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Editor's Note – July 21, 2009

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Flaws in how Top 100 Realtors were picked

Let me preface by stating there is probably no perfect system for judging who the Top 100 Realtors (June 2009) are in Hawaii.

I do feel, however, that the system you used for 2008 had two flaws. For example, there are agents who sell a lot of real estate but whose commissions per sale are extremely low — some as low as $500 per transaction. It doesn’t seem fair to compare their production to a full commission broker who might do 10 percent as many sales but earn 10 times more.

Another major problem has to do with excluding sales of new projects. Apparently, your team was not able to discern which sales came from new projects and which did not. This creates an unfair situation as someone made the Top 100 list based on project sales whereas others did not.

I believe that all sales should count, including new project sales and vacant land; however, it would be much fairer to base the rankings not on total sales volume, but rather on total gross commission.  Using this system would level the playing field. Send questionnaires to the brokers for agents who you suspect might make it in to the Top 100, and ask them to verify the gross commission income for each agent. You should then be able to come up with what I would consider a truer picture of the Top 100 Realtors in Hawaii.

Ken Smith

P.S. I was surprised and thrilled to be No. 15 in Hawaii and No. 3 on Maui for 2008 no matter what standard you used.  My goal is to make 2009 my fourth year in a row qualifying for this prestigious group.

Stay upbeat, but gambling’s not the answer

With all the doom and gloom, the upbeat tone of your magazine is refreshing. I happen to be one of the lucky businesses bucking the current downturn: my cross-cultural business (focused on Japan-U.S. relations) is thriving both here and on the Mainland.

I enjoyed January’s feature on Obama’s potential impact on Hawaii. After glancing at May’s issue, methinks “8 Ways to Fire Up Hawaii’s Economy” will stir some controversy, certainly the call to legalize gambling. I’m not a prude, nor am I against gambling, but looking at it from both a business and community standpoint, the act of gambling itself is not sustainable, and it will almost guarantee that most of the folks who get rich will be non-local owners of the gambling casinos.

If I had a vote, I’d subtract gambling from your list and insert “retirement haven for Japanese (and other allied countries) baby boomers.” For an original take on this very unoriginal idea, check out my blog, japaninsight.wordpress.com, and select the March
12 entry.

Keep up the positive vibes. God knows we need whatever edge we can get.

Tim Sullivan, Pahoa, HI

Says some advice was wrong

Thank you for featuring Rentrilla.com (The Pitch, May 2009), but I would like to clarify some of the issues brought up by your expert panel. While the first two experts had legitimate issues (which we had already addressed), the third expert made the erroneous assumptions that we have done no market research, that Rentrilla’s sole business premise is that Craigslist lacks a robust search function and that we are looking for an investment in our business. She also erred in inferring that the renter would pay $99 to find a property. Renters use Rentrilla.com for free and, in fact, we pay renters a reward if they find and rent their next property through Rentrilla.com.

Unfortunately, this letter would be much too long if I were to go into detail with respect to the market research that we have done, but suffice it to say that housing-market and advertising statistics give us compelling reasons to believe that Rentrilla’s service is needed and that we can be successful. The value proposition Rentrilla.com offers is that we reduce the time both property listers and renters need to spend advertising and finding their properties.

I ask your readers to come see for themselves. It’s a no-lose proposition for listers as they don’t pay any fees unless the property rents through (and only through) Rentrilla.com.

Ryan Yanagihara, President, Rentrilla.com

Correction

The name of Vernon Chock, of Vernco Properties Inc., was misspelled in “Internet transforms home sales, but Realtors survive” (SmallBiz, June 2009). Hawaii Business regrets the error.

Stay upbeat, but gambling’s not the answer

With all the doom and gloom, the upbeat tone of your magazine is refreshing. I happen to be one of the lucky businesses bucking the current downturn: my cross-cultural business (focused on Japan-U.S. relations) is thriving both here and on the Mainland.

I enjoyed January’s feature on Obama’s potential impact on Hawaii. After glancing at May’s issue, methinks “8 Ways to Fire Up Hawaii’s Economy” will stir some controversy, certainly the call to legalize gambling. I’m not a prude, nor am I against gambling, but looking at it from both a business and community standpoint, the act of gambling itself is not sustainable, and it will almost guarantee that most of the folks who get rich will be non-local owners of the gambling casinos.

If I had a vote, I’d subtract gambling from your list and insert “retirement haven for Japanese (and other allied country) baby boomers.” For an original take on this very unoriginal idea, check out my blog, japaninsight.wordpress.com, and select the March 12 entry.

Keep up the positive vibes. God knows we need whatever edge we can get.

Tim Sullivan, Pahoa, HI

Says some advice was wrong

Thank you for featuring Rentrilla.com (The Pitch, May 2009), but I would like to clarify some of the issues brought up by your expert panel. While the first two experts had legitimate issues (which we had already addressed), the third expert made the erroneous assumptions that we have done no market research, that Rentrilla’s sole business premise is that Craigslist lacks a robust search function and that we are looking for an investment in our business. She also erred in inferring that the renter would pay $99 to find a property. Renters use Rentrilla.com for free and, in fact, we pay renters a reward if they find and rent their next property through Rentrilla.com.

Unfortunately, this letter would be much too long if I were to go into detail with respect to the market research that we have done, but suffice it to say that housing-market and advertising statistics give us compelling reasons to believe that Rentrilla’s service is needed and that we can be successful. The value proposition Rentrilla.com offers is that we reduce the time both property listers and renters need to spend advertising and finding their properties.

I ask your readers to come see for themselves. It’s a no-lose proposition for listers as they don’t pay any fees unless the property rents through (and only through) Rentrilla.com.

Ryan Yanagihara, President, Rentrilla.com

Correction

The name of Vernon Chock, of Vernco Properties Inc., was misspelled in “Internet transforms home sales, but Realtors survive” (SmallBiz, June 2009). Hawaii Business regrets the error.

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