Hawaii Is Not For Everyone

Realtors love it -people who revolve through Hawaii. After all, this coming and going creates business - when they arrive and then if we’re lucky (and we’ve done a good job), when they vamoose. The business that keeps on giving!

When they’re gearing up for it, moving here is the biggest thing on their minds occupying every waking hour fantisizing, packing and celebrating. THEY CAN’T WAIT – THEY’RE MOVING TO HAWAII!

I don’t know what it is, but I have witnessed it enough over the years to know it’s a real phenom. When I was in college at UH Manoa I saw it all the time, though then it was more boyfriend-girlfriend stuff or not being able to get the right job, but I have seen it repeated over and over. The crux of it I think is poor planning. One lady I knew arrived a week before her job started without a place to even hang her hat, not to mention an entire house of furniture on the way -mainland style stuff at that, and over 500 books in cardboard boxes!

Unfortunately, this person ended up being a tenant of ours. On our very first meeting she begged me for a 3-year lease. Don’t worry, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.

“We may not even like each other after 6 months, so there’s no way we’re doing a 3-year lease!”

And now barely a year later, she’s gone -whoosh, like a cool breeze. Here today, gone to Maui. No actually it was back to Colorado. And people get a very different idea of the Big Island when they’re here on vacation. I used to say in response to their “Oh we’ve been coming every year for the last 15 years”.

“Yes, so you’ve bought the place by now, you just don’t own it!”.

Living here, dealing with getting your kids in school, coping with no car washes -OMG, no garbage pick-up or home mail delivery in many places, etc., etc., is quite a different animal and Hawaii is not for everyone!

So what’s a person to do? Well, especially now with the added expense of getting here, not to mention shipping your stuff, you’ve got to take it seriously, plan better and come with the idea that it’s an adventure. Look upon it as an opportunity to raise your kids in a safer, more wholesome environment where you have unspoiled beauty every place you look. Take advantage of our beautiful beaches, and jump right into our mix of different cultures, languages, people and food. Realize no place is perfect and if you think you’re able to run from your problems, think again. Do your home work and, yes even though I make my living selling houses, I say be willing to rent for a while first to get acqainted with the different areas, climates and weather conditions around the island-before you plunge right in. After all, we all want happy clients and neighbors!

That’s my Tip of the Day!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals & Mortgage Freedom

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com

Fee, Fi, Fo, FICO

FICO, ever wonder what that means? I know many of us have heard it bandied about; “fico score, this and fico score that” but what the heck is it?

Like many things, the abbreviation became the word. FICO stands for Fair Issac Corporation and a FICO score according to our friend Wikipedia, is a number that represents the credit worthiness of a borrower.

Engineer Bill Fair and mathematician Earl Isaac founded Fair Isaac Corporation in 1956— with an initial investment of $400 each — on the principle that data, used intelligently, can improve business decisions.  (I’ll bet a few sub-prime lenders of late wished they had adhered more stringently to the used intelligently part of that principle).

According to Dian Hymer, a Realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area, syndicated columnist and a fellow CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) the credit score from Fair Issac uses 5 types of information to calculate a credit score.

  1. Payment History (that’s why you don’t want to be late!)
  2. Amounts Owed (are you tapped out yet?)
  3. Length of Credit History (at least a couple years shows stability)
  4. New Credit (please don’t buy a car just before you want a mortgage!)
  5. Types of Credit in Use (credit cards, other mortgages, personal loans)

Credit scores which were ignored or carried less weight in the past area more critical today in determining who will get a loan and who will be denied, so if your credit is a-hurtin’ you may want to seek advise from a mortgage broker, your local credit union or your banker and see what you can do to improve that ever-important FICO!

That’s my Tip of the Day!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals & Mortgage Freedom

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com

If You Don’t Believe It, Check Out Ruth’s Chris

I was feeling a little bad when a friend asked me the other day one of those “If it were you” kind of questions. His house has been on the market for awhile (haven’t they all?)for-sale-signs.jpg and he knows I’m in the business, but it’s not my listing so he figures he’ll get the straight scoop from me. Of course, if he were my client he’d especially get the real deal 411 from me. They don’t always like what I tell ‘em but I give it to ‘em anyway.

But what he wanted to know about was lease options as a vehicle to get his house sold, having tried everything else. By everything else I mean he’s taken it off the market for awhile, he has lowered the price some, he had his Realtor tweak the wording in MLS (hey, it’s 1.552 acres, not 1.5!), he even considered doing the Wall Street Journal bit -you know for those rich people wanting a 2nd home in Hawaii, etc. So he figures maybe a lease option would allow someone who is having trouble getting a mortgage, buy his house.

“DO YOU KNOW HOW A LEASE-OPTION WORKS?”

“Well no not really”, he says (that’s a future blog), so I give him the run-down. But in the end I tell him IT’S ALL ABOUT PRICE, and more than a little patience until buyers come back. And if you don’t believe it just go check out Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

We went to The Shops at Mauna Lani last night to our local RCSH with our friends Carmine & Judy for the 3-course ‘Prime Time Dinner Menu’ which includes salad, an entree choice, a side dish selection and dessert starting at $39.95! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, THE PLACE WAS PACKED!

As anyone on the Big Island can tell you, if the restaurants aren’t offering some pretty sweet deals right now, customers are staying home or going where the deals are. Real Estate is no different.

That’s my Tip of the Day!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals & Mortgage Freedom

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa

Let’s don’t make it any more painful than necessary!

A blog post that was also printed in today’s North Hawaii News had one tiny little word that makes a huge difference when corrected from “years” to “months”.

I was quoting housing statistics and in particular referring to over supply in inventory of listings. It should have said “22 months of supply”, not “22 years of supply”. I apologize and wish to make that correction. We only have a little less than 2 year supply. Let’s not make the situation worse than it really is!

 Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals & Mortgage Freedom

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone:  (808) 896-1943
eMail:  Mike@MikeSells.com

What It Is

FACTOID: 

A REVERSE MORTGAGE is a loan that enables older homeowners (62 or older) to convert a part of the equity in their homes into a tax-free (don’t miss that one, I said tax-free!) income without having to sell their home, give up title, or take on a new monthly mortgage payment.

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It, LLC
REALTOR REFERRALS & MORTGAGE FREEDOM

Waikoloa, Hawaii 96738
Phone: 808-896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com

Way Overdue And Here Is Why

The governor has been trying to do it for years; decentralize the Dept. of Education. Right now it’s based in Honolulu. Hawaii may be the only state in the country with one centralized DOE for the entire state. To illustrate how absurd this is, Kohala High School on the Big Island has 283 students vs a big-city school like McKinley on O’ahu (five islands away if you count tiny Kaho’olawe) with over six times that enrollment. These 2 schools have widely diverse needs and should not be dictated to by one centralized department on O’ahu. 
kohala-hsa.jpg

 mckinley-hs.jpg

Now, granted Hawaii by comparison is a teeny-tiny flea in the grander scheme of things compared to say, Texas or California. But didja know we’re bigger than Rhode Island, which has only 1,045 square miles of land area, compared to Hawaii with over 6,400 square miles? That’s right, look at this.

Anyway, I digress. The thing that got to me today is the Board of Education (don’t they look like nice, well-meaning people?) in an effort to cut costs as mandated now that the economic crunch is here, BELIEVES THE WAY TO DO IT IS TO CUT JV SPORTS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS! It’s enough to make you want to scream. 

Well, they got a taste of the public’s displeasure at last night’s BOE meeting which attracted a record-breaking crowd. By 10 PM no decision had been made. Learning that the guys ‘n gals at the BOE just this summer spent $1.2M$ to send 652 employees to a Model Schools Conference (mumbo-jumbo for ‘take a vacation at the taxpayer’s expense’) at Walt Disney World in Florida (could you possibly pick any place further from Hawaii?) makes it even more frustrating.

Like I said, it’s WAY OVERDUE!

Aloha, “Mikie”

MIKIE LIKES IT, LLC
REALTOR REFERRALS & MORTGAGE FREEDOM

Waikoloa, Hawaii 96738
Phone: 808-896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com

The 69 Percent Phenomenon

The most common type and the reason for the highest dollar losses in E & O claims (Errors and Omissions) for Realtors NATIONWIDE is for exaggeration, misrepresentation or concealment of facts. 

That’s right, nationwide FAILURE TO DISCLOSE generates the most complaints (as in 69% of all complaints) from the public in dealing with Realtors.

Curtis V. Hall, nationally acclaimed real estate educator harped to our class,

“Disclose, disclose, disclose, and if you do get into trouble for whatever reason -kill the monster early”.

In other words, once you know there’s a problem, take care of if as soon as possible. These things have a way of escalating (as soon as an attorney’s in the picture you’re already toast)! Don’t let it get that far, and of course as always, prevention is the best cure of all! Sellers need to fully disclose all they know about their property and they need to work closely with their Realtor to make sure ALL material facts are brought to the attention of the Buyers.

That’s my Tip of the Day!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, “Mikie”
Mikie Likes It, LLC
REALTOR REFERRALS & MORTGAGE FREEDOM

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: 808-896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com

Hold Our Feet To The Fire

I’ve had an over-dose of continuing education classes lately -like 3 in the last two weeks! The CE classes are required for our license renewals which otherwise expire every other year on Dec. 31st. You have two years to take the 10 hours of reqired courses -approved by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In addition to the ten hours for license renewal every NAR member licensed before 2005 has to take a class on ethics and I admit going in there with a bad attitude;

“I had to drive all the way to Kona for a class in ethics! Why do I have to sit through this stuff? It’s so boring”, etc.

If you’ve been blessed with teenage children, you’ve no doubt heard this refrain, but down deep, I honestly felt put upon because I had the attitude that you can’t teach someone ethics -you either got ‘em or you don’t. I even took a magazine with me to better occupy myself should it get really dry, but I have to admit I was drawn in and then scared to death hearing all the ways I had probably inadvertantly breached our Realtor Code of Ethics without even knowing it!

Did you know that REALTORS are issued pocket IDs which are required to be kept in our possession at all times? It’s true. And yes, I may have been guilty there (gasp, gasp) a time or two, and while that resides on the silly end of the ethics spectrum, by and large these rules and guidelines are there to protect the public, so they are a good idea.

For example, speaking to a walk-in at an Open House, where you are the Seller’s agent and an unaccompanied buyer-prospect comes in the door. Almost as soon as that prospect begins to ask you questions about the house or more particularly about the Sellers, like Gee why are they selling? or Have they had any offers yet? or maybe even, How much will they take?, you are bound by the COE to immediately acertain if that prospect is working with an agent and to let them know you represent the Sellers exclusively. You have to be extremely careful of the Seller’s private information and you can never reveal even the most simple fact like, “they are getting a divorce and have to sell”.

NAR tries to make the public aware that they have a right to expect ethical behavior from its members. In fact, our Purchase Contract says right at the top:

“Buyer and Seller are aware that the National Association of REALTORS holds its members accountable for their actions through a strict Professional Code of Ethics which includes a grievance system to address complaints. Non-members are not held to the same standards, nor are they required to participate in the grievance system.”

So as card-carrying (I’ll try to do better, I promise) members of the NAR, we REALTORS need to always hold our clients best interests at heart and before our own, and as consumers you need to be sure you use REALTORS, not just real estate agents, in your real estate dealings and you need to HOLD OUR FEET TO THE FIRE!

That’s my Tip of the Day!


happyfaceunderpalm.jpg
Aloha, “Mikie”
Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals & Mortgage Freedom
 
 
Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com

Holy Cow, What Rescession?

Yeah, I just received in my mailbox a special update on Mauna Kea Resort’s progress. And judging by the guestroom rates you would not know there was an economic storm a-brewing. Get this, for Mountain View rooms, rates start at $450 and go from $1,000 for 8th Floor Deluxe Ocean and Suites!

kaunaoa-beacha.jpg

It’s her re-entry in the world of hospitality, if you will. You may recall that December 2nd, 2006, the Mauna Kea Resort was red-tagged by FEMA as being unstable and unfit for occupancy and then abruptly shuttered with 480 employees suddently out of work. The grand old lady was the victim of the 7.6 earthquake the previous October centered just offshore about 11 miles from nearby Kalaoa-almost literally a stone’s throw away. And folks who’d been coming to Mauna Kea year after year -for years and years were suddently cut off.

It may have been a blessing in disguise for the hotel anyway, as it gave them the perfect opportunity to update, upgrade and remodel. They have even torn out the entire golf course and are rebuilding and redesigning that-though they promise to restore the bunkers to their original look right down to replacement of the same sand! And I have tell you it’s been a little unnerving to drive by and see the holes made famous in the past torn up and laid bare, but according to a recent press release, it promises

“to set a new stardard for oceanfront golfing on the Gold Coast of Hawaii.”

And what they really want you to know in their most recent mailout is that the Hotel will begin taking reservations this summer! And if you aren’t feeling the recession or gas crunch, or worrying about which of your children to auction off for airfare you may just want to give the new Mauna Kea Beach Hotel a look-see!

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals & Mortgage Freedom

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com