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

Aug. 4, 2022

Should You Hire A Real Estate Professional?

Do you really need to hire a real estate professional to sell your property? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, we’re going to get the answers to three key questions to determine if hiring a realtor is the right move for you. I’ll explain some of your selling options and how to choose the best agent if you decide to work with one.

Selling Your O'ahu Property

When selling your property, have you thought of all of your options and what they can mean to you? You have several options when it comes to who you work with to sell your property; the “who” and the “how” really matter. 

Having all these options typically results in deciding what's most important to you: the price, speed of sale, convenience, or return on your investment. If the property that you are looking to sell is your primary residence, it can be emotional. However, it's essential not to let your emotions take over because this is also a massive business decision. 

Asking The Right Questions

Chances are you've built up a good amount of equity over the years—and most people want to make the most out of that. There are three questions you want to ask yourself before selling your property. First, how soon do I need to sell? Second, do I want to maximize the sales price? And third, how am I going to transition into my next property? 

There is no one size fits all answer when selling a property because everybody's situation differs, as does the property. We're going to look at each of these questions so that you can determine if hiring a realtor is the right move for you. 

The Right Timing

A realtor can be essential for getting quick offers for your property—but you also want the right offers. A savvy realtor knows how to make sure that your property is ready to sell quickly and correctly. As a realtor, I work with my clients to ensure their home is ready to be put on the market before we actually place it on the market. 

This can include making needed repairs to the property and possibly providing staging to make that home shine. Recently, I had a former colleague call me because the realtor that he was using didn't put the property on the market when he said he would. I was called on Monday, visited the property on Tuesday, staged it on Thursday, and shot photos on Friday. 

We showed the property over the weekend and, even with all that speed, we received a record-breaking offer. Ideally, we would like more time than that to prepare to get your home on the market. But we want to make deliberate staging and photography decisions to put your property on the market in the best possible light. If needed, we can do it quickly. 

The Right Price

Even more important than timing, an experienced realtor will be able to help you determine the right price for your home. This is often the most critical step in moving your home quickly. If you price it too high, you might scare away some buyers and have your home sitting on the market for a longer period of time. If you price it too low, you might not have the funds you need for your next home. 

The right price will bring in potential buyers and get them competing against each other for your benefit. An experienced realtor knows how to analyze the market in your neighborhood as well as the trends to determine the right list price and maximize your return. If you're living in your primary residence—and this is the home you're about to sell—you are going to need someplace else to live. 

A vast majority of sellers don't have the ability to purchase a new home without using the profits from their current home. Often, you're going to be looking to purchase your next property contingent upon the sale of your current one. Another option is that you can sell the property, rent for a short while, and have your cash in hand. This way, you’ll be ready to pounce when that right house is put on the market. 



Choosing The Right Realtor

There are several other alternatives that we can talk about if it fits your situation. An experienced realtor can help you with this complicated process in several different ways. The most important goal of the process is to ensure that your sale gets from the contract to the closing table. 

There are many steps along the way, and navigating often complex situations and issues that arrive (most of which are very unexpected) is where your realtor really shows her value. No real estate transaction is the same, but an experienced realtor has likely seen some of the issues that can come up. A good realtor is like your insurance policy during the transaction.

In addition, a good realtor will have the background to work with you and the buyers to get your home sold. They’ll also be able to help with the transition and assist you with getting set up for your move into your next dream property. 

Beginning The Journey

The home selling journey begins by taking the first step of analyzing your property's value and exploring your selling options. Whether you plan on selling within the next three months or the next year, the earlier you plan, the more options you will have. 


Please feel free to contact me and we can talk about your specific situation and start exploring your options. You can also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu, my show where we talk about all aspects of real estate on the island of O'ahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
May 26, 2022

4 Small Home Improvements To Make Before Selling Your Home

Are you listing your home for sale and want to make sure you get every dollar out of it? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to give you four small home improvements you can do on your own without breaking the bank or having to be too handy. We’ll discover how these simple tips will allow you to sell your house faster and for more money.

Why It Matters

Listing your home for sale can be a stressful process. What's even more stressful, however, is wondering if you're going to get every dollar out of it. The truth is how your home shows is everything when you are looking to sell. The better it shows, the more money someone will pay for it and the less time it stays on the market.

If you're thinking about selling your home in the next six months, follow these four tips to help you sell it faster and for more money. If you want someone to fall in love with your home in the same way you did, it has to both look and feel good. If you follow my advice, your home will show much better and sell faster.

Basics Home Improvements

The first thing you’ll want to address is deferred maintenance. Hire a handyman who can fix all of the little things you have not had a chance to get to because life is just too busy. Second, brighten up your home. Try to get rid of all those dark and dreary colors.

Remove big pieces of furniture and make sure all your light bulbs are lit. Use sheers instead of heavy drapes and open your blinds. Light and light colors are your friends. Third, you want to do a deep clean. Call a professional cleaning company if you can, and they will come in and help clean the things that we (yes, I am guilty of it too) don't normally pay attention to or see.

This includes things like the baseboards, the light fixtures, screens, jalousies, and all of those things that we just don't have time to get to. Call on the professionals and let them come in and do a deep clean. Fourth is curb appeal. The exterior of your home provides a first impression, so make sure you clean up the yard.

You can plant shrubs in spaces that are blank currently. Don’t forget to add something happy like potted plants and ferns or big palms right around your front door to make it more appealing as people enter.

New Hardware

In addition to those four basics, I'm going to provide you with a few more ideas as well. Improvement number one is an inexpensive fix: change your hardware. Nobody likes to grab old handles on the doors of your drawers or on your cabinets.

Make sure you replace them with something a little more current and in style, as buyers do not want grandma's house. You can easily go to Home Depot, City Mill, or Hardware Hawaii on a Sunday, grab new cabinet pulls, and have new hardware installed by Sunday night.

Fresh Paint

I may sound like a broken record, but I always talk about improvement number two: fresh paint. Just because you like the color purple doesn't mean everybody else does. Part of selling your house is allowing buyers to fall in love with it, so the goal is to neutralize your home.

I am not a believer in stark white. Rather, I believe in picking more white tones that match the flooring and feel of your house. Find that cool white or warm white that helps create a harmonious balance in your home.

A buyer's first impression is everything, and you don't want the first thing they see to be a dingy eyesore. Instead, it's highly recommended that you paint your home in more neutral colors so that buyers can picture themselves in the house with their family pictures on the wall.

Updating Your Kitchen

The third improvement is the kitchen—or at least the appliances. The kitchen is your most expensive room in the house, but it's also the most lived-in. It is the thing that gives you the largest return on your investment. If you can only invest in one thing in the kitchen, invest in the appliances.

One of the biggest turn-offs for a buyer is when they open up the stove and see years of burnt-on food stuck to the bottom of it. And by the way, the sides of it have probably rusted over the years. Buyers also don't like opening a dishwasher and getting a mildewy smell, either. People tend to want to start their new life in their new home with new appliances.

Not only that, but new appliances will make your kitchen stand out and be more attractive when you're showing your home. You also have the opportunity to use these new appliances in your marketing strategy. When you list your home, you can market the home in two ways. One, you're giving cost savings to the new buyers by giving them greener appliances that are likely more efficient. Also, the new buyer doesn't have to replace the appliances when they move in.

Bathroom Fixes

Improvement number four has to do with your bathroom. Much like your kitchen, the bathroom can be a huge turnoff for buyers if they find it in a less than appealing state. When in doubt, replace the toilet, as it's not very expensive. You can also easily replace a vanity and maybe even the flooring since the square footage of a bathroom is usually not that large.

Please keep in mind that bathrooms are huge for resale. No one wants to clean themselves in a space that feels unclean. The better the condition your bathrooms are in, the better your property will show.

Getting Top Dollar On Your Sale

Whether you're selling your property or you're just looking for a few home improvement ideas, I hope this video helped you realize there are some really important upgrades you can do that are fairly simple and inexpensive. Obviously, you can then take that to another level.

If you need some additional help in determining what specific items might be needed for your home, just reach out and ask or put it in the comments below. You can also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu, my show all about living on the island.

If you have other ideas for small home improvement projects that people could make in their homes, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. I’ll see you in the next episode!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
May 26, 2022

Is Inflation Affecting Your Property Value?

Have you been wondering how inflation is affecting your property value? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to share some insights on what inflation means to property values here on the island of O'ahu.  We’ll talk about everything from home prices to supply and demand and see if a future market crash is coming.



Asking Questions

When it comes to inflation, people have a lot of questions. Is inflation affecting my property value? Is right now a good time to buy a house? Is now a good time to try to upscale or downscale? Is a house a good investment against inflation? Should I cash out now, or should I hold on to my property? Does this mean a crash is coming? Let's go through a few things you may want to know.

Inflation And Property Value

The first question is how is inflation affecting home prices here on O'ahu? O'ahu is seeing the effects of inflation just like the rest of the country. Home prices and other costs have been rising over the last year, so right now, things may seem to be slowing down a little.

As we have seen interest rates rise quickly, you would expect to see a slowdown or a decrease in home prices—but that's not the case here on O'ahu. We are driven more by supply and demand. There are a large number of buyers right now looking for homes, and we continue to not have enough inventory. This supply and demand effect has continued to increase home values, even as our interest rates go up.

The trend does not appear to be slowing down and is expected to continue through at least the end of 2022—if not a five-year projection out. Inflationary pressures are keeping home values rising, but they are highly influenced by the lack of available properties compared to the number of buyers on the island of O'ahu.

Should You Buy?

So, is right now a good time to buy a house? This is a complex question. While interest rates are significantly higher than they were just a couple of months ago, prices and values continue to go up. Values are still outpacing the interest rates, so people are trying to get into the market as fast as they can.

While you need to look at your individual situation, if the right home is available now, it may be the right time for you to buy. If interest rates continue to go up and you got into the market where they are now. you can always refinance later if they go back down again.

Is buying or owning a home a safe investment against inflation?

The answer to that is a resounding yes. Homeownership is a hedge against inflation. As prices and rents continue to rise, mortgages and mortgage payments will continue to remain the same—if you don't have an “ARM” loan. But that's another story for another day.

None of the experts that I've read or heard from are projecting depreciation in home values anytime within the next five years.

Cashing Out?

If you have a property, you may be asking yourself if you should hold on to it or if you should cash out. This really depends on your personal situation and what you're looking for in your next property. Values are expected to continue to appreciate—just maybe not at the same rate that we've seen over the last year or two.

If you decide to sell, make sure that you have a solid plan in place for finding that next property to live in before you decide to sell. If you have an investment property, you're going to need to look at the long game. Values are expected to continue to increase over the next five years, just not as much and as quickly as we've seen over the past two.

Are we predicting a Crash?

The question I get often—and the thing that everybody wants to talk about—is if there is a crash coming. The answer is likely no. Here on O'ahu, even during the 2008 housing crash, home prices did not decrease much. Additionally, much of it was dependent on where the property was located on the island.

While values plateaued for a period, they never significantly decreased. The reason they never significantly decreased was because of our limited inventory and lack of available land. You have to be able to build new homes at a significant rate to fill that demand. For a crash, we would need this demand to disappear quickly. We don't see that coming anytime soon.

I’m Here To Help

As inflation rises, the market is continuing to become more complex. Make sure you partner with a real estate professional who can navigate you through these complexities. If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out so that we can discuss your specific situation.

For more information, be sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu, my show all about living on the island of O'ahu. Until next time!

Feb. 23, 2022

Should You Choose A Post And Pier Or Slab Foundation?

Are you wondering if you should buy a home with a post and pier or a slab foundation? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, we’re going to talk about the two most common house foundation types so you can choose the right one for you. We’ll look at the benefits of each and find out which option I prefer over the other.


The Post and 'Pier Foundation

There are two types of foundations commonly found on O'ahu. The first foundation style that is prevalent across the island is the post and pier design. Just like the name suggests, a post and pier foundation home is raised anywhere from three or more feet off the ground on posts. Those posts rest on the pier, and that pier then rests on a concrete block footing—sometimes known as a tofu block.

Over the years, building codes have changed. Older homes can be retrofitted so that they are anchored more securely than they used to be. You may ask, ‘Why would you want to build this way instead of just laying a concrete slab and putting a house on top of it?’ 

Building On Uneven Terrain

One reason that post and pier home building was and is still popular is that it can be more easily built on uneven ground. In order to lay concrete slab, the ground must be level. On some parts of the island—especially those with more rocky terrain or sloped areas—laying a slab is very difficult to do. This means the post and pier design makes more sense. 

A post and pier foundation allows you to have a home with different length posts underneath if you are on a slope. Even if your terrain is flat, post and pier homes are easier to build. Also, there are some benefits that you do not get with a concrete slab foundation. 

Making Repairs

When you build a home a few feet above the ground, a primary benefit is the ease of repairs on a post and pier home. On this type of home, electrical and plumbing run below the home where it can be easily reached from underneath. If you have a main pipe that's leaking underneath your house, the plumber can crawl in underneath, diagnose the problem, and repair it much more easily. 

For a home built on a concrete slab, plumbing and electrical repairs often require breaking into the foundation or the walls to make the repairs. This drives up the time to find the problems and increases the cost of repairs. Personally, I like the idea of having peace of mind knowing that on a post and pier home, someone can quickly and easily reach a problem area in an emergency.

Cool And Dry

Another great benefit is that post and pier homes are naturally cooler. We rely on the trade winds to assist in naturally cooling our homes with a post and pier home. The wind goes below the living areas, which also assists in cooling the home. The increased airflow also helps to reduce mold that can be of concern in our tropical environment. 

In our tropical climate here on O'ahu, we do have to worry about rain and potential flooding. A well-designed post and pier home definitely outperforms a slab home when there are heavy rains. While it will not prevent flooding in your home, it is much more difficult to flood when you are several feet off the ground. 

When Concrete Slabs Are better

While I've tried to lay out several benefits of the post and pier design, it may not always be the right answer. Depending on how the house is built, a post and pier home may not be able to handle some heavier wall types. Many post and pier homes are made with single-wall construction, so if you want a more traditional mainland-style home with double-wall construction, then a concrete slab might be right for you.

 There are definitely parts of the island where a concrete slab makes sense. When building posts and pier homes in the past, it was an economical way to build homes, and minimal concrete was needed. Now with current building codes, more concrete is required—which has greater economic and environmental costs. 

Choosing Your Home’s Foundation

If you're going to buy a home or you already live in a home that has a post and pier foundation, there are many perks to enjoy—including its classic feel. If you have any additional questions about different styles of homes here on O'ahu, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. 


If you liked this video and want to receive more like this one, please make sure you subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Jan. 2, 2022

When Is The Best Time To Sell Your Home On O'ahu?

Are you thinking about selling your property but you just don't know if now is the right time? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to walk you through the pros and cons of selling your property throughout the year on the island of O'ahu. We’ll look at all the factors so you can decide the best time that works for you.



When Should You Sell?

One of the questions I get asked all the time—especially in this crazy market—is when the best time is to sell a property on the island of O'ahu. The truth is that there really isn't a right answer—but you’ll have to decide for yourself once you know all of the factors. A lot of it will depend on your unique situation.

For example, people may want to move while the kids are on break from school. The start of the school year is extremely important to take into consideration for many potential buyers. That means people who want to move during school breaks will shop in May to close the property in June and July—or November for closing in December.

Another example is military buyers. Prime permanent change of station (PCS) season is over the summer. That may be a great time to put your home on the market, depending on the market you're in. Let's walk through the year here on O'ahu and lay it all out for you so you can decide.


Winter is a good time to sell your property. Unlike many parts of the mainland, winter weather on O'ahu is very mild, so it doesn’t hamper a buyer’s ability to physically move during that time of year. However, some buyers and sellers may not want to physically move over the holidays.

Working your closing around the holidays is a good point for negotiation, especially because it's still a good time for you to sell.


Summer is the best time to sell your property on Oahu, as you’ll have the natural advantage of allowing buyers to move in between school years. This could be a major plus for buyers with school-aged children who may have to shift schools with a move.

Another benefit of the summer is that it's usually the peak time of year for our military PCS moves. This means your volume of potential buyers may be higher. We tend to see the most real estate transactions throughout the summer.

Spring And Fall

Now that you know about winter and summer, what about fall and spring? Because we do not face weather issues during either of those times of the year, both spring and fall offer great opportunities for selling. There are still plenty of people who are looking for homes during these seasons, especially because not everyone has concerns about children and the school year, and there are plenty of people who move locally, so this is not a factor.

Remember, there are so many circumstances to consider. People who relocate on-island who already own property may have changes in their personal circumstances. I saw a lot of older people move into condominiums this past year after selling their single-family homes, as they decided it was too much work for them to upkeep.

People change jobs at all times of the year, and renters’ leases expire at all times of the year as well. I actually advise buyers to look during the fall and spring because there’s slightly less buyer competition during these times. However, there certainly is still demand. Unlike some other markets—especially those we see on the Mainland—there is no reason not to sell during the fall and the spring.


Do What Works Best for You!

Everyone has unique circumstances when it comes to selling their property. Whether it be family, timing, or moving, many circumstances come into play. My advice is to do what works best for you. The key is going to be to prepare your property as best you can and price it correctly. If you do so, it will sell regardless of the time of year.

I hope this provided you with some insight into things to think about if you're considering selling. If you have any additional questions about selling your home on the island of O'ahu or anything else, please do not hesitate to ask.

Make sure you also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O'ahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Dec. 22, 2021

Shop Local In Kailua With These 3 Holiday Gift Ideas

Do your friends and family have everything they need already and you’re having trouble coming up with gift ideas? In this episode of Aloha O’ahu, I’m going to share my top three gift ideas for your friends and family this Holiday Season. I’ll show you where you can shop local in Kailua while putting the perfect present under the tree.



Shopping Local

If you’re struggling to come up with a gift idea or the recipient already has everything, don’t worry. I'm a big proponent of shopping local, and our island has everything you’d need for that special someone. When you shop local, you support the local business owners who employ local people.

In addition, shopping local is more environmentally friendly. Finally, Jeff Bezos doesn't need any more money. So check out these three gift ideas, and feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below. While these are Christmas gift ideas, they can work any time of the year.

Baked Goods

My first gift idea is for baked goods—unless the person you are giving a gift to is gluten intolerant. Food is always a great gift, and two places immediately come to mind.

One is Bits & Bites Cafe on Kuulei Road. They have the best scones in flavors like coconut, lilikoi, chocolate chip, blueberry, and more. You name it, they have it. While they’re all delicious, my personal favorite just happens to be coconut.

The second place that comes to mind is Mother Bake Shop on Hekili Street. Stop in for anything from pies to danishes. You can also try a cruffin, the shop’s specialty. It’s a delicious croissant crossed with a muffin.


The second gift I’d suggest is a plant. During the Holidays, people love to get poinsettias. You can even stick with the red color and get them something different, such as an Anthurium, which can last all year long. Or, just pick a plant you think a person will love and decorate the pot. The gift of a plant can be appreciated throughout the year, and you're beautifying and helping the environment.

Koolau Farmers on Kailua Road is located right as you are coming into town. In addition to offering beautiful poinsettias, they have a wide variety of plants—including Anthuriums. You can also visit the Picket Fence Florist on Hekili Street, where you can find a beautiful selection of decorated and ready-to-go plants as well as floral arrangements. Plants are a great way to go for the holidays.

For The Dog-Lover

The third gift idea I have is for the dog lover in your life. If your gift recipient has a  dog, there may be a perfectly great opportunity for you to share gifts with them that have to do with their best friend. Located right in town near Mexico Lindo and Lanikai Juice is Dogtown bakery.

They specialize in homemade baked goods, treats, cakes, and pastries for dogs—all with your dog's health in mind. They also have cute accessories and toys. Also on Hekili Street is Calvin and Susie's, known for carrying premium pet foods as well as fun accessories to dress up your favorite canine. It’s a great way to provide a gift to someone you love through their dog.

Giving The Perfect Gift

I hope this gave you some great gift ideas that also support local businesses. Of course, if you don't like any of these suggestions, you can always give the gift of a restaurant gift card. Your recipient can enjoy a lovely meal out or even take it to go if they'd rather eat at home. They will appreciate the thought and will also appreciate not having to cook—and you’re still shopping local.

There are so many ways to give a fun and unique gift while still supporting our local businesses. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with my top three ideas? Please feel free to comment below and share your ideas, too. If you have any questions about the local real estate market, I'm always happy to help. Make sure to reach out to me or follow my social media channels for more information!

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha O’ahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next, and have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Posted in Living On Oahu
Nov. 16, 2021

Why Staging Your Home Matters When It's Time To Sell

Did you know that staged homes sell for an average of 6% above asking price and sell in half the time? In this episode of Aloha O’ahu, I’m going to show you why staging matters when selling your home. I’ll explain how to get your house ready to list on the market and show so you can make Buyers fall in love with it.


Making A Good Impression

One of the most annoying—and one of the most important—things about selling your house is getting it ready to list it on the market and show. While you may think that vase from the 80s looks great in your living room, I'm sorry to tell you that it needs to go. If you want to squeeze every dollar out of your home sale, you need to make it look not just average, but fabulous.

The idea here is really simple. You want to make potential Buyers fall in love with your home the same way that you did. Buying a new home is an emotional decision for someone to make, and most people don't wake up one day and plan on buying a new house. They plan on it for months, sometimes even years. Because it is such an important purchase, most people want to make that investment in a place that they fall in love with.

How your house looks really matters. When anyone is falling in love with anything, they'll do it based on a first impression. First, you have to neutralize your house so that Buyers can picture themselves living there, not how you live there. You start this process by depersonalizing and decluttering. Next, you stage.

The Most Important Rooms to Stage

Houses that are staged sell faster and for more money because staging allows people to visualize how they will be living there. Staging is a visual process, so let's visualize.

The most important room to stage in your house is the family room. This is usually a large, comfortable space where family and friends gather. Staging will help potential Buyers visualize how they will spend time in the space relaxing and socializing with their friends and family.

The next room to stage that's going to provide the best return is your kitchen. Think of how much time you spend in the kitchen. For me, it's not only a place to cook but a place to talk. Whether it’s a story about the day or going over the kids’ homework, we tend to use the kitchen to come together and spend other quality time.

The next room I would recommend staging is the primary bedroom. The first question I always get from Buyers is, “Will all of my bedroom furniture fit here?” Your buyer needs to be able to envision their own furniture in that space to imagine getting a good night's rest.

Staging Costs

Now I know what you're all thinking: that sounds great, but how much is it going to cost me? The cost of staging will differ based on the size of the property and the number of rooms that need to be staged. Realistically, we're looking at around $5,000 for an average-sized home, and it goes up from there.

The real question you should be asking yourself when thinking about selling your home is not how much the staging is going to cost. Rather, it’s what will provide the best return on investment? If I could spend $10,000 to sell quickly and make an extra $100,000, I would take that deal. Spending a few thousand dollars early may convert into tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars later.

Selling For Top Dollar

I hope this video gave you some insight into why staging really matters. Not only will you sell faster, but you’ll also get the most money for your investment. If you have any questions about staging or selling your property, please feel free to reach out and ask. I’ll be happy to help!

Don't forget to subscribe to my channel to find out more information about living and real estate on the island of O’ahu. Stay tuned to the next episode of Aloha O’ahu to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 4, 2021

Four Home Renovations That Will NOT Increase The Value Of Your Home

Are you thinking of putting money into your home to get a better return on investment when you sell? In this video, I’m going to share four home renovations that will not increase the value of your home. We’ll look at some specific examples so you can use your money wisely and get the best profit on your sale.



Your Return On Investment

Many people tend to think that if you put x number of dollars into your home, you're going to get a good return on it. We call that your return on investment. However, that's not how it really works.

There are items that most buyers expect to be in working order that will not increase your home's value, regardless of how up-to-date it is. Just because you update something in your home does not mean you will get a return on it. I'm going to show you a couple of examples of exactly what I mean so you can invest in what really matters.

Air Conditioning

The first improvement you shouldn’t make is on your A/C unit. Nobody cares if you have the latest model of the FreezeMaster 5000. They just care that it's working.

Additionally, not every home on Oahu has air conditioning. If your home does, simply updating the unit will not necessarily increase the value of your home by a substantial amount. Your buyer is already excited that there's an air conditioning unit in the home.

One caveat to this is if you do install air conditioning in a home that did not previously have it. It may be a nice selling point that will help your home sell more quickly. However, know that there's still no guarantee that you will make a positive return on investment.

The Roof

The second improvement you shouldn’t make is on your roof. If you were buying a house, you would expect the roof not to leak, right? That's exactly what all buyers expect. Just because you put on the latest and greatest roofing does not mean you're going to get an ROI on it.

Don't get me wrong: buyers will certainly appreciate it. However, that's not what is going to sell the house. The majority of buyers just want to make sure that the roof is in good condition and they're not going to have to worry about it for the next few years. Nobody's going to pay a premium for your newest shingles improvement.

Main Mechanical Systems

Next is your main mechanical systems. Updating your electrical, plumbing, or major home mechanical systems is something a buyer is going to want—but not necessarily something they will expect. One example is an EV. Having an electrical vehicle plug is definitely a bonus, but it's not a necessity. Many buyer clients don't mind adding an extra outlet after closing as long as there's enough amperage in the system for them to install it.

Plumbing and electric will be checked thoroughly during the home inspection. The inspector and the buyer are just looking to make sure there are no major mechanical or electrical issues. Some things I frequently see include double-tap breakers, outlets that are not grounded, and not ideal plumbing underneath sinks.

If there are issues, you will likely have to pay to get them fixed. However, don't expect to get any positive return on these repairs or improvements.


The last improvement you shouldn’t make is windows. Everyone loves windows. If yours are super old and not functioning, you may want to replace them. If not, most buyers only care that they are in working order.

For example, if I were to replace all the windows on a typical single-family home, it would likely cost over $50,000. That means I would need to sell my home for $50,000 more in order to make that replacement make sense. To be honest with you, you're better off selling your property in as-is condition, letting the new owners determine if they would like to replace the windows. They can then choose what style and materials they would like to use.

Getting The Most For Your Home Sale

I hope this helped you understand the four home improvements not to make when selling your home. Keep in mind that when you put money into your property, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get it back during the sale. Instead, you need to know where to invest money in your home to get the best ROI—in places like the kitchen and bathrooms.

If you need some additional help in determining what your sales price would be with improvements, I'd be happy to talk to you about this. I can point out which areas would create the largest ROI and which ones you should probably stay away from. Feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be glad to connect!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show, all about living on the island of Oahu. Stay tuned to see what helpful hints I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Sept. 14, 2021

Fee Simple VS Leasehold Properties On O'ahu

Did you know that on Hawaii you can buy a house but not actually own the land it sits on? In this episode of Aloha O’ahu, I’m going to explain the difference between leasehold and fee simple properties here on Hawaii. I’ll show you some of the unique concepts of moving to the island so you know exactly what to expect.



Buying Property On O’ahu

If you're thinking about buying property on O’ahu, there are going to be some things that might be new to you. One of the unique aspects is learning about a concept that is more common in several states, including Florida, New York, and Hawaii.

I get calls from clients sometimes, and they're very excited about the deal they just saw on the internet, wanting more information. When I hear the word ‘deal,’ I already know they likely came across a leasehold property. A leasehold property means you own the structure attached to the land, but you don't own the land itself.

This means that you could find a plot of land with a house on it. You would own the house, but you do not own the land that it sits on. So when you're looking on the internet at property types, you want to see ‘LH’ or ‘FSLH’—which signifies leasehold.

Leasehold Versus Fee Simple

When you see an ‘LH’ or leasehold on a listing, it often results in a lower price point for the area. However, you have to know that with this type of property, you do not have ownership or full control of that property. When you buy a leasehold, a lease can be for 10, 20, or 40 more years. At the end of that term, there are two options.

First, a new lease can be negotiated at the end of that term. You may have to pay additional money to renew that lease. If a new lease is not offered or you cannot come to any kind of an agreement, that land reverts back to the person or the business that owns the leasehold. They usually keep whatever improvements were made to the land—and that could mean your house.

On the other hand, you can own property that’s fee simple. This means you own both the property as well as the land underneath it. When you buy and sell a fee simple property, any structures on the land are included in the purchase. Let me give you a basic example.

There is a building in town called the Executive Center. You can buy a condo in the Executive Center for as little as $60,000—but you will only own it in leasehold in this particular building. You can also find condos you can buy in fee simple for $350,000, where the leasehold owners in the building have the option to buy the fee. This means you can have buildings that are all leasehold, all fee simple, or some that are mixed. Just make sure you know which ones you are considering.

How It Started And Where It’s At

Leasehold ownership started here in Hawaii in the mid-1800s. Many parcels of land were sold to and managed by a trust that then leased out the land. Often, these leases were granted for extended periods of time—many for 99 years.

After that time, the lease could then be renewed or the property could be converted to fee simple. Over the years, many of the leasehold properties on O’ahu have been converted to fee simple. Today, approximately 2% of single-family homes and 10% of condominiums remain as leaseholds. The primary attraction to buy leasehold real estate is usually that it has a much lower price.

However, if you're going to apply for a loan, depending on the length of the lease that's remaining, you may not be able to find financing for that property. For example, if the lease has less than 30 years remaining, you will not be eligible for a traditional 30-year mortgage. But don't worry; we will work with your lender if you decide to purchase a leasehold property.

If you're looking for your primary home, you may want to focus on fee simple properties. But if you're an investor, a leasehold might be an option for you.

Making O’ahu Your Home

I hope this gave you some idea of the differences between leasehold and fee simple properties in Hawaii and why it matters. There is some inherent uncertainty when you own a leasehold, and you can't have full control over your property. However, at this point, the vast majority of properties on O’ahu are fee simple properties. With fee simple, you have many more options and less uncertainty.


If you have any questions about the island of O’ahu or real estate in general, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. Don't forget to subscribe to my channel for more information on living on the island of O’ahu, and stay tuned to the next episode of Aloha O’ahu to see what I feature next!

Sept. 3, 2021

How To Leverage Your Home Inspection When Making An Offer

Did you know that you can use a home inspection to negotiate your offer? In this episode of Aloha O'ahu, I’m going to show you how to use your home inspection as a negotiation element. We’ll look at some key strategies to help you make a wise investment when buying your dream home.



Why Home Inspections Are Important

If you're in the residential real estate market, conducting a home inspection is just part of the process. It allows the Buyer to learn more about the condition of the property they are purchasing. Buying a house can be super exciting, but it’s also very emotionally driven. Additionally, the average amount of time a buyer spends in a house is less than 15 to 30 minutes before they decide to buy it.

In that short time, a buyer can quickly see how their family's lifestyle will work in the home. However, most people cannot determine the actual condition of the home during that time. There are elements you cannot or do not see when you are shopping, such as structure, the roof, plumbing, electricity, etc. This is because some aspects of a home are not readily apparent.

For these reasons, it's customary for a buyer to get a home inspection after their offer has been accepted. I'm always happy to talk to my clients about the actual process of the home inspection, but today we're going to talk today about how you can use it as a negotiation tool. In a very tight inventory market like we have now, details like this count.

Using Inspections In Negotiations

Right now, we are still very much in a Seller's market. In a more balanced market or a Buyer’s market, you would conduct a home inspection to find out what issues the home may have. These can range from simple things like changing on an electrical socket to more serious things like a leaking pipe.

The first way you can use your home inspection during a purchase contract negotiation is to strategically decide which items you discover that you want to ask the sellers to fix or give you a credit for. In a tight market, we need to be careful which terms we decide are important enough to ask to have fixed right now, as it seems like there's always a backup offer in play. You may not want the seller to move on to that next offer if you ask for too many costly repairs. When you prioritize your requests, it really makes a difference.

The second way in which a home inspection can become an essential part of your offer is by using it for informational purposes only. When you're writing the offer as the buyer, you can include that you will conduct the home inspection and will move forward with the transaction in as-is condition; you're not going to negotiate for any repairs to be done.

Essentially, your inspection will be a “go” or “no-go” for moving forward in purchasing the property. You're either all in already knowing what repairs need to be made, or you're out and you'll let the seller move on to the next buyer. This strategy has the benefit of telling the seller that you're not going to argue over minor repairs, which will then strengthen your offer in the eyes of the seller.

Waiving An Inspection

The third way you can use your home inspection as a negotiation tactic is by not conducting the inspection at all. In this offer, we would write that the buyer is waiving their right to a home inspection. This strategy tells the seller that you are so interested in this property that you are ready to move forward regardless of what conditions exist that you may have to deal with after closing.

This option is very risky in terms of not knowing the issues that lie in the house. But if a buyer wants the property bad enough, they'll take that chance. The buyer can always conduct a home inspection after they own the property to get a thorough look at all the aspects of the home. However, the buyer must be confident that they are willing to handle any issues, including structural, when they use this strategy.

Getting Your Offer Accepted

I hope this gives you a new perspective on how home inspections are an integral part of the real estate negotiation. As the Buyer, you have choices to make in terms of your comfort level and what level of risk you are willing to take. In real estate, sometimes it helps to create choices and think outside of the box when making an offer.


If you ever have any questions that are not covered here, please always feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to connect with you. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha Oahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips