David's Real Estate Blog | Dispatches from Diamond Head

Latest real estate news and articles from David E. Buck, Realtor-Broker

March 18, 2018

La Pietra - Best Kept Secret on the Slopes of Diamond Head

Nestled on the slopes of Diamond Head are the La Pietra Town Homes  There are only 38 homes in this lush green development.  Although they are attached townhouses, the feeling is much more of single family residences. 

La Pietra at Diamond Head

La Pietra on the slopes of Diamond Head

Originally built in 1970 on a portion of the Walter Dillingham Estate called La Pietra, after a villa in Italy.  The other portion and actual residence is now La Pietra Girls School, which moved there in 1969.

This gated community is within walking distance of Kapiolani Park, Diamond Head Tennis  Courts, and the beach at Diamond Head with restaurants and 2 oceanfront private clubs.  It is a short drive to Kahala Mall as well as Kapahulu and Kaimuki where there are ample shopping and dining choices.

Currently there are three homes listed for sale: 

3084 La Pietra

1. 3084 La Pietra Circle (MLS # 201717109)

3082 La Pietra

2. 3082 La Pietra Circle (MLS # 201726330)

3019 La Pietra

3. 3019 La Pietra Circle (MLS # 201724546)

All three have been extensively remodeled and updated within the last few years.  Each unit features a private back yard, 2 covered parking stalls, and access to the heated swimming pool.  The relatively low monthly maintenance fee is $1,500/mo.

Owning in La Pietra is a perfect alternative to the higher priced single-family homes in the Diamond Head and Kahala area, or smaller condos on the Gold Coast.  

Feb. 27, 2018

Live Auctions March 9th and 10th: Hawaii Loa Ridge Home and Kapiolani Townhouse Penthouse

We're really excited to announce our first two auction listings with Harcourts Auctions.

1. March 9th - Hawaii Loa Ridge Home

88 Moaniala Place

88 Moaniala Place (MLS # 201804433) in Gated Community

We're having Open Houses twice a week until then. Start to bid will be $1,500,000. For more information on all the due diligence docs such as Home Inspection, Termite Inspection, Survey, Seller's Disclosure and Preliminary Title Report please visit our Auction Detail Page to download and the documents and register to bid.

2. March 10th - Penthouse at Kapiolani Townhouse

Kapiolani Townhouse Penthouse

Kapiolani Townhouse Penthouse (MLS # 201804368) Oversized Lanai

This one is also having Open Houses twice a week until then. Start to bid will be $380,000. For more information on all the due diligence docs such as Home Inspection, Termite Inspection, Condo Docs, Seller's Disclosure and Preliminary Title Report please visit our Auction Detail Page to download and the documents and register to bid.

Buying at Auction

Buying Process Explained by Ben Brady

Feel free to contact me for more information. Mahalo

Feb. 19, 2018

Residential Real Estate Differences: Denmark vs. the United States

Real Estate Differences Between Denmark and the US, specifically Hawaii.

Denmark and United States Flags

To be on the sideline in Hawaii sure is different from how it is in Denmark. I haven't actually been with a Realtor in Denmark, but during my 3 semesters on the academy, we have had a lot of lectures and speeches from Realtors, and other people in the business. Even the legislations are very different on major key points. This might be because it has been decided to be done this way, or if realtors in Denmark are just too used to the ways its been done since the beginning. Let me take you through some of the major differences.

Sellers Agent & Buyers Agent

In the US, the seller obviously has an agent, but so does the buyer. If both parties can agree in terms of price etc. the house is sold. After this, the seller's agent, and the buyer's agent shares the commission. Even the same Realtor can represent the buyer and the seller if they both agree to those terms, and the Realtor can keep the commission to himself, after the cut his firm may or may not take. 

In Denmark, this is very different. In Denmark, the commission is only split within the same company the Realtor is from. So if I get a client who wants to sell their house, I am guaranteed to get some kind of commission, as long as we sell the house. The percentage of this can differ though. 

Buyers agency is very rarely used, and if it is, the Realtor is not getting anything out of it, other than a potential client if they choose to sell in the future.

How Realtors Get Paid

Now, most Realtors, either its Denmark or USA, are mostly only on commission, instead of a standard monthly salary. That means if you sell nothing for a whole month, you simply do not get paid. If you sell a lot, you can potentially get paid a lot. I'm sure there are cases where people are getting the same rate every month, but then a lower commission rate if any at all. They'd still have to show results, in order to keep their jobs.

In Denmark, the standard template is 70% to the company and 30% to the Realtor. If it is not the same Realtor who listed the property, the commission is split between the listing agent and the selling agent. A few people want to have a fixed salary each month, and will then get a much lower commission.  

In the US, there is no one or two answer for this, and I do not think there is a "standard" template to follow. It depends on the firm and the negotiated contract between the realtor and the firm he is employed by. This could vary from 50% and all the way to almost 100% to the realtor, and the remaining to the company. 

This potentially gives the company very small buffer in case they have a case where a client needs to be compensated for "damage" done by the realtor, and they also have other expenses that need to be paid for. Ex rent for the office/offices. 

Now, I don't know how the rates for giving false information or any damage in that sense, are in the US, but in Denmark, I have a few examples of the Realtor's liability. 

If the Realtor with a disadvantage for the consumer has miscalculated the proceeds, he needs to compensate every single dollar, between the right and wrong calculation.

A miscalculation in the owner's monthly expenses to sit in the concerned property is a compensation between the wrong and the right calculation, times 10. So if there's a 2000 dollar difference, the realtor has to pay 20,000 dollars to the buyer in compensation. Of course, these examples are rarely seen, as Realtors should not make mistakes in the first place, and everything is looked through multiple times, but just shows that the company needs some kind of buffer, just in case there is an incident, as the money is not paid from the realtors own pocket, but by the firm.

Price Range

The price range is wider in Hawaii. Of course, Hawaii being a tropical island, their conditions for expensive houses with an amazing view are much better than they are in Denmark, and being located not very far away from Asia and USA, it is even a second home for some owners. On the other hand though, it is much cheaper to live in Denmark, and I feel like you get more house for your money, just without everything that comes with it, when buying a house in Hawaii. 

Comparing the two markets is hard. There are certain things that I like more about Denmark, but also certain things I'd like to have in Denmark. The Danish market seems to be more protected for the buyer and puts more of the risk on the Realtor. Not doing it more attractive for the market to be using a buyers agent, seems weird though, in a market that focuses so much on protecting the buyer. Having a lower income than the actual Realtor in some firms seems like there is little to no risk for the company in the US though. Are the process easier to complete in USA compared to Denmark, or is the Danish market just making it harder to be a Realtor in Denmark? I can probably give you that answer in a few years.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Feb. 15, 2018

Hawaii Loa Ridge Homes and First Impressions

Monday morning, my first week has passed and a new has started. David had just listed a beautiful house, which is going to be the first auction from Harcourts in Hawaii. Very exciting! David had at this time not told me much about the property, but I was excited to see it. It's always an experience to look at houses here, and this one was no exception. At a great location a bit outside the busy Waikiki and Diamond Head, but still close enough for me to call it centrally located, we drive into Hawaii Loa Ridge. One of the top luxury gated communities in Hawaii, which even has its own gated community within itself.

Ocean View from Hawaii Loa Ridge Home

Ocean View from upcoming Hawaii Loa Ridge listing

Driving into the area, it was for me a little weird with the safety guard and barriers. Just being kind of cut off to the world was a weird thought for me. Currently, there are no gated communities in Denmark as the Danish people do feel safe enough just living there, so the demand for it is very low.

Thinking about it further though, helped me understand. First off, even a $1.5 million dollar house is pretty uncommon in Denmark, and with a price range from $1.5 all the way to currently $35 million dollars, I get it. I mean, if I could choose to live in an open community with the same view, versus a gated community with the view, I'd choose the gated community anytime. Let me tell you why.

Driving into Hawaii Loa Ridge, as soon as you're past the guard and barrier, everything just goes silent behind you, apart from the nature around you. You're driving uphill, away from traffic, and into this beautiful community, with great looking houses, no traffic, beautiful nature and one of the most stunning views money can buy. From now on, you have little to no worry about your house being robbed, being annoyed by traffic, or anything of that sort. Going on vacation, or just out of town for a few days would give me ease of mind, that it has been cut off from the rest of the community, and everything is there when you get back home. I can even imagine my girlfriend going for an evening walk with the dog without a worry in the world. 

The house listed is not an oceanfront house, but it does come with an amazing view. A view that especially from the first floor is absolutely jaw-dropping, and apparently, most of the houses with that kind of view, usually goes for $2+ million dollars. This is going to be listed under $2 million. The thing is, most of the neighbor houses will most likely be more obstructed from the houses across the street, but this one is built up on a ridge, and the house across is fairly low built on a ridge that is lower, which opens up the landscape from this address.

So yes, the view is obstructed by the houses across the road, but for the price, and the area that is usually much higher in terms of price, I'd get this any day. 

This picture is taken from one of the bedrooms upstairs, which are all located towards this view by the way. You'd think that the view would be completely obstructed in the joint kitchen/living room area, but it's not. You still get almost the same view of the ocean, Waikiki and Diamond head to your right, and Hawaii Kai to your left. 

Within Hawaii Loa Ridge, you will only find very few houses that are priced at $2 million and below. Out of the small collection, I'd call this one out as the best deal at the moment. Now, I haven't actually seen the others inside in person but based on what the pictures can tell me, and the stats on the houses, this one seems to be better designed, in terms of useful space. Besides that, this is a newer house than the others, by a couple of years.

The upcoming auction on this house is gonna be really exciting! I find it a great deal, for a beautiful house, that is newer than some of the more expensive ones on the market today, and compared to the $2 million dollar house on Koloa Street I wrote about from my first week here, in another end of the city, this for me is a no brainer. It doesn't come with a lot of outdoor space, or with a pool, but you're still getting an amazing ocean view, that some of your neighbors are definitely gonna envy.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Feb. 7, 2018

Crash Course on Honolulu Luxury Condos: Park Lane at Ala Moana

Tuesday, my 2nd day with Harcourts, and today was a big one. We were invited to go look at some new, premium condos at Park Lane and having done no research about the area, I could hear from David that they're pretty good. David is very professional and has been doing this for a while, so before I heard the prices of these condos, he was pretty casual about bringing me there, and I was just happy to be brought to the field, to be honest. 

Park Lane Lobby

View from Park Lane Lobby

I had no way to prepare myself for what was in store for me there, and hearing the price range on them, was pretty far from anything we have in Denmark, even if compared to a premium house as well. Before getting to Park Lane, you can definitely see things change with the area, in the sense that the buildings are bigger, the cars are lower and faster and you can pretty much smell the water. Located facing towards the water, right in front of the Ala Moana Center, we had 219 brand new luxurious condominiums, with only 8 left for sale ranging from $7.5-$29 million dollars for a Penthouse. In Denmark, the highest price I'm aware of for a home is $15 million.

Driving up to the property, we park the car in what looks like a small roundabout. Apparently, they have valet service there. We go to the lobby, where they have a front desk and a nice waiting lounge with an already amazing view.

Park Lane Pool

Park Lane Pool

The first part of the tour, we were viewing the common areas like the pool, and some of the amenities they have available to their residents. Some of these, but not limited to, was a pool, barbecue area, cinema, spa, and kitchens with larger tables available if they were having a lot of people over. These areas were free to use, and should simply be booked beforehand. There was also "the great lawn" which was envisioned after Kukio on the Big Island and should be a highly sought after meeting place.

The Great Lawn at Park Lane

The Great Lawn at Park Lane

The first condo was fully furnished, with all the best, in order for potential buyers to see what the place could look like, as the one they're probably looking at, will be empty. Seeing this first, helped tremendously with imagining what kind of space would be available instead of only being able to view the condo empty. This was sold with the interior furniture (separately) for $7.9 million dollars.

Park Lane Bedroom

Park Lane Furnished Bedroom

Afterwards, we viewed some of the condos which had not yet been sold, in order to get an idea of the different kind of views they offered.

View of Ala Moana Beach Park from Park Lane

View of Ala Moana Beach Park from Park Lane Lanai

After the tour, I caught myself trying to process what I had just experienced. Doing different kind of assignments back in Denmark, we once had to look for the most expensive property for sale at that moment. 1 property came up, and the second one after that was a lot cheaper, so even finding a property close to the lower-priced properties at Park Lane is difficult, and you'll only find 1 in Denmark. There is no real way to compare the markets, but I still find the difference incredible, as we have nothing even close to Park Lane, either property or price-wise.

Harcourts Crew at Park Lane

Here I am (on the left) with some of the Harcourts Team at Park Lane

This is the most luxurious and thought through properties I have ever witnessed, with my own eyes. This is something, at least us from Denmark, have only seen on pictures and in movies, and can only try to imagine what is like in real life. What an experience.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Posted in Ala Moana, Luxury, Park Lane
Feb. 7, 2018

Physician Home Loans for Doctors in Hawaii

If you're a medical professional, did you know there is an option for a low down payment of 5% (95% LTV Ratio)?

Physician Loans for Doctors in Hawaii

Loans for medical professionals are available in Hawaii

Even with heavy student loans, making the leap from renter to homeowner is possible. You’ve worked hard to become a medical professional and now it’s time to receive the benefits of all that work. A handful of lenders understand that your unique financial position is normal, and they offer the ability to exclude your student loan debt from the debt ratio.

Student loan payments in a period of deferment or forbearance for a minimum of 12 months are excluded from debt-to-income ratio. Eligible Medical Professionals include MD, DO, DPM, DDS, and DMD. For more information on this program, feel free to reach out to William Doom @ Loan Depot.

Feb. 6, 2018

Tour of Kahala Home on Koloa Street

Monday afternoon David and I went to the Kahala area for a showing on Koloa Street. Going out there, I knew nothing about the area, very little about the real estate business in Hawaii and with no experience in the business. Luckily for everyone, I am only on scout as long as I have no license. Meanwhile, I will take as much as I can, and try to learn from everything I hear.

My first impression of the area, was positive, clean and premium, as we drove down towards the water coming from Kahala Mall.

Red Brick Home on Koloa St. in Kahala

Red brick home on Koloa St (MLS # 201802459) in Kahala

We get to the house, and the first thing I notice are the bricks on the house, as almost all houses in Denmark are built that way. Going into the house, we walk into a light and open entry, with white walls, high ceilings, and beautiful dark wooden floors, with access straight to the big open living room. From the living room, we have access to the rest of the rooms, with the kitchen closest to the front door, with a view to the garden, that by the way, comes with a pool!

Koloa home in Kahala with Hardwood Floors and Pool

Hardwood Floor with Pool and Garden out back

In the middle, we have large sliding window lots, that hides away in the walls, so when opened completely, we have hardly any windows showing, which opens up the living room a whole lot.

Brick Columns and White Roof

Brick Pillars and White Roof

Going outside, the brick-style from out front continues as tiles outside, and down the pillars holding a light, white roof on the terrace. 

1070 Koloa Street is a beautiful house, with a great location, beautiful design and great possibilities. It's close to the water, but no ocean view. It seems to be a great area, with other beautiful houses, and very close to Kahala Mall, which offers a variety of stores to fulfill almost every need for shopping.

By Alexander Vinderslev

Posted in Kahala
Jan. 29, 2018

Mahalo for Your Business in 2017

Mahalo for our continued success in real estate last year. We could not have done it without you!

January 10 Century Square in Downtown HonoluluJanuary 12 Century Square in Downtown HonoluluJanuary 20 Kalele Kai in Hawaii KaiMarch 21 Hawaii Loa RidgeApril 28 Bay View Garden in Kaneohe

May 9 Uraku Tower in Ala MoanaMay 12 Pearl RegencyMay 19 Nuuanu BrooksideJune 22 PaloloJune 28 1492 Halekoa Drive on Waialae Nui Ridge

June 22 1509 Halekoa DriveJune 30 Hawaiki Tower in KakaakoAugust 14 Koko Head Terrace in Hawaii KaiNovember 15 La Pietra in Diamond HeadNovember 17 Ilikai in Waikiki

December 8 Diamond HeadDecember 21 KalihiDecember 29 North ShoreHarcourts Island Properties

Each one of the photos above represent the wonderful Buyers and Sellers we were able to work with and successfully purchase or sell in 2017. THANK YOU for contributing to our success in Real Estate!

We are very appreciative for our great clients and network of friends and colleagues who have done business with us and referred our services to others.  As a result, our business continues to grow!

Jan. 13, 2018

2018 PGA Sony Open and Homes on Waialae Golf Course

We've had some great weather this week thus far for the 2018 Sony Open here on Oahu. Last year, a course record was set by Justin Thomas as there was little to know winds. This year seems no different in that our local trade winds that came make playing there quite challenging are almost non-existent again this year.

Homes for Sale on Waialae Golf Course

Like every year, I write an article featuring the homes for sale along the golf course. This year there are only 4 listings spread throughout 3 MLS neighborhoods which are Kahala, Kai Nani and Waialae Golf Course. Here they are in sequential order by price:

4817 Kaimoku Way

1. 4817 Kaimoku Way (MLS # 201723195) in Kai Nani is listed for $3,999,000

This one was listed for sale last year for $4,195,000, so the Seller appears a little more motivated. It's also the lowest priced listing available fronting Waialae Golf Course. The entry level pricing was lower last year, however the lower priced homes either backed up to Kalanianaole Hwy or needed more work. This one is definitely a beauty!

959 Waiholo

2. 959 Waiholo St. (MLS # 201722957) in Waialae Golf Course is listed for $4,750,000

This one sits on the 11th fairway and was completely remodeled after last selling near the bottom of the market in 2010 for $2,300,000 and features solar PV panels among many other bells and whistles.

951 Waiholo St.

3. 951 Waiholo St. (MLS # 201800519) in Waialae Golf Course is listed for $5,500,000

Right next door, you'll find 951 Waiholo - also on the 11th Fairway. This one was also on the market last year, however the Seller is also more motivated coming back on the market this week $400k off their $5,900,000 price then.

949 Kealaolu Ave.

4. 949 Kealaolu Ave. (MLS # 201712232) in Kahala is also listed for $5,500,000

This is the only listing in Kahala, where you don't have get on Kalanianaole Hwy for access. Although it's a great facing view of the course, there's technically a drainage canal between the home and the golf course that provides a buffer. It's a great home built by Tom Nicholson overlooking the 18th fairway and the owner won't be making much of a profit as they paid $5.2 million 10 years ago in 2008...

More on the Sony Open and Other Golf Course Homes

Tomorrow is the final round and it'll be interesting to see if last year's course record can be challenged. I hope you enjoyed these homes. If you're considering a home on the golf course here on Oahu, however have a tighter budget I put together a page of all the golf course frontage homes on Oahu.

If there's anything I can help with, feel free to contact me for more information about these and other real estate here on Oahu.

Posted in Golf Course, Kahala, Luxury
Dec. 18, 2017

Hana Hou - Another Melemele Alfred Preis Home

2017 Has been a great year for Alfred Preis listings in Manoa. Several have hit the market for sale on Melemele Place this year. Just a few months ago I wrote an article about 3206 Melemele Place. Now, us mid century modern fans have been blessed with another at 3255 Melemele Place.

3255 Melemele Place Living Room

3255 Melemele Place (MLS # 201724509) is listed for $1,395,000

As with many of Alfred Preis homes that are well preserved, there were the signature use of the old narrow hallow tile bricks, built in cabinetry and use of both mahogany and painted turquoise paneling.

Preis Melemele Bedroom

Hallow tile wall and built in cabinetry typical of a Preis home

Preis Bedroom built ins

Built in drawer detail and wood mahogany paneling behind chair

Preis Turquoise Kitchen

Preis Turquoise Bath 1Preis Turquoise Bath 2

Turquoise paneling on furniture, kitchen and bathrooms

If you're looking for more info. on this home or other mid century modern homes on Oahu, feel free to contact me for more information.