Matt Beall may live and work in Hawaii, but that doesn’t mean he’s all about fun in the sun. With a passion for real estate and technology, Matt started Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers in May 2008.
Hawaii Life now employs over 100 brokers, agents, and support staff in five offices around the Aloha State. Matt was also instrumental in reinventing his firm’s website. In 2009, HawaiiLife.com won a Web Award for best real estate website.
By 2010, just 30 months after opening its doors, Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers had become the #9 real estate company in all of Hawaii. In both 2010 and 2011, the company was nominated by Inman News as one of the Most Innovative Brokerages in the country.
Since becoming a full-time REALTOR in 1998, Matt has been in the top 3 percent for sales volume and in the top 4 percent for transactions of all Kauai Realtors (as of August 2010). In 2001, Matt was hired to be the Broker-In-Charge for Kauai’s then-top-selling real estate brokerage, a local Century 21 franchise. He managed more than 40 agents and facilitated hundreds of transactions, all while focusing on personal clients and marketing and selling listings.
When he’s not killing it on the REALTOR circuit, Matt enjoys surfing, hiking and traveling. He’s a musician and has played live bluegrass music on KKCR and a few other venues around Kauai. He and his wife, Elif, live in Kilauea, on Kauai’s north shore.
Seth Price caught up with Matt recently to get his thoughts on technology, real estate teams, and the importance of hiring.
Be humble, check your vanity and narcissism at the door, and be prepared to work for free for six months.
Placester: What are you working on right now?
Matt Beall: A lot of stuff that’s inspiring, and some stuff that isn’t (but in that order). I’m working on: casting for a TV show about our company; listing a couple of great properties; continuing to discuss the possibility of absorbing a new firm; (re)negotiating a couple of office leases; and trying to explain to our bank that if they want to sell us money, they need to stop bogging me down in piles of paperwork.
P: What does your typical day look like?
MB: I get up between 5:30 and 6am. I work out in Hanalei, and then usually go for a run (sometimes a surf) at Hanalei Bay. From there, it’s not that different from the above, if/when I’m working from Kauai (where Hawaii Life is headquartered). If I’m on another island, then I’m usually in meetings with various brokers and agents and working double-time from wherever I’m staying.
P: What is the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
MB: I tended bar and waited tables years ago at a really low-end casino in Montana. I learned that, sometimes, the customer isn’t always right.
P: Three real estate trends that excite you?
MB: The shrinking of (some) major franchises; the growing acceptance of real estate teams; and consistently fewer sales done by my competition.
P: How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
MB: I think I could write a book to answer that. One simple answer is that I provide more exposure than my competition, and I have the metrics to back up the results that exposure provides.
P: How do you bring ideas to life?
MB: With my words.
P: What inspires you?
MB: (Another book.) My two partners in Hawaii Life. Growing. Performing (in the market). Solving problems that others couldn’t or haven’t. A lot of my clients are inspiring, too. (I work with some pretty cool people).
P: What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
MB: I’ve made some pretty serious hiring blunders in my time. I’ve learned the costs of that, and I’ve learned how to hire smarter.
P: How do you measure success?
MB: For me personally, it’s not measured by some metric or outside definition. If I’m honoring my word, and keeping a very potent conversation alive for my (and my company’s) future, then I’m successful.
P: If you had to buy some real estate today, ideally, what would you want that experience to be like?
P: What advice would you give to someone starting out in real estate today?
MB: Be humble, check your vanity and narcissism at the door, and be prepared to work for free for six months.
P: How do you see technology shaping the business of real estate in the future?
MB: I think the focus on hyper-local, docent-style practitioners will come even more to the foreground as technology pushes buyers and sellers closer together. I also think individual broker teams will be able to handle increasingly more volume as technology gets streamlined to tackle the innumerable obstacles that we deal with in real estate.
P: What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
MB: I’m not particularly private when it comes to business ideas. Let’s see… pay attention to hiring models like the DiSC Assessment. Play to your strengths, and enroll others in supporting areas where you’re weak. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
P: What do you read every day, and why?
MB: On most days I read my blog feed on Flipboard for the iPad. Why? Because I, like a lot of people, suffer from an addiction to knowing things.
P: What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
MB: Tough to pick just one. David Allen’s Getting Things Done series is up there, though. In real estate, it’s pretty easy to get over-tasked, so having some structure helps a lot.
P: What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
MB: I use most of the 37signals suite of software regularly, and I definitely use Backpack and Basecamp every day. We’re navigating away from Highrise in our practice, but I still love it.
P: Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
MB: Matt Cutts from Google (@mattcutts) because he definitely keeps you in the loop on the latest cool Google stuff (even though half of it might be over my head). Chris Smith (@Chris_Smith) from Inman News, which is probably not news to a lot of agents, but he shares a ton of cool stuff (if you can wade through a bit of the ‘insider’ Twitter banter). Matt Beall (@mattbeall), partly because I’m lazy and don’t want to think of another one, and partly because I’m shameless.
P: What real estate expert would you love to see us interview?
MB: Marc Davison is pretty brilliant. I’m sure I’d call him a real estate expert, but he’s definitely worth listening to.
P: When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
MB: Last night. My wife.
P: Name of your organization?
MB: Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers.
P: How can people connect with you?
MB: Website: HawaiiLife.com
LinkedIn: Matt Beall
P: Where are you located?
MB: We’re headquartered on Kauai, with offices on Maui, Oahu, and Big Island.