Aloha!

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

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
July 3, 2021

The Importance Of Market Time And Positioning In Your Home Sale

Did you know that you don’t get top dollar on your home sale by pricing it too high? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I’m going to show you the importance of market time and positioning when selling your home. I’ll explain everything from strategic pricing to social media advertising so you can get the most money for your sale.

 

The Importance Of Positioning

A common conversation I have when listing a property with sellers is that they want to test the market. Their idea is to start their listings at a higher price, often above market value. However, this can actually hurt you. If you want to sell your home for top dollar, pricing high is not how you do it. Instead, you do it by pricing it strategically.

When we sell a property, we need to properly position it for the most ideal buyer for your home. There are several ways we can do this. For example, when you go to a store and buy something on the shelf, you take into account its packaging, its pricing, and the current sale offer. It's no different in real estate. People who are shopping for a home are going to do the same thing.

Potential buyers want to make sure the house looks good, that it's well maintained, and it’s priced correctly. They also want to be sure it's not listed for more than it's worth. Remember, the market will determine its value.

The most important part of marketing your home for sale is the way in which you price it. We call this pricing method positioning. Your pricing is very strategic and is part of your overall marketing plan. Pricing your home right will eliminate accumulating too much market time and inviting those lowball offers. It also creates a sense of urgency.

Creating A Buzz

The key is emotionally connecting your property to that ideal buyer while simultaneously creating an urgency around it. When a new home comes on the market, it gets a lot of interest. This means your best chance of selling it for top dollar is going to be within the first two weeks on the market—because nobody likes losing out. If a buyer thinks somebody else might get the home first, they’ll want it even more.

It's this buzz that creates an urgency amongst buyers. They know that new listings get a lot of traction. If it's a good deal, then it's going to go fast. This is why it's important to price your home correctly from the beginning. You want to take advantage of the early buzz that a new listing generates.

People tend to want things they can't have. It's no different in real estate. Have you ever wanted something more after it was no longer available? As your listing sits on the market, buyers begin to assume they have more room to negotiate. After 30 days of being on the market, the listing gets stale and lower offers are presented.

If you were the buyer, which house would you be more likely to negotiate on? The one that sat on the market for six months, or the one that just hit the market? It's for reasons like this that pricing your house too high at the beginning can hurt you in the long run. My best advice is to price it correctly from the very beginning. Remember, we don't create the market, we just have to adjust to it.

Searching Online

Another thing you need to know about pricing is how people search for properties online. Price is the number one criteria buyers search for online, and they tend to be grouped in $100,000 increments. For example, buyers will search in groups such as up to $1.3 million, up to $1.5 million, up to $2 million, and so on. You want to take this into consideration when determining your initial list price.

Is it worth listing your property at $2.1 million or $1.9 million? Probably $1.9 million, because there will be more buyers who are searching up to the $2 million mark. Your listing will thus receive more attention at that price point. All other amounts work the same way. Every time we have to do a price change, you will target a new pool of potential buyers who may not have previously seen your listing.

Appealing To Your Ideal Buyer

The second way to position your house for sale is in its description. Who does your home appeal to and who is the most ideal buyer for it? We call this your avatar. The remarks you use to market a property are essential, and it's important that we speak directly to your most ideal buyer.

For example, if you're selling an investment property, the remarks should be focused on numbers, cash on return, net operating income, gross operating income, and cap rates. However, if you're going to be selling a single-family home, the remarks would talk more about the layout of the kitchen, whether it has a pool or a covered Lanai, and how close it is to the beach. These comments, more focused on lifestyle, should appeal directly to your ideal buyer.

The third way to position your house for sale is in its marketing. You want to advertise your home in places where your ideal buyer is going to hang out. Sometimes that's on social media, while other times it's in a high-end magazine. An aggressive agent will chase your buyer versus just placing a sign in the yard and listing it on the MLS. With social media, your agent can really zero in and market your property towards the ideal buyer avatar instead of waiting around for them to come to you.

Getting You Top Dollar

I hope this helps you better understand the importance of the way you position your property for sale. Marketing plays a key role in getting top dollar for your home. If that's your goal, I help people just like you sell their properties every day, and I would be happy to assist you. Of course, there are many details here we have not covered, but I can answer any further questions you may have.

Make sure to reach out to me and I’d be happy to help! You can also subscribe to my channel for more information on Oahu living. Make sure to stayed tuned to the next episode of Aloha Oahu to see what I feature next!

 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
June 22, 2021

The 3 Stages Of The Home Selling Timeline

Have you made the decision to sell your property but aren’t sure where to start? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I'm going to walk you through the three stages of the home selling process from start to finish. I’ll also give you a timeline of events so you know exactly what to expect.

 

The Pre-Listing Stage

If you're like most people, the thought of moving is daunting. You have to think about physically moving as well as all the steps involved with actually selling your property. The good news is I'm hoping to simplify what you should expect so that you can start planning. Let's start with what you have to do before you even go on the market.

The first part of the home selling process is the pre-listing stage. It's during this stage that you begin preparing your property for sale. Before we can begin marketing your property, we need to make sure it looks good. Often, this is going to involve preparing your home for sale by doing such things as decluttering, cleaning, and rearranging your home to show it in the best possible light.

Cleaning Up Your Space

You’ll want to trim your plants and trees, power wash the driveway, and paint the front door so you make a great first impression. The less clutter you have out in the open, the better. Put away your personal photos and awards, clear off the bathroom and kitchen counters, and pack up all of your knickknacks. You should also hire a professional cleaning company to do a deep clean and reduce your furniture to basic pieces to make your rooms look larger.

These are crucial steps to handle before we can take photos and video. The first place buyers will see your property is online, so it's essential to make a good first impression. This will ensure that buyers are more motivated to schedule an in-person showing. It's also during this time that you might want to look for areas of your home that you may be able to improve on and get a positive ROI, or return on investment.

Simple Improvements

There are many simple tricks you can use to improve your property and sell it faster for more money. For example, there are two quick and relatively easy things I suggest to all clients: paint and fixtures. For example, painting a room may cost a few hundred dollars, but it may give you several thousand extra dollars in return.

Also, no one likes dated fixtures and worn-out fans. Those are relatively low-cost changes you can make to help make a great first impression. If you think about it, there are probably several areas that you can find in your home to improve upon that will allow you to maximize your home's selling price.

Once all of those punch list items are completed, then we can take the photos and video. After that, we're ready to roll.

The Active Stage

Once the property is ready to be shown, it's time to get it listed. This is the second phase of the home selling process where we get your home listed on the MLS, it’s active, and we begin showing your property. We must create a buzz right away and take advantage of it being a newly listed property.

It's also essential that we’re most aggressive in the first two weeks that the property is listed. This is your best chance to sell your home for top dollar. And of course, marketing is key. We will hold a broker's open house, a public open house, and develop a marketing plan that includes social media. This will all help create the buzz and urgency for buyers to buy your property.

During this time, you will also need to be ready for private showings as well. We don't control when a buyer wants to see the property; we can only be ready to accommodate them once they do. Eventually, your property will attract the right buyer and you will accept their offer.

In Escrow

Once there is an offer and acceptance, you are officially under contract and we can open escrow. During this stage of the home selling process—the escrow stage—there is still work to do. The buyers will have their home inspection, make their escrow deposits, and their lender will order an appraisal if there's a loan involved. There also will be a termite inspection.

All of these items move us closer to closing. It's my job to help coordinate with the buyer's agent escrow and the vendors to make sure your process is moving along smoothly and on time. This is important because one missed deadline can delay closing by days or weeks. We need to make sure we stay on top of things.

Getting Your Home Sold

I hope this gave you an overview of the home selling process. There are a lot of moving parts in a real estate transaction, and if it would be helpful, I have a seller's timeline document that I'm happy to share. I help people just like you sell their property every day, and I would be happy to assist you as well.

Of course, there are many details we have not covered here. I’d be happy to answer any further questions you may have. Feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to connect! Don’t forget to also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha Oahu for more information on Oahu living. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
June 8, 2021

Getting Top Dollar With A Marketing Plan

Did you know that selling your house successfully takes more than just sticking a sign in the yard and listing in on the MLS? In this video, I’m going to show you how to get the most exposure on your property and get it sold for top dollar. I’ll explain the importance of first impressions and explain why your realtor’s marketing plan is essential.

 

The Importance Of Marketing

Today, any realtor can take your listing, pop a sign in the yard, and put it on the MLS. If you want to sell your home fast and for top dollar, you need a marketing plan. One of the ways you may want to qualify your agent is to ask them what they are doing to market your home.

In addition to listing it on the MLS, the difference between an agent who understands marketing and your cousin Ethan who just got his license could mean tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.

Professional Photos And Videos

The first thing we want to do is get amazing photos and videos. Once the property is ready to be shown, it's time to hire a professional to take pictures and videos. Your home's first showing will take place online, and if it doesn't look great, then it could cost you in-person showings.

Unlike some realtors who use their iPhones, we hire a professional to handle this for you. The statistics on professional photography speak for themselves. We also decide if drone photos would be a benefit for that particular property. Is it a large piece of land? Is the home near the beach? Are you on a perimeter lot? Do you have other views? We take all of that into consideration.

The photos inside the property need to show off the main selling features of the property, such as kitchen details, bathrooms, the flow of all the rooms, and the views. Rooms trigger emotion, and you are showing the buyers how they are going to live in the space. It's not just about the room itself, it's about lifestyle. It all needs to be shot in the best light possible.

If we decide to shoot a video, it will be a walkthrough of the house and—more importantly—showcase the flow of the home. We also do this with a program called Matterport which allows you to walk through the home virtually. Quality visual media gives you an extra advantage in marketing your homes to the masses that cheap photos cannot do.

Getting Your Home Online

Once we have the photos and the videos ready to go, it's time to get ready to list your home and feature it online. Your home will be posted online and broadcast to all of the largest home search websites as well as the media connected to Century 21.

The top four websites include Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com, and have close to 100 million visits per month. They allow people to search on the national and international levels. In addition, your property will be featured on my website, the company's website, and you will get your own personal property website.

In addition, we’ll list to the MLS (the multiple listing service). The MLS is great on a local level and will make your property available to all of the real estate agents on Oahu. It will also make it available to anyone who looks at the board of realtors website, hicentral.com. Please keep in mind we don't just feature the property on the MLS; we position it, and taking great photos is a part of that. They speak without words, and we put thought into how they're ordered as well as how they're described.

We also carefully craft the listing remarks intentionally, not just writing out your basic “four-bedroom two-bath home.” Rather, we make your property more appealing online. The vast majority of home buyers are represented by an agent, so we want to advertise your property to the local community as well as the general population.

Generating A Buzz

The next step in the process is marketing your property on social media and creating a buzz about it. Positioning your property on sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram is key to generating initial interest. Additionally, using social media to advertise your property for sale gives us a way to reach 1000s of eyeballs. We do this not only through posts but also through buying ads, and it goes on from there.

Once we list your home and introduce it to the widest market possible, we must be most aggressive in the first two weeks that your home is listed. This is your best chance to sell your home for top dollar. We arrange and coordinate open houses, increase the signage, and are also all over social media so that that will create the buzz that we need.

Getting You Top Dollar On Your Sale

I hope this showed you the importance of not only marketing your property for sale but being intentional about it. Marketing plays a key role in getting top dollar for your home, if that's your goal.

I help people just like you sell their properties every day, and I would be happy to assist you. Of course, not every detail is covered here, but I'm happy to answer any further questions you may have. Please feel free to reach out at any time and I’ll be happy to connect.

Don't forget to also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha Oahu, the show all about Oahu living. Stay tuned for the next episode to learn more about the island life!

Posted in Real Estate Tips
May 28, 2021

3 Fun Things To Do On Oahu

Are you thinking about living on Oahu, particularly on the Windward side, and want to know what there is to do here? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I’m going to show you my top three things that I love doing right here on the island. I’ll give you the inside scoop on everything from the best beaches to hiking trails so you can enjoy all that Oahu has to offer.

 

Beautiful Kailua Beach

Whether you’re looking to move to the island or already live here and want ideas of what to do, Oahu has plenty of activities for everyone. The first thing I love to do, especially here on the Windward side of Oahu, is relax on the beach.

Kailua Beach on the windward side is routinely rated one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This two-and-a-half-mile uninterrupted stretch of beach has two beach parks as well as multiple beach accesses along its route. Nestled in protected Kailua Bay, Kailua Beach is perfect for a long beach walk or some ocean fun—without having to worry about some of the extremely large surf that you get on other parts of the island.

The reason why I love Kailua Beach is that it's one of my favorite places to walk. I grab the dog on his leash and find the path between the incoming surf and the soft sand. It's a great way to catch up with a friend, and the blues of the ocean as well as the sky make it ultra calming.

Windward Water Activities

The Windward side is also known for its great water activities. Head over to Kaneohe Bat and you will find a boater’s paradise. This protected bay offers wide areas for sailing, kayaking, and boating fun. My absolute favorite outing includes a boat ride out to the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar. This natural sandbar is about a mile from land and, depending on the tides, it can range from ankle-deep to waist-deep. It's the perfect spot to have a relaxing picnic, go snorkeling, or watch for honu—which is Hawaiian for turtle.

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, Google “hammerhead sharks in Kaneohe Bay.” I've never personally seen them—though I have seen plenty of stingrays—but the video is certainly worth watching. When you're actually on the sandbar, you have an uninterrupted view of the Koolau Mountain Range. It's truly my favorite place to take a deep breath and recenter.

Hiking Hawaiian Style

If you prefer to stay inland instead of heading to the beach, you're definitely not out of luck. There are plenty of amazing hikes for all levels of hikers on the Windward side. The various hiking trails available cover everything from ocean views to mountain waterfalls. Be careful though, and make sure you do your research. Some of these hikes can be dangerous, especially if it has been raining.

If you are an experienced hiker, you can go ahead and do a ridge hike. But if you'd like things a little more simple, Maunawili Falls is a muddy trail with a great reward at the end, Old Pali Road is kid and leashed-dog friendly, and Makapu’u Lighthouse trail is paved all the way. So there are options for every level of hiker.

Fun And Sun On Oahu

I hope this gave you some ideas of what to do on a free day on the Windward side of Oahu. What is your favorite thing to do? Please feel free to comment as I'd love to hear from you.

If you have any additional questions about this video or anything else about Oahu, please feel free to contact me. I'm more than happy to help. Please don't forget to subscribe to this channel for more information on the island of Oahu, and I’ll see you on the next episode!

Posted in Living On Oahu
May 11, 2021

The Top 3 Neighborhoods In Oahu, Hawaii

Are you thinking about moving to the island of Oahu and want a home with a Hawaiian feel that's very unique? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I’m going to share three of my top neighborhoods on the island of Oahu that you’ll want to check out. We’ll look at each area’s location, amenities, and pricing so you’ll know which community will suit you best.

 

 

Kailua

The first area you need to check out is the town of Kailua. Kailua is located on the Windward or eastern side of Oahu. While I may be a little bit biased because this is where I live, Kailua is a beach town that has unique and vibrant shopping and dining options—along with the world-famous Kailua Beach.

Here in Kailua, we have some of the best restaurants on the island. Our breakfast restaurants always have a wait—though it’s definitely worth it. One of the things that make this town so unique is our small businesses and boutiques. Each offers unique services and finds. And since we are surrounded by all of this natural beauty in every direction—whether it be the beach, hillside, or mountains—people here are usually laid back and pretty down to earth.

Kailua’s location also lends to easy access to many parts of the island. Honolulu is right over the Pali. For those of you who don't know, Pali means “cliff.” The Pali is the highway that leads right from Kailua into Town. Kailua is also close to the Marine Corps Base as well as a quick jaunt over H3 to Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor.

As far as housing costs in Kailua go, the average single-family home is approximately $1.2 million and the average condominium is roughly $600,000. If you're looking to rent in Kailua, you can plan on spending about $4,000 to $5,000 a month for an average single-family home. A condo, on the other hand, may cost you roughly $2,000 to $3,000 a month for a two or three-bedroom.

Kaneohe

The second area that's close to my heart is Kaneohe, also located on the Windward side of Oahu and just north of Kailua. Kaneohe feels very residential, and is nestled between Kaneohe Bay and the Ko’olau Mountains.

One of the main reasons people love living here is because it is nestled in the majestic Ko’olau Mountains. It tends to be a bit rainy here and a bit cooler, which keeps all of those lush plants so green. The pace here is a little slower than on other parts of the island. It's also home to a restaurant like no other: Haleiwa Joe’s. Its views, open-air seating, and fresh fish dishes make it one of the most coveted tables on the island. Kaneohe also has easy access to the beautiful North Shore of Oahu. And while you're driving there, you’ll see one of the most gorgeous coastline views.

In terms of housing, the average single-family home in Kaneohe is roughly $900,000 while the average condominium runs about $550,000. If you’re looking to rent in Kaneohe, you can plan on spending about $3,000 to $4,000 a month for a typical single-family home. A condo in Kaneohe Bay will roughly cost you $2,000 to $3,000 per month.

Mānoa

The third area town neighborhood I would like to talk about is Mānoa. This town is located in the Southeastern area of Oahu and is a neighborhood technically located in Honolulu. Mānoa is one of the older areas of Honolulu and is home to the University of Hawaii. It also offers easy access to Town, the business center of Honolulu. Mānoa is about 3 miles east of the business district, which is about a 10 to 15-minute drive. It’s also about 1 mile from Waikiki.

One of the reasons people love living in this area is because of the older homes. If you watch some of my other videos, you will know that I often get giddy over historic homes and unique thoughtful features, like built-in drawers, bookshelves, or even a drop-down ironing board. And I cannot forget to mention the Mānoa marketplace, filled with great restaurants and two amazing bakeries. In addition, this neighborhood is also close to a lot of the private K-12 schools like Mid-Pac, Maryknoll, Punahou, and ‘Iolani.

Housing prices in Mānoa tend to be a little bit pricier. An average single-family home runs about $1.3 million, whereas the average condominium runs about $400,000. However, there aren't many condominium complexes in Mānoa. If you’re looking to rent, plan on spending upwards of $3,500 or $4,000 a month for a typical single-family home.

Living On Oahu

I hope this gave you some insight into a few of the top areas to live on the island of Oahu. This beautiful island has many great options when you're looking for a place to live; you just have to find what works best for you. So, if you have questions about the area, please contact me and I’d be happy to help.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you would like more information about Oahu living. Stay tuned to the next episode of Aloha Oahu to see what gorgeous island locations I feature next!

Posted in Living On Oahu
April 29, 2021

The Cost Of Living In Kailua, Oahu

Are you thinking about living on Oahu and you're curious about what it costs? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I'm going to break down the cost of living here on Oahu. I’ll give you the bottom-line numbers on everything from housing costs to gas prices so you know exactly what to expect.

 

 

The Cost Of Housing In Oahu

One of the main questions we get about living in Oahu is the cost of living. First, let's talk about the obvious: the high cost of housing. We want to get the sticker shock out of the way early. Oahu has some of the highest home prices in the country. One of the first things you're going to need to decide for yourself is whether it's going to be better to buy or rent.

You're going to have to ask yourself a few questions. What kind of housing do you need? Are you single, or do you have a family? Do you have big dogs that need a yard? There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to renting versus buying. Additionally, the price of housing varies based on where you want to live or the size of the house you want to live in.

Different Sides of The Island

A good rule of thumb is that it happens to be less expensive on the western or Leeward side of the island and prices tend to be a little more expensive on the Windward side or Eastern Honolulu. To give you an idea, the average single-family home on Oahu is roughly $850,000. Remember, though, that this price can vary greatly depending on which part of the island you're looking to buy.

On the other hand, a condominium runs about $450,000 on average, not including the HOA or maintenance fees. If you're looking to rent an average-size home, you can plan on spending anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the neighborhood and the number of bedrooms you need. The average single-family home rental on Oahu is roughly $2,500 a month.

One thing that you may find surprising is that, while cost of living is more expensive here, the property taxes on Oahu tend to be relatively low compared to the rest of the country. They’re especially low when compared to home prices. For example, when talking about the average family home, you can expect an annual property tax bill of about $2,600 a month. 

Kailua Pricing

If you're looking for an average-priced home here in Kailua, our average home right now costs about $1.2 million. Our pricing starts around $800,000 for a single-family home but can reach as much as $20 or $30 million in an area like Lanikai. 

To give you an idea of what a condominium might be here in Kailua, our condominiums run about $800,000 or $900,000. You also have to also consider the maintenance fees, which can be as high as $1,200 or $1,400 a month. If you're not looking to buy yet but prefer to rent, you also have to consider that you're probably going to be on the higher end of that spectrum. You're looking at rents that start at about $3,500 for a single-family home.

Taxes And Transportation

Aside from housing costs, we have other items to discuss when it comes to Oahu cost of living. While property taxes are generally low, as we just talked about, income taxes are some of the highest in the nation with a rate of 8.5% for the average resident. Prices only go up from there.

Gas here also tends to be expensive. As of the date of this recording, it's running about $3.75 a gallon—and you will need a car to get around. Remember, everything here needs to be shipped in, including gas. Because transportation to Hawaii is so expensive, food prices are also some of the most expensive in the country. 

You also have to consider that annual car sticker costs can be very expensive in Oahu. Hawaii bases car registration fees on the vehicle weight. This means the bigger your vehicle, the bigger the bill. You can imagine that a giant Ford F-150 is a lot more expensive than a Mini Cooper.  

Oahu also has a 4.7% general excise tax (GET) on all goods and services. While this is lower than in some parts of the country, it does affect every single transaction and can add up quickly. 

Experience Oahu Living

I hope this gave you some insight into the cost of living on Oahu. If you have any additional questions about Oahu living, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. We help provide people with information all the time who are moving either from the mainland, from other islands, or on the island. We would love to do the same for you.

If you'd like to receive more videos like this or any information on living on Oahu, make sure you subscribe to our channel so you never miss an episode. Stay tuned to the next episode of Aloha Oahu to see what I feature next! 



Posted in Living On Oahu
April 28, 2021

The Good, Bad and The Ugly of Kailua

Are you thinking of moving to Oahu and want to know what it’s like? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I’m going to give you the pros and cons of living in Kailua, a gorgeous town in Oahu. I’ll share everything from beautiful scenery to cost of living so you know if this area is right for you.

 

Why People Love Kailua

While every place has its pros and cons, we’re going to start with the top three reasons people love living in Kailua: gorgeous views, outdoor activities, and a small town feel. 

The first and most popular reason is that there are beautiful views in every direction. This is one of the great things about Oahu’s Windward Side. As you come through any of the tunnels from Honolulu, you're immediately greeted by the Pacific Ocean as far as the eye can see. 

On the Windward Side from the beach, you can also turn around and simply enjoy the wonderful views of the coastal mountains, which are a personal favorite of mine. After a long or hard rain, it's especially beautiful. The mountains are filled with countless natural waterfalls coming straight down the lush cliff sides.

Cost Of Living

While Oahu is beautiful, some people that move to the island are shocked by the cost of everyday items like milk and bread. Any other kind of daily necessities you're going to pick up at the grocery store will be more expensive.And if you drive through McDonald's, the prices are so much more here than they are on the mainland. It's not that people want to charge you more just because we're in Hawaii. Rather, it's because the cost of getting these goods to the island is so much more expensive. 

Also, real estate prices here can be a shock. If someone's not used to the market, I often have to explain to people that what you can get in North Carolina is not what you're going to be able to get in Hawaii. You're comparing apples to oranges, not apples to apples. Many other necessities such as gas costs more here than on the mainland. Keep in mind, you're in your car a lot and you’ll have to drive across the mountains. That cost of gas really adds up.

Traffic

If you're able to deal with the higher cost of living and you understand all of those elements, maybe you won't mind all of the traffic that we have here on the island. The Windward Side of Oahu is a relatively small area and can get congested, especially if there's an accident on one of our main roads. 

While all areas of the island have a lot of traffic, especially the other side, the Windward Side can get crowded when tourists are in full force. This is especially true in Kailua. If you're a local, you may be able to navigate around some of the traffic, but you definitely can't miss it all. Also, mileage doesn't mean a lot on Oahu. Sometimes, a map may say 8 miles is terms of distance, but that could be a 45 or 50 minute drive. It all depends.

Traveling Around The Island

One thing you may need to be prepared for is driving a long way if you want that one thing at a certain store. While the small-town feel of the Windward Side is wonderful, you may have to leave its comforts if something is only available in Honolulu.

If you're looking for a big box store like Costco, you’ll find that on the other side of the island. There are three Costcos on the island, but not on the Windward Side. If you're used to a lot of the big box stores that you can find on the mainland, we don't have a lot of them here. Honestly, it's not a big deal in the long run. If you really need something we do have Amazon. 

Enjoy Kailua Living

I hope this helped you understand some of the pros and cons of living in Kailua and on the island of Oahu. If you should have any additional questions about Kailua, Kaneohe Bay, or anywhere else, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. 

 

You can also subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of Aloha Oahu, the one show all about island living on Oahu. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!

April 18, 2021

PCSing to Hawaii in 2021: Is Now the Right Time to Buy?

I work with a lot of military buyers who are PCSing to Oahu.  Normally, I counsel them that a real estate investment here is a great way to use their BAH during their tour.  However, the real estate market here on Oahu in the spring of 2021 is a true seller's market and for that reason I have counseled some recent potential buyers away from buying a home because this may not be the right market for them. I think that it is important that potential buyers have the right information before they buy, especially in this type of market.

The current market is seeing prices increase as demand goes up and inventory across the island is extremely low. The result is that most homes in Honolulu and the Windward Side have between 10 to 15 offers while those on the Ewa side are seeing up to 30 offers.  So what that does is it creates a bidding war and an increase in prices. This results in potential buyers possibly having to bring more money to the closing table as their offer price may exceed the appraisal price for their property. These higher prices would not be a problem if we could predict that the market would continue to increase during your tour. However, if the market flattens or goes down in the next two to three years and you want to sell your home when you PCS off island, you may have to pay out of pocket to close on your home. 

Before you think about putting in an offer on a home right now, there are a couple of important questions to ask:

1) How long are your orders?  If you have two to three year orders this may not be the right time for you to buy a home on Oahu.

2) What are your future plans for the home? If you are planning selling the home when you transfer, then this may not be the right time to stretch your budget on a home. However, if you plan on staying here when you leave the military, renting your home while you are gone, or otherwise making a longer term investment, then this seller's market may not have as much risk for you.

While I love to see as many military members as possible invest their BAH in a home, you need to talk to a realtor and look closely at your budget and future plans before jumping into this market. The last thing that I want to see is someone buying a home that they will lose on money on when they try to sell it in two to three years.

If you have questions on the current market in general or on a specific area and want to see if this is the right time for you to buy, please contact me and I would love to talk over your options with you.

Posted in Market Updates