HRI Blog



Aug. 20, 2019

The Best Oahu Communities: A Look at Kailua Town


Welcome to the next edition of our Neighborhood Spotlight Series, where we will continue to provide a little insight into some of the best towns Oahu has to offer, so you can feel more comfortable in the purchase of your new home in Hawaii.


This month’s featured Oahu community is Kailua Town. If you want to be in the heart of it all, then this is the area for you! Considered the ‘main shopping area’, Kailua Town offers an array of shopping, dining and activities. This area mostly consists of condominium developments. It blends the new with the old, as this community is also actively involved in preserving its heritage, so residents are often engaged in beautification and preservation projects. Within walking distance to both Kailua Beach and main shops, this is prime location!


We have created an infographic to provide a quick glimpse into some of the housing and residential statistics that a potential homebuyer may be interested in for this neighborhood. We hope you find this information helpful!



kailua homes for sale


We have a gorgeous condo for sale in the prime Kailua Town area that could be yours for the taking. Part of the newly completed Ka Malanai condo development, 437 Kailua Rd. #6103 offers spectacular views of huge Banyan trees and the lowest maintenance fees per foot in all of Kailua!  Not only is also one of the largest condos in Kailua, it includes central AC, Quartz countertops and wood laminate flooring. Relax on your 2 spacious lanais off the main living area (with large storage room) and master bedroom. This perfect location is just a few minutes walk to both Kailua Beach and Kailua Town. Contact us today if this looks like it could be a permanent or getaway home for you!


kailua homes for sale



We know that trying to settle on the right community as you’re looking at Oahu homes for sale can be tricky, but here at Hawaii Realty International, we’re here to provide a helping hand and make the process of buying your new home in Hawaii as easy as possible. Please do not hesitate to give us a call!

Posted in Buying a home, Oahu
Aug. 5, 2019

How to Improve Your Credit Score for an Oahu Home Purchase



When you are looking to buy a home in Oahu, the first step in the process should be evaluating your finances to determine just how much house can I afford? If you haven’t always had a clean payment history or have significant debt, you may be asking how to improve your credit score. Because a credit score is extremely important to lenders, this is an area for immediate attention. Credit scores affect lending rates, the amount you are eligible for, and often the payment terms. With a low score, you will be at a disadvantage when looking to secure funds for a new Kailua or Honolulu home — or any other Oahu real estate. 


While there are many prospects when considering Oahu homes for sale, the reality of the situation is that the cost of living in Hawaii is high and the better your credit, the higher budget you will most likely have to work with. When consulting with a real estate agent, like myself, we will try to get you the most for your max allowance in terms of a price point, but you need to be certain that you will be approved for the needed funds. There are a few things you can do to improve your overall credit score before looking to buy a home in Oahu.


Avoid Late Payments


Your overall score is determined by several areas, but the history of how you pay your bills is the most significant impacting factor. Your bill payment history is equal to about 35% of your total credit score. Making monthly payments for outstanding debt on or before the due date will do a lot to increase your score. 


Check Your Credit Score

There are several sites that offer free credit score reporting, and by staying on top of the activity, you will know how to address any problems. This can keep your score from developing errors. 


Correct Errors in Reporting


If your score has dropped, look at the different areas and find out why. You can sometimes contact your company and ask them to remove reported late payments. You can even open disputes on items that are incorrect. 


Reduce Your Level of Debt

The second-largest area making up your credit score is the debt ratio. This is equal to about 30% of your score and takes several factors into consideration. This will look at the number of open accounts you have and the amounts that have been utilized for each account. The rule of thumb is to keep your credit accounts 30% or below the available limit. 


Keep a Strong Credit History

As the saying goes, there are many things that improve with age, and your credit score is one of those things. The longer your accounts remain open and in good standing, the higher your score will go. It is hard to keep something on your history, such as a car or house that has been paid off, but some of your revolving credit accounts can be of help to your financial situation. This category determines approximately 15% of your total score. 


Balance Your Types of Credit

Install loans and revolving credit are the two types of accounts reported. By having both loan types on your credit, it displays a sense of familiarity with the lending and payment process. This improves your score and establishes credibility for lenders. 


Reduce Credit Inquiries

Every time you open a new account or apply for financing, it puts a mark on your credit score. These marks will drive down your score. It is suggested to only make an inquiry once every six months or so. 


Use a Personal Loan

If you are looking for a quick way for how to improve your credit score, getting a personal, secured loan might be the answer. With a lump-sum loan, you can pay off debt accounts and manage payments. This still leaves you with credit history but allows you to remove negatively impacting accounts. 

By improving your credit score, you become desirable to lenders. Not only will they provide a favorable loan rate, you will have increased access to higher limits and offers. This extension of funds will go a long way in ensuring you are able to purchase the Kailua or Kapolei home of your dreams. If you’d like to discuss your options in the Oahu real estate market, please feel free to contact me!

Posted in Buying a home
July 29, 2019

A Guide To the Best Restaurants on Oahu


Whether planning on moving to Oahu in the near future or have lived in the area for years, it’s always fun to venture out and try new restaurants. Exploring local businesses is a great way to get to know a new town if you’ve just closed on one of the gorgeous Kailua homes for sale — or try out different parts of the area that may be new to you even if you’ve lived in Honolulu for years. Having lived in Kailua for years personally, I’ve tested out a large part of the food scene. Today, we’re breaking down some of our personal favorite Kailua restaurants for you!


Favorite Casual Restaurants:

Kailua has no shortage of delicious casual food spots — the variety and quality of food you receive is amazing! Add these to your rotation of lunchtime favorites or quick weeknight dinner options when you don’t feel like cooking — we promise you won’t be sorry!

Champa Thai in Kailua

Paniolos Burritos (Kapolei and Kailua)

The Beet Box Cafe in Kailua



Favorite Date Night Restaurants:

When you want something a little fancier — whether having a date night with your significant other or a night out with friends — these are all tried and true restaurants that make those special nights a spectacular and delicious experience!

Baci Bistro in Kailua 

Buzz's Original Steakhouse in Kailua

Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill in Kaneohe

Kalapawai Market in Kailua

Tokoname Sushi Bar & Restaurant in Kailua



Favorite Coffee Shops/Desserteries:

Whether you have the inkling for a morning donut or muffin or are in need of a decadent set of cupcakes or cake for a special occasion, these bakeries and cafes are ones that we know and love.

Morning Brew Coffee & Bistro in Kailua

Over Easy Restaurant in Kailua

Moke's Bread & Breakfast in Kailua



Favorite Ice Cream Shops:

We like to think that ice cream is an essential food group. If you tend to have the same fondness for this creamy treat, then you’ll definitely want to check out some of our local favorite ice cream and yogurt shops.

Island Snow (for shave ice!) in Kailua

Frost Kailua (for frozen yogurt!) in Kailua

Whether just looking at Kailua homes for sale, planning on moving to Honolulu, or have lived in Kapolei for years, we wanted to share some of the great Oahu restaurants that we have to choose from. We hope this helps to get you started on your food tour around the area, or maybe venture out to a new place you’ve never tried! If you find yourself in the position to buy or sell a home on Oahu, then we hope you’ll think of us for any current or future real estate needs you may have! We’d love to be of help! 

Posted in Kailua
July 16, 2019

A Glossary of Oahu Real Estate Terms You Should Know


oahu real estate


Buying or selling your Oahu home can be an extremely exciting time in your life, however, it can also be incredibly confusing and stressful if not equipped with the right tools to navigate this momentous life decision. Dealing with terms like Adjustable-Rate Mortgage vs. Fixed-Rate Mortgage, recurring vs. nonrecurring closing costs, and Earnest Money Deposit can be daunting to even the most experienced homebuyer. That’s why it pays to have a good foundation of knowledge going into any real estate transaction. The real estate terminology guide we provided below will get you started, but the best way to ensure you have a thorough understanding of every step of your Kailua, Kapolei or Honolulu home buying process is to have a knowledgable, reputable realtor on your side. Whether a first time home buyer in Hawaii or a seasoned pro, with my keen insight into the market and expertise in the community, I can help navigate your Oahu real estate transaction with ease and confidence.

Glossary of Oahu Real Estate Terms:


Active: This means that a property is currently on the market and available for sale. It may have received offers, but none has yet been accepted, meaning you are still able to make an offer if you so wish.

Active with contract (AWC): This means that even though there’s an accepted offer on the home, the seller is looking for backup offers in case the primary buyer falls through. While any seller can entertain backup offers as a precautionary measure as long as this is made clear in the contract, this term most often crops up with short sales, since they can often fall through, and it can be helpful if a second buyer is waiting in the wings.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): A mortgage loan with an interest rate that fluctuates in accordance with a designated market indicator over the life of the loan (usually 1-2/year). To avoid constant and drastic fluctuations, ARMs typically limit how often and by how much the interest rate can vary.


Annual Percentage Rate (APR): A yearly interest rate that includes upfront fees and costs paid to acquire the loan, calculated by taking the average compound interest rate over the term of the loan. Mortgage lenders are required to disclose the APR so that borrowers can more accurately compare the actual cost of different loans with different fees.

Appraisal: A determination of the value of the house you plan to buy. A professional appraiser makes an estimate by examining the property, looking at the initial purchase price, and comparing it with recent sales of similar properties. Your bank or other lender will require the appraisal in order to ascertain the worth of the house for lending purposes. The lender may refuse to fund the loan if the appraisal comes in lower than the loan amount. In this case, unfortunately, you must either come up with additional down payment money or a better appraisal.

Asking Price: The initial selling price of a property, determined by the seller.

Assumable Loan: A home mortgage which can be transferred from the previous owner to the new owner, thus allowing the buyer to take over the seller's mortgage. Most lenders require the borrower to qualify for the mortgage in order to assume the mortgage.

CMA: Comparative market analysis or competitive market analysis. A CMA is a report that shows prices of homes comparable to a subject home and that were recently sold. The sold prices, known as comps, can help homeowners determine how much their home is worth in the current market.

Contingency: A provision in a real estate contract in making an offer is “contingent”, or dependent, on one or more conditions that must be fulfilled before the buyer is willing to proceed with the purchase; such as the prospective buyer making an offer contingent on his or her sale of a present home. 


Conventional Mortgage: A type of mortgage not insured by either the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and thus usually requiring a 10–20% down payment. 


Counteroffer: The rejection of an offer to enter into a contract, where the rejecting party includes a different offer that changes the terms of the original offer in some way. The legal significance of a counteroffer is that it completely voids the original offer.

Down payment: The lump sum in cash that you can afford to pay at the time of purchase. Traditionally, down payments are 20% of the purchase price. 

Earnest money deposit (EMD): A partial payment demonstrating “good faith” in a contractual relationship, made at the time of the purchase offer. The remainder of the payment is due on the closing date. The seller keeps the earnest money if the buyer fails to make timely payment in full (or if there is a similar breach of the agreement).

Escrow: The holding of funds or documents by a neutral third party prior to closing your home sale.

Fixed-rate mortgage: A mortgage loan that has an interest rate that remains constant throughout the life of the loan, usually 15 or 30 years. This mortgage's interest rate will never change, even if the term of the loan is 30 years. This can be good or bad, but it will always be predictable. Interest on fixed-rate mortgages is almost always higher initially than on adjustable-rate mortgages. But you'll also be protected against rate hikes, a pitfall of adjustable-rate mortgages.

FHA Loan: A program in which the federal government (Federal Housing Administration) insures the lender if you fail to pay and they have to foreclose and wind up losing money.  The government doesn't make the loan, they just offer the guarantee to the banks. Such financing allows for a lower down payment than required by most lenders. Houses must be in decent shape to qualify for FHA Loans.  The other kinds of loans are Conventional and VA.

Home inspection: A thorough professional examination, typically at the buyer’s expense, that evaluates the structural and mechanical condition of a property, including plumbing, foundation, roof, electrical, HVAC systems, etc. This highly recommended step is a common contingency clause in real estate sales contracts. If the inspector identifies issues that may be expensive to remedy, these can be revisited with the seller before proceeding with the sale.

Homeowners' association: An organization made up of neighbors concerned with managing the common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex. These associations collect monthly dues and take on issues such as garden, pool, and fence maintenance, noise abatement, snow removal, parking area upkeep, repairs, and dues. The homeowners' association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that apply to the property.

Homeowners Insurance: Insurance that protects the homeowner from “casualty” (losses or damage to the home or personal property) and from “liability” (damages to other people or property). Required by the lender and usually included in the monthly mortgage payment.

House closing: The final transfer of the ownership of a house from the seller to the buyer, which occurs after both have met all the terms of their contract and the deed has been recorded.

Loan Origination Fee: A fee charged by the lender for evaluating, preparing, and submitting a proposed mortgage loan.

Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP): A charge paid by the borrower (usually as part of the closing costs) to obtain financing, especially when making a down payment of less than 20 percent of the purchase price, for example on an FHA-insured loan.

Multiple listing service: A computer-based service, commonly referred to as MLS, that provides real estate professionals with detailed listings of most homes currently on the market. Membership isn’t open to the public, however much of this information is sold to and can be found by the public on many real estate listing websites. 

Nonrecurring closing costs: Those costs of closing a home purchase that need to be paid only once -- such as the appraisal fee, title insurance, and transfer taxes. (Compare with recurring closing costs, defined below.)

Pending Sale: This is the escrow period, where the seller has an accepted offer and an executed contract, all the contingencies have been met, and the buyer and seller are working towards a closing. 

PITI: Abbreviation for the major expenses that make up a mortgage payment: principal (the amount borrowed), interest, (property) taxes, and (homeowners') insurance.

Point: Prepaid interest on a loan, equal to one percent of the principal amount being borrowed. The lender may charge the borrower several “points” in order to provide the loan. The advantage of paying points up front is that a lower interest rate can be secured for the lifetime of the loan. This may be a good deal if a buyer plans to stay in the home for many years, as the long-term interest savings outweigh the initial cost in points.

Pre-approval (loan): A lender’s written guarantee to grant a loan up to a specified amount (subject to receiving full documentation). Pre-approval for a loan can strengthen a buyer’s negotiating position with a seller.

Pre-qualification: Less official than a mortgage pre-approval, banks offer free pre-qualifications to estimate the amount a buyer may be able to borrow. It is often used early in a buyer’s search to help determine a reasonable price range.

Principal: The outstanding balance on a loan.  Also refers to the portion of a loan payment that pays down your debt.  

PMI/Private Mortgage Insurance: If your down payment is less than 20%, you'll have to buy Private Mortgage Insurance which protects the bank if you fail to make your payments, they have to foreclose, and they lose money.

Property Taxes: Taxes, based on the assessed value of the home, paid by the homeowner for community services such as schools, public works, and other costs of local government. Paid as a part of the monthly mortgage payment.

Recurring closing costs: Those costs of closing a home purchase that represent the first of a series of payments that will recur over time — such as homeowners' insurance and property taxes. 

Title Insurance: This type of insurance is acquired to protect against any unknown liens or debts that may be placed against the property. Before issuing title insurance, public records are searched to ensure that the current owner has legal rights to the title as well as the legal ability to sell the home and that no liens are held against the property.

Under contract (UC): The seller has an agreed-upon contract with the potential buyer (which is typically contingent on additional factors like financing and inspection results).

VA Loan: A loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs against loss to the lender, and made through a private lender. Similar to FHA Loans, the federal government insures the lender if you fail to pay and they have to foreclose and end up losing money.  The government doesn't make the loan, they just offer the guarantee to the banks. 


Posted in Buying a home
July 8, 2019

Do I Need a Realtor When Buying a New Construction Home on Oahu?

Buying a home is a big decision with a lot of money on the line so it’s important to make sure that you are always protecting your own interests throughout the process. While most house hunters make use of a realtor when browsing Honolulu, Kailua or Kapolei homes for sale by owner, in order to receive assistance in finding just the right fit, buyers contemplating new construction homes on Oahu sometimes think that this means they don’t need a realtor. This is not the case.

A realtor’s work in your house hunting process is about a lot more than simply finding the home you are looking to buy. Your realtor is an expert in the field, capable of helping during every step of the process, many of those steps still present even when you’re buying one of the new construction homes on Oahu. Hiring the right realtor can help you avoid a big mistake and save you money on the right decision. Below we’re breaking down some of the important reasons that you may want to take into account before jumping into buying new construction!


All Representation is Not Equal

The main reason buyers opt to forgo a realtor when buying new construction is to save money, however this is a mistake. Many builders’ model homes have real estate representatives working for them and although it may sound tempting to just work with this person throughout your home buying process, there are some things you should know. When you opt to work with a builder’s representative, you are working with someone who is representing the builder rather than you.  This means that they have the best interest of the builder in mind, not the buyer. Deciding to hire your own real estate agent is electing to have someone that looks out for your best interest, working to get you the best value while making the process a stress-free one for you. That’s exactly what you get when you work with me!


They’ve Seen it All Before

There are lots of little details to consider and small problems to keep an eye out for, even when buying new construction homes on Oahu. A professional realtor, like myself, can bring their years or even decades of experience to the table to help make sure that nothing slips by and comes back to bite you.


They Can Help Catch Warning Signs

A realtor’s most valuable asset, when it comes to assisting you in buying a new construction home, is their experience. Because we have no doubt seen hundreds if not thousands of homes and encountered innumerable problems in those homes, we know when something which seems small can be a sign of a big problem. There’s nothing more disheartening than thinking you’ve found the right home only to have it fall apart during contract because inspection reveals problems you missed the first time. You get your hopes up for nothing and waste time chasing down a doomed-to-fail option.


Negotiations Can Make or Break You

When shopping for new construction homes on Oahu you’ll ultimately end up at the same point as if you were buying from a previous owner when you reach negotiations. It is vitally important to have a professional working on your behalf when submitting bids and counteroffers in order to make the best possible decisions.


They Can Help Find Financing

The benefits of your realtor don’t end just because you enter contract when buying new construction homes on Oahu. I have connections in the home financing field who I am happy to put you in contact with. This allows you to get a trusted financing partner and helps to simplify the process of searching.


Expert Eyes For Inspections

Just as I have specific financiers that I would recommend working with, I can also offer you assistance during the inspection as well by serving as another set of eyes to look out for troubles which were missed during your pre-purchase tours. By calling on my prior experience of problems, which have been found in homes my clients were in contract for, I have a long internal list of red flags that I can help check for to avoid unfortunate surprises after you move in.


New construction homes on Oahu are an excellent real estate opportunity for home buyers, allowing you to truly make a home your own by being its first resident. If you find yourself in the position of contemplating buying a new construction home in Honolulu, Kapolei, Kailua or other surrounding areas, then I hope you’ll think of me to assist you in this venture. With my years of experience and savvy negotiation skills, I promise to leave no stone left unturned, working tirelessly for your best interest until you’re comfortably settled in your brand new home!

Posted in Buying a home
July 1, 2019

A Tour of Some of the Most Beautiful Presidential Homes


With the July 4th holiday marking America’s 244th birthday this week, we thought it’d be interesting to take a look back at some of the beautiful old homes once lived in by some of our founding fathers. It’s fascinating to see how real estate trends have changed over the years, however certain influences have also remained steady. Many of these historic homes have been preserved over the years and are even open to the public.


Whether you’re traveling outside of Oahu, planning to watch fireworks in Honolulu, or spending some quality time on the shores of Kailua Beach with friends and family, we hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July!



Adams ‘Old House’ - Quincy, MA

Peacefield, also called Old House, is a historic home in Quincy, Massachusetts that served as the former residence of U. S. President John Adams and his family for four generations. It is now part of the Adams National Historical Park.  The oldest portion of the house was built in 1731 by Leonard Vassall, a sugar-planter from Jamaica, and acquired by John and Abigail Adams in 1787 after its loyalist owners had abandoned Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. The house was given by the Adams family to the United States in 1946, and is now open to the public as part of the Adams National Historical Park operated by the National Park Service.


By Daderot, CC BY-SA 3.0


Lincoln Home National Historic Site - Springfield, IL

Lincoln Home National Historic Site is the historic-site house that Abraham Lincoln lived in with his wife, Mary Todd, from 1844 through 1861, before moving to Washington, DC to serve as the 16th President of the United States. This historic house, located in Springfield, IL, was the only home that Lincoln ever owned. While it was first built in 1839, Lincoln purchased the 12-room Greek revival, located 200 miles south of Chicago, in 1844; it was later restored in 1860. In 1887, Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln donated the family home to the State of Illinois under the condition that it would forever be well maintained and open to the public at no charge. Today, the home has been completely restored to look like it would have in 1860. 


By Daniel Schwen - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0


Westland Mansion - Princeton, NJ

Westland Mansion was the home of Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, from his retirement in 1897 until his death in 1908. The house is located in the historic district of Princeton, New Jersey, and is a National Historic Landmark also known as the Grover Cleveland Home. The house, built by Robert F. Stockton in 1856, was patterned after a nearby 18th-century mansion and was described as being a 6,345 sq. ft., 2-½ story, stone structure covered with yellow-painted stucco, twin parlors on the first floor, spacious rooms, high ceilings, and handsome marble mantelpieces. Cleveland named it "Westland" in honor of his friend Andrew Fleming West, a humanities professor at Princeton University who assisted Cleveland in securing the purchase of the home. During Cleveland's time there he made several changes, including updating the building's façade in the Italianate style popular at the time. In 2015, it was sold for $4,325,000. It is not currently open to the public.


By Zeete - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0


Springwood Estate - Hyde Park, NY

The Springwood Estate in Hyde Park, NY was the birthplace, lifelong home and burial place of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The estate was purchased by FDR’s father, James Roosevelt, in 1866 for $40,000, at a time when a textile worker’s earnings were less than a dollar a day. The estate remained the center of Roosevelt's life through all stages of his career. In 1915, much of the home was remodeled and the exterior was altered to look like a mansion in the Colonial Revival Style. In 1943, Roosevelt donated the estate to the American people under the condition that his family maintained a lifetime right to usage of the property. Today, the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, which was established in 1945, preserves the Springwood estate.


By Crunch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0



Wheatland - Lancaster, PA

Wheatland, or the James Buchanan House, is a brick, Federal style house outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that served as the home of the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan for two decades. The house was constructed in 1828 by William Jenkins, a local lawyer, and later purchased by Buchanan in 1848. Wheatland is a Federal style that includes design elements, such as lunette windows, that show the influence of various architectural styles that were prevalent in the early 19th century. Wheatland was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.  Today it is open to the public for tours and is filled with original furnishings and personal artifacts to help tell the story of Buchanan. 


By Allie_Caulfield - originally posted to Flickr as 2008-05-04 Amish Country 033 Lancaster City, Wheatland, Home of 15th President James Buchanan, CC BY 2.0




Posted in Trends
June 24, 2019

The Best Oahu Communities: A Look at Kapolei


Welcome to the next edition of our Neighborhood Spotlight Series, where we will continue to provide a little insight into some of the best towns Oahu has to offer, so you can feel more comfortable in the purchase of your new home in Hawaii.


This month’s featured Oahu community is Kapolei. Located on Oahu’s south shore about 25 miles west of Honolulu, Kapolei, also known as "Oahu's Second City", is a rapidly growing, thriving community.  Residents are offered a lot in terms of modern amenities — including a variety of big box stores, retailers, and restaurants. Kapolei also features the second largest shopping center on Oahu, along with other family-friendly attractions such as the popular Wet’n’Wild Hawaii water park. With a growing community comes a growing job market, as well. If you like the hustle and bustle of Honolulu but without the price tag, this area may be the perfect fit for you!




We have created an infographic to provide a quick glimpse into some of the housing and residential statistics that a potential homebuyer may be interested in for this neighborhood. We hope you find this information helpful!








One of the spectacular homes in the Kapolei community is this one of a kind property at 91-1011 Hiluhilu St. This remarkable four-bedroom, four bath home is in excellent condition and features A/C throughout at a modest cost. Other features include an updated kitchen, en-suite bathrooms in each bedroom and real bamboo flooring throughout. This one won't last!


kailua homes for sale, kapolei homes for sale


We know that trying to settle on the right community as you’re looking at Oahu homes for sale can be tricky, but here at Hawaii Realty International, we’re here to provide a helping hand and make the process of buying your new home in Hawaii as easy as possible. Please do not hesitate to give us a call!

Posted in Buying a home
June 17, 2019

The Best Bold Kitchen Trends for Your Kailua Home


They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where traditionally families come together to cook and eat the majority of their meals. Now, due to the recent trend of open concept style homes, it has become one of the focal points of the home and a place where people spend much of their time, serving as the hub of the home. While all white has dominated the kitchen decor market for some time, there seems to be a recent trend to the opposite side of the spectrum in darker colors.  Recently, homeowners are getting bolder in their choices of design features and even bringing back some vintage trends. Whether on the hunt for a new condo in Honolulu or making updates before putting your Kailua home for sale, we’re sharing some of the latest bold kitchen trends that could give the cooking space in your Oahu home a whole new style.

Get Creative With Backsplash


Backsplashes have been popular for a while now, but the way homeowners are using them to vamp up their kitchen is evolving. Rather than just a small slab behind the counter, people are becoming adventuresome by extending them all the way up the wall. The portion of the wall in which tiles are used isn’t the only thing increasing in size — we now see larger slabs of tiles as well as a variety of textures and patterns taking over. If you’re looking to add a pop of color to your cooking space, this may be the way to do it, as you can pick from virtually any color tile to complement your kitchen area. Large slabs, such as quartz, marble, wood, glass, and stainless steel, are also becoming increasingly popular. With the endless amount of color, texture and material options, it’s no surprise that backsplashes are causing such a big, well, ... splash.



oahu home, kailua homes for sale



Darken the Mood


Another decor trend that provides a multitude of options to be creative and have a little fun with is with paint colors. Slowly we see homes doing away with all traditional beige or grey walls, instead leaning towards more darker, moodier colors like navy, black and dark green. Check out our recent blog post about some of the hottest paint color trends to help spur your inspiration. Although pristine white kitchens are still popular at the moment, we’re seeing more and more people get in touch with their darker side, as well. If you’re looking for a bold update to your kitchen space, try a dark green wall or navy cabinets with gold hardware. It’ll surely make your space pop. 


oahu home, kailua homes for sale

Add a Pop of Color


Remember the days that having all stainless steel appliances was the new, modern craze? Though their popularity still remains high, as they provide a sleek, modern look, some homeowners are becoming a bit more daring and opting for bold colored appliances such as red or blue. This 70’s era trend may not be for everyone, but for those looking to liven up their kitchen area a bit, going with one or even a few bolder appliances may provide the pop that you are looking for. Have fun with it a little and start with a blue or green toaster. If you find you like it then take the next step by replacing one of your larger appliances. One thing to remember, though, is that you want to ensure that your love for that red refrigerator will remain intact for the life of the appliance!


What are your thoughts on where kitchen trends are going? Do you like the bolder, more textured and patterned designs that are taking place or do you prefer the sleek, white, clean kitchen aesthetic? Whatever your preference, here at Hawaii Realty International, we aim to locate the perfect home for you, complete with either the kitchen of your dreams or a space you can envision once you add your personal touch. If and when the time comes for you to buy or sell, we would love to be of service!

Posted in Trends
June 10, 2019

The Best Summer Home Improvements for Your Oahu Home

Summer Home Improvements

The Best Summer Home Improvements for Your Oahu Home

The Oahu real estate market is booming, and getting the best offer on your home means standing out from the competition. Perhaps you’ve been waiting on your home improvement ideas because of the winter blues or the rainy spring season. With summer upon us, now is the perfect opportunity to tackle some simple issues that will attract buyer attention and add value to your home’s sale.


Start on the Outside

Whether a potential buyer is working with an agent or browsing on their own, their crucial first impression is based on exterior appearance, known in the business as “curb appeal.” Tackling exterior home projects will put your best foot forward and greatly improve your chances that a prospective buyer will want to see more. Here are a few simple but highly effective ways to address your home’s appearance and increase your bottom line.


Landscape Your Yard

Landscaping can be as simple as tidying up through trimming, weeding, repairing cracked cement, and replacing damaged fence posts. Invest in some mulch, plant new greenery, install a level walkway or construct new raised flowerbeds. The first glance at your location needs to capture attention, and beautiful surrounding flora goes a long way.


Spruce up with Color

As you work on your lawn, you may notice further issues with your home's exterior. There are two more great ways to improve your curb appeal, and they are both inexpensive. Pressure washing your home is a quick way to remove dirt, mildew and grime from both your home’s exterior and your driveway and walkways. The transformation of color through a high-powered cleaning is amazing, removing years of built-up dirt and grime. In addition to cleaning, adding a new coat of exterior paint will give your home the face-lift it deserves. If you don’t have the time or resources to repaint the entire structure, focus on freshening up your porch, window boxes and shutters with a fresh coat to draw the eye of potential buyers.


Let in the Sunlight

Before prospective buyers of your Oahu home step inside to tour the interior, be sure there is plenty of light shining in to truly showcase the living space. Allowing the brilliant sunlight to come streaming through clean windows and secure screens will greatly accentuate your interior design. Pressure washing will help thoroughly clean your windows, but you will also want to replace any windows that are cracked and screens that are torn or full of holes.


Compliment the Inside From the Outside

Two features on the exterior of the home which have an enormous impact on approval of the interior are the air conditioning and deck or porch space. As we all know, the air conditioning unit helps to keep the interior comfortable, and each element must be fully functional to support this. Have your unit evaluated for energy efficiency and, if issues arise, schedule necessary repairs or replacement to offer potential buyers a comfortable environment. Energy efficiency is a huge selling point, so consider adding a smart thermostat system while you’re at it for additional value to buyers.


If you have a deck or porch space, take a close look at its stability and appearance. A new coat of stain or sealer can greatly improve its appearance, and your buyers will appreciate the attractive exterior extensions to your home’s living space. If your home doesn’t have a porch, consider adding one! It will provide you with plenty of outdoor enjoyment as well as a better selling price down the line.


Turn the Interior Into a Must-Have

Real estate experts know that one key to selling your home for a great price is creating a modern, functional space. Kitchens and bathrooms are the big winners here. Renovate your kitchen with new countertops, tile floors or refaced cabinets to bring a fresh and attractive feel to your home. Use neutral color schemes and materials that speak to high-end quality. Replace old carpet or linoleum with hardwood for an upgraded look that still offers durability. You don’t have to remodel everything, but choose items that present the most value to potential buyers and go from there.


Standing Out in Oahu Real Estate

The housing market in Oahu often presents steep competition, and you are undoubtedly looking to gain the most equity out of your home when it sells. Make the most of the sunny weather and your free time in the summer months to follow these easy and affordable ways to increase the value of your home. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! We love helping our clients improve their homes to get the most out of their sale.

Posted in Selling a House
June 3, 2019

The Best Apps to Make Your Oahu Home Search Easier


oahu real estate, kailua homes for sale



With almost 1,000,000 people living on the island of Oahu, the competition for Honolulu homes and surrounding communities is high. This constant struggle for housing means that the old ways of looking for properties are out. Looking for signs in the yard or reading the local paper no longer gets you the house you are looking for, and house hunters have now turned to technology to aid in their search.


As your Oahu real estate expert, it's my mission to match you with the perfect home. That's why I scour the market every day, attend private tours, and maintain a wide professional network of local realtors.  I understand that sometimes during the house hunting process it’s only natural for buyers to want to browse the market themselves. With all kinds of real estate apps available these days, it makes it easy for our house hunting clients to browse through the inventory and bring ideas to us. Although nothing replaces the knowledge, experience and personal customer service that you gain from working directly with a realtor, there are some benefits in utilizing these apps in conjunction with your agent.


Since you may be inclined to browse the market in your spare time, I've listed some of the key features of the most popular home-search apps. Have a look:




Many people consider Zillow to be the best home searching app. Zillow provides what it calls a Zestimate, which allows you to see the estimated worth of the property you are interested in. (Read where we compared a few online home value estimators.) Bear in mind that this is just an estimate, so it’s always smart to work with a realtor to come up with the most accurate home value based on the current market and your needs. Tools on this app also give you the opportunity to look up various statistics and even search properties based on certain specifications, such as property type, price, region, and features. You can create your own account on Zillow to keep track of your searches and the information you gather.


The National Association of Realtors designates this app as its official search engine. Additionally, the organization has various connections with Multiple Listing Systems, meaning the app updates faster and lists more properties. Connect to your Google Chromecast through this app and stream information to your television. Filter your search based on price, square footage, or even schools in the area.




This app is a great choice for those actively looking at Kailua homes for sale or Honolulu condos for sale. The tools that the app provides have the sole purpose of helping you find the perfect home to purchase. One tool, for example, allows you to filter for very specific features, such as type of flooring. You can also utilize the mortgage calculator as you become more serious about a property, as well as take a thorough look at the home through the various photos and immersive video tours.




This option is great for those looking for properties with multiple units. It provides a wider range of detail about these properties than many of the other apps. LoopNet offers data on traffic, financial details, street views, and geography of Oahu real estate. The app allows the opportunity to consider these commercial or multi-unit properties whether you live in the area or not.




This app is especially useful for buying a home with your partner or getting input from family and friends. HomeSnap has special features specifically designed for sharing and messaging not only home listings but also home features and details. The app also has the capability of displaying details of a home from just a quick photo of the exterior. Take a picture and see the estimated home value, related schools and ratings, taxes, interior photos, and more.

While nothing compares to the personalized experience you get from working with a seasoned Oahu real estate agent, in certain situations utilizing these apps may be beneficial in helping you get ideas on the type of home, price range, and the area you want to target. Having an idea of what you are looking for, whether it be one of the charming Kailua homes for sale or a brand new condo in Honolulu, although not a requirement, often makes the job of the real estate agent easier in locating your dream home, as well. Whatever step you are at in your house hunting process, we are honored to help you get you where you want to be. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today so we can discuss your home buying plan and get you into the Oahu home of your dreams!

Posted in Buying a home