I write this blog as an agent of Hawaii Life. Nobody has asked me to write it or paid me to do it. I am doing it because I love what the company represents in an industry that is otherwise quite stagnant and relies on old models that don’t work because they have failed to adapt to consumer needs.
Hawaii Real Estate - Then vs. Now
In 1979, I got my sales license in Hawaii working for DT Land in Wailuku. We got monthly MLS books, paper forms, and all offers were either hand delivered and presented or snail mailed via USPS. We had carbon paper, typewriters, and mimeograph copying that was just giving way to fancy copy machines. There were no fax machines, no computers, and certainly no internet or e-mail.
Dial the business forward 34 years. What is really the same is what we are selling - real property - and we actually still sell it to real people. Absolutely everything else is different about the business.
The primary core of our business is still exactly the same, people and property. I have owned 2 companies of my own and part of a very large statewide franchise where I previously worked for 10 very happy and productive years. In 1994, I was actually one of the very ﬁrst Realtors to have a website on Maui (www.selldirt.com).
What started to happen in the mid 1990’s was a logarithmic increase in the use of technology. To be competitive, you not only needed to own a computer, you had to learn how to use it. Fax machines were mainstream at that time and they were at the core of our daily business. Then along came the internet. We still had pagers because only the very rich could afford cell phones - and those weighed a pound or more!
Between 1995 and 2005, the business totally transformed to a web based model. Most MLS data nationally became available to the public and that is where the public really began to start their searches. Agents had choices to make.
Did you go learn how to write code, design your own web page, try to take professional photos for the pages, learn how to do e-mail marketing, blogging, tagging web pages to optimize searches, buy and learn the latest data base programs to handle contacts with your clients, design ﬂyers, cards and brochures? It goes on and on, and never seems to stop.
What happened is that some really good agents began spending most of their time doing all of the above functions and had little time for the core business, people and property. Today, any good agent knows that in order to succeed you have to show up on internet searches, otherwise, buyers and sellers who want instant gratiﬁcation on the internet, go elsewhere.
What Promoted My Move to Hawaii Life?
What promoted my move to Hawaii Life was a very interesting event. My son, Jeremy, is my business partner. We are the “Stice Team." In December 2009, Hawaii Life sent 3 buyers leads to Jeremy while were both at our prior brokerage. I was due to start as President of the Hawaii Association of Realtors in Jan. 2010 and I owned a healthy chunk of the brokerage we both worked for.
Jeremy came to me in Dec. 2009 and said, “Dad, I am going to go work for Hawaii Life...they don’t even have an ofﬁce on Maui and they are #5 on Google search for Maui Real Estate." Needless to say, that caught my attention.
Jeremy and I ﬂew to Kauai almost immediately to meet with Matt Beall, Justin Britt, and Winston Welborn, the owners of Hawaii Life. What we saw was the most un-corporate, free wheeling, fun-loving bunch of competitive young people who had just broken the mold.
What Hawaii Life had done was marry the most progressive marketing, search engine optimization, and web design company in the state, Wasabi, with a broker, Matt Beall, who was a true visionary along the lines of Bill Chee who saw the internet coming in the early 1990’s as National Association of Realtors President and the owner of Prudential Locations in Hawaii.
Jeremy and I immediately could see that we could forget about “writing code, designing our own web page, trying to take professional photos for the pages, learning how to do e-mail marketing, blogging, tagging web pages to optimize searches, buying and learning the latest data base programs to handle contacts with clients, designing ﬂyers, cards, and brochures, etc." because Hawaii Life already had the top ranked real estate search in Hawaii - and all the rest is included as part of what Hawaii Life agents are offered.
Since Joining Hawaii Life
We packed our bags at our prior brokerage, I sold my stock back to them (not happily as they are wonderful people and a great company), and opened Hawaii Life on Maui. We had an amazing ﬁrst year with almost $80,000,000 in sales - and I have never been happier.
Now, I spend my time doing what I want to do - dealing with people and property. I have more free time to surf, cycle, paddle canoe, and farm and last year was the best year of my 34 year career in all forms. I made more money, had more free time, and now I can smile at our good choice.
Thank you, Jeremy, for inspiring the move.