Hawaii Life had quite the year in 2010. If you read the Chinese horoscope for the “Year of the Tiger”, it’s a fairly accurate description of our past year…the Year of the Tiger is often characterized as a courageous and fiery fighter who wards off tragedy. Tigers are gracious, independent, active and self-assured. Sounds like Hawaii Life to me. (It couldn’t hurt that I was born in a Tiger year, too.)
Reflecting on 2010, I read through my calendar, looking at all the appointments and commitments I made. I looked at my previous blog posts, my Facebook account and other social media. It was quite the exercise. It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished this year…
In 2010, Hawaii Life more than tripled in size. Our sales went from $58M in 2009 to $155M in 2010, we did 84 transactions in 2009 compared to 311 in 2010. We brought on 58 new brokers and agents around the State, and we converted 4 of our sales associates into licensed Brokers. Incredible.
At the beginning of the year, we hired Tracy Stice R(B) to be our Broker-In-Charge of Maui. Even while he was acting as the President of the Hawaii Association of Realtors for 2010 (a very demanding position), Tracy managed to open our Kahului office and bring on board the 22 associates we currently have on Maui. Big kudos are also due to Tobi Fisher R(S), our Director of Sales on Maui, for her continued support in that process.
To say that Tracy brought Leadership to Hawaii Life would be a gross understatement. One of his first acts of business was to (basically) mandate that we hire Beth Holiday of Inner Dynamics as our business coach. Working with Beth continues to be one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made. Working with Tracy and Beth led to both Katie Minkus, R(B) and I applying to the Hawaii Association of Realtors Leadership Academy. It was an absolutely transforming curriculum (four intensive 3-day sessions over the course of 8 months).
On the technology front, 2010 brought a few major milestones (I can share most of them ;-)):
- We were able to get our entire company onto the same CRM (Client Relationship Manager) platform. Now, we all use the same software to keep track of our clients, customers, and prospects. Getting our custom-made software to work with this new platform, and getting almost 100 agents to use it, was an incredible accomplishment. We now have a reliable way to keep track of the 9600 user accounts on our website, and the ability to interact with them in a way that’s meaningful and effective.
- Our Creative Director, Winston Welborn, and his team built our Direct Marketing System from scratch. Synced with all three of Hawaii’s MLS providers, the system allows agents to Gather, Create, and Send quality print and e-mail marketing materials easily and for free. Agents can spend more time with their clients and less time formatting brochures, printing labels or (god forbid) sending out irrelevant spam.
- We turned on the RETS feeds for the islands of Maui and Oahu. RETS allows our clients and customers to have the most current information possible about the real estate market, since we can update the market information regularly throughout the day. Having market information first has proven hugely valuable for home buyers, especially if they’re interested in REOs or particularly good values. We’re hoping that Kauai and the Big Island’s MLS offers RETs in the near future.
- Our Brokers-In-Charge have taken the initiative and continue to host regular webinars for our entire staff, offering training on everything from technology to transactions. It’s been a brilliant resource for Hawaii Life agents and brokers.
In June, we were nominated by Inman News as one of the country’s most Innovative Brokerages which, especially considering the other nominees, was an incredible honor.
On the “brick & mortar” front, we opened five new offices in 2010. The first was in Kahului, Maui, in the former corporate headquarters of Maui Land & Pineapple. It’s quite the setting. I can’t say that we’ll be there forever, but the central location in Kahului was a great jumping off spot for us to get started on Maui. Next up was our (anti)corporate headquarters in Princeville here on Kauai.
Hawaii Life's Headquarters, North Shore Kauai
Just a month later, in July, we formed a business relationship with Hawaii Vacation Rentals and remodeled and opened our first office on the Big Island, in Puako. By the fall, we were back to Maui to open our second office in Wailea, shortly after Dano Sayles R(B) and his team joined Hawaii Life. Then, in October, we hired Charlie Parry R(B) as our second Broker-In-Charge in Kona on the Big Island, and opened his office in Kona as a Hawaii Life office. Then, after all that, we seriously upgraded our presence in Kapaa on Kauai by opening a new office downtown. Wow… that’s a lot of “brick & mortar” for a “boutique internet company.” ;-)
A few big events from 2010 also warrant mention… our commitment to Leadership has led to a lot of volunteer work for our local and State Realtor Associations. The Kona Board of Realtors nominated three Hawaii Life agents for various awards, and Erik Hinshaw R(S) won ‘Rookie of the Year’. Our management team includes an HAR President in Tracy Stice, a (2011) President of the West Hawaii Association of Realtors in Katie Minkus, a (2010) of the Kona Board of Realtors in Charlie Parry, and just a few weeks ago, I became the President-Elect of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Getting our management team together for Hawaii Life’s annual broker summit in October was quite the experience. We set the pace for quite a year in 2011…
- We’ll open an office in one of Oahu’s finest neighborhoods, Kahala! We’ve just signed our lease, and David Buck, our Broker-In-Charge on Oahu is spearheading that operation.
- We plan to take our Property Management Services statewide. We’re changing the game in property management, vacation rentals, and guest services in Hawaii. We’re using Kauai as a model, and then we plan to offer our services to homeowner’s and guests throughout the State.
- We’re changing our name to Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, a name that we feel more accurately reflects who we are, our commitment to teamwork, and service to our clients.
- We’re looking to improve our “brick & mortar” presence on Maui & the Big Island… negotiations for new offices are in the works.
I’m sure I’ve left things out, feel free to add them.
Big Mahalos to everyone who contributed to such a fantastic year. To all of our clients, customers, friends and family… MAHALO! See you next year…