For Greg Hague, the work was always the reward.
The Scottsdale-based serial entrepreneur has succeeded countless times over in a variety of real-estate-related endeavors and could have retired years ago, but he continues to plug away day after day because of a simple lesson he learned years ago from a close friend.
At the time, Hague was making boatloads of money selling high-end homes in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley – and reaping the financial rewards of that success – though he is the first to admit that his spending had become excessive.
“I had two airplanes, I had three very expensive cars and I had nine motorcycles…” Hague said. “I hired a guy just to keep my batteries charged and this is kind of the height of ridiculousness, right?”
Despite all of the stuff he had, Hague still found himself feeling unhappy. He shared those feelings with a close friend and received some advice that changed his life.
The friend said Hague did not know the definition of happiness.
“He said ‘real happiness is the deep sense of satisfaction that comes from the enthusiastic pursuit of a worthwhile goal of your own choosing,’” Hague said.
That heart-to-heart conversation changed his perspective on life.
From that point on, Hague shed many of the opulent toys and assets he had accrued over the years – or, as he put it, “got rid of the crap.”
He’s quick to point out that he still has nice things – like the Porsche in the parking lot outside the lobby of his office – but he does not let those things define him.
That realignment of priorities partially explains why Hague – who is 70 years old and has been lauded in Forbes for his novel approach to real estate – continues to pursue new business ventures and ideas with the vigor of someone still trying to make it in the industry.
He’s got his Hague Partners real estate firm that specializes in selling high-end homes in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and other parts of the Valley. The firm operates using Hague’s 22-Step Home Sale Formula – the one written about in that Forbes’ article – to gin up interest in high-value properties and quickly find buyers.
Hague designed the 22-step system to sell a home quickly by creating a glut of buyer demand through “premarketing” before the home ever hits the market. Hague’s popular “Sell Your Home in 72 Hours” campaign utilizes the model.
“We can’t guarantee a home will sell in 72 hours because a seller might want to push it a little further and try to get a higher price, but we generate huge demand (early on) and so a high percentage sell in 72 hours and we sell them all, it just may take a little longer.”
He added, “The whole idea though is to make that first 72-hour launch weekend…a big deal.”
Hague was inspired to develop the 22-step system after watching the success Apple had when it first introduced the iPhone.
“I was like, how can they do that?” Hague said, referencing the lines of people waiting to buy iPhones before stores even opened.
“It turns out what Apple was doing is they were one of the first retailers, maybe the first, to ever heavily, heavily, heavily market products before they’d let you buy it.”
A big part of that marketing effort involves the use of his BuyerHunt to give buyers sneak peaks at properties before they hit the MLS database or other online search engines.
“They love that because it gives them a shot to be the first in the door to see if they like it or not,” he said.
In addition to his brokerage, Hague also has his Real Estate Mavericks coaching company for real estate agents that he developed five or six years ago, which takes him on the road to speak to agents across the country.
The program trains agents to “better sell homes” versus just listing a lot of properties, Hague said.
In between his professional endeavors, Hague has also found the time to write a regular weekly column in the Paradise Valley Independent for the past 13 years. Despite his professional accomplishments, the column does not focus on real estate.
Rather, it includes Hague’s outlook on various topics like the keys to happiness, following your dreams or confronting your fears.
Ever the entrepreneur, Hague said the column still has professional benefits because it helps him develop a personal connection with buyers and sellers in the community.
Hague first came to the city in the early 1980s after his Cincinnati-based Hague Realtors went out of business.
The business was successful in the 1970s but did not have enough capital to withstand the interest rate spikes that plagued the real estate industry at the time, Hague said.
A former employee at his Cincinnati office moved to Scottsdale and invited Hague to visit. To hear him tell it, Scottsdale was a revelation and he immediately fell in love.
Hague extended his visit and then rented a home in Scottsdale and got his real estate license in Arizona.
Two years later, he was one of the top home sellers in Arizona even though he only sold Scottsdale properties, primarily in McCormick Ranch, he said.
Fast forward over 30 years and Hague is still happy to call the community home – though he now lives nearby in Paradise Valley.
His professional speaking engagements and personal travel have taken him all over the world, but he still can’t think of a single place he would rather live.
“I’ve traveled everywhere from Russia and all through Europe. I motorcycled through Africa,” Hague said. “I mean, I’ve really been around and I’ve never found one single place I would live over Scottsdale.”