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Hawaii

A Message from the President of the Hawaii Association of Realtors

Editor’s Note: This letter is an early release of a letter that will be published in the Hawaii Association of Realtors Journal. It is not meant to serve as a political statement. We publish these pieces on our blog for the sole purpose of engaging in candid, public conversation about the content. We have this luxury because Tracy Stice, the current President of the Hawaii Association of Realtors, is also the Broker-In-Charge of Hawaii Life Real Estate Services on Maui. We welcome the viewpoints, and guest posts, of any of HAR’s Members.

Life Changes

Today, I put my youngest child, Chloe on the airplane, off to college. This is a life change for me that has crept up and suddenly it is upon me. Certainly, I am not released from responsibility for any of my children, but now that they are all adults, they all share and have accepted responsibility for their own care and actions. I am very proud of all three of my children, Chloe my future teacher, Brianna, my Maui police woman, and Jeremy, my business partner. More than anything, I am grateful to have such a wonderful and supportive wife, Laura, who has been my rock, my love, and who has been by my side for the past 40 years.

I will have to adapt – no more kids to raise, only adult children to love.

Right now, I am concerned about the changing real estate industry and what it will look like in five or ten years. The days of our business being simple are long over. Our need to daily develop new skills, adapt to technology, and compete in the changing arena is increasing at a very fast pace. It is my feeling that our entire business model is in for huge change in the next few years. Our relevance totally depends on what we will be able to provide to our clients that they can’t get off the Internet or do themselves.

In this last boom cycle we saw the emergence of limited service brokers, for sale by owner listings appearing in MLS, and other new business models. For now, these have subsided to a large degree, primarily because of the change towards a buyer’s market and the complexities of REO and short sales. Even seasoned agents are having a tough enough time dealing with these transactions, so most members of the public and lenders need our services and are willing to pay a reasonable fee.

What happens next is going to be interesting. In our state, local boards have carved out geographical niches that have allowed them to keep competition between boards for members at a fairly low level compared to Mainland markets. Consolidation of boards and ever larger regional MLS systems are happening at a very rapid pace on the Mainland. With NAR mandating RETS compliance for data standards, even our state is only a step away from data sharing across the state. What is keeping this from happening right now in Hawaii is the real question. It really gets down to money and local board politics.

An opportunity has arisen that may allow a quicker genesis of the inevitable: data sharing statewide and perhaps the beginning of a statewide MLS. With the Honolulu Board of REALTORS’ contract with MarketLinx over in October, the door is open for HBR to review alternatives. The next generation of MLS software includes cross browser compatibility, free of constraints dictated by one browser. Mac, Firefox, UNIX, PC, and Chrome will all be able to run the MLS. Presently the state has three MLS systems, two similar and one very different. Fees for MLS services have a huge range of costs. Honolulu has opened the door for all boards to join them in taking a look at the possibilities for MLS solutions for the next generation.

It is time for all MLS users to ask their directors, executive officers, and each other about the direction they want followed. We all pay for MLS. Why not the best possible service to us, with the broadest exposure of our listings for our clients, at the lowest possible cost?

It is possible.

Tracy Stice
Realtor
President, Hawaii Association of Realtors

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Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

September 26, 2010

Aloha Tracy – This is a fascinating subject for me because my Silicon Valley roots have been questioning the Hawaii real estate MLS for 8 years now – why are we not more technologically advanced??

It started with my very first introduction to the Hawaii and Kauai island MLS – Hawaii Information Service – they didn’t support the Mac in 2002 – and they still don’t today. We are limited in our browser choice to ONLY Internet Explorer, PC version. When I can do all the rest of my computing “in the clouds” – I can transfer large sums of money through online banking from any computer, anywhere with any web browser; share contacts and client communications with my teammates virtually; conduct an entire real estate transaction completely paperlessly across thousands of miles (including signatures) and clients in multiple locations – but I can only access my MLS through a PC running IE… I have a hard time determining whether it’s an anti-competitive business practice or ignorance and provincialism that holds us back. But it is clear, we are using an inferior product that hinders our business efficacy instead of being supported by modern technology to do our jobs better and more efficiently. The problem is, ultimately our clients are the ones that lose.

As President-Elect of the Kona Board of Realtors, I can say unequivocally that our Association stands for our members and the clients and customers they serve. I’ve had the opportunity this year to be exposed first hand to many of the trends you state in your blog – the consolidation of Boards and MLS systems across the mainland, for example, is happening at a breathtaking pace. I’ve also seen the next generation MLS systems at work, which are gorgeous in their simplicity, graphics, usability and google-esqe qualities. Not to mention their price – which is significantly lower than what we currently pay for MLS service. Since the Kona Board is not tied by ownership or any sort of financial agreement to the MLS service, we are in a unique position of flexibility regarding finding a solution that’s in the best interest of our membership.

As a real estate practitioner, I want a national MLS system – forget about just Hawaii state. It’s fascinating to me that some of my colleagues are “terrified” that some Broker from Honolulu is going to come over to the Big Island and take away all their perceived market share. I can only imagine their reaction to national MLS system!! But here’s the truth – my clients deserve the very best job that I can do for them. For buyers, that means a robust MLS system that looks “pretty,” is super functional and easy to use. For sellers, that means MAXIMUM exposure for their property! I don’t want just all the eyeballs in Hawaii looking at my listings – I want all the eyeballs in Southern and Northern California, in Washington, Oregon, Las Vegas, Canada, Texas, Florida, New York…you get the idea. What I know about sales is – it’s a matter of statistics and statistics tell me the more people looking at my product, the quicker it will sell, and usually for a higher price.

Mahalo for starting the public conversation, Tracy! It makes me proud that we have such an inspirational leader at the helm of the Hawaii Association of Realtors, and I’m beyond thrilled to be your colleague.

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

September 26, 2010

Aloha Tracy – This is a fascinating subject for me because my Silicon Valley roots have been questioning the Hawaii real estate MLS for 8 years now – why are we not more technologically advanced??

It started with my very first introduction to the Hawaii and Kauai island MLS – Hawaii Information Service – they didn’t support the Mac in 2002 – and they still don’t today. We are limited in our browser choice to ONLY Internet Explorer, PC version. When I can do all the rest of my computing “in the clouds” – I can transfer large sums of money through online banking from any computer, anywhere with any web browser; share contacts and client communications with my teammates virtually; conduct an entire real estate transaction completely paperlessly across thousands of miles (including signatures) and clients in multiple locations – but I can only access my MLS through a PC running IE… I have a hard time determining whether it’s an anti-competitive business practice or ignorance and provincialism that holds us back. But it is clear, we are using an inferior product that hinders our business efficacy instead of being supported by modern technology to do our jobs better and more efficiently. The problem is, ultimately our clients are the ones that lose.

As President-Elect of the Kona Board of Realtors, I can say unequivocally that our Association stands for our members and the clients and customers they serve. I’ve had the opportunity this year to be exposed first hand to many of the trends you state in your blog – the consolidation of Boards and MLS systems across the mainland, for example, is happening at a breathtaking pace. I’ve also seen the next generation MLS systems at work, which are gorgeous in their simplicity, graphics, usability and google-esqe qualities. Not to mention their price – which is significantly lower than what we currently pay for MLS service. Since the Kona Board is not tied by ownership or any sort of financial agreement to the MLS service, we are in a unique position of flexibility regarding finding a solution that’s in the best interest of our membership.

As a real estate practitioner, I want a national MLS system – forget about just Hawaii state. It’s fascinating to me that some of my colleagues are “terrified” that some Broker from Honolulu is going to come over to the Big Island and take away all their perceived market share. I can only imagine their reaction to national MLS system!! But here’s the truth – my clients deserve the very best job that I can do for them. For buyers, that means a robust MLS system that looks “pretty,” is super functional and easy to use. For sellers, that means MAXIMUM exposure for their property! I don’t want just all the eyeballs in Hawaii looking at my listings – I want all the eyeballs in Southern and Northern California, in Washington, Oregon, Las Vegas, Canada, Texas, Florida, New York…you get the idea. What I know about sales is – it’s a matter of statistics and statistics tell me the more people looking at my product, the quicker it will sell, and usually for a higher price.

Mahalo for starting the public conversation, Tracy! It makes me proud that we have such an inspirational leader at the helm of the Hawaii Association of Realtors, and I’m beyond thrilled to be your colleague.

VWonMaui

September 26, 2010

Interesting, you are from Maui, too!
As an active member of the TechCom at the RAMaui, I completely disagree with the points of the original post and first comment. In my humble opinion they are misleading. While I completely agree that we have to follow technical advancements in our business, forcing the merger of MLS systems would be a setback much rather then what is called “next generation” here. NAR is not developing RETS and RPR to encourage a national MLS. The current economy surely makes merging / saving money much easier again. That’s called “survival”, no “politics”.
Google clearly supports Local Search, helping local businesses to STAY in business, giving them higher ranking & better exposure then Mega Sites. This counts for ANY genre and also is a growing trend found in Apps for iPhone and Android. By running local businesses on the destinations, one is getting better exposure and support. No question!
“Honolulu has opened the door”, wow, how scary?!! I hope they close it again – and soon! The world thinking about Hawaii is Honolulu. It’s a dominant buzzword that leaves Maui a distant #2 when we all know Maui No Ka Oi.
When searching the web for Maui Real Estate today, you will find either web sites promoting all Hawaiian MLS systems at once or, LOCAL EXPERTS, people that work and live on Maui as Realtors. If you have something wrong with your skin, you won’t go to the doctor. You would go see a skin doctor. In short, an EXPERT.
Merging the Maui’s Realtors and MLS with anybody anywhere would be a clear disadvantage, the worst possible service to us and the island community. The broad exposure of our listings works because you only can deal with a LOCAL EXPERT when it comes to Maui listings.
At ANY cost, I am urging our directors and executive officers on Maui to “stay on course”. Our TechCom is a great step to help and grow LOCAL EXPERTS.
Last not least, I am a MAC user for years, never had a problem running our Maui MLS. And by the way, the announced Paragon 5 version will make it even easier. The problem will be same though: you simply have to know what you are doing.
Now, I am wondering if you will leave this post up, too. I am from Maui ☺

VWonMaui

September 26, 2010

Interesting, you are from Maui, too!
As an active member of the TechCom at the RAMaui, I completely disagree with the points of the original post and first comment. In my humble opinion they are misleading. While I completely agree that we have to follow technical advancements in our business, forcing the merger of MLS systems would be a setback much rather then what is called “next generation” here. NAR is not developing RETS and RPR to encourage a national MLS. The current economy surely makes merging / saving money much easier again. That’s called “survival”, no “politics”.
Google clearly supports Local Search, helping local businesses to STAY in business, giving them higher ranking & better exposure then Mega Sites. This counts for ANY genre and also is a growing trend found in Apps for iPhone and Android. By running local businesses on the destinations, one is getting better exposure and support. No question!
“Honolulu has opened the door”, wow, how scary?!! I hope they close it again – and soon! The world thinking about Hawaii is Honolulu. It’s a dominant buzzword that leaves Maui a distant #2 when we all know Maui No Ka Oi.
When searching the web for Maui Real Estate today, you will find either web sites promoting all Hawaiian MLS systems at once or, LOCAL EXPERTS, people that work and live on Maui as Realtors. If you have something wrong with your skin, you won’t go to the doctor. You would go see a skin doctor. In short, an EXPERT.
Merging the Maui’s Realtors and MLS with anybody anywhere would be a clear disadvantage, the worst possible service to us and the island community. The broad exposure of our listings works because you only can deal with a LOCAL EXPERT when it comes to Maui listings.
At ANY cost, I am urging our directors and executive officers on Maui to “stay on course”. Our TechCom is a great step to help and grow LOCAL EXPERTS.
Last not least, I am a MAC user for years, never had a problem running our Maui MLS. And by the way, the announced Paragon 5 version will make it even easier. The problem will be same though: you simply have to know what you are doing.
Now, I am wondering if you will leave this post up, too. I am from Maui ☺

Georgina M. Hunter R(S)

September 26, 2010

I’m happy to say that on Maui we have a very good MLS system in place, and especially the consumer facing WebSearch side of it. Buyers and sellers can browse through the listings and get a lot of information before contacting a Realtor, directly through WebSearch.
We don’t have to trade in our Paragon/WebSearch system in order to participate in a state-wide system. From what I understand, it will be an add on to the existing system, running side by side. We’re not going to cave in that easily.
I have faith that our Realtors Association of Maui is doing a good job for all members, and it will continue on that path with a lot of support from volunteers who make it all happen. (patting myself on the back here in case you didn’t notice).

aloha – Georgie Hunter

Georgina M. Hunter R(S)

September 26, 2010

I’m happy to say that on Maui we have a very good MLS system in place, and especially the consumer facing WebSearch side of it. Buyers and sellers can browse through the listings and get a lot of information before contacting a Realtor, directly through WebSearch.
We don’t have to trade in our Paragon/WebSearch system in order to participate in a state-wide system. From what I understand, it will be an add on to the existing system, running side by side. We’re not going to cave in that easily.
I have faith that our Realtors Association of Maui is doing a good job for all members, and it will continue on that path with a lot of support from volunteers who make it all happen. (patting myself on the back here in case you didn’t notice).

aloha – Georgie Hunter

David Buck

September 26, 2010

VWonMaui,
I think Katie was referring to Kauai’s & Big Island’s MLS (via Hawaii Information Service) not being compatable with MACS. That’s great that Maui is! I’ve always seen Maui as progressive as some of the earlier IDX agent sites in the early 2000’s were on Maui before I saw them popping up on Oahu. Although Honolulu is the capitol (and I love living here), Maui still deserves some “props” and is “The Place” or Na Ka Oi in a lot of people’s minds still… Having grown up on both Maui & Oahu and attended college in Orange County, a lot of people go straight there & skip Oahu. Too bad about John Wayne Airport & Aloha Air though… I miss that flight 🙁
Aloha,
David

David Buck

September 26, 2010

VWonMaui,
I think Katie was referring to Kauai’s & Big Island’s MLS (via Hawaii Information Service) not being compatable with MACS. That’s great that Maui is! I’ve always seen Maui as progressive as some of the earlier IDX agent sites in the early 2000’s were on Maui before I saw them popping up on Oahu. Although Honolulu is the capitol (and I love living here), Maui still deserves some “props” and is “The Place” or Na Ka Oi in a lot of people’s minds still… Having grown up on both Maui & Oahu and attended college in Orange County, a lot of people go straight there & skip Oahu. Too bad about John Wayne Airport & Aloha Air though… I miss that flight 🙁
Aloha,
David

Justin - Head Web Head

September 27, 2010

@VWonMaui: Aloha VW. Not all statewide Hawaii real estate sites don’t have Maui experts. Hawaii Life is one such example. We have many agents “from” Maui…some of them born and raised (which I don’t believe you are, but I could be wrong), and definitely with more experience in Maui real estate then you.

I am also a member of the Tech Committee at RAMaui, and I was there to hear you say you were interested in alternative solutions to Paragon. As part of the Tech Committee, you also had access to the latest survey from Maui Realtors, and you can see how many people are requesting statewide access to all MLS databases. As part of the Tech Committee, it is our responsibility to serve all RAMaui members, not just ourselves. I too am afraid of the mega sites, but I have to act in the best interest of all Maui Realtors, not just myself and my business model.

All Tracy is saying is that we meet with Honolulu Board of Realtors and listen. See what other alternatives might be out there, so that RAMaui has the opportunity to have the best MLS solution possible. Maybe one that isn’t so slow?

Justin - Head Web Head

September 27, 2010

@VWonMaui: Aloha VW. Not all statewide Hawaii real estate sites don’t have Maui experts. Hawaii Life is one such example. We have many agents “from” Maui…some of them born and raised (which I don’t believe you are, but I could be wrong), and definitely with more experience in Maui real estate then you.

I am also a member of the Tech Committee at RAMaui, and I was there to hear you say you were interested in alternative solutions to Paragon. As part of the Tech Committee, you also had access to the latest survey from Maui Realtors, and you can see how many people are requesting statewide access to all MLS databases. As part of the Tech Committee, it is our responsibility to serve all RAMaui members, not just ourselves. I too am afraid of the mega sites, but I have to act in the best interest of all Maui Realtors, not just myself and my business model.

All Tracy is saying is that we meet with Honolulu Board of Realtors and listen. See what other alternatives might be out there, so that RAMaui has the opportunity to have the best MLS solution possible. Maybe one that isn’t so slow?

Justin - Head Web Head

September 27, 2010

@Georgina M. Hunter R(S): Aloha Georgina, I agree with you that Maui is the best MLS in the state! Other MLS companies in Hawaii should be looking at RAMaui and figuring out how to duplicate their success.

Perhaps going to Oahu to assist the Honolulu Board of Realtors in choosing a new direction would be helpful and show a lot of Aloha. After all, isn’t aloha what we’re all about?

Justin - Head Web Head

September 27, 2010

@Georgina M. Hunter R(S): Aloha Georgina, I agree with you that Maui is the best MLS in the state! Other MLS companies in Hawaii should be looking at RAMaui and figuring out how to duplicate their success.

Perhaps going to Oahu to assist the Honolulu Board of Realtors in choosing a new direction would be helpful and show a lot of Aloha. After all, isn’t aloha what we’re all about?

Tracy Stice

September 27, 2010

Katie, thanks for the comments on leadership. It is frustrating to still be talking about even data sharing at this stage of the game. This discussion started 10 years ago when Joel Criz was president of HAR. Both Maui and Honolulu have stated that they can do data sharing right now, they only have to push a button. Where is that button? I keep hearing excuses about waiting for the next version of Paragon, data security, 3rd party locations for the data to be accessed from all being issues. Really, I see the issue of protectionism keep coming up.

VW if your circle is so small that you don’t want to come outside of your immediate market, that is perfectly acceptable, but don’t try to impose your personal limits on others. Some agents are perfectly capable of handling larger geographical areas and we are all licensed to sell in the state of Hawaii. I want my listings in Haiku, Makawao, Kula and elsewhere showing up to as many eyes as possible, including all other agents who can sell them. My sellers benefit. That is all that really matters. More eyes on the properties, means more properties have broader market exposure and should sell faster and for a better price as Katie states.

Tracy Stice

September 27, 2010

Katie, thanks for the comments on leadership. It is frustrating to still be talking about even data sharing at this stage of the game. This discussion started 10 years ago when Joel Criz was president of HAR. Both Maui and Honolulu have stated that they can do data sharing right now, they only have to push a button. Where is that button? I keep hearing excuses about waiting for the next version of Paragon, data security, 3rd party locations for the data to be accessed from all being issues. Really, I see the issue of protectionism keep coming up.

VW if your circle is so small that you don’t want to come outside of your immediate market, that is perfectly acceptable, but don’t try to impose your personal limits on others. Some agents are perfectly capable of handling larger geographical areas and we are all licensed to sell in the state of Hawaii. I want my listings in Haiku, Makawao, Kula and elsewhere showing up to as many eyes as possible, including all other agents who can sell them. My sellers benefit. That is all that really matters. More eyes on the properties, means more properties have broader market exposure and should sell faster and for a better price as Katie states.

Matt Beall, PB

September 27, 2010

Tracy’s post doesn’t say anything about “merging the MLSs to create a statewide MLS”, yet as soon as people start talking about data sharing, some Maui agents come out with its pitchforks and torches. VW’s concern is ultimately a competitive one, but he’s missing the point, because of the assumption that we’re talking about merging the MLSs.

Let me pose this question:

@VW (and frankly, to all of RAM who unilaterally made the decision to completely snub HBR’s invite) As the “expert” in “your” market, don’t you think the market activity on Kauai, Big Island, and Oahu has bearing and impact on “your” market? If you were asked to market a new condo project for a developer in Wailea, wouldn’t you want to be able to look at the success or failures of similar projects around the State? If the median home values on Maui were to plunge to below $300k while the rest of State stayed higher, wouldn’t you want to know that?

The list goes on. But you can’t do any of these things with the current system of any MLS in the State. You have to subscribe to each individual system to get this type of data (or steal it). There are, of course, cursory market overviews designed for the public that each islands’ Realtor Boards publish, but that data is largely meant for the consumer.

With Tracy’s help, the rest of the State (with the unfortunate exception of Maui) is exploring the possibility of allowing Realtors to access and share data about the different markets. That’s it. Realtors sharing data. Plain and simple.

I can understand why Maui expresses such a provincial attitude about their real estate market and “their” MLS Data. It would concern me, too, when real estate agents seemingly show up out of the blue, having only been on Maui for a few years, and start calling themselves “experts.” And, not uncommon in Hawaii, we all want the drawbridge to go back up once we’re here. But we’re not talking about sending in droves of agents from Honolulu to all of a sudden compete with VW. We’re just talking about making our professional lives easier, and more cost effective.

Look, we get it, “Maui no ka oi”, okay… but you might be missing the forest through the ‘no ka oi’ trees.

RAM has done an incredible job serving its members. Incredible. The rest of the Realtor Associations in the State would be thrilled to have had the success that RAM has had. We look up to you. We have far more dysfunctional Boards and MLSs. But you have to get over this fear that someone is going to steal your data and send in a bunch of competition. After all, you’re the “experts”, right?

For the record (and I have great respect for VW and all the volunteers on the tech committee on Maui, but) VW says he’s “from” Maui? Really? Where’s Tracy Stice “from”?

Matt Beall, PB

September 27, 2010

Tracy’s post doesn’t say anything about “merging the MLSs to create a statewide MLS”, yet as soon as people start talking about data sharing, some Maui agents come out with its pitchforks and torches. VW’s concern is ultimately a competitive one, but he’s missing the point, because of the assumption that we’re talking about merging the MLSs.

Let me pose this question:

@VW (and frankly, to all of RAM who unilaterally made the decision to completely snub HBR’s invite) As the “expert” in “your” market, don’t you think the market activity on Kauai, Big Island, and Oahu has bearing and impact on “your” market? If you were asked to market a new condo project for a developer in Wailea, wouldn’t you want to be able to look at the success or failures of similar projects around the State? If the median home values on Maui were to plunge to below $300k while the rest of State stayed higher, wouldn’t you want to know that?

The list goes on. But you can’t do any of these things with the current system of any MLS in the State. You have to subscribe to each individual system to get this type of data (or steal it). There are, of course, cursory market overviews designed for the public that each islands’ Realtor Boards publish, but that data is largely meant for the consumer.

With Tracy’s help, the rest of the State (with the unfortunate exception of Maui) is exploring the possibility of allowing Realtors to access and share data about the different markets. That’s it. Realtors sharing data. Plain and simple.

I can understand why Maui expresses such a provincial attitude about their real estate market and “their” MLS Data. It would concern me, too, when real estate agents seemingly show up out of the blue, having only been on Maui for a few years, and start calling themselves “experts.” And, not uncommon in Hawaii, we all want the drawbridge to go back up once we’re here. But we’re not talking about sending in droves of agents from Honolulu to all of a sudden compete with VW. We’re just talking about making our professional lives easier, and more cost effective.

Look, we get it, “Maui no ka oi”, okay… but you might be missing the forest through the ‘no ka oi’ trees.

RAM has done an incredible job serving its members. Incredible. The rest of the Realtor Associations in the State would be thrilled to have had the success that RAM has had. We look up to you. We have far more dysfunctional Boards and MLSs. But you have to get over this fear that someone is going to steal your data and send in a bunch of competition. After all, you’re the “experts”, right?

For the record (and I have great respect for VW and all the volunteers on the tech committee on Maui, but) VW says he’s “from” Maui? Really? Where’s Tracy Stice “from”?

Katie Minkus, R(B), Broker-in-Charge Big Island Sales

September 28, 2010

@Georgina M. Hunter R(S) and @Justin: What’s fascinating to me about this entire conversation is that Paragon is actually one of the choices on the table as a possible future vendor for a Hawaii state MLS!!!! And yet, the people who would have been the best proponents of that particular piece of software chose to not to attend the meeting!! If Maui is so “no ka oi” why did they skip an opportunity to sell us on how great they are why we should use THEIR MLS system? It makes me wonder if their leadership really has their members’ best interests in mind when they make executive decisions?

@VWonMaui – I don’t understand why it’s not possible to have BOTH a statewide property search AND LOCAL EXPERTS, on the same website, and in the same company?? Who work together. It happens at Hawaii Life on a daily basis. Shocking, but true.

Let me ask you a question about local expertise… Does a Realtor sitting in an office at the Wailea shops REALLY have the EXPERTISE it takes to sell a home in Ka’anapali – or Kula?? And yet – Ka’anapali real estate is on the same – gasp – MLS system as Wailea real estate. Are you sure you’re comfortable with that??

I ask the question because I work on the Big Island, whose size is more than TWICE the other islands combined and I can tell you for certain that an agent primarily working the Hilo market does NOT have the expertise to work Ka’u, and the Ka’u agent does NOT have the expertise to work North Kohala. And everyone believes they have the expertise to work Hualalai and Kukio because they are the most expensive neighborhoods on island. But at the end of the day, you can’t “fake” local knowledge.

I’d like to learn more about how the RAM Tech Committee helps it’s membership grow LOCAL EXPERTS. I’m talking about besides the mls, what other sorts of programs and training and software does TechCom implement to support it’s members? Are you talking about websites and blogging and social media? I ask on behalf of the Kona Board of Realtors Tech Committee – we are always looking for new, great ideas for our members.

Katie Minkus, R(B), Broker-in-Charge Big Island Sales

September 28, 2010

@Georgina M. Hunter R(S) and @Justin: What’s fascinating to me about this entire conversation is that Paragon is actually one of the choices on the table as a possible future vendor for a Hawaii state MLS!!!! And yet, the people who would have been the best proponents of that particular piece of software chose to not to attend the meeting!! If Maui is so “no ka oi” why did they skip an opportunity to sell us on how great they are why we should use THEIR MLS system? It makes me wonder if their leadership really has their members’ best interests in mind when they make executive decisions?

@VWonMaui – I don’t understand why it’s not possible to have BOTH a statewide property search AND LOCAL EXPERTS, on the same website, and in the same company?? Who work together. It happens at Hawaii Life on a daily basis. Shocking, but true.

Let me ask you a question about local expertise… Does a Realtor sitting in an office at the Wailea shops REALLY have the EXPERTISE it takes to sell a home in Ka’anapali – or Kula?? And yet – Ka’anapali real estate is on the same – gasp – MLS system as Wailea real estate. Are you sure you’re comfortable with that??

I ask the question because I work on the Big Island, whose size is more than TWICE the other islands combined and I can tell you for certain that an agent primarily working the Hilo market does NOT have the expertise to work Ka’u, and the Ka’u agent does NOT have the expertise to work North Kohala. And everyone believes they have the expertise to work Hualalai and Kukio because they are the most expensive neighborhoods on island. But at the end of the day, you can’t “fake” local knowledge.

I’d like to learn more about how the RAM Tech Committee helps it’s membership grow LOCAL EXPERTS. I’m talking about besides the mls, what other sorts of programs and training and software does TechCom implement to support it’s members? Are you talking about websites and blogging and social media? I ask on behalf of the Kona Board of Realtors Tech Committee – we are always looking for new, great ideas for our members.

Tracy Stice

September 28, 2010

Dear Georgie and VW,

I greatly appreciate your participation in this discussion and openly welcome you to invite others in to the discussion. The coconut wireless tells me that many are interested in this debate but they are lurking on the sidelines. Jim Wagner and Rhonda Hay are very knowledgeable about this subject, the Jalbert brothers and many others. The real point is why is the door closed to exploring all the options. The olive branch is out from HBR, the users of HIS desperately need lower user fees and greater functionality. (FYI, they all showed up at the meeting)
Please talk to the RAM directors and officers, especially those on the MLS and tech committees. The clock is ticking.

Tracy Stice

September 28, 2010

Dear Georgie and VW,

I greatly appreciate your participation in this discussion and openly welcome you to invite others in to the discussion. The coconut wireless tells me that many are interested in this debate but they are lurking on the sidelines. Jim Wagner and Rhonda Hay are very knowledgeable about this subject, the Jalbert brothers and many others. The real point is why is the door closed to exploring all the options. The olive branch is out from HBR, the users of HIS desperately need lower user fees and greater functionality. (FYI, they all showed up at the meeting)
Please talk to the RAM directors and officers, especially those on the MLS and tech committees. The clock is ticking.

Matt Beall, PB

September 28, 2010

I had a few phone calls about this post (people who didn’t want to put their name on the comments?), so I wanted to add a few things for clarity, and also to apologize publicly to Volker Weiss for directing a bit of my frustration around this issue towards him:

First, I want to make it absolutely clear that our company doesn’t stand to gain financially by Statewide data sharing among Realtors. We are currently members of every MLS system in Hawaii, and thus we already have the access to the very information that we feel every licensee in the State should also have, regardless of what Realtor Association they may be affiliated with. Even if there were only one MLS in Hawaii, we would still have to be members of every Realtor Association.

While I understand that Tracy does allude to the possibility of a Statewide MLS, I find it very hard to come up with any negative consequences to Statewide data sharing among Realtors.

I apologize to VW for calling him out… I have great respect for VW, and his opinion. I can’t say that I agree with his point, however. I don’t believe that data sharing, or even a Statewide MLS, would harm Maui or its community. Trulia and Zillow tried already… at the end of the day, the local experts will earn the business.

The unfortunate result of these politics (i.e. lobbying RAM not to consider the potential benefits of Statewide data sharing) ultimately hurts the clients, and the sellers in particular. The fundamental basis of ALL MLS systems is COOPERATION. Hording the data in an attempt to “protect” your market (i.e. keep out competition) is not cooperation. It would be no different than taking listings and refusing to cooperate with a broker who represents a buyer. If that’s the direction we’re headed in, then we should just abandon the MLS Systems altogether. What do you think?

Matt Beall, PB

September 28, 2010

I had a few phone calls about this post (people who didn’t want to put their name on the comments?), so I wanted to add a few things for clarity, and also to apologize publicly to Volker Weiss for directing a bit of my frustration around this issue towards him:

First, I want to make it absolutely clear that our company doesn’t stand to gain financially by Statewide data sharing among Realtors. We are currently members of every MLS system in Hawaii, and thus we already have the access to the very information that we feel every licensee in the State should also have, regardless of what Realtor Association they may be affiliated with. Even if there were only one MLS in Hawaii, we would still have to be members of every Realtor Association.

While I understand that Tracy does allude to the possibility of a Statewide MLS, I find it very hard to come up with any negative consequences to Statewide data sharing among Realtors.

I apologize to VW for calling him out… I have great respect for VW, and his opinion. I can’t say that I agree with his point, however. I don’t believe that data sharing, or even a Statewide MLS, would harm Maui or its community. Trulia and Zillow tried already… at the end of the day, the local experts will earn the business.

The unfortunate result of these politics (i.e. lobbying RAM not to consider the potential benefits of Statewide data sharing) ultimately hurts the clients, and the sellers in particular. The fundamental basis of ALL MLS systems is COOPERATION. Hording the data in an attempt to “protect” your market (i.e. keep out competition) is not cooperation. It would be no different than taking listings and refusing to cooperate with a broker who represents a buyer. If that’s the direction we’re headed in, then we should just abandon the MLS Systems altogether. What do you think?

Justin - Head Web Head

September 29, 2010

@Katie: One of the things we’re looking to do at the Tech Committee to educate members is to have a technology fair where members could choose different classes based on what they would like to learn. Sort of like a very mini Inman conference. Credit for this great idea has to go to Bob Wills of Coldwell Banker Island Properties. There was also a discussion around inviting agents from other boards!

Justin - Head Web Head

September 29, 2010

@Katie: One of the things we’re looking to do at the Tech Committee to educate members is to have a technology fair where members could choose different classes based on what they would like to learn. Sort of like a very mini Inman conference. Credit for this great idea has to go to Bob Wills of Coldwell Banker Island Properties. There was also a discussion around inviting agents from other boards!

VWonMaui

September 30, 2010

First up, it’s sad to learn that there are people who have an opinion and do not want to participate in this discussion. If you do have a name (!) that means you are an active agent. Then this concerns you too!

Secondly, I do apologize for my snappy comment to Tracy & learned from it. Won’t happen again. Apologies given and taken, thank you, Matt. Will keep this professional and I can see that we could all benefit from this down the line.

Third, I honestly believe that you, with Hawaii Life, filled an obvious online void. A website that is covering the islands as a hole. What I learned just by watching, amazing. You did a fantastic job. There to stay and hard to beat. Congratulations, and I mean it! — Enough, could you now please hyper-link my name, too ☺ ?

My point is different and I would like to see this understood: Google can’t read photos, but it can read longitude, latitude and altitude. Basically numbers accomplished through GPS. In addition to what we want it to be, our places of business are naturally divided by our islands, and we can not change that.

Google created the term “local search” and started to award “experts” with higher ranking positions. Clearly, credit is given to these local experts. Google learned that Reality TV is successful and that there are many very well liked local experts, any genre, that are not active on the internet. You can claim those positions, if that is you.

Joining larger groups defeats the local expert concept supported and pushed by Google. A joined or merged MLS will not give us more exposure but much more create a “funnel-it-down-system”, where consumers have to click down the tree to get to the roots/info they want: USA–Zillow/Trulia—Hawaii–Maui. Picking up leads “on the way down the funnel” is possible, but I prefer sitting at the roots.

If our desirable small market is kept exclusive, nobody has a chance, but searching HERE. Including Hawaii Life, any searches for Maui Real Estate currently are ending up at any data feed distributed by the RA Maui. Avoiding the “funnel-it-down-system” has kept this board very strong and us in the forefront of the consumer.

I am not the chairperson for RA Maui’s TechCom, but some of you have joined the group’s meetings before, simply to listen. If asked, I would always support this idea and believe there is a lot to share. In fact, sharing & supporting between the boards in Hawaii creates excellent opportunities. I greatly appreciate and acknowledge the work being done at the HAR level. I am in support of current efforts to be able to view each other’s listings, but that does not include any form of a combined or Joined-MLS-System.

VWonMaui

September 30, 2010

First up, it’s sad to learn that there are people who have an opinion and do not want to participate in this discussion. If you do have a name (!) that means you are an active agent. Then this concerns you too!

Secondly, I do apologize for my snappy comment to Tracy & learned from it. Won’t happen again. Apologies given and taken, thank you, Matt. Will keep this professional and I can see that we could all benefit from this down the line.

Third, I honestly believe that you, with Hawaii Life, filled an obvious online void. A website that is covering the islands as a hole. What I learned just by watching, amazing. You did a fantastic job. There to stay and hard to beat. Congratulations, and I mean it! — Enough, could you now please hyper-link my name, too ☺ ?

My point is different and I would like to see this understood: Google can’t read photos, but it can read longitude, latitude and altitude. Basically numbers accomplished through GPS. In addition to what we want it to be, our places of business are naturally divided by our islands, and we can not change that.

Google created the term “local search” and started to award “experts” with higher ranking positions. Clearly, credit is given to these local experts. Google learned that Reality TV is successful and that there are many very well liked local experts, any genre, that are not active on the internet. You can claim those positions, if that is you.

Joining larger groups defeats the local expert concept supported and pushed by Google. A joined or merged MLS will not give us more exposure but much more create a “funnel-it-down-system”, where consumers have to click down the tree to get to the roots/info they want: USA–Zillow/Trulia—Hawaii–Maui. Picking up leads “on the way down the funnel” is possible, but I prefer sitting at the roots.

If our desirable small market is kept exclusive, nobody has a chance, but searching HERE. Including Hawaii Life, any searches for Maui Real Estate currently are ending up at any data feed distributed by the RA Maui. Avoiding the “funnel-it-down-system” has kept this board very strong and us in the forefront of the consumer.

I am not the chairperson for RA Maui’s TechCom, but some of you have joined the group’s meetings before, simply to listen. If asked, I would always support this idea and believe there is a lot to share. In fact, sharing & supporting between the boards in Hawaii creates excellent opportunities. I greatly appreciate and acknowledge the work being done at the HAR level. I am in support of current efforts to be able to view each other’s listings, but that does not include any form of a combined or Joined-MLS-System.

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

October 1, 2010

@Justin – that’s an incredible idea!! I LOVE it!! Please keep me posted, especially if you decide to open it up to other Boards. It would be worth all the BI agents’ time and money to attend something like that on Maui. And let me know how I can help!!

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

October 1, 2010

@Justin – that’s an incredible idea!! I LOVE it!! Please keep me posted, especially if you decide to open it up to other Boards. It would be worth all the BI agents’ time and money to attend something like that on Maui. And let me know how I can help!!

Matt Beall, PB

October 6, 2010

Given that Bill Chee chairs the HAR Committee discussed in this post, I thought it might be beneficial to post his famous “Lions Over the Hill” speech as NAR President in 2003: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1681730251?bctid=1681717758

His foresight was/is considerable…

Matt Beall, PB

October 6, 2010

Given that Bill Chee chairs the HAR Committee discussed in this post, I thought it might be beneficial to post his famous “Lions Over the Hill” speech as NAR President in 2003: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1681730251?bctid=1681717758

His foresight was/is considerable…

Kona Board of Realtors Announces Award Nominations « Hawaii Real Estate Market

October 19, 2010

[…] continually demonstrates that prioritizing ethics and integrity pays off. While this kind of philosophical focus may seem like a luxury in the business of selling property, we see it as foundational. It is one of […]

Kona Board of Realtors Announces Award Nominations « Hawaii Real Estate Market

October 19, 2010

[…] continually demonstrates that prioritizing ethics and integrity pays off. While this kind of philosophical focus may seem like a luxury in the business of selling property, we see it as foundational. It is one of […]

Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication « Hawaii Real Estate Market

February 16, 2011

[…] “Drawbridge Mentality” shows up a lot in Hawaii, too. We had quite an interesting dialog on this blog about Realtors sharing listing data with each other. Its amazing how protective agents can be of a market that they’ve only worked in for a few […]

Narrow-Mindedness, Insularity, and Lack of Sophistication « Hawaii Real Estate Market

February 16, 2011

[…] “Drawbridge Mentality” shows up a lot in Hawaii, too. We had quite an interesting dialog on this blog about Realtors sharing listing data with each other. Its amazing how protective agents can be of a market that they’ve only worked in for a few […]

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