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Hawai‘i Life

Tech-led realty company cuts a new path.

June 13, 2013
Susan Halas , Maui Weekly

What's new in local real estate? In two words: "Hawai'i Life."

It's a Website; it's a bricks and mortar realty brokerage; it's a TV show. It's a young company that upped its sales volume every year since it was founded on Kaua'i in 2008. Back then, annual sales were $4.7 million. Revenues have increased dramatically with each passing year and were reported as $520 million statewide in 2012.

In the process, the company made all the state lists and a few of the national level. For 2012, it was No. 3 on the "Fastest 50" in Hawai'i published by Pacific Business News. It also claims to have the state's highest-traffic realty Website, according SEMRush.

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Rhonda Lee Hay was recently named broker-in-charge of business development for Hawai‘i Life on Maui.

The company stresses blogging, and most agents post frequently, so the sheer aggregation of specific information about a vast array of Hawai'i properties all in one place is very SEO-friendly (search engine optimization).

Though the years between 2008 and 2013 were not a time of rapid expansion for most Hawai'i businesses, this is one company that grew and made it look easy. On Maui, the firm has offices in Wailea and Pa'ia; other offices are located on Kaua'i, O'ahu and Hawai'i Island.

Having a television program with the same name doesn't hurt either. The show runs on the HGTV (Home & Garden Television) channel. Each episode takes a different buyer on a house hunt in Hawai'i. The client sees a variety of options at different locations and price points, and shows conclude with the delighted couple, single mom, or other domestic combo picking a home of their very own with smiles all around.

So what's not to like about living anywhere in Hawai'i? It makes for great fantasy television and helps reinforce the "Hawai'i Life" name and brand. In February 2013, HGTV ordered a second season; completed episodes are expected to air in October. Earlier episodes are currently being run marathon-style on HGTV.

The Maui office is headed by Principal Broker Jeff Simon. He and Dano Sayles were both named in the Hawai'i Business Top 100 Realtors for 2013 based on residential sales volume for the prior year. A number of other company agents from other parts of the state are also included on the list.

Not surprisingly, the company's rapid expansion has caught the eye of other agents--some of them from larger and longer established firms who have jumped ship to join the fast growing company. Case in point: Rhonda Lee Hay was recently named broker-in- charge of business development for Hawai'i Life on Maui.

Hay provided detailed background information from a recent company fact sheet. According to the release, Hawai'i Life strives to "embrace technology--while maintaining a strong human connection to the buyers and sellers we represent."

This year, the firm has 145 agents and employees in 10 offices statewide. Owners are Principal Broker Matthew G. Beall; Justin Britt, inbound marketing; and Creative Director Winston Welborn. Beall and Britt were both named among Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate for 2013 by Inman News, an influential national independent real estate news site.

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