April 2009

Found 10 blog entries for April 2009.

Hawaii real estate is expensive, but it just got more affordable.  While most mainland states allow loans up to $417k at conforming rates, Hawaii has allowed up to $625,500 until this year.  Loans above those amounts were jumbo loans with rates around 6% as of last month.

This week some lenders have allowed a new maximum conforming loan amount of $793,750. Lenders can now offer that amount at about 4.5% on a 30yr fixed loan. Amazing! Homes in the $700k-$1million price range just got cheaper to buy!
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It used to be that new home builders in Hawaii and just about everywhere did NOT negotiate. If you walked in and liked their model, you could buy a house like it, and overpay for upgrades if you were really determined to do so .

But if you ever asked them to come down in price, or change some terms, you were told very politely, "please sign on the line and stop asking for anything more than we want to give you."

In over 10 years in this business, I had never seen a builder willing to negotiate, until this month. I took a client of mine over to a builder (let's just say, in West Oahu), and we found a beautiful large house that had a huge lot.   My client loves gardening (like me) so this 2000sqft+ house with 10,000+ sqft of land was perfect.  But…
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There are several things that led me to post an entry such as this, and I've been thinking about it for several days. This is the kind of post that can cost me a lot of credibility, but here goes.

First, on Sunday I had 50 people at an open house. It is my Aina Haina listing for $1.1million, a nice house but nothing out of the ordinary for the area. A nice pool home with 5 bedrooms and 2300sqft. I haven't had 50 people at an open house in about 4 years. Another agent in my office said he had 25 people, and the $1.2million house he is listing was in escrow last week, until the buyer found a few problems in the roof.

Also, the March stats for sales came out, and like I predicted, the number of sales jumped up significantly, while median Oahu home…
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The median price of Oahu single family homes rose in March from the previous month back to $600,000 for the first time this year.  Sales continued to shrink from a year earlier.

Only 188 single-family home sales closed last month which was 33 percent less while Honolulu condo sales lost 36 percent.

The median price paid for a condominium rose 2.7 percent from the prior month to $305,000, but dropped 7.4 percent drop from the prior year's $329,300.

Oahu's real estate market is weaker than last year for last month, but seems to be picking up right now.  I have several buyers in escrow and listings are getting a lot of calls and showings.

While interest rates are super low at about 4.5% and buyers perceive that the market has hit bottom.I have received a LOT

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This week I had the unfortunate displeasure of working with a "discount" real estate service. They list a house with a flat fee of $3500 and claim to save you money.

While they claim to save you money, here is a perfect example of how they cost their client money this week.

My client was a buyer, living in Hawaii, and we made an offer at nearly the asking price. I faxed it over and expected to hear from the agent, since regular agents call right away when you send an offer, to go over the details and see if there is anything we need to adjust before presenting, such as closing time, special terms, etc.

This dicsount agent didn't call. FOR 3 DAYS. I left numerous messages, sent numerous emails, kept calling and calling, nothing. The receptionist said, "he

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Advertise First, you have to advertise. In Hawaii this means putting an ad the Honolulu Advertiser, Star Bulletin and on Craigslist. Then have some very bright large signs pointing the way from the major streets, like Kalanianaole Hwy. No signs with small writing please, just big arrows and "Moving Sale". Add "huge" or "giant" or "multi family" and you're bound to get a lot of traffic. Ask permission to post signs at work, church, grocery stores and other local businesses. Tell friends.

In your ad, list popular items to attract more customers. Furniture is huge in Hawaii, and so are tools and fishing gear.Try to coordinate with neighbors and have a neighborhood sale. This really brings in the buyers! You will have people driving from the opposite end of the…
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It's the greatest thing since the invention of lockboxes and listing signs and it can make all the difference when you're searching for a house. It's called "freemail" and it's the Honolulu MLS automated system that sends you an email whenever a house is listed within your parameters.

Now this may not sound very high tech in light of all the great advances of our day, but when shopping for a house, this system is pretty great. Let's say you're seaching for a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath house with at least a 3 car garage, in the Aina Haina school district, with central air, a tile roof, priced under $860k, with a lot of at least 6000 sqft. I can input all those features (and about 100 more) and make the MLS system email you anytime a property is listed that fits…
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Right now there are over 4000 properties for sale in Hawaii. So the competition is stiff, and even though there are more buyers out there now than a couple months ago, it's getting harder and harder to lure them. So how can you make your Hawaii home sell faster than others? How does your Hawaii Kai home or Waikiki condo make a statement that's different from the rest?

Here are some ideas to get you started

1) Price - Nothing says "buy me!" like a home that is priced extremely competitively. I ask sellers this question: "Do you want your home to be the next to sell, or do you want to sell in 3 or 4 months?" If your home has 10 showings and no offers, it's time to reduce the price. If your home is shown less than 10 times in a month, it's priced too high.


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As an industry, the Real Estate business is archaic. Most of the old dogs are using their cell phones just to make calls, with no clue that it has other super powers.  Surprisingly, a lot of Realtors rely on paper maps instead of GPS or Google maps.

Some Realtors barely understand digital imaging, Efaxing, or wireless email, so if you tell them that you want to fax them a PDF to their cell phone so they can view, and forward it to escrow wireless, they'll probably start hemmoraging from their brain.

When I think of my work productivity, a few things stand out as amazing time savers and money makers. With my wireless email from my wireless laptop, I can be alerted within minutes of a property getting listed, no matter where I am. I can receive offers and

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This year I will be featured on 4 episodes of HGTV's show, My house is worth what? This popular show is hosted by Kendra Todd, winner of The Apprentice with Donald Trump. Yes I'm name dropping.

I will be working with a few Oahu home owners that have done renovations and would like to know the value of their home. My role on the show will be to assess the value of the renovations and give the homeowner an accurate value with the improvements.

And of course I get to hang out with Kendra. With my wife closely watching :)

 I think the first of four episodes begins around June.

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