client meeting

Finding Home:  Where to begin?


We frequently hear from our clients:  We need a place to call home.  Where do we start?


Each real estate transaction can be elaborated in far more detail than can be covered below.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, we have linked to several reputable reads around the web that we and our clients have found to be helpful references over the years.  Take the time to read through and contact us with your questions or if you would like to discuss.


First-Time Tips:  Buying / Selling / Renting Home or Investing

  • Buying / selling / renting for the first time and any state of Hawaii assistance
    • Identify location, type of home and do pricing research:  Gather information on where your home is or where you would like to be and approximate selling/listing price range
    • Spend time with your finances:  Use a mortgage calculator from any financial institution that includes monthly payment and closing costs, identify what you can afford to put as a down payment and pay per month; the same goes for renting: identify your deposit limit and monthly rent; and, for sales, outline what you have invested in the property and what you anticipate selling price to be based on the comparable price research you've done
    • List out Questions to Ask:  Be sure to question the process and ask for things in writing if you need.  No question is off limits, and it is a professional's job to educate and advise.
  • Buying / selling / renting for a time beyond your first
  • Looking to invest in a property as a second home
  • Needing help managing a property you or your family owns
    • Get referrals:  Ask real estate agents and neighbors
    • Search onlineYelp and the Better Business Bureau can help identify character and business dealings
    • Interview property managers:  Look for professional and succinct listings, ask about commission and monthly informational readouts, validate tenant satisfaction with management response time and property upkeep, seek a management team that utilizes technology or paper statements - depending on your preference, confirm the property manager's licensing and certification
    • Review Management Agreement and Disclosures:  Be sure to ask questions about anything you don't understand including role/responsibilities, contact information and contact frequency expectations, fees, terms, tenant review and renewal

Practical Tip #1:  Paperwork You'll Need to Gather

  • Last W-2 for renter or purchaser(s)
  • Last Mortgage statement or rent payment receipts
  • Last 3-6 months' Bank statements
  • Valid ID (Drivers' License or passport)
  • Voided Check (for direct withdrawal/ETF or electronically linked mortgage-to-funding account)
  • Additional paperwork may be needed and this list may vary, which makes this an excellent first question to ask your realtor


Practical Tip #2:  Example List of Questions to Ask your Realtor

Remember, no question is off-limits.  Common example questions include:

  • Buying:  Warranties, Parking, Property Taxes, Maintenance Costs, History of Property (unusual sales or renovations); read more here
  • Selling: List price, Fixes, Advertising and Preparation for Sale, Commission; read more here
  • Renting:  Lease Terms, Utilities / Maintenance, Repairs, Point of Contact, Decor Limits, Landlord Background; read more here
  • Weighing Options: Buy vs. Rent (try this interactive model we like:  New York Times' Calculator)
    • The answer will be different for everybody; but, do consider the following in your assessment
      • How long do you plan to stay in the city?
      • Average home price in target area?
      • Interest rate, length of mortgage loan, and %down payment? Taxes, closing costs, maintenance, and utilities?
      • Deposit, monthly rent, maintenance, utilities?
      • Long term use / need for property?
  • Weighing Options: Lifestyle Needs  [Oahu] neighborhoods re: school districts, financials and affordability, proximity to [fill in the blank], traffic, ...?


Practical Tip #3:  Finding the Best-Fit Realtor for Your Needs

These characteristics are just a few of those key ones that will help you identify a good real-estate partner.  General rule of thumb is to meet initially with several agents to identify a best-fit point of contact.  Most real estate agents are independent contractors paid on a commission basis from their firms based on quantity of sale [proceeds].  This is the percentage discussed, most often 6% split equally between the listing and selling agent.

  • Professionalism and Trustworthiness
  • Local market knowledge
  • Real estate experience
  • Personality
  • Mastery and comfort with cost discussions



Coming up next week...

Home Design, Decor, and the concept of Staging:  how a few tips and tricks can help you transform your home's interior and exterior to add design value quickly.  At SC Realty, we stage minimally but with big impact to help prospective buyers and renters envision a property as home.



Eric T Chu - SC Realty is a full-service real estate and property management agent.  He has extensive experience on Oahu advising both first-time home buyers/sellers and those looking to invest in property and on the search for a responsive and trustworthy property management partner. 


Disclosure of Material Connection:  Some of the links in the post above are links to external websites.  This means, if you click on the link and go to another site, we are not responsible for loss or damages incurred.  We only link to or recommend material we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.  We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."