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Home » NOT SOLD IN STORES! (August 2019)

NOT SOLD IN STORES! (August 2019)

It is interesting to see what some people consider to be a “fixer-upper”. You decide to put your house on the market, your broker has an open house and the general consensus is that the home requires too much work, hence the term “fixer-upper”. Your response? Wait, WHAT?! You and your family have happily lived in your home for years and it has been perfectly fine! With all the television shows concentrating on home-buying, buyers have become quite picky and their demands have even become somewhat unreasonable, at times!

Selling your home is one of the hardest things you will ever do, but at some point, you will probably have to face this hurdle. It requires letting go of years of memories and turning your home into a property from which you must distance yourself. If you can stay focused on where you are going and not where you have been, things should go more smoothly.

For the next couple of months we are going to cover how to sell your house, whether it be in luxurious condition or as is and what upgrades are worth the return on investment (ROI) and which are not. As you know, upgrades come in all shapes and sizes (some are not even visible!), some are outdoors and some are area-specific, for example, pools.

Before selling your home, there are some important upgrades and decisions to consider. First, and foremost, ask your realtor what people are specifically looking to see and then do those things if you can! Realtors are treasure troves of knowledge about what motivates buyers in the current marketplace, as the trends change often and can be unpredictable.

Secondly, call an inspector BEFORE you list. Potential buyers will, no doubt, hire their own inspectors. If there are potential problems, it is better to address them before listing to avoid a costly buyer credit to close. Inspectors have a checklist that deals with even the smallest of details, which you may find picayune, but there are some picky buyers! Inspectors will check every outlet, open every window, check to see if every door closes properly, check every light switch, every faucet, you name it, they check it! You can see why this step should not be ignored. Don’t give your potential buyers any reason to cross your property off their list of winners.

Thirdly, give yourself a timeline. Are you selling within the year or must you be packed and moved out within 60 days? It would be ideal, if you could slowly make upgrades and enjoy them until you move, however, this is usually not the case. Life gives us surprises sometimes and we can only adapt and move on! (No pun intended!)

Let’s take a look at how to properly sell a home quickly and hopefully for the best price, which is everyone’s goal, is it not?

The number 1 mistake sellers make is to price their home incorrectly to start. Your home is your treasure, but it actually has a market value. If you overprice your home initially, you will face price reductions after weeks (or months) on the market. Consequently, buyers view this prolonged market time as a flaw with the property. Your agent knows the market and the comps in your area. Don’t be offended if they give you a number you deem to be way too low. After all, they know their business and want to sell your house as much as you do!

There are typically repairs and upgrades your agent may suggest to help you sell more quickly and get the most money for your home. Tell your agent what $ amount you can reasonably afford for upgrades or repairs. The best way to make a big impact on buyers is to focus on the parts of your home that can be high-impact-visual opportunities. You want to hear, “WOW” when buyers walk in the door!

The most popular renovation is a state-of-the-art kitchen, which can earn the most return on the investment. Even if you don’t fully gut your kitchen, certain upgrades like granite, marble or quartz counter tops, a new back splash, new appliances, hardwood or LVT (Luxury vinyl tile), or a new island will certainly attract positive attention and can increase your property’s value. The second most common upgrade is hardwood floors. They are perennially popular with buyers for ease of upkeep and hygiene. If you have hardwood floors already, check their condition to see if they may need to be lightly sanded, resealed and refinished. If they are worn past restoring, consider having them replaced.

If you happen to have carpeting in your home, make sure it is in top condition. Replace if worn, soiled or out of fashion. The carpeting should be neutral in color and of good quality. When choosing flooring, remember you don’t know your buyers interests. If the buyers don’t care for carpeting, this flooring is easy to replace. Tile, on the other hand, especially a different tile in multiple rooms throughout the home, is a deal killer! Tile is without doubt, the most expensive, dirty and challenging flooring to replace. To make matters worse, cracked tiles are usually impossible to repair, since the original tile is no longer on the market. It is possible to layer luxury vinyl over unattractive tile, but ask a professional installer do this work. A sloppy job here, means less money at closing.

Another upgrade which pays off in the end is an attractive master bedroom. It should be well lit, with clean window coverings, nice flooring and an updated master bath. Consider a new bedspread and fresh flowers (always) on the bathroom vanity. Your buyers will take a hint from your efforts, which are relatively inexpensive, and take away ideas of how they will dress up the master.

Throughout any renovation process it is key to consider what the masses want, so lean on the side of neutrality so buyers can see themselves at home with little or no effort on their part. You may adore your red lacquer cabinets, but odds are most people will not and will consider them to be a liability. If you don’t really care to remove them, just know you may be asked to give a concession in the form of a buyer’s credit or lose the sale. Although, you might reject such an outlandish idea, remember you enjoyed those cabinets for years. The buyer’s vision for their kitchen doesn’t make your style less important.

Small upgrades can also make a big impact. Update cabinet hardware in the kitchen and bathrooms. Swapping out generic or older handles can make your kitchen look completely different. Replace your mismatched and an old outlet and light switch covers for another quick, inexpensive fix to freshen up your rooms. Also, faucets are fairly inexpensive and carry a big impact. Make sure to keep the same metal throughout the bathroom. If the fixtures in the tub or shower are chrome, replace the facets with chrome, not brass or bronze.

The quickest way to make a room look new again is by adding a fresh coat of paint. Paint has one of the highest ROI, but be careful, think of the masses again! Always go neutral!

Next month we will discuss what NOT to do when trying to sell your home!


I have already confessed to being a people watcher and a lover of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. One of my favorite places to do both is Fook Lam Seafood Restaurant in the Chinese Cultural Center. It is not as fancy as the Legend Restaurant also located in the Chinese Cultural Center. Fook Lam is no frills dining and maybe a bit less expensive and in my opinion, a much better restaurant.

Typically, I go on a weekend morning for their varied yum cha (dim sum). After you are seated, you will get a card from the friendly servers as they come around with their carts. They offer various steamed and fried noodle selections for you to choose from. You may also order from the menu.

The xiao long bao (XLB) Shanghai soup with pork dumplings is scrumptious. I particularly enjoy the shrimp balls, spinach/scallop dumplings and shrimp dumplings. My favorite are the pan fried chive dumplings, but you have to ask specifically for them. If you familiar with the TV show Top Chef, Chef Lee Anne Wong frequents this restaurant and loves the turnip cake and bean curd roll! I have tried and enjoy the fung zhao (chicken feet)! Not too bad! Give this place a try, it is such a treat!

Their hours of operation are 8 am to 3 pm daily No Reservations

100 N Beretania St. Suite 1010-112
Chinese Cultural Plaza
Honolulu, Hi.



August 3rd…The Hawaii Byodo-In Temple, located within the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kaneohe, will be hosting their annual Oban festival from 4-9 PM.

August 4th…The annual Na Hula Festival will be held at Kapiolani Park from 9 AM until 2 PM.

August 10th … This month the Sunset on the Beach, at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, will feature Coco on their 50 foot screen. Come by at 4:30 PM to enjoy the food, live music and games. The movie begins at 7:30 PM.

August 17th … Every 3rd Saturday, you can find crafts, food and entertainment at the Kailua Night Market on Ulunui Street from 5 PM to 9PM.

August 17th and 18th … Get your shoes laced and head out to the Kualoa Ranch for the Reebok Spartan Race. This is a beast of a race with a challenging obstacle course in beautiful Kualoa. Register today at

August 17th-25th… Duke’s Oceanfest, this is a weeklong festive of water sports and competitions including surfing, polo, swimming and standup paddling. For more information check out their website:

August 24th…If you enjoy beer, check out the Waikiki Beer Festival on the Great Lawn at the Hilton Hawaii Village. There will be over 100 local and craft beers live music. To purchase tickets, call 941-5828.

August 2nd-4th…Pacific Ink and Art Expo will be held at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

There will be over 400 tattoo artists participating at this event.

August 2nd-4th … Get in character and head down to the Hawaii Convention Center for Comic Con. There will be hundreds of vendors offering comics, videos and games.

August 7th-September 1st… Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera has returned to Honolulu. It will be playing at the Blaisdell Concert Hall for three weeks. It is not too late to purchase tickets.

August 9th … The Hawaii Convention Center will be the venue for the Joy Of Sake celebration. This large event will feature over 400 sake labels from every part of Japan. For more information, check out their website:

August 9th-11th… If you are ready to make some home renovations and don’t know how to get started, you are in luck. The Building Industry Association will be holding their Home Building and Remodeling Show at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Packed into this three day event will be demonstrations galore and a perfect opportunity to meet contractors who are eager to help you get started on your dream home.

August 16th-18th…If you enjoy the spirit of craftsmanship and unique gifts, make your way down to the Blaisdell Arena and Exhibition Hall for the annual Made In Hawaii Show. Hundreds of local artist and vendors will tempt you with their creativity. But be ready for some company, since thousands of people enjoy this event every year. A word of caution: arrive early, parking is always challenging after lunchtime.

August 31st-September 1st … The 37th Annual Okinawan Festival will be held at the Hawaii convention center. This two day event will include authentic Okinawan food, cultural activities, games, music, dance, karate, taiko performances and a Bon Dance. It will be exciting. Check out there website to learn more:

Kind regards,
Cathy, Mary and Jeff