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Looking for Schools?

 

Find a school!

Part of finding a home is looking into the school districts.Even if you do not have kiddos, buying a home in a desirable school district can help your home to sell when you are moving, because a good school district will appeal more to buyers with children vs. the home down the street that may be in a different school district. compclass
 Federal law prohibits real estate agents from telling buyers and sellers about school districts as it is a violation of the Fair Housing Laws. However, I can point people to websites that have information about the school districts and they can make their own decisions based on their own research.You can type in a Zip Code on Oahu here on my RealEstateBiz.us site and look up neighborhood school informaton, compare areas, and get more community information.

Check out the Market Insider Here!

 

playground

Public Schools Chart

Hawaii State Department of Education

Applying to Private School

2014 Private School Guide

Hawaii Public Charter Schools

Here is a link to the Hawaii Public Schools Locator:

Hawaii Public Schools Locator

 

Agency, Schmagency!

Agency, schmagency!

You wouldn’t go into a divorce proceeding without an attorney, or take the advice of your spouse’s attorney, would you?Yet frequently in real estate that is exactly what happens to you as a buyer, if the seller’s agent isn’t clear to you about “Agency”.When you call an agent who has a sign in the yard and say you want to see the house, a good agent will ask you “Who is your agent?” If you say no one, many agents will reply, “I’ll be happy to help you!”Aren’t they SO nice?

Aren't they SO Nice?

Aren’t they SO Nice?

What they should do is explain that they represent and have a fiduciary obligation to the Seller and you, as a buyer, could get an agent specifically to represent you and your interests. If you do not get your own agent, you are in a situation called “Dual Agency.” Many agents want to do this as they get both sides of the commission that way! *cough* greed *cough*… They have to disclose this to the Buyer and will have the Buyer sign a “Dual Agency” agreement. But it is not always clear to the buyer what this means. Dual agents cannot operate in a fiduciary relationship with either party and must treat both sellers and buyers equally. They cannot share confidential information and they cannot give confidential advice. Many States on the Mainland do not allow Dual Agency.

I got me a BUYERS Agent!

I got me a BUYERS Agent!

Now, in my case, I prefer to have ultimate loyalty to my Seller if I am listing their property. I want to be 100% in their corner looking out for what is best for them and negotiating on their behalf. Even though my name is on the sign, actually the seller has a listing agreement with a broker. If the buyer has an agreement to be represented by another agent/broker who is affiliated with the same real estate company, this is called “designated agency” (also referred to as “designated representation”).I can live with the designated agency arrangement since there are at least two agents involved – one representing the buyer and one the seller – albeit from the same brokerage company. One advantage is that I know the other agent and I know they are competent and will represent the buyer in a professional manner looking out for their best interests. 
I prefer for a Buyer to already have a relationship with a good agent who knows what they are doing and will work professionally and positively with me to get a transaction accomplished that get’s out clients the best possible outcome. Some agents on the other side can become adversarial; believing they have to beat up the seller (or seller’s agents beating up the buyers) and winner takes all. Not so. Good agents on both sides of the table realize that we are all working together as a team for our clients to reach the goal of a Buyer getting a new Home and the Seller moving on and no longer concerned about the sale process.Aloha from Hawaii,Biz

Open House? *BWAHAHA*

So you want me to sit Open House for your property?

No. I will hold “Brokers Open” which is for Realtors to preview your property. But I will not sit an Open House where the general public has access to you home. Why? Let me ask you this: Do you want people you don’t know going through your house checking out your possessions? Sure, you’ve been told to hide your valuables or even remove them during the time your home is on the market. But what about that prescription medication in your bathroom? Hey, those credit card and bank account statements sitting in your desk look good to an identity thief! And that big TV sitting in the living room of your vacation home that is vacant most of the year?

The Cat Burglar does not want your cat...

The Cat Burglar does not want your cat...

Thieves do go to Open Houses to check out the opportunities to relieve you of your possessions. And if the home is your full time residence, don’t you just LOVE the inconvenience of hauling the family out the door, containing your pets, and vacating your house for hours at a time every Sunday afternoon? Again and again and again…

Show me the Money!

Show me the Money!

So on one hand, I don’t sit Open House to protect YOU, Mr. & Mrs. Seller. I only allow access to qualified buyers who are ready, willing and able to buy your home and are accompanied by a licensed Real Estate professional. You DO want to maximize the potential for the sale of your home rather than letting anybody off the street in, don’t you? Even if they are not “casing the joint”, Open Houses are used by many buyers to walk through homes in which they have no interest other than to learn the market or to validate a decision to purchase another home.
On the other hand, I don’t sit Open Houses to protect myself as well. Let’s just advertise the fact that I will be in a house in the middle of the day when no one else is around and there are even signs leading right up to the front door! Realtors have been raped and killed at Open Houses,  I have no interest in becoming a statistic. Sit with another agent you say? Well, the State of Hawaii prevents law abiding citizens from carrying a firearm for personal protection. Guess who carries firearms? The not so law abiding citizens with intent to commit a crime. Even if there are several agents with me, a can of pepper spray is not going to do anything to deter an armed intruder.

How long until the end of Open House?

How long until the end of Open House?

Most experienced agents pass off (yes, I said “pass off”) the duty of sitting open house to newer agents because they tell them “If you sit Open House at my listing maybe you will get a potential buyer coming in that does not have an agent!” Or I’ve heard agents say, “I’m sitting Open House this weekend and hope to get a buyer!” Or “Maybe I’ll get a lead on a potential listing!”

Sitting Open House is a very passive form of marketing your home. They are used by real estate agents to convince sellers that they’ll be doing everything they can to sell their home, and they disrupt the lives of sellers with little or no value added to their goal of selling their home.

Whoopty-Doo.  “Maybe” and “Hope to”are not key points in my Real Estate business plan… I know that Real Estate is local in its nature, and I’m sure there are areas of the national market where Open Houses do work to some extent to sell homes. And I know I’m going to get blasted as a heretic by those agents. So be it. Would you rather have a passive agent who sits around your house on a Sunday afternoon “Hoping” or an agent that is “Doing” by actively and aggressively marketing your home? I know which one I’d rather have if I were selling my home…

Aloha from Hawaii,

Biz

 

Get Ready to RRRUUMMMBLE!

Getting your home ready to sell?

Here are some guidelines for getting the exterior of your home in market-ready condition. Potential buyers are going to see the exterior of your home before they even consider going inside. I have actually driven up to homes listed For Sale with buyers and turned around without even getting out of the car.

Some of these tips are geared for Hawaii Homeowners, but they are appropriate for almost all areas. I didn’t include winterizing for cold weather for obvious reasons. And it’s 90 degrees in the shade today and I’m sweating like a horse.

lush-landscaping

A Gardeners Delight!

1. Clean the gutters.

Depending on how much foliage you have surrounding your home, gutter cleaning will be necessary a couple of times a year or even monthly. Stuff grows fast here in the tropics. (Tip: Having gutter covers installed does prevent a great deal of maintenance!)

2. Live upcountry Maui or Big Island? Have your chimneys inspected and cleaned.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and we do have cold nights and even snow here in Hawaii. Before even thinking about building a fire in your wood-burning fireplace as the weather cools down, be sure to have your chimney professionally checked and cleaned if necessary.

3. Seal any cracks and crevices in the home’s exterior envelope.

Various circumstances can cause gaps or cracks around exterior windows, trim, doors, and numerous other locations. If it’s a major problem, call a contractor to take the appropriate course of action. For minor non-structural issues, use the correct caulking or expanding spray foam and do it yourself.

4. Have the Air Conditioning system inspected and tuned.

An annual tune-up will help keep your AC operating at peak efficiency and help prevent major breakdowns.

5. Do a foundation walk-around.

This should only take a minute or two, but could be vitally important. Inspect your home’s foundation to look for any new cracks. If you see anything out of the ordinary, call a pro to address the situation before the problem gets worse.

6. Trim the trees.

See # 1. Whether it’s from storm damage, natural process, tree disease, or critters causing damage, trees do need to be pruned of any troublesome branches on a regular basis. And remember, if your coconut tree drops coconuts on somebody else’s property and a car windshield is broken, guess who pays?

dirty-clean-pools

Which one would you like buyers to see? You have three guesses and the first two don't count...

7. Inspect windows and screens.

You want to make sure these are in good shape and your windows are sparkling clean for showing. I’ve heard some agents say remove screens so windows shine even more, but I would want to know if I was buying a house the screens are intact. Hawaii mosquitoes are the size of Labrador Retrievers…

8. Consider adding more insulation.

Even if your home is properly insulated, it’s not a bad idea to take a peak in the attic and other visible locations to make sure cellulose or fiberglass insulation isn’t smashed down or blown away in any places-this significantly reduces its efficiency. Good insulation will help your AC system run more efficiently and save on the electricity bills.

 

9. Paint unfinished exterior surfaces.

A fresh coat of paint will help your home sell. But don’t use it to hide termite or structural damage; you need to disclose this. Or the Lawyers will come back and bite you…

10. Waterproof decking surfaces.

Exterior wooden decks especially should be treated with a water sealant or seal & stain product at least every couple of years or so. Check into how to properly maintain non-wooden surfaces as well, they can sometimes require treatment too.

11. Lawn care and landscaping tune up.

Remember, a lawn that’s well maintained will help your home sell. Plant new landscaping features and trim back the gnarly ones.

12.  Pool cues.

If you have a pool or fountain make sure the lining is not cracked, tiles are not missing and the water is sparkling clean. Nothing says, “Don’t Buy Me” faster than a dirty pool.

13. Repair and seal cracked or loose concrete.

A common problem on driveways, garage floors, and on patios;  chipped or cracked concrete should be repaired and sealed before putting your home on the market.Potential buyers are going to notice a driveway that is in disrepair and assume the rest of your home is as well. Remember those first 90 seconds and a good first impression?

I could probably think of a few more but like I said, it’s 90 degrees in the shade today and I am going to go wallow in my pool with just my eyes above water to cool down.

 

hippopotamus

Does this suit make my butt look big?

Aloha,

Biz

 

Just Walk Away, Renee!

Why I won’t list your House.


On average, buyers make a decision about your home within the first 90 seconds – that first impression is critical to selling your home.  How’s your home’s first impression? 

You won’t clean up the yard. The inside is cluttered, smells like wet dog and stale greasy food. You will only allow the home to be shown on Sundays from 2PM-5PM. You won’t let me put my Sentrilock Lockbox on the door so we can keep track of who is showing the property.

Oh, and that wet dog smell? You insist on leaving the dogs in the house when it is being shown.

Needs TLC

Agents Advertising: "Needs TLC!"

Oh, you don’t want pictures of the house on the Internet or in the Multiple Listing Service? (MLS) 

According to NAR (National Association of Realtors), 90% of potential homebuyers start their search on the Internet before ever even contacting a Realtor. No photos? No problem, no buyers!

Buyers view a clean and organized home as well maintained making it more desirable, and homes in  good condition are more likely to get close to their asking price.

Oh, and about that price you want me to put your home on the market for? Nowhere near the reality of what similar homes have sold for.

 

So Mr. and Mrs. Seller, I’m just going to walk away from this one…

Aloha,

Biz