Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's In Your Real Estate Agenda?

First of all, let me give you an idea of the number of Realtors® that are licensed in the state of Hawaii, and more specifically on our island of Oahu. Then I'll be able to give you my opinion of what my agenda is like as a Realtor -Associate in Honolulu County that just may be helpful in your Honolulu Hawaii Relocation.

There are approximately 15,400 real estate licensees in Hawaii and the breakdown for just my island (Oahu: Honolulu County) are following the whole State of Hawaii stats:

  • 9,600 active real estate licensees (statewide)

  • 5,800 are inactive

  • 3,150 brokers

  • 9,800 salespersons

  • 1,200 corporations, partnerships, LLC's, and LLP's

  • 1,150 sole proprietors

  • 100 branch offices.

On our island of Oahu in Honolulu County there are about 12,000 licensees and of those licensees about 9,000 are now active and approximately 3 thousand that are not. That's 9,000 Oahu Real Estate Licensees to help you in your search for real property. So, what sets one Realtor® apart from others?

All I can tell you is what is on my agenda:

  • If you are Relocating to Hawaii you need a local island Realtor ® to represent your best interests in your next purchase of real property.

  • Licensed in the State of Hawaii and a MEMBER of the National Association of Realtors®, Honolulu Board of Realtors, and the Hawaii Association of Realtors.

  • Access to the Multiple Listing Service (and a given if a member of the above)

  • An agent you definitely feel comfortable with! Sometimes personalities don't quite fit and that's understandable.

  • Someone who will pay great attention to detail and walk you through every step of the transaction and answer all questions.

  • Won't leave you in the dark and expect you to understand their Real Estate lingo. They'll explain!

  • Experience in the Real Estate Industry and can either answer your questions or direct you to a professional who can.

  • Follows all Code of Ethics, Hawaii Real Estate laws and goes above and beyond the call of duty.

  • Knows the local areas and neighborhoods!

It's not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different "world" of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

More Info:

Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI *
(808) 375-1404

Oahu and Surrounding Neighborhood Search: Relocations Hawaii

If you are planning a Relocation to Hawaii the first step for you is most likely searching the internet for listings, a good Realtor® to advise you on your first step to getting started, and a local lender to help you with your financing needs and who knows our local real estate laws and contract. This local island Oahu Realtor-Associate® will first suggest that you contact a local lender to get pre qualified so we will have a price range to start out with our search. If you are unfamiliar with the process then I will refer you to a few I have worked with over the past few years.

This local island Realtor-Associate® will set you up with an automatic email notification of listings according to the criteria you are interested in. Our Multiple Listing Service system gives the prospective client a personal webpage and it will notify you automatically with listings and an email that says "ON behalf of Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman: Client Gateway" and will look somewhat like the page below.

In the first initial setup of the site I'll need the additional following information for your criteria:
Condo/townhouse/single family?

  • # bedrooms, # baths, # parking?
  • Sq/ft interior; sq/ft land interested in?
  • Land tenure; neighborhood, city interested in?
  • Price Range? (make sure your local lender has qualified you according to the monthly payments you are comfortable with!)

With this webpage you will be able to save listings to your favorites, your possibilities, make notes and ask questions so I'll see them and give you a prompt response. You may also save properties in the reject folder for the ones that are not appealing to you at all. This structure will give me a better idea of what you are interested in and we will be able to fine tune your criteria as we go along.

Here we go!

It's not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different "world" of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI *
(808) 375-1404

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Cost of Living Factor in Considering A Hawaii Relocation

If you are considering relocating to Oahu, Hawaii or you are Relocating to Hawaii with the Military then you need to consider quite a few things. With the military your BAH covers housing expenses and your commissary priveleges allow you to buy food with only a smaller percentage higher than the mainland.

What about civilians who are relocating to our Hawaiian islands? Consider this: The main reason that everything costs a little more here than on the mainland is that just about everything is transported to Hawaii....from food to lumber for building to just about everything needed to sustain the majority of necessities as well as luxury items. Shipping costs, fuel and oil costs all have risen drastically therefore pushing up our prices even further.

90% if our food is imported so automatically presume that our cost of food is at least 30-50% higher than the mainland. We drink a lot of milk and it's not too bad at 2 gallons for $7.50. My favorite places to shop for food are Costco and Sam's Club.

Rental Housing Market: Central Oahu: 2 bd/ 1 ba / 2 parking can run anywhere from $1200 to $2000 per month. A condo in Downtown Honolulu can run from $1500 to $3000 for a two bedroom. A significant increase in the last four years due to the increase in real property for sale.
Real Estate Market: Again, depending on the neighborhood the single family median sales price for a 3 bdrm/2 ba home is around $625,000. A 2/2/2 townhouse are still selling for $300,000 to $325,000. Condos 2/1/2 run between $225,000 to $255,000.
Utilities: My electric bill is about $125.00 to $140.00 per month for my small one bedroom. Of course I have the A/C on energy saver for the dog during the day when my house is locked up. Otherwise, others in my neighborhood (who don't use their A/C) probably utilize about $50 to $75.00 worth of electricity. I have a gas water heater so that runs about $30.00 per month.
Gasoline: Currently at $3.35 per gallon at Costco.

Ahhhh. But where else can you live in a paradise with tropical island weather year round and our breathtaking scenery of the ocean, the mountains, the valleys, the flora and fauna. These are the reasons for my remaining in this land I call home....and the reasons that many flock here for their relocation.

Weigh out all your options in your Hawaii Relocation because no matter what, Hawaii is like no other place in the world. We thrive and strive from our strength of diversity and our wide range of international and ethnic cultures and food.

* Keep in mind that the outer islands such as Maui, Kauai, Hawaii (the Big Island), Lanai and Molokai are even higher in costs because again....the shipping and transporting costs.

It's not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different "world" of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

The Art of Hawaii Relocations
*Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii*

Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!
Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI * (808) 375-1404

Monday, November 26, 2007

Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii

Military personnel who have relocated across the Pacific Ocean to Oahu, Hawaii are always astounded at the differences in homes once they arrive here. Okay, let's say stunned instead. I have had many military clients who were so shocked at the size of homes that they had no alternative but to store the majority of their household goods once they arrived because they brought it all. They also had a cultural shock as well with all our diverse cultural and ethnic groups. And the difference in weather conditions? Tropical paradise to say the least.
If it's one thing we all will agree on is that Hawaii, the island Paradise, is full of beautiful tropical island scenery that will captivate you to no end.

As a Hawaii Realtor Associate® and Relocations Specialist I guaranty that the following information will help you in your relocation across the Pacific Ocean to the Hawaiian Islands!

ENVIRONMENT: Expect a totally different environment! You will need an open mind for a brand new experience with Hawaii's diverse community full of ethnic groups and cultures from all over the world! Do not expect everything to be the same as the Continental United States because you will be disappointed! Wherever you look you will have Japanese, Chinese, Filipino. Portugese, Hawaiian, Tongan, Samoan, Caucasian, Korean, African American, Vietnamese, Spanish, Guamanian and Polynesian races with different beliefs and styles of living. And the food? We have all the fast food places but why keep eating burgers when we have such a variety to choose from?
JOBS: Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The vast number of military stationed in Hawaii make up the majority of the federal government employees although spouses surely have an advantage if they have been previously employed on a military installation and transferring to a new duty station. We also have many jobs in the tourist industry including but not limited to hotels, restaurants, historic and scenic sites and so forth.
HOUSE HUNTING: Make arrangements with this Realtor® to give you information, send you a relocations packet and start you out with your online search for your home purchase. Remember, Hawaii is not the same as the last time you were stationed here in back in 1975 and the change will shock you. We have many freeways, traffic, high rises and such. We may be more laid back but change is always inevitable with just so much buildable land.
MORTGAGE LENDER: Make sure to use a local lender as Hawaii lenders know the Hawaii real estate laws. There is no recourse (RED FLAG!) if something goes wrong with a mainland lender, negotiating the best price and time lines are a very important factor in a real estate transaction. Even if your cousin or uncle is a Loan Officer it is a given that they will not know about Hawaii mortgage funds. I guaranty that I can tell you some stories about the deals that fell through due to using lenders not familiar with our Real Estate Laws, Contracts and Contingencies. Also, make sure and hand carry your important financial papers as you will need them!
VA GUARANTEED LOAN: The most important thing to consider before utilizing your benefits is what you want to allot yourself for a monthly mortgage payment. The current VA Loan Amount is $625,500 (this is INCLUDING the funding fee) and soon to go up to $700,000. MEDIAN HOME PRICES: During our home search online you may see a home that may interest you. I'll be sure to give you the median home price for that neighborhood. If it's way below the median price...well, it just may be too good to be true! If this is your first time to Hawaii we will cruise the different neighborhoods so you can get a feel for the community. We will also need to choose between condos, town houses and single family homes according to your price range. (which is determined by your conversation with your local lender who prequalifies you)
HOUSEHOLD GOODS: Our homes are smaller so be prepared to bring half of the household goods you currently have in your 3,000 sq. ft. interior home on the mainland. A 1,200 to 1800 sq. ft. for a single family 3 bedroom around the $500,000 to $600,000 range in Central Oahu is about the median sq/ft for the price. Be flexible and open minded!

Our office is located in Mililani Town in Central Oahu and 10 minutes from Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Air Field. We are also located about 20-25 minutes from Hickam AFB & Pearl Harbor Navy Base although I service all of the island of Oahu.

It's not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different "world" of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Art of Hawaii Relocations

Relocating to Hawaii? With our warm climate and breathtaking scenery it's no wonder why everyone (including locals) call it "Paradise"! Hawaii is the choice of many people who prefer a tropical setting to live out their retirement years. It also becomes everyones favorite Hawaii Relocations spot when transferring to the military bases in Hawaii including the Schofield Army Base, Wheeler Army Air Field, Pearl Harbor Navy Base, Hickam AFB, or Kaneohe Marine Corp Air Station.

Education, Information and a Good Realtor® is The Art of Hawaii Relocations.

Do your homework if you are contemplating a Hawaii Relocation. Check out employment options, schools, plan a trip (if you are not familiar with our islands) and do your budget! We are (by far) different than elsewhere in the world and our homes are one of the highest priced in the nation. Why?

Inventory/Demand: Very little buildable land is available on these small islands and with their steep mountains and canyons the prime land has already been developed. Much is owned by the Federal Government, the State of Hawaii, and private landowners and no place to build out into the outlying areas. This will be true whether you rent or purchase a home.

Neighborhood: Get to know your neighborhoods. Take into consideration the price ranges and how they are determined. Convenience to business districts, schools, quality of homes, character and street/curb appeal. Your island Realtor® will know the neighborhoods and give you alternatives to your criteria for neighborhoods.

Expensive areas (luxury estates): Diamond Head, Kahala, and East Honolulu towards Hawaii Kai. (Truly level land is in short supply so many homes are located on the steep hillsides)
Affordable areas: The Leeward area (Waipahu, Ewa, Waianae) are the more affordable neighborhoods on flat land and some newly developed areas and homes offer some of the best values. If you work downtown traffic may be an issue for you though.
Mid Range Areas: Central Oahu (including, Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele, Wahiawa) and the Windward area offer a variety of "suburban" communities and homes.

Value and Price: Most of the value is in our land, Expect SMALLER and compare to other Hawaii homes...not other areas. Additional features and upgrades are not always what you may expect for a higher priced home. Be realistic and ask your Realtor® to make appointments in your price range. It's like going shopping for food without eating first. Wants vs. Needs!
Home Styles: As stated above Hawaii has JUST SO MUCH buildable land, therefore the percentage of condo/townhouse ownership is one of the highest in the nation so don't disregard the possibilities of owning a condo or townhouse. As far as heating and cooling go we don't have central heat (we have year round climate) and air conditioning is not mandatory with our trade winds cooling our air. Most homes here include most appliances so you may want to save on shipping costs of your appliances. Same goes for your auto; unless it's a collectible or you have an employer paid move.
Living Area: Most of our homes have less than 1500 sq. ft . roofed living area and very few have more than 2400 sq. ft. even in the higher priced ranges. Take into consideration the amount of furniture you have that may not coincide with the size of our island style homes.
Market on Oahu: Of course you will want a Realtor® to guide you through your home purchase and let you know what the current market is like. Your Realtor® will also be able to give you knowledge (pick an island wide knowledgeable agent) to help you find that right home.
As of October 2007 the inventory is higher than usual although the prices are holding in many of the neighborhoods. Just know that interest rates are still low and prices are not dropping drastically. Also, the rental market is very high so you might as well get those tax breaks on owning your own home.
Rentals on Oahu for a 3bdrm house will range anywhere from $2,000 to $3500 plus per month so regardless if you are renting or buying the town areas will be priced higher and the more distant (Central and Leeward area) will be lower. Just be aware that if you are working in Honolulu and live further away you will have to consider the rush hour traffic.

Oahu Single Family Homes Prices overall went down 2.3% for the third quarter of this year ending with a median sales price average of $649,000. Condos/townhouses went up 0.6% topping off at a median sales price average of $330,000 on our island of Oahu.

Be Part of the Solution For Your Market; Because "Shift" Always Happens is another article discussing the market shift and what the market looks like this year. If you are planning on moving to paradise please contact me for a Hawaii Relocations packet so you can get started!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

"Kuleana: Knowing Your Responsibility"

There's a fine line between common sense and KNOWING what I am responsible for.

Kuleana (Koo-lay-ah-nah). basically means "Knowing Your Responsiblity" and used in the context of Leadership.

We all have a responsibility for the preservation and conservation of our land and water. So we abide by the laws set forth by our state.

Previously, I had written Purchasing Hawaii Vacant Land? Ancient Hawaiian Burial Sites and Laws and discussed our laws regarding ancient burial sites and our responsibility to do due diligence if you are considering purchasing vacant land. These laws not only apply to vacant land but property already in use that you may be building a new project on and the discovery of an ancient burial site or human bones.

The State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Divison held a Oahu Island Burial Council Meeting on October 10, 2007.

Some of the topics discussed at this particular meeting were:

  • The Honolulu Rapid Transit System: Information and surveys for our Rapid Transit System
  • Walmart (Status Update) Contested Case: Status and update on the case and discussion of the reinternment of the iwi (human bones) found at the site when construction started a couple of years ago.
  • Hau'ula Property, Recognition of Lineal/Cultural Descent: SHPD's (State Historic Preservation Division) recommendation for recognition of the cultural/lineal descendants of five burials on the site. They are determining a burial treatment plan on whether to preserve the location on the site or relocate them.
  • Other new inadvertant discoveries

There are other zoning laws to consider as well. There is just so much buildable land on any of our islands and much is zoned Restricted Preservation, Restricted Conservation, Agricultural, Beachfront, Coastal and Country land and the following reading are all related to our land. Our paradise.

As a Real Estate Professional on the island of Oahu in Hawaii it is my responsibility to gain knowledge on all that may be pertinent to the sale of real property. If you are planning on relocating to Hawaii it's your responsibility to learn too.

It's my 'Kuleana' .... Knowing my Responsiblity as a Leader in my Industry.

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's Mililani Hawaii Real Estate Blog 2007©
*All pictures and content property of Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Koolau Mountain Range-A Dormant Volcano on Oahu, Hawaii

Breathtaking! The Ko'olau Mountain Range is not a "normal" mountain range. The western half that is seen is what is left of the Ko'olau Volcano that was destroyed in Prehistoric times. What happened was the eastern half and much of the summit caldera (feature formed during volcanic activity) slid into the Pacific Ocean.

These fragments were cast 100 miles over the northeast part of the ocean floor. History says the eruption first took place on the ocean floor 2.5 million years ago. It kept growing in elevation (which you see here to the left) and currently stands over 3,000 feet above sea level. Scientists believe that this dormant volcano will one day come to life again.

The map above shows the monstrosity of the Ko'olau Mountains (to the right and all in green) which is the length of our island of Oahu from southern (Honolulu) to northern (North Shore) ends. If you are planning on Relocating to Hawaii this article will give you a little more lore and information regarding our island of Oahu.

We traveled over the H-3 Freeway to get to the windward side of the island (which is basically from central Oahu west of the Koolau's to the east side of Oahu) where Kaneohe and Kailua towns are located. From there we went all along the coast to the North Shore and back to Central Oahu.

After going through Kaneohe town we headed north through and went through the following towns:
Waimanalo- Country area, plenty of agricultural land and I love to go out there to the orchid farms where you can pick up variety at low cost.
Kaawa- Macadamia Nut Farm, Koolau Ranch
Punaluu- Beautiful beaches, waterfront properties and the Crouching Lion restaurant
Hauula- Country, coastal properties
Laie- Polynesian Cultural Center, BYU University, Laie Point fishing
Kahuku- Sugar Mill, Shrimp Farms, Farmland
Sunset Beach- North Shore Famous Surfing Spot, beaches, coastal and mountain properties.
Waimea Bay- Beautiful bay, swimming, Autubon society in Waimea Valley
Haleiwa- Old historic town, quaint shops and beaches
We traveled only 3/4 of the way along the Koolau Mountain Range to the left of us and the ocean to the right. No matter how many times we make this beautiful drive every single time it proves to have such scenic views to behold each and every time. (click the button for the show has a kink sometimes :)

More articles on Oahu for Hawaii Relocations (or even visitors!) can be found here:

*All pictures and content property of Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Be Part of the Solution For Your Market; Because "Shift" Always Happens

Whichever state you are residing and conducting business in it can be guaranteed that your market of last year or the year before is in the past. What is past is past. What is present is a gift. And the future is yet to come. The market shifts, changes, goes up, goes down or stabilizes. Whatever the cause of the market in your neighborhood changing it is up to us to keep the market moving.

Real Estate Industry Professionals keep the market moving. What a concept! I for one shifted, changed and moved with Honolulu Hawaii's market. In Hawaii our market has definitely shifted all over the place in the last two years. Up and down, stable and now the neighborhoods have shifted yet again. In some other neighborhoods prices have gone back up and others it has gone down. Go figure.
Here's a post I wrote back in July 2007 (it was actually my attempt to write a contest entry for the Carnival of Content Contest) No Bursting Bubble For Hawaii? Home Buying and Selling Tipsters!

In any case, if anyone would like to see our statistics released by the Honolulu Board of Realtors yesterday for the third quarter it can be seen here in full and there are links for previous months, years and quarters. I do thank the ghost writer for getting me off my behind to give current statistics though!

The following statistics are for the Median SALES prices in the Honolulu County (Oahu) Hawaii throughout the last few years. Our sales prices are NOT going down. What has gone down are the number of sales. For single family homes in 2006 the number of sales at this time were 1,089 and this year it's 975. For condos the number sold was 1,559 at this time last year and as of yesterday 1,366.

What really makes the difference is the neighborhoods. In Central Oahu (Mililani, Wahiawa, Whitmore, Wilikina) our prices went up for single family homes and down for condos. The previous quarter both single family and condo prices went up. Go figure. In July of this year (when I wrote that post) prices went up for all categories and neighborhoods except for Ewa and Waipahu (for single family) and Makakilo and Pearl City for Condos. Again. Go figure.

Single Family: Median Sales Price
2003- $380,000
2004- $460,000
2005- $590,000
2006- $630,000
2007- $649,000

Condos: Median Sales Price
2003- $175,000
2004- $180,000
2005- $269,000
2006- $310,000
2007- $330,000

And this IS the current information from our Honolulu Board of Realtors (tracking all solds from our MLS) and brought to you via WooHoo Sally's Blog!

For those of you who believe that we make a difference for our Real Estate Industry then keep on striving to be the best you can be; ALWAYS support each other and work as a team and ALWAYS think in the best interests of your clients.

And if you need current and up to date information on statistics, a Hawaii Relocations packet or you just have questions please don't hesitate to contact Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ® , Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI @ (808) 375-1404.

Alive and Well in Central Oahu, Hawaii! roll with the changes.CLICK>

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's Mililani Hawaii Real Estate Blog 2007©
*All pictures and content property of Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Hawaii Superferry IS a Debatable Subject

I was very reluctant to write on this very controversial subject so bear with me in writing an opinionated (for BOTH sides) post regarding the Hawaii Superferry. There are two sides to every story just as there are two sides to this one and it will be a debatable subject no matter how it is discussed because of the views and opinions by different environmental groups and Hawaii residents.

The Hawaii Superferry had launched on August 26, 2007 but the Superferry was stopped the next day by Maui Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza until he rules whether the Superferry can still operate while a environmental assessment is being done. On Kauai the service was stopped indefinitely because of safety concerns from the anti ferry protests.

Ah! The Pro's and Con's of a decision that could affect our environment, upset or kill the endangered humpback whale in Hawaii and cause more heartache than it may be worth. On the other hand it could bring in more revenue for our state, make an alternate method of transportation for not only the tourists but for residents who need to commute to other islands for business as well.

Let's first look at the Negative impact it may have on traveling from island to island:

  • Traffic concerns for the islands that the Superferry is traveling to. Additional traffic created by the Superferry around the areas in each harbor would be extensive.
  • The spread of invasive species No vehicle inspection or removal procedures were in place for plants, coqui frogs or other invasive species trying to hitch rides from island to island on the vehicles being transported by the Superferry.
  • Potential collisions with humpback whales The Superferry needs to operate at 37 knots (43 mph) and marine mammal experts say 15 knots to reduce the risk of injury to whales if they are hit.
  • Negative Impact on Emotions created with the residents of the islands because there was no environmental assessment done before the Superferry arrived. (this has been in planning for SIX years)

The Positive impact the Superferry may have for our islands:

  • After the September 11th terrorist attack it was evident that our Hawaiian islands were dependent on air flight and needed an alternative to transportation from island to island
  • Great alternative to those who do not like to fly in airplanes and would like their car to travel with them
  • For Hawaii residents who commute from island to island for business while in the comfort of their own automobiles while riding around or maybe just an overnight trip.
    Hawaii Residents who want to go fishing off other islands and take their boats with them or go camping (and take their gear with them)
  • Additional Revenue and jobs for Hawaii's residents.

And I could go on and on for both sides here but the bottom lines here are that there is a Decision Expected Today on Hawaii Superferry by the Maui Court to see if the Hawaii Superferry can operate while an Environmental Assessment is done and the Hawaii Superferry Warns It Must Sail Soon - October 5, 2007 because it is losing $650,000 per week while it sits in Honolulu Harbor.

Though I am not a "seasoned" environmentalist I do know one thing. It has divided the residents of all islands with their views and emotional outbursts against other human beings. Yes, they are fighting for what they believe is right. That's fine. But to be rude, violent and disruptive is not the Aloha Spirit. It is saddening to see that this whole subject resorted to this behavior (regardless what everyone's opinion was) as described in USA Today article Surfer's Block Hawaii Superferry. I do commend the Hawaii Superferry for stepping back and allowing the "process" to determine the fate/success of the Hawaii Superferry.

This is my only opinion on this whole scenario. The human error in letting negative angry emotions get in the way of individual opinions and views.

UPDATE: Ruling delayed until tomorrow 10am

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Condo/Townhouse Living in Hawaii....and A Water Leak

Townhouse/Condo living can be great easy living for homeowners that want a low maintenance courtyard and maintenance fees that take care of the bulk of insurance/repairs for the common elements of the structure, water, sewer, trash and parking. (at least this is in my Association and others may include electricity)

For me (in my mid years) it was good to downsize and not have the added stress of yardwork and a big house to maintain. I also love the peace and quiet in our community.

Just remember that if you have someone above or below you and you incur a bathroom (or any location i.e. kitchen, laundry etc) leak to be sure to:

  • Call the resident manager and your maintenance company immediately to inform them of the situation, especially if you have a unit above you and you don't know where it's coming from.
  • Call a LICENSED plumber IMMEDIATELY so you can eliminate the possibilities of where the leak is coming from and remedy the situation. If it is from your unit you certainly do not want the water leak going into other units because YOU will be responsible. If you are not the cause your resident manager and maintenance company will start the process of elimation by contacting all unit owners around you.
  • Do not let it go on and on because you are subjecting your home to severe damage and it becomes a health hazard when mildew and mold start occuring.
    Make sure you have condo/townhouse insurance (it's minimal cost per year and will cover damage to others units and if it's your unit it may cover water damage to carpet walls and other damaged parts of the home that do not fall under the Association insurance for the inside your unit.
  • Make sure you don't accuse your neighbors to their face until you really find out who the culprit is. (I kept accusing them to my husband. I'm so glad I was pleasant to the neighbors....whew.)

Following is my own personal experience so please take heed because it could happen to anyone!

With my assumptions I not only made a fool of myself but those assumptions also proved me WRONG! Two weeks ago I was sitting on my toilet and in front of me on the bottom of the baseboard I noticed a really tiny puddle of water. I sopped it up and it went away until a few days later I saw it again. I pulled the baseboard up and lo and behold it was wet and I ran into my room and felt the carpet next to the wall that backs the bathroom and lo and behold it was wet too! I immediately assumed it was the unit above us because I heard the toddler in the bathroom and getting out and running around.

In any event the following is what transpired:

  • Called the Association and the Resident Manager who in turn contacted the owner (there is a tenant above us). The owner showed up an hour later and told us that the tenants had a stopped drain and had rootered in the overflow pipe. Geez. That's what it is!
  • The owner came that evening and assured us he fixed the overflow and we should not be receiving any more trouble.
  • We decided to call the plumber when we discovered the puddle in the closet getting bigger because we could not figure out why or where it was coming from.
  • Plumber came and cut two holes in our closet (picture to right is in between the two walls from my closet to the bathroom) and exposed the bathtub area. GIANT puddle, some mildew and starting of mold in a couple of spots. Great. He said the leak was coming from upstairs and we even asked the tenant if the plumber could look. The overflow was NOT changed and couldn't have been changed because they would have had to cut through our ceiling to do it. The tenant told the plumber the landlord (owner) caulked it and that was it.
  • Leaking continues although we start monitoring during the night and next morning only to find out it was US! No one home upstairs and my husband jumped in the shower with me in the closet shining the mag light into the holes. Yup. It was us.
  • Called the plumber in the morning when we did the "experiment" again and it leaked...with no one home upstairs (they're at work) He came yesterday afternoon and I informed him that the tub faucet started leaking, I found a crack on the bottom of the cheap fiberglass tub this townhouse came with and through the hole in the closet saw that the back side of the tub's frame wasn't even on the floor.
  • So, the plumber replaced the mixer valve and basically told us we need a new bathtub and until someone comes in we can get waterproof tape to hold out the water. So after he left my husband went and got heavy duty waterproof tape and "crazy glue" and glued and taped the crack and a couple of fractures. We took showers and though it's not leaking from the bottom of the tub...there is STILL a leak only when running the shower. (the plumber said it was dry back there).

Bottom line. I have someone coming this afternoon to give me an estimate on the tub replacement and when they rip it out we'll surely find that other leak that is finding it's way to the backside of the wall of the tub and dripping down the beam...that is getting soaked and dried...soaked and dried. I'm living with two holes in my closet that I need to keep open so I can keep drying it out under there and keep an eye on things. (I have since been wiping down the inside with clorox cleaner and spraying Lysol...and will call someone in to do it the correct way before the walls are sealed again)

I think I'll remodel my whole bathroom at this point with a nice heavy duty tub and solid surface walls, and new floors, toilet and cabinets and.....and.... my husband isn't laughing at me anymore for "assuming" it was the neighbors. lol!

How much did you say?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Judge and the Jury

Should family and friends get involved and give their "advice" in the property selling or purchase process of their family/friends when they are not a real estate agent? That is the question and "court is in session"!

In life situations, as in business I believe there are two sides to everything. ALWAYS. Otherwise, how would I come to a decision of any one point being made?
In this case I will look at the pros and cons of "helping" family and friends with their real estate decisions when they have an agent. It can be beneficial or it could be detrimental in the sale or purchase of the property.

The pros of having family and friends getting involved with the sale of the property:

  • The family/friend is "associated" with the Real Estate Industry and knows "some" of what is going on and feels that they can benefit their family/friend.
  • They are emotionally involved because they are friends/family and feel they can "help" them with not getting "ripped off"
  • They "care" about their family/friend and want to make sure that anything "bad" about the property should be addressed.
  • They could be helping them get a better deal because of all of the above.

The cons of having family and friends getting involved with the sale of the property:

  • The emotional involvement can alter the "advice" they are giving because everything is looked at in an emotional state and not in a professional business sense.
  • They do not have a real estate license and aren't qualified or licensed to give advise.
  • They may cost them the sale if they are giving incorrect information.
  • They will be blamed by the family/friend if the sale is jeopardized.
  • They already have a real estate professional who is assisting them and that real estate professional is not letting emotion get in the way of their better judgement. ( I could go on an on but we get the idea here)
  • Added stress is doubled...may be tripled ..for the decision making process for the client because there are "too many" chiefs for a decision the client should be making with the assistance of their agent.

Believe me, I have been in several transactions where the family or friends are giving their advice. It was stressful and a struggle to prove that I was THE professional and worthy of listening to. I also took into consideration that the family member was "highly trusted" and it made the job harder although at times I had to show understanding and compassion when trying to get MY point across when the family/friend was wrong.

My opinion is I do not appreciate when others get involved because it most often than not jeopardizes a transaction and stresses the client out to no end. I have had instances where the buyer/seller put everything on hold because of it.

A real estate transaction is always stressful for all parties involved and with a real estate professional's sound advice we are geared to take on the stress and make the transaction as smooth as possible.

Now...the jury is in.....let's hear from you all.

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman, RA * Century 21 Liberty Homes*
95-2214 Kipapa Drive, Mililani, HI 96789
Direct Contact: 808-375-1404
Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's Mililani Hawaii Real Estate Blog 2007©