Raj Qsar is the broker owner of The Boutique, an independent real estate brokerage that integrates mobile technology into real estate transactions. His Southern California offices specialize in luxury homes and has expanded into the coastal region of Newport Beach. In his words, here is a peek into a day in his life.
Walk us through a typical day in your life.
My day typically starts at 5 a.m., sometimes a bit earlier. I just get up out of bed. No alarm. I grab my phone and head downstairs. I am totally a morning person. I make a protein shake and jump on my laptop and scroll through emails, Twitter, Instagram and then Facebook. I usually check analytics on our website and social channels, and look at ad campaign results.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I am at the Crossfit gym by 6 a.m. After the gym, I am at home helping get the kiddos—Hannah, Emma, and Cooper—get ready for school. Breakfast, clothes, homework review, and they are off to school by 8:30 a.m., and I am off to one of our offices. At 8 p.m. or so, I start shutting down.
Phone / tablet / laptop / desktop of choice?
iPhone 5S, iPad Air, MacBook Pro with Retina Display, iMac 27″ on my desk. We are an Apple company.
Apps you can’t live without?
DocuSign, DocuSign Transaction Room, DropBox, Facebook, Instagram, and recently I have been using Refresh as I am meeting with so many people.
Emails sent per day? Received?
My Google app business account said I received 7,000 emails last month, and I sent out 1,400.
Tell us about your market.
We tend to market homes above $1 million. It was not intentional, but our services are considered luxury and tend to attract those types of buyers and sellers.
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—amazing photography, 360 HD V-tours, individual property websites for each home, staging and interior design, custom graphics and design, and a social media content strategy that reaches people on a global scale.
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 and feel, and buyers recognize our listings as being “boutique-ivied”—and we believe every home has a story.
Total number of transactions you worked on last year? Expected this year?
I personally did about 40 transactions last year with an average sales price of about $2 million. I will do about the same this year, but our price point has moved up. Look for our new office in the beach city of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach as we launch into the coastal Orange County real estate market.
What made you choose a career in real estate?
After watching an agent “sell” our first home, I knew there had to be a better way. I personally held the open houses, I printed the flyers, I wrote the content. That was all pre-social.
It was so massively complicated, and we were so in the dark the whole way through. I had an “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 also 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.
What’s the biggest challenge the real estate industry faces today?
One of the biggest challenges in real estate today is that everyone seems to be swimming in the same pool. There is no original creative. Nobody wants to tell a story. There is an old quote, “Those who tell the stories rule the world.” What I love is when I meet someone, and they just instantly pick up with a story. We believe this type of mindset is so needed in our industry.
What advice would you give to new agents?
The advice I would give to a new agent entering into the world of real estate would be to join an amazing team. And I do not just mean a busy team, but an amazing, highly-respected team where you can learn, experience and absorb everything and anything that is real estate. That includes not only all the “beautiful and shiny” things that real estate offers, but also all the challenges that real estate brings each and everyday: from contracts, lender guidelines and appraisals to staging, photography, pre- and post-processing of photos, editing video, print campaigns and the entire social media and web content strategy.
Who inspires you the most?
Jesus Christ because he changed my heart.
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