on components. The Prestige isn’t sold to the public; you must buy it from and have it installed by a professional contractor. It will cost $200 to $300, not including labor. And the added components — like sensors to read temperatures in different rooms or a module to control the device over the Internet — sell for more. Over all, the entire system can cost upward of $500.

My system was set up by Innovative Mechanical, a heating and air-conditioning company in the San Francisco area. Its technicians also installed an outdoor temperature sensor and an Internet module, and a Honeywell representative helped me program the temperature setting and showed me how to change it.

I liked the Prestige quite a bit. The touch screen gives you a general’s view of your home’s climate. The bright blue display and the readings of the temperature and humidity (inside and outside your house) make it look like a screen from the Weather Channel.

But my favorite feature was a small hand-held unit called the Portable Comfort Control.

When you set a standard thermostat to, say, 70 degrees, it will adjust the temperature until its own sensor reads 70 degrees. But in many homes, there’s a vast difference between the temperature at the thermostat and the temperature in far-flung bedrooms. The portable control solves this problem by having its own temperature sensor; by tapping its screen, you can set the thermostat to use the controller’s sensor as its main reading. If you set the thermostat to 70 and you bring the controller to your bedroom, the Prestige will see to it that your bedroom is heated to exactly 70.

This was a blessing for me. My home office, where I spend eight hours a day, usually gets much warmer than the rest of my house. Locating the portable control there during the day kept the heat off longer, saving energy.

My favorite of the new thermostats is the Nest. When I saw it, I swooned. A brushed-steel orb that resembles HAL from the film “2001,” the Nest looks like no other thermostat. Also unlike most of them, it promises to learn your temperature preferences, set itself up automatically, and, as your tastes change, strive to keep up.

The Nest costs $249 from the company’s Web site or from Best Buy, though you have to wait: When the Nest went on sale a few weeks ago, it sold out immediately. The firm has declined to say when the Nest will become available again, but you can fill out contact information on the site to get an alert when it does.

You can install it yourself, or pay $120 to a Best Buy installer.

I popped it in myself, and found it easy. The instructions were clear and the device ships with all necessary parts, including a built-in level to help you install it straight. The firm says that the Nest is compatible with most heating and cooling systems; to see if it works with yours, there is a handy guide on the Web site.

I installed the Nest in 30 minutes, with another 5 to set it up and learn how to use it.

This is the Nest’s best feature. Because it was designed by Tony Fadell, who headed the team that created the iPod, the Nest has a wonderfully intuitive user interface that even technophobes will quickly grasp.

You control the device by turning a wheel on its circumference, and you engage its main button by pushing on the face. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated; once you touch it, it will be obvious how to use it.

The Nest requires no programming. It has a host of sensors and sophisticated algorithms for learning your temperature preferences. For the first few days, you set the temperature yourself; as with the other new thermostats, you can control it from afar through the Web or an iPhone or iPad app (an Android app is coming soon).

A few days after my installation, the Nest reported that, from my initial manual settings and other sensors, it had learned the family’s habits and preferences. It would warm up early in the morning, cool down when my wife and son left for the day, heat up again in the evening, and cool down once more, at bedtime. This analysis was right on the money.

The Nest further encouraged efficiency through subtle persuasion: if you set your temperature to a slightly more environmental (and economical) setting, the Nest displays a leaf icon on its front panel.

The Nest also knows when you are traveling; if its motion sensor detects no movement, it enters “away” mode. Indeed, when we left for a week’s vacation, the Nest noticed our absence and lowered the heat appropriately. (What if your thermostat is in an out-of-the-way place that you don’t pass by often? It will figure that out, too — if it finds that you’re overriding its away mode, it begins to discount its own motion sensor.)

But when we had houseguests and I raised the temperature to make the guest room more comfortable, the device did not adjust to those changes. This forced me to manually tweak its schedule.

Because the Nest is connected to the Internet, though, the company says that it can periodically issue software updates to improve the thermostat’s ability to learn your preferences. This is an amazing possibility. Not only did the Nest start out working pretty well, it promises to keep improving.

First Thoughts – Trulia Mobile App for Agents

First Thoughts – Trulia Mobile App for Agents

Raj Qsar, Principal/Owner

Premier Orange County Real Estate

www.RajQsar.com

When Chris Smith asked if we would do a short review for Inman Next on the new Trulia App for Agents I was pretty pumped up!  It has been a few days now that I have been running with the new mobile app and here are my initial thoughts.  Easy to use navigation, extremely mobile friendly and there are a few cool features you may want to utilize as an agent when you are with clients or on a broker preview.  So here we go!

We love streamline in our office and we love it when mobile apps keep it simple.  And simple it is!  Six main buttons on the home screen once you log in with your Trulia information (see screen shot).  If you currently use Trulia to showcase your listings with Trulia Local Ads or Trulia Pro then log in with your Trulia account info and you will receive all your leads in one easy to find location (see screen shot).  All your contacts are seamlessly imported from your contacts on your phone (cool, but wish it would link with Facebook & Twitter contacts) and the GPS function seamlessly pulls up all homes for sale in your surrounding area (see screen shot).  Also, attached to ach individual listing is a “Neaby Amenities” GPS search with pulls up such hotspots as food, shopping, gas, schools & banks.

One of the new features on this app is the ability to “check in” to the listings that you visit (see screen shot), similar to foursquare or facebook places.  You can also see other agents who have “checked in” nearby to the same listing or nearby listings (so hurry up and write that offer)!  Trulia awards you with 10 points for checking into a listing and you can gauge your points on their leaderboard, which ranks the agents who have checked into similar listings.  My team is a big fan of checking into listings and we have actually coded our website and each listing to have a facebook place.  You can check it out our listing “The Crown Jewel of Vista Del Verde” or our listing at 4058 Hoosier Lawn Way in Yorba Linda and then click on the facebook place icon.  Checking In allows other agents, buyers and even the sellers to check into their own home on facebook and “spread the word.”  When you check-in on Trulia it stays on Trulia…bummer!  We would love a facebook integration of this check in so it could easily post to your wall or better yet your business page (but we are working on this now – see screen shot).

Overall, the new Trulia App for Agents is easy to use, mobile friendly and seems to be in its infancy but may be a step or two ahead of other big name real estate apps.  Dreaming for a GPS locator of recently closed sales, a “Hot Sheet” of recent “Just-Listed” homes and social media integration.

Raj Qsar

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Yorba Linda homebuying soars 14%

By Jonathan Lasner – OC Register Real Estate

2011-11-27 13:14:31

 

Yorba Linda real estate for sale looks up recently.

For the 22 business days ending November 8 — latest DataQuick stats — 89 residences sold in Yorba Linda vs. 78 deals closed in the matching period a year ago — a 14.1% increase over the past 12 months.

At the community level, for this period …

  • In ZIP 92886 — median selling price of $572,500 that was down 4.6% vs. a year ago. Homes sold were 56 — that was down 11.1% vs. a year ago.
  • ZIP 92887 — median selling price of $489,500 that was down 23.5% vs. a year ago. Homes sold were 33 — that was up 120.0% vs. a year ago.

Compare those trends with countywide data for the same period: Median selling price of $409,000 that was down 7.0% vs. a year ago. Homes sold in Orange County totaled 2,504 — down 1.7% vs. a year ago.


 

Five Great Things about Homeownership

by Carla Hill of RealtyTimes.com

 

If you’ve been on the fence about homeownership, now is the time to take a leap! Don’t let the negative press deter you from one of life’s greatest joys.Take a look at five short and sweet reasons that homeownership is great!1. Equity. When you pay rent, you never see that money again. It is lining the landlord’s pocket. Yes, buying a home may come with some hefty initial costs (downpayment, closing costs, inspections), but you will make that money back over time in equity built in the home. Historically, homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent a year. Some areas are still experiencing normal appreciation rates. For the areas that have seen harder times since the recession, experts feel that the housing market will recover. Homeownership is about building long-term wealth. A home bought for $10,000 in 1960 is most likely worth 10 times that in today’s market.

2. Relationships: Renters tend to see their neighbors come and go quickly. Some people sign year leases while others are in the community for much shorter terms. Apartment complexes also tend to have less common shared space for people to meet, greet, and socialize. Homeowners, however, have yards, walking trails, or community pools and clubhouses where they can get to know each other. Neighbors stay put much longer (at least three to five years if they hope to recoup their closing costs). This means more time to develop relationships. Research has shown that people with healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress.

3. Predictability: Well, as long as you have a fixed-rate term on your mortgage it’s predictable. Most people buying homes today know that a fixed-rate is the way to go. This means your payment amount is fixed for the life of the term. If your mortgage payment is $500 today, then it will still be $500 a month in 10 years. This allows for people to budget and make solid financial plans. The sub-prime crisis meant many homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages saw their monthly payments rise and then rise some more. Homeownership, though, generally comes with a predictable table of expenditures. Even the big purchases are predictable. You know most roofs last just 15 years (or so). You know that each year you’ll need to pay for the gutters to be cleaned, and so on.

4. Ownership: Okay, this is a given. Homeownership means you “own” your home. That comes with some incredible perks, though! You can renovate, update, paint, and decorate to your heart’s desire. You can plant trees, install a pool, expand the patio, or do holiday decorating that would rival the Kranks (if the HOA allows!). The bottom line is this is your home and you can personalize it to your taste. Most renters are stuck with the same beige walls and beige carpet that has been standard apartment decor for 20 years. Now is your chance to let your home speak!

5. Great Deals: It’s a great time to buy. Interest rates are at historic lows. We’re talking 4.0 percent instead of 6.0 or higher. This means big savings for today’s buyers. Home prices have also taken a dip since the recession, which means homes are more affordable than ever. If you have steady income and cash for a downpayment, then be sure to talk to your local real estate agent about what homes in your area could be a fit for you.

Homeownership can be a real joy. It’s time to get off the fence and into a home that is right for you!