Thank you for stopping by!  I hope to feature both real estate and lifestyle information regarding living on this wonderful island, and particularly on the Windward Side.  

The towns of Kailua, Kaneohe and Waimanalo all have their own personalities.  Hopefully, you get a chance immerse yourself in all they have to offer! 

There is so much to do, see and experience!  My hope to to give you a little taste here.  Please read on...

Thank you ~ Jill

Jan. 22, 2020

Should You Buy a Home When You PCS to Hawaii?


Hi, this is Jill Ward with Century 21 Island Homes. Let's talk today about whether you should buy a home when you PCS to Hawaii. I have a personal bias when it comes to using your BAH to buy a home. My husband and I have bought four homes here in Hawaii. We also bought a condo in Washington State and a home in South Carolina. We used our BAH and applied it to pay for our mortgage rather than paying off somebody else's mortgage.

So what is your BAH. Your BAH on the mainland is very different than what your BAH here is in Hawaii. So go on the internet and check a BAH calculator. And I think it'is really important to remember to think about what your BAH will get you. So there is kind of a rough formula; about for every $500 in BAH will give you a $100,000 of buying power. So if you have $3,000 in BAH, that will approximately get you a $600,000 house. You are not limited by this amount especially if you have additional down payments or other needs necessary.

I want to also let you know that buying a home is not for everyone. There are people who may tell you just go buy a home but I really think you need to look at several factors. Number one: how long are your orders? If you only have 18 month orders or two-year orders that's a little more questionable. But if your orders are for three years it makes a little more sense to buy. Also you want to know if you are going to come back or not. Do you love Hawaii? Are you going to get stationed here maybe have to go somewhere else but try to get back. It' is great to have a home to come back to and in the meantime you can get somebody else to pay your mortgage. And the last one is are you gonna rent it out or not. Maybe you plan on being here for a few years and leaving the island and using it as an investment. But again if you are gonna rent out your home after you leave that is another reason you might want to buy.

So do your homework. Find out what your motivation is to buy a home. Determine your length of stay. And really look at what you can afford. Don't stretch yourself too much that will put you in a bad position in the long run. So again work with a realtor that is going to be able to sit and talk through all the issues and also let you know what kind of a budget you are going to be able to work with.


Jan. 12, 2020

How to Spot and Remove Termites

Hi, I am Jill Ward with Century 21 Island Homes and today let's talk about termites. Whether you have them and if you have them how we can help get rid of them.

There are two kinds of termites in Hawaii. We have dry wood termites and ground termites. Ground termites will find a way from the ground up into your home you will find two ways that they tend to do that. One, they will actually build a mud tunnel from the ground up to the wood structure. Or the other way is if your wood touches the ground you give them direct access to be able to get into the building. There are two types of preventive measures you can use for ground treatment. One is Termidor and the other is Sentricon. Sentricon is a bait system. You may have those little green discs in your lawn or have seen them in your neighbor's property. Those are bait stations so the termites go to the bait stations, take the bait and take the bait poison back to their nests. The other form is Termidor. Termidor requires the pest company to come to your home. They will drill holes every so often (I think it is about 12 to 15 inches) and inject Termidor below your structure. That acts as kind of a viral barrier around your house to prevent the termites from actually reaching your property.

The other kind of termites we have our dry wood termites.Dry wood termites tend to fly and swarm sometimes especially during a summer night you may look up at a light and see a bunch of things swarming around the light. That is likely termites. The other way they can come into your home are via your furniture or cabinets. I have seen several situations where someone has called a contractor and had a beautiful new kitchen installed only to find out that the cabinets came with termites. So the way we treat dry wood termites are twofold. It can either be spot treatments or fumigation. Spot treatment uses that Termidor that we talked about a little earlier with the ground termites and often the pest techs will come in and spray the particular area if it's really localized. The other way is fumigation. The fumigation company will come seal off the property and then put Vikane into the property to kill the termites. The giant tent sometimes they are read and yellow striped sometimes they are just a plain green color. 

Again I am not a professional. I would HIGHLY advise your to whether you are going through the home buying process right now and need an inspection or termite inspection or you have owned your home for five to seven years have a termite professional come out and take a look at your property to see if there are any signs. It is better to help maintain your property at this point rather than let it get out of control.

So please let me know if you have any questions. You can always call text or email me and I will be happy to walk you through this and or point you through a professional. 


Jan. 11, 2020

How to Hang the Right Sized Art

Have you ever walked into someone's home or looked around your own home and said that art doesn't necessarily fit in that space. Sometimes you'll walk in and there will be a little tiny piece of art on a gigantic wall. Well, what are some guides that will help you hang art in your home or if you are staging a property to make it more scalable.

You are gonna need a tape measure. I like these little wall hooks not just a regular nail but it helps catch the back of the frame or the teeth on the back of a frame. Obviously your hammer and then you have all of these fun little 3M strip type things for posters or for hanging art and we will talk about these in a little bit.

I measured the wall. We tried to center the furniture on the wall and then we are gonna try to center the art above the furniture.  And when you are hanging art above furniture you want to use the guide of about 12 inches above the piece of furniture so whether it is a buffet or a dresser or a TV stand.  You want to make sure that you are centering your art and making it about 12 inches above. The other tip to use is to make sure it is at least 5 feet high.

So I am taking instead of one giant piece of art today I am going to use 2 pieces of art and kind of add them together to create the one piece of art. So there is a theme, I like beachy colors. I like blues and greens. It gives you a nice ocean feel and there also you can do a little bit of contrast as you see here with the lighter green paint and the darker navy art. But again it kind of keeps with a beach vibe. Not a lot of reds and blacks and whites. So again if you look at the art you can perfect how straight it is later but if you use the tape measure it is about 11 and a half inches. So it is right about  the right height above the furniture and placed squarely within the space. The other fraction to think about is 2/3. You want to fill up about 2/3 of the space on your wall if you don not have one large piece or two medium sized pieces you can also create a gallery wall with a lot of individual pieces.  But again remember to keep things center and remember that about the two-thirds rule. 

One tip I have if you live in a home that tends to have high humidity or salt air is not to use these 3M velcro strips because you will see that in the middle of the night the sticky tape on the back you will hear this crash in the middle of the night. So I made that mistake. I did not know but I want to pass on that tip to you that the 3M strips are great in some circumstances but again if you have high humidity you do not necessarily want to use these strips. If you have any questions about hanging out feel free to call me or a friend who is really artsy or a stager and they can help you with your proportion on your walls.



Dec. 14, 2019

How to Buy and Sell a Home at the Same Time


In this market, I often get the question, "can I buy and sell at the same time?" The answer is yes!

It is a more balanced market right now. Homes are sitting for a little bit longer, so that gives you the opportunity to go in and possibly make a contingent offer on the sale of your home.

So, the first thing you need to do, especially if you are planning on moving up in a property is you need pre-approval from a lender. You want to make sure that you are able to get the loan for that next property that you want to buy. You also want to make sure that you have the proceeds from the house that you are selling for the down payment on your next property.

The second thing you want to do is prep your home to list it, but you want to make sure your house is on the market and ready to go. So once your house is listed on the MLS, you want to receive an offer and you want to have the buyers inspect your current property. When they are able to do that, then that is one of the major wickets that you want to get through to tell the next person that you are buying from "our house...has an offer, is in escrow and we've made it through the inspection."

The last little bonus that you may want to go the next seller with is if your appraisal has been completed, That is kind of the last chance that you have for a  transaction to kind of fall through. So, if you can get your home an offer, inspected and appraisal that puts you in a really strong position to go in and make the next contingent offer. So now that you have got your home on the market, you have got an offer, your ready to go. Go put in an offer on that home that you want to buy. It is now your turn to go shopping. You are now able to say the home that I am selling has already made it through all of this process,and we are ready and willing to buy your home. And it is more likely that it will get to the closing table.

The other thing you really want to make sure of is communication. You want to make sure that the seller of the home you are going to buy is friendly and flexible. So, you need a seller that is flexible. And, you also need an agent who is flexible on the other side too, because there are bumps in the road when you have a contingent offer and everybody has to have the same goal of getting to the same place at the closing table. And, you will get there, it just maybe take an extra few days for lending or other things that happen along the way So, the most important this is work with a professional who knows how to work both sides of the transaction, both the selling of your current property and the buying of your new home.










Dec. 13, 2019

Seller Closing Costs in Hawaii


This is Jill Ward with Century 21 Island Homes. Today we are going to talk about the fees that a seller has to pay during the course of a real estate transaction.

Hawaii is an escrow state. Escrow is the organization that is in charge of collecting all of the fees and paperwork and kind of acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller. So when you hear a lot about seller fees, you will hear a lot about escrow because they are the ones that are collecting all of the costs that are incurred during the course of a transaction. Generally for sellers, nothing really comes out of pocket. A lot of the cost come from the proceeds. The first thing that escrow will look at when you have a final settlement statement is your mortgage. If you have any remaining payment that has to be made, escrow will pay off the bank or the HELOC. If you have a first loan, a second loan. So they are the ones who take care of all of the mortgage costs.

The second thing are the commissions to the realtors and the brokerage. So commissions are paid to both sides, both the buyer and the seller. And that is determined by the seller as to what those fees are going to be. So the payments are made directly to the brokerages and the brokerages then pay the realtors.

Sometimes during the course of a transaction, you also have buyer credits. Buyer credits are given to a buyer when something is going on during the course of the transaction and the seller does not necessarily want to take care of the cost. But they'll put some of the proceeds to the side in order to help the buyer take care of those costs.

During the course of the transaction, usually about two to three weeks into the transaction, there is also a survey that takes place. A surveyor will come out to the property and stake the boundary lines and also let parties know if there are any fences or walls or if the structure encroaches on another property.

Property taxes are also an interesting topic that the seller winds up paying in advance. So if you are selling your property, you have already paid six months in advance to the City and County. Whatever the remainder is in that six month time period will be pro-rated and the buyer will take care of the rest of that. If you live out of state or you are an international seller, you may be subject to a tax called HARPTA or FIRPTA. Non Hawaii residents have to pay the HARPTA tax and international sellers have to pay a FIRPTA tax. So it is an additional tax that is taken out by the City and County at closing.

The last three fees are some of the smaller fees in the course of the transaction. There is an escrow fee. The escrow company takes a fee for arranging all of again the documentation, the payments and the disbursements. Title, which is the deed to the property being transferred as well as the insurance to make sure the title is clear. And the recording fee, which gets paid to the City and County to make sure that the transaction records properly. So after all of these fees are paid by the seller, the resulting amount is the net proceeds and that is how much the seller will take away at the close of the transaction.

So hopefully this information is helpful. I appreciate you listening and if you ever have or have any questions, please feel free to contact me via text or email or give me a call.

Nov. 26, 2019

Staging Your Home While You Live There...Or, Just Make It Look Staged

During listing presentations, the conversation always comes up: "What are we going to do about staging?

The answer I often give is "hire a professional."  They know how to stage a room so that things are balanced and airy and fresh. However, if you're going to do it on your own, there are six things you may want to focus on.

1. Exterior: You want to take a walk around your property. You want to see if there are any grass patches that are empty and fill those. Put out fresh plants and flowers and color. The other thing is to make sure you do is power wash. Power washing is key both on the ground and look up under your eaves to see if there's any mold or mildew under your eaves, as well.

2. Clutter: You want to make sure the knife blocks are gone and coffee makers, any personal pictures of your dog, your grand kids, your kids...your refrigerator where you hang a lot of reminders and other things... make sure that is cleaned off. When someone walks into your home, they don't want to see your clutter and they don't want to see anything personal.  You want them to be able to walk in this space and imagine themselves living there.

3. Clean: What is clean to you may not be clean to somebody else, so always hire a professional. They will come in, and they will clean from top to bottom. They will get corners and in other places you  wouldn't think about. Other things to think about are closets and appliances. People will open your closet doors. They will open your oven, so make sure those things are clean as well.

4. Highlight Best Features: Find the best three features of your house and try to highlight those. If you have a cute outdoor sitting area, make sure it has a nice bistro set and some cute accompaniments. Or, if you have a pool, put a cute float in the pool and highlight the pool. If you have a large master bedroom, make sure that is featured as well.

5. Lighting: Lighting is key. Most people don't want to live in a cave, so make sure that all of your drapes are open, and you've replaced all of your light bulbs. If there's a dark room, make sure you put a freestanding lamp in it. So, make sure lighting is taken care of.

6. Cute Decor: You don't want anything that's too specific. You want nice general things: maybe beachy pieces, vases, simple things, but cute modern decor.

The biggest advice I give anyone who's getting ready to sell their house is make sure you repaint as much as you can, both interior and exterior. And, replace old light fixtures and fans.

Make sure that when someone walks into your home when you list it that it's as bright, fresh, open and airy as possible.

Posted in Remodel
Oct. 9, 2019

7th Annual Family Promise 5K Fun Run: A Kailua Community Tradition


Every year, the Windward community comes together to run for a worthy cause - Family Promise, an organization that assists homeless families.


This year’s Fun Run, which will take place on Oct. 26, will be the seventh year for the event.

“It’s a fun way to spend your Saturday morning,” says Laura Thielen, a former Family Promise board member and current executive director of Partners in Care, which oversees all homeless assistance programs on Oahu.

By taking part, community members can do “something that will affect a lot of families’ lives, and at the same time, you can have fun and get together with our community,” she added. “This is such a unique activity - and it’s a really good breakfast!”

Moku and Monkeypod Kitchen restaurants will provide breakfast so participants can replace some of the calories they burn during the run. With the event falling so close to Halloween, participants are encouraged to wear costumes.


The Fun Run was conceived by Thielen and a group of friends who were seeking ways to increase community awareness for Family Promise.  Originally, the goal was to inform the community about Family Promise and its mission. But in short order, it became a significant fundraiser.

Last year’s run raised about $29,000. This year’s event has already surpassed that amount with sponsorships alone. 

Family Promise, which has offices in Honolulu and Wahiawa, provides safe temporary housing for family with children to assist them in in reaching their goals to become self sufficient. It is a national organization and the Oahu affiliate is 11 years old.

Because the organization is powered primarily by volunteers, it has a very low overhead so most of the money raised by the Fun Run goes directly to services for clients.

Family Promise usually serves 4-5 families on the  island at a time. In total, it assists about 100 people a year, most of them children. The organization also has a drop-in center and diversion programs.

Most of the adults served by Family Promise lose housing because they are working 2-3 jobs at a time, but are still unable to provide childcare. The result is that they have to quit one or two of the jobs, and the loss of that income renders them homeless.

Family Promise also provides job training, such as resume writing and financial planing, allowing clients to seek more lucrative jobs in the future.

For more information about Family Promise or to register for this year’s Fun Run:


Photo 1: Participants in the 2018 Family Promise Fun Run approach the finish line.

Photo 2: 2018 Family Promise Fun Run participants pose in flamingo costumes.



Posted in Community Updates
Sept. 30, 2019

My Favorite Moving Tip - Duck Tape!

I came up with a system that helps organize boxes when moving from one location to another! 

I hope it can help you, too!  

Sept. 30, 2019

Windward Aerial Yoga and Pilates: Strengthen, Lengthen, Align and…Fly!

This is the second in a series of two articles about local yoga and pilates offerings.

The Windward side has a diverse selection of venues offering yoga and Pilates classes. And if you’re looking for something new, aerial yoga combines elements of both!

Aerial Yoga

Noe Noe Hawaii

Did you ever wish you could learn to fly? Aerial Arts or Aerial yoga might be the closest you can get (without a plane, of course!).

Aerial yoga allows you to perform the same poses you can do on a yoga mat, but they incorporate a silk hammock that’s suspended from the ceiling as a prop to support you through the various poses. The purpose of the hammock is to help you improve flexibility and strength, while allowing you to do more challenging poses without added pressure on your shoulders, spine or head. Aerial dance provides many of the same benefits.

Chandra Miars opened Noe Noe Hawaii in Kailua in 2018. At this expansive, high-ceilinged venue, Miars teaches classes in aerial yoga, aerial dance, and aerial techniques.

A professional hula and modern dancer who has also studied Pilates, Miars trained in aerial dance in 2005. After falling in love with the art form, she went on to receive a certification in aerial yoga.  

Miars found the perfect location for Noe Noe Hawaii when a family-owned space on Kihapai Street which previously housed a custom engine shop, became available for rent in 2018.

“I was always looking for the perfect space and having grown up in Kailua, and still a resident here, it was a dream to be able to have a space in Kailua to teach and share this love for the aerial arts,” she said.

Miars conceived Noe Noe Hawaii as a health and wellness venue offering performances and event rental for the Windward community. 

“It has fit nicely with a lot of cutting edge ideas for groups to come together and do something totally different and out of the box,” she said.  “Educators, practitioners and instructors, can share workshops with the community or hold classes. It’s great for parties, fundraisers and even business networking gatherings.”

Other teachers also offer workshops at Noe Noe Hawaii and on the last Saturday of every month, Miars hosts an aerial sound bath with music by Lucie Lynch, a singer songwriter musician and sound healing alchemist.

For these events, Miars dims the light and guides visitors on a restorative experience either in the aerial hammocks, which transform into cocoons, or on the mat.

On Instagram: noe_hawaii

Aerial 2


Kailua Pilates and Wellness Center

Kailua Pilates and Wellness Center provides private, semi-private and group classes on a mat or using the Stott Pilates Method. They also offer various massage services such as Deep Tissue, Lomi Lomi, Prenatal, Chinese Cupping, Reiki and sports massage. All can be customized to meet client needs.


Harmony Pilates and Physical Therapy

Harmony Pilates has private and semi-private Pilates mat and equipment classes including Restorative, Prental, Barre and more. This studio also has licensed physical therapists on staff who work with clients, sometimes incorporating Pilates equipment into therapy.


On Balance Pilates

On Balance Pilates owner Lisa Ortego Loya opened the first Pilates studio on Oahu in 1993. Today, On Balance offers private and group mat and equipment classes as well as classes in CoreAlign, Gyrotinic, TRX, Floor-Barre.


Photo 1: An aerial class for children at Noe Noe Hawaii

Photo 2: Participants lie in silk “cocoons” during an aerial sound bath

Sept. 27, 2019

Windward Yoga: Stretch, Renew, Condition, Breathe

If you’re interested in starting or continuing a yoga practice, the Windward side offers a variety of studios featuring diverse class options.

Yoga 1

Yoga instructor Leah Distad opened The Yoga Hut in her bucolic Waimanalo backyard three years ago.

Prior to opening The Yoga Hut, Distad ran her own yoga studio in Kailua from 2008 to 2010 and then taught lessons privately and for other local yoga venues.

Creating The Yoga Hut on her property three years ago seemed the perfect blend that allowed Distad to focus on teaching in the the nature-oriented atmosphere she desired for her students.

The Yoga Hut is a screened in space nestled among lush Waimanalo greenery. Voices of sheep, goats and chickens add to the soundtrack of every class. Distad’s dogs, Peanut Butter and Buddha, greet students with wagging tails and lounge placidly on the studio floor, belly-up, during classes.

“What’s really unique about The Yoga Hut is the setting that it’s in, in a farm/nature/jungle/country kind of setting,” Distad said “So it gives you a better chance to not only have your practice, but to reconnect with the mountains and the trees.”

Distad’s teaching style is organic and she rarely comes to the mat with a plan.

“I totally wing every class because I want to feel the energy in the room, take people’s requests and cater and adapt the class, where I’m not rigidly connected to a plan,” she said.

Distad strives for an atmosphere where people can express any emotion from laughter to tears.

“It is a space where people feel safe to be vulnerable and raw,” Distad said.

In addition to her regular class schedule at The Yoga Hut, Distad can provide classes for special events such as baby showers, bridal showers, or wedding days, on or off her property.

She and her husband, Dodge, recently added catering to their event repertoire and can prepare five course meals for events (with or without yoga instruction) for up to 12 people. All meals are farm to table or locally sourced as much as possible.

The Yoga Hut classes cater to all levels and include Vinyasa, Gentle Yoga, and Yin Yoga .

Yoga 2


CorePower Yoga

CorePower Yoga is a national chain with a studio in Kailua. The venue offers both traditional Vinyasa yoga classes and Yoga Sculpt, which combines free weights with cardio and yoga sequencing to boost metabolism and build lean muscle mass. CorePower also has a teacher training program.


Bella Kai Yoga

Bella Kai Yoga offers Bikram method classes, Barre classes and Yin Yoga classes for all levels.

Bella Kai has a philanthropic focus and has raised more than $10,000 for the Windward-based non-profit Huakailani School for Girls. The studio partners with national non-profit Warriors at Ease, an organization committed to making yoga and meditation relevant, accessible and welcoming for members of the military, veterans and their families. Every Wednesday, the studio offers free yoga classes for active duty, veterans, and their families.


Hot Yoga By The Sea

Hot Yoga By The Sea offers a variety of heated and non-heated classes for all levels including Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, and Mommy and Baby. It also offers workshops and a teacher training program.


Aloha Yoga Kula

Aloha Yoga Kula has two studio locations in Kailua with a variety of classes including Vinyasa Flow, Gentle Yoga, Yoga Basics, Body Sculpting Restorative Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Senior Stretch, various workshops, and a 200-hour teacher training program.


yoga 3


Photo 1: A class at The Yoga Hut in Waimanalo.

Photo 2: Leah Distad poses with some of her students The Yoga Hut in Waimanalo.