HRI Blog



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!

Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 BD | 2.5 BA | 1,152 SQ FT
SOLD for $585,000 - Represented Buyer
Stay in touch with us!
© 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.


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.


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.

Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

Housing market gains more value in 2020 than in any year since 2005
View Article
Median price of a single-family home on Oahu hits a new high
View Article
Hawaii News Now
91-1012 Kaiapo St
Ewa Beach

4 BD | 2.5 BA | 2,109 SQ FT 
LISTED for $875,000 
1030 Aoloa Pl #302A

3 BD | 2 BA | 1,675 SQ FT 
SOLD for $685,000 - Represented Buyer
47-795 Malumalu Place

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!
45-202 Wena St

4 BD | 3 BA | 1,744 SQ FT
SOLD for $930,000
Represented Buyer
3027 Pualei Circle #307

1 BD | 1 BA | 676 SQ FT 
SOLD for $540,000 Represented Seller
Sold in 4 days for 103% of Asking Price!
Stay in touch with us!
Posted in Newsletter
March 11, 2021

10 Ways to Stage Your Home for the Feng Shui Buyer in Oahu

In any real estate market, Oahu included, selling a home quickly and effectively comes down to two things. First, the home must be priced to sell. Second, the home must motivate buyers to submit an offer.

Pricing your home largely comes down to a comparison of other recently sold listings in the area. Sites like Zillow even provide an estimation of value with just a simple search. Of course, the best Oahu listing agents will consider many additional layers of strategy on top of that ballpark market analysis. They might even net you an extra 5 or 10 or 15% (a great achievement), but in most cases the estimated range is still within the same ballpark.

The second factor, motivating buyers, is less clear-cut. How do you maximize your home’s appeal? How do you cater to the type of buyers who are actively looking in your neighborhood? Who are they, anyways, and what do they like? Add to this the unfortunate fact that not everyone has a designer's touch.

Well, that's where we come in. At Hawaii Realty International, we have decades of experience in preparing and staging homes to squeeze out every possible penny from your transaction. We work with expert design professionals to handle all the logistics and minimize your stress throughout the process.

Today, we’re diving into some concepts that we consider when preparing an Oahu home for sale. In particular, these 10 basic staging tips reflect the Feng Shui principles that so many homebuyers enjoy. Read on for 10 Feng Shui home staging tips!

1. Declutter or Move Out Entirely

One of the most important things you can do before staging your home is significantly decluttering and minimizing your possessions. If possible, we highly recommend moving out of the house. The less your presence is felt in the house, the easier it will be for prospective buyers to picture themselves living there. Not to mention it makes showings easier, with less involvement required from you, the seller.

If you can't move out yet, we recommend renting a storage unit to store your things until you are able to move it into your new residence. One of the most essential Feng Shui tips to sell a house is to "depersonalize it." Remove things like personal photos, certifications, awards, niche decor like religious or sports-related items, eccentric colors, and so on.

Neutralize your home for maximum appeal. That’s Feng Shui, and it’s good practice for real estate.

2. Take Care of Any Aesthetic Repairs and Updates

Next, you should plan to invest a little money in perfecting your home's aesthetics. Don't worry, we're not talking about complete renovations, just small things that make a big difference. 

For example, replace old cabinet hardware like drawer pulls and handles for a more modern look. You can also update light fixtures, doorknobs, and anything else that makes the home feel out-of-date. 

Finally, make sure you take care of any superficial repairs, such as damaged trim, drywall, doors, weatherstripping, etc. The future buyer will know they're in a home that's cared-for and move-in ready. 

3. Thoroughly Clean the House

The Feng Shui-minded buyer will be completely turned off if they walk into a dirty home. Wouldn’t you be too? So, after the decluttering process and updates are complete, make sure to spend adequate time and elbow grease and give your house a thorough, deep cleaning. 

If you don't have the time or abilities it takes to really dig in and do the job right, it's very worthwhile to invest in a professional cleaning service. An ultra-clean home conveys a message of care, which buyers may presume extends to the rest of your tenure as homeowner. People want a home that has been well maintained, and bad smells or sights are a telltale sign of poor maintenance. Don’t let a simple lack of cleanliness scuttle your home sale!

4. Consider Hiring a Professional Home Stager

The numbers don’t lie. Staged homes sell as much as 87% faster than non-staged homes. Yes, it costs some extra cash, but it pays to present a beautiful, manicured space to prospective buyers.

To properly stage a home, it takes a designer’s eye and quality decor. If you have old, beat-up furniture, for example, staging your home won't have the desired effect. You may love your old chair with well-worn indentations that perfectly conform to your shape, but that’s not doing anything for prospective buyers. Rule #1 of preparing a home for sale is putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes.

If you do have newer furniture and an keen eye for interior design, you may be able to save some dough and DIY the project. But for most folks, it’s often best to move out your things and let a professional home stager have their run of the place. Experience is key, and a full-time professional stager knows just how to appeal to the broadest range of buyers.

5. Perfect Your Curb Appeal

Whether it’s love at first sight or something less nice, first impressions matter. When a potential buyer pulls up to your home, their first impression is influenced by your home’s curb appeal, or what your home looks like from the street. Remember, the principles of good design and Feng Shui are just as important for your home’s exterior as the interior!

When they pull up to your home, buyers get the experience of coming home from work or activities, greeted by the view of your home’s facade and exterior space. What they see on the outside will inevitably color the way they see the rest, even in subtle and subconscious ways.

So, if your home’s exterior paint is fading or peeling, it's time to add a new coat. If your yard is overgrown, it's time for some yard care. Do everything you can to make the exterior of your home as inviting as possible. These simple cosmetic improvements are well worth the investment.

6. A Fresh Coat of Paint Goes a Long Way

Painting is one of the easiest steps in the home selling preparation process that will definitely boost your Feng Shui. First, a fresh coat of paint makes everything feel nicer, newer, crisp and clean. Take advantage of this relatively easy and inexpensive project to increase your home's aesthetics.

With a steady hand, you can do it yourself. However, a professional painter will likely get more uniform results, and big spaces can take a good bit of time and effort. Consider whether you’d prefer to save time or money when making your decision.

When choosing your paint, it’s critical to keep the color tones neutral to appeal to a wider audience of buyers. Replace any vibrant or loud colors that don't hold mass appeal (even if you love them, it’s about your target buyers!). Make sure you touch up painted trim pieces as well to make them pop.

7. Keep Things Open

One of the most important Feng Shui tips to stage your home is to make it feel open and spacious. Prospective buyers want to feel the flow of the house from one room to the next. Don't set up furniture in a cluttered fashion, such that it blocks pathways or cuts off this essential flow through the space. 

Additionally, don't back furniture all the way up against the walls. Though it may seem like it adds more space, having the furniture at least one foot off the wall will make the room feel more open and inviting. There’s no need to maximize an unnatural dead space in the middle of the room.

8. Incorporate Houseplants

One of the best things you can do when staging your home is fill it with lively green plantlife. The presence of indoor plants has been shown to make people feel better. Not only do plants aesthetically liven up a room, but they've also been linked to better focus, productivity, and moods.

9. Maximize Natural Light

Next, remember that lighting is ever-important. A dim or dark room feels closed-off, cold, and somewhat depressing. Therefore, to stage your home for maximum buyer interest, ensure that every area of your home has adequate lighting. 

We recommend letting in as much natural light as possible from your windows and any glass doors. In rooms with limited natural light, try bright, warm light bulbs to liven up the vibe. If a room's overhead lighting is poor, you can always use lamps to make up the difference. 

10. Create an Amazing Buyer Experience

Finally, learning how to stage your home means assuming a buyer’s perspective for all their senses. As a buyer walks through your home, they aren’t just looking at it — they’re also smelling, touching and hearing.

Hopefully by now, you’ve cleaned up any odor-producing waste or spills as described in step three. This means making sure there are no pet smells or any other unpleasant odors lingering around. Many home sellers light a candle or bake cookies to enhance the homey feeling, but not everyone likes the same scents, so don’t go overboard.

To further stimulate the senses, soft music can be played in the background: jazz, classical, or other unintrusive styles are best.

Want More Advice on How to Sell and Stage Your Home?

Are you looking to sell your Oahu home?  If so, it’s helpful to know what to expect and how to maximize your investment. Even moreso, it also helps if you have the best real estate listing agent in Oahu. At Hawaii Realty International, we are expert marketers with a proven track record of preparing Oahu real estate to net the best return.

View our marketing plan for selling your home and start the no-pressure conversation to tell us more about your situation. We can help expertly price your home and work with you throughout the entire home selling process. Questions about Oahu real estate? Contact us today and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.


Posted in Selling a House
March 5, 2021

Get to Know the Neighborhood After Settling Into Your New Home

It’s finally done, you've made the big move, you're done getting settled into your new home! Every box is unpacked, everything’s in its place (took long enough, right?) — it’s all smooth sailing from here. Congrats! Now you might even have time now to branch out, take a walk, and explore the neighborhood (further than the take-out you bought while you still couldn't find your forks). So go for it, get some fresh air! And while you’re at it, get acquainted with your new surroundings.

Whether you bought a home in the same place you grew up, or you moved to a totally new and unfamiliar location, there’s a lot to get to know: Your neighbors, your neighborhood, local shops and restaurants, schools, parks, even that secret route for your fastest commute. It will all come in time, but some parts require extra effort for best results.

We’re here to help you with simple tips to help you get to know and get involved with your new community, to speed up the process and keep you comfy. Starting with...

Throw a Housewarming Party

A housewarming party serves two important purposes: you get to celebrate your new home with your friends and family, AND you can invite your new neighbors to break the ice! After all the work you put in to finding and buying your new home, moving, and settling in, you definitely deserve some fun.

Throwing a housewarming party gives you a low-pressure opportunity to mingle with your new neighbors. If you have kids at home, it’s also a chance for them to meet other kids in the neighborhood. It’s always nice to have a friend on the block!

Given the public health restrictions on in-person gatherings these days, you may need to plan ahead to ensure that your event is held safely (and legally). If it’s currently allowed to host a shindig in your area, it may still be best to keep party-goers outside for a BBQ or play-day in the yard. If you don’t have the exterior space, or if you just plain can’t hold a party, the next best thing is a virtual Zoom party. Not the best, we know... but you can do a virtual tour of your newly decorated home, and plan some fun games to keep the virtual party rolling.

Find Ways to Volunteer

Getting involved by giving back is a great way to meet locals, and you’ll feel so much more invested in the community. To get started, check for opportunities to volunteer on your municipal website, community Facebook pages and other social media. If your neighborhood is old-school, which is pretty cool, you might even find a physical bulletin board somewhere like the town square. Take a look for community gatherings and volunteering events and drives.

Volunteering might be a particularly nice way to meet folks in your community, for those who aren’t so fond of walking up to strangers and starting a conversation. When you volunteer, you’ll naturally meet others who are giving their time. You already have one thing in common, and you have something to do rather than stare blankly at one another from across the sidewalk.

You may be collecting food for the homeless, planting a community garden, or selling homemade treats at the local bake sale. Whatever form your efforts take, there’s no better way to get involved and invested in your new community. Many volunteering opportunities are great for kids too, and will instill an appreciation for giving back at an early age.

Of course, before you run out to volunteer, be sure to check the latest COVID guidelines in your area. You may be required to bring certain items like extra masks or gloves. If you’re at risk, you might want to leave volunteering to others for the time being.

Connect With an App

There’s an app for everything these days, including quite a few for getting in touch with your neighborhood! The most popular community app is NextDoor, which you can visit on a phone app or anything with a web browser. We also mentioned Facebook community pages earlier, which can be an even better source for community info and connections.

There are apps that connect you with other parents or pet owners or enthusiasts in your area, apps to find a restaurant, to find a date, to find Pokemon on the sidewalk, to find hidden treasure… well, maybe not treasure, but would you be surprised?

Importantly, with any type of social media, we always recommend to be careful when sharing any kind of personal information.

Strike Up a Conversation

Not everyone is super outgoing, and that’s okay, but if you find the right chance to greet your neighbors, we highly recommend it! Just say hi, introduce yourself and let them know you’re the new homeowners. You’ll find that most people are quite friendly and happy to chat. If that doesn’t describe your new neighbors, that’s a good thing to know anyways. We highly suggest breaking that ice — you never know when you might need a cup of sugar!

If you do decide to strike up a chat with your neighbors, keep in mind the current COVID guidelines. Don’t get inches away, and definitely don’t just run up and hug them. That’s probably not allowed, and your neighbors might think you’re a little weird.

Have An Adventure

Neighbors aren’t the only new part of your new community, there’s also the great wide yonder of new streets, parks, and places to go! If you don’t mind the hustle, try packing some food and water and going for a hike. It can be an urban hike through streets and shops, or your standard nature hike through the local flora. If things are spread out, or you’d rather not hoof it, then driving to new places can be very rewarding too.

For your adventure, there’s a couple ways to do it. You can let the roads and paths just whisk you away, discovering new places as you travel. Or you can do a little research beforehand, browsing the web to find hotspots and great views recommended by locals who have been around the block a while. In most cases, we recommend the latter option, just so you don’t get too tired or waste too much gas while aimlessly wandering. But if your surroundings are nice (and safe), you’re not likely to go wrong by just following your nose. Just don’t forget your GPS.

Adventuring and day-trips help you really get to know your new area. They’ll help you learn the best travel routes, the closest shops and tasty restaurants, and maybe even some local history too. GPS or not, it’s nice to know where you are and where you’re going. Have an adventure to make it so!

Getting Settled in a New Home 101

When getting settled in a new home, there are tons of ways that you can get involved and find out about your new surroundings, while at the same time making sure you and your family are safe and comfortable.

It can be strange to live in a totally new place, so we hope the tips we shared above will help you to leap over that initial phase and quickly feel at home. Definitely consider some volunteering opportunities in your area, and don’t miss out on your housewarming party if you’re able to have one! They don’t come around too often.


If you are still looking for your forever home yet, or just your next step and next adventure, we’re here to help you. Contact Mike Styring and Hawaii Realty International and let us know your goals!

Posted in Buying a home
Feb. 28, 2021

Packing It Up: Tips and Tricks for a Stress-Free Move

Moving is a double-edged sword. While you probably can't wait to get settled in your dream place and start a new chapter in your life, you also likely have a lot of stress and anxiety heading into the process.

With some tips for a stress-free move, you don't have to worry about losing your head. The tips in this article will show you how you can guarantee a stress-free move.

1. Hire Some Professional Help

Hiring a professional can help get rid of the stress of a move. By leaving it to some pros, it is a lot easier to relax, since you won't have to worry about putting together all of the pieces yourself.

Since this is what they do for a living, you also get more of a guarantee that the job will be done properly. This means not having to worry about items breaking or being mishandled during the move.

While it will cost you a bit of money, you can't put a price tag on the peace and stress-relief that you get by hiring movers.

2. Get Your Move Started Early

Procrastination kills the dream!

Of course, it's difficult to get excited about your move if you stress yourself out by waiting too long to get started. You will bring back the stresses of school all-nighters — and unnecessarily so.

You have plenty of time to plan out every part of your move. So start early and make it fun instead of anxiety-inducing.

3. Find the Right Supplies for the Move

If you're going to plan a move, you also need to be sure you have the right supplies.

Start by finding boxes and other containers that will store all of the items you are moving. Choose boxes that are sturdy and not likely to crumble or allow your belongings to break. You can purchase quality moving boxes from your local hardware store.

You can also look into specialty containers, such as hard plastic containers. Buy boxes and containers that fit together like a puzzle, so it's easy to arrange them in your truck.

4. Pack With Rhyme and Reason

Handling your move becomes easy and stress-free when you learn how to pack.

If you have a uniform way of packing things, it's easier for you to get them on and off the truck. You will remember where things are, and this will make it easier for you to get set up at your new place.

Go room by room and get organized about the way you pack things up. By having a strategy, the move will be as stress-free as possible.

5. Organize and Schedule Your Move

It's best to have a schedule for every part of your move. Set the dates on your calendar and give yourself plenty of time leading up to the move to pack things up, turn your utilities on in your new place, talk to some movers, and other parts of the move.

Scope out your new home as well to see if there are any traffic patterns you should know about. Get to know the neighborhood so you can figure out the best place to park so you can unload.

6. Make Use of Storage if You Need It

Having some rental storage space is also an excellent way to make your move easier. When you have storage, it gives you some time so that you don't feel rushed with the move.

You can rent a storage unit while you are packing up your current home so that you can move into your new home little by little. Find a storage rental company that has affordable monthly rates, along with the best storage space for your needs.

7. Manage the Costs of Your Move

You need to handle the financial part of your move as well. A price tag that you have trouble affording is one of the biggest areas of stress when you're moving.

The easiest way to manage your costs is to first figure out what you can do on your own, and what you need professional help with. If you are hiring any kind of professional help, you should get some price estimates from three different movers.

You should also shop for the most affordable moving equipment and supplies so the price doesn't become too inflated.

8. Take off the Time That You Need

Don't make the mistake of trying to do too much. Working a full work week right before or after a move can also make the move more stressful than it has to be.

Take some time off from work so you can plan out your move, go room by room, and check and double-check every part of it. You will thank yourself that you took time off when you can get a good night's sleep before the move and have clear thoughts and low anxiety.

9. Get Help From Friends and Family

Don't hesitate to lean on the help that friends and family members can provide. It would surprise you to see how much work you can get done when you have people by your side.

If you have kids, getting family members to watch them at certain parts of the move can also decrease stress because you're only focusing on the task at hand — not the temperament of your little ones.

10. Breathe and Relax

Breathe! It's easier to relax when you have your mind made up that you aren't going to let stress get the best of you.

Control what you can control, and give yourself permission to just live in the moment and let the move play out how it's supposed to.

Put Together a Stress-Free Move

You can enjoy a stress-free move when you follow these tips. Since moves can be one of the more stressful things that you do, you will be glad that you had these tips at your disposal.

Hawaii Realty International is happy to hear from you. Take time to connect with us when you need some real estate help.


Posted in Selling a House
Feb. 15, 2021

Meet the HRI Team: Our Newest Agent, Steven Harman!

Good news! Our team at Hawaii Realty International is growing. Meet our newest agent, Steven Harman.

About Steven

Steven Harman has a unique familiarity with the beautiful island of Oahu: from the air, as a former tour helicopter pilot based out of Honolulu; and from the earth, where he takes great pride in expertly guiding his clients home.

After graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in English Literature, Steven came to a crossroads of becoming a school teacher or joining the Army. He chose the latter and joined the Army shortly after 9/11, where he spent 10 years flying helicopters for Medevac units stationed around the world. Back in civilian life, he flew medical evacuations for hospitals near the international border in Arizona. During all that flying, he saw a lot of properties.

Steven is no stranger to helping and serving people who are in need. He brings a high level of vigor, integrity and work ethic to his work in real estate, educating his clients on their options in a sometimes complex housing landscape. With his personable demeanor and abundant creativity, Steven is the ideal representative to help homebuyers reach their goals. He is always excited to take on new challenges, and he doesn’t shy away from negotiating the best possible deal for his clients. Steven is relentless in ensuring that your happiness is neatly wrapped up in a bow.

As a veteran, Steven knows how stressful PCS moves can be, and he is well prepared to help fellow servicemembers to smoothly transition in or out of their duty location. Steven deeply understands the impact an agent can have on his client’s life, family and future, so he works tirelessly to make the real estate process as rewarding and stress-free as possible.

In his free time, you can find Steven surfing, working out or hiking, like most folks on the island. To Steven, it’s impossible to stay indoors for long, when you’re surrounded by this breathtaking backdrop. That’s what led him to fall in love with Oahu real estate, and it still inspires his work today.

Contact Steven

You can reach Steven Harman at

For real estate inquiries, feel free to reach out via our CONTACT FORM to let us know your goals and timeline. We'll get in touch ASAP for a no-pressure consultation!

Posted in Meet the Team
Feb. 15, 2021

Love Where you Live - A Special Team Announcement


February 2021

Hi Friends & Neighbors! 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, O'ahu home sellers have a lot to love.

In December, O'ahu’s median home sales price was up 6.1% since last year for single-family homes (SFH) and up 6.9% for condos. In December, O'ahu SFH listings averaged just 10 days on the market and condos only 16 days before being snatched up. The situation is ripe for all kinds of analogy, but I’m inclined towards the Bionic Man: today’s market is better, faster, stronger. 

Despite facing stiff competition, buyers are still scrambling to submit a winning offer for a number of reasons. Chief among them is the mortgage market, where already rock-bottom rates have recently moved subterranean — the national average on a 30-year conventional loan is currently just 2.73%. Then you have the novel buyer motives we’ve seen arise in the past year: the desire for more space, for better in-home amenities, for Zoom rooms and distance-learning rooms and more.

With the real estate market in this frenzied state, it’s easy to get swept up. It might seem like you can sell your home with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back, and in a sense you could. But should you?

To maximize your investment — buying or selling — you need a trusted adviser who is quick on their feet, strategic and precise in pricing and negotiations, with the discerning eye of experience to guide you to great results. If now feels like the right time to make your move, we’re here to help you and anyone you send our way.

Mike & Lisa Styring
Hawaii Realty International

Give a Warm Welcome to Yee Vong!
We're happy to announce the newest addition to the Styring Team, Yee Vong, who joins us as our new executive assistant. An O’ahu native, Yee combines years of experience managing high-stakes events and services with her special passion for Hawaii real estate. Yee’s talent for navigating complex logistics and operations led to an acclaimed career in event services for hotels in Hawaii and California. Now back on the island she calls home, Yee applies her experience in managing fast-paced schedules, budgets and client needs towards keeping every Styring Team transaction on-track and successful.

We're excited to have her on board!
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47-795 Malumalu Place

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!
45-202 Wena St

4 BD | 3 BA | 1,744 SQ FT
SOLD for $930,000
Represented Buyer
3027 Pualei Circle #307

1 BD | 1 BA | 676 SQ FT 
SOLD for $540,000 Represented Seller
Sold in 4 days for 103% of Asking Price!
91-721 Puamaeole St #19A
Ewa Beach

2 BD | 2 BA | 874 SQ FT
SOLD for $478,000
Represented Buyer
801 Kakala St #1006

3 BD | 2 BA | 945 SQ FT 
SOLD for $505,000 - Represented Seller
Sold in 10 days for 101% of Asking Price!
Stay in touch with us!
Posted in Newsletter