COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Real Estate Transactions

As stay at home orders are modified, it is essential that all possible steps be taken to ensure the safety of workers and the public.

This guideline is intended to help people involved in real estate transactions implement their plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and is summarized from the Guidance for Real Estate Transactions. This summary contains excepts from the full document, referenced above.

This document provides guidance for businesses operating in the real estate industry including sales and rentals of single-family, multi-family, apartment, commercial, and industrial properties to support a safe, clean environment for workers. The guidance is not intended to revoke or repal any employee rights, either statutory, regulatory or collectively bargained, and is not exhaustive, as it does not include county health orders, not is it a substitute for any existing safety and health related regulatory requirements such as those of Cal/OSHA. Stay current on changes to public health guidance and state/local orders, as the COVID-19 situation continues. Cal/OSHA Interim General Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19 webpage. CDC has additional requirements in their guidance for businesses and employers.

Worksite Specific Plan

  • Establish a written, worksite-specific COVID-19 prevention plan at every facility, perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas, and designate a person at each facility to implement the plan.
  • Identify contact information for the local health department where the facility is located for communication information about COVID-19 outbreaks among employees.
  • Train and communicate with employee representatives on the plan.
  • Regularly evaluate the workplace for compliance with the plan and document and correct deficiencies identified.
  • Investigate any COVID-19 illness and determine if any work-related factors could have contributed to risk of infection. Update the plan as needed to prevent further cases.
  • Identify close contacts (within six feet for 10 minutes or more) of an infected employee and take steps to isolate COVID-19 positive employee(s) and close contacts.
  • Adhere to the guidelines below. Failure to do so could result in workplace illnesses that may cause operations to be temporarily closed or limited.

Shown Properties Specific Plan

  • Establish a written COVID-19 prevention plan to be followed by agents who show properties. Display a set of rules for agents and home viewers at the entrance of the property that are to be a condition of entry. The rules must include instructions to use face coverings and hand sanitizer. It must include instructions to maintain physical distancing and avoid touching surfaces of the shown property. The rules or a link to the rules should be part of online public and MLS listings. Posted rules show be clearly visible and include pictograms.
  • Real estate and rental agents must confirm understanding of the rules with visitors before showing the propetty and provide a digital copy of the COVID-19 prevention plan to clients, appraisers, inspectors, stagers, purchasing agents and contractors and obtain their agreement to follow the plan prior to enterting the property.
  • Regularly evaluate compliance with the plan and document and correct deficiencies identified.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols for Shown Properties

  • Thoroughly clean shown properties and disinfect commonly used surfaces including counters, door and cabinet handles, key lock boxes, keypads, toilets, sinks, light switches, etc. These surfaces must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each showing.
  • During a showing, introduce fresh outside air, for example by opening doors/windows and operating ventilation systems.
  • Instruct employees to wipe down and disinfect equipment that passes between employees and customers, including clipboards and keys, after each use.
  • Provide time for workers to implement cleaning practices before and after shifts. If cleaning is assigned to the worker, they must be compensated for that time.
  • Equip shown properties with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, for use by employees and clients.
  • Provide and strongly recommend clients, real estate licensees, and inspectors to use face coverings and hand sanitizer. Place these items at the property entrance so that people can put them on before entering. Ensure disposable covers are properly discarded after use, for example in a tras bag that is sealed prior to disposal.
  • All people entering a property, including agents, brokers, inspectors, and clients, must wash hands with soap and water immediately upon entry and before touring or inspecting the property, or use hand sanitizer when handwashing facilities are not available.
  • Adjust or modify showings to provide adequate time for regular deep cleaning and disinfecting. If the property is currently occupied, ensure adequate time to disinfect after occupants leave for showings and before and after clients view the property.

Physical Distancing Guidelines for Shown Properties

  • Discontinue holding open houses and showings open to the general public on a walk-in basis; use an appointment or digital sign-in process to control the number of people in the house or property.
  • Ensure current occupants are away from property during showings, consistent with their legal rights.
  • Utilize virtual tours in lieu of open houses via digital technologies, social media, etc. in lieu of property showings whenever possible. If virtual tours are not feasible, limit the number of people present during showings. When a real estate licensee or renter is present, maintain physical distance at all times.
  • Employees and/or contractors must open doorways or other areas of ingress or egress prior to in-person property showings to minimize clients touching surfaces.
  • Real estate licensees should remind clients to maintain physical distancing during showings and refrain from touching handles, switches, pulls, etc.
  • All persons on property for in-person showings should avoid touching knobs, faucets, toilets and toilet handles, light switches, garage door opener buttons, handles and pulls, alarm system controls, fan pulls, remotes, thermostats, switch boxes, gates and gate latches, window locks and sashes, pool coverings, and other such items.
  • Prior to and concluding in-person showings, real estate licensees must disinfect mobility and safety fixtures on the property such as handrails and banisters.
  • All home inspectors and prospective homebuyers who accompany the inspectors should use face coverings while performing on-property inspections. Home inspectors must have access to and utilize soap and hand sanitizer.
  • All information must be delivered electronically. Discontinue providing handouts or other types of promotional or informational materials.

Additional requirements must be considered for vulnerable populations. The real estate industry must comply with all Cal/OSHA standards and be prepared to adhere to its guidance as well as guidance from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Additionally, employers must be prepared to alter their operations as those guidelines change.

10 Questions with Raj Qsar

With so much panic and uncertainty in the world today, I figured there was no better person to interview for this week’s 10 Questions series than my good friend, Raj Qsar. Raj is the owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group based in Orange County, CA. Not only is Raj one of the leading minds in real estate innovation, but he’s not too proud to share everything he knows with the industry he loves to challenge us all to find new ways of doing things. His marketing is a step above the rest (just check out one of his videos) and when it comes to just about anything – I know Raj not only has everyone’s best interests at heart but delivers with a laugh and a smile. Get to know more about Raj here.

With a new “smart” something coming out almost every day, what products amaze and astound you?

Raj-Alyssa.jpg

I am pretty sure you know my answer to this… TikTok. It is not just a dancing app where you are being silly. It truly is addictive. And the skills an individual can learn from mastering the app will carry on for years to come. What you can simply do on TikTok used to take a team of five people to pull off 5 years ago. It also gives you some insight into what is trending and relevant in today’s world.

With a million things happening at any one moment, how do you manage your time?

I am a huge believer in having a schedule and time-blocking chunks of the day. My routine is pretty much the same everyday (for work and my personal life). The details of what I am doing may change, just like a real estate transaction, but the core is the same.

What is something you’re really proud of? Why?

Probably the fact that back in 2008 I decided to take a leap and shoot a video. And not just a video but an actual movie on a listing. This was back before any of us knew how to shoot video on anything. I wanted to be different. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to give our clients the best chance of success on selling their home (which they tried to do several times before they met me). We had no idea of what we were doing or how to cut or edit the video but it was one of the most critical “ah ha” moments in my real estate career.

What’s the best and worst thing about getting older?

Worst – The fact that you are getting older and realizing that you can not control time.
Best – You truly realize who your tribe is over time. The people that stick with you, love you no matter what and want to do time with you. You also realize that life is full of moments with people (not things).  And every moment is what you make of it and is irreplaceable.


How do you relax?
Ever since I was a kid I have loved the ocean. I am not sure why because my parents really do not love the water. I mean my Mom does not know how to swim? But at an early age, they got us all into swim lessons and started taking us to the beach. In Orange County, I love to relax (in the afternoon) on any beach and watch the sunset.

What kind of projects would you like to do more of?
I think there is a huge need in our industry for true camaraderie, especially in leadership. CEO’s helping CEO’s navigate the waters we sail every day. Our industry is so complex and slammed with “what if’s” that it can sometimes be difficult to have a standard way of doing things. So to answer the question, I would love to be able to reach out to more CEO’s and give my time and see where I can assist and have a CEO sounding board where you can throw stuff and see if it sticks.

 What did you want to be when you were a kid?
As you know I went to medical school. So pretty much from college on that’s what I wanted to do, but life does take some interesting turns. I found out by going to medical school it truly was not my calling. It’s a long story on how I eventually landed in real estate but, for now, it is where I belong.

Why do you believe having mentors is so important?
Sometimes I think the world puts people in front of you for a reason. There are some really good people out there and these are the folks you need to cling to. When starting a business there are people who have run your race and finished the course and are willing to share their experience with you. Whether they take on the role of “mentor” or simply “friend” it is these opportunities that make you and your business better. No one business person has all the answers, it is humanly impossible.

What gets you fired up/energized?
It has become a trend that most people in our industry will do the least amount of work possible, put in the least amount of time and try to have the biggest rewards. Our team has become know in Orange County as the cleanup kids (and we are not kids anymore). But basically, when a listing does not sell due to over promises and under delivery, we get the call. This is not a business where your brothers, daughters, next-door neighbors dog sitter who just got licensed should be navigating the sale of someone’s most valuable asset should come into place to save x%. So coming into a listing that has not sold, charging the same amount and delighting our clients is what gets me the most fired up. We recently took a listing that had been listed 5x by 5 of the top brokers in Orange County and we sold it for full price. We truly care and every single listing matters.

Original Post via https://alyssahellman.com/blog/10-questions-with-raj-qsar

Fun Things To Do in June

La Habra Movies in the Park   May 18-Oct. 12
Join the Recreation staff for an outdoor, family-friendly movie on Friday nights.  Participants should bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and can enjoy food vendors and the Bamboo Kids Club. Movies begin at dusk.
Time/Place: See website for schedule.
Contact: www.lahabracity.comNewport Beach Jazz Festival   June 1-3
A star–studded lineup of musicians, delectable food and drink selections, and dancing on the lawn. The festival kicks off on Friday night featuring Michael Lington with Kenny Lattimore at the Hyatt’s Back Bay Amphitheatre. On Saturday and Sunday, the festival heads to the Back Bay Golf Course for two jam-packed days filled with the finest smooth jazz, R&B, funk and soul!
Contact: https://festivals.hyattconcerts.comRare Vintage Air VW Show   June 2
Bring your VW to the Rare Vintage Air VW d’Elegance to kick off the Prado & Classic weekends. We have great raffle items from our sponsors. We are also having a 50/50 raffle. Grinderz will have great food, soft drinks and beer on site at a discount price.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Old World Village, Huntington Beach
Contact: www.rarevintageairvwclub.com

Family Fun & Wellness Fair   June 2
Free health screenings and checkups while enjoying good food, live music, and informative offerings from the exhibitors. Families will enjoy the various entertainments such as live music performances, face painting, prize giveaways, and more!
Time/Place: 9am-2pm / Pretend City, Irvine
Contact: 949-428-3900 / www.pretendcity.org/healthfair

San Diego Rail & Sail   June 2
We will motor coach to SJC to board an Amtrak train for a coastal ride to San Diego’s waterfront shops and restaurants at Seaport Village and the “Headquarters,” with time at leisure for lunch on your own. Choose to spend the afternoon exploring the USS Midway or enjoying a San Diego Harbor Cruise.
Time/Place: 8:30am-6pm / Norman P. Murray Community & Senior Center, Mission Viejo
Contact: 949-470-3062 / www.cityofmissionviejo.org

Be More Healthy Expo   June 2
Health and wellness related exhibitors will showcase their products and services to thousands of potential customers. Free admission! Open to the public.
Time/Place: 9am-3pm / Seal Beach Pier
Contact: www.sealbeachchamber.org

Mission Viejo Film Festival   June 2
Each screening will present films that meet the run-time guides for each category: “Short Films: High School”, “Short Films: College/Indie” and “Music Videos” The following five awards will be presented – the Mark Jennings Award, City of Hope Award, People’s Choice Award, The MV Award, and the Mayor’s Award.
Time/Place: 4-8pm / Saddleback Performing Arts – McKinney Theater
Contact: 949-470-3062 / www.missionviejofilmfestival.com

Corona del Mar Scenic 5K   June 2
Whether running the 5K course, participating in the 2-mile Celebration Walk, or simply cheering the kids on in the Youth and Dolphin Dash series, all registered participants are hosted to a complimentary restaurant row feast of local eateries. Don’t miss the festive post event party complete with live entertainment, unique sponsor and vendors, awards ceremony and more.
Time/Place: 6am / Ocean Blvd & Heliotrope Ave.
Contact: www.cdmchamber.com

Huntington Beach Concours Classic Car & Motorcycle Show   June 2-3
A fun event where car lovers and enthusiasts can come to enjoy themselves, while knowing that they are also helping a worthy cause, The Huntington Beach Library Children’s Resource Center. It is rated # 1 in California, please help us keep it that why by attending this year’s event.
Time/Place: Sat 9am-2pm, Sun 9am-4pm / Huntington Beach Central Park
Contact: 714-904-5034 / www.hbconcours.org

Dino Days   June 2-3
There will be fun for the entire family with a walking DINO tour of a life-size moving T-Rex, Velociraptors and a Dilophosaurus. Wristband includes dinosaur tour, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon artist and unlimited games.
Time/Place: 10am-2pm / Nature Park, Lake Forest
Contact: 949-273-6960 / www.lakeforestca.gov

Fantasea of Quilts, Quilt Show   June 2-3
Traditional and non-traditional style quilts will be on display. It brings together the “best of the best” in quiltmaking, with aisles of displays, retail exhibits and more. Opportunity quilt: Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows with Kaffe Fassett Fabrics, $1 per ticket or 6 for $5. $10 and parking is Free! Auction is at 1 pm on Saturday.
Time/Place: SOKA University, Alisa Viejo
Contact: 949-547-6961 / www.beachcitiesquilters.org

Lost & Found Vintage Flea Market   June 3
Unique, curated, and rare vintage finds! Not everyone knows this, but The LAB stands for “Little American Business” and that’s exactly who we are and what we strive to support.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / The LAB Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa
Contact: www.thelab.com

Tustin Street Fair & Cook-Off   June 3
The event features a one-day Chili Cook-Off, salsa competitions, craft booths, non-profit food vendors, commercial vendors, entertainment, kids area, music, family friendly contests, wine & beer booths, family plaza and carnival attractions.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Old Town Tustin
Contact: 714-573-3326 / www.tustinchilicookoff.com

Celebration of the Arts   June 3
Dozens of artist’s exhibits and sales, including paintings, photography, ceramics, mosaics, jewelry, sculptures, wood carving, glass art, mixed media and cultural activities. This is a family friendly event offering free activities for all ages, sharing the creativity & talent of our community.
Time/Place: 11am-4pm / Thomas Lasorda Jr. Memorial Field House & Hurless Barton Park, Yorba Linda
Contact: 714-996-1960 / www.artsyl.org

Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auction   June 8-10
The auction event will provide the electric atmosphere of auction in the round auction block and also provide enthusiasts an outstanding destination to bring the whole family to experience their passion of classic cars.
Time/Place: 9am / Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
Contact: www.russoandsteele.com

Laguna Niguel Summer Concerts   June 8-Aug. 10
Bring your family and friends to enjoy a night of music under the stars! Food and dessert will be available for purchase from gourmet food trucks.
Time/Place: Crown Valley Community Park, Laguna Niguel
Contact: 949-425-5100 / www.cityoflagunaniguel.org

Annual Pier Swim   June 9
Get yourself in shape, practice your stroke, learn the motions of the waves and you’ll be in good company when the pier swim arrives. Join or watch this annual tradition as groups of swimmers from 12 years old and up swim approximately 1/2 mile around the Huntington Beach Pier. $25 entry fee.
Time/Place: 7am / Huntington Beach Pier
Contact: 714-960-8870 / www.huntingtonbeachca.gov

Dana Point ArtFest   June 10
An outdoor, top-quality juried art and music event that brings artists and community together. A free community festival of fine art, live music, food, and more.
Time/Place: 10am-5pm / Dana Point Lantern District
Contact: www.dpartfest.com

Flag Day Retirement Ceremony   June 14
The City of Rancho Santa Margarita is proud to offer an opportunity for residents and guests of all ages to honor the American Flag with this observation and flag retirement ceremony. The ceremony is held to destroy properly – by burning – worn, damaged or otherwise unserviceable American Flags in a dignified manner in accordance with The United States Flag Code.
Time/Place: 7:45-8:30pm / Bell Tower, Rancho Santa Margarita City Hall
Contact: www.cityofrsm.org

Chili at the Beach   June 16
Chili Cook-Off and Salsa Tasting Contest. In addition there will be children’s activities with kid’s games and entertainment, all benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley. Attendance is free with unlimited chili and salsa tasting tickets.
Time/Place: Main St & PCH, Huntington Beach
Contact: 714-536-8300 / www.hbdowntown.com

Summer of Mud Run   June 16
Celebrate summer by running (or come cheer on the runners!) the approximate +5k course beginning and ending at Irvine Lake. You will get wet and you will get muddy. Be sure to bring towels and a change of clothing.
Time/Place: 9am / Oak Canyon Park, Silverado
Contact: www.irvinelakemudrun.com

Fête de La Musique   June 16
Held in conjunction with “World Music Day” to celebrate the coming of summer each June. The festival is celebrated worldwide on, or near, the beginning of summer. LBSCA has crafted its Fête de la Musique to promote Laguna Beach performing arts through live music by singers and musicians.
Time/Place: 1-4pm / Downtown Laguna Beach
Contact: 949-492-0883 / www.lagunabeachsistercities.com

Summer Solstice Garden Gala   June 16
An evening “under the stars” with an evening of exquisite food, fine wines, & moonlight dancing in beautiful gardens. This annual event raises vital support for the living and historical collections of the Fullerton Arboretum.
Time/Place: Fullerton Arboretum, CSUF Campus
Contact: 714-278-4792 / www.fullertonarboretum.org

Newport Beach Art Exhibition   June 16
Artists, 18 years of age or older, may submit one or two original works of art to be displayed and judged. Entry fees are $30 for one entry and $40 for the maximum two entries. Categories include Painting: Watercolors and Painting: Oils and Acrylics, along with Photography and 3D Art.
Time/Place: 1-6pm / Newport Beach Civic Center
Contact: 949-717-3802 / www.newportbeachca.gov

Wags n Wine   June 17
Great Food, Terrific Wine, Silent & Live Auction, Opportunity Drawings, Live Entertainment, Dancing, Dog Adoptions, Pooch Pageant & More! Raising money for Waggin’ Trails – rescuing dogs (and other animals) from certain death in our shelters or bad living situations ensuring they get placed in a forever home.
Time/Place: 1-5pm / Paséa Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach
Contact: 714-328-8661 / www.wagsnwine.com

Summerfest   June 21-24
Carnival rides, vendors, food booths and the famous FV Classic Car Show, great entertainment, and beer garden. Preview Night on Thursdaywhere all rides are $1.
Time/Place: Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park
Contact: 714-839-8611 / www.fvsummerfest.com

OC Pride 2018   June 23
OC Pride celebrates the 10th annual OC Pride LGBT Parade and Festival. This event celebrates OC’s LGBT community for the opportunity to gather and show their pride.
Time/Place: 9am-6pm / Downtown Santa Ana
Contact: 657-234-7802 / www.prideoc.com

Doheny Surf and Art Festival   June 23-24
A two-day celebration of the Southern California surfing lifestyle! Menehune Surf Contest, Surfers Vendor Village, 60’s Surf Contest, Tandem Exhibition, Surf Tricks Contest, Kona Beer Garden (with wine and spirits, too), Live Music, Polynesian Dancing, Great Food, Healthy Living Demonstrations, Surfer’s Art and Collectibles, Classic Longboard Exhibit, Classic Woody Car Show and MORE!
Time/Place: Doheny State Beach
Contact: www.dohenystatebeach.org

A Taste of Greece   June 29-Sept. 2
Art! Three stages of live music and entertainment! Cheap beer and wine! Outdoor eateries and cafes! Free hands-on art classes and daily art demonstrations such as glassblowing!
Time/Place: 10am-10pm / 935 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach
Contact: 949-494-3030 / www.sawdustartfestival.org

The Parker Principles- A Real Estate Manifesto

In the spring of 2018 in Palm Springs, California, a diverse collection of real estate innovators, leaders and influencers gathered to hammer out a manifesto for changing the real estate industry. They were guided by the mandate of creating a better and more certain consumer real estate experience.

1. Transform our industry from a sales profession to a service business
Incentivize real estate agents to focus on quality and service over volume and sales by obsessing over the needs of the consumer to drive innovation and best practices.

2. Simplify the process of buying and selling a home

We must make the transaction smoother and simpler throughout the process. Create more transparent transaction management tools to give consumers a better and more certain experience.
3. Create a transparent chain of industry accountability to benefit the consumer
From associations/MLSs to brokers, brokers to agents, and brokers and agents to consumers, we
must hold the industry to a higher standard of service, transparency and responsibility. The core of accountability is transparency across the industry.
4. Strictly enforce ethical standards to increase professionalism
We as a profession owe it to the consumer to
establish — and maintain and enforce — the highest standards of ethical behavior. We must invest in mid-level real estate manager training; refocus culture and policies toward quality and service above recruiting and retention in the brokerage; and establish better peer-based enforcement mechanisms to weed out bad apples.
5. Raise the quality of real estate services to create a delightful and more certain consumer experience
We must take ownership of competency. Create better and more experiential educational systems such as apprenticeships that allow unproductive agents to learn from peers, as well as higher and more meaningful standards in licensing/accreditation. Ensure more transparent information to consumers to allow them to evaluate real estate professionals and be more selective in choosing an agent.
6. Demand real estate associations be more transparent and impactful 
We should create a culture and process that ensures every association member has an equal opportunity to be fully informed of key issues and to lead the organization. Focus money and effort on creating a healthy real estate market. Simplify the association’s role to a focus on creating opportunities for agents to sell more real estate. Encourage agents to take a more active role in their communities to make a difference in housing costs and community quality of life.
7. Free up property data feeds and remove barriers for innovators 
We should create a world where property data can be used, reused and broadly distributed. Remove artificial and overly protective barriers to property data access and utilization via a universal licensing agreement. Remove artificial barriers to new ideas, inventions and business models that improve the real estate experience.
8. Insist on diversity in real estate leadership
We must create an industry proudly known for
inclusion and diversity. In the boardrooms, in the executive suite, on stages and in strategy gatherings, the industry at the top must reflect the overall
diversity of business. A new generation of leaders are ready to take over and they should be celebrated and empowered to do so.
9.Fight for more “available” housing
We must bring key stakeholders to the table including builders, policymakers, associations and real estate professionals to build more entry-level units and
mixed-housing projects to create more balanced, affordable markets and bring relief to the many Americans on the verge of homelessness.
10. Make our communities better places to live and work
We should use our influence as real estate leaders to give back and advocate for and support education (even if it means higher taxes), marginalized
communities and policy that will promote affordable housing and access to homeownership in the long term.
11. Selflessly give back to the world through service 
We must recognize the importance of building service into our companies, organizations and our brand to authentically give back to the world beyond our own community.
12. Stand up to climate change and prepare for natural disasters 
The industry must stand up for sustainability and commit to disaster preparedness. The industry should equip their clients with the knowledge to be responsible in using natural resources wisely and
supporting a sustainable community. We must make sure that our teams and their clients have taken the steps to be resilient in the face of extreme weather events and emergencies. We must be transparent with clients about the threats of nature, fully disclosing changes in the environment.

No End in Sight for Toll Brothers’ Luxe Push in OC

Toll Brothers Inc. is adding another high-end housing development to its Orange County portfolio.

Its latest addition, a 47-lot site in Yorba Linda, will likely be one of its highest-priced local communities, which is saying something for the Horsham, Pa.-based builder, whose local developments’ homes top $2 million.

The builder, whose market value is about $8 billion, recently reached a deal to buy the Stonecliff Estates development site in Yorba Linda, roughly 30 acres on the northwest corner of Lakeview Avenue and Bastanchury Road. It’s a little more than a mile northeast of the Richard Nixon Museum and Library.

The site was listed for sale a few months ago by Sal Provenza and Curt Crandall at the Irvine office of land brokerage WD Land.

It traded hands for about $44 million, a little under $1.5 million per acre, or nearly $940,000 per lot, among the highest per-lot prices for an OC housing development site not along the coast.

The land was technically bought by an undisclosed land banking firm that will sell the lots to Toll Brothers in phases, according to Provenza.

Stonecliff Estates has been in the works for nearly a decade and was sold by an entity listed in marketing documents as Bastanchury Holding Co. LP.

The sellers are affiliated with Kuwait Finance House, a large Islamic banking firm that was one of the initial equity investors in the development, according to Provenza. The property is believed to be its only OC land investment; it also has some commercial property holdings in the Los Angeles area, he said.

Toll Brothers, which bills itself as the country’s largest luxury homes builder, is no stranger to Yorba Linda (or OC, where it’s now selling at 16 different projects), and has built a few developments in the city over the past three years.

Its latest, the 119-unit Enclave project, is about a half-mile from the recently bought property. It opened last year with prices near $2 million, and was about half sold as of a few months ago, according to brokerage data.

Stonecliff Estates will likely have a higher price point, thanks to some of the largest lot sizes—about a half-acre, or a little more than 20,000 square feet—for a recent OC housing development.

Most of Toll Brothers’ other area luxe homes in Irvine and other parts of OC have lots in the 6,000- to 12,000-square-foot range. Its Alta Vista development in Irvine’s Orchard Hills community, for example, with some homes priced at nearly $3 million, has lots of about 11,000 square feet, according to WD Land.

Homes at Stonecliff Estates were envisioned to be a little more than 4,000 square feet to nearly 6,000 square feet on the half-acre lots under the prior ownership group’s proposed designs, which Toll will likely tweak.

A community opening should be in about nine months, according to WD Land’s Provenza, who previously worked on land acquisitions for Toll Brothers.

Record Year, Rents

Apartment construction in OC is projected to reach an all-time record this year, according to a new multifamily research report by the local office of Marcus & Millichap.

Nearly 7,500 units will be completed at large apartment projects across the county, a record level and one that will increase OC’s base of rentals by 3%, the report said.

The heavy development is having a slight impact on vacancy rates, which have ticked up to 4%. But that hasn’t slowed rental appreciation, which has also risen 4%. Average monthly rents now stand at $1,972.

Construction should keep pushing on into next year. There were nine apartment projects with more than 300 units under way in Anaheim and Irvine combined at the start of the fourth quarter, and two projects, each larger than 500 units, were going up in Huntington Beach, the report said.

Top 30 Real Estate Brokerages On Social Media

via Property Spark

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These real estate brokerages are reaching thousands of people by using the power of social media.

Before, going into the list, we would like to say that these real estate brokerages do not have to be our clients, subscribers or followers.

Furthermore, we did not solicit any real estate brokerages before the research or writing of the lists.

Here’s how the Real Estate Brokerages are selected:

Initial Research on Real Estate Brokerages

We looked at hundreds of popular Real Estate Brokerages across North America. We found these real estate brokerages through different mediums including:

• Google
• Bing
• Facebook Search
• Instagram Search
• Twitter Search

Inclusions and Ranking (Objective Data)

Once we had our list of popular real estate brokerages. We looked at objective data regarding the real estate brokerages’ social media presence, including the following:

Followers:
• Facebook Page Likes
• Instagram Followers
• Twitter Followers

Engagement:
• Facebook Post likes, comments, shares and views (for videos)
• Instagram Post likes and comments
• Twitter favorites and retweets

Inclusions and Ranking (Subjective Data)

Finally, we make sure that all the real estate brokerages who made the final 30 have a great social media presence based on subjective variables, including the following:

• Brand image (quality of graphic design, pictures, videos)
• Value of content (how useful the content is to followers)
• Content mix (the mix of different types of posts)

With that being said, let’s get into the top list! Enjoy!

#10: The Boutique Real Estate Group

“Inspired by purpose, driven by passion”; that’s a motto we definitely want to hear from a real estate brokerage company. The Boutique Real Estate Group knows how to engage their followers on social media as they provide luxurious and dreamy photos of property interiors and exteriors.

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Episode 97 – Raj Qsar, Owner – The Boutique Real Estate Group

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June 6th, 2017 – Raj Qsar, owner/principal of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California shares his unique journey into the real estate profession. Unique is an appropriate term, as no other guest has traveled the path Raj details. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so tune into Episode 97 of The Real Estate Sessions and enjoy.

An indie broker talks tech, trends and creation

Catch Southern California- based influencer Raj Qsar at the Indie Broker Summit

Raj Qsar is the principal/owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group and spends much of his time traveling to far flung destinations educating those in the real estate industry on the finer points of effectively using technology and social media.

The Southern California-based influencer will take the stage during Inman’s Indie Broker Summit on Monday, August 7 to address brokers from across the country on how to strategically think about their technology choices in their own practices.

 

Register Now

We caught up with Raj to get his take on the advantages of being an independent broker and what other indies should watch out for in the coming year.

What do you see as the biggest benefit to being an independent broker?

Ability to adapt, change and execute quickly and the freedom to create & curate stories from the ground up.

What are your best tips and tricks for building your client base?

Real life networking and using technology to become more efficient.

What do you see as the most important trends (good or bad) that independent brokers should be keeping an eye on in the coming year?

Good: The merging of multiple techs into one platform.
Bad: So much “copying” and not enough creation.

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4 Ways to Grow Your Real Estate Marketing Content — and Business

via inman

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.

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 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 we get 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.

What unique ways have you found to generate content? Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.

 

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Stunning Pinnacle House Hits the Market — in Yorba Linda

via Fox News

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When you think of a $10 million home in Southern California, the first neighborhoods that probably come to mind are Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, and perhaps the Hollywood Hills or Malibu.

The town of Yorba Linda, home of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, located in northern Orange County, probably didn’t even make your top 20 list of elite enclaves, did it? That’s why the Pinnacle House comes as such an intriguing surprise.

What could be so special about a house that isn’t on the beach and doesn’t have a prominent ZIP code? Plenty, you’ll realize, just as soon as you find out who built it. Carlito Jocson is the corporate executive chef and vice president of Yard House restaurants, a popular chain with locations throughout the U.S. and endless taps of beer.

If you’ve ever been to one, you know the chain is tremendously successful, so the veep would likely spare no expense in creating a dream house anywhere he wants. And that’s exactly what happened.

Jocson hired David Streshinsky of DKY Architects to design a modern dwelling with Hawaiian influences, mixing the elements of steel, clay, fire, and water. In fact, as some of the best California homes do.

The house comes with a feng shui appraisal from feng shui expert Jessie Kim, which states, “The Pinnacle House is a great example of incorporation of Feng Shui elements.The strongest Feng Shui elements of this home — water, fire and wood — will provide its occupants with Power, Fame and Great Reputation. … When balance is achieved with these elements, a feeling of harmony and uplifting energy will be felt by anyone walking through the home.”

For all the good karma built into the house, size still matters. The airy home has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms in 8,320 square feet of space. It is strategically situated on a 3.1-acre lot on one of the highest peaks in Orange County. “There’s ample room for a helipad,” remarks Raj Qsar, who is the estate’s listing agent along with his partner Christina Boladian.

But you actually don’t need a helicopter to get around, because the property is quite conveniently located. Set in the Hidden Hills neighborhood of Yorba Linda (not to be confused with the Hidden Hills area of Calabasas, which is cluttered with Kardashians and pop stars), the Pinnacle House is only 10 minutes from Angel Stadium, Disneyland, and the Honda Center. It’s about 40 minutes from Los Angeles and 25 minutes from the beach.

Of course the executive chef of a prominent restaurant chain is going to build extraordinary cooking and dining facilities in his home, and this one has several: a huge indoor show kitchen with professional-grade appliances, an adjacent 1,200-bottle wine room, a full-service outdoor kitchen with a wood-fire pizza oven and a wok range, and a 12-person dining room with spectacular sunset views of the hills.

Adding to the feng shui philosophy of the home, the water features like the zero-edge, floor-level pool and the waterfall in the entryway flow from the outdoors in.

“We were able to install these beautiful sliding doors that open right up and disappear, and allow the bedroom to be indoor-outdoor. The thought process was, I wanted to wake up in the morning and jump in [the] pool straight from the bed,” Jocson says with a laugh.

“This home is very serene and has the feeling like you’re getting away,” he continues. “You can think better, you can think clearer, it’s just a wonderful place.”

Qsar believes that a buyer who values that type of lifestyle will find the property priceless, and that $10 million is a steal.