Realtors Contribute to State’s Unemployment

Well, it’s no surprise to me, but it’s now official- there are more than 21% fewer real estate licensees in the State of Hawaii as of the end of the 2008 renewal period.

According to the Bulletin, the official newsletter for the Hawaii Real Estate Commission, of the 21,984 licensees (brokers, brokerages, individual brokers, salespeople and branch offices), only 17,325 renewed their license this last go round.

The breakdown of those who decided to throw in the towel looks like this:

  • 3,976  Salespeople
  • 645     Brokers
  • 38       Branch offices

The upside is those that remain may be more dedicated to the task. A number of part-timers were undoubtly weeded out, and so when the market does come back there will be fewer licensed agents to divide the spoils.

The downside is a significant loss in revenue to the State in the way of license fees (at around $180 a pop = a lot of doe-ray-me!), not to mention fewer people taking those oh so interesting continuing education classes (10 classroom hours every 2 years costing between $35-$55 each). But it’s a cyclical thing and it is what it is!

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

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

New Property Tax Assesments Are Out

And yes, the assessed values are down. My principal residence is assessed at 89.2% of what it was last year. The county of Hawaii vowed not to raise rates (a popular shell game that often goes on; when the assessed value goes down, the rate goes up so likely as not, you end up paying the same), and they kept that promise!tax-stamp.jpg

One logical question though, is how much real value has my property lost? Somehow I got a hunch it may be more than the 10.8% decrease reflected in the lower assessment. But since I can’t do anything about the market, I’ll take the lower taxes.

If you are curious, here’s how the property taxes are calculated.

Net Taxable Value x Tax Rate / $1000 = Taxes Due

Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into understanding the property tax levied on a particular property so I have included a copy of the Real Property Tax General Information here. 2008-2009-real-prop-tax-rates-info.pdf

The basics to understand is that if you are a homeowner (defined as owning the home and occupying it more than 200 calendar days/year), your’re eligible for the lowest tax rate available (unless of course, you’re a Charlie Rangle, Tim Geithner or one of the special people). It doesn’t happen automatically though, you must notify the county of your declared owner occupancy status on or before December 31st or June 30th of the year it becomes your principal residence, or you’ll automatically pay the higher (“Investor” rate) non-owner occupant rate until you do notify them. That could be an expensive mistake if you miss the deadline as the higher rate is currently $8.10/$1000 of assessed value vs the Homeowner rate of $5.55/$1000 of assessed value.

Some other items taken into consideration to arrive at your particular ‘net taxable value’ are:  age, whether or not you have certain disabilities (sight or hearing impairment or Hansens’s Disease, for example) or if you are a totally disabled veteran. At any rate, nobody likes to throw money away (considering they spend it so wisely . . .  ;o) so it definitely pays to check it out. If you have any questions, call (808) 961-8282, the County of Hawaii’s Real Property Tax office.

That’s my Tip of the Day!
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Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

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

Thars Gold in Dem Dar Hills!

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Mauna Kea, that is. According to a recent news article in West Hawaii Today (as in yesterday’s), Yale University plans to pay $12 Million for observatory time on KECK‘s telescopes atop the tallest mountain on earth.

That’s right Everest (29,035 ft), is often called the world’s tallest mountain but Mauna Kea (33,465 ft measured from its base), on the Big Island is actually taller by almost three quarters of a mile! Nearly 20,000 ft of Mauna Kea’s height sits below sea level. But why the hefty price tag, you might ask?

Well, you may not realize it but observing time is meted out very sparingly. Various Time Allocation Committees (TACs) review proposals semi-annually and time is awarded based on the scientific merit of each proposal. After all, there are numerous scientists, entities and organizations worldwide that would love the opportunity to view the heavens in arguably the clearest, cleanest sky anywhere in the world, but with only 365 nights a year, it’s competitive. And what if your night turns out to be cloud covered? Well, don’t quote me, but I think it’s tough luck baby. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Yale’s deal though is for 15 nights of observing over 10 years so while a cloudy night would be costly to the bottom line, they’d still get another shot at it and it’s a chance they’ll take just for the opportunity. Access to our mountain they feel, gives them a leg up on other top astronomy programs and Mauna Kea won out over the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona where Yale used to do their celestial explorations. Their loss, our gain!

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

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

I Never Thought I’d See This Day!

The Waikoloa Village Board of Directors finally approved a vendor for the old Clubhouse Restaurant which has been defunct for the past 2+ years or so following a major “whizzing match” (not what I wanted to call it!) between the Board and the previous vendor which resulted in a lawsuit, counter lawsuit and beau-coup wasted dollars. But alas, the lease has been signed, there’s light at the end of the tunnel and after the 90-day build out and completion of all liquor license requirements, hopefully cold beer will be flowing again to quench your thirst after a round of golf!hawaiian-beer-waitress.jpg

Oh yes, AND THE WINNER IS . . . . TRES HOMBRES, dba:  SPIKES. Apparently they have some new partners, and a new chef and are closing down their Kawaihae restaurant after many, many years and moving mauka! Don’t despair, they’ll be serving Mexican and American food so there should be plenny-kine variety.

I actually served on the restaurant committee, though our first choice, (Cronies) after interviews and the normal screening process ultimately backed out fearing a new venture in these economic times (okay maybe they also feared a heavy-handed board breathing down their neck a teensie-weensie bit too). Anyway, stay tuned here for a review of SPIKES after they’ve opened and worked out a few kinks.

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

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