Somewhere we’ve written about our charismatic mega-fauna the Humpback Whales, stopping traffic in Maui. We’ve seen that on more than one occasion. Maui traffic is somewhat of an oxymoron. Yes, there are many times when it takes you MUCH longer to get somewhere than you expected. But no matter where you are drivers are courteous, as if no one had any place to go and be at a specified time. Oh, there is the occasional new arrival tourist who hasn’t transitioned to “Maui Time”.
Last Saturday morning, I was on my way to the Maui Swap Meet (i.e. farmer’s market, craft fair and flea market all in one). I was driving down the Mokulele Highway when I noticed the beginning of a rainbow. The speed limit is 45mph along this stretch but often people go 60+. Well Hawaii has a lot of rainbows, so I didn’t think much of it. The rainbow is running parallel to the highway and it looks like you can see right to where that pot of gold would be sitting. Then it expands… creating a full semi-circle and it is really beautiful. Suddenly traffic slows. I slow down. 3 cars pull off the side of the road. I look in my rear view mirror for emergency vehicles. Nothing. What is up? Then I see everyone pulling out their cameras — to get a picture of the rainbow!
I guess I take Maui for granted. It was beautiful though and I did notice!
Lesson of the day from Maui: No matter where you are, where you are going or how late you are…take time to enjoy beauty.
I’ve been busy. Very busy. So I’ll describe the week of a new real estate agent.
I’ve worked 6 days this week. Usually 8+ hours a day.
(26 hours) )I’ve planned for 5 open houses this week at 4 different places. The first time you are at a new place, it takes about 2 hours of planning, setting up signs, preparing material and comparables list and researching information about the place. After the first time, it is easier to just renew/update material. I actually only did 4.1 of the open houses because of a communications error on the listing agent’s part. I got there and set up and then she showed up; I was happy to have the afternoon off.
What is involved in an open house? You arrive 15 minutes early to set up signs and understand the place. If it is a condo that you are unfamiliar with, you need to know where the pool is, extra storage, etc. You get the key, enter the unit and fix it up. Open all curtains, decide windows or A/C, turn on all the lights, do (hopefully) minor cleanup and put out material for customers.
Then you wait. I wait by setting up my laptop and ClearWire modem. I always have lots of work to keep me busy. On a good day, you have 1-2 groups/hour. That is distracting enough (in a good way!) that you don’t get any work done. On a bad day, no one comes in. I have yet to do an open house with no one, but I’ve been close.
Why do I “sit” open houses? People who come to Hawaii Open Houses typically fit in one or more of the following categories:
- Potential buyers
- Potential sellers (comparing this place to their home)
- Longer-term dreamers
- People astounded in prices of Maui real estate…
I’m interested in servicing the top 3. It is a great way to meet people interested in real estate. I enjoy finding out where people are from and why they are looking. I hope to convince them that I am knowledgeable and can help them attain their goals.
So Open Houses take a lot of time but ARE productive. Each OH is 3-8 hours. At end of Open House you close up and remove signs.
(5-6 hours) 1 or 2 days a week, I go on a broker’s caravan. Homes that are new on the market are presented by the agent. After a gathering of everyone and short wants/needs requests, everyone hops in their cars and visits the places. Typically, there are 10-20 homes/condos to see. It is a great way to get to know inventory in 2-3 hours. Here in Maui, caravans are held for the different geographic areas. I usually hit the South Maui caravans (my focus area) and have gone to at least one of the other areas.
(4 hours in addition to OH time) Then there is servicing the people you’ve met and potential customers. Send cards, email, call them up. Keep in contact. Set systems up to automate all this. This is an area I must spend more time on. I can’t believe that I still don’t have my “New Business” announcements out. Of course, if you have a real buyer/seller client, you drop everything else to service them!
(3-5 hours) There are the meetings. Our office has a weekly meeting. RAM (Realtors Assn of Maui) has meetings. Go to meetings to get updated on info in Maui real estate. At office meetings, I get contacts for running open houses. There is also training. Classroom training and internet training; I try to get 4 hours of training a week.
(5+ hours) In order to meet more people in the community, I try to get out and do volunteer work, shopping, meeting other business people at least 1 hour a day. Some days is more but it is tough. Yesterday, I was tired on the way home and decided to stop for an iced coffee. Instead of getting in my hot car, I decided to sit down in the A/C area. I started chatting with a couple people… next thing I know I’m sharing my business card.
(2 hours) Then in the spare moments, I spend few hours planning, thinking about my website and adding value-add info, long-term planning (how do I build a team so I don’t have to work so hard?), marketing plans, selecting signs…
(3 hours) TRAVEL TIME…
I don’t know how anyone could consider this a part-time job? I estimate that I’ve spent 50+ hours working this week. I think I need to cut back on that Open House schedule! My workaholic syndrome is catching up to me…
Life really is much more exciting than geckos. But at the end of the day, it is these stories that make us chuckle. I’ve been so busy thinking about topics for a real estate blog that I haven’t even thought about writing blogs here.
So we have been nearly gecko-less inside since our trip to California. I think we lost Luckilo and I think Bee got big enough to move outside. We do have 5 regular geckos that congregate on our lanai outside every night. I think the little one is Bee but he doesn’t respond to me;-)
We had one in our kitchen windowsill for a few days but he died while I was in Las Vegas. We’re not sure why; one morning he was just laying there.
So the last few days we have a new baby inside. He is growing fast but is very long and skinny. And he runs! He can cross the length of our great room in minutes. Therefore his name is “Speedy”. Last night we though we lost him… he fell off the ceiling… I didn’t know that could happen…and landed right in front of Mooshie. Luckily he escaped under the area rug before she could eat him! Peter “saved” him and at my insistence we just put him high up in the wall. Peter thought he’d be better off outside. I said no. The little geckos like it inside where only the kitties try to eat them. The little tiny bugs can get in through the screens and provide them plenty to eat. So we’ll see – he’s been back and running today.
By the way, our kittens have been totally spoiled by having us both home all day for awhile.
I’ve been doing a lot of classes and open houses lately and Widget gets really upset when I’m gone all day. SPOILED!
Last week and again today, I went paddling. I am going to join the canoe club and do this regularly. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get off my butt! I continue to blame by tennis elbow which I’m sure will be much stronger going forward!
Paddling is a Hawaiian cultural experience. For kama’aina and malahini alike, if you have never paddled before, you must join in the fun. Meet Tues/Thursday at 7am at the Kihei Canoe Club to ensure a spot on the canoe and sign the disclaimer (that you know how to swim). I’m not sure how they get around the coast guard regulations but only a few people wear floatation devices. It’s free though they do ask for a donation. They’ll provide the canoe and the paddle. In return you get:
- The traditional conch shell blowing and chants. Remember how the Hawaiians learn —observe, mimic, listen and be quiet. I recognized a few words and chanted along as best I could. I’m sure they were asking for calm waters which we got.
- A short course in the parts of the canoe, proper paddling and foot positioning and procedures for getting in and out of the canoe. It is very easy.
- Time to get out and swim and/or snorkel out at Turtle Town. It is a turtle feeding station where there were dozens of curious turtles.
- Today we had up close and personal whale encounter. Ok, I’ve had great encounters on the big whale watching boats. Each one is better than the last. But there is something amazing that happens when you are in a 40 foot canoe with 6 other people and a 45 foot humpback whale (w/friends) heads straight in your direction, dives down and swims under the canoe! See barnacles up close on the “wings”. Truly enchanting.
- A great workout. We were only on the water maybe 70-80 minutes but took many rests. The “rowing pace” is good but not too fast, except if your boat decides to race another boat. If you get tired, you just stop paddling. It works out your back, legs, butt and arms. Doing it right is the best way to avoid injury (keep back straight and use strength of legs).
- The hardest part is hauling canoes in and out of the water. All teams help each other, more people lifting a canoe makes it easier.
- To experience the true spirit of the sea.
Side note: Although you may stay dry, don’t count on it. On the way out, one canoe took a nose dive into a wave and had several inches of water in the bottom. On the way in, we got sided by a pretty good wave and I can see that a roll (huli) was possible! Next time, I will bring my camera with underwater enclosure though! It is ok to bring a non-waterproof camera, as long as you have it in a waterproof bag that floats. When you see whales and turtles, boats will stop and you can pull your camera out. Don’t bring anything else you don’t need!
We simply don’t enjoy the beauty of Maui enough. Yesterday we went out diving for the first time in many months. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular dive but it was good. We went to Ahihi Cove which is in a reserve area so there is no fishing. You don’t necessarily see more fish but you definitely see BIGGER fish. We went out to the turtle cleaning station. We heard the whales singing. We saw a snowflake moray eel out in the open hunting; he was about 5 feet long and beautiful. I love watching the behaviors of animals.
Last night we had dinner with friends who didn’t know what a cleaning station is. This is one of my favorite behaviors to watch underwater. Think of it as the barbershop, beauty salon, dentist and spa for underwater world. There are cleaning stations for different species though some stations will service just about anyone who comes by. Our Hawaiian Cleaner Wrasse is famous for that. He’ll clean anyone that comes near him. Eels will go to areas where cleaner shrimp hang out; they’ll open their mouth and get all their teeth cleaned. Even babys fish will hang out together and clean each other. In Kona, we found an eagle ray cleaning station. The rays would come in for a landing, stay while various fish cleaned their backs and then fly off. Another ray would be waiting in line.
But turtle cleaning stations are always the best. The turtles gather while many tangs of various types have a meal of the algae that grows on their shell. This picture shows milletseed butterflyfish which are some of my favorites. Sometimes the turtles “hang” in midwater and sometimes they settle on the bottom. It’s where Peter has gotten award winning photos. Yesterday the 2 turtles at the station had a HUGE school of ta’ape nearby (see right side of pic for beginning of school). They make for great pictures too.