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

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

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

Thank you ~ Jill

June 1, 2023

Best Kailua Hawaii Businesses For Self Care!

One of the best ways to show our community some love is by supporting our local businesses in Kailua. We have so many amazing businesses that are the bedrock of our community. Each quarter I try to highlight several of our local businesses in “Go Kailua” magazine. So in this video, I want to share with you a few Kailua businesses where you can practice self-care. If you follow me on social media, you know that I'm a big proponent of shopping locally. When you shop locally you support local businesses who employ local people. So, let's explore a few recommendations when you do a little self-care. 



All Your Hair Needs

If you are in need of care for your hair located right in the Kailua Square area, you have two amazing salons located in one space. Beyond the Mirror/The Fix Kailua provides friendly, personalized service for all of their clients. Gizelland Matt, a highly skilled team of creative professionals, offer high quality hair and spa services that keep their clients feeling fresh and looking great. Have you been putting off a cut, color, refresh or touch up? If so, this is your resource. Please note: it's not just for women. My boys get their haircuts there, too. And, they're located right in the Kailua Square area. So, there's a parking lot with lots of metered parking. You can find out more information about them on Instagram at BTMsalon_ or at The Fix Kailua where they feature a lot of their work. 


Pretty Toes!

Are you embarrassed of those toes showing in your slippers? The crew at Happy Nails Kailua in the Enchanted Lake Shopping Center can help you with those toes. And while you're there, those hands can likely use some pampering, too. You can opt for either the regular or the gel option. And make sure you indulge in their deluxe spa pedicure for an extra special experience. I'm personally a big fan of the hot stone therapy and massage, So, if your nails need a little razzle-dazzle, feel free to visit Scott and his team of nail wizards at Kailua Happy Nails right near Ben Franklin and Boots & Kimo’s.



Do you have unwanted fuzz somewhere that needs to be eliminated? I think we all have some hair we wouldn't mind seeing disappear for around six weeks, right? Simply Summer Waxing offers hair removal services where you can feel comfortable and the space is clean and welcoming. Some of their services can be quite personal, but Summer and her staff make you feel comfortable and at ease at all times. They are also kid and mom friendly. If you need to bring the Littles with you, you can find Simply Summer Waxing above The Source Natural Foods on Kainehe. 


Get the Massage of Your Dreams

Once you get your hair done, your nails manicured and unwanted hair removed, the ultimate indulgence is a trip to the spa. I highly recommend two Kailua spas that offer amazing facials and massage. At Honu You and Lomi Lomi Hana Lima, they not only offer spa services, they each cater to the whole person who desires holistic health and healing.


At Hono You, their mission is to get to know you. They ask a lot of questions and listen to your individual needs in order to deliver the best lasting result with their holistic facials and hapa lomi lomi. Each treatment is personalized to you for what you need to relax and heal. For example, you may receive a massage and have either fascia blasting or cupping incorporated into the service. Their passion, as well as their mission, is to bring wellness into our daily lives. They emphasize this through superior treatment products and education. They also feature organic Eminence and Jan Marini products. You can find Hono You right on Uluniu Street.


Lomi Lomi Hana Lima’s loving intent is to create a restful place for physical and spiritual renewal. Eri and her staff desire that their clients injuries and illnesses be alleviated, and the healing process is expedited. Their soul-soothing treatments include scrubs, lomilomi, massage, and a wide variety of facials. And after any treatment, you can relax in the relaxation tea room. There, they feature Honua Hawaiian skincare. They are located in Kailua square on the second level. 


What Pampering Will You Do?


So, what do you think about my recommendations? Where do you go for self-care in Kailua? We have so many amazing resources! Please make sure to leave your ideas in the comments below, too. We have so many wonderful resources here in Kailua. So, please feel free to post your suggestions in the comments below. And, please make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel or find me on social media @Jillward808. And, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out. I'm Jill Ward and thank you for watching.


Posted in Living On Oahu
April 28, 2023

What's The Cost Of Getting A Trust

Creating a trust can be a valuable way to protect your assets, minimize your tax burden and ensure that your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes. However, setting up a trust can also be a complex and costly process. Hi, I'm Jill Ward and in this blog post, I'm going to share with you some of the costs associated with creating a trust. My interest in trusts came about because I handled trusts and estate real estate transactions here in Hawaii, and as an attorney and a realtor, I understand the importance of placing your assets like your real estate investments into a trust. 


The cost of a trust can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the type of trust you choose, the complexity of your financial situation, and the amount of assets you're placing in the trust. Here are some of the costs you may encounter when you're creating a trust.




Legal Fees

First are the legal fees. Hiring an attorney to draft your trust agreement may be one of the larger expenses associated with creating your trust. Legal fees can range from a few $100 to 1000s of dollars depending on the complexity of your situation. 


Trustee Fees

The second expense is trustee fees. If you choose to appoint a professional trustee, such as a bank or a trust company, you may be charged annually for their services. These fees, like the legal fees, can range from hundreds of dollars to 1000s of dollars per year, depending on the complexity of your personal trust. 


Account Set Up Fees

The third cost with creating your trust account setup fees. If you are setting up a trust account with either a bank or a trust company, you may be charged a one time fee to set up that account. These fees can range from $50 to about $500. 


Management Fees & Financial Planning Fees

The fourth fee you may encounter are investment management fees. If your trust includes investments, you may be charged fees for managing these assets. These fees can range from a small percentage of the assets under management to a flat fee per year. So one of the last fees associated with creating a trust may be for a financial planner or a tax attorney. If your estate is large enough to be subject to estate taxes, you may need to pay additional fees for a financial planner or tax attorney in order to minimize your estate taxes. The cost of a trust can vary greatly, but you can anticipate spending several $1,000. 


Consider Your Options and Costs Before You Start Planning! 

It is important to carefully consider all of the costs associated with creating a trust and to work with an attorney who can help you understand the costs and benefits of different structures of trusts. It's critical to keep in mind that several $1,000 may seem like a steep cost now, however, consider the amount of assets that you hold. Real estate is one of the first assets that comes to mind, you need to ask yourself what is the value of your real property. Now consider the value of your stocks, bonds, insurance policies, LLCs, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and your tangible personal property. The value of your assets is not your only consideration, but ensuring that your family members are taken care of and your wishes are made perfectly clear have great value. 


I hope this blog helped you discover more about the trust process and what you can expect it to cost. Your real estate costs are one of if not the biggest asset in your portfolio. So you want to make sure it's protected and held in a trust. With that being said, reach out to me if you have any questions on this and if you’d like to stay up to date with my videos and blogs, don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel! 

Posted in Living On Oahu
March 9, 2023

The Secret Of A Buy Down

Interest rates have been fluctuating between 5.5% and 7% in the past few months, but did you know that there is a program where you can pay 1 to 2% less over the first two years? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to show you how buying down interest rates can be a win-win for both Buyers and Sellers. We’ll find out his a buydown works so you can see if it’s the right move for you.



How It Works 

Even though interest rates have been fluctuating around 6%, Buyers have a path to negotiate their interest rate to a lower rate for the first two years. This gives Buyers a much lower payment and helps Sellers sell their property in a slightly slower market. Let's discuss how a rate buydown works.

It's just like it sounds: money is put aside to pay one and two interest percentage points over two years. The buyer asks the seller for credit that helps pay down their interest rate for the first two years, and we would write that up as part of your offer. The funds—which are held by escrow—are released so that the buyer saves 2% on their interest rate in the first year and 1% in their second year. 

If you, the Buyer, lock in your interest rate at 6%, you need to be able to qualify at that rate. But that first year, you will be paying 4%, because two percentage points were paid by the seller. This means you'll be paying a rate of 5% that second year via the funds that were set aside. You'll then be paying the full 6% by your third year. 

Benefits For Buyers

The reason that a buydown is an attractive offer for Buyers right now is that it provides a lower interest rate—and therefore a lower payment—for your first two years. In addition, the hope is that rates will go down over the next two years and you can refinance, if that's an option. 

The most important thing is to discuss all of this with your lender. This is because they're the person that can help a Buyer with what they qualify for and what their payments will look like over the next several years. 

Benefits For Sellers

Now that we know about the Buyer, how does this help the Seller? As we discussed, a rate buydown happens when you, the Seller, agree to pay points—or 1 to 2% of the loan amount—to buy down the Buyer's interest rate. This makes your house much more affordable and therefore much more appealing to Buyers. 

In addition, when marketing your home, your property will stand out amongst the other homes listed for sale since you have a more creative and beneficial offering for those Buyers. Additionally, as the seller, you are actually going to net more money by buying down a Buyer's interest rate versus doing a price reduction. This makes it a win-win. 

Understanding The Numbers

Let's give this some context using $1 million, just because it's an easy number. Of course, you can adjust based on your actual price point. Remember, according to our 2-1 buydown scenario, your interest rate was bought down by 2% the first year and 1% the second year.

If you are buying a million-dollar house at an interest rate of 6.5%, the principal plus the interest would cost you about $6,300 a month. If you were able to negotiate to buy down your rate by 2% that first year and you're borrowing $1 million, you're now essentially paying a 4.5% rate. This would take your monthly payment to approximately $5,000 during your first year. 

During your second year, your interest rate is bought down by 1%. This means your monthly payment will be at 5.5%, making your new monthly payment approximately $5,700. The savings would be roughly $23,000 over those first two years. That's a very nice savings for a Buyer! Additionally, this incentive to the Buyer helps the Seller sell his or her property. 

Things To Remember

Please note that unless your loan is refinanced, the rate will return to the original interest rate you locked in at two years ago with your lender. As always, talk to your lender to determine what you qualify for as a Buyer. Also, please remember to ask your lender what your payments are going to look like at the rate you locked in initially. 

This will ensure you're comfortable once you're paying the original rate, in case you're not able to refinance. Of course, there is no guarantee that interest rates are going to go down over the next two years. However, there is a good chance that if rates continue to rise, you will still be in a good place by locking at the rate you have. 

I’m Here To Help

If you have additional questions about rates and loans, contact your lender. If you don't have one, I have several I work with on a regular basis who I'm happy to recommend. If you would like any more information about buying or selling real estate on the island of O'ahu, please feel free to reach out. 

Don't forget to like this video, hit the subscribe button, and find me on all the social media platforms @jillward808. Stay tuned to see what I feature on the next episode of Aloha O'ahu!


Posted in Real Estate Tips
Feb. 27, 2023

2022 Real Estate Market Review

Did your home's value increase or decrease during the last year? In this video, we’re going to take a look back at the 2022 O'ahu real estate market. We’ll break down the numbers and find out what’s ahead for 2023.


The Market In 2022

The O'ahu real estate market in 2022 started off very strong but ended up very slow in terms of market activity. It was an interesting year here in Hawaii. Its strong start was a continuation of the frenetic 2021 market. As interest rates rose during the second half of the year, the market slowed markedly. 

While the interest rates did not necessarily lower our property values, they did result in much lower demand and close transactions. The overall sales were down 16% in 2022 and, as mentioned before, this decrease was driven by the market during the second half of the year.

Single-Family Homes

Let's first discuss single-family homes in Hawaii on the island of O'ahu. The first question everyone asks is the price. The median sales price for single-family homes on the island was $1.1 million. That was roughly just over an 11% increase as compared to 2021. 

Our average days on market was 12 days. This means most properties went into escrow in under two weeks. This is three days longer than it was in 2021. Property sitting for more days on market was felt as the market slowed down. Overall, the number of single-family home sales decreased by 23% over the year, with a total drop of 45% by December. 

Single-family home values continued to rise a little slower than in 2021. However, they still rose overall. Values continue to rise because of our lack of supply. However, properties sat on the market longer, as there was less overall demand by buyers who could afford their loans. This was due to the increasing interest rates. 


Now that you know about single-family homes, what about condominiums? The median sales price for condos was $510,000, which was an increase of 7.4%. This means that the median for condos was less than for single-family homes but was still a significant gain from 2021. 

The actual number of close sales was down just over 10% from 2021. However, there were still 6,000 condos sold on the island in 2022. The lower price point for condos was likely the driver for this difference. Additionally, the average days on market stayed the same as in 2021 at 12 days. That means that almost every single property, both condos and single-family homes, went into escrow in less than two weeks. 

What To Expect In 2023

In 2023, we have some things to think about. Economists are predicting that mortgage rates will remain around 6% throughout most of the year. With no significant increase in inventory, there will still be sales in 2023, though likely low numbers as compared to 2022. 

My prediction is that as long as inventory is limited—and with both local families and those relocating trying to buy—prices will continue to rise, even if only slightly. There is no crash or bursting bubble coming in the near future. 

If you look at the median sales price chart for O'ahu over the course of 30 years, our values have not really declined. Values tend to plateau until the next demand cycle when we do rise again. So if you can get into this market sooner than later and you're planning for the long-term, purchasing is still a good idea. 

Make Your Home On O'ahu

Even with higher interest rates than we saw in 2021, there are still buyers out there shopping and sellers listing their properties. Please reach out and contact me if you are in either position. If you have any additional questions about the current market or you’re thinking about making a move soon, I’d love to connect with you.

As always, thank you for trusting me with your referrals. Until next time, thanks for watching this episode of Aloha O'ahu, my show all about living on the island of O'ahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!


Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 20, 2023

Owning A Home On O'ahu: The Lees' Story

Are you a renter in Hawaii and you're looking to get into the real estate market or buy your first home? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to share how my clients, the Lees, were able to buy their own single-family home. We’ll learn about the steps they took to make it happen and how you can buy a home, too.



Meet The Lees

It's not an automatic move to get into your forever home. Rather, it takes a series of steps to get to the goal of owning your own property. And if you think you are meant to rent forever, you may not after watching this video.

One of the best things I get to do is to watch buyers invest in themselves and their future by investing in property. It is a way to build wealth by building equity in your property. I want to share with you the story of the Lees so that you can see how you can get into your own property.

Today, the Lees own their own single-family home in Makakilo. They are thrilled to have the space that they need for their family in a location that they love. However, prior to owning their own home, the Lees faced a challenge.

Overcoming Obstacles

The Lees’ challenge was the fact they were a “normal” dual-working couple who wanted to purchase their own home on Oahu. So where did they start? Did they start in their single-family home? No, they did not. Being a renter means that you are paying someone else's mortgage, so it's hard to put money away.

Still, you have to start somewhere! Mr. Lee started putting money away little by little. He knew that to get a conventional loan he'd probably need 10% down for his first purchase, so he started saving. Mr. Lee knew that he could not start with a single-family home, but he understood his starter home would probably be a condo.

He saved about $40,000 over time and bought a condo for a little bit less than $400,000 in June 2019. Over the next year and a half, Mr. Lee continually made his payments and started building equity in his condo. In addition, the value of his condo went up over 25% in two years.

Taking The Next Step

The Lees had a child and hoped for more space, so they decided to put their condo up for sale—and it sold for $510,000. Before they listed, I advised them that to buy again, they were going to have to sell their condominium and rent somewhere else temporarily. That way, they could go shopping with cash in hand.

In the interim, they rented a condo in Town until their dream home in their dream neighborhood became available. When that home came on the market, they were able to make an immediate offer with a significant downpayment.

By buying their condo first and letting it appreciate, they were eventually able to buy a single-family home in the Kapolei area. They did not go from renting straight into single-family home ownership. They took the intermediary step of buying that condo and letting that condo appreciate so that they had the funds to buy their single-family home.

From Renter To Homeowner

The main thing here was that my client was able to go from renter to condo owner to single-family homeowner. The process was taking one step at a time, and they took my advice on how to move forward during each step.

Renting in Town was not easy or fun for them, but it is what they needed to do to put themselves in the best position to buy that home. We had quite a few challenges along the way during this transaction. However, with communication, teamwork, and negotiation, it all worked out.

The next time someone tells you you can't be a homeowner, please know that it's still possible. There are special loans and first-time homebuyer programs out there that can help you achieve the goal of getting your own place. While your first property may be a condominium, a few years later you can buy a home.

I’m Here To Help

Remember, you have to start somewhere, just like the Lees. That's exactly what we did. My husband and I started by buying a condo in Kaneohe and eventually moved our way to a single-family home in Kailua.

Just like the Lees and just like me, you could do it, too! It just takes long-term planning—and I'm here to help you with that. If you find yourself or if you know of someone in a similar situation who I can help, please reach out and let me know. I’ll be happy to help however I can.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu, my show all about living here on this beautiful island. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Jan. 8, 2023

All About Assumable VA Loans

Are you eligible for a VA loan and are about to buy or sell a property? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to talk all about assumable VA loans. We’ll look at what it means to assume a loan and why this is a great option for both buyers and sellers.

Assuming VA Loans

We haven't talked about assuming VA mortgages in several years, mainly because the interest rates were so low. However, it's time to talk about VA assumption, whether you're going to be the seller or the buyer.

What does it mean to assume a loan? A buyer assumes a seller's mortgage when the buyer purchases a home and takes over the mortgage of the seller. Essentially, it's a transfer of the loan from the seller to the buyer.

Why would a seller care about a buyer assuming their VA loan? Because it is a great marketing tool for a VA seller to be able to tell a buyer that they can assume their loan—especially if today's mortgage rates are much higher than when the seller originally purchased the property.

Interest Rate Advantages

Let's say a current VA seller locked in their interest rate in August of 2020 at 3%. That was around the time of the lowest interest rates in history. If you are looking to buy when the rates are at 6%, 3% sounds pretty attractive.

The seller can advertise their property for sale and market it by saying that the buyer can assume their 3% loan. That's an attractive offer to buy a home at $800,000 at 0% down. The payment at a 6% interest rate is approximately $4,800. To buy the same home at an $800,000 price point with 0% down at the assumable 3% rate would cost you approximately $3,400. That's a big difference.


Buyers would prefer to buy a home with an assumable mortgage so they can take over that loan with a lot lower interest rate. If you are a VA buyer, you can assume that VA mortgage from the seller and agree to give the VA seller back their eligibility. They can then, in turn, go back and use their benefit on their next purchase.

If you are not a VA buyer, that VA seller would have to tie up their eligibility with you. They would not be able to use their entitlement benefit for as long as you, the buyer, were paying off that mortgage. Using that $800,000 price point as our example, a buyer should note that the seller only has $650,000 left on their mortgage to pay.

When the buyer assumes their mortgage, they will then have to go out and get a second loan for $150,000 to make up that difference. Regardless, having the great majority of your mortgage at that 3% interest rate is a nice perk.

I’m Here To Help

Like most other topics, I can only cover the basics in this video. If you are a VA seller or a VA buyer, let's connect so I can provide you with more information. We will bring our lender into the conversation, as they are the experts in loans. They can help us determine whether your loan is assumable as a seller, or if you're qualified as a buyer.

As with all things, preparation and knowledge are keys to a smooth transaction. Let's get you prepared to sell or buy your home. If you liked this video and would like to receive notifications of new episodes, make sure you subscribe to this channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu.

Remember, I help people both relocate and move on the island. If you have any additional questions or need assistance, please don't hesitate to ask!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Jan. 2, 2023

What Seller Documents YOU Need Before Selling Your Home

Are you going to sell your property and you're wondering which documents are going to be important? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, we’re going to talk about two specific documents you're going to want to have in hand in advance of selling your home. We’ll learn about everything from the acronym “SRPD” to what a prelim is so you’re best prepared for the selling process.


The SRPD is an acronym that stands for “Sellers Real Property Disclosure.” It is a five-plus page document in which the sellers tell the buyer any material facts they know about the property. It’s also required by law.

The sellers disclose everything from general disclosures—like whether a property is in a flood zone—to the utilities and services that are available and their general costs. It will also disclose if the property is part of an association and any improvements that have been made to the property.

Disclosing Property Issues

Often, the “meatiest” section of the SRPD is the defects, repairs, and replacement section of the report. It is here that sellers need to tell the buyers about past and present issues with the property. These include the appliances, foundation, windows and everything in between.

If you replace the refrigerator, great; write that down. If there was a plumbing leak in your kitchen and you had to have that fixed and the cabinet replaced, include that. This is the place where you let the buyer know every little thing you know about the property so that they are informed and it does not come back to bite you later. My advice is to disclose, disclose, disclose everything.

The Preliminary Title Report

Now that we've talked about the SRPD, let's talk about another document I think you should have: the preliminary title report. The good news is that as a seller, there's no form to complete for this. As your Realtor, I will request this document from the title and escrow company.

The preliminary title report—or prelim for short—contains a lot of specific information about the property. The preliminary title report will give you information such as the property's legal description and the history of the property documents that have been filed up to that point. It can describe any easements or access to the property and the terms under which a title policy will be issued.

When I get a copy of a title report, the first thing I look at is how much the seller owes on the property and if there are any liens. I also check for any encroachments on record and, if so, whether there are any encroachment agreements. It will also contain hyperlinks to other relevant documents.

A Smooth Transaction

Why do I advise my clients to have these two documents and other documents in line before we list? As soon as I know that a seller is going to list their house, I start pulling about a dozen or so documents and start compiling information. This is because I do not like real estate surprises!

I want my sellers to be able to go through this process as smoothly as possible. We want to know if any issues need to be resolved—and as many as possible—before we actually go on the market. Neither the buyer nor the seller wants to be in the middle of a transaction and find out that the property cannot be closed on for some reason or another, so it's important to take care of any issues in advance.

I’m Here To Help

I come from the perspective of helping my sellers have the smoothest transaction possible. Part of that is getting our ducks in a row early. So if you have specific questions about getting your home ready to go on the market, please feel free to reach out and ask.

Don't forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu, where I share information on everything O'ahu real estate. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!


Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 12, 2022

All About Real Estate Trusts

Are you wondering what happens if your loved one has a property in a trust? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, we’re going to talk all about real estate trusts. We’ll find out what a trust is, if you should get one for your own assets, and what happens if a family member has one.



What Is A Trust?

First, let’s look at what a real estate trust is. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party or trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in many ways; they specify exactly how and when assets pass to beneficiaries.

To keep it simple, it's a document that states who gets what. The trustee controls the trust for the beneficiaries. Beneficiares are the people who are going to receive the assets in that trust. An example would be a mother, who is the grantor or trustee, for the two beneficiaries who are her children.

How It Works

Let's just say that trust contains a house, some family jewelry, and bank accounts. In the beginning, Mom controls her own trust. However, upon her passing, Auntie Donna takes over. Now Auntie Donna is going to be the one who distributes the assets in that trust on behalf of Mom.

Everything and everyone is defined within the trust. This way, we know who is giving away the assets and who is receiving them. The wishes of the trust maker are put in writing so that their wishes are fulfilled and binding.

Why A Trust Is Important

Why would you ever want a trust? The last thing you ever want to do is have your loved one’s assets go into probate. A trust allows the assets to go to the beneficiaries without having to go through court. If you have to go through probate and the assets go to a court to distribute, you are likely going to have to pay attorneys fees, court fees, and additional taxes.

Many people think that a will is enough protection, but many times it is not. There are benefits to having assets like real estate in a trust. Let's talk about a few.

The Benefits

The first one is the speed of distribution. The beneficiaries are going to receive their inheritance much faster than if it has to go through a probate proceeding. Second, there could be fewer taxes to pay with a trust if the trust is drawn up correctly. The third aspect is control.

The trustee can control who gets what and when. Some examples of this control are that the trustee can say that grandchildren get money towards their college tuition, or they can also stipulate that one of their children does not take any of the inheritance until they turn 25. The other aspect of control is the trustee can control who doesn't take from the trust or how often a person can take from the trust.

Let's say you have a daughter who squandered money in the past. Maybe you state in your trust that she gets paid a certain sum every year versus one lump sum. Or, in the case of a divorce, maybe your child’s spouse gets nothing. Another aspect is you have much more privacy with a trust. In this case, distribution is going to be private and not subject to court proceedings and costs.

If A Loved One Passes

In terms of real estate, what happens if a loved one passes and their home is in a trust? If your loved one passes, and that property is in a trust, it's usually a good thing if you are one of the named beneficiaries. As I mentioned earlier, once a property goes into probate, it could be months or a year before the matter is settled in court.

When a property is held in trust, we can move forward with that sale if that is the wish of the trustee. The trustee can determine the terms of the sale, and the property can actually be closed. The money then goes into a named bank account for the trust.

The proceeds from that sale can go into that trust bank account and the proceeds can be distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust. Sometimes, one family member can buy out the other beneficiaries, and that property can stay in the family.

I’m Here To Help

A trust allows for very clear instructions as to what happens to all of the assets in that trust—including real estate. I have assisted with trust sales in the past and can certainly help you as well. However, if you have specific questions about trusts, wills, and probate, please let me know so I can recommend an attorney for you to discuss your particular issues.

If you liked this video and want to see more about living on O'ahu, please subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 8, 2022

Should You Choose A VA Loan Or Conventional Loan?

Are you thinking about buying a house using a VA loan, but you’re weighing the pros and cons versus a conventional loan? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to break down some of the differences between choosing a VA loan and a conventional loan. We’ll look at the qualifications and advantages of each so you can make the right decision for your situation.

Before we look at the differences between these two loans, please note that I am not a lender. However, I'm happy to refer you to one to discuss your specific circumstances. I speak to my clients about getting loans, in general, so they can make an educated decision about what will get their offer accepted and what will be best for them.


Choosing Your Loan

Buying a house can be confusing, especially when it comes to your financing and determining what kind of loan is the smart choice for you. The major difference between these two loans is that a VA loan is strictly meant for veterans, whereas a conventional loan is open to anyone who qualifies.

If you're a veteran, first of all, thank you for your service. Second, please don't let anyone tell you that a VA loan is a bad product. It's actually one of the best to use in most cases. However, we have to remember that not everyone qualifies for a VA loan. Additionally, VA loans don't apply to all properties.

A conventional loan typically offers the best terms and is best used for borrowers who have a minimum downpayment of 3.5%. However, many borrowers put as much as 10 to 20% down. Remember, the more you can put down, the lower your monthly payment will be. Additionally, closing costs are lower and the rate tends to be competitive.

Conventional loans tend to work best for borrowers with good credit who can put upwards of 5% down. Sellers like accepting offers that are based on conventional loans because they believe that they will close more smoothly.

Who Qualifies

Now let's talk about VA loans. If you're looking up information on VA loans, chances are you're affiliated with the military and may qualify for one. If you have questions about your specific situation, I'm happy to connect you with a lender.

Generally speaking, you will qualify for a VA loan if you serve 90 consecutive days of active duty during wartime or 180 days during peacetime. You’ll also qualify if you served six years in the National Guard or if you’re the spouse of a service member who passed away while serving or suffers from a service-related disability.

There are other cases than the ones I just listed, so always ask a lender if you think you may be eligible.

Rates And Loan Limits

When it comes to rates, VA loans are some of the most competitive rates around. They are also often less than a 30-year conventional loan. Additionally, the credit standards to receive a guaranteed VA loan can be more lax than conventional loans.

As of January 1, 2020, VA loans now have no cap or limit to the amount of money that a vet can borrow. If the VA lender is willing to underwrite such a loan, the VA will insure it. Please remember that every case is different; your lender can speak to you about your specific case.

This Versus That

Let's play a quick game of this-versus-that between VA loans and conventional loans. A VA loan requires no down payment by the lender, whereas a conventional loan needs a certain percentage of the purchase price down. Please keep in mind that with your VA loan, your realtor may advise you that a deposit—even a small one—may be required in the eyes of the seller.

When you're using a VA loan, you must use it for your primary residence. This means you have to live in it. With a conventional loan, you can live in the property, use it for a secondary residence, or even use it for an investment property.

With a VA loan, there is no formal credit score limit or debt-to-income ratio; it will be up to the lender who services a VA loan. With a conventional loan, however, there are firmer limits on your credit score and DTI. There is one twist with VA loans: you will pay for closing costs and the VA funding fee. Alternatively, with conventional loans, you'll only pay closing costs. Please note that the VA funding fee is normally rolled into your monthly mortgage payment.

Which Loan Is Best?

In most cases, VA loans are the way to go. Due to the overwhelming number of pros, we have used my husband's VA eligibility several times. I have enjoyed using the benefit myself. Of course, in some cases, a conventional loan may be the right choice for you, even if you qualify for a VA loan.

Some examples include if the veteran already has their VA eligibility tied up in another property or if they have a generous amount of funds for a downpayment, making the overall costs less by avoiding that VA funding fee. It also could apply if they want more equity in their home right away.

Additionally, in some cases, you cannot use VA loans on certain types of properties. This includes some condominium buildings that have not been approved by the VA, or if the property is not up to VA appraisal standards.

I’m Here To Help

I hope this video answered some of your questions regarding the differences between a VA loan and a conventional loan. Whether you decide to use either loan, it’s never too early to begin getting your financing in line. The truth is the more you prepare in advance, the less stressful it's going to be in the long run.

Regardless of what kind of property you will be purchasing, you will need to decide how to best finance it. Knowing which loan is the most beneficial is the most important part. If you have any additional questions, always feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to help.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu, my channel where we discuss living in Hawaii. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 18, 2022

What Is A Short Sale??

I’m going to explain how to sell your house for less than you owe to avoid foreclosure. I’ll show you how a short sale can allow you to walk away without filing for bankruptcy and with lender forgiveness. So rather than foreclosing, you have two options you can try it first.

Firsts Step

The first step is always to talk to your lender about what options you have for your Oahu property. They may be able to work out different payment options for you before short sales or foreclosures are even part of the discussion. If you are in arrears and cannot work something out with the lender, your next option is to short-sale your property.

What is a short sale?

A short sale occurs when the bank or lender accepts less than what you owe on your property. And the truth is that most times the bank would rather receive the proceeds from a short sale versus going into foreclosure because they lose a lot more money doing that. 



First, you'll avoid that foreclosure from showing up on your credit. Once it appears on your credit, it's extremely damaging, it will likely affect your ability to rent, apply for a credit card, or buy again in the future. A short sale on your credit report is much preferred to a foreclosure. A foreclosure on your credit is much like filing for bankruptcy. Also, once your house goes into foreclosure, there is no guarantee that the bank won't come after you for your past-due payments. This is called a deficiency judgment.



Judgments to give you an idea of what you can expect a lender to require in terms of repayment. When you instead opt for a short sale, you remain in control of the situation. The bank owns the note attached to the title of your property. They dictate what they're willing to accept based on the amount of the debt owed. You are the owner of the record on the property and the one who can accept, reject, entertain or respond to the offers on your property. Once an offer is accepted and then approved by the lender, the transaction proceeds and the realtor is in communication with the lender to get that sale to the closing table. If all goes well, the property is closed  and you the seller will no longer have an obligation. You will sign a form saying that you short-saled your property and often the bank does not attempt to collect any further funds from you. Please know that the lender can forgive the balance or they can try to pursue a deficiency judgment in some cases. They will continue to communicate with you the seller through your realtor. Further, you may have to declare that short sale gain on your taxes but you will have to check with your accountant.



One of the reasons I'm creating this video is because I helped mediate short sales and foreclosures 10 to 15 years ago. If you remember that puts us around 2008. I dealt exclusively with owners who needed to short sale. It was
really hard to watch good people suffer but I was happy to help them get out of a situation in the best way possible. And it was nice to see their relief when it was all over. I want to help people on Oahu avoid foreclosures at all costs. And if possible, let's try to avoid short sales too.

If you think you may be in this situation, please feel free to contact me and I can create a net sheet to let you know if you're underwater and we can come up with a plan.

The good news is you have options. While the circumstances might not be ideal. A short sale is often the best option if the property is worth less than the owner owes on it. I hope this helps you in your current situation. If you have any additional questions you can always feel free to contact me and for more information about real estate or Oahu living please feel free to subscribe to my channel.




Posted in Real Estate Tips