HRI Blog



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
May 27, 2019

The Best Oahu Communities: A Look at Ala Moana-Kakaako


Welcome to the second edition of our Neighborhood Spotlight Series, where we will continue to provide a little insight into some of the best neighborhoods 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 the Honolulu neighborhood, Ala Moana-Kakaako. This urban community, situated along the southern shores of Oahu, is a mix of commercial, retail and residential real estate. This area is home to the Ala Moana Beach Park and the Ala Moana Center, the largest open-air shopping center in the world. Always evolving, Ala Moana Kakaako is set to become Honolulu's most livable urban community and a model for encouraging walking, biking and transit usage.


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!


oahu homes for sale, oahu real estate


One of the spectacular homes in the Ala Moana-Kakaako community is this one of a kind property at 410 Atkinson Dr. #1701. This condo features a desirable partial ocean view room so you can enjoy spectacular views of the sunset or the evening city lights overlooking the Ala Moana Center. Just steps to endless shopping, restaurants and the beach, you have everything right at your fingertips! Great for a vacation condo!


honolulu condos for sale


We know that trying to settle on the right area 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
May 20, 2019

When Is the Best Time to Buy a Home on Oahu


oahu real estate, Kailua homes for sale


As a Hawaii real estate professional, I am often asked when the best time to sell or buy a home on Oahu is. It is no secret that the Spring and Summer months are when the real estate market booms — with, statistically, the most homes being purchased and sold in the month of May. There are many reasons for this, including the warmer weather, longer days and kids being out on summer break, that lead to a spike in real estate in these months. While these ‘prime’ months are no doubt a great time to make your big move in the real estate arena, this time of year isn’t the only good time to put your Honolulu apartment on the market and even purchase one of the beautiful Kailua homes for sale you’ve been dreaming of. There are a variety of considerations that you should factor into your decision that are specific to each family, before determining when is the appropriate time to embark on the next chapter of your lives. We’re breaking down a few of the notable factors you should take into account before making this big life decision.




Thinking about where you are financially may be one of the biggest driving forces in determining when the right time for you to buy or sell is. When thinking about buying your dream piece of Oahu real estate, some of the questions you may want to ask yourself are:

Do I have the income and credit score I need to qualify for the loan I want?

Do I have a down payment saved?

Can I afford the extra costs that come with homeownership, like property taxes and maintenance?

Another thing to consider are the costs that come along with moving. You may want to take into account whether you’re just moving from one Oahu home to another, or if you’re making a cross-country trip and moving to Hawaii for the first time. According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of a move within the state is $2,300, while moving across states costs, on average, around $4,300. Buying a home is a major life decision that should carefully be thought out so that you’re not starting out the new chapter of your life on the wrong foot.


Major Life Changes


However hard you try, it’s not always possible to precisely calculate when you plan to buy an Oahu home or condo. Life often gets in the way, and sometimes plans get disjointed. But what is the right homebuying process or timeline for one family might not be the perfect one for you, which is why it’s critical to take all matters into account and think through if your family may be going through any major life changes in the near future. Some such life events include:

-A new baby: do we need more room to accommodate a growing family? (Or on the flip side, do we want to downsize for the retirement phase?)

-A new job: will I be required to move to be closer to my new job and if so, will this be my forever home or just a temporary position?

-Relocating to provide better schooling opportunities for my children

-Relocating to be closer to relatives in need


Seasonality of the Real Estate Market


As mentioned before, the Spring and Summer months are statistically when most people tend to buy and sell homes. The days are longer, the weather is generally warmer, you’ve recently been issued your tax returns, and kids are out on summer break. Due to these reasons, there is typically a flock of buyers on the hunt during these months, making it a slight seller’s market. However, the fact that sellers may have a slight advantage shouldn’t dissuade buyers from coming out during these months, as there are also numerous benefits to buying during this time. Because of the high demand, there, in turn, are also generally more homes on the market, as well. Depending on the market you’re in, buyers could actually have some bargaining power if the saturation of homes is great enough.


Generally speaking, the winter months tend to be a slight buyer’s market, as there is not as much demand during this season, giving the buyer a bit more advantage. If you are extremely flexible about when you are able to sell your property and/or buy a new Oahu home, then taking these seasonal trends into account might be key for you. However, life typically makes things a bit more complicated, so while it may be beneficial to take note of these trends, it shouldn’t be your driving force.


Local Market Trends


One of the final factors a potential seller or buyer should take into account is what the real estate market looks like in your area. Interest rates are unpredictable and are a factor you should probably not make your decision based solely on, however, can be a beneficial (or detrimental) factor in your decision, so should be considered in the process. Are interest rates at an all-time low and expected to rise in the next year? If so, it might be the time to buy Oahu real estate! Or vice versa. Interest rates may be extremely high and are predicted to improve over the next year or two, so you’ve been holding off on your home purchase dreams.

Whatever considerations you take into account, the best time to begin house hunting will be unique to each potential homebuyer. If you find that now is the best time for you or your family to buy or sell a home on Oahu, whether it be Honolulu, Lanikai or Kailua, then we’d love nothing more than to help you accomplish your real estate goals, obtaining the best profit on your home and placing you in the new home of your dreams. Please contact us today so we can discuss a plan that best fits your family.

Posted in Oahu
May 13, 2019

How To Increase The Value of Your Hawaii Home for Sale


The time has come to put your Hawaii home for sale. You most likely know that your home will increase in value due to inflation over time, leaving you with more money in your pocket than what you paid for it. But many homeowners want to put their best foot forward when selling their Honolulu condo or Kailua home, offering their property in peak condition by completing renovations and in turn increasing their resale value. So how can you increase the value of your Hawaii home for sale so that you’re able to walk away with even more of a profit? Read on to find out what home projects are going to be most advantageous in getting you a higher resale value.


A study conducted by Porch surveying 781 homeowners who have sold a home in the past 5 years found that sellers, on average, got around 7% more than their desired asking price when they did some sort of home renovation project before putting their house on the market. The project that was found to lead to the highest resale value? Construction. The data shows that those who chose to do construction on their home got an impressive 21.1% above their desired asking price when sold. Other popular renovation projects that were cited as adding value included updating multiple bedrooms or bathrooms (14% more than desired asking price), purchasing new appliances (11.5% more), kitchen renovation (8.2% more) and painting the exterior (6.2% more).


See the breakdown of the home renovation projects and just how much value they can add on the graph below, generated by Porch.


kailua homes for sale, hawaii homes for sale

The study also surveyed 22 real estate experts, gathering their input on things such as pre-listing project recommendations and where to focus your home renovation energy and budget. According to the majority of the experts, the project that agents are most likely to suggest to clients is painting the interior of their home, as this is one of the least costly projects, yet it can still go a long way by transforming the aesthetic of any space.


If you’re willing to tackle more full-on home renovation projects, the experts recommend refreshing the kitchen or bathrooms. These are some of the rooms that buyers are attracted to first and where updates will go the farthest. It is important to keep in mind that renovation projects can get quite costly, though, so if you’re not wanting to overhaul an entire room, remember that there are smaller projects you can do to a space to still spruce it up. Replacing only the cabinets, for one, can still give your kitchen quite the facelift. Or change out some of those dingy appliances you’ve had for years to some shiny new stainless steel ones. Smaller touches like these still go a long way and are sure to add more value to your home. If you’re smart about where and how you budget your home renovation projects, your return on investment could be quite worth it.

Regardless of how big or small of home renovation you put into your home before putting it on the market, one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is pricing accurately. When it comes time to put your Hawaii home for sale, you don’t want to overprice your property for fear of driving potential buyers away. However, if you undervalue it you could be walking away with less money in your pocket than it’s actually worth. It’s a tricky situation knowing how to accurately price your Hawaii home for sale, which is why it’s imperative to have a knowledgeable real estate professional by your side through this process. Here at Hawaii Realty International, we would be honored to be that guiding hand through the process of selling or buying. If and when the time comes for you to buy or sell, we would love to be of service!


Posted in Selling a House
May 6, 2019

The 5 Reasons You Should Sell Your Kailua Home in 2019


oahu real estate, kailua home for sale, kailua homes for sale


The world of real estate can be confusing to those on the outside who don’t spend every day studying the latest trends. When it comes to selling something as valuable as a home, however, it’s important to make as informed of a decision as possible because a mistake can cost you large sums of money in sale price. If you’re considering selling a home in the near future and want to know what the real Oahu real estate market is saying, it’s very simple -- the time to sell is now! We are currently in a seller’s market but there are signs that a change is not too far off. We’ve broken down a few of the top reasons as to why it may be a good idea to put your Kailua home for sale sooner rather than later.


1) The Room For Profit Remains High


At the end of the day, the goal in real estate is a pretty basic one. You want to sell your home for a healthy profit over what you paid for it and invested in improvements. The good news is if you’re a current homeowner then it is highly likely that there is a great deal of profit waiting for you if you sell your home. In the long term, there has been a great deal of growth in Oahu real estate over the past couple decades, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you’re a newer homeowner, either. The market has been strong since recovering from the latest recession which means you likely are sitting on a home worth more than you paid for it, even if you’ve only owned it a few years.


2) Mortgage Rates Are Down


At the end of 2018, interest rates were on the rise and it looked like the buying market may have been preparing to cool off, but there’s been a surprising turn of events in Oahu real estate in the new year as rates have gone back down. That means that house hunting is more appealing to potential buyers now and they can offer a higher rate while getting the same practical cost in the long run which is good news if you’re selling.


3) The Competition Is Coming


Right now the best thing for sellers is that there are not a lot of Oahu homes for sale at a given time. As new homes come on the market they are getting scooped up in bidding wars fast, meaning the competition among sellers is low. Unfortunately, with such an appealing selling market this can’t be expected to continue forever. More and more homes will be getting listed in the months to come as more sellers realize the time is right, so acting now lets you beat the rush of competition in the Oahu real estate market.


4) Millennials Are Ready to Boost the Buyer Pool


There are few consumer groups more misunderstood than Millennials and that often leads to missed opportunities by those in sales. While it’s often reported that Millennials are not interested in a lot of the traditional rites of adulthood prior generations have been known to pursue, the reality is that the economic landscape they entered following the recession simply moved them behind schedule. Now not only are young Millennials ready to own their first homes, but older Millennials who were hit hardest by the recession are also in a position to shop, meaning an influx of new buyers are here in 2019.


5) The Next Recession Is Coming


While there are many reasons that the Oahu real estate market is so appealing to sellers right now, perhaps the strongest reason to think about selling your Kailua house is what the market is shaping to look like in the not-too-distant future. All good things must come to an end and the experts think the current strong economy is ready for a downturn sooner rather than later. While there’s no knowing exactly when it will happen, it’s widely believed that another recession will hit within a few years. If you’re not planning to stay in your current home long enough to ride out the downturn, 2019 may be the last chance you get to sell in a hot Oahu real estate market.


If you’re a local to Oahu and have been considering putting your Kailua home for sale in the next few years, then there is simply no time like the present. The market is a great one for sellers and is only likely to grow less beneficial the longer you wait to sell. As a team of dedicated Oahu real estate professionals, we would be honored to help navigate you down a pathway to profit. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help you today!


Posted in Selling a House
April 29, 2019

The Best Oahu Communities: A Look at Kailua



You’ve decided you’re moving to Hawaii and you’ve even started browsing some Oahu homes for sale. If you’re new to the area, the next step in your house hunting journey may be “What is the best area for me to live?” Well, we’re here to help out, as we introduce our Community Spotlight Series, where we will provide a little insight into some of the best towns Oahu and Maui have to offer, so you can feel more comfortable in the purchase of your new home in Hawaii.


The first up in our Oahu communities feature is Kailua. Kailua is a beautiful town full of natural beauty located in Windward Oahu that features the bay, mountains and wetlands. It is the fourth largest community in Hawaii, is made up of 14 constituent neighborhoods, and also happens to feature some of the best beaches in the world, which is one of the reasons this area is considered to be so desirable. Luckily, for those that have had their eye on Oahu real estate, there are plenty of beautiful Kailua homes for sale, as well as highly sought after condos in Kailua for sale.


We have gathered some information 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


One of the spectacular homes in the Kailua community is this one of a kind property at 1020 Aoloa Pl Apt. 211A. This beautiful condo in the Windward Cove complex features bamboo flooring and is located just 5 minutes from Kailua Beach and under 10 minutes from Lanikai Beach, making this home one you don’t want to miss.


oahu condos sale


We know that trying to settle on the right Hawaii cities as you’re looking at Oahu homes for sale or condos for sale in Maui 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, Kailua
April 22, 2019

What Are The Tax Benefits of Buying a New Home in Hawaii?




Tax season might be over this year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about how events in your life now may affect your tax benefits for next year. Purchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions in one’s life. It’s also one that is known to potentially come along with multiple tax breaks. We’re breaking down a few of these potential benefits, along with changes under the recent tax reform, that you should familiarize yourself with before buying a new condo in Maui or putting your Kailua home for sale.


Aside from the obvious gains of mere pride and joy that come with owning your own property, home ownership can offer multiple financial benefits, such as home tax deductions, tax credits and other breaks that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you plan to purchase a new home in Hawaii this year, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with current tax laws, as they have undergone changes in the past few years, which may affect how that house purchase benefits you.


As a recap, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) underwent a significant tax reform, which Congress enacted in December 2017 and is currently scheduled to go through December 2025.  Below we have broken down a few of the tax benefits that you may receive if becoming a first-time homeowner this year, as well as changes implemented by the new TCJA that you should be aware of if buying or selling a home for the first time since January 2018.


Mortgage Interest Deduction

One of the biggest benefits of owning a home is the fact that mortgage interest expenses are deductible. Under the TCJA, homeowners can deduct the interest you pay on a loan on up to $750,000 from your income taxes. Although this limit used to be $1 million (the TCJA reduced the limit and made modifications on how a home equity line of credit could be used), this benefit should not be overlooked. This deduction could still provide you with massive returns come tax season next year. Homeowners with new loans could especially benefit from this, as interest charges on mortgages are normally higher in the beginning of the mortgage’s term.

Homeowners should keep in mind that this tax deduction limit only applies to those who itemize their personal deductions. For those that choose not to itemize deductions, the standard deduction for individuals or married couples filing individually is $12,000, if you’re the head of household it’s $18,000, and for those married filing jointly it’s $24,000. It is worth speaking with a financial advisor to determine which method of filing is ultimately most beneficial for you.


Tax-free Capital Appreciation

One benefit that is going unchanged even with the TCJA is the capital gains you receive tax-free after the sale of your home. Homes appreciate in value during the life of your ownership, so when it is time to part ways with that condo in Honolulu you’ve lived in for years to move to a home in Kailua, you can relish in the profits of your sold home without worrying about being taxed. Under the TCJA married homeowners can retain up to $500,000 in home appreciation profits from the sale of their home, or $250,000 for single filers. There is a catch, though. You have to have used your home as your primary residence for at least two years out of the five years before the sale date to qualify for this exclusion.


Property Tax Deductions

Another tax benefit from being a homeowner is the ability to be able to deduct portions of your property taxes. Although prior to the TCJA you could deduct the entirety of your property taxes, all is not lost, as you are still able to deduct up to $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately) under the new law. Under the TCJA, the deduction was changed from solely property taxes to a combination of property taxes and either state and local income taxes or sales taxes under the $10,000 limit.


While being a homeowner in 2019 offers a variety of tax benefits, with the overhaul of tax laws in the past few years, it is wise to evaluate your choices to determine what is best for you and your family. It is worth noting, as well, that many of these recent changes may end in 2025, so it’s always good to be knowledgeable about how tax changes could affect your returns. Whether looking for a new Honolulu condo or thinking of putting your Kailua home for sale, we would love to help you with whatever Oahu real estate needs you may have. Please do not hesitate to give us a call here at Hawaii Realty International!

Posted in Buying a home
April 15, 2019

Community Spotlight Series: Hawaii Health and Wellness




A peaceful mind, body, and spirit is part of the aloha lifestyle. People who live in Oahu embrace a slower-paced, low-stress way of life that attracts many outsiders and keeps its locals from ever wanting to leave. Among enjoying the beautiful weather and beaches, practicing yoga is another major part of maintaining this tranquil lifestyle for many locals. Yoga allows participants of all ages and fitness levels to attain the benefits of meditation and breathing, increased flexibility, strength training, and much more.


Kailua, meaning “two seas” in the Hawaiian language, is located in Windward Oahu about 12 miles northeast of Honolulu. It is an extraordinarily beautiful place that has been said to be the best beach town in the US by many. What’s more, is that the locals strive to maintain a unique sense about their community, boasting many creatively diverse, well-respected small businesses and organizations.


One such business is Hawaii Health and Wellness. Read on to hear more about their interesting journey to how they became a Kailua community staple as I sit down with one of the owners, Martin.


Michael: Tell me a little about how Hawaii Health and Wellness was started.

Martin: It’s actually a pretty interesting story. We started as Aloha Yoga Kula about 10 years ago and have been in this same space since the beginning. Last year, we figured we could do a lot more for the community so we decided to open up a non-profit. So we are now officially operating as a non-profit organization, which is called Hawaii Health and Wellness, Inc.



Michael: What kinds of things do you provide to the community?

Martin: We, of course, provide a variety of yoga classes to the public, however, we are also trying to reach out more in the community to see how we can help. One such way is by incorporating some inclusion with senior day care centers — just helping people in general to lead more healthy lifestyles.


Michael: What kinds of yoga classes do you offer?

Martin: We offer classes for all age groups and levels of expertise. Anything from vinyasa yoga for the elite athlete who wants a more fast-paced class, all the way to chair yoga, which is great for the senior citizen community or those who are recovering from an injury.


Michael: Great — thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. We love what you do here in the community. Please let us know how we can find you or reach out.

Martin: Of course. You can either go to our website at or even call me at 808-722-3520.


Locals and visitors alike love coming to Hawaii Health and Wellness for yoga classes but continue to come back because of how their sense of community and desire to give back aligns so well with the Oahu culture. Whether having just moved to the Oahu area and are looking for a new home, or a local looking to upgrade to that perfect move-in ready home you’ve always dreamed of, if you find yourself in the market, please do not hesitate to contact us here at Hawaii Realty International. We would love to help place you in your dream home.


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