Great New Kona Listing: 73-1098 Mahilani Drive

***Blog post update***

Price has been reduced 12/17/12 to 349,900!

I just listed this incredibly cute 3bed/2bathroom home in the family friendly, Kona Highlands subdivision!

This home has new paint, ocean views, and a fantastic downstairs area perfect for in laws or extended family.

There is a wonderful screened in dining/breakfast nook area where you can enjoy your Kona Coffee, or enjoy the sunset after a hard day of work! The home offers a back yard area that awaits your landscaping prowess and a private lanai off of the master bedroom!

Seller had the exterior of the home was freshly painted in 2011, along with installing a new GE Hybrid Water heater that has dramatically cut down on electric bills. Seller has noted a 40% reduction from last years bills!

Downstairs living area has been recently tiled with gorgeous 18″ tiles. Downstairs also has  a separate entrance, bedroom, walk in shower and a large office/storage area!

NOT a short sale or foreclosure property, you have to see this house!

Get in touch with me ASAP to schedule an appointment!

73-1098 Mahilani Drive, MLS 259388, Offered at $349,900

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Purchasing Now: Your Property As A Kona Vacation Rental

One of the great options home buyers in the Kona real estate market embrace is the popularity and ability to rent their properties as vacation rentals. People come from all over the world to enjoy our wonderful climate, pristine beaches and relaxed island lifestyle.

Some wonderful clients, who I sold the below home to, have done just that! This is their retirement dream home, that they absolutely LOVE. Since they aren’t planning to retire for another 10-15 years, they are offering the home as a vacation rental. What an awesome opportunity for families vacationing on the Big Island!

http://www.vrbo.com/398178

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The property is meticulously landscaped, with lush garden areas, producing fruit trees and plenty of yard room for outdoor games and activities. Of the many highlights of the home, the pool is an absolute favorite!  The privacy afforded in the pool and sunning area is something one can only dream of.

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The main house is a 4bedroom/2 bath home completely outfitted for your convenience, with a delightful chef’s kitchen, breezy screened in lanai area, and a pool table for entertaining.

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Below the main home is the completely self contained “ohana” unit, that is furnished with a king size bed, mini-refrigerator and offers a great escape for visitors seeking a little more quiet and privacy away from the main group!

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This property is quiet, extremely private and offers all the amenities of a high end resort, at a fraction of the price!

Click the Vacation Rental By Owner link below for more property information and to view rental availability!

http://www.vrbo.com/398178

SOLD! Pualani Estates Short Sale

Blog Update 12/10/12 – We closed on this transaction 12/5/12! See my blog post update to read more!

Pualani Estates’ resale market continues to be red-hot! As of July 25, 2012, there are 8 resale homes currently listed for sale. Of those 8 only 1 is currently available, the rest are in escrow!

Pualani Estates is a very popular single family home development by builder DR Horton in Kailua-Kona. Owners appreciate the central location, being in the Holualoa elementary school district, and the wonderful Pualani Estates community park!

Offering multiple floor plan and upgrade package options (central air, landscaping, appliance, security, flooring, etc) along with competitive price points, currently $300K-$430K, people LOVE Pualani Estates!

The developer is currently in the final, third phase of home building. The majority of resale homes we see coming to market are in the first two phases of development, and are typically short sale or bank owned properties. 

For example, I listed this short sale property in early July and within 21 days we had received multiple offers and put the home in escrow.

 75-6133 Haku Mele Street, MLS 255608, Offered at $352,000

This is the very well-kept 4bed/3bath,  Melia model home, that has a wonderful wrap lanai area with ocean views, central air, mature landscaping in place, and has additional storage area off the garage.

Currently we are in escrow, awaiting lien holder’s short sale approval.

Back up offers are being accepted, please contact me if you would like to arrange a viewing!

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Holualoa Short Sale – SOLD!

I love selling Holualoa real estate! I was raised in the beautiful town and live in the area currently. Over time, my property familiarity and the professional relationships I’ve developed have benefited many buyers and sellers.

I am happy to report  that  77-6128 B1 Mamalahoa Highway, closed recently!

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This short sale brought it all. The highs of multiple lien holder approval, and the lows that the bureaucratic short sale process can bring at times.

Along the journey, I put the property into escrow multiple times, and for one patient buyer, the dream came true. They secured a GREAT deal on a property, because of their patience and short sale preparedness.

The short sale process is changing dramatically right now as lenders are working to streamline their approval process.  As the listing agent of this property, I wanted to share topics of interest that were beneficial to the completion of our short sale . 

Proper Market Positioning

Different lenders are now establishing the list price of properties. One of Bank of America’s newer programs is their Preapproved Short Sale pricing. You and/or your listing agent contact Bank of America directly, and work with them to set the list price of the property. This is tremendously beneficial as it takes the guess-work out of what sales price the bank will accept. Check with your lender to see if this is something they offer. Be sure to emphasize that you want to hit the market competitive,  not overpriced!

Seller Financials

Be aware that the seller’s lender will require bank statements, retirement account information, tax returns, pay stubs along with any other financial documents that they see fit to examine. This is part of the process.

The sooner you can get these together for your agent to submit to your lender, the quicker your short sale will proceed.

Be prepared to update these documents as time goes by.

Buyer Preparation

As a purchaser, make sure you have a pre-approval letter from your lender certifying your purchasing ability. If  purchasing with cash, be prepared to submit “proof of funds”.  This can be a recent bank statement or letter from your financial institution certifying the funds are present and liquid. The listing agent will need either of these to submit the offer you present to the seller’s lender.

Realize that even as lenders work to expedite approvals, this transaction will take time. If you are in a rush to purchase, a short sale property may not be in your best interest.

Don’t forget, short sale properties do close. The better prepared all parties are, the more chance of a smooth and expeditious escrow!

Interest Rates Drop Again, Is It Time To Refinance?

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Interest rates are at unbelievable lows right now and many property owners are taking of advantage by refinancing their current mortgages.

Have you thought about refinancing? Will it help your financial position at this time?

Lenders charge a fee for you to refinance your loan. These fees are known as “points”.  Points are upfront interest paid to the lender, calculated on the amount of money you borrow.

1 point = 1% of your borrowed money.

If you had a loan of $450,000 and you were going to be charged 1 point to refinance, that would equate to $4,500.

1% of $450,000 = $4,500

If you had a $450,000 mortgage, at a current rate of 6%, your monthly payment would be $2698.  If your lender was going to charge you 1.5 points to refinance to the current market rate of 3.5%, it would cost you $6,750.  Once completed, your new monthly payment would drop from $2698 to $2021, a decrease of $677! Wow!

Your monthly savings would be so great, that you by your 10th payment at your lower interest rate, you will have recouped the $6750 it originally cost you to get the lower interest rate, a wise move on your part!

While the refinance did wonders for you, that isn’t always the case. Take the scenario with your neighbor.

Your neighbor can’t believe how much you are saving and wants to refinance as well.

Currently they are paying 4% on their $450,000 mortgage, their monthly payment is $2,148.

Their lender is going to charge them a fee of 1.5 points or $4,500 to refinance to the market rate of 3.5%. After paying the $4,500, their monthly payment has decreased from $2,148 to $2,021, a monthly savings of $127. Realize here that they have just come out of pocket $4500 to save $127 a month. This isn’t anywhere close to the dramatic change you saw in your payment.

By the 36th payment (36 x $127 =$4,572) the monthly saving of $127 will equal the $4500 originally paid to secure the lower interest rate. In essence, it took them 3 years before realizing any savings from their new, lower rate. Possibly not the best use of their money.

A refinance includes an appraisal of the property, and a thorough examination of the borrower’s credit scores and financial strength. Think of it as going through the loan process all over again. As property values have decreased, appraisal value has been problematic at times, although new government regulations have tried to ease this.

Your lender will be able to advise you accordingly, just be sure you crunch the numbers and examine the many aspects a refinance presents.

Best of luck!

Kona Luxury Property Best Buy: Bayview Estates $899K!

Bayview Estates is home to one of Kona’s best priced properties right now!

This private, gated, highly sought after subdivision , which typically see properties listing and selling in the $1,000,000 + price point has a wonderful property offered right now at  $899,000! SOLD FURNISHED! Unbelievable!

Built in 2001, the 3bed/4bath, 2,426sqft home offers fantastic views of the Kona coastline, Tigerwood floors, granite counter tops, custom cabinetry and central air conditioning.

The second and third bedrooms suites are located off of the main home, each with separate entrances allowing for additional privacy and convenience.

There is an expansive lanai, very large yard and pool entertaining area!

This is an amazing opportunity for someone who is looking for great value in our West Hawaii market!

Enjoy the pictures below, and please contact me if I can arrange a private viewing for you.

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Have a question about this property?

Pualani Estates Short Sale- SOLD!

75-6129 Hoomama Street Kailua Kona HI 96740, Pualani Estates, Kona Short Sale expert, Kona Real Estate Blog, Kona Property Blog, Big Island Real Estate, Buyer's Agent,  We just closed on this short sale property today in Pualani Estates!

I was the listing agent of this property, and am very happy to say it was a relatively smooth short sale transaction. Once the file got moving, we zipped right along!

Pualani Estates is an extremely popular subdivision here in Kona. With the developer now in the third phase of their building, we see homes that sold in the first two phases (272 homes) hitting the resale market and going into escrow very quickly.

The homes are typically priced very well, with short sale and bank owned properties being the majority of the resale inventory. 

Currently in Pualani Estates, list prices range from $295K-$425K. These are GREAT prices for newer construction homes (2004-present), with a variety of wonderful floor plan options, located just minutes from Kona town!

Whether it is selling your current home, or looking to purchase one of Kona’s great values, I can help you!

Buying Now: How Interest Rate Increases Affect YOU

“Interest rates are at historic lows right now!”  I’m sure you’ve heard it, but how do interest rates affect you and your purchase?

Interest rates affect your monthly payment, and the amount you will have paid by the time your loan is paid off.

Minute increases in interest rates directly affect the amount a buyer ends up paying in the short and long-term.

Let’s run some numbers to better illustrate.

We have found your dream property, at your price point of $500,000.

The interest rate on your $500,000 dream home is 3.875%. For a 30 year, conventional mortgage you can expect your monthly principal and interest (P&I) payment to be  $2351  By the time the loan has been paid off, you will have paid $1,595,967.

But, you just aren’t certain. Prices have been going down, and you want to wait a week or two, see if the sellers reduce their price. What does waiting a week or two hurt, right? 

Unfortunately, when you next look at this purchase, interest rates have gone up. Now, the best rate you can get is 4.25%, and increase of .375%.

Your same property, now at 4.25%, is costing you  $2460 per month. Principal and interest payment has increased by $109.

Along with that the total amount paid on the loan which previously was $1,595,967 has now increased to $1,785,325, a difference of $189,357 over the life of the loan. Wow. 

The chart below illustrates how changes in rates will continue to affect you, at different percentages. 

Value     Int Rate         Term             P&I Payment        Total Paid                Difference

500K        3.875%         30 year           $2351.19             $1,595,967            From 3.875%

500K        4.00%           30 year           $2387.08             $1,656,749           $72.62/60,781

500K        4.25%           30 year           $2459.70             $1,785,325           $108.51/189,357

500K        4.50%           30 year           $2533.43             $1,923,849           $182.24/327,882

The question you should be asking yourself is, do you forecast the market dropping far enough to cancel out an increase in interest rates? Or are you ok paying an additional $70-$180, or more a month, to continue waiting on your purchase?

Interest rates are at historic lows right now make sure you take advantage of them!

Buyer Short Sale Tips: Preparing Yourself For Purchase

Short sales are a part of West Hawaii’s real estate inventory, and appear to be for the near future. There are a few ways you can prepare yourself before making an offer on a short sale that will improve your chances of securing that property.

Be financially prepared

Make sure you have spoken with your lender, know exactly what loan you are qualified for along with what documents and financial information you are going to need to qualify for that loan.

Your lender will be able to discuss what you can expect payments to be, the amount of down payment (if necessary) and exactly what price point your finances support.

You can request a pre-approval letter be issued to you, or you can wait until you have found the specific short sale property you intend to make an offer on. The seller’s lender will require a pre-approval letter to accompany your offer before they review it.

You want to be able to make a strong offer that you know can work for you financially. Valuable time is lost when people decide they like a short sale property, wait a few days to talk to their lender, see if they can get a loan, etc, etc. Meanwhile, that well priced short sale property you were interested in, is now under contract with another buyer, and also has an accepted back up offer.  I cannot stress enough how important this is. 

A large amount of cash on hand or earnest money down is not a necessity. When making an offer, a deposit of some kind is usually made as an act of  “good faith” by the buyer. This amount is individual to each transaction. There is no set norm, or minimum/maximum. Keep in mind, the larger the earnest money deposit, the more serious and vested the buyer seems,  however, you have no guarantee the short sale will be approved by the seller’s lender. You don’t want to unnecessarily over extend yourself. 

The more prepared you can be with your financing, the better.  

Don’t Make A Lowball Offer On the Property

The lender will have a good idea from multiple sources, as to what the relative value of the property is.  

The seller’s lender who will be approving the sale of the property will already have completed or will soon order a broker’s price opinion (BPO) on the property. This is a current market analysis provided by a licensed Realtor that gives the lender an opinion of value.

Along with that broker’s price opinion in some cases there may have already been an appraisal completed on the property by the lender.

In these buyer competitive times, you want to put your best offer forward, first. Making an outrageous offer, vastly different from what market conditions reflect is not to your benefit. 

The seller won’t accept your offer, another buyer will get the property, and you’ll continue looking. Be realistic. Make sure you have recent sale information for the neighborhood along with similar sale comparables to give you an idea of where a good offer point is. Your Realtor will be able to supply you with all of these facts.

On the chance that the seller does accept the below market value offer you have made, that contract will have to be approved by their lender.  After spending your valuable time waiting weeks or months for a short sale response, your original offer will almost certainly be countered at a higher price.  

 Patience is key

Short sales take time.

Once the purchase contract, seller financials and other necessary documents  are provided to the seller’s lender, the file is reviewed by the negotiator, loss mitigation department and investor(s) for approval.  These are all different steps in the process and accordingly, they take time.

If something is incorrect in the seller’s documents, or a document needs to be amended, re-signed or clarified the negotiator can put a delay on the file. This stops everything until the problem is addressed. Resending, refaxing, and resigning documents multiple times are things that do occur.  Banks have been overwhelmed with short sales, and they have struggled with to keep up with the volume.

On a positive note we are seeing much quicker short sale approval times. The key in all of this however, is the seller and their financial situation.

As a short sale buyer it is very important to know that the seller has their short sale packet ready to submit to their lender. You don’t want to be waiting for weeks as documents slowly trickle into the listing agent before everything heads off to the lender for sale approval. Before you write an offer have your Realtor inquire with the listing agent as to the seller’s short sale preparedness.  What you want to hear is  “seller has all their documents ready, we are just waiting for an offer to submit to the bank”.

As you wait for approval make sure your Realtor checks in periodically with the listing agent for updates as to where your are in the approval process.

While you can find value in short sale properties, make sure you don’t limit yourself in your property searches. There are traditional sellers on the market right now who realize they are in competition with short sale offerings and have priced themselves accordingly. Don’t get caught in the “I’m only getting a deal if I buy a short sale” mindset!

There is great opportunity in West Hawaii’s real estate market, let me help you find it!

Kona Real Estate Statistics: Escrows Reflect Continued Recovery!

Mike Griggs, a fellow Realtor Broker here in Kona puts out a market report updated every two weeks, and it is packed full of valuable information!

The Griggs Report – February 29, 2012 came out late Friday afternoon and I wanted to share this great publication with my blog readers.

As the report indicates, pending sales are up! Current North Kona properties in escrow number at 114, up 17 from a month ago! A huge indicator in this statistic is that this level of escrow activity was last seen in the recovery cycle of 2001.  I like it! To better put that in perspective, at our current cycles low point in 2008, North Kona had 26 homes in escrow. Yikes!  Any idea which way we are heading?

We have a classic example of supply and demand shaping up in West Hawaii. As Kona’s residential inventory decreases with demand staying strong, you can certainly expect increased pricing on the horizon.  To make purchasing even more enticing, interest rates are still at historically low levels.

If you are not out shopping for homes, you should be!  There is fantastic opportunity right now in West Hawaii, send me a note and I can get you a list of my best buy properties!