Inman Launches Broker War Room Facebook Group

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It’s a forum for advice and mentorship where brokers in the real estate industry can share best practices.

Inman has launched a new Facebook group for for brokers, franchise executives and real estate company leadership. Inman’s Broker War Room is a forum for advice and mentorship where brokers in the real estate industry can share best practices, help each other solve gnarly problems and become better owners.

Members are limited to broker-owners, executives and franchise team members.

It’s a closed group, but brokers and their employees, as well as franchise members, can join here.

“We created this group for brokers, by brokers and with brokers,” said Inman publisher Brad Inman. “The best advice and counsel can come from one another, not consultants, gurus or, god forbid, journalists.”

Real estate broker Raj Qsar and Stacy Stateham, vice president of marketing at Bloom Tree Realty, are serving as volunteer administrators for the group

“With so many Facebook groups geared toward agents, there is a void for real estate company leadership,” said Stateham. “Until now! As much as every real estate brokerage and company is unique in how we go to market, we have a lot of similarities in the common challenges that we all face, and my hope is that the Broker War Room gives us a place to collaborate and share.”

The Boutique Real Estate Group Rides To Build

Newport Beach, Ca

The Boutique Real Estate Group teams up with Giveback Homes & Soul Cycle Newport Beach to help build a home in Orange County for a deserving family.

GivebackHomes is a trusted network of real estate professionals dedicated to creating social change through the act of buying or selling a home. By simply choosing to work with a Giveback Homes real estate agent, you will help build a home for a family in need. People want to work with people who are doing good, and Giveback Homes is making it easy to find them. Founders, Blake Andrews and Caroline Pinal were recently named to the prestigious Inman 101 List highlighting the Most Influential 101 people in real estate for 2015.

The Boutique Real Estate Group, a worldwide luxury real estate brokerage, with national & international recognition and known for its brilliant design, beautiful marketing, luxury services and world-class technology has made a commitment to partner with Giveback Homes for their Orange County build day. “Our goal of raising $5,000 to help build a home for a family in need is our goal,” says, Founder/Owner Raj Qsar. “Our brokerage is motivated and so encouraged by the work that Giveback Homes has been doing in the real estate industry,” says agent Christina Boladian with The Boutique.

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Joining The Boutique in the cause are other celebrity and well known Real Estate Companies and personalities including; Mauricio Umansky with The Agency, Madison Hildebrand with Pacific Union, Joyce Rey with Coldwell Banker Previews International, David Parnes & James Harris with Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Roh Habibi from Million Dollar Listing San Francisco.

The next international build project for Giveback Homes is in Nigaragua and they only have 4 spots left. To register see below.

Click here to register
Enter: GV16118 as your event code.

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About The Boutique Real Estate Group:

2017 Real Estate Video Influencer Award
2017 REAL Trends Finalist for Best Overall Website
2017 Inman News Innovator Award for Most Innovative Brokerage
2017 Inman News Real Estate Influencer Of The Year
2016 Top 100 Real Estate Influencers on Social Media
2016 Inman News Innovator Award for Most Innovative Brokerage
2016 SP 200 The Most Powerful People In Residential Real Estate
2015 Inman News Innovator Award for Most Innovative Technology
2015 Top 33 People Changing The Real Estate Industry
2014 Best Real Estate Video of The Year
2014 Inman News Innovator Award for Most Innovative Real Estate Agent
2014 Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage
2014 Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders in The USA
2013 Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders in The USA
2013 Top 20 Real Estate Videos in The USA

 

Tom Schick on What’s Next in Tech for 2016

Inman is interviewing industry thought leaders to find out what’s next in 2016. Here’s Tom Schick, an agent at The Boutique Real Estate Group.

What are your technology predictions for 2016?

The push towards the high-tech agent is expanding the gap between the great agents and the good agents. I see the best companies hiring technology specialists to assist with clients, listings and marketing.

I also see the rise of marketing automation, to stay in touch with people, generate new leads and respond to property inquiries. More agents in 2016 are getting into the tech trends to improve agent websites, capture leads through apps, ads and websites, and to tell the story and capture the emotions of buyers in property websites.

We at The Boutique Real Estate Group pride ourselves on staying in front of the tech curve.

What big tech trends are you watching?

I’m personally moving marketing dollars around from the typical Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com spending, and moving it into Adwerx, Google Adwords and lead-generating sites such as “get your home value” or localized sites to target specific neighborhoods.

I use apps like MLS-Touch to give my buyers and sellers the most up to date information when we’re out in the field, and I really like what RESAAS is doing to connect agents all around the world through a social site similar to Facebook. I’m involved in several groups in the RESAAS network including referral groups and brainstorming panels for marketing and tech trends.

What is more important: mobile or cloud?

I think mobile is still more important for my clients, but the cloud is more important for the doc-sharing and collaborating inside of our real estate firm. In my world, they are both critical to growing my business.

I use an iPhone 6 Plus, and I love being able to share my incredible property videos and websites with clients. Here’s an example:www.4582OceanRidge.com.

Today, I use my mobile device to type more emails than I do my computer. Being able to be out with my clients or out being social is critical to me growing my business, so I don’t like to be at a computer for more than a couple of hours a day.

I also use mobile apps like Docusign mobile, zipForms mobile, the Google Drive app and the Dropbox app.

Will the tech bubble burst?

No, I don’t think so. It’s not a bubble. Today, the tech world doesn’t have a ceiling or an end in sight.

What is next for Zillow?

Is it taking over the world? No, just kidding.

Zillow has become this online real estate listing giant. I saw that its agreement with ListHub has come to an end, so it’s going to have to develop new relationships with individual MLSs and individual brokers.

Just like everyone else, Zillow has to continue to reinvent itself, or it will get lost in the dust. Individual agents and brokers are creating their own search sites, and I think that will take away from the major portal sites.

Will the Broker Public Portal be launched in 2016?

It looks like its close to happening. Broker Public Portal LLC, is working on coming up with the data license agreement with MLSs. I like the idea of being able to brand the MLS experience for clients.

Will Upstream be launched in 2016?

Yes, it looks likes NAR and Upstream are working through the details now. It’s about time that technology jumps into our MLS system to streamline data entry and help autopopulate forms. We use the CRMLS system, which is getting better, but going into other MLS systems can be quite the time-waster for a busy agent.

Hopefully, Upstream will help to streamline record keeping and data entry.

How will predictive search change homebuying?

I think predictive search will help agents key in on the specific locations and needs for their clients. When buying a home, there are so many factors such as location, size of house, school districts, traffic and freeways, shopping, crime rate, local hobbies, etc. I think buyers will have a better idea of where they want to search for a house and this will save time for both the buyer and the agent. I’ve worked with some buyers that know what they want, and others that are relocating and want to see 10+ cities, to narrow things down.

Will on-demand showings go mainstream?

I think on-demand is a great backup plan if time is limited…but I believe that you can’t replace a good, seasoned agent with a randomly chosen agent. Buyer’s agents constantly complain about losing clients to other agents, or buyers not being loyal. I think building a relationship and trust with your buyer is critical, and I haven’t lost many buyers over the 12-plus years that I’ve been in real estate.

It’s not all about locating the house and moving right in. A seasoned agent can negotiate price, repairs and many important details of a buyers transaction.

Will the automated offer become reality in 2016?

I don’t think the automated offer will become a reality. Some sites claim that they help cherry-pick the best real estate bargains and submit offers for their clients. I don’t think it’s smart, and I don’t like the idea of automated offers.

A seller and a buyer need an agent who works specifically with their best interest in mind, and automating offers doesn’t sound like a good way to accomplish that. Buying a house isn’t a small investment, so I feel that a lot of time should be spent with a trusted and respected Realtor.

Will Closing in a Box happen in 2016?

Closing in a Box is a great idea. We already offer all of these items to our clients, and my amazing transaction coordinator keeps my files neat and orderly. Having all of these functions in one app or website is a great idea, though.

How will machine learning change real estate?

Machine learning will help agents and loan officers see which people are likely to buy or sell. It will cut down on time and save a lot of marketing money.

We have a couple systems that show us trends, such as ReboGateway, but one of our lenders at Primary Residential Mortgage has created a system that has really helped my business.

10 Stunning Real Estate Listing Videos from 2015

Each year, agents and brokers nationwide continue to raise the bar for the quality of real estate videos. Properties are showcased in ever more unique fashions. Homes for sale are better staged and styled to help buyers envision themselves living there. All in all, more effort is put into making these videos visual masterpieces — ones that compel agents’ audiences, earn them new leads, and nurture existing ones. In 2015, this real estate video trend continued, as countless great listing videos were created by industry pros across the country — including the 10 featured below.

Check out each of these stunning real estate listing videos from 2015 and discover what makes them great … and how to emulate them with your own real estate video marketing strategy.

1930 Providence Road, Charlotte, North Carolina — Savvy + Co Real Estate

Knowing your audience: That’s how you win over real estate buyer leads. In the case of this gorgeous residence in Charlotte, the agency representing the listing, Savvy + Co Real Estate, knew the outdoor space would appeal to those who like hosting get-togethers: family BBQs, swanky pool parties, and everything in between. Telling the story of planning such a gathering through the eyes of a would-be owner is a perfect way to exhibit what life could be like for potential buyers. Of course, this narrative is just a part of the promotional angle of the video — showing the owner stroll through the listing also gives viewers a crystal clear view of every facet of the home.

1972 Outpost Circle, Los Angeles, California — The Boutique Real Estate Group

Another real estate video that offers a glimpse of life for the homeowner through an actor comes from one of the best-of-the-best listing video producers, The Boutique Real Estate Group of Orange County, California. The production of this video is stellar: from the background music that spurs our homeowner to sway rhythmically throughout the residence to the overhead drone shots of the Hollywood Hills. While selling a high-end home in L.A. may seem like an easy gig, it still takes a lot to stand out in the luxury market, and BREG does an incredible job at showing off this particular property in a distinct light.

21 Hurlingham Drive, Conyer’s Farm, Greenwich, Connecticut — RUHM Luxury Marketing and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Greenwich

RUHM Luxury Marketing is no stranger to making lists of the best real estate listing videos — and there’s a clear reason. The company goes above and beyond — spending who knows how much — to craft award-worthy videos that look like those an Oscar-winning director would shoot. For this listing video of the lavish Hurlingham estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, the video marketing agency went the extra mile to showcase not just the home, which looks beyond pristine, but also the expansive property surrounding the house itself, which includes the best nature has to offer and a picturesque farm. There’s also insights from the estate manager and even nearby residents. Admittedly, this is a home that’s aimed at the super-millionaire, but the real estate video still shines brightly and does an astounding job of convincing any viewer the residence would be right for them.

6454 Shinnwood Road, Wilmington, North Carolina

Aside from creating first-rate tips-and-tricks real estate videos to her home buyer and seller audience, Edwards does a wonderful job with her listing videos. From start to finish, you get the complete sense that she has her business in order. We see her chic branding at the very beginning of the clip and immediately know how to find her online when she shares her social media info. Then, we get to hear from her and the dedication she and her team put into learning the ins and outs of her new listing. Finally, we see every detail of the home as Edwards and Co. tour the property. Oh, and the drone footage of the stunning water out back certainly doesn’t hurt.

12958 Northside Road, Monticello, Prince Edward Island, Canada

No matter how amazing your real estate listing video looks, if no one knows how to get in touch with you, it probably won’t help you secure more leads and clients. Michael Poczynek of Prince Edward Islandunderstands this: He wisely incorporates every potential way in which his audience could contact him in the opening seconds of his videos and posts his phone numbers at the bottom of the screen throughout the clip. Add in the fact that he explains everything a prospective home buyer could ever dream of knowing about the Monticello home for sale, the ocean nearby, the surrounding community, and the intricate details of the property’s interior and exterior and you’ve got one extremely well-produced video. It’s little wonder as to why Poczynek has accrued hundreds of thousands of views on his YouTube channel.

4847 Rim Road, Santa Barbara, California

Ideally, your real estate videos will provide clarity regarding your listings, like an oral explanation of the properties’ dimensions and features or text overlays highlighting updates made to the residence. Sometimes, though, all you need to do is let the home for sale and the surrounding area speak for itself, as real estate cinematographer and drone photography specialist Douglas Thron does for this video he shot for a Southern California listing. In just four minutes, Thron was able to exhibit practically every major attribute of the community, including the stunning pier and cliffside area, and the home itself.

3168 Countryside Drive, Brampton, Ontario, Canada — Open House Television and Royal LePage Real Estate Services

Taking essentially the opposite approach from the previous video is the firm Royal LePage, which employed Open House Television to create an intricately detailed listing video that spends just as much time and effort explaining the ins and outs of the property — everything from the dimensions of the marble tiles in the foyer to the pre-finished Oak hardwood floors in the dining room. When it comes to promoting a home for sale, there’s no such thing as providing too much information to prospective buyers, so if you produce a script that’s 2,000 words long, don’t feel the need to shorten it for the sake of brevity. Instead, do what the real estate agency behind this recording does and let no home characteristics go unexplained.

7320 Popp Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana — Wieland Real Estate

If there was an award for “Best Real Estate Listing Video Staging,” this one from Indiana-based Wieland Real Estate would certainly get a nomination. The warm (literally and figuratively) and inviting living room, cozy home office, book-filled bedroom, and bright kitchen are just some of the many astounding rooms we pass through via this expertly crafted digital tour. Add in the elegant ballad strumming in the background and the perfect branding to close out the video (both the cameo from the agency’s head Troy Wieland and the prominent logo and call to action) and you’ve got yourself one phenomenally developed listing promotion.

333 22nd Street, Santa Monica, California — Christophe Choo

Mr. Choo has got this digital real estate marketing thing down pat. After explaining how he drives thousands upon thousands of visitors to his real estate website each month via his organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts at Inman Connect San Francisco, it became clear he’s one the premier online marketers in the industry. This listing video is just the icing on the cake: Having already mastered written content, Choo and his team headed to the world of video, where they’ve produced awe-inspiring clips like the one above that really make viewers feel like they’re invited guests into this multimillion-dollar Santa Monica manor. As the tour guide, Choo does a remarkable job of suavely describing each of the home’s biggest draws. Should you ever decide to get in front of the camera for your own real estate videos, use Choo as an agent to imitate.

1611 Mokulua Drive, Kailua, Hawaii — 360 Property Videos and Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties

It’s definitely difficult to screw up a real estate video in such a magnificent locale such as Hawaii, but even with the resplendent natural setting and a handsome high-end home to boot, it takes a lot of effort to pull of a video like this one for Honolulu-based agent Tracy Allen’s luxury listing. Those aspiring to live the seaside life with warm weather year-round and easy access to the beach, trails, and mountains are clearly the primary demographic this clip targets. And though this may be a limited audience, the production value of the video likely attracted a hefty number of prospective buyers.
Get help with your real estate video production for your YouTube channel in our detailed Academy post, which explains how to brand your account, the types of real estate videos to create, and much more.

What real estate marketing tools do you use to create listing and other videos? How do you come up with real estate marketing ideas for your videos? Share your ideation and production methods with us below!

Why I went indy. A REAL estate story.

The Boutique Real Estate Group

The beautiful brand and unique core values of The Boutique Real Estate Group have brought the romance back into real estate for me. The brand is not only captivating and effective, but it’s also crisp and classy; it stands out amongst the competition. Coupling this aesthetic with an exceptionally high level of service and an absolute commitment to excellence has allowed me to connect emotionally to all elements of the transaction. This connection is what has brought the passion back into the business. Taking the time to bond with my clients naturally sets the stage for a wonderful story. Everyone has a story to tell (see recent story from Zillow.com); it’s just about putting the extra time and energy into discovering the perfect way to portray it and push it out to the world. And at The Boutique the world does see it.

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The Boutique is unlike any other brokerage I have ever seen or been affiliated with. The entire process and concept is just different. From the moment a client or prospect comes in (web or walk-in), we speak human, not real estate. Once we digitally sign a listing agreement with a Seller or meet with a Buyer the first time, the next steps aren’t “in your face” aggressive, yet the process is still highly effective. It’s about having an emotional connection with the client and truly understanding their future goals, which allows us to better represent and negotiate on their behalf.

The incorporation of technology at The Boutique is truly world class and something brought in from outside the industry.  The digital tools I am now incorporating allow me to be more productive in a fraction of the time. I’m able to operate on a completely virtual platform and support a paperless transaction. I used to print out a copy of everything for the clients, which was overwhelming and extremely wasteful. Now everything is accessible to the clients and everyone else involved in the transaction via the web or mobile. With technology, prospecting effectively has taken on an entirely new meaning. Having a highly efficient Team CRM with the ability to set up immediate responses to incoming leads, set up workflows for current prospects, and then track progress is extremely straightforward and almost effortless.

The exceptionally high touch, luxury service offered by The Boutique is perfect for the Pasadena marketplace and consumers who love this great city. Pasadena has such a rich and diverse history that is exquisitely expressed through the gorgeous architecture found throughout the entire city. People who live here appreciate unique and that’s exactly what The Boutique offers, and then some! The competition is everywhere, mostly consisting of large offices that focus on quantity, not quality. When consumers in Pasadena and surrounding areas see what The Boutique has to offer – amazing photography, video and film production, 360 high definition walk throughs, in-house interior design and staging, in-house custom graphics and design, in-house social media, and dominating search engine marketing & optimization – they will see the way marketing should be done.

This passion for the creative process is portrayed in everything we do.  Just look at what Mashable said about one of recently shot in house videos, “PLAIN VIDEO HOUSE TOURS ARE ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT WHAT IF INSTEAD OF A DRY, ROOM-BY-ROOM TOUR AROUND A PROPERTY, YOU USED THE video to tell a story and sell a lifestyle? THE BOUTIQUE REAL ESTATE GROUP IS VERY GOOD AT THIS, PRODUCING A SERIES OF GLOSSY ADS FOR HOUSES THAT engage you WITH A SIMPLE PLOT DEVICE, MAKING THEM MUCH more interesting THAN THE AVERAGE TOUR. IN THIS EXAMPLE, SEEING THE KIDS RUN THROUGH THE BEAUTIFUL ROOMS AS THEY FIND A SUITABLE CUBBYHOLE FOR A GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK IS JUST A genius way TO SHOW THE HOME’S FAMILY-FRIENDLY, ATTRACTIVE LIVING SPACES.”

The emotional connection, advanced technology, luxury service, and creative offerings are all tied together with amazing support from the entire team at The Boutique. From the Founder//Owner, to the broker, to our concierge team, to the agents who are a part of the team, EVERYONE is constantly connected and here to support each other. The feeling of family and warmth here is exactly the type of work environment I want to be in. I really love knowing that my voice is heard and my concerns are addressed whether it’s a hurdle in a transaction or an opinion on a marketing piece. Real estate is a very personal business and it helps me be more successful having The Boutique in my corner of the ring.

4 ways to grow your real estate marketing content — and business.

via Inman

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Here are a few innovative tips to garner engaging local content.

You can’t open a trade publication these days without seeing an article urging real estate professionals to generate content in order to build their brand and get more business. It makes sense — who buys and sells houses? People. What do people like? To be enlightened, informed and entertained. That’s what great content does.

Coldwell Banker is one of the leaders in this area, and it recently teamed up with MLB.com to take fans inside the homes of their favorite players.

Why content?

Many real estate professionals ask whether content creation has any real tangible benefits in getting homes sold. Top producers tend to look at the bigger picture. Tim Smith of Smith Group Real Estate says, “High-quality marketing increases the perceived value of the property.” In other words, when you make a video about a house, you’re saying to the world, “This place is worth it.”

“When we show up at a property with a truck and equipment and actors and a tent, it causes curiosity within the neighborhood,” said Raj Qsar, principal and owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group. “It gives us a way to connect with the neighborhood on a hyperlocal level. Then they tell their friends and family about the house, and word gets out. It’s a long-tail plan.” Let’s face it: Nothing makes a seller happier than to see their home being given the star treatment.

“There’s a misconception across the industry as to why people do content marketing,” Qsar said. “Video is not just for the one listing — we make our video evergreen so it can live forever.”

And it sure doesn’t hurt to have an amazing video to show in your next listing presentation, either.

But for many Realtors, the thought of creating content tends to generate more guilt than inspiration. What kind of content should you be making? And how in the world are you expected to write a script or learn to edit video when there aren’t even enough hours in the day to generate leads and get deals done?

Good news: You don’t have to do it yourself. Here are four options to get great content.

1. Beef up your team.

Most brokerages that are serious about content creation begin by hiring in-house creative talent. “Content marketing needs to start with the leadership and culture of the brokerage,” Qsar said. “If the brokerage takes control and hires an in-house team, it only makes the agents and the brokerage more successful.”

Smith Group Real Estate has created a core in-house marketing team. They started out using outside production studios to generate their marketing materials but decided to bring production in-house in order to have more control over the creative product. “Outsiders don’t have direct communication with the sellers like we do,” Jade Schuck, public relations and marketing coordinator, said. “When the production is done in-house, we know the home, and we can do a lot more with the money.”

Pacific Union built an entire in-house journalism department to bring their clients the latest news via their blog. “We decided we had to become a journalism company,” CEO Mark McLaughlin said. And it worked. Back in January 2012 their blog had “zero traffic.” Now they have 5,800 unique users on their blog every month. McLaughlin puts this in context. “We sold about 5,700 homes last year. So, that means we have about as many people at our blog every single month as bought homes in a year … so we feel it’s a really relevant tool for our real estate professionals.”

2. Supplements are good for you.

Even with a strong in-house team, most brokerages bring in freelancers or even full production companies to round out their marketing team for larger listings.

“The content is all us, 100 percent,” said Qsar, who employs an in-house team that includes a social media manager, director of creative design, cinematographer and editors. They do bring in specialists as needed, such as drone operators and hyperlapse photographers, but they’re careful to set and maintain the creative tone and direction themselves.

The real estate team knows the home best, so it’s crucial that whenever you outsource, you communicate with the production company to convey the key selling points of the home and any details about the target demographics.

Schuck said when The Smith Group gets a listing, their process begins with a brainstorming session where they distill the essence of the home’s personality. Then they create different packages of marketing materials based on the sales price. They bring in freelancers with special skills as needed.

Schuck offers some advice for smaller real estate offices whose budgets might not allow an in-house production team: “Use your network to find good people to help.”

3. Be a patron of the arts.

If hiring a marketing team doesn’t work for you, there are other options. Any given neighborhood is packed with creators who just love to make content. They eat, sleep and breathe journalism, storytelling and photography. They’re constantly churning out videos and articles, blog posts and photographs. All you have to do is find them, and then work out a deal that works for both of you.

Try these sources:

Local bloggers: They know your neighborhood and what makes it significant. See if you can sponsor their work by making a small contribution. Being quoted in an article about the five best kid-friendly restaurants in town makes you an instant local expert.

School newspapers and videos: School newspapers can always use a few extra bucks to give their kids’ reporting a boost. Help them out and your name might be the one that shows up when prospective buyers search for their dream schools.

Filmmakers and videographers: In these days of YouTube, everyone from your babysitter to your mortgage broker has a script for a Web series somewhere on their hard drive. What they often lack is funding to get it made. Provide that and voila, you have yourself a grateful content creator who will mention your name, and maybe even give you a cameo role.

4. Ask your audience.

Another way to get great content is perhaps the most obvious: Just ask for it. User-generated content (UGC) is the buzzword, but what it means is getting your network to share their own photos, videos, articles and lists.

Consider holding a contest for the best photos of your local dog park, or give a shoutout to local bands to write a song in honor of your hometown. Then all you have to do is curate the best and put it online. People will come to your site to check out the latest and greatest — and they’re sure to notice your listings along the way.

At the time of this writing, Trails West Real Estate had just announced a competition asking students to create the best video about living in northwest Montana. They’re offering $12,000 to the winning school’s video and technology departments. This is a great way to get lots of content for your money, while becoming known as a local expert and supporter of the community. It’s likely we’ll see more and more content competition like this in which everyone comes out a winner.

Bottom line

The industry agrees that offering great content is the ideal way to engage your audience more deeply and for longer periods of time. That translates to leads, listings, sales and clients for life. Now you have some ways to get your hands on amazing content while keeping your focus on what you do best: selling real estate.

TOP 10 ICSF TAKEAWAYS AS AN ICSF NOOB

By:  The Boutique Real Estate Group

It’s been two years since I started my journey in the Real Estate Industry. InMan Connect San Francisco is the first big real estate conference I have been to, the other being a workshop in Las Vegas with Mike Ferry. The conference was a full 2.5 days of speakers, workshops, and networking. It was like a wonderful smashup of those who are at the top of the Real Estate Industry, trading info on the newest apps, innovative concepts, tips and crazy ideas.

1.  On buyer experience- What is more important to a buyer: Relationship or Convenience? When Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman took the stage on Day 1, my love/hate relationship with Redfin deepened with a new reality check. Kelman’s team found that when browsing properties online, buyers value the convenience more than the relationship of an agent- every time. The invention of the 4G mobile device allows us the instant gratification of getting what we want at the touch of a screen/button/app. Today’s savvy homebuyer will prefer the agent who can show them the property at that very instant instead of the one who they may have been communicating with on and off.

2.  Be efficient or be extinct! Don’t reinvent the wheel- simplify your workflow, and improve your system. By 12 noon each day of the conference, there would be at least 5-10 new apps downloaded on my iPad. In fact, there was a room FULL of little booths set up with the newest apps and goodies available for the world of real estate. A few that definitely stood out to me were RefreshTwilioTempoHouseCallUpdaterLenda, and Lumentus.

3.  Information asymmetry only helps the sellers with the lemons. In the used car market, people used to have no way in telling if they were going to end up with a bad car since the only person who knew was the person selling it. This resulted in low-baller buyers who factored in repair costs when haggling while sellers with the good cars end up never selling because it wouldn’t be worth it. So the only cars that ended up selling were the bad ones at average used car prices. When purchasing anything of value, people love information. With the largest purchase decision of their life, people want to know everything and anything that may alter their decision about purchasing the home. The Internet is a beautiful thing, but misinformation can be a huge problem. Sometimes things are simply just not true, and at that moment, you need to be the professional who can clarify between fact and myth. Therefore, give your clients all the information they need, give them the resources, and be a trusted filter. A consumer who is educated in the market are becomes the fastest transaction. No one wants a lemon.

4.  Uber-fying the real estate transaction. The term “uberfy” started trending at ICSF from the very start and is basically used to describe anything that is able to help bridge the gap between consumer and services. How can we leverage that in real estate? Have an awesome online presence! Be on ZTR (Zillow/Trulia/Realtor.com), have a social network, and answer your phone. Embrace the advances in our industry through technology and make it work for your business. A great agent encompasses a combination of professionalism, local expertise, and a great online presence. There is no point having a great product that no one knows about.

5.  Work your angle. There are three types of brokerages out there: Corporate firms (REMAX, Century 21, etc), boutique firms (The Boutique Real Estate Group), and discount firms. Know your advantages and disadvantages when working at each type of firm and make sure it is aligned with how you want to operate your business. As Charles Moore put it, “Safeway can be our neighbor, but my wife shops at Whole Foods.”

6.  Rich people like free stuff. Ok, so who doesn’t? There are many new things I’ve learned at ICSF and quite a few I already practice (which makes feel great about myself). Then, there are the things that other top agents do that make my practices look like child’s play. Alex Wang, for example practices vacation stalking where he finds out where his clients go on vacation and literally calls the hotel to make sure they receive an awesome care package upon their arrival. In a big transaction, the little things matter.

7.  Take it from the top! Many of us take referrals for granted. So your best friend’s sister needs to buy a home. Instead of assuming the sale, you have to win them over again and again. Start from the top and give them the top service their friend or family promised them!

8.  Bake, don’t eat! Guy Kawasaki shares with us on Enchantment: Eaters see that there’s only one cake, the more they eat, the less everyone else gets. A baker says they can make another pie, and everyone can have dessert. The best way to get what you want is to make sure the other person gets what they want first! Bakers are also innovative; they can bake cakes, cookies, or brownies and make everyone feel like they have been taken care of. So if you don’t mind my version: Bake, Serve, then Eat!

9.  Build an ecosystem. Often times as real estate professionals, we see ourselves becoming unlicensed counselors, therapists, movers, gardeners, maids, and the list goes on. Have a great list of professionals to offer your clients and focus on your own job- helping your clients buy/sell their home.

10. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were about to move to a brand new country, state, community, what would be the first thing you do? In the Global Luxury Connect session, Gary Gold talked about making a YouTube video helping buyers understand the process of buying a home. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in all of the details of a transaction that we forget to remind our clients of the big picture. Being able to really understand a client’s challenges and actually help them solve it will change everything. Helpful is the new viral!

 

If there was a #11, it would be to NETWORK! My only regret after the conference was that I didn’t network enough. I got a little too excited that I was going to be visiting NorCal and I jam-packed my after conference schedule with other dinners and social events. I highly recommend ICSF to any agent who hasn’t yet experienced it. Many thanks to Raj Qsar for always encouraging and challenging us with the industry’s best opportunities and innovations.

Find the full schedule of ICSF 2014 here.

Top 5 Things To Do at Real Estate Connect #icsf

By:  Raj Qsar

This will be my 4th Real Estate Connect hosted by Inman News in San Francisco and it is the one event I look forward to year in & year out.  I remember my first Connect like it was yesterday and it really helped me connect with people & solidify connections I had made online over the years.  So for all you first time or repeat attendees here is a simple Top 5 list for you before you head to #icsf:

1.  Make a list of the people you want to meet “in real life (IRL).”   Connect is an amazing time for me personally to connect with people who I admire and respect and make that true IRL connection.   Some of the connections I have made at Connect have become life long friends on mine!  Remember this quote from GaryV, “People are not addicted to social media. People are addicted to people.”  Some of my friends I met at #icsf:  @chris_smth @katielance @lauramonroe @tericonrad @debra11 @kellymitchell @nobuhata @topbrokeroc @kendyl @jefflobb @tkjellander @lisaarcher @lauriewdavis @jimmymackin @sethstuff

2.  Attend the sessions that are a must attend for you!  Look for the sessions that pull you out of your comfort zone and will challenge you on a professional level.  See the full schedule here.  For me I always get something new from “The New Kids On The Block” session which this year is on Wednesday July 16th at 10:10am and these “KIDS” are the startups that are changing the real estate game.  Also of note this year is “The Uberification of Real Estate” session which is on Wednesday at 10:30am (sounds killer)!  Did someone say Luxury?  The session called Luxury Power Players will be off the kilt!  Connect Here.

3.  Meet the 2014 Inman Connect Ambassadors.  Talk about a fab list of people!  If you could create a memory with each of these rockstars at Connect it would truly be epic!  Meet them here –> Real Estate Connect Ambassadors.  Secret hint….They are having a mixer and you can meet them all there —>  Click Here.  Also, connect with everyone in the Real Estate Connect facebook group.

4.  The Party after the Party!  Do I need to say anymore?  We all know the real fun starts after 10pm!  So just ask around, jump in an Uber Cab (download app here) and find out where the action is!!  Check your email for last minute invites to all the happening VIP parties and events.  If you do not know where the party is just ask my friend @JeremyLehman!!  Check out the video we made from ICSF2012.

5.  Get out into the city!  San Francisco is truly a gorgeous city with sights, sounds and killer food!!!  Check out this drone fly over the city just in case you needed a visual!  Click Here.  And since our team at The Boutique Real Estate Group are total foodies check out this list of  The 38 Essential San Francisco Restaurants.

If you made it this far here is my Top Secret List of must meets.  Shhhhh, do not tell anyone.  I am really shy and do not want anyone to know!  =)

@valeriegarcia1

@katiemmax

@vboakland

@zachschabot

@thatpeterbrewer

@laurahbrady

@avhellman

San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset, California

Introducing: 2014 Inman News Innovator Of The Year Awards Finalists

Inman News is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2014 Innovator Awards in five categories. Winners chosen from the list of finalists below will be announced during the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, which takes place July 16-18 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

This year’s award categories are:

  • Most Innovative Real Estate Agent
  • Most Innovative Brokerage or Franchise
  • Most Innovative MLS or Real Estate Trade Association
  • Most Innovative Real Estate App, Tool or Vendor
  • Most Innovative Use of a New Technology

An additional annual award, the Innovator of the Year Award, recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit of real estate innovation. This award, which is not open to nominations, will be announced at the Real Estate Connect conference.

2014 Inman News Innovator Awards

 

Lindsay Bergeron, founder and associate broker, Military Movers Real Estate LLC, @lindseybergeron

Lindsay Bergeron is out to be the go-to broker for military families. She’s planning to turn her Alaska-based brand, Military Movers Real Estate, into a national franchise.

Brandon Doyle, Doyle Real Estate Team, Edina Realty, @DoyleRealtor

Brandon Doyle, who has a degree in real estate degree from St. Cloud State University, says he enjoys helping first-time home buyers, and using the latest technology to market his team’s listings. Lately he’s been using drones to shoot aerial photography that can be incorporated into MLS listing detail pages.

Gary Gold, executive vice president, Hilton & Hyland, @soldbygold

Gary Gold is a marquee name in Beverly Hills real estate and one its most successful technology marketers. He’s an internationally recognized marketing and luxury real estate expert in Beverly Hills real estate, Bel Air real estate and Sunset Strip real estate.

Anthony Lolli, founder and CEO, Rapid Realty, @Anthony_Lolli

A colorful character who casts himself as the embodiment of the American Dream and gives raises to employees who have themselves tattooed with company’s logo, Anthony Lolli launched New York City-based Rapid Realty as a franchisor in 2009, and is now in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and San Diego.

Brian Murray, agent, Houlihan Lawrence, @BrianSMurray

Brian Murray produces listing videos that transform home tours into short stories. His portfolio includes a spoof on a Nike commercial and a home tour starring golden retrievers.

Mauricio Umansky, CEO, The Agency, @MauricioUmansky

One of California’s leading agents by sales volume, Mauricio Umansky has expanded from his Beverly Hills base, opening offices Shanghai, Cabo San Lucas, Venice, Marina del Rey, Palm Springs and Las Vegas.

Zach Schabot, CEO, Go Realty, @zachschabot

Go Realty is known for its responsive website, blogs, videos, community outreach, and creative use of social media including Pinterest and Vine. Zach Schabot is the author of “My Brand New Home,” an interactive children’s book designed to teach kids about the homebuilding process. He’s also developed a free agent app, “GoConnect,” with comprehensive transaction checklists.

Raj Qsar, founder, The Boutique Real Estate Group, @RajQsar

Raj Qsar employs an in-house production team to create storytelling videos that creates a better experience for buyers and sellers. He has also digitized the entire real estate experience for his agents, in-house staff and also for their clients.  The Boutique is recognized as an International Luxury Real Estate Brokerage has has won awards and distinguished accolades year in and year out and they continue to make their mark on the real estate industry.

Nick Segal, founding partner, Partners Trust, @nicksegal

As founding partner and president of Partners Trust, Nick Segal says he’s out to create a company that “strives to raise the bar of professionalism at every touch point of a real estate transaction.”

Hans and Steve Wydler, The Wydler Brothers

The Wydler Brothers team functions as a high-end boutique within Long & Foster Real Estate, allowing the small team to combine hands-on, high quality and professional service with the marketing horsepower and resources of Long & Foster. Their use of branded Starbucks cards, and of drones to produce neighborhood video tours, are examples of their innovative approach.

Agent Reboot | Orange County | Anaheim Convention Center

The Boutique Real Estate Group will be headed to The Anaheim Convention Center today to get their tech, mobile, social & networking on.  Hosted by Inman News, Agent Reboot is a full day of all things Real Estate and includes some of the most notable names in the industry.

Click here for todays schedule.

The Orange County Ambassadors include:  Christopher Pak, Ryan KlusmeyerMelissa Sims from The Boutique Real Estate Group and Carol Farar, Stacey Smith and Hilda Ramirez.

Catch some amazing speakers as well, including Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles Star, Josh Flagg.

Agent Reboot OC