Oahu Real Estate Market Report – May 2018

Here is the sales activity for the month of May 2018 compared to the same month last year.  This covers resale homes for Honolulu County (Oahu) and does not include new construction homes, unless reported by the builder.  Contact us anytime for a customized Oahu real estate market report for your community or individual property.

Single-Family Resale Homes

# Sales                       Median Price    Average Price

May 2018                    332                              $778,000         $1,064,083

May 2017                    362                              $745,500         $927,615

 

Condos/ Townhouse Resale Units

# Sales                      Median Price    Average Price

May 2018                    495                              $430,000         $515,482

May 2017                    540                              $406,500         $487,412

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Single Family Home prices and sales volume were both up from the same month last year. The average sales price for the 2nd month this year topped $1 Million. The market is still moving along, even with the increase in interest rates and promises from the Fed to further increase interest rates. The summer months are historically the best months for real estate on Oahu.

Condos and townhouses saw a small dip in volume, following a big April. There was also a decrease in the number of condos listed for sale. The median price and average price did climb over the same month last year.

On Oahu, sales have been strong.  Lower priced properties are still moving extremely fast and seeing multiple offers in many neighborhoods.

Mortgage rates have seen small increases.  An interest increase will raise the monthly mortgage
payments for homes, faster than price increases. Buyers have been scrambling to get their home before they are no longer affordable. In some cases, sellers are putting their homes on the market sooner than they originally planned to take advantage of market conditions.

Contact us anytime for updated numbers for your property or individual community.

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*Median price means half the prices were above and half below the given price.  For additional stats, please contact us.

Data was taken from the Honolulu Board of REALTORS® MLS system.  It is deemed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Oahu Real Estate Market Report – April 2018

Here is the sales activity for the month of April 2018 compared to the same month last year.  This covers resale homes for Honolulu County (Oahu) and does not include new construction homes, unless reported by the builder.  Contact us anytime for a customized Oahu real estate market report for your community or individual property.

Single-Family Resale Homes

# Sales                       Median Price    Average Price

April 2018                    289                              $790,000         $972,727

April 2017                    280                              $712,500         $871,788

 

Condos/ Townhouse Resale Units

# Sales                      Median Price    Average Price

April 2018                    547                              $416,000         $512,405

April 2017                    486                              $415,500         $463,051

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Single Family Home prices and sales volume were both up from the same month last year.  The average sales price was down from last month’s record when it topped $1 Million.  It is still up tremendously over last year at the same time.  The median price sets a new high.  The market is still moving along, even in the face of threats from the Fed to further increase interest rates.  The upcoming months are normally our strongest months for Hawaii.

Condos and townhouses showed a strong increase in volume.  The median price has leveled a bit, but the average price has climbed.

On Oahu, sales have been strong.  Lower priced properties are still moving extremely fast and seeing multiple offers in many neighborhoods.

Mortgage rates have seen small increases.  Interest rate increases are creating a sense of urgency in the market.  An interest increase will raise the monthly mortgage payments for homes, faster than price increases.  Many buyers are scrambling to get their home before they are no longer affordable.

The new Federal tax code changes will impact homes with mortgages larger than $750,000.  The new law will also restrict the deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000.

Honolulu County has a tax category (Residential A) for investment properties that are over $1 Million in assessed value.  The taxes go up tremendously on those properties.  As you see, the average sales price of a single-family home in March was over $1 Million.  This tax penalty also applies to a home that the owner did not file their home-owners exemption form.  If you are not sure about the status of your property, we can look it up for you.

Contact us anytime for updated numbers for your property or individual community.

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*Median price means half the prices were above and half below the given price.  For additional stats, please contact us.

Data was taken from the Honolulu Board of REALTORS® MLS system.  It is deemed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Two Types of Real Estate Team Selling

Real Estate Sales Teams fall in two categories:

  1. A team designed to allow the real estate agent to dedicate more direct time with clients.
  2. A team designed to keep clients away from the real estate agent.

Oahu real estate teamThe Prothero Group at Island Style Realty was created to improve the client experience when buying or selling a home. It was also created to free your agent of much of the administrative work to allow more time in the field with our clients.

We all hear those TV and radio commercials with gimmicks or guarantees. Some real estate teams even make claims of selling homes for giant percentages higher than other agents, when the truth is they sell them for less, take longer and in many cases fail to sell them at all. They sign up tons of homes, sell many more than most agents; yet fail to sell many more than any other agents in the area. It is a game of numbers for them. Some even guarantee to sell your home or they will buy it. When you finally read the fine print you are made to feel you walked on the used car lot. This business model is quite different than ours. Their agents are shielded from their clients by an army of assistants and clerks.

At The Prothero Group, we offer no misleading gimmicks. Instead of paying large sums of money for paid celebrity endorsements, we spend our money on marketing your home. Through our aggressive marketing programs we simply sell homes for more money and faster than the overwhelming majority of Realtors. We get our endorsements from past clients who were delighted with our service.

Real Estate Sold!We include more services than almost any other real estate agents. Our only promise is to do a great job for you. Our track record speaks for itself.

  • Free pre-listing consultation and analysis of your home and market conditions
  • Home staging consultation with a professional interior designer
  • Professional photography and video tours
  • Custom websites for your listing
  • Open houses, staffed by licensed agents
  • Direct marketing to top area Realtors
  • Social media campaigns
  • Direct mail marketing

If you are thinking of selling your home, schedule a free consultation. We can help you develop your plan. We also have several licensed professionals standing by to assist you with repairs etc.

We would be honored to help you purchase a home. By selecting us, you will be represented by one of the most dedicated and respected real estate teams in the industry. Buyer agency services are free in almost all cases, so do not be shy. Give us a call and let us get you started on your path to home ownership. If you do not think you are ready to buy due to credit issues, we can put you together with professionals to get you on your way.

If you are a member of the military or have formerly served, we are experts in the use of your VA benefit. We sponsor free VA seminars as our way of saying thank you for your service. Our goal is to help those who defended our soil, own a piece of it.

At The Prothero Group advice is always free. Give us a call anytime at (808) 625-5057.

Oahu real estate team

Military Relocation to Hawaii? Some Things you Should Know!

Oahu Military Relocations
You are in the Military; you have your orders and will be relocating to Hawaii.  What are some of the things you may want to know about Hawaii military relocations?

Housing is quite expensive here. 

  • Fortunately you will receive a higher BAH than you probably are used to getting.  Here is a chart with the 2015 Basic Housing Allowance for Honolulu County (BAH).
  • VA mortgages are usually the best deal for you and the VA cap here for 100% financing is $721,050.  You can go higher if you add some down payment.  If you speak to a loan officer and they say they have a better deal than a VA loan, be careful.  That usually means they either can not do VA or have something they make more money on.  My best recommendation is to use a local loan officer and a primary lender; this will help you avoid many of the problems that come up when dealing with middleman and those who do not know the local market or laws. I can easily provide you a list of quality loan officers and lenders who specialize in Military/ VA.  You can do a pre-approval with the lender before arriving in Hawaii.  This will take a lot of stress off you and speed up the process.  It will also help you set a budget.  If you are already in Hawaii, attend one of the free Oahu VA Loan Seminars to find out more.  To find out the date and location of the next VA Seminar on Oahu, click here.
  • The government has and is building a large amount of base housing.  Some of it is new and much of it is not so new and not so nice.  If you take base housing, you will not receive BAH.
  • Most rental inventory here are either single family homes (a small percentage) or individually owned condominiums (the large majority of the inventory).
  • If you are planning or considering buying a home.  I have the ability start your search through the internet to allow you to be informed a ready to hit the ground running when you arrive.

Military Relocation to Hawaii – Picking a community to reside in.

Oahu Military Relocations

  • Some basic rules about pricing.  If you are planning to live close to KBAY (Kaneohe or Kailua).  You will find residential housing higher priced than many parts of the island.  If you are looking to cut costs areas a little further out will be less expensive.  You may also consider a drive over the H-3 freeway to some of the areas across the mountain.  One tip before I forget, there are some properties in some areas that are leasehold.  Leasehold is where you buy the home and lease the land.  These may appear as less expensive, but may not be and may.  A good professional real estate agent can help you with this situation.
  • If you are stationed at Pearl Harbor areas closer to Honolulu usually cost more for less.  If you go west (Leeward) there are several planned communities with newer and more cost effective housing.  The trade off is a little further drive.
  • If you are looking into schools in the area, you can find information about Hawaii Schools on the following sites.

Hawaiian Humane SocietyIf you are moving here with a pet, there are a few things you need to know.

  • Be sure to get shots and medical records in advance per Hawaii State requirements.  If you do not follow the procedure carefully your pet will be quarantined for an extended period of time.  We have no rabies in Hawaii and the State is very care to keep it that way.
  • Some pets and animals are strictly forbidden.  For example we have no snakes in Hawaii and want to keep it that way.
  • The Hawaii Humane Society has additional information about pets in housing, including a good list of pet friendly buildings.
  • Some of the forbidden animals:
      • Alligators
      • Bearded dragon lizards
      • Bees (alive or dead)
      • Bulbuls
      • Coconut crabs
      • Electric catfishes
      • Ferrets
      • Gerbils
      • Geckos
      • Hamsters
      • Hermit crabs
      • Land snails
      • Lion fishes
      • Lories
      • Monk parakeets
      • Piranhas
      • Snakes
      • Snapping turtles
      • Toucans

Similar restrictions apply to plants.  We live in a fragile environment here in the islands and we try to keep invasive species of not only animals from getting in, but also plants.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or otherwise contact us.  We are  passionate about helping those who serve relocate to and get the most out of their time in Hawaii and pride ourselves on helping a large number of happy military buyers purchase property on Oahu.

Real Estate Investing in Honolulu: Appreciation vs. Cash Flow

In most parts of the country, investors have one thing on their mind, CASH FLOW.  Will the property rent for more money than the carrying costs.  The amount of positive cash it has, determines the desirability.  A savvy investor in Indiana would rarely consider a property that had a negative cash flow or break even for that matter.  A successful investor in that part of the country keeps adding properties to their portfolio to increase their monthly positive cash flow.

On the island of Oahu (Honolulu County), investors put on a different pair of glasses.  They buy real estate with the expectation that property will see large increases in value over time…

Read the full article on Active Rain!

Home Sale Negotiation: Sellers, Look at the Bigger Picture

Home Sale Negotiation

During a home sale negotiation, sellers often make a tactical mistake by arguing over small things. For example, countering a good offer for something minor; like a cleaning fee.

When an offer comes in on your property, before countering; always ask yourself this simple question. Is this a deal breaker? If you counter, the buyer can reject it and walk away. Also while this is happening the buyer is still looking and may find another property.

One last thought on the subject. If you get the buyer to concede the amount, you will most likely never see it. When the buyer does their home inspection, they will most likely be looking for a credit for repairs that will exceed that amount. They may have been more negotiable if not for you hitting them up in the opening salvo.

Consider the amount of money in play when sell your home. Also how much in carrying costs you will incur if the home stays on the market for a longer period of time.

Always ask, “is this a deal breaker?” If it is, then counter. If it is not than accept. If you are just too far apart and have little hope of finding common ground, then reject.

If you are thinking of selling your home, give us a call. Home sale negotiation doesn’t have to be stressful, and we would be honored to guide you through the process.

Buying a Home with a VA Loan in Hawaii in 2014

Buying a Home with a VA Loan in 2014One of the best benefits given to active military is housing. When I speak of housing I am not talking about base housing which has been greatly improved in Hawaii the last few years. I am speaking about VA benefits to purchase a home.

The VA loan program is an extremely attractive program for active duty soldiers and veterans. The VA loan program offers 100% financing. In Honolulu County (the island of Oahu) the limit for 100% financing in 2014 is: $625,500. If the vet wants to buy a home for more than that amount most lenders require 25% down for the amount above the limit.

Besides offering the 100% loan program, active duty soldiers also receive BAH (Basic Housing Allowance). On Hawaii an E-1 with a dependent receives $2607/ month, while on the high end an O-7 and above receives $4218/month. That is above and beyond their pay and cost of living allowance. What makes this significant is that not only does an active duty soldier have a wonderful mortgage program, but the government gives them a housing allowance to make the payments.

There are a few differences between using a VA mortgage compared to using a conventional loan.

1) The VA provides a guarantee to the lenders.

2) The VA has a streamline program for refinancing loans.

3) VA loans are assumable.

4) The appraisal process is handled by the VA and an NOV (Notice of Value) is issued.

5) The VA restricts some of the closing costs paid by the buyer. These are known as non-allowables.

In Hawaii we have several military bases and a large number of veterans. In terms of my personal real estate business, Active duty military and veterans account for over half of my business. Over 90% of our Lead Buyers Agent Travis Farris’ business is with military.  With the number of VA transactions we do, we have been able to put together support services with local venders and lenders for VA buyers. A great example is that a few of the local lenders pay the VA non-allowables, so the buyers do not have to negotiate that from the sellers. Other venders offer discounts to military, such as home inspections.

If you are considering buying a home with a VA Loan in Hawaii in 2014 and would like to know how using your VA benefit will impact you, please contact us anytime. We would be honored to assist you.  To learn more about the VA home loan benefit, consider attending an upcoming VA loan workshop on Oahu.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Home Sellers Tip: Control what you can Control!

home seller tip - Control what you can control!

A home sellers tip: when selling your home there are things you as a seller can control and then there are things you can not control, that you have to react to.

Things You Can Control:

  • The condition of your home.
  • Availability for buyers to see it.
  • The price.
  • The selection of a Realtor.

Things You Can’t Control:

  • The market.
  • The location (schools, neighbors, corner lot, etc.)
  • The competition.
  • Appraisals, home inspections, surveys, etc.
  • Buyers mortgage.

What I tell my sellers:  we will control what we can control and be ready to react to everything else.  Even the items we can’t control we in most cases can have some influence in those areas.  A good Realtor will inform and prepare you throughout the sales process.

If you are thinking of selling your home, give me a call.  I would be honored to guide you through the process.

Choosing the Right Mortgage Lender

Choosing the right mortgage lender

Choosing the right mortgage lender can be complicated and not all lenders are created equal.  

There are three main categories of lenders to get mortgages from.

1) Mortgage Brokers
Mortgage brokers theoretically can provide the same service and rates as mortgage lenders and banks, but in real practice rarely do. Loan approval letters from brokers get less respect from sellers and their real estate agents. The mortgage brokers opinion is not really relevant as they are not the ones who approve and fund the loan.

2) Banks
Banks are normally competitive with their rates and are usually conservative with the issuing of loan approval letters. Their letter will generally get more respect from sellers and their agents. However banks provide many other services and mortgages in some cases are not their primary focus. Larger banks can be bureaucratic and their service at times can me challenging when buying a home. Out of state banks can be extremely frustrating to deal with. They do not know our local laws, customs or contracts and tend to cause a lot of stress for both the buyer and the seller in the purchase of a home.

3) Mortgage Lenders
They are funding lenders who do strictly mortgages. These are the companies that traditionally provide the best service, offer the broadest range of mortgage products and are normally extremely competitive. Mortgage is all they do and their loan officers are traditionally paid on commission unlike many banks. If you do not get the loan, they do not get paid.

My services are normally free to buyers. If you are thinking about purchasing a home, contact me and I can walk you though the process and assist you in choosing the right mortgage lender and other professionals.

Little Things Add Up! Three Tips on How to Maximize the Value of your Hawaii Home

maximize your Hawaii home value

To max out the value of your Hawaii home when selling it, remember a few things:

1. Less is More! De-clutter and de-personalize. You are selling space, show it off. Allow potential buyers to envision what the home will look like when they move in and to see how much space there is for their stuff. Also you want them to look at the home and not your photo collection.
2. Paint is profit! A little fresh paint makes everything look better. If you are thinking of painting, stop thinking and just do it. It is the most cost effective thing you can do to raise the value of your home.
3. Small repairs should be done in advance. Don’t wait for the home inspector to give you a list of $10 repairs. Do them in advance. No one wants to buy a home that was not maintained. Also buyers will ask for them to be done and it may negatively impact the price you get.
Before spending a lot of money unnecessarily, give me a call to preview your home. I offer free evaluations of your home to help give you guidance on preparing your home for sale.

The Prothero Group offers aggressive marketing programs for your home. Simply put, we sell them faster and for more money.  Call us at (808) 625-5057 to get started today.