Written By: Raj Qsar
Leaving the comforts of Orange County have never really been to easy for me. I am a creature of habit. Not sure when that started or why it started but it just did. Personally, I would rather vacation at The Montage in Laguna Beach than fly to some 5 star resort in the Caribbean. But, this trip for me to Vancouver was just full of memories that I will keep with me for a long time.
The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) is a nonprofit professional trade organization dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities by creating a powerful national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market.
I had the opportunity to be invited to speak at AREAA Vancouver this past week and this conference had a heavy luxury presence and a heavy international presence. And I had the opportunity to take away a few gems and here they are:
1. “The market goes up & down but SERVICE lives forever.” This quote was by my friend Nobu Hata, Director of Digital Engagement for The National Association of Realtors. And this is so very true! More than ever we are living “in the moment.” We, as Realtors are expected to reply at a moments notice at all times of the day. And we do. Its just in our DNA to provide this level of exceptional care & attention and when it is executed our clients will continue to look to us for support.
2. “Give your clients something they can NOT google.” Once again Nobu is on a roll here. This really resonated with me because saying “just google it” is totally acceptable in our culture now. But if you are able to give your heart & soul to your clients and provide amazing knowledge & service (not found on Google) you will earn the trust of your clients.
3. Think Globally Locally. Love love love this from my friend Teri Conrad! You really need to understand not only worldwide economies but also worldwide customs. For example, the way you accept a card from a potential client, what you do with the card and where you put it after you have read it. This was truly eye opening for me. Having your website in multiple languages, having a country code on your cell number or office number and incorporating this into all the things yo do. This matters!
4. Destination Marketing. As agents we are required to do so much. Know so much. And execute so much. What we as agents have to do is beyond the upper limits of what is possible in this day & age. So…..what if you had a team of creatives that could take care of all the creative work for you on your luxury listing? What if this group of creatives could fly anywhere in the world to do all the super-smart thinking for you and then assist on the digital push out to all channels and add your smiley happy face on the marketing content? I…LOVE…IT! Please check this out —> HaleAlii
5. Competitive Immunity. This little nugget of inspiration hit me while I was on MobileAgentTV with my friends Michael Thorne, Teri Conrad & Tony Joe. By doing the little things each & every day and doing them at a level that exceeds 99.9% of other agents in your Global Hyperlocal Market you will be successful and your clients will love you.
Laguna Beach is like no other place in Orange County. Take a moment and soak this in. The landscape, culture, people and the colors (ohhh the colors), makes it even hard to compare even to it’s neighboring cities. Even the scent of the ocean is different. The people of Laguna Beach know what I’m talking about, so this may be a odd concept to picture if you’ve never been here before.
But for those of you that live here and had to narrow down the best thing that this city has to offer, what would it be? Would it be the effect that the cool crisp air has across your skin as you open up the door for the first time in the morning? Or what about the grains of sand in between you toes as you walk along the beach? Maybe it’s the sound of the splashing waves as they hit the shore?
For me Laguna Beach is like a botanical garden. So alive, surrounded by diversity as every element changes so subtly. A collection of organic specimens that thrive and flow freely like a poem in harmony. Nothing ever stays the same but nothing really ever changes either.
So have I done it? Have I lost you in translation? Good, because this is the essence that makes Laguna Beach so unique and abstract. Everything that this city has to offer culminates to understanding this concept. But to understand this, you have to come and experience it for yourself. Your path might be different but you will all end up in the same place. You will understand that magnificence is a word that falls short in describing this city and all that it has to offer.
For a private home tour of Laguna Beach please contact Chris Kwon at Chris.Kwon@TheBoutiqueRE.com
Looking for a place where everyone in your family can enjoy themselves, create
new memories and make new friends? Then look no further! The Yorba Linda
Country Club (YLCC) offers that all and more!
This club was established in 1957 and has a beautiful par-71 Harold Rainville
designed golf course, manicured to perfection and lined with mature trees to
outline the Bermuda fairways, elevated greens and the inviting water features.
Even President Nixon has enjoyed a round or two of golf here! How cool is that?
I am fortunate to be a tennis member and love being apart the YLCC family. I
can tell you that when you join they really do go out of your way to make you
feel at home. From the new member happy hours, your photo on the wall and
the welcoming smiles you receive as you walk through the door, the staff at the
club certainly know how to make you feel special and appreciated. There is
always something fun organized to do here and the food is great! You can also
just come up and enjoy a relaxing day at the heated pool! Either way, this has
certainly become one of my favorite places to be!
If you are into golf there are two memberships (Corporate and Full Golf) both offering you full club privileges and the best of what the club has to offer!
With the Tennis Membership you receive all the beneﬁts of a social membership, full use of the 8 lighted tennis courts, events, club house and more!
With the Social Membership you have access to the clubhouse, pool and a calendar full social events!
“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.
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.
Every month FreeAgent by AdWerx brings you advice from top-performing agents and real estate technology experts in “From the Trenches.” Here atAdWerx, we believe that to be the best, you have to learn from the best. While doing your own research can be helpful, getting tips straight-from-the source can offer new perspectives and give you a taste of each real estate maven’s personality.
This month in From the Trenches, we’ll hear from Raj Qsar, Principal and Owner ofThe Boutique Real Estate Group, in California. His company serves as one of the most dominant real estate teams in the Orange County real estate market, serving north, central, south and coastal Orange County. It’s easy to see why they come out on top. While agents with The Boutique Real Estate Group excel with their personal branding, the marketing of each listing the firm represents is impeccable. According to theboutiquere.com, “Every real estate listing is assigned a best-in-class sales & marketing campaign, and receives the support of industry leading marketing, advertising, social media, video, staging & interior design, graphics & design, all of whom work together to develop a strategic and tactical marketing plan customized to each client and each property.”
Raj is no stranger to the value of technology and social media. Aside from employing modern marketing in every aspect of his business, he has also spoken professionally on using these strategies in real estate. Raj was recently named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders for 2013 by Inman News. This annual list recognizes those who embody leadership, ingenuity, strength, conviction, power, persistence, perseverance and progress. Raj is also a contributor at Inman News covering the topics of creative video for real estate, social media and networking. The Boutique Real Estate Group was just selected in 2013 as a Next Generation Brokerage by Better Homes & Garden Real Estate and 1000 Watt Consulting. These NextGen brokerage projects represent a new breed of real estate brokerages growing across the country. These firms empower agents and clients by providing the most up-to-date and flexible technology. They build meaningful brands, and attract and engage new customers.
1. How did you get your start as a real estate agent?
It’s a funny story. When I initially began selling real estate, I just wanted to sell one to two homes a year and keep my real estate career relatively small. After having my license for just three days, I was absolutely hooked. I was in escrow with a client and it was just the beginning. The social media and technology aspects of my business came later, but I’ve been addicted to the real estate industry since day one.
2. You’re very active on Pinterest. What advice can you give to agents about using Pinterest for real estate?
Pinterest is great, but I advise people to not be a “real estate agent” on Pinterest. Showcase your community and lifestyle.
Raj keeps a personal Pinterest page focused on his personal brand aside from the Pinterest page of The Boutique Real Estate Group. Both feature a variety of content with some overlap. Topics they post about include aspects of the Orange County lifestyle, including homes, pools, luxury items, famous residents, beaches, cars and style. The company page also features a board dedicated to their video tours.
3. In a hot real estate market like this, it’s tempting to spend too much time working in the business instead of on building the business. How much time should an agent spend on marketing themselves versus marketing listings?
The fact is, busy agents need help. None of us can do this alone, and you shouldn’t try to do it all on your own. At The Boutique Real Estate Group, we believe the team approach is best, because there are just too many hats to wear right now for an agent. You really have to dedicate time to both. Remember to “walk before you can run,” and don’t get too ahead of yourself. Build your team block by block. Building and nurturing a quality team takes time! And always hire the best.
If you are an agent, find a team that you respect and admire. Demonstrate your skills, and ask to join. If you are lucky enough to become a part of the team, work hard and contribute. Soak it all up and enjoy the ride!
4. As an agent, you value social media and technology. What are some specific examples of ways they have helped you communicate with clients and increase productivity?
Social is just an amplifier. If you are a rockstar agent, social will just amplify all of the great things you are doing. You have to be doing well in your business for social media to add value to your brand. Also, my tagline is, “If you are not in my newsfeed, you do not exist!” It’s not enough to just have a social presence. You have to be engaged with users and clients if you want to get noticed.
Twitter really is a cocktail party. It is a great tool for agents, but remember, you are in and out in 140 characters. Make every post short and simple, and talk to people! If you talk to people they will talk back!
5. What trends are you seeing in real estate right now in terms of technology and social media?
We are a 99.9 percent paperless office. All of our agents sign a contract that they will have an iPhone and iPad at the start of employment. We also have a technology standard – we call it the #tbreg tech standard – which all agents must master. This is the new normal.
Many agents struggle to adopt the technology we have now, and I’m not sure why they put this on the back burner. For our team, it’s all we talk about. We ask ourselves, “How can we create a REAL estate experience that our clients will enjoy?” We want the entire experience to be as easy and painless as possible. Today, utilizing technology is an integral part of that experience with clients.
If you are a great agent, you will get referrals. It’s that easy. Put your clients first in all you do and the technology and referrals will follow.
One way The Boutique Real Estate Group goes the extra mile for their clients is by producing creative listing videos. Watch the story unfold in this video for 9741 Janice Circle, with gorgeous shots of the home in an entertaining and beautiful presentation. The Boutique Real Estate Group is at the forefront of video for real estate, and one of their videos was awarded a spot in the Top 20 Real Estate Videos in the USA in 2013. Watch the video here.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to share with FreeAgent readers?
I have truly made some wonderful friends over the years via social. It has been a wonderful ride and has been a true blessing. Turning online relationships into meaningful real life friendships has been one of the greatest joys for me. There are so many great people in this world and in our industry who are trying to raise the bar in all we do. If you take the time to talk to them, they will talk back.
As an agent, do you ask yourself “How can I create a REAL estate experience that my clients will enjoy?” What do you think are the most important parts of this experience? Let us know in the comments below!
via Melissa Sims
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.
52 Ovation, Irvine, Ca 92620
Story Via WSJ Real Estate News
August 15th, 2013
More than half of all homes sold last year and so far in 2013 have been financed without a mortgage, according to an analysis by economists at Goldman Sachs Group.
The analysis estimates that around 20% of all homes sold before the housing crash were “all-cash” sales (or around 30% of sales by dollar volume). But over the past seven years, the all-cash share of sales has more than doubled, increasing by more than 30 percentage points, according to economists Hui Shan, Marty Young and Charlie Himmelberg.
The Goldman study analyzed home sales figures from the Census Bureau and the National Association of Realtors and mortgage-origination data from the Mortgage Bankers Association and Lender Processing Services.
The surprisingly large cash-share of purchases helps to explain why home sales have jumped over the past two years despite more muted increases in broad measures of new mortgage activity, such as the MBA’s mortgage application index.
There’s no exact way to know who is responsible for all of these cash purchases, though they are likely to include some combination of investors, foreign buyers, and wealthy homeowners that don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a mortgage before closing on a sale. Mortgage lending standards have sharply tightened up since the housing bubble, with banks scrutinizing borrowers’ tax returns and bank statements to verify their incomes and the source of their down payment.
The Goldman analysis also estimates that around 44 cents of every $1 of homes sold currently is being financed, compared to 67 cents before the crisis.
Purchase-mortgage origination volumes have fallen from around $1.5 trillion in 2005, when the housing market peaked, to around $500 billion in each of the last two years.
While declines in the volume of homes being sold accounts for some of the decline, the Goldman economists estimate that around 40% of the decline is due to the drop-off in the amount of financing per home.
The Goldman analysis estimates that purchase-loan volumes will rise to around $750 billion next year and to $1.1 trillion by 2016.