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Home Town Hawaii

Judy Barrett


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14

Is it Hawaiian Enough?

by Judy Barrett

Author and music critic Nate Chinen knows whereof he speaks when he takes a look at the long-sought and now heatedly-argued Hawaiian music category at the Grammys. Like Barach Obama, Chinen graduated from Punahou before migrating east. He knew just who to interview to get the most balanced presentation I've seen of the issue that so infuriates local musicians, especially those who've been on the road, promoting the music of Hawaii and sharing the culture, on the mainland and around the world, for decades.

Click here for the full story.

10 Reasons to Buy a Home

by Judy Barrett

Brett Arends of the WALL STREET JOURNAL explains why owning a home is a good thing....ESPECIALLY in today's market!



Fix This Stinkin' Problem!

by Judy Barrett

It's about time...

Aikahi area residents have been complaining about the rotten odor from the Kailua Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant for decades. Bandaids have been applied from time to time, but FINALLY, the City & County has gotten serious about fixing the problem.

They estimate 18 months to completion. Even if the smell disappears, the stigma will cling to Aikahi Gardens condos for awhile. This might present an attractive investment opportunity. As happened with Crosspointe in Salt Lake, which was stygmatized by past termite issues, values stay depressed for awhile even after the problem is cured, but once word gets out to the brokerage community and home buyers generally that the problems are solved, price escalation begins.

For KHON's report, including video, CLICK HERE.


Ugly House Photos

by Judy Barrett

Perverse, I know, but I just can't get enough of these Ugly House Photos. Every day, there's a new batch. Some of them would just require a couple of hours of boxing up the junk and cleaning. Neurosurgeons don't make as much per hour as these owners could make by just cleaning up the house they're trying to sell.  

Staging Success Story

by Judy Barrett

This high-style contemporary ocean view Waikiki condo had been listed for 137 days with a do-it-yourself broker, getting few showings and no offers. We changed out a few items, staged it, and got some great photos. We had an accepted offer in 10 days, but Buyer's financing fell apart. A couple of weeks later it was back in escrow and successfully closed.

Sometimes do-it-yourself projects can be real money savers. Other times, paying a professional is the smartest way to get the job done.


Kitchen cluttered.

Kitchen staged, wide angle lens.

Art and dog stand out. 

Space and view emphasized.

Neat, but uninspiring. 

Space and view emphasized.

Eye goes to the Dr.Pepper sign.

Focal point is mirror and vanity.

Detail of clean tile and grout? 

Interesting details.

UGLY House Photos

by Judy Barrett

An Arizona agent, Leif Swanson, publishes this appropriately named Ugly House Photos blog. It should be required viewing for new agents.

Ugly House Photos

I'm a little surprised, though, that he says, "You can only hope sellers stage their home first." Actually, many sellers don't even know where to begin. A first rate professional Realtor will do a detailed consultation about how to clean up, fix up, and properly stage a home for a fast sale at top price. (Some of us have been known to help with the cleaning and painting!)

A superstar agent I know says, "You cain't sell 'em like you live in 'em." Another says, about the current real estate market, "It's a beauty contest and a price war--and you have to win BOTH."

It's my job to make sure they win that beauty contest and price war! Part of doing that job is getting FANTASTIC photos, and lots of them, in the MLS and every other major real estate website online.

Remember, the Buyers today look online first. That's where your first viewing takes place. If you don't look good online, Buyers are not going to bother making an appointment. There's a lot of competition out there--it better be a winner!  

Hula Coming to Thursday Farmer's Market

by Judy Barrett

Kailua's very popular Farmer's Market brings hundreds of residents and visitors out on Thursday nights. It's about to get even more entertaining.

Starting Thursday, June 3, local Kailua and Waimanalo halau hula will be performing at the Kainalu Plaza fountain courtyard (near California Pizza Kitchen) on first, third and fifth Thursdays.

Mahalo nui to kumu hula Charlani Kalama, Mapuana de Silva, Chinky Mahoe, Kaanohi Aipa, Wanda Akiu, Ada Enos, Lehua Carvalho, Ku Souza and Donna Sylvester for this wonderful cultural gift to the community. Hurrah for Harold K.L.Castle Foundation and Kaneohe Ranch Management Ltd. for sponsoring the FREE shows.

Farmer's Market is every Thursday from 5 to 7 PM (except major holidays) on the ground level of the parking structure behind Longs. The hula performances will be from 6 to 7 PM on first, third and fifth Thursdays.

"Never pay full list price"

by Judy Barrett

A buyer client of mine is in escrow to purchase a uniquely beautiful oceanfront half acre with a run-down house that he plans to transform. It is, without doubt, the prettiest piece of land I've ever sold. But he's getting a lot of kickback from well-meaning family and friends, particularly because the list price was, essentially, non-negotiable.

A lot of buyers believe that one should never pay full list price. They feel like they've scored if they can get the property for, say, 5 or 10% off list.

If the property were priced at market value, a 5 or 10% discount would be a score. And there are occasionally sellers sufficiently motivated to sell for a below-market price.

There are also sellers who price their property 10 or 20 or 30% ABOVE market value. These are the misguided sellers who believe "we can always bring the price down if it doesn't sell." Okay, that may be true, but the longer you sit on the market over-priced, the staler your listing gets, the more people wonder what the heck's wrong with your property, the lower your ultimate sale price. Inevitably, your final sale price in this scenario will be lower than you'd have gotten if you listed at market to start with. (I know sellers find that hard to believe, so I bring tons of examples to show them.)

When buyers insist on offering 10-20% under list hoping to end up 5-10% under market, I ask these questions: 

1. What if the list price is 30% over market and you get it for 10% off list? Have you scored?

2. What if list price is intentionally priced below market to get a quick sale...and maybe multiple offers?

When the property is exceptional and well-priced and seller is inflexible on price, the only question to ask is, "Do you want this property?"

It's like when a long-anticipated new car hits the market (Toyota's Hybrid Highlander comes to mind) ... you want it, you pay the price. Unlike cars, real estate is not going to be cheaper later. A truly unique property is not likely to be available again any time soon.  


Are we overvalued?

by Judy Barrett

According to a study just released, Honolulu real estate is "overvalued" by 14%, which earns us the #13 position on the Most Overvalued list.

The report noted that of the 52 markets considered "extremely overvalued" five years ago, only three — including Honolulu — have seen price declines of less than 10 percent through the end of last year.

So what to make of this? The report, by IHS Global Insight and PNC Financial Services Group, seems to hint that prices "should" tumble--that they SHOULD have tumbled quite a bit more than they have. But price declines here have been modest, particularly compared with California, Nevada and Florida. Our fourth quarter median sale price was holding at $587,800.

There are some similarities in the markets in Honolulu, San Francisco and Manhattan. The areas are tiny, desirability is huge, and while prices may have softened slightly they've been remarkably stable in a tumultuous economy.

Overvalued or highly prized? I think the latter.

Financial Peace

by Judy Barrett

Heard a great line from finance guru Dave Ramsey the other day:

Buying stuff you don't really need with money you don't really have to impress people you don't really like is a really bad financial plan!

You can find more "pearls" at his website:

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 14




Contact Information

Judy Barrett
Judy Barrett, REALTOR
Paopua Place
Kailua HI 96734
Phone: 808-263-0250
Fax: 866-216-8668