Oahu Real Estate and Community News

Aloha!

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

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

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

Thank you ~ Jill

Nov. 7, 2023

Buying or Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Are you thinking about buying or selling the property during the Holidays, towards the end of the year, and you need to know if it's a good idea? I will answer some of your common questions about buying and selling a home in Hawaii during the holiday season. The Holidays are typically my second busiest time of the year for a few reasons. People have time off during the Holidays, which allows them more time off of work to move. Those relocating with families want to disrupt the school year as little as possible. Many job-related transfers happen during the Holidays. 

 

The Holidays tend to be a time when we think about spending more time with our friends and families. For example, you could be in a situation where your parents are getting older and you want to be closer to them. Or your children are having grandbabies, and you want to be within driving distance of them. There are many circumstances where life situations change and it affects your desire to move. My job is to help you make the best decision possible for your circumstances. 

 

Buying a Home During the Holidays

 

Here are a few reasons why buying a home during the Holidays could be a good idea. Reason #1 is that there's less competition. Many people are busy with Holiday festivities and travel this time of year, so there are typically fewer buyers in the market. This gives you more negotiating power and makes it more likely that you'll find a home you love and perhaps get a better deal on it. 

 

Reason #2 is motivated sellers. Some sellers are motivated to sell their homes before the end of the year for financial or personal reasons. They may be willing to accept a lower offer or make other concessions to close quickly. 

 

Reason #3 is tax benefits. If you close your home before the end of the year, you can deduct certain mortgage-related expenses such as mortgage interest and property taxes. 

 

Reason #4 is Holiday spirit. Home buying can be a stressful process. But the Holiday season may make it more enjoyable. You may find sellers who will be more willing to work with you and willing to make things happen. 

 

You will also find potential challenges to buying a home during the Holidays. You may have to be flexible with your moving date. We need to balance your needs and the seller's needs in terms of timing for closing, the Holidays and travel. Two tips for buying are to start your search early and be prepared to act quickly. This means having your pre-approval already in hand. Please reach out so we can chat about whether it is the right time for you to buy,

 

Selling a Property During the Holidays

 

There are some reasons why selling a property may be a good idea for you during the Holidays. The first two are the same that we talked about for buyers. It works both ways you have less competition as there are typically fewer homes on the market. Buyers looking at homes during the Holidays are generally serious about finding a place to buy. They may be moving for a new job, relocating to be closer to family, upsizing or downsizing. 

 

Third, you can also take advantage of Holiday cheer. You can use Holiday decorations to make your home more inviting and appealing to potential buyers. Fourth, there are also tax benefits to consider. If you sell your home before the end of the year, you can deduct certain expenses on your taxes, such as capital gains and real estate commissions. 

 

Of course, selling your home during the Holidays also has potential challenges. You can run into both logistics and Holiday commitments. Like buyers, all parties may need to be more flexible with the closing date to accommodate everyone's needs. 

 

A few tips for selling your property during the Holidays include pricing your home competitively to make the property show-ready. Be flexible with making your home available and work with an experienced professional. 

 

Overall, buying and selling a property over the Holidays can be a good idea, but weighing out the pros and cons of your situation is always important. But please don't assume the Holidays are a terrible time to transact. Set up a time with me to discuss whether it's the right time for you and your circumstances. 

 

I hope this provided a good overview of the benefits of buying or selling during the Holidays. If you have any additional questions about real estate on Oahu. Please reach out to me using my contact information below, or via social @Jillward808. Please feel free to like this video and subscribe to this channel to receive more information about buying and selling on Oahu. 

Oct. 6, 2023

What To Do With Your Home During A Divorce

If you find that you or someone you love is going through a divorce, and a house or other real property is involved, please know that you have options. If you choose to sell, it's best to have a plan laid out in advance. But the first question is, what are your options? 

 

 

 

I will walk through your options for your real estate holdings while you're going through a divorce. First, I'm very sorry for you going through this difficult time. If you have to sell your property, it can be quite traumatic. There are emotions involved in sometimes you're going to have conflicting interests. My job is to facilitate communication and make this process as seamless as possible. 

 

Selling the Home

Dividing a property when lives diverge is hard. Challenges arise when couples decide to part ways; many emotions are involved and there are financial considerations. The first option is selling the home. This is the most common option for divorcing couples. Selling the property often means that you'll split the equity evenly and move on to separate homes. 

 

In Hawaii, property is divided according to equitable distribution. This means that the court divides property between the spouses in what is believed to be a fair distribution, according to what each spouse contributed during the marriage and their earning capacity after the divorce. The judge can consider many factors. Likely, the profits from the sale will be considered marital property and be split between both parties. Additional considerations will likely be given if children are involved. 

 

One Spouse “Buys out” the Other

The second option is a buyout. One spouse can “buy out” the other. If one spouse wants to keep the home, they can buy out the other spouse's share of the equity. The spouse who wants to buy the home obtains a loan, in most cases, to purchase the house and then pays off the other spouse as to their remaining share. This option works when at least one of the spouses can afford all of the house expenses themselves. 

 

Defer the Sale

The third option is to defer the sale of the property when selling right now is not a good option. Perhaps you can rent out the property or work out a part-time or joint living situation until there is a better time to sell. Deferring may also be an option if you do not want to uproot children. Or, it could be financially irresponsible if the property sale would result in a short sale or foreclosure. In this case, the spouses usually have to be on good terms and decide how they will financially handle the upkeep of the home. And, it's always best to get those details in writing in case your circumstances change. 

 

Co-Own the Home

The fourth option is you can co-own the home which is becoming more common and can be a good option if you have children and want them to continue living in the home. It allows the children to stay in one place and not have to go between two different homes. Co-owning the home means you will both have to be responsible for the mortgage and other expenses. This is possible in amicable separations. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are on good terms, you may be able to share this space and/or swap out to a second location. It does not work in every situation. 

 

Please know that there are choices. Both divorce and selling a property are two of the most stressful situations that can happen during your lifetime. None of this is easy and often occurs amid an emotional storm. The key is to be on the same page as much as possible and have professionals in your corner who want the best for you. 

 

Please reach out if you have questions or concerns about managing your real estate during a divorce. I'm here to help. I hope this video helped you understand your options when divorcing and selling your home here in Hawaii. Let's chat to find out what works best for your particular situation. 

 

If you are curious about what your property is worth or have any other questions about real estate, please contact me via my contact information below, or reach out via social media at @JillWard808. And please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
July 27, 2023

Our Favorite Foods YOU Need To Try

Anyone who lives in Hawaii will tell you that we have some of the best food. Whether it's Hawaiian food, food that came from the many ethnicities that migrated here, or fusion, it's likely to be delicious. So today we wanted to share with you our top five picks for our local favorites and where you can get them. We love supporting local businesses and what better way to do so than make sure you know which ones are our favorites.

 

 

 

Our Go-To Food

If we could have anything for dinner, our number one pick would be a Hawaiian plate: pork lau lau with butterfish, kalua gig and squid luau. The best part of this dish is the luau leaf because the fat from the pork and the butterfish flavors the leaf. Plus, if they add the right amount of salt, it's so good. Jen’s favorite place by far is her parents' kitchen, but if you don't get invited over you could try Young's Fish Market in Honolulu at City Square. The other place is Highway Inn located in Waipahu or Kaka’ako. A third option is Waiahole Poi factory in Kaneohe. You know the food is good when the line is long!

 

One of Jill’s favorite foods is a poke bowl, staying within our seafood theme. At one point in Jill’s life, she ate so much that her doctor had to tell her to stop due to high mercury in her blood! Now she eats them in moderation. Her go-to stops are either Foodland or Tamura's. If you are ever in the area of Cook Street Market in Kaka’ako or Off the Hook in Manoa. You have to make the time to grab a bowl at one of these locations. Cook Street Market offers a garlic salmon and ahi mix and it is beyond delicious! At Off the Hook you can get a bowl with one, two or three choices.

 

Other Local Foods You Need In Your Life!

Our next favorite is a loco moco! There's just something comforting, whether it's breakfast or dinner time, about a bowl of rice with a hamburger patty, egg and gravy. Two great spots to get this comfort food are at Moke’s in either Kailua or Honolulu, or you can go to Liliha Bakery at one of their five locations including Nimitz or Pearl Highlands Center. And, we agree that fried rice is always the way to go when ordering!

 

Next on the list is Korean chicken. We have a hands down favorite for Korean chicken right here in Kailua at The Food Company at the Keolu Shopping Center in Enchanted Lake. Their fried chicken is covered in their homemade Korean sauce and it’s served with your standard rice and salad. Go see Tia and Brenda and they'll take great care of you!

 

Can’t Forget Desert

Everyone needs a little shave ice whether you like it plain, with ice cream or a snowcap! In Town, we like to go to Shimazu Shave Ice. They have fun flavors like li hing pickled mango, Georgia peach, red velvet and hot cinnamon. On the Windward side, we have Ko'olau Eatz! They can often be found at Lokahi Market on Sundays and at various private events. They feature 28 flavors of syrups, superfine shaved ice, and they offer an ube snowcap that nobody else has.

 

So, do you have any other recommendations for places where we can frequent during summer fun? We have so many wonderful small businesses that offer unique and tasty offerings. Please post yours below and share with us what you think!

 

Please make sure you like and subscribe to my YouTube channel to see more content that is featured above! Feel free to follow me on my other social media @jillward808. 

Posted in Living On Oahu
June 30, 2023

Kailua Hawaii Business Beach Spotlight!

We love our local Kailua businesses especially during the summer time as people are enjoying the time outside and at the beach. Each quarter I try to feature several of our local businesses. So in this blog, I'd like to share with you a few Kailua businesses that you can support to make your day more special. These businesses are several local spots you should frequent on beach days or just any day because when you shop local you support local businesses who employ local people. 

 

Best Grab and Go Meal In Kailua!

One of the easiest Grab and Go morning meals doesn't come from a fast food joint. It comes from Times Coffee Shop. If you call ahead you can run in and pick up a large box of fried rice that comes with your choice of egg and mac salad. My boys request it every time they have a day off. It is located right on Hamakua. They have both parking lot parking and street parking. So it's an easy place to grab and go or step in for a leisurely breakfast.

 

Head To The Beach With All Your Snacks

Now that you have your breakfast all set, you want to head to the beach and get ready for your relaxing day. So pack your lunch in a chic printed cooler from Fighting Eel. You can keep your food and drinks fresh for hours while you play in the waves and relax in the sand. These coolers come in fun prints like fish, ginger lay or Kahlo and they're fashionable and make you happy when you're just looking at them. They are lined with food safe thermal insulation that you can wipe clean. There's even an ice bag that's included with the cooler it is meant to be used with. So get that cooler ready and fill it up with good healthy options. 

 

Nalu Healthbar for Lunch

Once you have that cute cooler in the car swing by Nalu Healthbar to get your sandwich wrap or salad to put in your cooler. They really pride themselves on using fresh, organic local ingredients as much as possible so that their customers get the healthiest and tastiest options. My personal favorite is the ahi wrap. Also keep in mind they have fresh juices and smoothies too. They're located right on Heiki Lee street right around the corner from Hawaiian island creations.

 

 Hawaiian Island Creations

Speaking of HMIC, if you have any needs at all related to sun and surf, you can find it right around the corner on Kili and Honey streets. They've been serving our community for over 50 years. Starting with your skin you can protect it and our sea life with reef safe sunscreen at HRC serve. They have a wide selection of sunburn products and they also carry sex wax and surface products too. We do not want to add any extra chemicals to our ocean, so please make sure you are always using reef safe options. In addition to sunscreen, you can find all of your surf needs including boards, clothing, accessories and slippers. So head to Hawaiian Island Creations before your beach run so you can both be stylish and safe. 

 

Bookends For You To Escape This World

Finally, once you get to the beach, set up your chairs and grab a drink from your cooler, it's time to relax and escape with a book of your choice! Bookends is your quintessential small town bookstore that has been there for over 25 years. Did you know that in addition to bestsellers, they also have unique and rare books. You can also find greeting cards, note cards and small gifts. So stroll the aisles to find your favorite genre to take with you to the beach or cozy up in your favorite chair.

 

 Do you have any other recommendations for businesses to support for your days of summer finding Kailua, we have so many wonderful small businesses that have unique and tasty offerings. So let me know if you have some other great local shops that you stop by on your way to the beach and subscribe to the YouTube channel. Feel free to follow me also at Jill ward 808 on social media. And if you have any questions on the local real estate market, I'm always here to help.

Posted in Living On Oahu
June 1, 2023

Best Kailua Hawaii Businesses For Self Care!

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

 

 

All Your Hair Needs

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

 

Pretty Toes!

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

 

Waxing

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

 

Get the Massage of Your Dreams

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

 

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

 

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

 

What Pampering Will You Do?

 

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

 

Posted in Living On Oahu
April 28, 2023

What's The Cost Of Getting A Trust

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

 

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

 

 

 

Legal Fees

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

 

Trustee Fees

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

 

Account Set Up Fees

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

 

Management Fees & Financial Planning Fees

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

 

Consider Your Options and Costs Before You Start Planning! 

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

 

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

Posted in Living On Oahu
March 9, 2023

The Secret Of A Buy Down

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

 

 

How It Works 

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

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

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

Benefits For Buyers

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

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

Benefits For Sellers

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

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

Understanding The Numbers

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

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

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

Things To Remember

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

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

I’m Here To Help

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

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

 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Feb. 27, 2023

2022 Real Estate Market Review

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

 

The Market In 2022

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

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

Single-Family Homes

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

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

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

Condominiums 

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

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

What To Expect In 2023

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

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

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

Make Your Home On O'ahu

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

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

 

Posted in Market Updates
Jan. 20, 2023

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

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

 

 

Meet The Lees

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

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

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

Overcoming Obstacles

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

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

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

Taking The Next Step

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

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

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

From Renter To Homeowner

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

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

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

I’m Here To Help

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

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

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

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Jan. 8, 2023

All About Assumable VA Loans

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

Assuming VA Loans

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

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

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

Interest Rate Advantages

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

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

Eligibility

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

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

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

I’m Here To Help

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

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

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

Posted in Real Estate Tips