So you want to sell your property yourself?

“I’ll sell it myself and save the Commission!”

So you want to sell your home yourself and save the Commission you would pay a Realtor? Terrific!

Are you aware that in April of 2010 on Oahu there were 1,956 single family homes for sale and 2,469 condos? That is a seven months supply of inventory if no new homes come on the market. And last month 520 single family homes and 669 condos joined their older buddies on the Multiple Listing Service. And only 286 homes and 390 condos sold!

Bad House signage

Nice Signage there, Homeowner!

On top of that, 98% of homes are sold by Licensed Real Estate Agents. Do you really want to give your home only a 2% chance of getting sold?

You still want to sell it yourself? I do admire your tenacity! Let me ask you this; are you willing to do the tasks it takes?

You will need to:

1) Promote your home for sale in local media, online and maybe pay for a limited service listing just to get your home in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so other agents can find your property.
2) Pay for signage.
3) Contact local agents to let them know you have a home for sale.
4) Take time off from work to be available to show the property.
5) Assess who is a legitimate buyer who has pre-approval from a lender and who is not ready, willing and able to buy.
6) Recommend lenders to buyers that need to get a loan.
7) Prepare and review contracts, negotiate contracts to a win-win acceptance of an offer.
8) Open escrow with a Title Company and keep escrow deadlines on track.
9) Carry Errors and Omissions Insurance so if there is a screw up in the contract you are covered in mediation and arbitration or worst possible case a lawsuit in court.

Hmm…so my job isn’t really as easy as you think, Mr. & Mrs. Seller. Selling a home in today’s market is a full time job, are you willing to give up yours to do mine?

Aloha from the Hawaii Real Estate Biz!

Sales Numbers for April Oahu Residential Real Estate

May Showers bring…Mud.

The April Residential Real Estate numbers are in and things are looking like we are on the mend here on Oahu.

The National Association of Realtors defines a healthy Market as one in which there is a six month supply of homes available.  Our March numbers were 14.7 months for single family and 16.1 for condos which was a near record high amount of inventory. The great news is in April we had a 9.7 months supply for single family and a 10.1 months supply for condos, so you can see the trend is going in the right direction!

Chillin' at Sandys

Chillin' at Sandys

These numbers were not the result of a vast increase in sales but rather quite a few listings expiring or being withdrawn from the market. Sellers with overpriced homes that did not absolutely have to sell at this time are starting to wake up and smell the Real Estate Market Coffee

The inventory of active listings for April was 1,822 single family homes and 2,514 Condos, reflecting a drop from previous months.  Sales nudged up slightly with 189 SF and 257 Condos sold.

We are roughly at the sales volume we were at in 1999, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors data. Real Estate trends here typically move in a ten year cycle. We saw a spike in the early 90’s due to foreign investment, which tanked as the Japanese Stock market bubble burst. Our spike in the mid-2000’s was due largely to the availability of domestic funds because of the loosening of mortgage requirements. And we all know where that has gotten us now…

April Commercial Oahu Real Estate Bizness

Commercial Market is great…

if you are a Tenant.

Over on the Commercial leasing side office vacancy continues to rise Downtown to around 10%. Any time you have a vacancy rate close to 10% and up you have a tenants market. And the tenants are certainly calling the shots these days! Depending on the building, I’m seeing free rent, build out allowances and all sorts of goodies tenants were not able to get since the mid  1990s.

Honolulu view of Diamond Head

Honolulu view of Diamond Head

Retail is very soft; there are a lot of vacancies. Small strip malls across the state have an average vacancy rate of 9 %. Retailers are continuing to struggle with losses and many are going out of business entirely. Some are just walking away from their leases and letting the chips fall where they may, particularly in the big malls that charge high overhead.

Even some of the Big Dogs are biting the bullet: Niketown in Waikiki is selling its flagship building and Chicago-based General Growth Properties just recently filed Chapter 11.

In Hawaii, General Growth owns Ala Moana Center,  the largest open-air shopping mall in the world, and Ward Centers. These are two of the largest shopping centers in the state. And if you stroll around either one of them, you’ll see quite a few empty stores…

Industrial is always a winner here because we don’t have much land to sprawl out on, and really tight zoning keeps growth to a minimum. So we are getting roughly $.85- $1.50 per square foot. Some a little lower, some a little higher depending on the property and the use.

I’ll be having an upcoming brown-bag lunch seminar in May for commercial tenants: “The Care and Feeding of your Commercial Lease- How not to get Bitten!” More on that as the date gets firmed up, or email me for more info!

Aloha from Hawaii,
The Real Estate Biz

April Residential Oahu Real Estate Bizness

I can’t believe it’s April already!

I’m seeing a definite shift in market activity here on Oahu. At least we are getting faster responses from sellers on offers we put in representing the buyers.

The sellers are realizing that the market is still sluggish and if they don’t want to hang on to their property for several months (while inventory is high and better priced properties are selling)…they need to jump on it.

With so much inventory on the market the sellers don’t have the luxury of overpricing their properties.

The Easter Bunny at Halewa Farmers Market!

The Easter Bunny at Halewa Farmers Market!

March numbers are in and we still have a lot of single family homes and condos on the market, 1,901 and 2,582 respectively for a total of 4,483 units. That is a total of 15.5 months of inventory if no new homes come on the market, and last month another 489 SF and 709 condos joined the party. Only 188 homes and 248 condos sold. Homes are sitting on the market for less time than the first two months of ’09 which reflects pricing more appropriate to market demand as opposed to being overpriced.

Sales are up over the first two months of the year. This indicates to me that buyers who have been sitting on the fence to see how low the market will go have realized that if they can qualify and are ready to buy, THEY need to jump on it.

What buyers REALLY need to jump on right now is the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit of $8,000. Buyers must not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as a “first time buyer” and they are entitled to an $8,000 ( or 10% of the homes value, whichever is less) refund on their 2008 or 2009 taxes. To qualify, the purchase must be made between January1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. Some people think it’s December 31 but that is incorrect. If you want more information about this great opportunity, contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

If you want to know what exactly is going on in your neighborhood give me a call, I can give you a “Market Snapshot” specific to your area.

March Musings on Oahu Real Estate

A bit late with the Stats… I’ll blame writers block!

I’m reading on the National front that sales of new homes unexpectedly rose in February. A Commerce report indicated new-home sales jumped 4.7 percent from a record low pace in January.

“The more we get economic data points like these, the more there’s an indication that stabilization in the economy is starting to unfold,” said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse Holdings USA in New York.

sThe Weather is Here, Wish you were Beautiful!

February Oahu Home sales for single family were 129, and 160 condos for a total of 289. There wasa total of 4,435 homes on the market in the Multiple Listing Service. (1,928 SF and 2,507 Condos) This brings us to 15.8 months of inventory remaining, up from 10 months in January. According to the National Association of Realtors a balanced, normal market has 6 months of inventory. Mortgage rates are still under 5% in many cases, so if your credit score is good enough to qualify you for financing or you are paying cash it is a shopping spree out there!

I keep hearing on the local news “The Median prices are up from last year!”… that can be misleading. Do you know that Median price is a number that can be skewed by one high end sale? If you have three homes in a neighborhood that sold for $450,000 and one that sold for $650,000, that one high sale will drive the “Median” upwards. Truth be told Oahu overall is down around 33% + from this time last year. However, some neighborhoods such as East Oahu and the Town-Kaakakao Corridor are holding values very nicely. Oahu is NOT one Real Estate market, it is many individual niches!

If you want to know what exactly is going on in your niche neighborhood give me a call, I can give you a “Market Snapshot” specific to your area.

2008 Oahu Hawaii Annual Residential Real Estate Sales by Neighborhood

The numbers are in for 2008 Annual Residential Sales on Oahu. So the overall numbers are down from 2007. Well, to me that just means people that had unreasonable expectations about what they can get for their homes $$ wise did not sell. I’ll be posting the February Sales data soon and you will see there is a LOT of inventory on the market. This is a good thing if you are buying, you have a lot of properties to chose from. If you are a seller, you need to make sure your home is priced right and in excellent condition to make your property stand out!

Aloha from Hawaii,

2008 Oahu Hawaii Annual Residential Real Estate Sales by Neighborhood

Your Oahu Real Estate Market Snapshot

Aloha from Lanikai Beach with Biz!

Aloha from Lanikai Beach with Biz!

Well, if people didn’t believe it last quarter, they can’t ignore it now. Oahu is totally a Buyer’s Market right now! If you’ve got money there are some great deals out there.

January Oahu Home sales came in at 281 closed and recorded; that breaks down to 122 single family and 159 condos. That’s out of an inventory of 1,903 SF and 2,494 condos (4,397 total homes) on the market in the Multiple Listing Service.  We now have around 10 months of inventory remaining.  And to top it off 496 single family and 674 condos came on the market to add another 1,170 to the inventory.

In the Commercial sector the “Experts” are finally admitting what I’ve been talking about for months: the Tenants are in charge! The tenants have more options open to find multiple move alternatives if they are unhappy with their current space or the landlord is asking for too much rent when the lease comes up for renewal. By forcing the landlords to compete for tenancy they can negotiate better base rent, and I am seeing more free rent and build out allowances in my commercial tenants. Keep in mind that if you don’t have to move, work with your existing landlord to get a win-win situation. Moving to a new office or warehouse is costly for a tenant, including downtime.

So in a nutshell, it is a great buying opportunity out there in the residential sector and a great time to be a commercial tenant. Commercial sales are slowing down as the commercial lending market is drying up. Wonder what March will bring? Any people with a real Crystal Ball out there contact me…

Aloha from Hawaii,


Let’s get going in 2009!

Some pundits predict this the year the Real Estate Market rebounds worldwide. I have always held the belief that Real Estate is really a local microorganism, so I am reserving judgment on that prediction.

If you check out the quarterly reports I am posting on my website you can see all the Oahu Neighborhood sales data. Some areas were up in the second quarter, down in the third. And vice-versa. Some neighborhoods had pods of robust sales while a few blocks away inventory was sitting like old groceries on the shelf.
The Hawaii Residential market historically tends to follow Southern California with a six month lag in market conditions, and Commercial here generally follows Residential by another six months to a year.
Oahu Residential sales numbers for December were down 26.5% over 2007. In December there were 4667 properties for sale; 2,033 single family and 2,634 condominiums. That is a 12-13 month supply of homes for sale if no new homes came on the market. And in December 325 single family and 461 condos were added. Out of that entire inventory only 437 (194 SF and 243 condos) sold.

Hawaii ended the year as the 29th highest foreclosure rate in the nation, tripling in December of 2008 as compared to the previous year.
What does this all mean?

Well, in my opinion, it means if you are in the market to buy welcome to the shopping spree! Lenders still have some really low interest rates, however you need to be sure your credit is stellar. If not, coming up with more of a down payment can get you a loan.  One of my lenders recently told me out of every 100 applications she gets only 30 qualify for a loan.

If you are planning on putting your home on the market, think twice. Do you absolutely have to sell your home right now due to a life change? If not, don’t put it on the market. Hang on for a few years as the market stabilizes. If you absolutely do have to sell, be prepared to price it aggressively. Homes that are priced at market value are selling well. I don’t determine the market, nor does the seller. The market is what someone is willing to pay for your home at a given point in time.

So as we gear up for 2009 don’t buy into the doom and gloom prophets. The Real Estate Market is cyclical, just like the stock market. Opportunities are there, it is either a Buyer’s market or a Seller’s market.

Which one are you?