Newsletter Editions: EXPERT COLUMNS

May 4, 2017

Ask the Expert: Renovating for the Market Edge

Our Ask the Expert column brings you insights from Hawaii's top industry experts in the fields that impact the real estate market in Hawaii and around the country. This week's guest column is from David Jaime of Blue Star Design and Builders. David is a licensed contractor, forerunner in design and also the host of HGTV's Aloha Homes.

Hawaii is a small place riddled with bureaucracy and extra hoops to jump through. At Blue Star Design & Builders, we eliminate the back and forth between architects, interior designers, and the builders as we house everything under one roof. By doing so, we shorten the process significantly, eliminate confusion, delays and most importantly...COST. 

Most of our clients are new homeowners or have inherited their family home. With the aging infrastructure, lack of maintenance, and/or the outdated interior these homeowners are overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start. This is where we come in. We obtain as much information about you family, what the future looks like of it, you financial situation and what inspires and motivates you. We put all this information through thorough thought and creativity to give you an inspiring interior that you can afford.

Where to uncover value when investing in upgrades
The rule of thumb is to put your money near water. So investing in your kitchen or bathroom is always a sure way increase your property’s value. The tricky part is to budget your remodel. Even trickier is to stick to that budget. If your home is an investment property, make sure you don’t let you personal taste dictate the finished product too much. Not everyone will like your particular style. Keep it edgy, fresh, and progressive to give the investment a longer shelf life, but not to bold as to turn some people away and shrink your market. If this is your home and you plan on living there for a while, do it right. Pick what you want: purple walls, eclectic finishes, anything. Your space should inspire you and give insight to your guests on your personality and style. 

What you need to know before starting renovations
Where the water shut off valve is! Hawaii is expensive, we all know this, but don’t try to cut costs by doing things yourself because it could cost you more in the end. 

  • Consult with a licensed contractor before making any alterations.
  • Plan, plan, and plan some more.
  • Consult your realtor to find out if the expected value of your home after your improvements at 5, 10, and 15 years and prices of comparable homes in your area post renovation. This will give you a “not to exceed” budget. You don’t want to build yourself out of your home.
  • Don’t skimp on quality. Maybe you can’t afford to do everything on your list right now if you don’t start making cuts -that’s ok. Put your money into the quality of the materials and workmanship. Then, save and do the next item on the list. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.


Ask the Expert: Observations from the Field

Our Ask the Expert column brings you insights from Hawaii's top industry experts in the fields that impact the real estate market in Hawaii and around the country. This week's guest column is from Robert Melton, Lead Inspector of Diamond Head Home Inspections. Bob is our most senior and highly skilled home inspector.  He provides training and mentorship to our up and coming team members.
The common—and not so common—things I see in home inspections
I was inspecting a house not too long ago that looked a little odd at first and as I got in to it a little further it proved to be just that. I walked up the spiral staircase and to my disbelief I had walked into a Vegas hotel suite from hell. It had mirrored ceilings and a pink bathroom with a tub to fit ten people. But, that’s certainly not every day. The most common issues that I come across is damaged or improper electrical wiring and moisture damage.

Ultimately, the client always gets the final call when it counts.
As an inspector it is my job to give you a better understanding of the property you are purchasing and not to determine whether you should buy a home or not.  Our findings our objective and we stay neutral in both tone and approach during our review.  We play an important part in the real estate transaction process but never will obstruct the work of the real estate professional. 

Becoming a lead inspector and trainer
I have always been passionate about home improvements for others and myself over the years.  When I found this profession years ago, I found a way that I could help more people. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial decisions any person or family can make and it’s a privilege to use my knowledge and expertise with buyers to help provide them with the best information possible. I love meeting new people and walking into a new adventure everyday. I never know what I’ll find, but the more homes we see, the more we learn and the more I can help a buyer and our clients along the way.