Moving to Hawaii: Luxury Maui Real Estate Advisors

Moving to Hawaii

August 20, 2020

Betty Sakamoto: Aloha and welcome to Betty’s real estate corner started respectfully so with our masks. We’re going to go ahead and take them off because we are six feet apart but I think it’s really important that we’re all doing this, and respecting what’s going on and taking care of one another and taking care of our communities. So again, aloha and that is a Lahainaluna High School mask just in case anybody else needs one call me! This is again, Betty Sakamoto from Coldwell Banker Kapalua and with me today is Bob Sella who is the king of Coldwell Banker. And he’s here today. We’ve all ended up together as of the beginning of the year in February and then all this happened, so it’s been an interesting time. But we’re having a great time with Coldwell Banker we’re still doing real estate. We’re moving into a whole new regime of it but we are at Kapalua at 700 Office Road right near Sansei Restaurant right next to us is the Pour House which is a really great italian restaurant and then Kapalua Florist. So Bob how are you today?

Bob Sella: I’m doing well thank you!

Betty: This is going to be kind of a fun day, we aren’t sure…we’ve never come to the show knowing exactly what we’re going to talk about. I thought right now would be kind of a lot of fun to just talk about a little bit Bob, how we got into this. You know, I jokingly say we all knew one another in the 70s, which means we also know where all the bodies are buried and what everybody was doing in the 70s.

Bob: Were they good years?

Betty: They were good years! Bob is a lot younger than we are but we don’t hold that against him.

Bob: No, I’m going to be 13 this month.

Betty: That’s close enough, close enough. So anyway, we’ve all ended up together and we’ve expanded Coldwell Banker into Kapalua. Our office is in the middle of a great redo and we’re having a lot of fun with it! We’re hitting carpet, we’ve been painting, moving walls. We’re going to be getting into the current century with a lot of amazing, what do you call the things that you put in the windows?

Bob: I call them fly traps. They’re backlit display boards and they light up all night long. And the consumer really enjoys the clarity of them and the selection of different price ranges and the pictures of the different condominiums or residential, so they’re very effective.

Betty: I’ve been thinking you know, of course I haven’t ever been with someone that was doing this, but at least at Kapalua there’s always people walking around, you know? So that anyone visiting, you know when we have visitors back, but right now it’s mostly owners or local residents that come up and wander around in the morning or all day. So we’re talking to a lot of people at our office but it’s going to be real exciting when you have those up. I like the idea of it being a flytrap but I guess what they say is the minute they put them up, people will come and they’ll just stare at them so I think that that by itself is going to turn out to be a good way to meet people.

Bob: I think the whole office is going to be a global luxury, very high-end and exactly what Kapalua is all about, so I think it’s a perfect match. And I think you know, Betty and Roy Sakamoto with Coldwell Banker is a dream come true for us. Like Betty said, we have known each other and we’ve respected each other for many many years. They are icons in my world for the Kapalua marketplace and it’s just an honor for us to be associated with them, and going through this journey together and time together, it’s very rewarding for us. And we’re looking forward to the future with them.

Betty: We are too, it’s really been exciting! We never really wanted to make a change, we liked just being Sakamoto Properties. And we had more agents at one time and then we got fewer agents because we’ve always been so active selling ourselves but somehow the more we talked to Tommy Muldoon, who was here at the last show, and Bob Sella. We suddenly started realizing that we could have a lot more fun doing this, if we changed what we were doing, and were willing to open our eyes to a future with Coldwell Banker. And so far we’ve been able to be set up with the whole luxury, I don’t know what, the luxury designation.

Bob: Right, global luxury.

Betty: Yeah the global luxury, and that’s going to be really fun for us and our clients love it.

Bob: And that’s exactly what Kapalua is all about. And that’s why we felt there was a win-win of bringing the global luxury of Coldwell Banker, which is international, to Kapalua and putting Kapalua out to the world to showcase exactly what a special place it is in the world. So we’re looking forward to launching this thing and getting through our remodel we’re going to go with state of the art, everything is first class which Kapalua deserves and it’s going to be a fun journey. I’m excited about the future and it’s fun working with you, Betty, and building something really special that we can look over our shoulder and be proud of. And that’s what I enjoy most in life is building.

Betty: Well I think we’re going to really do it and make it happen. We finally got up our fabulous Coldwell Banker Kapalua to a sign as you walk into the office. We’re still waiting for our exterior signs, it should be up within the next five days to five months. Just kidding! No, it’s going to happen soon because I think they’re all in order but people are finding us.

Bob: Absolutely! You know it’s Maui and it will happen when it happens. And you know nothing will really stop us from inching our way forward and whatever amount of time it takes. And that’s the beauty of living on the island of Maui. I’ve been here since the 70s. I started my journey in Hawaii, in Kapalua. I tell people Kapalua, Betty, but it really was Napili. But I was always impressed with Kapalua and it’s just funny how you know 30-40 years later, you just wind back up where you started. And so I have always had a special place in my heart for Kapalua. I’ve always admired Roy and Betty Sakamoto! I thought that they were…you have an image of someone but when you actually start to work with them hand in hand you really see who they really are. And these people are really dedicated to the community, to their charities, to their people! They’re givers and that’s what Coldwell Banker is we also give and we’d like to help people. So again, I think it’s just a perfect match that I’m so excited about going down this path with you!

Betty: Yeah, we are too. It’s actually since we’ve started you know, so many things happened in the overall market but we’ve had this huge sales happening. We actually have sales happening from about $300,000 to selling a property that was listed at $16.5 million, so it’s all over the place. But we’ve always wanted to continue to do it all. And there is no question, I won’t say we don’t love those huge deals but it’s also enabled us to be able to be there for someone that wants to buy at the other end of the market. And try to help them get a first home and find the best mortgages that we can. And actually being with Coldwell Banker this is going to be a lot easier for us in the future because we have the backing of the company. The company is going to have an affiliation with the mortgage entity, which I think is also going to in the long run work with us and also island vacations which is Coldwell Banker. And they’re working right now with the number of Kapalua owners to set up a rental program for short-term and long-term rentals. But again I think it’s going to be the best of the best and again it’s going to make us look good in the long run. And we’re going to have a lot of fun with it so

Bob: Yeah, we recently launched our mortgage division called Makai Mortgage and on our short-term and long-term it’s called Coldwell Banker Island Vacations. And we have several hundred units that we currently manage now, and we’re moving into the Kapalua market. It looks like we’re going to be acquiring maybe 15 properties in this first month, so you know Coldwell Banker is a global powerful name and they strive to be the best at whatever they do and we align our staff with the best. And it’s all about public service and taking care of the people, and then if we do a good job we get rewarded. So that’s what Coldwell Banker is all about.

Betty: You can actually check out our website which is SakamotoProperties.com and it is at this stage…what we’re doing is the ones that we’re listing are highlighted in that website. And also you can get through the whole mls system and every listing that’s on Maui. We can be reached on the phone at 808 870-7062, which is my cell phone. Roy can be reached at 808 870-7060, or we have another line which is 808 669 0070. Now that’s a lot of information but I know you can find us somehow and there’s got to be some particular Coldwell Banker site that we might want to let everybody know about.

Bob: IslandProperties.com

Betty: Okay, IslandProperties.com that would be the overall website sales and rentals anything?

Bob: Yep, that’s one-stop and everything is in there we also have several locations on Maui. We have one in Paia on the North Shore. We have one in the Central in Kahului. We have one at the Shops of Wailea. We have another office at the Beach Villas. We have our corporate headquarters, which is a seven thousand square foot state of the art in the Kukui Mall. We have another office in Kaanapali, and then we have our grand slam elite location of Kapalua with the Sakamotos. So we’re also outer island! We have five locations on the Big Island and four locations on the island of Kauai and currently we have 395 real estate agents working for Coldwell Banker on the property so we can serve as anyone’s needs. You know the beauty of radio is probably getting a message out there. And when you have as much experience as Betty and Roy take advantage of it! These people know the deals they know the best values out there it doesn’t really matter what price range you’re looking at you should go talk to them. They know exactly…when you do this business for a long time, you know the best deals out there. And that’s the message that I would like to get across is to take advantage of somebody who’s been in this business for 30 or 40 years they know they know their way around this industry.

Betty: So well it is a fun thing and probably one of the best things I think right now is now being with Coldwell Banker that there’s so many times that we’ve talked to someone and then had to find an agent that would really fit their needs also. And it isn’t like you can really totally service every price range every location. But again I think when we made this commitment to Coldwell Banker one of the best things about it was that we do have someone available to help with everything now and I think that’s really going to be key. Every price range, and we can stay in it, we’ll continue to help you do anything we can. But again we may say, “you know I think the best agent for you is…” and it might be someone down in Wailea. In the past we’ve co-listed properties with Coldwell Banker in Wailea/Makena and that’s been kind of a fabulous thing for us. But again now being tied to this I think for both Roy and I, it’s really fun. I mean I hate to keep saying fun but it is fun! I mean it’s a lot less pressure, we’re making a whole lot of big changes and we can walk from our home to our office now which we’re not doing very often but we can, we could possibly.

Bob: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah, I’m a firm believer…you know, we started Coldwell Banker Island Properties in 1995 with seven agents and we built it up to 220 agents in 2017 and I sold the company to Steve Hall, the current owner. And you know, I enjoyed a couple of beers. I think my wife was looking forward to me going back to work maybe, and I thought that I would explore the opportunity. I want to enjoy life and I want to have fun and as long as being at Coldwell Banker was fun then I’m here to stay. So get ready for me to be around for a long time! Just keep making me happy, make you happy, laugh I Mean that’s what life’s really about. It’s not about anything else but enjoying the journey of spending time with your family and passing something on to the next generation. So isn’t there something coming up that’s important that you wanted to talk about in 73 days.

Betty: There could be…oh the election! Okay, yes! Oh my goodness, 73 days. I think one of the things that we’ve talked about a lot you know in our office and on the show the last time we were here is that we all have to vote. And I think none of us need to hear what the other person wants or is doing unless it’s totally friendly, I mean in the radio we have nothing to say about who’s doing what, who’s voting but you have to vote. I mean who you’re voting for it doesn’t matter but we all have to do it especially Hawaii. And I know everybody makes a joke out of the fact that we don’t matter in Hawaii, it doesn’t matter who…it just doesn’t matter! There’s not enough of us, we don’t have…it’s never going to change anything but have you ever thought it could? I mean now that seems impossible but it could one year come down to them all waiting for what’s coming in from Hawaii and we’re definitely going to be the last one with votes coming in so let’s do it even if maybe it won’t be the big picture that we changed the whole result. But if we all do it, if we all talk about it, we learn what we’re going to, who we’re going to vote for…a couple of times, Bob, we’ve all were here and talking about…we got to talk to friends, we’ve got to talk to family, we’ve got to listen to other people even when we don’t agree with what they’re saying because if we can’t listen to one another how can our politicians or anyone just listen and learn? So I mean if we all keep that in mind, let’s listen, let’s learn, and let’s vote! Let’s be there, I mean it’s easy this year we’re going to be able to check a few boxes and put it in the mailbox, and hopefully, the mailbox will be all set for us.

Bob: I’m sure it will, everything works out the way it’s supposed to work out. And you know in this COVID, it’s a very interesting thing. It’s amazing that real estate every year to date and year over year, Coldwell Banker is up 20-22 percent. So the virus really hasn’t slowed down the real estate market. I’m really proud of Hawaii as far as following the rules, keeping our six-foot distance, wearing our mask. And I think that’s a reflection for the rest of the United States to look at us as saying that we’re one of the safest places to be. And I think that’s what’s inspiring people to make a decision to buy now because they look at that and say you know they must be doing something right down there! So for some reason our market is red hot right now, interest rates are low. We can help you with all every aspect of the business from getting a mortgage to finding the deals and taking you to a place that…I think it’s Steven likes to call it a happy place!

Betty:It is a happy place, it’s a happy place!

Bob: Yeah, so it’s a special place and I’m glad I can help people they find that place, and then they spend time with their children and their grandchildren…that’s so rewarding for me. Because I think life is a lot about memories and good times. I think over the years, I think we both helped people get to that place where they can enjoy their family.

Betty: We have someone arriving on the pretty much the last flight on Mokulele to Kaanapali or the Kapalua airport, the small airport, and they’re going to have to then go immediately into quarantine at their own place. They’ve just purchased a property at Kapalua and we’ve got everything set up for them! We’ve got food delivered, we had flowers sent there this morning, we’re going to see to it they get a lei. We have somebody picking them up from the airport that knows how to do this, one of the taxi drivers that has been doing it and knows how to do it and continue to socially distance. But I think it’s so exciting, I mean they’ve been kind of keeping in touch with us as they come across the country. And again, they are so excited! It took them a little while to be able to make the purchase and then make the decision without coming back again but they knew of the property and they’re going to be so excited tonight. So exhausted! They’re traveling with their dog, JinJin is the dog, and we’re looking forward to having them get off a plane and be all set! So we’re going to be there, greet them, have their leis, totally stay socially distant so we don’t have to go into quarantine. But we’ve got it all set, we’ve got up all the rules. But also some of the buyers right now, Bob, are people that are working. We have some Ritz Carlton employees that have made decisions to buy homes now, homes or condos, and that’s a huge thing because everybody has a worry about what’s going to happen next. People that are buying right now, they are worried. And they’re all thinking about it but they’re going to stay in Maui anyway and they’re going to make it work, and to continue in the rental market. It doesn’t make sense if you’re really going to be here forever, this is the time. This is a time to be finding a place, making a purchase. Interest rates…I can’t believe are ever going to be lower than they are right now, and qualifying depends on what you’re buying etc but there are possibilities of very low down payments. So call us! Call Roy at 870-7060, call me at 808 870, come to our website SakamotoProperties.com (which also will identify that we’re Coldwell Banker Kapalua) and let’s get together. Let’s talk, let’s figure out financing! We’re coming up already to like three and a half minutes left, Bob. Is there any other message? I keep thinking about the election. I want to be sure that we’re all doing this, that we’re all going to vote. That we’re all paying attention. And I know a lot of us have differences of opinion but let’s try to be civilized talking about it, and not slam the other person’s vote or what they’re doing. Because that’s what we should be doing we’re Americans and we’ve got to be Americans first, so we’re going to vote. The minute we get our envelope, we’ll get our vote in as fast as we can because that’s what we should be doing.

Bob: Absolutely. You know, that’s part of being an American is that you know you have that right to express your opinion and that’s what’s cool about this country. It’s a great country. I’m very proud of this country. I’m very proud of Hawaii and very proud of Maui. You hit on a point, Betty, with your interest rates. You know, when I started selling real estate in 1986, interest rates were 18 percent.

Betty: Yes, I remember.

Bob: I know you would remember! So when you’re looking down at two and a half and three percent this is the time this is your time and this is your opportunity. And you don’t want to look over your shoulders and say I wish I did that. So now is the time to at least explore and get educated on what the purchase of real estate looks like in today’s market.

Betty: And thinking about that interest rate, when you’re saying that 18 percent. It was and we sold the property…I remember selling one of the early things that I sold for a million dollars…I couldn’t believe that they were going to do this mortgage but they understood better than I did, at the time, it wasn’t going to stay like that forever, so they weren’t afraid to buy and have an 18 mortgage. They probably refinanced it within a year. So again don’t be afraid to call us! We aren’t pushy, we’re not going to try to hurry you into something but we’ll get you talking to a lender and make it all work for you. Today, next year, five years, and by maybe even ten years maybe someone else is going to be around.

Bob: We have to pass the baton. So it’s Makai Mortgages is a Coldwell Banker and we’ll take good care of you there. And do your part with this virus keep up the good work stay to six feet, you know avoid those gatherings. If we all work together with this virus, we can beat it.

Betty: We can and we are, and even though they’re kind of talking a little bit more about how it’s going right now in Hawaii…we are still the safest place, I think in the world. In just a minute Danny Couch is coming on again to sing “I love Hawaii”, which is kind of it really is one of my all-time favorite songs. But I love Hawaii and I just love the song.

Bob: Do I have to sing, Betty?

Betty: You could!

Bob: Oh do I get paid extra for singing?

Betty: Yeah, okay…come on, let’s go.! Goodbye, everybody, Aloha call us SakamotoProperties.com.

Bob: Thank you, Betty! It was a real honor being with you

Betty: Thank you so much for being here! Aloha, thank you.