The story of the real estate agent turned broker is a familiar one. A natural progression in the industry.
Raj Qsar is that broker. After working for 12 years in the business as an agent, in 2013 he opened The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, Calif.
His vision? Build a brokerage that is outstanding at visual marketing.
Design is the rule, not the exception
The first rule of real estate has always been location. But Raj and his team are proving that today it’s just as much about design. Design in web and print marketing, video, and the homes themselves.
This is why Raj’s company team page contains nearly as many professional designers and creative roles as it does agents.
Bypassing a typical brokerage organizational chart, Raj’s team includes a creative director, interior designer and cinematographer. From day one, Raj has made quality design a key part of Boutique Real Estate’s unique value proposition.
“We’re a sales and marketing team, but we happen to focus on real estate,” Raj said.
Every home is staged and professionally photographed for inclusion in custom designed print and digital marketing materials. They shoot a video of nearly every listing, and own all of the necessary equipment from cameras to lenses to lighting and sound.
“We’re a sales and marketing team, but we happen to focus on real estate.”
This treatment is engrained in the Boutique Real Estate customer experience. Raj and his team are uncompromising on this. From the full-time stager they’ve hired to the in-house videographer and graphic designer, clearly this is where the brokerage breaks the mold.
Video is the rising star
In 2010, Raj and his team started experimenting with video, realizing quickly that it paid off in terms of return on investment. “People were showing up at our open houses knowing it was us because of the videos and photography they’d seen in marketing materials,” Raj said.
“I figured out quickly, though, that hiring third-party vendors was a losing investment,” he said. That’s why he purchased all of the necessary audio and visual equipment and brought on a professional videographer to focus solely on videos.
While plenty of brokerage companies and agent teams create video in their marketing, Boutique Real Estate’s take is different. They use high production value without going over the top, subtle humor, contemporary music and an imaginative and fun approach to the typical home tour.
Check out a few of their recent property videos here, and you’ll see it feels more like you’re getting a taste of the lifestyle associated with homes than just a straight walkthrough on camera. And that’s the goal.
In keeping with a focus on high-quality marketing and building a unique brand around that value, Raj’s approach to recruiting is to be highly selective. “We say no to more people wanting to join us than we say yes to,” he said.
Part of this is because the whole notion behind the “boutique” brokerage is working with a highly focused small team. Also, the allure is customized marketing, which becomes challenging at a larger scale.
In general, Raj looks for sales associates who are passionate, relatable and people-oriented, and who are active participants in their community.
What lies ahead
When thinking about the future, Raj and his team remain open-minded. He likes to make sure they’re always thinking ahead to what consumers will want and need five years from now – how they’ll want to do business, how they’ll want to view properties and how agents will work best.
One goal is to open Boutique offices in select California markets, including Corona Del Mar, Napa, Palm Springs and North San Diego.
Of course, no one can predict the future, but Boutique Real Estate will continue to keep an eye on design trends and lead its real estate marketing in these same trajectories.