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  • Ryan O.

December Updates


After the Marco Polo condo fire, a law was passed to requiring certain buildings to install fire sprinklers or to pass a Life Safety Evaluation. According to Civil Beat, the 2018 law targets approximately 325 condos on Oahu.

Since the devastating fire at Marco Polo, the Honolulu Fire Department has noted that there was been 239 high-rise fires. In addition, nearly 80% of these buildings did not have fire sprinklers.

Interesting, since the passing of this law, not many condos have compiled. The city has even offered incentives like waiving permit fees or tax credits. However, very little progress has been made. What's the issue?

The answer is pretty simple. Adding fire sprinklers can be very costly to homeowners and passing the Life Safety Evaluation seems to be challenging. In order to assist condo owners, City Councilwoman, Carol Fukunaga, recently introduced Bill 37. Bill 37 will extend the deadline for condos to install fire sprinklers and to pass the Life Safety Evaluation.

There are some complex issues at hand. First, some will argue that the city should have not created a law to require old buildings to have fire sprinklers. These people will say that that decision should be left to the homeowners.

Second, installing fire sprinklers can be very costly. A recent Star Advertiser article noted that homeowners can be assessed upwards of $30,000. Usually, a homeowner association will allow the owners to make a one time lump sum payment or they can roll the amount with interest into their monthly maintenance fee.

An assessment of this amount can harm homeowners who are on a fixed income. In addition, if a condo has to significantly increase their maintenance fee, this could devalue the building since higher maintenance fees can be less attractive to prospective buyers.

Third, according to the Honolulu Fire Department, only 8 of the 209 buildings that can submitted a Life Safety Evaluation has passed. Every condo is different. Therefore, maybe the inspection has to be revised? I understand it is best to streamline the process. However, having a cookie cutter evaluation might not be the best strategy too.

If you live in a condo without fire sprinklers, do not worry. Here are some things you can do:

- Know where your fire exits are, have an evacuation plan, and practice your evacuation plan.

- Know where the fire extinguishers are. Perhaps, it might be good to have one in your unit too.

- Attend your AOAO board meetings to see how the board is addressing fire safety.

In Escrow

We were able to list a unit at Fairway Village Townhouses in Mililani. The subject property is a split-level, 3 bed/2.5 bath townhome with a one car enclosed garage (the unit also has an open parking stall). The property was a long term rental.

This is a trust sale. The seller passed away and the trustees felt it was best to sell the property. After a week of showings, we had over 10 offers! With the exception of one offer, the other offers were above list price.

After selecting an offer, escrow was opened. Interestingly, the buyer decided to cancel! Per the buyer agent, her clients are first time homebuyer. Maybe they got cold feet? Even though this was disappointing, we were able to re-open escrow with another offer. Also, we received another offer too!

Our housing market is still very competitive. Selecting an offer can be difficult since many buyers are submitting attractive offers. If you were selling your home, how would you rank each offer?

Home Maintenance

A new coat of paint can work wonders! When we purchased our condo, I decided to repaint the walls. Here are some DIY tips:

- Buy quality paint. Higher quality paint will make a huge difference. There is an ongoing argument between Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. Both are great brands. Just choose one and buy their highest quality paint. It's that simple.

- Like with paint, buy quality tools. This starts with your roller and brush. Having the proper roller and a great brush will make painting so much easier.

- Prep, prep, and more prep! The bulk of painting is actually the prep work. I don't miss taping, sanding, patching, and doing my cut-ins. Don't cut corners with your prep.

If you had to repaint your condo, what colors would you choose? I would paint the walls with Benjamin Moore Aura. The color would be "Balboa Mist" with an eggshell sheen. The trim would be "Chantilly Lace" with an eggshell sheen too.


Forward Realty

We recently moved offices to 1224 Koko Heave Avenue #A. If you are in the area, please let me know. We can grab a bite to eat at Duk Kee or we can grab some malasadas from Pipeline Bakery. What's your favorite restaurant in Kaimuki?

Forward Realty recently hired two new agents! Sean Melton was an All American gymnast at The Ohio State University. Sean has ties to the islands and he moved back to Oahu. In his short time at Forward Realty, Sean has been part of numerous transactions. If you see Sean, ask him to do a handstand.

Austin O'Leary, a fellow "One Teamer", was born into real estate. Austin's father, Tim, is a well respected mortgage lender in Hawaii. Austin was previously with Colliers International; he did leasing and investment sales. Austin decided to recently make the leap to Forward Realty. Within his first week of joining, he was able to successful put a single-family home into escrow!

Welcome to the team, Sean and Austin. I am glad that I am no longer the "baby" of Forward Realty, haha.

Housing Market

We are still in the pandemic and our housing market is still competitive. Inventory is low and it is common to see a long line of people waiting to see the house at open house. When offers come in, some buyers are giving up their first born child (joking). Despite these uphill battles, I have still been able to help numerous buyers this year.

Stay safe and healthy. Have a wonderful holiday season. Hope to see you in the new year!

- Roda


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