Oahu Realty Blog

Hawaii Fractionals - little to choose from

Now and then people contact me searching for fractional properties on Oahu.  I'll run a search, usually finding no listings on Oahu and then check the neighbor islands.  Maui, Kauai and the Big Island also have few, if any. 

A recent check showed Maui having fractionals available for 2-week periods per year.  Fractionals can be for any time period that's legal per state and local laws.  Customarily the fractional period is two months.  Maui fractionals, at two weeks, appear similar to timeshares (usually having a one week interval per year).

Here's What Makes it Harder to find Oahu Fractionals

The Oahu MLS has an option to designate a property fractional.  We prepared ourselves for the new wave of

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Phishing scammers are crafty and they don't give up!  This one had me going and I was more gullible than I'd like to admit. Here's a recent close call.

An e-mail from "Tsuyako" appeared in my inbox and it appeared to be an offer on a listing. Japanese people are generally considered honest and not the type of persons to try and hack a computer. At least that's the impression we have in Hawaii.  I thought this was an innocent looking e-mail.

tricky phishing spam message

I thought about it then clicked the link.  The link took me to this message. And note the "100% Secure" logo at the top - does it look legit?

google drive fake message

This message looks fishy - I mean phishy.  The document title P.D.pdf doesn't seem sensible.  I looked up the realtor's phone number and called her office.  The

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We were lucky to get a table at JJ Bistro on January 28th, it was the restaurant's last night in business.  Yes, JJ Bistro closed up after 18 years at 3447 Waialae Avenue near the intersection with 9th Avenue in Kaimuki.

JJ Bistro (many call it "JJ's") is named after its owner, Praseuth “JJ” Luangkhot, of Laotian descent with French culinary training.  Initially a bakery, JJ Bistro grew and became a full restaurant with seating for up to 100 persons.

JJ said he's looking to relocate to a smaller location with better parking - Waialae Avenue parking can be hard to find.  That night we parked on 9th Avenue, mauka of Waialae Avenue in lower Palolo Valley. It sounds like a long walk, Palolo Valley to Kaimuki but it was about a block - not that far.

JJ Bistro last night

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It's a new year and we have new maintenance fees.  For 2018 Makaha Valley Towers maintenance fees increased by 2% from 2017.

Makaha Valley Towers have three types of units.  Here are the maintenance fees for each.

Studios - $618

One bedrooms - $781

Two bedrooms - $924

The cost of central air, electricity, water, sewer and basic cable are included in the monthly cost.  Premium cable TV (through Spectrum, formerly Oceanic Cable), internet and land line telephone service are additional.

The majority of the condos at Makaha Valley Towers are one bedroom units (349 of them).  There are 169 studios and 68 two bedrooms units.  For year around residents the maintenance fees are a great deal.  Owners who frequently leave their units vacant are

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Pualei Circle is one of the more affordable places to live at Diamond Head, an upscale and expensive neighborhood. Here's a comparative market analysis of Active listings, in escrow and recently sold (November to late-December, 2017).

Leahi Avenue is the main access way to Pualei Circle and Diamond Head Surf is located there.  Off Monsarrat Avenue, Kanaina Avenue is an alternate route to Diamond Head Sands as well as Ilima Apartments, Diamond Head Manor Apartments and Diamond Head Lanai. I mention this because while some of the buildings that don't have Pualei Circle addresses, locals generally consider them part of the neighborhood.  And some buildings with Pualei Circle addresses are accessible via Kanaina Avenue.

 pualei circle comparative market analysis 2017

Here's the market wrap-up

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I read about a great service the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) offers homeowners and it's free of charge!  If you live in a single family home and are planning a vacation, HPD will perform a "house check" while you are gone.  Uniformed police officers visit your home and look to see that things are in order.

HPD's house checks are limited to the following:

  • Single family homes - no condos, townhomes, commercial or construction sites.
  • House checks are for occupants away from their home for a vacation or similar purpose.  HPD doesn't do house checks on vacant homes that are on the market to be sold or rented nor when they are being fumigated.
  • The resident(s) must be away for at least five days and no longer than 30 days.  The residents'
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DHHL administrative rules may affect transfers of vacant land

The Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) administrative rules §10-3-36 do not allow lessees to sell their lease interests for consideration if improvements are not in place. 

  • "For consideration" means a lessee cannot sell for money or other consideration, for example a vehicle. A lessee can transfer the lease interest to another qualified DHHL applicant for no consideration (free).
  • "Vertical improvement" for residential leases means a house. In the case of agricultural lands, crops, barns or other structures in use qualify as improvements.

 Considerations for lessees

  • If currently leasing a DHHL property and the home is in poor condition, don't tear it down if you're
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Jalousie windows are as prevalent as rubber slippers in Hawaii.  Many older homes and condos have them. In the days before central air conditioning became common, jalousie windows were a common window upgrade for increased airflow (read: cooling). Think about sliding windows and when you open them, one side is closed because it's blocked by glass.  Jalousie windows provide near 100% airflow when completely opened. They are popular in Hawaii and other warm climates and less so in cold climates because even when completely closed, air can still pass through. Not desirable on a cold evening when the heater is on. In Hawaii, most homes and condos don't have heaters.

Jalousie window panes are held in place by aluminum frames and mechanisms. They hold up

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makaha beach cabanas 2017

Low maintenance fees are one of the attractive features at Makaha Beach Cabanas for years.  In 2017 we're seeing a significant increase - don't worry, it's a good deal!

People naturally want the lowest maintenance fees possible. However it's important to look at the amenities included at the property you own or are contemplating purchasing. Makaha Beach Cabanas maintenance fees have been in the low $400's (per month) in recent years. This year, 2017, the maintenance fee increased to $430 in January then $480 starting in February. The increase between January and February is a result of the association's adoption of a cable tv and high speed internet package deal with Oceanic Cable.

Cable TV and internet now included in Makaha Beach Cabanas

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Real Estate related tax documents

Purchase information and receipts for improvements and upgrades should be held for as long as you own the property.  If the property is an investment, the cost of improvements and upgrades may increase the property's basis and potentially reduce your taxable capital gain.  If the property is your main residence, you might qualify for the $250,000 gain exclusion (single) and $500,000 (married) and that will cover most people's capital gains - but not all.  It's still good to keep the receipts.  

Income Taxes

The IRS has three years to audit tax returns unless income has been seriously under-reported (appearance of fraud).  Note - that's three years after your tax return is filed.  If you filed your 2016 tax return

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