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oahu investment property, Oahu property management, Oahu rental property

Switching Property Managers? Has Your Current Property Manager Gone Out of Business?

Switching Property Managers?  Has Your Current Property Manager Gone Out of Business?

There is a business relationship created between owners and property managers.  Some of them last a long time; some of them are short-lived.  In some of these relationships there is very little contact, and in others there is plenty of contact.  Sometimes, these relationships end.  You might be looking for a new property manager before you terminate your existing property manager, or you may be in a bind looking for a replacement immediately.  Here are the steps and/or guidelines to a successful transfer of management:

1.  Review your current property management agreement.  Read the provisions regarding termination.  You need to follow these terms, so that the dissolution of your relationship goes smoothly.

2.  If you have to give notice — please give written notice.  Property management agreements govern the relationship during the course of the relationship and also through the end.

3.  Contact your new property manager and make arrangements to review their contract, and sign the contract.  Let your old property manager know that you have hired a new property manager, and provide them with the new property manager’s contact details.

4.  The new property manager should contact the old property manager to get a copy of the keys, all necessary rental documents, and to transfer the existing tenant’s security deposit (if a tenant is in place).  We are professionals, and exchanging this information can be arranged.

5.  Your new property manager will contact the tenant to introduce themselves, and to let them know they now hold the tenant’s security deposit.

6.  Get a copy of everything!  So many times, I learn that owners were not provided with copies of the rental agreements, move-in documents, etc.  Check your files and make sure you have all the necessary documents.  It makes things easier if there is any issue that requires urgency.

As always, I am happy to help with all of your property management needs.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.  (808) 221-8904, and kasandra@kasandrashriver.com.

 

Military BAH Rates, Oahu real estate, Oahu rental property

2015 BAH RATES INCREASE — How this affects Oahu Rental Property

2015 BAH RATES INCREASE — How this affects Oahu Rental Property

It’s January!  Also that time of year where we can expect to hear from the Department of Defense (DoD), to publish the BAH rates for the year.

The Department of Defense has published the Nationwide BAH rates — they can be found here:


Information provided via: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/pdcFiles.cfm?dir=/Allowances/BAH/PDF/.

Many believe that with BAH increases, come Oahu rental property increases.  It is important to view this with a supply and demand perspective.  BAH is calculated based on location, service member’s rank, and service member’s dependency status (with or without dependents).  The total sum is meant to provide for housing, utilities and renter’s insurance in the location of the service member.  As the cost of living in Hawaii increases for all of us, so also does BAH.  Additionally, as rental housing becomes more scarce (supply), the demand increases, and so does market rents.  I never recommend to Owners to increase their rents based on increases in BAH.  I recommend setting rents at market rates, so that everyone benefits (owners, community, etc.).  To read more about how I set market rents, click here.
BAH can also cover mortgages — a fantastic way to spend a tax-free allowance.  An average mortgage (principal, interest, insurance, property tax – 0% down) for a $550,000 home on Oahu (0%) down, is just under $3,000.  This means that many service members may be able to afford to purchase a house, and begin building wealth through real estate.  BAH rates rise because housing prices rise, and utilities rise — as demand for clean, well-maintained rentals continues to be steady, you’ll have no trouble finding a tenant once you PCS.  Or, you can sell, take your equity and purchase a home in your next duty station (where allowances may not be as high) and a large down payment will be helpful.
Buyer, Home loan, Home Purchase, Mortgage, Oahu real estate

Don’t just shop for a home, shop for a loan!

Don’t just shop for a home, shop for a loan!

When I am helping a Buyer search for Oahu real estate, the subject of the mortgage always comes up.  Indeed, it’s one of the first things I want to learn about my Buyers because it tells me how much house they can afford, and hence what Oahu real estate we should be looking at.

There was an excellent article on NPR this morning (see link here:  NPR Article – CPB launches Consumer Mortgage Tool), which offered information on how consumers will spend many months searching for the perfect home, but when it comes to shopping rates and closing costs for a loan, nearly half don’t shop around and call other banks to compare rates and closing costs.

This Oahu real estate sold in September 2014, for $550,000.

The author of the NPR article offers several reasons, one of which is that the mortgage process remains intimidating to most, and also that most consumers do not understand the concept of compound interest.

An example of potential savings was given — on a $200,000 mortgage, if the consumer were to obtain a mortgage loan at a half-percent point (.50%) less, they could save approximately $3,500 over the first five years, and much more over the course of a 30-year loan.  For Oahu real estate, where our median home price is close to $700,000, this could mean an even greater savings. 

Here is a link to the mortgage tools on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: CFPB Owning a Home.  I always tell buyers of Oahu real estate that it is just as important to shop for the loan, as it is to shop for a home.  You can always get pre-approval from one Lender, and actually apply for the mortgage from another.  Importantly, during your Oahu real estate search, you’ll want to keep an eye on the fluctuating interest rates — waiting a day to lock could save you a quarter point, or it could cost you a quarter point.

All information is believed to be reliable but is expressly not guaranteed.  This blog post is not intended to provide legal, tax or mortgage advice and readers are encouraged to check with licensed professionals for advice on any specific topic and to verify any information herein.

advertising, homes.mil, oahu investment property, Oahu property management, Oahu rental property, rental property search

HOMES.mil website for military members

HOMES.mil

Late in 2014, the Department of Defense announced a new sponsored website for Servicemembers to search for available Oahu rental properties.  The site is not limited to Oahu — in fact, it provides access to rental properties worldwide.  The website:  HOMES.mil, is different from its predecessor, AHRN, but only slightly. 

Screen shot of the new HOMES.mil website

A few of the important changes include:
1. Property managers advertising Oahu rental properties are verified by the local housing offices;
2. Oahu rental properties available for rent are verified by the local housing offices;
3. Housing office contact information is available to service members;
4. There is no space to place extraneous explanations/information about the property.

As a property manager I am thankful that the DoD has sponsored a website for service members to search available rentals .  With all of the rental fraud and scams – it is important to have a platform on which legitimate landlords and property managers can advertise their Oahu rental properties.

If you are a Oahu property owner looking to offer your property for rent, please do not hesitiate to contact me at (808) 221-8904 or kasandra@kasandrashriver.com for a consultation. 

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Why is NOW a good time to rent out my Oahu Investment Property?


It’s simple.  Rents are high, and rental inventory is low.

  Two recently released reports prove that the number of individuals renting are increasing, rents are increasing, and that rental vacancies are decreasing.  The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reported that there were 4.7 million new renters from 2006-2011 – one million of them in 2011, and the US Department of Commerce, through the Census Bureau, just recently reported that national rental vacancy rates are falling, both compared to the preceding quarter and the same quarter last year.  See the full reports here and here

   Living in Hawaii, we cannot always rely on national statistics to explain our housing situation.  While the numbers do not perfectly translate to our market, it’s true that rents are rising and available rentals are decreasing.  Add to this equation, lower than ever mortgage rates, and  now might be a perfect time for you to become a first time landlord.  Kasandra Shriver (S), REALTOR-ASSOCIATE with HomeQuest, REALTORS LLC can help.  Please call me (808.221.8904) or email me (kasandra@kasandrashriver.com) for a free estimate of the market rent for your Oahu investment property.

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Hiring a professional property manager is worth every penny.

Professional property managers are dedicated to protecting your investment property.  We strive to select quality tenants and to keep your investment in good repair – both necessary to achieve the highest rate of return.  Here are just a few of the services provided by Kasandra Shriver (S), HomeQuest, REALTORS LLC:

  • We will do all the hiring.  Kasandra has relationships with several electricians, plumbers, handymen, construction professionals, and cleaners – ready to perform any and all necessary repairs/services to your Oahu investment property when we call;
  • We will find and place your tenant.   We are experts at advertising your Oahu investment property, and locating and selecting tenants.  We will conduct a complete inventory of your Oahu investment property, prepare and execute the lease, and carry-out the move-in inspection;
  • We will do the dirty work.  Confronting tenants is difficult, and we will take care of it for you.   We will take all calls and requests from tenants 24-hours a day, so you don’t have to;
  • We will maintain all the records.  We recognize the importance of your Oahu investment property, and the need for accurate accounting.  With our state-of-the-art owner accessible property management software, accurate, up-to-date accounting for your Oahu investment property is available to you 24-hours a day through the owner portal; and
  • We will be your expert.  We will not only research and evaluate the rental market so that the rent value for your Oahu investment property is optimal, but we will also ensure compliance with all local, state and federal laws, and regulations.

Kasandra Shriver (S), REALTOR-ASSOCIATE and Property Manager with HomeQuest, REALTORS LLC, will tailor services to meet your specific needs — all for a small monthly fee.  Call me on 808.221.8904 or email at kasandra@kasandrashriver.com, today to find out more.

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Turn Your Home into an Oahu Investment Property

Turn Your Home into an Oahu Investment Property   

You’ve decided to build wealth with real estate, and rather than sell your property to buy a new one, you will instead convert your home into an Oahu investment property.  It’s a wise move.  Generally, the first few years of mortgage payments are equal to or greater than the monthly rent you could charge, making losses likely.  Some investors welcome the loss due to the tax effects, but as many shy away from the opportunity.  Eventually, monthly rents will exceed your monthly mortgage payment, making the prospect of converting your home into an Oahu investment property appealing, and profitable.  Here are some tips* to make the transition:

1.  Plan ahead.  If you need to take equity from your current residence to buy a new residence – do that now, while you are still living in the property, as some loans may have a required “owner occupancy” provision.  This is especially true for refinancing, rather than a second mortgage or line of credit.  Contact a mortgage professional for details and any restrictions.

2.  Contact your tax professional.  Oftentimes, investment properties initially operate a loss, but whether you can deduct that loss is dependent upon your specific tax situation.  Specifically, you want to educate yourself regarding depreciation, deductible expenses, carryovers and passive income and losses.  Also review information concerning 1031 exchanges here, and learn how you can exchange one investment property for another or several others, increasing your income potential and potentially deferring payment of income taxes on capital gains.

3.  Make any and all necessary repairs to the property, to place it in good working order.  Make sure all the appliances are working as designed, that there are no electrical issues, and that all plumbing is working as expected.  If you haven’t painted the walls in a few years, consider this cosmetic improvement.  It is relatively cheap, and makes a huge difference to prospective tenants.  Also, consider replacing light fixtures or plumbing fixtures – oftentimes, these simple improvements provide the updated look without the remodel expense.  Finally, make sure the front of the property, including the landscape, is manicured – it is the first thing that prospective tenants will see.

4.  Contact Kasandra Shriver.  Kasandra can assist you in obtaining the current market value of your home, which you will need for your tax records.  Kasandra can assist you with finding a replacement home, locate a tenant, and manage your Oahu investment property with or without your direct involvement, making the process of being a landlord painless.

5.  Finally, enjoy the financial independence than many achieve by owning an Oahu investment property.

*This blog post is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, tax or legal advice.  Should you require a formal tax or legal opinion regarding your property, please contact an attorney.
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How to Find an Oahu Rental Property

How to Find an Oahu Rental Property

You’ve made the decision, and you’re moving to paradise.  Whether it’s for work, school, or to be closer to family — you’re going to need a place to live.  You’ve decided to rent, but this raises questions like which side of the island, which neighborhood, what school, what type of house (house, apartment, or condo), all need to be answered.  Oftentimes, one decision will help make another decision.  For example, if you know which neighborhood, you’ll then be able to make a decision about what type of housing.  If you know which school you would like your children to attend, you know what side of the island, and will be able to narrow down which neighborhoods. 

First, decide on a region:

Locating a rental property on Oahu does not have to be overwhelming, and you can begin narrowing your search immediately.  

Map Courtesy of HBR.

While common in most big cities, leasing agents (real estate professionals whose job it is to help you find a place to rent), aren’t used often in Hawaii, and as a result you’re going to have to do some work on your own.

Start your search online

Once you’ve chosen a region or two, take a look at these websites to get you started on finding a rental property on Oahu:

Honolulu Board of Realtors
Honolulu Star Advertiser   
Craigslist*
Hawaii Rental Properties

For military members – to locate a rental property on Oahu visit the new DoD sponsored website:  homes.mil.  Also see, AHRN — the Automated Housing Referral Network website (this one is no longer sponsored by DoD).

*Craigslist is a great resource for finding rental properties, however, it also serves as a breeding ground for scammers and thieves.  Please use caution when responding to Craigslist ads, and never agree to send money (either by check, or by wiring funds) before seeing a property and meeting the Landlord/Property Manager.  Also, double check the source of the property by visiting the website of the property management company to verify the property is actually for rent.

What to expect in the market.

Now, it’s time to make the calls, and schedule the showings.  Monthly rent for a rental property on Oahu will vary, based on location and the size of the property.  Quality will vary, based on the age of the property, and the quality of the maintenance performed.  Importantly, demand will vary.  Some properties are rented the same day they become available, while others will be available for weeks.  Don’t be discouraged by how quickly rental properties on Oahu disappear.  Instead, attend each showing prepared to complete a rental application, pay an application fee, and place a holding deposit if necessary.  

Pets or smoking? 

Many rental properties on Oahu do not allow pets, or smoking — if you need these accommodations, ask before viewing a property.  If you do have a pet, and are looking for a pet friendly rental property on Oahu, visit the Hawaiian Humane Society website, where you will find information not only about pet-friendly locations, but also tips on how to be a responsible pet owning tenant.

Partly Furnished 2+1+1.
You may be asking yourself questions like, what does partly furnished mean – and what is the last number in a 2+1+1?  A rental property on Oahu that is advertised as partly furnished commonly means that the property will include all large appliances (refrigerator, washer and dryer, in addition to stove top and oven).  If you require more furnishings than this, be sure to ask.  A 2+1+1, is a property that has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and one designated/reserved parking space.  The last number in a sequence of three almost always refers to parking – so if it’s missing, and you require parking — ask about this too.     

Lease terms. 
It is costly to find new tenants, and likewise, it is costly to move.  For a rental property on Oahu, be prepared to sign at least a six month lease, and do not be surprised when a one-year term is the only option.  While most landlords will not discuss monthly rent increase amounts, many will tell whether it is customary for them to increase the rent annually.  Do not be afraid to ask.  Likewise, to get a feel how much it will cost you to live in a home, ask about the average utility bills, and landscaping charges, and pest control.  Do not save these questions until you sit down to sign the lease. 

Contact Us

While I do not operate a leasing agent service – I can help you find a rental property on Oahu.  All of the options available to me, are available to you — but sometimes the response to agents is different (are you getting called back?) — I am happy to help.  Please visit my website here to leave your contact details, or contact Kasandra at 808.221.8904, or kasandra@kasandrashriver.com, to answer any questions you may have.  Good luck, and welcome to paradise!