April 30, 2008

Routine home maintenance — Termite season coming soon

termite-shot.JPGThis is a great time of year to think of ways to maintenance your home. With all of the companies promoting Green Values today it makes it much easier to obtain products relating to conservation. For termites its good to follow these tips, especially in our Puako community here along the coast. Its common habit for both types of termites to swarm in the summer months.

Eliminate any water leaks or excess water around your home and to correct the problem right away.

Shampoo or steam-clean your carpet every three to six months depending on the traffic of the rooms involved. It can really prolong the life of your carpet.

Clean the gutters and drain pipes on a regular basis. Be sure they drain away from the house and watch for signs of damage on facia. At the first sign of damage, immediately make the necessary repairs and reseal the gutter seams.

Inspect faucet connections for leaks and replace washers as needed. This saves money on your water bill and reduces the moist breeding ground for unwanted pests.

Once a year, drain your hot water heater and remove sediment from the bottom.

Use vinegar and water on ceramic tile cleans them without leaving a film.

Check exposed wood for signs of rot and bugs, and treat as necessary.

Don’t cut your grass too short, especially in warmer areas. Longer grass helps maintain moisture.

It may be a great idea to have a Termite Home Inspection when living in our tropical home.

April 25, 2008

Conservation Council for Hawai’i — Doing great things for all of the Islands

Conservation was law in Hawai’i of old and Hawai’i of today is trying to catch up with the growth the islands are still experiencing. Our company has joined the Conservation Council for Hawai’i for a second year. A Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) of today Julie Leialoha is the President of this wonderful and informative Group.

From Julie Leialoha. “It is a responsibility to ensure that our lands are kept in perpetuity for all generations to come. Our culture is deeply rooted in the land and sea water. Whether it is trudging in knee-deep mud to find the rarest of plants or giving testimony to political officials in an air-conditioned office, working to save Hawai’i's natural heritage has been the heart and soul of my entire adult life and will be for the rest of my day. My only hope is that we can protect what we have left before it is too late.”

The Conservation Council for Hawaii (CCH) is completely supported by private contributions from individual members and by grants from foundations. We are dedicated to the conservation and better management of Hawai’i's natural resources. Every membership dollar you send will go far in protecting our unique island home.

Here are some hightlights of what we are doing:

Policy : This past year two of our high-priority bills were passed by the state legislature addressing global warming and invasive species. We continue to work with elected officials to strengthen the laws that protect the ‘aina (the land)

Service: Recently , we sponsored service trips at the Halakau National Wildlife refuge on the Big Island and along the Manoa Cliffs Trail above Honolulu. Projects in for remainder of 2008 include more work in restoring native forests along the Manoa Cliff Trail. We are also taking the lead in helping to protect the unique sinkholes at Kalaeloa. (Barber’s Point)

Education :Last year , we produced a poster and teacher’s guide featuring the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. This year’s poster celebrates Kawai Nui Marsh on O’ahu. It will be distributed free of charge to all schools in Hawaii.

Please send your check or money order to help this important organization.

Conservation Council for Hawai’i
P.O. Box 2923
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96802 or call them @ 808-593-0255.

Of course this is Tax Deductable. I would hope new home owners of the islands could see the importance of helping local organizations like this one.

April 23, 2008

Big Island has more than Twice amount of coral as rest of State of Hawaii–Protect this

Hale Lihi KaiI was reading an article the other day from January , West Hawaii Today and found that Hawaii with its large land mass accounts for more than twice the amount of coral than all the other islands.

The article was by Bret Yager and Stephens Media.

They say that the Big Island has more coral in its nearshore waters than any of the other main Hawaiian Islands, according to a massive coral reef study released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Live coral covers 57 percent of the sea floor in waters measured to 100 feet of depth off the Hawaii Island. That is more than twice the 24 percent average for the other shorelines mapped around the state.

“Live corals cover 29 square miles of waters surrounding the Big Island, ” said Timothy Battista, an oceanographer with NOAA’s Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assesment.

NOAA estimates that reefs around the state contribute $360 million to the economy , in part through recreational opportunities and commercial fishing.

So please Kokua and be a good stewart of this beautiful place we all call home.

April 17, 2008

Regina Orlando of Old Republic Title and Escrow of Hawaii

Regina Orlando of the Old Republic Title and Escrow of Hawaii recently sent me an interesting article created by http://rismedia.com

Regina always keeps us up to date with her current projects and the importance of Title Insurance and Escrow here on the Big Island.

In any real estate market, price is the key. It’s just not as important in an increasing seller’s market than in a declining buyer’s market.

In a seller’s market, if you miss the target price, the seller can always wait for the market to catch up to their price.

We are currently in a buyer’s market.

In a buyer’s market, if you miss the target, not only will the house not sell, the seller will get angry and frustrated, the agent will feel helpless and worthless, and the home will lose value daily. Even in a buyer’s market, with average of 75 days on the market, if a home hasn’t sold in the first 21 days, the seller has lost their “honeymoon period.” That is the time where the limited number of buyers that are out there, looking for the right home at the right price, would have bought the house if it was priced right. After 21 days, the house loses the “new kid on the block” advantage.

In a buyer’s market, the seller has to price their home at tomorrow’s market price, not yesterday’s. If prices are falling 5% a year, then a $500,000 property today will be worth $498,000 next month and by the end of a typical escrow, $495,000. A seller needs to price the house at $495,000 today, so they can be the next home to sell, before values go down again.

What if you miss the target the first time? How can you show the seller why they need to adjust their price and what price it should be adjusted to?

A price adjustment must begin the day the listing is signed. A properly informed seller will be primed for a price reduction the day they list and will be kept informed of the market weekly.

Discuss with the seller that pricing is an art, not a science. Your suggested price is an opinion, only the current buyers out there looking will tell them if the price is right.

As a rule of thumb, if after the first 21 days, the seller had a lot of showings, but no offers, the price is probably within 5% of market. But, if after 21 days there are very few, or no lookers, the price is likely at least 10% over market, or more. You can explain to the seller that most buyers are willing to offer 5% under the asking price, but very few buyers will offer 10%, or more, under the asking price. The buyers, and their agents, will simply refuse to even look at a property that is 10%, or more, over priced.

During the first 21 days, and throughout the listing period, keep the seller informed of the market. Do a new CMA every 7-10 days. Be the first to call the seller when a new listing comes on the market around the corner, or when a property goes into escrow or closes escrow. Give the seller copies of news articles about the real estate market, keep them informed. Give copies of all of your marketing materials to the seller so they know what you are doing to sell their home.

After 21 days, if it’s not sold, the seller will likely come to you to give you a new, lower price, because they will begin to understand that they are overpriced.

If you have to go to the seller and ask for an adjustment, go in prepared and armed with knowledge and confidence. A real seller, one that is motivated to sell, will appreciate the information, honesty and your clear picture of the market.

You should bring these items to your face-to-face meeting with the seller:

- Your original CMA – You must show them where and why you priced the house originally. If you allowed the seller to set the first price, ask them how they derived the price from your original CMA .
- An update on each property you used in the original CMA – Show the activity, price reductions, expired, etc., from the first CMA .
- A new CMA , based on activity over the past 21 days – Give them a new CMA and ask them where they see themselves priced at given the new information.
- Summarize your marketing activities – Show them all of the marketing you’ve done to date. Let them see that you have gone above and beyond to find a buyer for their home.
- One or two key articles about today’s market – Remind them of all of the articles you have dropped off. Go over today’s articles about price declines, interest rate increases, job losses, etc., that are affecting the real estate market in your area.
- Give them your new suggested price and why – Show them that given the most recent news about the market, this is why they need to be priced at $X.
- Show them what the marketing plan is for the next 30 days – Show them that you are in this together and that you will commit to X, Y & Z marketing if they will adjust their price to your suggestion. It’s a give and get situation. You need to show them that with the right price, you can get their home sold and this is how.

With all of this data, you should get the price you want, without a fight and without hard feelings. You are just the messenger in this market!

You need to continue with these steps throughout the listing period.

Every 21-30 days, sit down with your seller, go over these items and go for a price adjustment. You may not get one every time you sit down, but at least the seller can’t say that you didn’t keep the line of communication open and keep them informed of the market. In the end, it’s not you that won’t be able to go forward with a move, nor is it you that has to make that monthly house payment.

If you educate the seller from day one and prepare them for your meetings every 21-30 days, they will appreciate your communication and be ready and open to hear your suggestions!

April 9, 2008

Prelisting Inspections–Woodbury Inspection Group Inc. — Great Local Company

This really is a great time for buyers in the current Hawaii Market. Having a great resource like a prelisting inspection can make all the difference in the world. Luckily for me Katherine Klug ,a local Real Estate agent on the Big Island introduced me to Alex and Mike Woodbury of Woodbury Inspection Group. This is a link off of their home page that I copied.

Prelisting Inspections
In this changing market, prelisting inspections can provide a prospective buyer with an added sense of confidence, and eliminate potential pitfalls and surprises associated with the C-51 inspection period. A prelisting inspection may also provide the seller(s) and listing agent(s) with valuable information about the conditions of a residential property, and provide an opportunity to address or disclose them prior to a transaction.

By having a Woodbury Inspection Group Inc. prelisting inspection, and making or disclosing necessary repairs, the seller(s) are less likely to have the transaction fall out of escrow, are better able to control repair negotiations, and could save thousands of dollars.

You can have an advantage in the marketplace by optaining a prelisting inspection. Read more about the benefits of prelisting

We provide you with an 18″ x 24″ all weather sign to go next to or under your “For Sale” sign stating that your potential buyer can buy with confidence, as your home has been preinspected. We also offer an 8″x 11″ desktop sign for condominium listings.

Woodbury Inspection Group Inc. will provide a prelisting inspection of your property at our standard inspection rate. If corrections and repairs are made to the house after the inspection, we will return for a reinspection, then provide you with an updated report complete with photos that you can share with your potential buyers. The written report is yours and it is completely up to you if you wish to share it with real estate agents or potential buyers during the transaction period. When you get an offer, we will return to reinspect the home for the buyer at a reduced rate-a savings that you are able to pass on to them. Schedule Inspection

Its always good to check in with the professionals when dealing with many stages of the inspection process.

April 3, 2008

Solar Water Heaters a great way to be green while saving in sunny Hawaii

Solar Sun shines all day in Puako and above the clouds at Mauna KeaSolar Sun shines all day in Puako and above the clouds at Mauna KeaWell with all of the price hikes on gas, food and electric it would be nice to save some money. Helco (Hawaiian Electric Company) has given some guidelines and tips on how you can create a long term supply of hot showers and baths whle relaxing after a busy day at work or play.

How does the solar water heater work?

Sunlight is absorbed by a solar collector (usually located on the South Facing) heating the water circulating through the collector. The heated water is then stored for use throughout the day and night in a hot water storage tank.

What types of systems are available?

Two types of systems are available through the Residential Efficient Water Heating Program:

Passive (thermosiphon) systems Passive systems have the hot water tank mounted above the collectors (usually on the roof) and do not require a pump

Active (pumped systems) Acitve systems have the collectors mounted usually on the roof, with the hot water tank commonly placed at ground level , and a small pump to circulate the water.

What are the Pros and Cons of solar water heating?

Positive ++++

Solar can significantly reduce the water heating portion of your electric bill (if you currently have an electric water heater)
35% state tax credit (subject to individual qualification)
30% federal tax credit (subject to individual qualification)
Anticipated system life of 15 years
Highest potential savings over life of the system, compared to other efficient water heating technologies
Over 60,000 solar water heating systems in use in Hawaii
Proven technology, reliable with low maintenance requirements
Most environmentally friendly wat to heat water

Negative —-

Collectors must be placed in an unshaded location, often on roof tops
High initial investment cost
Requires minor annual maintenance
Reduced efficiency during cloudy weather

How can the program benefit you?

Systems are installed by licensed contractors in accordance with HELCO standards and specification
High quality , reliable system installations
Inspected by a HELCO representative to ensure that the installation meets the highest standards , as well as protect the customer
Individually designed to provide most of you family’s yearly hot water needs

Savings will vary from household to household based in part on each customer’s hot water usage.
Consult you tax advisor , IRS, or state tax office for eligibility.

Save money Save energy Save Resources —–

The Hawaiian practice has always been to conserve and protect resources. We need to follow that successful long term way of living in the islands , nothing makes more sense than taking care of the Aina ( Land )

Mahalo for your time.

Jonathan Ditto
Hawaii Vacation Rentals Inc.