Category: Archive

3 Ways to Stand Out as a Real Estate Agent

Top tips to help you stand out from the real estate competition.  

Today, there are more and more real estate agents and individuals flipping houses, getting into the market, and driving up the competition. Because of this, you need to find a way that gives you an edge over your competition. Sure, you can just try to shout louder and hope to be heard above the noise, but there are better strategies you can implement to stand out. Take a look at these three tips to get started!

Be active in your local community.

A great way to generate local business is to get active in the community. If you want to be seen as an expert in the area, be a part of the local community. A great way to do this is to be active on social media. Follow local groups, bodies, and organizations so that your brand starts to become a familiar name in the area.

Have consistent branding.

One of the best pieces of advice when it comes to branding is to keep it consistent across the board. Choose a font, color scheme, and logo and stick to it. If your business cards look different than your website, which also looks different than your social media accounts, consumers are going to get confused and wonder if you’re a legitimate agent.

Go the extra mile.

An agent who goes above and beyond is more likely to get referrals than one who does the bare minimum to scrape by. Take the time to get to know your clients, their needs, and only show them homes that suit their specifications. Follow up often (but not too often) and check in with people after the sale to see how they’re settling in. Thoughtful gestures can go a long way in a stellar referral review.

These tips can help you stand out as a real estate agent. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make testimonials work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

Orange County’s Halloween Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Local event happenings for Halloween in Orange County.

It’s that time of year again. Dig out your pumpkin candles, spooky décor, and enjoy the holiday that is Halloween. Orange County doesn’t let you miss out on any of the fun, whatever your age. Check out just a few local events that will get you in the spirit of Halloween.

Pacific Symphony presents: ‘The Wizard’s Spellbook’: October 27

Enjoy a fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed for children ages 5 to 11. The Halloween celebration will include music from Fantasia and Harry Potter, as well as The Conductor’s Spellbook, an exciting and interactive new work by composer Paul Dooley that teaches about the instruments of the orchestra. Kids are welcome to dress up in costume, complete with a wand and broomstick! Running from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., this is a Halloween experience your little one won’t want to miss.

Segerstrom Concert Hall
600 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Legend of Boot Hill: October 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28

Boot Hill rises from the fog for its 19th year to haunt the residence at 16 Goldenrod in Irvine, California. This is Orange County’s most elaborate yard display, and is certainly not one to be missed! It’s free to watch, but donations will be accepted and will go towards the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Spooktacular Fun Days: October 13, 14

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy traditional family-friendly fall activities such as treat town, a pumpkin patch, crafts, entertainment, inflatables, face-painting, carnival games, and much more. This is ideal for families of all ages!

The Great Park
5 Freeway and Sand Canyon

Casa Creepy: Haunted House: October 27, 28, 31

Have you ever wondered if Casa Romantica is haunted? Believe it or not, it is! Bring the whole family to this spooky event at one of the most haunted and unique houses in Orange County. Encounter ghosts, mummies, and creepy-crawlies that will surprise you around every corner.

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
415 Avenida Granada
San Clemente, CA 92672

Haunted Trails: October 18-20

Deep in the valley, there is a special crown guarded by dragons and buried within the compound. The knights guard the castle walls, while thieves search for goods. The Haunted Trails are not for the faint-hearted – this event is not recommended for children under the age of 8. When the sun sets, the trails will open, and guides will escort groups of 10 guests through the halls and tents.

Crown Valley Community Park
29751 Crown Valley Parkway
Laguna Niguel, location at the entrance to the Community Park on the emergency road.

From the team at Dean Rathbun, we hope that you and your family enjoy Halloween! Contact us for all of your home loan needs.

Tips to Effectively Show a Property

Prepare to show clients homes with these tips.

A real estate agent doesn’t just represent the seller, but they also represent the buyer. That means you, as the agent, may be required to get into a car with your clients and show them homes that you have decided meet their needs. When you’re going to be showing homes to clients, you should prepare properly. For a safer and easier process, here are a few things you should consider.

  • Research the properties.

Before you take your clients out to preview homes, make sure you have all properties in order. You should research the property listings before taking your clients out to preview them to make sure you have the most recent list available. The danger of researching properties too far in advance means that homes may have already been sold.

  • Know the routes in advance.

It’s embarrassing to get lost on your way to the houses. Drive the routes to all of the listings the day before you show properties to your clients. This way, it will be a seamless transition and your clients can rest assured knowing that you’re very familiar with the area.

  • Prepare a buyer information packet.

Your buyer’s packet should be printed and ready to be inspected by the client. The buyer packet includes information about all the properties that you’re going to be viewing that day. Print one for yourself and one for your buyer to take notes about each property.

  • Guide them through an initial walkthrough.

Many buyers tend to linger in one area of the house. While there’s no need to rush them, aim to keep them moving by offering an initial walkthrough and then allowing them time to retrace their steps at the end. It’s important to stay on schedule so that viewings don’t fall through the cracks.

  • Leave everything just how it was.

Before you leave, make sure the property is left the way you found it. If you opened windows and balcony doors, remember to close them.

  • Review the viewings and follow up.

After you’ve shown all of the properties, schedule a time to sit down with your clients to discuss each property. Review the notes they took and make sure you have a better understanding of what they liked and didn’t like. If they loved a property, advise them on the next steps. If they aren’t ready to make an offer, schedule a follow up with them shortly.

As a real estate agent, you help buyers find their dream homes. Purchasing a home is a huge decision, and it may be necessary for buyers to view a property more than once. Buying a home can be a minefield. Luckily, the team at Dean Rathbun can help homeowners and agents alike. Whether you’re looking for the right home loan or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

OCtoberfest in Newport Beach is Back!

Don’t miss OCtoberfest this year!

Beer. Good food. Costume contests. What more could you want out of OCtoberfest? It’s back and better than ever! OCtoberfest OC has moved to Newport Beach, a beautiful waterfront location. Occurring every Saturday and Sunday from September 29 to October 21, 2018!

OCtoberfest OC has assembled the perfect mix of authentic and eclectic talents to bring you Bavarian humor, classic Oktoberfest themes, fine food, amazing beer, and live entertainment for a fun-filled weekend! Just a few features include:

  • Host Burgermeister Peter Von Melton and special appearance by Kara Eldridge
  • World-famous yodeler and singer Kathrin Jakob
  • Deutschland München Oompa Loompa dance music
  • Costume contests
  • Interactive games, dancing, log-sawing, and more!


Newport Dunes
1131 Back Bay Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660


  • Prost Pass – GA 1 day, stein with bier not included – $25.00
  • Biergarten – Admission with stein and first bier or non-alcoholic beverage – $35.00
  • OC München Bier Hall – Admission for one day, stein and first bier or non-alcoholic beverage, Bavarian-style food package, reserved seating in luxury VIP tent, VIP Restrooms – $74.00
  • Fashion Island Hotel Waterfront VIP – Limited availability – ultra VIP experience! Admission for one day commemorative stein and first bier or non-alcoholic beverage, Bavarian-style food package, reserved seating, VIP table for 8 guests, concierge, food and beverage Service, VIP parking, VIP restrooms, best of the best views in entire village – $85.00
  • OC München Bier Hall Group Table (8 Person GA, 1 Day) – Admission for one day, stein and first bier or non-alcoholic beverage, Bavarian-style food package, reserved seating in luxury VIP tent, VIP restroom – $573.00
  • Offsite parking with shuttle service – $15.00
  • Onsite VIP parking – $20.00

10% of proceeds go to benefit the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Can you hardly wait? Don’t wait in line at the door! Pre-order the inaugural 2018 OCtoberfest commemorative bier stein. It’s a great way to enjoy and remember the event.

Get your tickets here!

Are you are looking to get involved in the OC community? Whether you’re looking for a quality home loan to land you your California dream property or a growing agency looking for connections, the team at Dean Rathbun can help. Contact us for more information!

Enjoy Your Local SOCO Farmers’ Market

Looking for local produce, crafts, and more? Head down to your SOCO farmers’ market.  

We all know there’s a lot to do in Costa Mesa, California. From the nature reserve and parks to Balboa Pier and shopping, Orange County offers a wide variety of things to do. If you’re looking for a fun Saturday activity that infuses the heart of the community with one-of-a-kind purchases, look no further than the SOCO Farmers’ Market.

If you want great prices on local seasonal fruits and vegetables, the farmers market is the place to get them. It also helps to support your community, which is a winning proposition for everyone involved. To get the best in locally-grown food, visit the SOCO Farmers’ Market. It’s open Saturdays from 9am – 2pm, and located at the SOCO Collection (3315 Hyland Ave, 92626 Costa Mesa, California.) The makings of a great meal are just waiting for you there.

Thousands of people attend the market, and you can also get homemade bread and handcrafted items there, in addition to fruits and vegetables. Special events are generally held throughout the year as well. You can also enjoy coffee shops, pastry shops, home décor, barware, kids’ clothes, and women’s fashion. The SOCO Collection is your destination for inspiration. With this farmers’ market as the anchor, your Saturdays in Costa Mesa are set!

Take the whole family for food and fun! From the team at Dean Rathbun, we hope you enjoy this market. For all of your agency resources and home loan needs, contact us today.

The Important Role of Testimonials in Gaining the Trust of Clients

Client testimonials and their power in marketing.

People can often be skeptical when choosing a realtor. If they hear even one not-so-great story about your services, it could send them running to your competitor. If you want to become a real estate agent people trust, gaining the trust of clients, showcasing your success, and displaying testimonials are essential.

How Testimonials Help

One of the best things you can do for your business is to gather testimonials. The effectiveness of testimonials is rooted in the concept of ‘social proof,’ which states that people are more likely to do something if others who they respect and know are informed and are already doing it. Testimonials provide a window through which clients can visualize what it’s like to do business with you. They can even highlight your strengths and expertise. In the crowded and competitive real estate market, this can set you apart from the rest of the field.

Effective Testimonial

For a testimonial to be effective, it has to be authentic. People can spot a fake testimonial and may be put off your business for good. A good testimonial is one that:

  • Reflects your strengths and expertise
  • Refers to how you address the client’s specific needs
  • Compares you to the competition favorably
  • Sounds sincere and credible

Collecting Testimonials

Whenever you have a positive experience with a client, it’s wise to ask for a testimonial. Staying engaged and maintaining a good relationship with your clients even after a sale has been completed will make it easier to request reviews. You can also adopt a system that allows you to ask for testimonials without having to chase clients. A great way to do this is to include links, auto-responders, call-to-action features, and similar tools where clients can easily leave feedback.

Testimonials can help land you the trust of clients and prospects. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make testimonials work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

Steps to Re-List a Property That Isn’t Selling

Listing not moving? Here’s what to do.

As a real estate agent, you may come across a property in your career that doesn’t budge when you put it on the market. It can be difficult to know what to do and how to handle it, especially as the market can fluctuate often. For tips on how to re-list a property that isn’t selling, read on.

Firstly, you need to determine why it isn’t selling. Perhaps the homeowners are too unrealistic with their sale price, perhaps they need to remodel to attract the right buyers, or perhaps you need to dig deeper into why it’s not compelling possible homeowners.

Next, you’ll want to do the following three steps:

  • Talk to the homeowners face to face. Make sure all the decision makers will attend.
  • Know your audience. Before the meeting, make an effort to understand the seller’s point of view. If you don’t, you may be out of rapport with their perspective.
  • Make sense. Let the homeowners know the national, state, and city stats versus what is happening locally in the market. Show them what is happening right on their doorstep.

You’ll want to give the homeowner three options. Instead of simply presenting comps to a homeowner and mutually agreeing on a price, it’s advisable to utilize this three-option pricing strategy to make the home as compelling as possible.

Above Fair Market Value (Not compelling) – Talk about pricing above the fair market value, and how having the higher pricing strategy hasn’t worked so far.

Fair Market Value (Compelling) – Pricing at the fair market value is based strictly on the comps. This will make the property more compelling, and that certainly has its advantages.

Below Fair Market (Most compelling) – What really makes a property more compelling? When you set a price that is competitive for the local marketing. You may spark a bidding war and feeding frenzy around the property.

Talking to the homeowners will help you to understand their expectations and move forward in the re-listing process.

Re-listing a home can be a minefield. Luckily, the team at Dean Rathbun can help homeowners and agents alike. Whether you’re looking for the right home loan or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

Don’t Miss the Costa Mesa Community Run

Join in the Costa Mesa Community Run coming September 23!

Don’t miss the 11th Annual Costa Mesa Community Run that will take place September 23, 2018, at Fairview Park. The event features one of the best 5K and 10K courses you’ll find in Southern California! The run will be fun for the whole family – so get everyone involved! What’s more, this year they are offering a new low price for the Family Fun Run. Dress up in your favorite superhero costume and run the course that is less than 1 mile.

All attendees that finish the run will receive a custom designed race t-shirt and a goodie bag loaded with great surprises.

The race promises to be bigger and better than before:

  • Start and finish inside the stadium at Estancia High School
  • Professionally timed event for accurate results
  • Unique cross-country style course
  • Enjoy the beautiful trails of Fairview Park
  • Designed tech t-shirts for every participant
  • Mostly flat and suitable for all abilities
  • Benefitting education foundations of Costa Mesa

The Costa Mesa Community Run has been able to grant nearly $150,000 to the schools of Costa Mesa. This has allowed the youth of Costa Mesa to take steps to achieve their goals and better the community. Bring your friends along for a fun day! Join your neighbors and fellow runners for one of the best races of the year.

For more information about the Costa Mesa Community Run, click here.

The Costa Mesa community is one of the best! Whether you’re looking for a quality home loan to land you your Californian dream property or a growing agency looking for connections, the team at Dean Rathbun can help. Contact us for more information!

Understanding the Home Appraisal Process

What you should know about home appraisals.

Do you know what a home appraisal is, or why it is so important for you to have? Many people misunderstand this crucial component of the home buying experience. In essence, an appraisal is a valuation of your home – it is needed to ensure the homebuyer, the home seller, and the mortgage lender receives the accurate value of the real estate in question.

Generally, you can choose your real estate agent and lender, but you cannot choose your appraiser. The appraiser will be chosen by your lender to provide a level of independence from the buyer and seller. This helps to produce an unbiased report on the worth of the house.

The most important component involved in arriving at a property’s value is called comparable sales, or comps for short. These are similar properties, usually located within a mile or so of your property, that have sold within the last 90 days. The appraiser will compare the home’s features against the comparables’ features to get a better understanding of the home’s value. Factors range from square footage, appearances, amenities, and condition. The appraiser will take special note of improvements that greatly add value to a home. These include new flooring, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, adding living space in a basement, and additions to the property.

Once the appraiser has inspected the property, he or she will provide a written report with their analysis and conclusions about the property’s value. If the home appraises at or above the purchase price, then you’ve completed a major step in the home-buying process and can move towards closing! Sometimes, a home will appraise for much less than the agreed-upon purchase price. Generally, you will have a legal way out of the sale if the appraisal comes in too low. Another option is to renegotiate for a lower sale price based on the appraised value.

Have more questions about the home appraisal process? Buying a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Best Golf Courses in Palm Desert

Enjoy a game of golf? Check out these top-rated courses.

Whether you are an avid golfer or a seasonal player, you may know that nothing quite beats a Californian golf course. The lush green grass, constant sunshine, and fresh air make ideal conditions for every golfer. If you have yet to check out the top golf courses in Palm Desert, here are a few to try!

Desert Willow Golf Resort

Known to be well maintained, have good deals, and challenging enough to be fun, golfers should check out this stunning location. It’s highly rated as one of the most beautiful courses in all of Palm Springs, and this course doesn’t let you down. Complete with cactus plants and wildflowers, you can truly enjoy nature while having a round of golf. 

Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Golf Club
Located in the Coachella Valley, Shadow Ridge Golf Club enjoys over 350 days of sunshine and blue skies every year. This beautiful and peaceful valley is often referred to as the “golf capital of the world” because of its ideal playing conditions and abundance of courses.

Palm Desert Country Club

Palm Desert Country Club is a premier golf club in Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley. Renowned for its wide fairways and subtle greens, the Palm Desert Golf Club appeals to golfers of all levels. The golf course and golf clubhouse have recently undergone tasteful renovations. Come play a round of golf and see why generations of golfers have hailed Palm Desert Country Club as a “must-visit” golf course

Are you looking for a home loan to land your dream home in California? If you’re interested in learning how you can get the best loan for your needs, the team at Dean Rathbun is ready to help!