Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hawaii Kai Locations Need Volunteers for Whale Census

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is seeking volunteers to help with its annual count of humpback whales. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary lies within the shallow warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands and constitutes one of the world's most important humpback whale habitats. Through education, research, and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i.

Volunteers will count humpback whales around the islands over a four-hour period and record their behavior. This year, the Sanctuary Ocean Count will be conducted at more than 60 different shore sites around O'ahu, Kaua'i, and the Big Island.

Counts will be held on the last Saturday of January, February, and March, from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. For O'ahu, call 397-2651 ext. 253. Online registration for the islands of Hawai'i and O'ahu is available at

Locations in Hawaii Kai include Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, Halona Blowhole, and Palea Point in Hanauma Bay.

Visit Hawaii Humpback Whale at NOAA to learn more.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Organic Beer comes to Hawaii Kai

Kona Brewing Company is set to tap up Oceanic Organic Saison, Hawaii’s first certified organic beer. The brewery received organic certification for the beer from Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA) and brewed it last month. The beer will be served on tap at Kona Brewing Company’s two pubs in Kailua-Kona and Hawaii Kai and at a few select Hawaii restaurants locations, by early January. Soon after, the beer will be available in 22-ounce bottles.

“We are ecstatic to be brewing the first certified organic beer in the state of Hawaii,” said president and CEO Mattson Davis. “We strive to be environmentally conscious in all that we do – from serving locally grown organic produce whenever possible to feeding Big Island cattle the spent grain from our brewing process. We’re proud that both our pubs recently became Certified Green Restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association. We have improved our efficiencies here in Hawaii and beyond in order to minimize our carbon footprint.”

According to the press release, Oceanic Organic Saison is a Belgian-style ale that was brewed with all organic malt, fermented with a custom blend of Belgian yeast strains and spiced with an abundance of organic hops, organic coriander and grains of paradise. The straw-colored unfiltered beer has a crisp, dry, quenching flavor and distinctive spicy aroma with notes of lemon peel, clove, white pepper, coriander and fresh hops complemented by pleasant cellar-like notes. The complex aroma is balanced by rustic hop flavor.

Kona Brewing Company chose to obtain its certification through HOFA, thereby supporting a local nonprofit organization and keeping business in Hawaii. HOFA is accredited by the USDA National Organic Program to certify organic crop, livestock and processing / handling operations. It is the only accredited organic certification agency based in Hawaii. Brewing this organic beer is roughly six times more expensive than most of Kona Brewing Company’s more conventional beers, which are already approximately 50 percent more expensive to brew in Hawaii than on the mainland.

The beer ompany was started in the spring of 1994 by a father and son team who had a dream to create fresh, local island brews made with spirit, passion and quality. It is a Hawaii-born and Hawaii-based craft brewery that prides itself on brewing the freshest beer of exceptional quality, closest to market. This helps to minimize its carbon footprint by reducing shipping of raw materials, finished beer and wasteful packaging materials.

The Kona Brewing Company pub in Hawaii Kai is a very popular local gathering place. Stop by next year and try the new beer, and look around at our real estate buying opportunities while you visit Hawaii Kai. Contact me when you are ready to preview properties or want information on Hawaii Kai homes for sale.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

(resource: press release, Hawaii 24/7)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Click for a Cause in Hawaii Kai

The holiday season makes me think of less fortunate folks who need our help. Use your computer and make a difference with a click of a mouse at these sites (no purchase necessary): the site donates about a penny per search to any one of 83,000 nonprofits you choose. partners with more than 1,000 retailers, donating up to 30% of the purchase price to the cause of your choice. the site feeds the hungry as you build your vocabulary. For every word you define correctly, this UN-World Food Programme site donates 10 grains of rice to countries coping with hunger. This has amounted to 68 billion grains of rice so far. the site gives food to dogs in shelters when you correctly answer a daily trivia question. same for kitties.

Breast Cancer site: click to give a free mammogram.

I put the icons on my desktop and click throughout the day - put it right on top or next to one you use every day, then you won't forget. If there are others I should add to this list, please comment on the blog or email me so we can spread the aloha around the world.

Happy Holidays,

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Island Dog Supports Hawaii Kai Dogs

Island Dog, a quarterly print magazine which just celebrated two years of publishing, supports dogs island-wide, but is a great resource for Hawaii Kai dog owners. Their online version only hints at the great information inside the magazine, which you can find at these locations.

The publication has "gone green" - recycled paper and soy-based ink help create a smaller carbon footprint.

In case you are out walking your pet in our beautiful holiday weather (remember, it's snowing in a large part of the rest of the country), here is a list from Island Dog of Oahu Dog Parks:

Bark Park
Diamond Head Road and 18th Avenue
Open daily during daylight hours

Hawaii Kai Dog Park
Next to Hawaii Kai Park & Ride
Open daily daylight hours

McInerny Dog Park
Hawaiian Humane Society
2700 Waialae Ave.

Mililani Dog Park
Mililani Mauka District Park at Park & Ride
95-1069 Ukuwai Street
Open daily during daylight hours
Closed Wednesday mornings for maintenance

Moanalua Dog Park
Moanalua Community Park, off Pu'uloa Rd.
Open daily during daylight hours
Closed Tuesday mornings until noon for maintenance

Visit the pet page on my web site for Hawaii Kai and island pet news and links. See you at the Hawaii Kai dog park -

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, December 10, 2009

FHA 203K Program can Help You Buy a Home in Hawaii Kai

Have you found a home in Hawaii Kai you'd love to buy but didn't have the finances to purchase and renovate? Consider the 203K Program. The FHA Section 203K program is specifically designed to rehabilitate and repair single-family homes, 1-4 unit multi-family properties, and mixed-use real estate with funds used for the residential portion . The 203K is a single mortgage loan that provides funds to purchase a home and make repairs and improvements.

In many cases, homes that would qualify for the 203K loan are in nice areas but have aesthetic problems. This program—because the home improvements are built into the loan—opens the whole market to the average home buyer.

From Lowe's (a 203K Home Improvement Specialist) web site, here are some of the 203K benefits:
  • Only 31/2% down payment required, which can be gifted by family members
  • More flexible qualification requirements allow those with less than perfect credit to purchase a home at competitive rates
  • A single loan for both purchase and improvement of your home means you make only one loan application and pay one set of closing costs – saving you time and money
  • FHA loans are assumable and there are no prepayment penalties
  • An FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) can allow you to qualify for a larger mortgage to add additional improvements that will lower your utility expenses
  • By including cost of renovation in your home mortgage, you pay for these improvements over time at a much lower interest expense than conventional alternatives
  • Rather than paying a premium for a home in “perfect” condition, take advantage of the great prices available on foreclosures or other homes on the market that are in need of repair or remodeling
  • Instead of paying for a previous owners improvements you may not desire, invest instead in exactly the features, colors, styles, etc. that suit your tastes and needs
  • Enjoy the opportunity to live in an up-to-date home in a great location closer to work, shopping, cultural activities and more

Visit Lowe's page of FAQs to learn how easy it is to get started with the 203K program.

Contact me to introduce you to a lender who can guide you through the mortgage process. I'll help you find the property. If you want a project - you don't have to do the work yourself - and see the great values available now in Hawaii Kai - contact me and let's get started.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Rules will Help Short Sale Process in Hawaii Kai

The Treasury Department has announced sweeping new rules which will help financially troubled homeowners who need to sell but can't get a price high enough to pay off their mortgages (a short sale). Homeowners will even get $1,500 to help cover their moving costs.

The plan is designed to help homeowners who don't have the income or debt levels to qualify for a loan modification under the Obama administration's $75 billion Making Home Affordable program. The plan establishes timelines, a standard process and documents, and cash incentives for participation, and is designed to accelerate the necessary agreements between lenders, real estate agents, buyers and sellers.

Short sales reduce the damage to the borrowers' credit record and save the lenders the cost of foreclosure. Short sales also help neighboring property values because the sales price is usually higher than what the house would fetch in a foreclosure auction.

About one in 10 home sales this year was a short sale, or an estimated 500,000 sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. About one in 10 home sales this year was a short sale, or an estimated 500,000 sales, according to the National Association of Realtors. In areas like Las Vegas, southern Florida and California, the ratio is far higher.

To qualify under the new guidelines:
• The property must be the homeowner's principal residence.
• The homeowner is delinquent on the mortgage or default looks likely.
• The loan was made before Jan. 1 this year and is less than $729,750.
• The borrowers' total monthly mortgage payment exceeds 31 percent of their before-tax income.

Mortgage companies don't have to launch the program until April 5, 2010, which may not help borrowers who are in default now. The program is also voluntary for lenders who hold second mortgages, such as home equity loans or piggyback loans. The Treasury Department has estimated that about half of homeowners in default have more than one loan on their properties.
While those other secondary debt holders can receive up to $3,000 to release their claims on the property, that may not be enough for larger creditors who would rather go after the borrower.

Even with its drawbacks, the new rules should substantially streamline the process and provide a lifeline to many sellers struggling with mortgage payments. Our Hawaii Kai foreclosure rate is lower than most areas of the island, but we have our share of sellers who do need help.

Contact me if you want to sell and find out how the short sale process works, and what you can reasonably expect for your property. Remember, you do have options to foreclosure.

Barbara Abe, Realtor