Big Island

Hualalai Realty Joins North Hawaii Broker's Caravan

The majority of properties for sale at Hualalai Resort are listed by Hualalai Realty. The majority of homes and vacant lots sold at Hualalai Resort are sold by Hualalai Realty…and by that I mean, the sale as reported in the MLS shows the buyer “represented” by Hualalai Realty as well (8 out of 11 sales so far this year where Hualalai was on both sides; they also represented buyers on 3 of the 6 sales of properties not listed by Hualalai).

With such a dominant position, why would Hualalai Realty put two of their listings on last week’s Broker’s Caravan?

Sensuous curves and big ocean view mark Lipoa Place home for sale at Hualalai Resort  (MLS# 239946). Listed for $7,595,000; one of two properties on caravan in this price range

My answer may surprise you. I don’t think they joined the Broker’s Caravan to sell listings. I think Hualalai’s real estate brokers joined it to get and keep listings.

Hualalai real estate is hot this year (hmmm…what does that say to us mere mortals wondering whether this is a good time to buy real estate in Hawai’i??). Volume is up 29% over the same period in 2010! Prices ranged from only $995,000 on the Hainoa Villas REO (bank-owned post-foreclosure) to $16,950,000 for a front row home.

Of those 17 closed sales…6 were listed by outside brokerages. In other words, about a third of the real estate for sale at Hualalai is currently listed by outside brokers. About a third of the sales of Hualalai property closed this year were listed by outside brokers as well. It appears, based on the statistics, that if you are a seller of Hualalai property, there is no particular advantage to listing with Hualalai Realty.

Hualalai Realty argues sellers should list with them because they are on-site. They know the “membership” (insiders do not speak of homeowners or property owners) and about one-third of the 300 members have “bought up” one or more times.

Outside listing agents argue that they give sellers more individual attention, have fewer or no conflicts of interest (unintentional dual agency occurs when a brokerage lists competing properties), and use all the tools of marketing that Hualalai Realty has been slow to adapt.

Now, it appears that Hualalai’s on-site real estate team is courting the cooperating broker pool. Not coincidentally, this happened at the very next caravan after the outside Hualalai listing agents got together to participate in the Broker Caravan and sponsored an open house for homeowners a few weeks later.

You can read several blog posts written by Hawaii Life agents who attended that Kohala Coast real estate caravan and wrote about what they saw. Other agents are our best friends when it comes to advertising our listings!

Hali’ipua Villas model home (MLS# 242221) was the second Hualalai resort property on caravan, asking $2,690,000. My business partner, Pam, blogged about this listing when we previewed it for a client last December

As a broker representing sellers of Big Island luxury real estate, the two most important steps in my marketing plan are:

  1. Proper presentation in the MLS
  2. Exposure to other Big Island brokers in my markets

Each year, the National Association of Realtors asks people who bought a home the year before, “How did you find the property you bought?” For the past few years, the answers are clear. About a third found that particular property themselves online…whether or not they used an agent to represent them in the purchase. About a third of the time, it was their agent who brought the property to their attention.

At the peak of the market for Hawai’i luxury real estate, developers’ on-site sales teams could afford to be a bit cocky and difficult with cooperating brokers. Client registration in advance was absolutely required. Sales were not reported in the MLS (thus giving the developer the upper hand in negotiations). That is no longer the case.

Whether you are a buyer or seller of luxury Hawaii real estate, even at Hualalai and Kukio, you have the right to uncompromised representation. Maybe competition in the high-end market, leading to better marketing, is one of the reasons for the increase in Kohala Coast luxury real estate sales!

A hui hou,

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B)
Direct: 808.443.4588    

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