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.
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.
President, Hawaii Association of Realtors