Investing, Hawaii Style

It’s been a wild week in the world of finance.  The stock market has been in ‘correction’ mode and everyone is trying to stay calm.  I don’t think the recent drop is a precursor to cataclysm, rather a reaction to prices climbing too fast, and I don’t think it will continue down to the depths. However it does make me think about money and where to put it.

The past five years have been stellar for the stock market.  Take a look:




Even after last week’s drop, it’s a 65% gain over 5 years.  Pretty good.  Now, here are the previous five years of Oahu Single Family Home Average Sale Prices:



Unfortunately we don’t have the 2015 average yet, but I can tell you that Average Sale Price has fluctuated a bit this year but is currently running about 11% ahead of last year.  This graph shows about a 25% increase between 2010 and 2014.

I know that looks like a strong case for the stock market, but consider this:  The Dow lost 53% of its value from October 2007 to March 2009.  That was the big financial crisis.  During the same period, Oahu home prices fell just 13.8%.

Big gains in the stock market are very appealing but they come with a rather large level of risk. At any time, your investment can take a strong hit based on events occurring almost anywhere in the world.  Meanwhile, Oahu real estate remains relatively steady.  Since 1985 we’ve enjoyed an average appreciation rate of just under 5% per year.  We have had downturns, but they have been relatively mild.  If you are deciding where to put your nest egg, you need look no further than your own backyard.  And when it comes to purchasing a property that will steadily grow in value, there is no better help on the island than Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties.

Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties is a full service real estate company that provides exceptional service while charging less than ordinary Realtors.  We’ve been successfully helping buyers and sellers all over Oahu for more than 12 years and we’d be delighted to help you achieve your housing dreams.  Contact us at (808) 593-8811, or visit our website.  

Thank You Oahu!

We just got word that, once again, Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties is the #1 Help-U-Sell office in the world!  We finished 2014 with 177 closed transaction sides which was tops among all Help-U-Sell offices.  This is the fifth year in a row that we’ve topped that ranking and we couldn’t be happier!

While we are congratulating ourselves (and receiving the congratulations of our peers), we are very aware that we owe a big debt of gratitude to you, our buying and selling clients.  It is your loyalty and enthusiasm for what we do that enables us to list more, sell more and be more, year-after-year.  When I analyze where our business comes from, I see the same thing over and over:  the biggest source of business is our past clients and their referrals.  That tells me we are doing something right.

Because we are #1, I am asked from time to time what makes us special, and why we are the best at what we do.  I think it comes down to three things:

People, Systems, and Passion

Staff-wise, we are a very small office:  fewer than 20 agents and office staff.  That’s tiny by Hawaii standards where we have many offices with 100, 200, even 500 agents! Still our small team of agents averages more than twice as many transactions a year as the average Oahu real estate agent. Our people are both pleasant and productive, they know the business and the market and are well equipped to guide a transaction to closing, and they know how to build long lasting relationships with the people the serve.  I am very proud of them.

For more than ten years, we’ve focused on effectively and efficiently organizing our operation to serve our clients.  We systematize everything about our business that we can, so that things get done automatically, with a minimum of confusion and delay.  Our marketing is pre-meditated, planned and organized into a system that goes on every day without fail.  Our follow-up processes are systematized so that our clients remember that we are there ready to help them with their real estate needs.  Our transaction management process is systematized so that nothing falls through the cracks and so that problems can be handled quickly with a minimum of hassle.

Finally, we are a passion filled company.  We love what we’re doing!  Every member of our team delights in getting back to business every day;  it’s part of the job description.  We love helping people solve their housing problems, build equity in real estate and live well.  We think it is the most rewarding work one can do and we feel privileged to be doing it.

So, if your 2015 includes plans to buy or sell real estate, I hope you’ll consider working with a company that’s proven they have what it takes to be #1:  Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties.

Buying A Home On Oahu: 10 Things To Consider.

Purchasing a home can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. To help we offer 10 things to consider when buying a home.

1.  The seller’s disclosure.  Before selling, a homeowner completes a detailed checklist of the properties various systems and components, noting any known defects or problems.  Even if you are in love with the house, it is important to be aware of any flaws.

2.  Zoning guidelines and restrictions.  This is especially important if you are planning structural changes or any kind of mixed use.

3.  Home inspections.  Ask us which ones are available and consider getting all that may apply to the property.  Of course the standard home inspection that reviews equipment and systems is essential as is the termite inspection, but you might also consider things like a pool or roof inspection.

4.  Reason for selling.  Why is this home for sale?  Where is the seller going?  You might think this is irrelevant when buying a home but if you understand what the seller is trying to achieve it can help you structure an acceptable offer.

5.  Radon gas.  Radon is a naturally occurring radio-active gas that has been linked to some forms of cancer.  It can accumulate in dwellings depending on how they are built and ventilated.  Radon gas is rare in Oahu but it does occasionally show up.  We’ll help you decide if a radon gas inspection is a good idea.

6.  Water damage.  An unfortunate interaction with water, whether from a leak or a flood, is a part of almost every home’s history.  Properly repaired, this is not a problem, but if care is not taken in the clean-up, mold can form.  Your professional home inspector should uncover any problems here, but it also doesn’t hurt to ask the seller if there have been water problems. You may want to have a complete environmental inspection if there seem to be any concerns.

7.  Crime rate.  What is the level of crime in the neighborhood and what kinds of crimes are most frequent?  One way to check this out in Oahu is by visiting

8.  Noise level.  If you tour a home at 3 pm, you will get a feel for what the noise level is at that moment.  But, what about 10 am? or 6 pm?  Sometimes it makes sense to drive back at odd times to get a feel for noise.

9.  Dogs and children.  Either may be a positive or negative depending on your own wants and needs.  The best way to know if a neighborhood is a good fit for you is to simply spend a little time there.  Go to the local supermarket and see who is shopping, visit the closest park and relax for a bit, drop by the nearest school when classes adjourn for the day.

10.  Schools.  How good are the public and private schools in the area?  Even if you don’t have school aged children, this is important as it can impact resale.   You can find school information in a variety of places including  Also, Honolulu Magazine grades public schools on Oahu every year in their May issue. The latest report is HERE.

Of course, there are easily another “10 Things” that could be added to this list, but we are up on all of it.  Give us a call. We can help.

Who We Are

We are Help-U-Sell Honolulu Properties, and we serve all of Oahu, including Hawaii Kai, Kailua, Kane’ohe, Ka’a’awa, Mililani, and the North Shore.  We are the alternative to the 6% (or 5%, or even 4%) real estate sales commission.  When you sell through us, you’ll be charged a logical low set fee that will save you thousands over what you’d pay an ordinary real estate broker.

The Help-U-Sell® Brand stands for something.  It represents the ability of the average consumer to receive expert assistance in a real estate transaction while saving significantly over what they’d spend with an ordinary REALTOR®.  It proudly represents a new approach to the real estate business, a better model, a new deal.  This reputation for exceptional customer service, coupled with savings has enabled us to build Brand awareness not just in the Conejo Valley, but nationwide.

The Help-U-Sell Vision Statement expresses how we see ourselves in the competitive environment in which we operate:

We are the premier provider of professional licensed real estate services, empowering consumers with access to information and choice, while offering a set-fee for service.

Great care was taken in crafting the Vision Statement to truly express who we are.  The language is very precise:

Premier Provider – We are an elite corps, the cream of the crop. We are neither discounters nor a limited service option.

Professional, Licensed Real Estate Services – We are fully licensed in Hawaii, are members of the local, State and National Associaions of REALTORS, and aspire to the highest levels of professionalism in the industry.

Empowering Consumers – We give our Buyers and Sellers the information and tools they need to effectively navigate the complex world of real estate sales.

Access to Information – We don’t ‘hoard’ information or hold it hostage.  We freely give our buyers and sellers as much information as they need to make an informed decision.

Choice – We present our clients options, help them evaluate them and then tailor a solution to fit their particular needs.  We do not embrace one-size-fits- all solutions.

Set Fee for Service – We price our services logically and fairly.  Our pricing makes sense to the consumer and we tailor our pricing to fit the services they use.

The five Help-U-Sell® Core Beliefs are the backbone of our identity.  They guide the way we relate to our customers and clients, our fellow brokers and each other.

We Believe In

  • Integrity:  We conduct our business with honesty and transparency, and share information without condition. 
  • Consumer Choices and Empowerment:  We present options and help our clients evaluate them, enabling them to make informed decisions.
  • Consumer Savings:  We strive to ensure that every consumer choice results in savings.
  • Broker Control and Profit: In our office, the broker is the business. The broker generates the leads, develops client relationships, and ensures successful transactions.
  • Systems Orientation: We create and implement systems for accomplishing recurring tasks.

We are different.  We bold.  And we are ready, willing and able to save you serious money on your real estate transaction!