Hawaii VA Loans & Real Estate Transaction Process

About the Hawaii VA Loan Process- Your Realtor® can refer you to seasoned loan officers who know the Hawaii VA Loan Process. Beware of the loan officer that is advertising as if they are part of the Veterans Administration. They are part of a loan company but NOT part of the Veterans Administration based at Tripler Army Hospital.
Having experienced and straightforward professionals rather than ones who claim to be ‘experts’ or advertise as if they are part of the Veterans Administration is a better choice.

Putting Up Barriers versus Selling Your Home



No matter where you are our United States of America…. it IS a BUYER’S market. That means buyers can negotiate for a better price, maybe a credit to go towards closing costs. Maybe they just transferred to Hawaii with the military and are staying in a hotel and need to close quickly.

It is NOT a seller’s market like it used to be. If sellers need to sell their home  or condo they need to change with the market in their local area. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

It IS a BUYER’S market.

The following points listed should give sellers a clue that it is more of a buyer’s market when listing their home for sale:

  • You are getting fewer showings than you would have two to three years ago.  In fact, it is REAL slow today.  (one showing every couple of days is a far cry from 5-10 a day and four contracts overbidding) As time goes on the showings decrease even more.
  • Your Realtor® showed you comps from six months ago up to the present and the prices have declined a little in that timeframe. (3% for Hawaii)
  • The number of sales declined drastically over the past year because the financial institutions cracked down big time on lending criteria. GOOD!  (had to throw that in) Buyer’s are also being very cautious.
  • Buyers have a BIG inventory of homes and condos to choose from. It’s literally Christmas every day for them!  They can have their pick and most certainly will choose one they do not have to upgrade and all they have to do is…..MOVE IN.

Healthy Boundaries are good for any individual to have but when a seller tries to protect themselves by putting up big barriers (conditions and demands) and burns bridges along the way it becomes a losing battle for not just the seller; but the Realtor® who has invested a lot of time, hard work and effort to market a property. 

This Realtor® spends countless hours to prepare your home for marketing:

  • Research and pull up tax records, building permits and documents pertaining to the property.
  • Prepare the listing agreement & profile sheet and go through all of the contract with you before signing.
  • Prepare the Sellers Real Property Disclosure Statement and answer any questions you may have while you fill it out. (we have a four page detailed itemized questionnaire and it does take time to go through the whole thing and then answer any yes questions in detail on the last page)
  • Creating a specialized flyer and property portfolio to display in your home for potential buyers during regular showings (with their Buyer’s Agent) or during Open Houses. This is no couple of minute job because it can take me up to an hour to get the flyer “just right” and the portfolio up to three hours!
  • Take pictures of your home for the listing sites.
  • Advise you on what you can do to get your home ready for showing (so please don’t take it personal like I’m criticizing your home…I’m doing my job!)
  • Enter the listing into our MLS system and Century 21 site and add photos and make slide shows. (Lots of time)
  • Creating specialized Real Estate Shows and burn them to printable cover cd’s. (this take some time!)
  • Entering your listing on countless sites that I subscribe to and post your photos. (this takes LOTS of time) and enhance your listing on Realtor.com (this takes some more time) 

And this is JUST THE BEGINNING! I set up showing appointments, do Open Houses, refresh and update all the listings I submitted to sites as time goes by, I present all offers to you and advise you on your options. I give you sound advice and remind you of the market conditions and the current comps.  I go through the whole transaction with you, order condo docs, surveys and termite inspections. I accompany you to signing and help you with anything to do with the sale of your home.

The only thing I am unable to do is MAKE someone to buy your home.

There are contingencies in our contract that protect the buyer if they need to back out of the contract. It could be that the buyer lost their job. (they are NO LONGER qualified for a loan) Maybe they didn’t like something they saw in the home inspection. There are contingencies to protect the buyer to NOT buy your home. There are also contingencies to protect the seller but the bottom line is that if the buyer has a valid reason it does not automatically entitle you to their deposit. 

Remember, when you signed that Exclusive Right to Sell Listing Agreement? It specifically states that the “Seller agrees to consider all offers presented by the Brokerage Firm and to act in good faith to sell the property”.

If you REALLY want to sell your home:

  • You make your home appealing to the buyer who is coming in to view your home
  • You allow your Realtor® to do their job and give you their expert advice. You don’t take their suggestions as a personal attack on you but letting the Realtor® do what they are trained to do.
  • You realize that when a Realtor® is working for you it involves giving you advice. Working for you does not mean you are telling the Realtor® to do it YOUR way even though the market, circumstances and comps say otherwise.
  • You don’t assume your home is the best on the market and therefore should be priced as high as the others…… if you did NOT upgrade anything at all.
  • You keep an open mind and allow your Realtor® to go through the CURRENT market conditions and current comparables in your immediate area and trust that they are NOT lying to you.
  • Be willing to negotiate with the buyer to sell your home when it IS a buyer’s market. Maybe you could make demands a couple of years ago but the market has changed in favor of the buyer. There are MANY other homes and condos on the market to choose from.  (this does not mean give it away by all means. But fighting over a couple thousand will cost you more when months down the line your home is still sitting on the market.)
  • That you, the seller, do not hold a Real Estate license and it is advisable to LISTEN to the direction, advice and opinions of your Realtor®.  A seasoned agent KNOWS what they’re talking about and is thinking in your best interests to get you a fair market price and get your home SOLD.

This Realtor® is going to tell you the truth and will NOT tell you just what YOU want to hear.

If you choose not to listen to your  Realtor® it could cost you the sale of your home.



© 2009 Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, All rights reserved 


Mililani Real Estate | Mililani Market Report for September 2010

You can’t just go by the statistics on national news. Each neighborhood will determine the housing market for your local area. For Oahu Real Estate, we can pretty much gather that from neighborhood to neighborhood that the sales prices will vary and so will the median and average prices and the number of sold properties.

Mililani Town and Mililani Mauka Homes, Condos and Townhouses

To better determine particulars for your market (with criteria including your sq/ft interior, land, condition and year built), contact this Realtor Associate® for a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).

Mililani Single Family Homes Market Report September 2010: We have 60 Active Listings for September 2010 (33 for Mililani Town and 27 Mililani Mauka), with 35 in contract (16 for Mililani Town and 19 for Mililani Mauka) and 20 sold properties (13 for Mililani Town and 7 for Mililani Mauka) Mililani Single Family Home activity remains comparable with previous months for 2010 with multiple contracts submitted and accepted due to the lower inventory. Average Sales Prices were a bit higher than the previous month of $570,952; up to $598,970 and down considerably from $675,500 a year ago. Average days on market…DOM was 43 days.

Mililani Single Family Home Resales for Mililani and Mililani Mauka for September 2010

Mililani Condo Statistics for September 2010: We have 108 Active condos/townhouses on the market from September 2010 (78 for Mililani Town and 29 for Mililani Mauka), 38 Pending (26 for Mililani Town and 12 for Mililani Mauka),  and 21 sold (13 for Mililani Town and 6 for Mililani Mauka) . Looks like our Mililani Condo/Townhouse market slowed down for the month of September from the previous month. Average sales price of $288,342 a slight increase from August 2010 of $271,882 and comparable to a year ago at $287,209.. Average days on market for September 2010 –DOM was 87 days.

Mililani Condos and Townhouse Resales for Mililani Town and Mililani Mauka for September 2010

We are in an up and down market and though we have a bit of inventory with short sales and foreclosures left to go through, we are getting multiple offers on properties as the inventory has gone down and prices are reasonable. Interest rates are low so it is still a good time to take advantage of buying your Hawaii Home.

 Stay tuned for more neighborhood market statistics or contact me at sally@hawaiihomesmarket.com for more information!


Hawaii Home Buyer | SOME Military Qualify for Extended Tax Credit 

Yup, the Home Buyer Tax Credit ended on April 30, 2010 but there are some “Qualified service members” (which means a member of the uniformed services of the U.S military, a member of the Foreign Service of the U.S., or an employee of the intelligence community) that may still qualify for the extension of this Home Buyer Tax Credit. Qualified service members who are ordered on a period of official extended duty are extended for one year. For these home buyers, the tax credit applies to sales with a binding sales contract in place on or before April 30, 2011 and closed by June 30, 2011.

 READ THE DETAILS HERE: Hawaii Home Buyer | SOME Military Qualify for Extended Tax Credit




Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman is a Realtor-Associate with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client’s needs she serves all Hawaii Home Buyers and Sellers on the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) including all Hawaii Military Relocating to Hawaii, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents.


Website: www.hawaiihomesmarket.com


Mililani Condos Homes | Mililani Real Estate Market Report June 2009 | Hawaii VA Loan

Mililani Real Estate and Housing Market Report for June 2009

Let’s start with the Mililani Condo Statistics for June 2009: In May of 2009 (last month) there were 64 Active condos/townhouses on the market, 29 in contract and 20 sold. Looks like our Mililani Condo/Townhouse market is picking up with more units with accepted contracts and going through the transaction process. Sales Prices ranged from $160,000 (1 bedroom condo) to $495,00 (2 bdrm luxury townhouse).

Mililani Single Family Home Market Report for June 2009: Let’s compare to May of 2009 (last month). We had 36 Active Listings for May 2009 with 11 in contract and 24 sold. It appears that our Mililani Single Family Home activity is picking up with more in contract for June 2009 although less closed transactions. Sales Prices Ranged from $500,000 (2 bedrooms) to $830,000 (4 bedrooms).

We can attibute the slower closing process to appraisals taking longer than usual to process…especially with Hawaii VA Loan Appraisals. As it stands, Mililani is centrally located on the island of Oahu (which is Honolulu County) and central to all Hawaii Military Bases.

The volume of Hawaii VA Home Loan Home Buying is on the rise (as is refinancing VA Loans) and therefore slowing the Hawaii VA Real Estate Transaction Process.

Another factor is that our Governor imposed a three Fridays a month furlough (with no pay) to balance the budget so of course that puts our Bureau of Conveyances behind on the recording process. Instead of the one day after funding to record it will now take two or more days.

Mililani Housing Market Numbers UP!

In 1971 my family moved to Mililani and it was in the beginning stages of a 40 year Master Planned Community development of single family homes, condos and townhouses with the first homes built in 1968.
My children went through their school years in Mililani (they’re adults now) and my mom still lives in the same house bought in 1971.
I remember when….
Miililani is centrally located to all military bases on the island and 5-10 minutes from Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield, 20-25 minutes to Hickam AFB, Pearl Harbor Navy Base and over the H-3 to Kaneohe Marine Corp Air Station in a matter of 35-40 minutes. We have three shopping centers and seven recreation centers (five have pools) with many community activities for all ages.
Mililani is the ONLY community in Hawaii to receive the distinction of “ALL AMERICAN CITY” in 1986 and you can get more information, association docs, homeowner packets and more from our association site by clicking on the following link: MILILANI TOWN ASSOCIATION INFORMATION
Over the past few months we have had a fluctuation of sales numbers and a small decrease in sales prices but bottom line our sales numbers significantly increased in the past month.
The following market statistics show a clearer picture for the last six months:
Single Family Homes

Mililani Town up to $849k:
35 # Active, 20# In Escrow. 68# Sold, 98DOM, $544k Average Sales Price
Mililani Mauka up to $1.3 Million
2 9#Active, 24# In Escrow, 44 # Sold, 71DOM, $644,976 Average Sales Price


Mililani Town up to 450k

74# Active, 24 # In Escrow, 62 # Sold, 73 DOM, $279,000 Average Sales Price
Mililani Mauka (up to 451k)
23# Active, 26 # In Escrow, 37# Sold, 63 DOM, $326,202 Average Sales Price
*NOTE: DOM (Days on Market) means how long the property was listed on the MLS until the properties went into escrow with an accepted contract.
More Hawaii Real Estate & Relocation Links:

The Cost of Living Factor in Considering A Hawaii Relocation

If you are considering relocating to Oahu, Hawaii or you are Relocating to Hawaii with the Military then you need to consider quite a few things. With the military your BAH covers housing expenses and your commissary priveleges allow you to buy food with only a smaller percentage higher than the mainland.

What about civilians who are relocating to our Hawaiian islands? Consider this: The main reason that everything costs a little more here than on the mainland is that just about everything is transported to Hawaii….from food to lumber for building to just about everything needed to sustain the majority of necessities as well as luxury items. Shipping costs, fuel and oil costs all have risen drastically therefore pushing up our prices even further.
90% if our food is imported so automatically presume that our cost of food is at least 30-50% higher than the mainland. We drink a lot of milk and it’s not too bad at 2 gallons for $7.50. My favorite places to shop for food are Costco and Sam’s Club.
Rental Housing Market: Central Oahu: 2 bd/ 1 ba / 2 parking can run anywhere from $1200 to $2000 per month. A condo in Downtown Honolulu can run from $1500 to $3000 for a two bedroom. A significant increase in the last four years due to the increase in real property for sale.
Real Estate Market: Again, depending on the neighborhood the single family median sales price for a 3 bdrm/2 ba home is around $625,000. A 2/2/2 townhouse are still selling for $300,000 to $325,000. Condos 2/1/2 run between $225,000 to $255,000.
Utilities: My electric bill is about $125.00 to $140.00 per month for my small one bedroom. Of course I have the A/C on energy saver for the dog during the day when my house is locked up. Otherwise, others in my neighborhood (who don’t use their A/C) probably utilize about $50 to $75.00 worth of electricity. I have a gas water heater so that runs about $30.00 per month.
Gasoline: Currently at $3.35 per gallon at Costco.
Ahhhh. But where else can you live in a paradise with tropical island weather year round and our breathtaking scenery of the ocean, the mountains, the valleys, the flora and fauna. These are the reasons for my remaining in this land I call home….and the reasons that many flock here for their relocation.
Weigh out all your options in your Hawaii Relocation because no matter what, Hawaii is like no other place in the world. We thrive and strive from our strength of diversity and our wide range of international and ethnic cultures and food.
* Keep in mind that the outer islands such as Maui, Kauai, Hawaii (the Big Island), Lanai and Molokai are even higher in costs because again….the shipping and transporting costs.

It’s not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different “world” of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

The Art of Hawaii Relocations
*Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii*

Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!
Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI * (808) 375-1404

Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii

Military personnel who have relocated across the Pacific Ocean to Oahu, Hawaii are always astounded at the differences in homes once they arrive here. Okay, let’s say stunned instead. I have had many military clients who were so shocked at the size of homes that they had no alternative but to store the majority of their household goods once they arrived because they brought it all. They also had a cultural shock as well with all our diverse cultural and ethnic groups. And the difference in weather conditions? Tropical paradise to say the least.
If it’s one thing we all will agree on is that Hawaii, the island Paradise, is full of beautiful tropical island scenery that will captivate you to no end.

As a Hawaii Realtor Associate® and Relocations Specialist I guaranty that the following information will help you in your relocation across the Pacific Ocean to the Hawaiian Islands!

ENVIRONMENT: Expect a totally different environment! You will need an open mind for a brand new experience with Hawaii’s diverse community full of ethnic groups and cultures from all over the world! Do not expect everything to be the same as the Continental United States because you will be disappointed! Wherever you look you will have Japanese, Chinese, Filipino. Portugese, Hawaiian, Tongan, Samoan, Caucasian, Korean, African American, Vietnamese, Spanish, Guamanian and Polynesian races with different beliefs and styles of living. And the food? We have all the fast food places but why keep eating burgers when we have such a variety to choose from?
JOBS: Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The vast number of military stationed in Hawaii make up the majority of the federal government employees although spouses surely have an advantage if they have been previously employed on a military installation and transferring to a new duty station. We also have many jobs in the tourist industry including but not limited to hotels, restaurants, historic and scenic sites and so forth.
HOUSE HUNTING: Make arrangements with this Realtor® to give you information, send you a relocations packet and start you out with your online search for your home purchase. Remember, Hawaii is not the same as the last time you were stationed here in back in 1975 and the change will shock you. We have many freeways, traffic, high rises and such. We may be more laid back but change is always inevitable with just so much buildable land.
MORTGAGE LENDER: Make sure to use a local lender as Hawaii lenders know the Hawaii real estate laws. There is no recourse (RED FLAG!) if something goes wrong with a mainland lender, negotiating the best price and time lines are a very important factor in a real estate transaction. Even if your cousin or uncle is a Loan Officer it is a given that they will not know about Hawaii mortgage funds. I guaranty that I can tell you some stories about the deals that fell through due to using lenders not familiar with our Real Estate Laws, Contracts and Contingencies. Also, make sure and hand carry your important financial papers as you will need them!
VA GUARANTEED LOAN: The most important thing to consider before utilizing your benefits is what you want to allot yourself for a monthly mortgage payment. The current VA Loan Amount is $625,500 (this is INCLUDING the funding fee) and soon to go up to $700,000. MEDIAN HOME PRICES: During our home search online you may see a home that may interest you. I’ll be sure to give you the median home price for that neighborhood. If it’s way below the median price…well, it just may be too good to be true! If this is your first time to Hawaii we will cruise the different neighborhoods so you can get a feel for the community. We will also need to choose between condos, town houses and single family homes according to your price range. (which is determined by your conversation with your local lender who prequalifies you)
HOUSEHOLD GOODS: Our homes are smaller so be prepared to bring half of the household goods you currently have in your 3,000 sq. ft. interior home on the mainland. A 1,200 to 1800 sq. ft. for a single family 3 bedroom around the $500,000 to $600,000 range in Central Oahu is about the median sq/ft for the price. Be flexible and open minded!

Our office is located in Mililani Town in Central Oahu and 10 minutes from Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Air Field. We are also located about 20-25 minutes from Hickam AFB & Pearl Harbor Navy Base although I service all of the island of Oahu.

It’s not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different “world” of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

Be Part of the Solution For Your Market; Because "Shift" Always Happens

Whichever state you are residing and conducting business in it can be guaranteed that your market of last year or the year before is in the past. What is past is past. What is present is a gift. And the future is yet to come. The market shifts, changes, goes up, goes down or stabilizes. Whatever the cause of the market in your neighborhood changing it is up to us to keep the market moving.

Real Estate Industry Professionals keep the market moving. What a concept! I for one shifted, changed and moved with Honolulu Hawaii’s market. In Hawaii our market has definitely shifted all over the place in the last two years. Up and down, stable and now the neighborhoods have shifted yet again. In some other neighborhoods prices have gone back up and others it has gone down. Go figure.
Here’s a post I wrote back in July 2007 (it was actually my attempt to write a contest entry for the Carnival of Content Contest) No Bursting Bubble For Hawaii? Home Buying and Selling Tipsters!

In any case, if anyone would like to see our statistics released by the Honolulu Board of Realtors yesterday for the third quarter it can be seen here http://www.hicentral.com/hbr-stat.asp in full and there are links for previous months, years and quarters. I do thank the ghost writer for getting me off my behind to give current statistics though!

The following statistics are for the Median SALES prices in the Honolulu County (Oahu) Hawaii throughout the last few years. Our sales prices are NOT going down. What has gone down are the number of sales. For single family homes in 2006 the number of sales at this time were 1,089 and this year it’s 975. For condos the number sold was 1,559 at this time last year and as of yesterday 1,366.

What really makes the difference is the neighborhoods. In Central Oahu (Mililani, Wahiawa, Whitmore, Wilikina) our prices went up for single family homes and down for condos. The previous quarter both single family and condo prices went up. Go figure. In July of this year (when I wrote that post) prices went up for all categories and neighborhoods except for Ewa and Waipahu (for single family) and Makakilo and Pearl City for Condos. Again. Go figure.

Single Family: Median Sales Price
2003- $380,000
2004- $460,000
2005- $590,000
2006- $630,000
2007- $649,000

Condos: Median Sales Price
2003- $175,000
2004- $180,000
2005- $269,000
2006- $310,000
2007- $330,000

And this IS the current information from our Honolulu Board of Realtors (tracking all solds from our MLS) and brought to you via WooHoo Sally’s Blog!

For those of you who believe that we make a difference for our Real Estate Industry then keep on striving to be the best you can be; ALWAYS support each other and work as a team and ALWAYS think in the best interests of your clients.

And if you need current and up to date information on statistics, a Hawaii Relocations packet or you just have questions please don’t hesitate to contact Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ® , Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI @ (808) 375-1404.

Alive and Well in Central Oahu, Hawaii! roll with the changes.CLICK>


Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman’s Mililani Hawaii Real Estate Blog 2007©
*All pictures and content property of Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman