We often receive letters of praise at our HQ in Princeville from clients who’ve been WOW’d by one of our agents across the state. A recent letter from a happy Maui client named Scott Curran highlighted some of the smart ways our agents approach their business and clients.
Scott told us he’s worked with nine different agents for the purchase and sale of homes in Nevada, California and Hawaii. Those transactions, he shared, resulted in “countless unsuccessful offers” on homes he’d been looking at buying.
“My experience with the nine other agents gave me an understanding of the recent trend toward lowering real estate commissions or switching to flat fee transactions.”
That was before Scott took the opportunity to work with Hawaii Life agent Tobi Fisher on Maui. “Tobi changed my expectation of what to expect from a real estate agent,” he shared in his letter of praise.
This was music to our ears. We thought we’d share some of the things that Hawaii Life agents like Tobi Fisher know and put into practice:
1. Know Your Market
Scott and his wife have spent time on Maui many times. Typically, they’ve rented on the island, so they thought they knew enough about the various neighborhoods to jump straight into a purchase transaction.
They quickly discovered that there were significant gaps in their knowledge — ones that Tobi was readily able to fill for them. “Turned out, our knowledge did not have the breadth needed to make such a large investment in a sellers’ market,” Scott admitted.
Tobi was prepared, pointing out the key differences between renting and making a purchase in a given area. “We constantly asked for her opinion and she always gave us the pros and cons of a property and area, but not her opinion,” said Scott. Instead, Tobi remained objective, giving her clients the facts and information they most needed to help them arrive at their own informed decisions.
In addition to knowing the types of properties available in Maui’s sellers’ market, Tobi was ready with other key information that aided the Currans ability to make informed choices.
“She is knowledgeable on the Maui County building codes, and covenants, conditions and restrictions in areas we were looking,” said Scott. “And if she didn’t know, she was able to help us find answers to our questions quickly.”
2. Know Your Client
As experienced real estate buyers and sellers, Scott Curran and his wife knew what they wanted. Tobi took extra care to find a property that checked the many boxes on the Currans’ wish list. “She also took the time to get to know us, what we wanted, needed and what would work best for us,” said Scott.
“This home being our fifth purchase, [it] is the first I have not had some form of buyer’s remorse. In fact, the more time I spend in the home, the more I appreciate it,” he told us.
3. Know Your Market’s Property Values
Tobi wielded good judgment when assessing the value and price appropriateness of each property the Currans were considering. “When it came time to make offers, Tobi’s analysis of a property and its comparisons were spot on,” said Scott. “I consider myself to be an above-average buyer when it comes to assessing the price of a home, as I am a financial analyst by trade.”
4. Always Represent Your Client’s Best Interests
Once the Currans found their ideal Maui home, Tobi advocated on behalf of her clients, representing them in the truest sense. “Even with my love of making low-ball offers, she negotiated us into three different escrows, one of which took us three months of back and forth with the seller,” said Scott of their homebuying process.
“And then when the seller would not cover some of the repairs, Tobi made me feel good about walking away from the deal.” Negotiating with skill, but not being afraid to walk away when the deal isn’t right is the hallmark of great agent representation. It’s also the ethical thing to do.
5. Always Exceed Expectations
Tobi’s tech-savvy, her experience dealing with clients far away, and her good, old-fashioned practical skills made for a client experience that exceeded all expectations. “Before our arrival, Tobi took the time to make videos or give us live video tours of available properties, really giving us a feel for the properties,” said Curran, who was pleased to be able to preview potential homes.
When they finally settled on what ultimately became their Maui home, the Currans were unable to arrive on island before the inspection period was scheduled to end. Tobi jumped in to assist.
“Once Tobi found the home that was right, she again exceeded my expectations during the due diligence and closing period,” Curran told us in his letter. “She even saved us money by personally locating the cesspool, popping the lid and sending me a photograph of the inside,” Curran shared.
6. Always Go That Extra Mile
Nolan Pong, another Hawaii Life client, recently shared his experience of working with Dawn Soderquist Okano, a Hawaii Life agent on Oahu. The Pongs were living overseas and faced challenges due to the distance. They wanted to sell their condo unit at Ko‘olani.
Dawn didn’t hesitate to volunteer her time to help shorten the distance. She offered to be their boots on the ground. Taking charge, Dawn identified the repair work needed to prepare the unit for sale. Then she obtained multiple cost estimates for her client’s review.
“[Dawn] …met with each contractor for the flooring replacement, repainting, and general repair. [She] gave us guidance/advice on our quotes and even made sure [to provide] everything [we] needed to minimize their (and our) cost,” Pong wrote. “As we wanted to put our unit on the market quickly, [Dawn] even convinced the contractors to work on the weekends, at no additional cost!”
A smart agent knows that the client relationship doesn’t begin or end with the sales transaction, but rather, that’s it’s a long-term relationship.
7. Treat It Like A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Despite having three offers fall through, Tobi continued working with the Currans to find the perfect Maui home for them, proving that when it came to representing her clients’ best interests, she was in it for the long haul. “I was very concerned that she would be disappointed after all the work she had put in, and I felt guilty that she would not receive compensation for her time and effort,” said Curran.
“But when it came time to pass on the deal, she did not hesitate or provide a hint of disappointment,” Curran noted about Tobi Fisher’s professionalism. “Her feedback and attitude relieved all guilt and made me feel good knowing that the property wasn’t right for us.”
After Scott Curran’s home purchase was finally complete, Tobi didn’t stop there. Curran shared. “We purchased the home from a trust that had made a mistake in their disclosures. Tobi negotiated a settlement that I believe satisfied everyone involved, and helped us find a contractor that was able to get the job done well and quickly.”
8. Build A Network With Referrals & Repeat Clients
Having worked with several agents in multiple states, Scott had been dismayed with his experiences. As he’d mentioned, he was beginning to understand the trend toward lowering real estate commissions or switching to flat fee transactions, until he worked with Tobi Fisher.
He shared, “If all agents were as knowledgeable, hard-working, a pleasure to be around, able to negotiate and not afraid of walking away from a commission as Tobi is, buyers and sellers would see the value of 6% commission on real estate transactions.”
“She is worth every penny,” Scott Curran shared with us in his recent letter. “I will not take part in another real estate transaction in Hawaii without Tobi Fisher representing me. I recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell a home who wants to be represented by the best in the business!”
Dawn Soderquist Okano used what her client called “creative initiative” to help resolve open questions and issues in the sale of their condo. She remained “positive” and “realistically optimistic” — an attitude that her client shared, “gave us confidence in all the decisions we had to make.”
Her efforts resulted in a timely cash offer on their Ko‘olani condo unit. Her client Nolan Pong wrote to us saying, “We can’t wait to do more business with you in the future!”
Smart agents like Tobi Fisher and Dawn Soderquist Okano know that repeat client and referral business blossom out of their positive, can-do approach to every single transaction. All of our Hawaii Life agents are ready to help you with the same kind of commitment, dedication to client service, and market knowledge.
Please visit our Find An Agent page to find a Hawaii real estate professional to suit your unique needs.