Luxury real estate brokerage Hawaii Life has merged with top-tier Honolulu boutique Choi International, which will now be known as the Choi Group with Hawaii Life, effective immediately.
For Hawaii Life principal broker and CEO Matt Beall, Choi International’s decision to join forces with his brokerage — after approaches from a number of others over the years — is “a huge acknowledgement of who we are and what we’ve achieved.” Choi International has been Honolulu’s luxury market leader for the past 30 years, specializing in the most expensive properties in the Oahu market. In a strong year, the firm books an annual sales volume of around $225 million.
Pat Choi, Choi International’s principal and top selling agent, has been appointed director of Hawaii Life’s luxury division, HL1. Matt Gabriel, Choi International’s chief operating officer, will be the broker-in-charge for Hawaii Life’s Kahala offices. The company’s 25 agents and administrative staff have all moved over to Hawaii Life.
The state-wide affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, Hawaii Life was founded in 2008 by Beall and Winston Welborn as a brokerage prioritizing digital marketing and design and has grown to over 200 agents statewide across 14 offices. It claims to be Hawaii’s third largest brokerage by sales volume, having booked $1.1 billion in 2016 and a similar figure for 2017. The company’s website, hawaiilife.com, attracts millions of views each year thanks in part to the brokerage’s involvement in the HGTV’s television program of the same name, currently airing its 11th season and featuring the firm’s clients and brokers in their home search.
Beall described the deal coming together as nothing but smooth sailing — “a very seamless, awesome process” — which he said is unusual for real estate M&A. He’s excited to have Choi leading up the luxury division, describing the appointment as “a dream come true.”
“Pat Choi has always been a go-to person whether you are vetting a client or a cooperating broker. You can’t do anything without calling Pat,” said Beall, noting that Pat and her husband Cedric “are the right tribe — they have the pragmatism, the realism and the righteousness of doing business.”
If Choi International was a luxury brand making handbags, “it would be the best handbag you’d ever seen,” he said.