HRI Blog

 

 

June 25, 2021

The HRI Monthly | Local Articles & Listing Updates | June 2021

 
 

June 2021


Hi Friends & Neighbors! 

If you’re in the market to buy a home, you know firsthand the tight supply of listings. In May, Honolulu County had just 1.6 month’s supply on the market, compared to May of 2019 and 2020, both averaging 3.9 months supply.

But homes aren’t the only thing coming up short. Lumber, furniture and appliances are all seeing delays and higher prices. You know this, too, if you’ve recently tried to install a deck or remodel your kitchen.

From townhomes to two-by-fours, the real story is that markets are still figuring things out. Last year was anything but normal, and changing lifestyles led to changes in consumer demands. Supply has tried, but often failed, to keep up.

Even as production ramps back up, demand is still far higher than before in some sectors. In March 2021, furniture sales swelled to $11.6 billion compared to just $7.9 billion in March 2020.

The fast pace of real estate shows no signs of slowing either. Mortgage rates remain below 3%, a very attractive entry point for millions of homebuyers predicted to enter the market this year.

So, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or if you know someone who is, we urge you to reach out soon to discuss your options! Whether you’re looking to upgrade, “right size,” move closer to family or more, we’ll collaborate on the right strategy to meet your goals.

And if you want a custom kitchen appliance package before Christmas, you might want to place your order now!


Warmly,
Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

 
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
 
 
 
IN THE NEWS
3 factors
shift Hawaii's

real estate into overdrive

View Article
Hawaii Business Magazine
10 tips to prepare for your property inspection
View Article
Forbes
 
FEATURED LISTING
1650 Ala Moana Blvd #1213
Honolulu

2 BD | 2 BA | 1,428 SQ FT 
LISTED for $929,000
 
IN ESCROW 
841 Papalalo Pl
Honolulu

3 BD | 2 BA | 1,147 SQ FT 
LISTED for $950,000 - Representing Buyer 
 
RECENT SUCCESS 
46-098 Konohiki St #3321
Kaneohe

2 BD | 2 BA | 1,029 SQ FT 
SOLD for $660,000 - Represented Buyer & Seller
 
1388 Ala Moana Blvd #7401
Honolulu

3 BD | 3.5 BA | 2,340 SQ FT 
SOLD for $6,350,000 - Represented Buyer
 
91-1012 Kaiapo St
Ewa Beach

4 BD | 2.5 BA | 2,109 SQ FT 
SOLD for $985,000 - Represented Seller
Sold for $110,000 over asking price! 
 
SEARCH ALL LISTINGS
 
Stay in touch with us!
 
Facebook
Instagram
Website
© 2021 Hawaii Realty International, All rights reserved.
970 N. Kalaheo Ave A210, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Posted in Newsletter
June 7, 2021

Water-Efficient Landscaping Tips for Summer

Are you concerned with saving water this summer? Not only is water essential to life (for you and your plants), but saving more water can also save on your bills.

In the heat of summer, there’s nothing better than a cold drink and a soothing breeze in a beautiful, manicured yard. To get the most from your home’s exterior without being wasteful, you want to make sure you're not using too much water to keep up the maintenance.

Don't worry, you can do your bit for the environment without losing your little patch of heaven! Read on for these water-efficient landscaping tips to get you through the hot months to come.

Make an Action Plan for Your Garden

As every Oahau homeowner knows, it takes planning and dedication to maintain a lush garden. For the sake of mother nature and your utility bills, it helps to make a conscious effort to save water as you plan your home’s exterior.

In addition to selection and arrangements, your landscaping plan should take into consideration things like:

- regional/microclimatic conditions of your yard

- topography

- use of property

- current vegetation and landscaping

For best results, you should also group your current plants by their water needs, sun/shade requirements and preferred soil conditions.

This information will vary because each yard is different. Once you've done the research and taken your notes, you can start to put a plan together to meet the needs of your yard.

Choose Native Plants

Consider preserving any plants that are already thriving in your yard. Since they’re already acclimatized, see if you can incorporate them into your design. These plants are most likely to perform well in your soil and local environment.Ahinahina

If you don’t like their current location, you can move plants to sit in designated beds or spread them out as you desire. A lot of native plants in Oahu and Honolulu are beautiful to look at and will mix in with any flora design that you have your heart set on.

Keep Your Soil Healthy

No matter the climate, every yard needs a healthy soil foundation to thrive. This is why you should check your soil before starting your improvements. Basic tests will tell you if your soils are acidic, alkaline or neutral.

Once you know your soil type, you can then work on adjusting the pH levels to what you need. Most local garden centers will offer testing kits and can help you make the adjustments.

Make Use of Mulch

If you want to preserve the moisture in your soil, then applying mulch is the best thing you can do. Mulch prevents evaporation and makes a better environment to encourage root growth.

You’ll want to apply a layer of organic mulch around 2-3 inches deep. Organic mulches you can choose include chopped leaves, pine straw and shredded bulk.

Mulch also helps to prevent weeds from taking over. The more weeds growing, the more competition there is for soil moisture. As mulch decomposes, it additionally improves the soil to help boost its water absorption. This is a big bonus when it comes to summer landscaping.

Be Cautious When Adding Turf

Grassy turf can be a great addition to add color and appeal to your landscape, and it’s nice to dig your toes in on a sunny day. However, drought can cause devastation to its growth cycle. So, if you want a lush lawn, you need to have a plan about where you'll plant it and how it’s watered.

Play areas and recreation spaces are popular spaces to install turf, since it’s safer and more comfortable than dirt or mulch. But grass takes a lot of water, so keep these areas smaller, if possible. This will increase your water efficiency, reduce runoff and lower overall evaporation.

Some grass species cope with drought better than others. If you prefer not to constantly water your lawn, pick a grass type that goes dormant in extreme conditions and springs back to life when rains return.

Use What Mother Nature Provides

It can help to get creative with how you source your water. You can collect rain and dew with tanks and barrels to capture what nature already provides. When it rains, a barrel beneath your gutters can capture a large amount of runoff from your roof.

These water collection barrels have a hole in the top for water to flow in. They then have an on/off tap at the bottom where you can place your watering can.

You can buy them ready-made, or you can make one yourself. Check with your local environmental/water agencies who may offer classes or instruction manuals on the subject.

If you create a water collection system, make sure to cover the intake hole with mesh to stop debris and mosquitoes from entering. Keep the barrel elevated too, as this will make it easier to fill your watering devices.

Be Sensible and Do Your Maintenance

To encourage strong root growth in drought conditions, your plants still need water! How much water is required depends on your soil type, plant species, topography and other factors.

Whatever you do, check your local water restrictions and abide by them. Example water restrictions might include:

- Watering only from 8 pm to 10 am

- Only allowing irrigation to run for 15 minutes max

- Exceptions for drip irrigation and low-pressure sprinklers

- Nozzles on hoses for manual watering

- Watering only allowed 3 days a week

- Alternating watering days between even- and odd-numbered houses

Before you invest time, money and a boatload of water, it's important to know your local water restrictions. When you know these in advance, you'll be able to plan around them without sacrificing the condition of your yard.

Use Drip Irrigation & Soaker Hoses

Another of the best summer landscaping tips is to use a drip or soaker hose. A soaker hose has little holes along the length of it. This lets water seep out of it at a slow pace over time. Drip irrigation is another slow method of watering that's more efficient.

In both cases, efficiency is higher because the water gets right into the roots. Watering above the plants coats their upper portions in water while providing less to the roots right away. Also, the spray from water falling can be wasteful, and you don't want to be the bad neighbor who wastes water!

Water-Efficient Landscaping Tips Made Easy

Now you know these top summer landscaping tips, you're in great shape to make a plan and start saving water this summer.

To recap: Know your local water restrictions and always follow them. Use native plants and plants that thrive in dry conditions, if possible. Work with what nature gives you, and your local environment. The best landscaping designs always tie in the home and the yard environment in one cohesive look. This will provide you with a beautiful yard, even in the driest of summer months.

If you're looking to find your perfect patch of Oahu heaven, contact us today. At Hawaii Realty International, we’re always happy to help you make a plan to reach your real estate goals.

Posted in Home Improvement
May 26, 2021

How Possible Inflation Will Impact Interest Rates & Home Prices

So far in 2021, the estimated annual inflation rate for the United States is 4.2%. With the housing market hot and home values already at historic highs in much of the country, higher inflation may put the prospect of buying a home further out of reach for many Americans.

The steady increase in prices, paired with a decrease in our purchasing power, affects housing markets nationwide. This includes Oahu real estate.

To learn more about how inflation rates affect interest rates, home prices, and your ability to buy a home, keep reading. We'll cover everything that you need to know!

The Power of Owning a Home

Owning a home is beneficial during periods of economic inflation. As a homeowner, you're locked into a price based on when you purchased it, subject either to a mortgage or nothing at all if you paid cash. As home values rise — and more often than not, they do — you are saving money and gaining equity because you are a homeowner.

This is why experts consider housing to be a dependable asset during periods of high inflation. As the price of goods and services rise, your home’s value is likely rising in kind.

Broadly speaking, the value of your home rises at least by the rate of inflation times the cost of the house. As time passes, your down payment and mortgage get smaller and smaller relative to the growing equity you hold in your home. This makes owning a home a financial benefit any time, but especially amid high inflation.

Bonus Power: A Fixed-Rate Mortgage

If you do have an existing mortgage on your home, you may be getting even more from inflation. A fixed-rate loan is particularly beneficial during high inflation.

With a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly payments stay the same over the course of the loan. But in inflation-adjusted dollars, by the end of your loan period you are paying considerably less.

Consider the most common type of fixed-rate mortgage, the 30-year conventional. In the 30 years since 1991, cumulative inflation has reached about 96% in the US. So, a $2,000 monthly loan payment in 1991 would equal $3,921 today in inflation-adjusted dollars. By locking in at a fixed rate 30 years ago, you would be saving nearly 50%.

We should note that this doesn't mean that you should always opt for a fixed-rate mortgage. There are various mortgage types for a reason, and depending on your situation an adjustable-rate loan might make more sense. It all depends on your goals, finances and timeline.

Supply and Demand

Supply and demand are the main forces that drive real estate prices up and down. Supply and demand are even more powerful than inflation.

Even if inflation is high, overabundant housing supply will bring home prices down, just like high buyer demand will drive home prices up. Right now, the inverse is true: tight supply of listings has caused home prices to surge, even before the higher inflation rate of 2021.

However, interest rates do depend on inflation. One of the main reasons the Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates is to match their target inflation rate. Since mortgage rates reflect interest rates, mortgage rates also rise as inflation rises.

Here’s the thing: If mortgage rates rise too much, people will stop taking out home loans. Thus, the demand for homes will decrease and home prices will fall with it. Rather than a direct line from inflation to home prices, these factors all intertwine in a complicated web of economic incentives.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

Many economic experts recommend refinancing your mortgage when current rates are at least 2% lower than your existing rate. Thanks to refinancing, you can redeem yourself with a lower rate even if you signed onto a mortgage when rates were high.

Thanks to options like refinancing, a high mortgage rate can usually be lowered down the line. But pay careful attention to rates and additional fees before you take the plunge to refinance. If your new, lower rate doesn’t save enough money, you could end up paying more in the end after all the fees are added up.

The Harm of Persistent Inflation

In a perfect economic world, inflation would correct itself. As explained earlier, inflation and interest and supply and demand are all connected. If inflation rises, interest rates would rise, then supply and demand would find equilibrium once again. Theoretically, it can be a self-correcting system.

But truthfully, inflation can work much differently.

If inflation persists for a long period of time, it can be a major setback to the entire economy. In particular, inflation harms those with fixed incomes such as the elderly and disabled.

Inflation can be harmful even on an international scale.

As we mentioned, inflation causes the purchasing power of currency to fall. If this keeps happening, the nation cannot perform internationally against other countries. The currency will have become devalued. With the US Dollar as the de facto global reserve currency, rampant inflation in the dollar would have global implications.

So, for everyone’s sake, inflation is carefully monitored by the Fed, with a goal of healthy inflation around 2% and no runaway inflation that lasts forever.

Predicting Inflation

One of the biggest problems with inflation is its unpredictable nature. Sure, some indicators of inflation are big and glaring, but there are countless smaller factors that may go unseen or unreported. Ultimately, even the best economists are not 100% accurate.

That said, these are the two largest drivers of inflation with a high degree of predictability:

  1. The government spends a lot of money within a short period of time

  2. The treasury introduces too much money into the economy

Because of these factors, economic experts look at government spending and private spending to track patterns of inflation.

Investing in Oahu Real Estate

Inflation, interest rates, housing prices — these are powerful economic concepts that are still hard for some to understand, and even harder to predict.

That’s why our best advice is to make decisions based on your own goals, finances and timeline. No one perfectly times the housing market, except by accident. No one has a crystal ball to tell the future.

When it feels like the right time for you to buy or sell a home, get in touch with our team of experts to start the conversation and discuss your options. We’re always happy to help!

 

Posted in Trends
May 14, 2021

The HRI Monthly | Local Articles & Listing Updates | May 2021

 

May 2021


Hi Friends & Neighbors! 

Another gorgeous O'ahu summer is approaching!

With travel restrictions being reduced, many families are in the midst of making vacation plans and looking forward to a change of scenery. For others, staying local and enjoying everything our beautiful island has to offer is on the horizon!

Either way, the real estate market is still in full swing. Mortgage rates are the lowest they have been the past two months and bidding wars are a frequent occurrence. To make things even more interesting, nearly 4.8 million Millennials turn 30 this year! This may mean an even greater increase in homebuyer demand.

Time will tell, but if you are considering buying or selling, now's the time to reach out and discuss your options. We're happy to help!

Until then, I hope you enjoy the articles and incredible properties featured in our newsletter this month!


Warmly,
Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

 
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT

Picket Fence Florist - serving Kailua since 1974
Watch Video 
HRI YouTube
 
IN THE NEWS
Remote workers helping to fuel luxury real estate sales on Oahu, experts say
View Article
Hawaii News Now
Did you know you could negotiate this when buying a house?
View Article
Bob Vila
 
COMING SOON
1650 Ala Moana Blvd #1213
Honolulu

2 BD | 2 BA | 1,428 SQ FT 
LISTED for $929,000
 
IN ESCROW 
1388 Ala Moana Blvd #7401
Honolulu

3 BD | 3.5 BA | 2,340 SQ FT 
LISTED for $6,950,000 - Representing Buyer
 
841 Papalalo Pl
Honolulu

3 BD | 2 BA | 1,147 SQ FT 
LISTED for $950,000 - Representing Buyer 
 
46-098 Konohiki St #3321
Kaneohe

2 BD | 2 BA | 1,029 SQ FT 
LISTED for $640,000 - Representing Buyer & Seller
 
RECENT SUCCESS 
47-795 Malumalu Place
Kaneohe

3 BD | 2 BA | 1+ acre of land 
SOLD for $1,460,000 - Represented Seller
Sold in 10 days for 101% of Asking Price!
Join us as we tour this stunning property in our new video!
 
91-1012 Kaiapo St
Ewa Beach

4 BD | 2.5 BA | 2,109 SQ FT 
SOLD for $985,000 - Represented Seller
Sold for $110,000 over asking price! 
 
SEARCH ALL LISTINGS
 
Stay in touch with us!
 
Facebook
Instagram
Website
© 2021 Hawaii Realty International, All rights reserved.
970 N. Kalaheo Ave A210, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Posted in Newsletter
May 7, 2021

Getting Comfortable in Your New Community After a Move

So You Moved to a Brand New Place...

Congratulations! You’ve mustered up the courage to make a move to a new city for that job you’ve always dreamed of, to be closer to family, or just a brand new start. Whatever the case may be, with the closing documents signed and the keys in your hand, you couldn’t be more excited. Then it hits you - I’m in a new place. I don’t know anyone. Nothing is familiar.  I don’t know where anything is. The excitement suddenly turns to fear.

Settling In

Uprooting your life to a new city can be a refreshing, exciting change, but it can also come with it’s own list of challenges. Fear not, as we’re here to provide you with some tips and tools to help you acclimate to your new surroundings. So take a deep breath, heed our advice below, and then step outside and start enjoying your new city!

Locate the Essential Stores Near You

Scope out your neighborhood, either by foot or car, and establish the closest grocery stores, pharmacies, coffee shops, Target (because who doesn’t love Target), and other places you plan on frequenting routinely. Chances are you’ll need to run out to at least one of these within your first few days of moving in, so you might as well establish your go-tos. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know your new city in the process!

Make New Friends

Moving to a foreign place where you don’t know anyone can be a really scary thing. Meeting new people can be a huge game changer in making you feel less alone and also provides someone who knows the area to show you around! Attend a new church you’ve been considering and strike up a conversation with another family. Attend that workout class you saw advertised that looks like fun. Take your kids and dog to the park nearby your house, and mingle with other moms or dads. Simply reaching out to others while doing the activities you already do can help make your new city feel less lonely and more like your new home.

Explore Your City

Often, during and after a move, we get so caught up in the chaos of all that needs to be done that we don’t actually take the time to stop and enjoy our new surroundings. Take a day to treat your city as if you were on vacation. If you’re in a walkable area, take some time to just wander around your neighborhood, with no agenda, and see what you come across. If you can’t walk, go for a drive (with no GPS!) and take in the surroundings. It’s amazing how much more we take in, when we’re not on a set mission to get somewhere.

Find Out About Upcoming Events

Check out free platforms like Eventbrite to learn about various upcoming events in your area. Browse events on Facebook - you can even filter by categories of music, crafts, sports, comedy, and more, if you have something in mind you want to do! Subscribe to your local community event calendar to stay in the know of exciting activities and events taking place near you!

Learn Your Transportation Options

Just moved to New York City? Chances are you’ll need to learn the best subway routes to get around. Bought a house out in the suburbs? You’ll most likely want to learn the highway system around you. An avid cyclist who plans on biking to work? Check out the safest and most direct biking lanes around town. Whatever type of area you live in, you’ll want to learn the best way to get around, in addition to the public transportation options available to you, such as subway systems, bus transit lines, bikesharing programs and ridesharing services. Also, a tip: if you’re starting a new job, test out your new commute before your first day to see exactly how long it takes you. Being late on your first day is never a good thing!

Conclusion

Settling into a new city can be overwhelming, so above all, give yourself time to acclimate. It won’t happen overnight, but, as you slowly become more comfortable with your surroundings, this new place will start to feel like home.


Feel free to reach out with any questions! We love to help folks get acquainted with the beautiful areas around Oahu.

Posted in Trends
April 24, 2021

The HRI Monthly | Local Articles & Listing Updates | April 2021

 

April 2021


Hi Friends & Neighbors! 

Hawaii real estate is booming. Last month on Oahu, single-family homes averaged just 10 days on the market and the sales price was up a whopping 28% from a year ago.

The market’s frenzied pace has led to some interesting quirks, like more homes being purchased sight-unseen (in person, at least), and movers trucking water along with household items to their new desert abodes.

All in all, it’s a very interesting time to be a buyer, seller, or the agent helping to make things happen. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re always happy to help you and anyone you send our way!


Warmly,
Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

 
IN THE NEWS
Hawaii real estate competition stiffens as prices rise, what you can do to stand out
View Article
Khon2
Remodeling expected to remain hot, even as the pandemic eases
View Article
Realtor
 
IN ESCROW 
46-098 Konohiki St #3321
Kaneohe

2 BD | 2 BA | 1,029 SQ FT 
LISTED for $640,000 - Representing Buyer & Seller
 
91-1012 Kaiapo St
Ewa Beach

4 BD | 2.5 BA | 2,109 SQ FT 
LISTED for $875,000 - Representing Seller
In Escrow in just one week with 25 offers received! 
 
841 Papalalo Pl
Honolulu

3 BD | 2 BA | 1,147 SQ FT 
LISTED for $950,000 - Representing Buyer 
 
1388 Ala Moana Blvd #7401
Honolulu

3 BD | 3.5 BA | 2,340 SQ FT 
LISTED for $6,950,000 - Representing Buyer
 
RECENT SUCCESS 
3027 Pualei Circle # 307
Honolulu

1 BD | 1 BA | 676 SQ FT 
SOLD for $540,000 - Represented Seller
 
47-795 Malumalu Place
Kaneohe

3 BD | 2 BA | 1+ acre of land 
SOLD for $1,460,000 - Represented Seller
Sold in 10 days for 101% of Asking Price!
Join us as we tour this stunning property in our new video!
 
57-101 Kuilima Dr #23
Kahuku

2 BD | 2.5 BA | 1,152 SQ FT
SOLD for $585,000 - Represented Buyer
 
SEARCH ALL LISTINGS
 
Stay in touch with us!
 
Facebook
Instagram
Website
© 2021 Hawaii Realty International, All rights reserved.
970 N. Kalaheo Ave A210, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Posted in Newsletter
April 9, 2021

How to Get Your House Ready for Renters

So you've decided to rent out your home, but have you given much thought to all the details? Perhaps you've rented it before and you're looking at securing good, long-term tenants this time. Or maybe you're here because it's your first time, and you have questions. 

It's important that you properly prepare your house for rental, so that the transition is smooth and the tenancy is too. The last thing you want is to find subpar renters that don't take care of your home, or a lack of willing tenants at the price you want due to broken appliances or an unwelcoming environment.

Check out this guide with easy steps on how to get your house ready to rent. 

Declutter and Remove Valuables 

If you're renting out a house that you or someone else has been living in, you need to start by decluttering and removing personal items and valuables. Your potential renters want a space that is clean and functional, that doesn't feel like they're staying in someone else's house.

Remove any knick knacks that don't add aesthetic value, all clothing items, or any other personal accoutrements. Avoid shoving these items in a locked cupboard — your tenants will want storage, too! Move all the stuff you’re clearing out to your new home or a storage unit, or put them up for sale or donation to get them off your hands. 

Decide What Appliances and Furniture Are Staying 

You need to make it clear to your renters what is included in the rental agreement and what isn't. Some homeowners rent out their homes fully-equipped with furnishings in the living areas and bedrooms, and crockery and cutlery in the cupboards. Others rent their homes completely unfurnished. 

Right away, make a list of what is staying and what is going, so you can tell prospective tenants. Of course, tastes may vary, so be prepared for renters who might ask you to remove certain furniture items, re-paint walls, or make other unique requests. You may decide to oblige their requests, or not — either way, it helps to have a plan. 

When you show your property to prospective tenants, let them know the specifics like whether you are taking the washing machine, or if the unit doesn't come with a fridge. This can sometimes be a 'make or break' factor for people, and it will save everyone time and effort by being clear up-front.

Make Repairs and Replacements

To properly prepare your property for the rental market, you need to ensure that everything is in good, working condition. Check for small things such as faulty outlets or blown light bulbs, as well as larger repairs such as the AC unit or leaks in your ceiling.

Before you place it on the rental market, perform an extensive check of your house (looking everything over thoroughly!) and make a written list of all the necessary repairs and replacements. You should start this list early on, so that you can add to it as you notice things, and so you have time to perform the needed updates. 

It's advised to schedule vendors and contractors for repairs as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to be paying higher fees for last-minute, “emergency” repairs just days before your new tenant moves in.

Normal wear and tear is expected when you rent out a house, but completing the essential maintenance tasks will be important in securing the right renters. Keeping everything in working condition and looking nice will let you charge higher rental fees and attract and keep your tenants for longer.

Reference this quick checklist when inspecting for repairs.

You should check:

  • HVAC systems

  • leaky drains, pipes, or water damage

  • clogs, blockages and all the plumbing 

  • appliances like the water heater and kitchen equipment

  • windows and window screens

  • hardware such as doorknobs, towel racks, etc

  • Lightbulbs, switches and outlets 

This is also a great opportunity to make any renovations or remodels in your home to increase the rental value!

Have Carpets Professionally Cleaned

Carpets are soft and comfy, but they also trap dust and other unwanted grime. Before you market your rental property, make sure its carpets are all freshly cleaned. If you had the carpets cleaned fairly recently, then a simple vacuum or shampoo should do the job. 

However, a professional deep carpet clean is recommended when you're renting a house that has been occupied for a while. If you or your previous tenants owned a pet, then a deep cleaning is essential to remove trapped odors, fur, dander, and pests.

Get Keys Made or Rekey the Apartment 

If this is your first time renting out the house and you are the only person that has lived in it, then there is no reason to change the locks or rekey the apartment.

In this case, simply go to the locksmith and get a few sets of keys made. Your renter will expect at least two sets of keys. However, if you're renting out a big home, or to a family or group of people, you'll need more so that everyone has access.

You will also need to keep a couple sets of keys yourself, for emergencies, repairs, and routine inspections.  

If you had previous tenants, it's advised to rekey locks once a tenant moves out. The only way you can assure your new tenants that their assets are safe and secure is by rekeying the apartment, as you cannot be sure that your old tenants did not make copies of the keys.  

Clean the Property Interior and Exterior

Curb appeal and outdoor living space both make a big difference in attracting tenants. It's important that the building exterior and the surrounding area outside are clean and neat. This includes your garden and the street in front of your house. You don't want potential renters to get a bad first impression from broken furniture outside, unkempt landscaping, or trash strewn on the road.

Once you're sure that the exterior is looking sparkly and clean, it's time to deal with the interior. Check all the walls for scuff marks and give them a proper scrub. Assess whether they need to be repainted. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in making the home feel clean and new, so we highly advise keeping the right paint on-hand for touching up your walls. 

Also ensure the windows are clean, appliances are clean, as well as all the little nooks and crannies in cupboards, under shelves, in corners and crevasses, and so on. 

Cleaning is critical when you're renting out a house. Once you've cleaned it once, double-check and clean it again! Good tenants want to move into clean homes, and above all you're looking for good tenants. If you have the time to do it yourself, that’s fine, but we often recommend hiring a professional cleaning service to spare yourself the considerable effort, and to make sure the job is done perfectly.

Is Your Property Ready for Renters? 

Are you prepared and ready to rent your home after reading these steps? It's a fairly straightforward process, as long as you ensure that everything is up to standard, clean, and working properly.

Perhaps you're interested in jumping into the rental game and considering buying a house to rent out. We are here to assist you with finding the perfect rental property with great investment value! Get in touch with us today to start the no-pressure conversation.

 

April 6, 2021

Ways COVID-19 Will Affect Future Home Design and What to Look For

Are you looking to build a new construction home in Oahu? Do you wonder what the difference will be in home design pre- and post-COVID-19? If so, then you’ll be interested to learn how the coronavirus might affect future home design.

Understanding future home design trends will help to stir your imagination and plan for the features you want, before you set out to find or build your next home. We are beginning to see old spaces used in new ways, with novel additions to current homes and adjusted open floor plans, just to name a few.

See below for an in-depth guide on several COVID-19 architecture design solutions that you can expect to see in a post-COVID world!

1. The New-Look Open Floor Plan

Everyone loves an open floor plan. It's a trend that has become commonplace in many modern home designs, whether you're building a new construction home or remodeling an existing structure. 

However, the worldwide pandemic revealed something to us about open floor plans that we didn't consider before: productivity is just as important at home as it is in the workplace. Really, the home has become a workplace itself. 

Among those who were able to maintain their employment during the pandemic, many were forced to share space with their family members in ways they had never imagined. Suddenly, mom and pop were forced to work at home, while kids ran around, eating, playing, destroying, sometimes learning...

All of a sudden, those coveted open floor plans became more distracting than invigorating. Productivity declined as a result. 

That brought on the invention of what we're calling the "new-look open floor plan". In this design, the entire space is maximized. What was once a living room/kitchen combo is now a living room, kitchen, office, arts and craft station, play area, study room, and more.

When looking at a new home, we at Hawaii Realty International believe that we need to embrace these changes, not run from them. It makes your home more functional and, thus, more valuable to your family!

2. Super Porches

Sounds like an awesome comic book title, right? While it might not be picked up by Marvel for their next blockbuster, this is certainly a growing trend in the home design industry.

We all had those neighbors, friends, and relatives that used the 2020 pandemic as a way to catch up on their home renovations, both inside and outside. Maybe you did too.

Many homeowners used that opportunity to improve the outside of their properties, like patios and porches. For some, it was the deck in their front yard. For others, it was the balcony or the roof lounge atop their home.

With more time spent at home, homeowners want better exterior living spaces to maximize their enjoyment of the great outdoors. A good portion of them preferred covered patios so that they could enjoy the fresh air in any weather (it helps that we’re blessed in Oahu with great weather most of the year). 

These homeowners are on to something! Not only does the "super porch" give you more ways to enjoy the outdoors, but it also enhances the curb appeal of your home for when it comes time to sell. It's what we like to call a "win-win," improving your enjoyment of the home now and your sale price later. 

3. At-Home Gyms

Did you know that Hawaii has been ranked the healthiest state in America?

This can be attributed to the residents, who are often health-conscious and committed to bettering their health and fitness each day. Unfortunately, when the pandemic struck, all the gyms we frequent to stay in shape were temporarily shuttered.

Everything was closed: CrossFit gyms, big-name gyms, the track at the nearest high school football field. All completely closed off to the public. Even public parks were shut down for a time!

So, many homeowners made their own workout solution. They invested in creating an at-home gym, which gradually continued to evolve as the year 2020 went on. Since everyone at once started looking for gym equipment, buyers had to hunt and buy piecemeal to put it all together. But now, a home gym has become a feature that many homebuyers are looking for in their next home.

4. Potential for Additions

As if land wasn't already at a premium in Oahu real estate, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic made it even more of a hot commodity.

Economists believe that this is a direct correlation to many families having relatives move in with them during the pandemic, especially elderly relatives. Now, they're with them for the long haul, and many homeowners are looking to build additional living space to give their new “roommates” their own private area.

Having a bonus bedroom suite or standalone ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit, aka “granny flat”) is a huge boon for housing multiple generations of family. An ADU is amazing when you have teens or grandparents living with you. Homebuyers know this too and will pay a premium for it!

5. Healthy Homes

An aging, dirty or broken HVAC system is never great, but homebuyers these days are putting even more attention on ventilation and comfort. After all, if the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it's to be more conscious of the air we’re breathing (and who’s breathing it near us). 

The indoor air quality of a home is no different. Home inspectors put an emphasis on checking the home's HVAC system for signs of mold or build-up in the air ducts, signs of poor air quality, etc.

Good cooling and heating has become a primary selling point. If you're in the market for a new home, make sure that the home's HVAC system is inspected by an expert. This pandemic has shown us all how much air quality truly matters!

Consider These Future Home Design Trends as You Search

Now that you have seen a few ways that COVID-19 has affected future home design, be sure to use these to your advantage while you search for or build your new house!

Getting ready for a big move? It's never too early to start planning. See this article for a list of tips and tricks for a stress-free move.

For any other inquiries and questions about real estate, please feel free to connect with us and we will be happy to assist you further!

 

Posted in Trends
March 26, 2021

Oahu Home Remodels: DIY or Hire a Professional?

Is it time to upgrade and update your home? Every once in a while, we need to refresh our living space. With spring coming soon, you might be tempted to make some home renovations.  

The question is: Will you save some cash and do a DIY home remodel, or are you going to hire a professional?

There are some jobs that you can do on your own, but others are really better left to people who know what they're doing. Do you know how to tell the difference? 

We want to help you decide, so you don't run into any expensive mistakes down the line. Keep reading to learn all about when to hire a professional, as well as a few of our favorite DIY home remodeling tips for the easier jobs. 

What Jobs Can (or Should) We Do At Home?

There are several quick remodeling projects that any handy homeowner can do on their own. These won't be complete game-changers as far as the look of your house goes, but they can still give you the refreshing new appearance that you're looking for. 

Outdoor Jobs

The first of these, and often the most fun, is to reimagine your home’s exterior. Whether you plan to sell your home soon, or you just want to impress guests and neighbors, it's critical to maintain your curb appeal. One of the best ways to do that is by refreshing your front yard.

Even some exterior jobs are better left to the pros — like repaving your driveway, for example — but others are easy enough for you to do yourself. You can put down a new pathway that leads to your door or backyard, paint your shutters, add a neat water fixture, even start a new garden (or bring that old, dead one back to life). 

Do you want to host awesome parties this summer? No problem. Refresh your outdoor space by introducing new furniture, replacing all of your weeds with fresh grass and flowers, and decorating with soothing pieces like hanging gardens, bird feeders or windchimes. 

If you’re very handy, you could try and make yourself a new deck — but in that case this article isn’t really for you. Definitely leave that fancy new pool you want to the professionals too, but you can still get involved by carefully selecting all the decor and landscaping that will go around your new exterior space. 

Indoor Jobs

So what can you do inside? As a gung-ho DIYer, your options may be a bit limited. You can't tear down walls or install new cabinets as a nice weekend project, but you can still do some small modifications that make a big change.

The first is by changing your appliances. Some people might want a professional to help, but with enough willpower and time, you can make it work on your own. The great thing is that most big box stores offer delivery and installation of your new appliance, and they’ll even get rid of your old one too. (Usually this involves extra fees.) So you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting to feel like you’re making a difference.

Maybe your kitchen could benefit from a new stainless steel fridge and matching stove. While these may seem like minor changes, considering you aren’t tearing down any walls, they still make a huge difference in the look and feel of your kitchen.

Not ready to install new countertops on your own? You can use contact paper to create a convincing fancy countertop in the meantime. Sure, it’s not marble or quartz, but it’s much better than old, ragged laminate while you save up for the real thing.

Similar to the countertops, there are also stick-on tiles available for a stylish new backsplash or bathroom. Again, these aren't long-term solutions, but they make a big change to your home's appearance.

You can use them on your bathroom floor and walls to create the appearance of fresh and expensive tiles. They're also perfect for a kitchen backsplash, keeping your walls intact and easy to clean. 

Of course, the biggest and easiest way to change your home’s interior is… paint! Just about everyone understands how to paint. It’s relatively cheap to buy the materials, and you can do it all with one person or a whole family. You can do it in a day, or in a week, or just a few hours adding a tasteful accent wall to make your living space “pop” with color. When you feel the remodeling bug, painting should be the first thing you consider!

When Is It Time to Hire a Professional? 

Beyond small fixes and cosmetic updates, it's best to hire someone who knows what they're doing. Unless you're already a professional, it's likely that you don't have the required experience to do everything safely and in the most efficient manner. Sometimes the hassle, safety hazards, and engineering required to make the biggest changes to your home requires tools and training that any regular person just does not possess.

So, there are a few things that you should consider before starting the job on your own. Here are some of the top ones. 

Cost and Materials

Many people are under the impression that getting a professional to do a renovation project is too expensive. They're better off saving money and doing it themselves, right?

For most people, this is incorrect. Sometimes, in fact, it’s no cheaper to DIY than it is to hire a pro.

Consider everything that you'll need for the remodel that you have in mind. How much will you spend equipment and building supplies? Do you have any of these on hand, or will they all be new purchases?

Furthermore, consider the cost of mistakes. When you do something wrong, you need to buy materials all over again, or live with your subpar handiwork.

While a good remodeler is expensive, the cost evens out when you consider how much goes into the idea that you want to bring to life.

Time

A professional remodeling contractor knows how to work efficiently. While they may spend several days or weeks remodeling your home (depending on the project), they're working faster than you would be able to. 

There’s always an opportunity cost to how we spend our time, and in some cases the savings and fuzzy feelings from DIY are simply not worth it. Sometimes hiring a pro gets you a better final product, for about the same overall expense, and faster than you could ever hope to do it.

You can't commit to your project unless you have a wide-open schedule (ie. no job or responsibilities). Even those who work from home have time commitments. The remodeling contractor does this as their job, so they have all of the time in their workday to commit to your project. 

Especially if you’re investing in pricey home improvements, you may not be able to afford taking big chunks of time off work. And if you try to do projects piecemeal on weekends alone, that means that the project will take even longer.

Difficulty

What's the difficulty level of the project you want to do? Now’s the time to be honest with yourself. 

Again, with simple paint jobs and appliance replacements, you don't need to worry. These are easy and quick. 

On the other hand, if you're tearing down walls, making complicated measurements and precise cuts, or using tools that you're unfamiliar with, that's a whole different story. This is likely beyond your skill level, and it’s time to call a pro.

Let a professional handle the difficult tasks. You'll thank yourself later!

DIY or Hire a Professional? It Depends

Next time you want to refresh your space, make sure that you take all the variables of DIY and hired help into consideration. Can you afford to do it on your own? Are you experienced enough to face the challenge? Do you have the right tools? Do you have the time to devote to the project?

The answer will vary depending on what you want to do. You'll know when it's time to hire a professional and when it's okay to take things into your own hands. 

Of course, the biggest change you can ever make is moving into a new home altogether! Whether you’re looking to upgrade, downsize, “right-size,” or more, we are here to help. Connect with us to tell us more about your situation, and we can start discussing your options with a no-pressure consultation.

Posted in Home Improvement
March 19, 2021

Love Where You Live | A Special Team Announcement | HRI February 2021 Newsletter

 
 

March 2021


Hi Friends & Neighbors! 

Spring is just around the corner, a time of new beginnings and lots of real estate business! In normal times, that is...

If you just woke up from hibernation and peeked out to see the real estate landscape, you might wonder, “Where have all the listings gone?” A recent report by the New York Times notes how (and attempts to explain why) there are very few homes for sale nationwide. If you’re actively looking to buy, I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Long story short, a combination of low mortgage rates, a preexisting housing shortage, and sellers staying put — due to either uncertainty or loan forbearance programs — has coalesced to create a very tight housing market. Bidding wars are becoming the norm, and O'ahu median sale prices for single-family homes were up 19% year-over-year in February to new record highs.

It’s great news for prospective sellers, whose homes might currently be the country’s hottest commodities that don’t come in a syringe. But if you’re looking to buy, or sell and buy (as is often the case), you’ll need great representation to quickly negotiate and win your new home.

As always, we are watching the market to provide you with the latest insight and updates. If you’re considering making a change, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help you and anyone you send our way!

In the meantime, we hope you find something of value in this monthly newsletter we've crafted for you.


Warmly,
Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

 
IN THE NEWS
Housing market gains more value in 2020 than in any year since 2005
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Forbes
Median price of a single-family home on Oahu hits a new high
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Posted in Newsletter