Another Stupid, Unenforceable Law Proposed

In their infinite wisdom, our legislature will consider on a final vote today, a new law that would make it illegal for a child to be left alone in a car for 5 minutes or more. Now don’t you feel better? They care.

How are you going to enforce that? Let’s see you could install secret cameras at shopping center parking lots, but what about the miscreants who have been known to pull up to their favorite watering hole and leave an infant in the car while they knock back a few? You didn’t forget about the law already in effect making it illegal for anyone under age 12 to ride in the back of a pick-up did you? As if a flying projectile (age 12 or older) eminating from pick-up truck in a highway mishap is somehow less precious than say a five-year old meeting the lava head on.

YOU JUST CANNOT LEGISLATE COMMON SENSE and the sooner our lawmakers realize that the better for all of us. They might actually be able to spend time on real issues like affordable housing, how to deal with the fallout of Aloha Airlines going under or how to support local farmers and producers of food on our islands as it gets more and more costly to import our daily necessities.

You know our local newspaper, West Hawaii Today just got reduced by an inch in width due to the rising cost of newsprint and the continually escalating cost of shipping it here. Now if the legislature would pick up on that mentality (less is better) they could shorten the session each year, thereby producing fewer stupid laws that they don’t enforce anyway and just possibly try to enforce a few of the good laws and regulations on the books. I know I’d feel better about paying my taxes, wouldn’t you?

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
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Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

A Scary Thought

Did you know that there is NO federal regulation whatsoever for Qualified Intermediaries? Yep that’s right no rules and regs, no insurance, no license (except in the State of Nevada) and no continuing education requirements! Zip, zero, nada.

Okay let’s back up. WHAT IS A QUALIFIED INTERMEDIARY?

You may have also heard them referred to as Accommodators. According to the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, A Qualified Intermediary (QI) is the professional provider of the mandatory mechanics of an exchange. The use of a QI, as an independent party to facilitate a tax-deferred exchange, is a safe harbor established by the Treasury Regulations. Sometimes QI’s are referred to as “accommodators” or “exchange facilitators.”

Realtors are heavily regulated and we are required to attend 10 hours of continuing education every license renewal period. Not wanting to do the midnight special (cram all required credits into a marathon session a week before the end of our license period (oh yeah, those classes are filled to the max every time!), Heidi and I just took advantage of a class this week offered by Old Republic Title Exchange Company (OREXCO) and taught by Julie Tumbaga, Vice President and Regional Account Manager of OREXCO in Honolulu.

It was a great class and very infomative. For anyone who’s ever been involved in a 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange (or plans to be), Julie’s repeated phrase throughout the session cannot be over emphasized:

“Everyone has a story, but the rules are the same. In the end, the IRS wants their money.”

If the Internal Revenue Code rules for a Tax Deferred Exchange (and there are many) are not followed to the letter, the exchange is invalid and all proceeds are exposed to taxation.

One last note gleaned from the seminar: if a action by QI (Qualified Intermediary) is invalidated by the IRS, EVERY OTHER EXCHANGE HANDLED BY THAT IQ IS INVALIDATED AS WELL! So please don’t fool around when considering a 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange. Be sure to get advise from your Realtor about who to best use, and make sure they are a professional Exchange Company like OREXCO!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Vog, Smog, Haze or Fog?

Call it what you like, but I wish it would stop! I don’t know anyone, other than tourists or those benefiting from the tourism generated by the volcanic activity on the Big Island, that isn’t more than ready to see it go away, as in cease and desist!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t fault anyone for being attracted to the volcano. It’s an absolutely phenomenal opportunity to view a most exciting display of nature, as live and up close as you’ll ever be.

I once had the chance to see Mauna Loa and Kilauea erupting at the same time back in 1984. TWO HAWAII VOLCANOES ERUPTING SIMULTANEOUSLY! From the Volcano Observatory turning southeast you could see clouds lit up by the Kilauea eruption downslope. Turn west, and you could make out the curtain of 160-foot lava fountains upslope on Mauna Loa.

From Kamuela of course we could only see Mauna Loa, but we could see it right from our front yard! We were awakened by a vicious, incessant pounding on our door at 3 AM. It was our closest neighbor at the door, jumping out of her skin,

“Look over there, Mauna Loa is erupting!”

“Holy Cattle” (this is not what I actually said, but the censored version . . . ;o) . . . . and it was erupting just as big as you can imagine -no, BIGGER than you can imagine. We got in the car and drove up the saddle road to get as close as we could, but there had already been several fender-benders as a result of people watching Madame Pele instead of the road, so it was blocked off. Okay, onto plan B- up the Kohala Mountain Road we went. It wasn’t as close to the heat, no pun intended but we figured with the elevation we could get a good vantage point, and we did. It was pretty spactacular.

Anyway now some 24 years since the last activity at Halemaumau Crater we are experiencing huge, sulfurous plumes of smoke and ash. This eruption shown is from the 1924 eruption at Halemaumau Crater. halemaumau-ash-plume.gif

The ash output is measured in CUBIC FEET if that tells you anything. From the first of the most recent volcanic explosions that occured on March 19th, the scientists label it a tiny volume, less than 350,000 cubic feet of ash when compared to say, Mount St. Helens, but none the less, the sulfuric dioxide level is measured in TONS and has been high enough (2,000 tons) at some points since the March 19th explosion to warrant evacuations of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and nearby communities such as Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.

Is it likely to stop anytime soon? That’s the big question, but as the paper recently noted in the Volcano Watch, column,

“A human lifespan is but a blink of an eye compared to Kiluaea’s 300,000 to 600,000 years of existence”

so not very dang likely. So get upwind of it and pray for trade winds!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Grown Here, Not Flown Here!

The mantra ‘Grown here, not flown here’ could have easily been started on the Big Island by the late Tony Taniguchi, President of KTA Super Stores in the early ’80s. Tony and Derek Kirisu, then Executive Vice President of the local supermarket chain wanted to promote and market local farmers and their products to juice the economy in the post-sugar days when the Big Island took a severe hit.

THE MOUNTAIN APPLE BRAND WAS BORN and today boasts over 300 products all from island farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs. Some of them (that’s a separate blog post by itself which I promise to do later) were featured recently in the Hawaii Island Journal and I was surprised and pleased to see so many I know and support!

And you know what? With all the food recalls happening I want to know where my food comes from, where it was grown or produced and who the farmers are. The great thing about the Big Island is you can do that. In fact, you probably brush shoulders with some of the local farmers and growers at the post office, Saturday morning soccer or at your kids’ school plays -you know right here in the community.

Here’s a little test for you. Try asking your children (young ones) and their friends what vegetable french fries come from. It’s shocking, and a lot of kids don’t know carrots are pulled from the ground. With the mass-produced agri-business conglomerates, there is a huge dis-connect between where our food comes from, what was sprayed on it or done to it and where it goes (or is stored) before it reaches our tables.

I was shocked to read that THERE WERE 21 BEEF RECALLS ALONE IN 2007 -that’s almost two a month! Our own State Dept. of Education in Honolulu recently had to deal with the disposal of 266,000 pounds of the recalled ground beef in the most recent fiasco. And it’s going to the landfill! P-U is all I can say. YOU LET YOUR KIDS BUY SCHOOL LUNCHES??

Just yesterday morning the West Hawaii Today reported food costs world-wide have jumped 17%. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. There are many reasons: All time high oil prices, sky rocketing shipping and transportation costs due to high oil prices, electricity increases due to high oil prices, increased demand from the emerging economies of China and India in particular, and massive diversion of corn crops to produce Ethanol-just to name a few as shown in these huge Ethanol storage bins.
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So what can you do? Well, being aware of the problem is a big start, and educate your kids. They seem a lot more open to new ideas (imagine that?) than many adults. You can also buy local (everything, not just food) whenever you can. Grow as much as you can. I live in a condo but I’ve got lettuce, arugula, chives and basil growing that I use every day. Patronize local farmers markets, encourage your grocery store’s produce manager to buy local. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO STEP BACK FROM BEING A HUGE CONSUMER OF OIL, STOP EATING MEAT! Production of meat takes grain crops from the human food supply, consumes more oil (and water) than you can imagine by the time you consider the energy it takes to plant, harvest, produce and then transport and refrigerate it. But of course we love our steaks, Moo. The point is there are ways to conserve and reduce our consumption and we just need to starting doing it!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

A Stupid Offer. Is it the Agent or the Buyer?

It’s hard to tell sometimes when you get a really stupid offer whether it’s the buyer’s agent putting them up to all this nonsense, or did the buyer come up with it on their own?

If it’s an inexperienced agent, I almost always assume it’s the agent, but as agents for our clients, we’re more or less bound to do what our clients want us to do. But this is where the experience should come into play. When a buyer wants us to do something really off the wall (I’m not talking just price; it’s price, it’s terms, it’s flaky financing not likely to pass muster with today’s lenders, it’s CRAZY CONTINGENCIES, it’s the furniture never intended to be included in the sale, it’s countless unreasonable demands on the seller), well then it is our job to yank the reins a bit.

HOLY CATTLE – IT’S NOT LIKE THE SELLERS AREN’T ALREADY GETTING BEAT UP.

Everyone has heard that if you low-ball an offer on a property you intend to buy, just testing the water, you are very likely to insult the sellers and often end up paying more for the property than you would have otherwise. Unfortunatley, I am witnessing too many irresponsible or inexperienced agents with more time than good sense on their hands, who are all too willing to write and present these STUPID offers.

That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say and I can just hear my mother saying,

“An intellegent person would be more creative with their vocabulary”

in describing these offers as STUPID, but to me that word perfectly describes what I have been witnessing too often lately. Just don’t be stupid, okay? Or at least call me before you write the offer. I may be able to save you some time!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com