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How Monster Homes Can Adversely Affect You

Local officials are getting ready to drop the hammer on so-called ‘monster homes.’ Here’s what you need to know.

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Our city government has passed laws, changed laws, and done everything else in their power to discourage developers from building what some call ‘monster homes,’ which are huge homes that can have upward of 20 rooms inside.

In fact, a home that was featured on the front page of our local paper has 28 rooms in it! Where do these people park? What are they doing to the sewer system? What if someone leaves a burner on and the whole house catches fire?

These monster homes are changing the face of the rental market. If one of these homes is next door to you, it will affect many things, including the ingress and egress of your own residential street. These developers often are doing things that are illegal. If you’ve been following this issue like I have, you’ll know that even people who are trying to abide by the law are having issues getting their permits approved—including myself.

“If you’re in contact with a councilmember or senator, it might be a good idea to share with them your opinion on the subject.”

This is a very sore subject for me. The building department holds people like me to the same standard as they do for developers building monster homes, but those developers don’t get fined.

However, they’re now going to levy $25,000 to $100,000 fines per day on these developers, who may eventually have to knock down the monster houses they’re building. It’s a big deal.

If you’re in contact with a councilmember or senator, it might be a good idea to share with them your opinion on the subject.

If you have any questions about this or other real estate issues in Hawaii, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to further educate you.

When Can the Security Deposit Be Retained?

When does a property owner have the right to keep the security deposit and when don’t they? I’ll answer that question in detail today.

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The topic of the security deposit is one I’ve previously covered, but it warrants further discussion. From my experience, nothing is more hotly contested or talked about in property management than security deposits, and problems often arise on both the tenant and owner sides.

When and for what reason can a security deposit be kept? This is often a source of contention between tenants and owners, and I’d like to shed some light on this for owners: Security deposits can only be retained for damages or a broken lease.

Let’s first consider a situation where damage might be involved. Say a tenant is moving out of the unit in a timely fashion, but there is damage left behind. The onus lies with the owner to give notice and quotes for repair costs to that tenant within 14 calendar days.

“Security deposits can only be retained for damages or a broken lease. “

We as property managers hold the security deposits, so if an owner is not letting us know what’s going on and not acting within that 14-day window allowed by law, it’s punishable in civil court by up to three times the penalty. That two-week window takes effect the day the tenants turn in their keys.

Now, what if a tenant breaks their lease? If, for any reason, a tenant decides to leave the property prior to the lease’s end, property management reserves the right to retain the security deposit.

For any questions about what I covered today, whether you’re an owner or a tenant, go ahead and give your HI Pacific property manager a call. They’d be happy to share their knowledge of the 29-page landlord-tenant code with you.

Our Pest Control Policy Explained

Our pet deposits ensure that your property stays in good condition.

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When our team notices a pest problem in a property under our care, this immediately indicates two things:

1. The unit wasn’t properly cleaned
2. It’s time to call a professional pest controller

No tenant wants to pay rent on a property that has a pest problem, so such issues must be resolved immediately.

“No tenant wants to pay rent on a property that has a pest problem.”

When we identify a pest problem within the first 10 days following our initial walkthrough, we ask the owner to handle the initial treatment. If a problem arises at any point after this window, though, the tenant is responsible.

We recommend contacting a local pest professional if you have any additional questions about pest control.

As always, if you have any questions for us or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

How Our Pet Deposits Protect Your Property

Our pet deposits ensure that your property stays in good condition.

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At Hawaii Property Management, our pet deposits are an important part of how we make sure your property stays in good condition. What does that deposit look like?

Most of the pets we deal with are dogs, so the deposit amount we ask for in this case depends on the size of the dog (and in some cases, its breed). For example, if the dog weighs 25 pounds or less, we ask for a $400 deposit. If they weigh between 25 and 50 pounds, we ask for a $500 deposit. For anything heavier than that, we go on a case-by-case basis. If the dog is considered a dangerous breed, we ask for a $1,000 deposit. In addition, we ask the owner of the pet to get a liability policy.

“Our pet deposits are an important part of how we make sure your property stays in good condition.”

Keep in mind that our pet deposits are for pet damage only. We can’t use them for anything other than pet damage assessment. Aside from our deposit, we also do four-month walkthroughs for any homes with pets. After the walkthrough is done, the property manager will send you a full report with pictures included.

If you have any more questions about our pet deposits or any other kind of security deposits we require to protect your property, don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help you.

Is Yard Service Worth It?

Hiring a company to do yard work on your rental property might seem like an unnecessary expense. Here are a few reasons why it’s not.

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Today we’re going to discuss yard service. Owners often ask us if they should include yard service in their, let’s say, $900,000 home. The answer is yes. For just $100 per month, you can guarantee that the yard will be in the exact same condition as it was when you bought the property.

Most of the time, houses come with a yard service already attached to it. Whoever has been the yard man, continue to use them. If you can afford it, it’s a great investment.

“If you can afford it, it’s a great investment.”

Your yard has a lot to do with how your home looks from the outside. Why wouldn’t you preserve the yard? Why would you risk having the tenant take care of the yard? Tenants either love yard work or hate yard work. If you get a tenant that hates yard work, how would you deal with that? You can cancel the lease, but that process will take months. If you can afford to pay $100 to $150 a month for someone to come and take care of your yard, you should do it. They’ll cut the grass, trim the trees, and de-weed the beds and you won’t have to worry about it at all.

If you have any questions about yard service at your property, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email today. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

How Does Our Walkthrough Policy Protect Your Property?

We have a walkthrough policy in place to make sure your property stays in top condition.

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At Hawaii Property Management, we have a walkthrough policy in place to protect your rental property. Here’s how it works.

Between the start and end date of every lease, we do either a four- or six-month walkthrough of your property. If there are no pets in the home, we do a six-month walkthrough. If there are pets in the home, we do a four-month walkthrough.

 

“There are two reasons we do these walkthroughs: To put money in your account and to protect your home.”

 

During these walkthroughs, we inspect the overall condition of the property—the roof, the flooring, the landscaping, etc. If we see a property that’s extremely dirty, we give that tenant a 10-day notice to clean it up. After those 10 days are up, we go back to the property and check it. We want to make sure the condition of the home is the same when a tenant moves out as it was when they moved in.

At the end of the day, there are two reasons we do these walkthroughs: To put money in your account and to protect your home.

That’s why you hire a team like us—to look out for your best interests.

As always, if you have any questions for us or you have a property you’d like us to manage, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be glad to help you.

 

How to Prepare For Renting a Shared Residence

Renting out a second home unit can lead to disaster if you’re not prepared. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this.

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In Hawaii, we can have a second “Ohana” home on our property.

Ohana means family, and it also means that only relatives are allowed to live in the second home unit.

Sometimes, owners will simply rent out the unused unit to whoever’s interested. However, problems can arise without concrete arrangements.

Tenants need certain things, such as parking areas, water and electric bills, and mailboxes. There are many of these problems to go through, so I don’t normally extend our eviction or rent guarantee for shared residences.

“Problems can arise without concrete arrangements.”

Potential issues need to be worked out before they arise and before we agree to rent out a shared home for you.

I can help you navigate this process as well as answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact me if you’d like my help or need further information. I look forward to hearing from you.

How Do We Check Your Property’s Hurricane Readiness?

If your property’s located in a low-lying area, I certainly recommend checking its flood-readiness.

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As you know, we recently had to deal with Hurricane Lane, and as of today, we have two more storms predicted to come through the islands back to back. Most of the time, these storms will just drop a lot of rain, but Hurricane Lane also brought 60 mph winds along with it.

How do we protect your property in the event of an incoming storm or a hurricane?

If your property’s vacant, we go out to it and move everything from the outside to the inside. If there are tenants in your unit, we call, email, or text them to confirm that they’re storm-ready. There are also other preparations we can make for you down the road, such as boarding up your windows.

“If there are tenants in your unit, we call, email, or text them to confirm that they’re storm-ready.”

If your property’s located in a low-lying area, I certainly recommend checking its flood-readiness because, again, Hurricane Lane dumped a lot of rain on us.

Any storm-readiness can be worked through in a rental home, so don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can get started with yours. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us as well. We’d be glad to help you.

When To Raise Rent

When should you raise your tenant’s rent? Let’s take a look.

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Landlords often ask me about when the right time to raise rent is. When I’m faced with this decision, I always look at the state of the market and the current market value of the property in question.

Hawaii’s average price on a single-family home is currently $810,000. This is the highest it has ever been.

If you were to rent out a property of that value, you would need to charge an average rental rate between $3,500 to $4,400 per month (depending on the allocation of certain costs) to make a 5% return on investment.  

The bottom line is this: It is a great time to put your investment property on the market to rent it out.

“It is a great time to put your investment property on the market to rent it out.”

Many clients who we’ve managed properties for have seen their properties double in value in just 10 years. And with rental rates on the rise, real estate investing is a wise move right now.

If you have any additional questions about this, please feel free to reach out to me or anyone on my team. We are all armed with the same information, and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Why Hardwood Flooring Is a Better Option Than Carpet for Your Property

If you’re trying to decide whether you want to install carpet or hardwood in your property, it’s a much better idea to go with hardwood. Here’s why.

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When it comes to reflooring your property, you’re much better off installing hardwood instead of carpet in today’s market. There are a few important reasons why.

First of all, carpet is out of fashion right now. If your home is already carpeted, you could replace it with more carpet for $1 to $2 per square foot, but carpet only lasts roughly three cycles long (or the tenure of three tenants).

With carpet, you also have to spend more time cleaning up stains and repairing the wear and tear, and if there’s a pet in the home, that problem only gets worse. This is why tenants with children, in particular, prefer not to live in a home with carpet.

“Hardwood is certainly a better choice than carpet in today’s market.”

Hardwood, on the other hand, lasts much longer, whether it’s vinyl or tile. Vinyl lasts anywhere from 25 to 30 years, while tile typically lasts longer than that, although it’s usually more expensive to install. Any wear and tear on a hardwood floor won’t be nearly as noticeable as it would be with carpet, either. It’s also worth noting that hardwood floors are almost completely waterproof.

As always, if you have any questions about this topic or there’s anything else we can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be glad to help you.

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