Spotlight on Christiane “Chris” Friese – Realtor Emeritus for 40+ Years Serving O‘ahu
Christiane Friese was honored with the Realtor Emeritus Award last year for her 40+ years of membership and service to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Chris has served twice as co-chair of the Professional Standards Committee and has taught Ethics & Orientation classes for the past 12 years.
Her classes have included industry ethics instruction to both new agents and experienced ones, as part of a continuing education curriculum offered by the NAR. “I enjoy assisting other agents when they hit a roadblock or are looking for an answer on some complex matter,” says Chris of her industry leadership and mentorship.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Chris emigrated to the United States at the age of 11 with her family. Her journey led her from New York to Hawai‘i, which marked a significant change from the very hip, cosmopolitan, yet war-ravaged Berlin of the mid-1960s. Moving from such a big city when she was on the cusp of becoming a teenager, O‘ahu’s slow pace of life came as a surprise to the young Christiane. Wearing the Hawaiian mu‘umu‘u was commonplace then, and a big change from her city life.
She’s been in the real estate industry for such a long time in Hawai‘i that she’s helped different clients sell the same properties two or three times over, especially in the prestigious Diamond Head, Black Point, and Kahala areas of Honolulu. She’s closed well over 1,000 real estate transactions in her impressive career serving clients across the island of O‘ahu.
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Chris and her family would spend a few weeks every summer in a beach cottage they rented right on Hanalei Bay, on the island of Kaua‘i. Chris worked there on occasion with a developer named Mike McCormack, helping him sell his projects in the Princeville area. “It was magical for all of us, the best memories and adventures one could possibly imagine,” Chris says of those early days.
“I loved being in real estate in the early- to mid-’80s and even ’90s,” says Chris. “I was selling Diamond Head beachfront homes for $575K, vacant lots for $650K to $700K, and re-selling them with newly built homes for $4.2 million. My clients were very happy!”
Many of her clients at that time were Hawaii residents, but foreign investors from Hong Kong and Japan were becoming a significant part of her clientele. Well-traveled and worldly herself, Christiane still returns to Europe periodically to visit friends in Germany, Italy, and Prague.
“My passions have evolved around painting and three-dimensional works of art,” says Chris, who says she is inspired by transformation. “I love staging an ‘ugly duckling’ from the ’50s— a home with good bones — and bringing it to life again, adding a few hand-picked furnishings and deco pieces I have in my magic box.” She turns an ordinary home into something beautiful and extraordinary, by incorporating fresh landscaping, interior design and art.
Using the talents of a master photographer and videographer to capture property images, Chris markets her clients’ properties in a variety of ways. She especially loves when her clients’ most unique properties garner media attention. “When the outcome is successful, which it usually is, the client feels good and that makes me happy,” says Chris of her real estate practice.
Chris enjoys the new opportunities that each day brings, along with the unique challenges that each transaction presents. “I love digging deep to solve the problem,” says Chris, who loves the teamwork that’s often required by her job. “Engaging with realtors I have not worked with before and winning them over to create a successful happy ending,” is what drives her.
Why She Chose Hawai‘i Life
Chris joined the team at Hawai‘i Life when the company acquired the firm where she worked in 2018. Given the choice of a few alternatives, she said, “I heard some wonderful things about a ‘new’ way of doing business. It sounded like we would be at the forefront of some new and exciting endeavors. I took the chance and took the leap.”
She enjoys taking new ideas and new concepts that she can incorporate into her everyday work. “As a senior broker going on 40 years in the business, I appreciate having some tech genius to fall back on with my clients,” says Chris. “My approach is focused on the digital side of the equation, and the ways this company is addressing the virtual reality of conducting business.”
“Hawai‘i Life and our culture are positive icons in the real estate industry, given our company’s tech-savvy and knowledge for all things digital in marketing. It gives me the freedom to be myself and I can rely on the latest and greatest technology and info on an island-wide basis, with experts on every island.”
Christiane’s Hawai‘i Life
Chris embraces Hawai‘i’s abundant natural beauty by going on hikes, island-hopping, and following wherever her adventurous spirit leads. “I love living in Hawai‘i. Within 45 minutes, you are on a neighbor island with a whole different vibe,” says Chris. “Nature is even more abundant there.”
Her interisland travels have taken her to Koke‘e State Park, where she lived without electricity for two full weeks in a charming cabin, with just 30 chickens for company. She’s done 3-day ecstatic dance workshops with 150 other participants. She rode a horse up the steep incline from Hana, Maui to reach the Haleakala Crater. After spending the night at the summit, she followed the Haleakala Crater rim on horseback at sunrise.
Her love of art extends to design and she’s a fan of Vladimir Ossipoff’s residential architecture. “I sold his personal residence near Paiko Lagoon in the mid-’80s,” says Chris of the property that belonged to a German surgeon, at the time. She has helped her clients buy and sell other Ossipoff-designed homes in Honolulu, over the years.
In her free time, Christiane loves to walk the paths around the Gold Coast’s Kapi‘olani Park with Kula, her 2-year-old Golden Doodle. In the Hawaiian language, kula means golden. When she has time, she unwinds and relaxes with her paintbrushes in hand, using bold colors and painting in acrylic on large canvases.
Follow or Contact Chris
Christiane Friese, Realtor-Broker