Oahu Realty Blog

If you're trying to find out whether you or another entity has a Hawaii Tax License, the State of Hawaii has a handy webpage.  The webpage can be difficult to find and that's why I'm writing about it!

Purpose of Having a Hawaii Tax License

Persons and companies doing business in Hawaii are supposed to file Hawaii State income tax returns and have certain other tax returns.  For example, a company doing business and having employees should have an employers withholding tax ID.  Persons doing business as independent contractors should have General Excise Tax (GET) licenses.  If you have a rental property, the income is subject to GET and you should have a license.  If your property is used as a short-term rental (rented for periods of 180 days or

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vog at Makaha Valley Towers

I visited Makaha Valley Towers on January 11, 2017 and viewed this voggy weather.  We've been having a pleasant winter with north winds mixed with trade winds then suddenly it came to a stop and now we've got the humid vog.   Our hazy sky looks similar big cities such as Los Angeles.

makaha vog

If you're unfamiliar with vog, here are the basics:

What is Vog?

It's Volcanic Smog - sulfur dioxide emitted from Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island.  Kilauea began erupting in 1983 and has erupted continually since then - 34 years and counting!  

Why do we get Vog?

The Kona side of the Big Island usually gets the worst vog because it's relatively close to and downwind of the volcano. Oahu and other islands usually are less affected as the trade winds

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There are three basic floorplan layouts at Makaha Valley Towers.  Here are the layouts and the respective maintenance fees.

Studios - $606

One bedrooms - $766

Two bedrooms - $906

As you absorb the maintenance fee information, note Makaha Valley Towers is the only building on the west side of Oahu that has central air conditioning.  The cost of central air, electricity, water, sewer and basic cable are included in the monthly cost.  Residents may choose to add premium cable tv, internet and land line telephone service.

The majority of the condos at Makaha Valley Towers are one-bedroom units, 349 of them altogether.  Studios number 169 and two-bedrooms total 68.  If you're staying in your unit (or renting it out) year around, the maintenance

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Regency Park Fee Simple Interests Available

When Regency Park was built in 1981, it was a leasehold property with the fee owned by the Marianist Church.  Leaseholds fell out of favor with buyers in the mid- 1980's and thereafter.  If you're wondering why anybody would buy leasehold, first consider that it's less expensive than fee simple.  For example, when this condo was offered for sale in 1981 the units were priced in the neighborhood of $125,000 with 55-year leases. Those prices were reasonably affordable at the time.  Fast forward to 2016.  The units that haven't been converted to fee simple (still leasehold, in other words) have increased in value by approximately 150% however the remaining time on the lease is now 20 less than years.  Banks

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Leasehold Condos in Hawaii - The Better Deals 

A lot of people are interested in leasehold condos - at least initially.  When they're searching by price, leaseholds are usually priced lower than fee simple condos. Are there any good deals out there?  Yes, but first read this.

Guidelines for buying a leasehold condo

  1. Leasehold condos are generally being sold by a lessee and if you buy one you will be the new lessee.  The lessor is the true owner of the property.  The lessor may opt to offer the fee simple interest or extend the lease.  Or the lessor might decide to take the property back at the end of the lease.
  2. The lowest priced leasehold condos usually have very short lease terms remaining.  After all, how much are you willing to pay for a
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The City and County of Honolulu offers a special tax credit to homeowner occupants on Oahu.  The credit is available to homeowners meeting the following:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Real Property Tax home exemption must be in effect when the credit is applied for.
  • Owner(s) cannot own any other real estate, anywhere.
  • Combined income of all titleholders cannot exceed $60,000.
  • None of the taxpayers have violated Revised Ordinances of Honolulu Section 8-13.5 (Penalties relating to the County Tax Credit) by filing a false application or attesting to any false statements with the intent to defraud the city or evade the payment of real property taxes.  

Amount of the Credit

  • Qualified property owners who are less than 75 years can receive
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makaha valley towers

Makaha Valley Towers is consistently one of the more affordable condos on Oahu.  The location is "out there" - about 40 miles from Waikiki.  At the same time, because of the distance to town, prices at the Towers are much lower than they are in Waikiki.  And it's a great building!

Monthly maintenance fees for 2016 are as follows:

  • Studio               $588
  • One Bedroom   $743
  • Two Bedroom   $879

The fees increased by 2% from 2015.  Why are the fees so high, you might ask?  Well, Makaha Valley Towers includes almost all the necessities in the maintenance fee.  

  • Electricity
  • Central Air Conditioning (this is the only building on the west side of the island with central air)
  • Basic cable TV
  • Water, hot water and sewer

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Property owners seem more interested in putting their real estate into trusts these days.  Thinking through all the details might save you some money.  

If you currently own a property and are occupying it as your principal residence, it's important to refile for the owner occupancy exemption after transferring it into a trust. The property tax department routinely removes the owner occupant exemption when title is transferred.  If you don't file for a new owner occupant exemption after transferring your principal residence into a trust, it may take a year to have the exemption reinstated.  

Basic homeowners exemptions are $80,000 for persons under 65 years of age and $120,000 for persons 65 years and older.  An $80,000 exemption will save about

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This holiday takes many Hawaii residents by surprise - like it did for me today.  Many of us work on all but a few holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Today I was planning to visit the State of Hawaii tax office.  I turned on the morning news and saw light traffic!  That's a rarity on Oahu.  Ahh, Prince Kuhio Day.  I checked the State of Hawaii holiday schedule and our governmental offices were closed (Federal offices were open).

Prince Kuhio Day celebrates the Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole's birthday on March 26th, each year.  Events celebrating Prince Kuhio are scheduled through the weekend.

Kuhio Theater

This holiday reminds me of a theatre that used to be in Waikiki.  The Kuhio Theater, of course!  It was located at the corner of Kuhio

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The people at Makaha Valley Towers have created a great video showing how this building is maintained along with behind the scene views that we don't normally get to see.

The video is only viewable on the Vimeo website.  Please click the "watch on Vimeo" link below.  Once the Vimeo window opens, click the "play" arrow and the video will begin


Aloha, Mike

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