Friday, February 26, 2010

Tax Credit for Hawaii Kai 1st Time Buyers

The IRS has clarified documentation required by taxpayers to submit their claim for the tax credit as 1st time buyers and move-up buyers.

While the IRS is still requiring the filing of Form 5405, it will not be necessary for all parties’ signatures be on the HUD-1 settlement document, in areas where requiring both the buyer and the seller to sign the document isn’t common.

The IRS clarification says: "In areas where signatures are not required on the settlement document, the IRS has clarified that it will accept a settlement statement if it is completed and valid according to local law. … The IRS encourages those buyers to sign the settlement statement prior to attaching it to the tax return.”

For repeat buyers, the IRS is seeking documentation that home buyers have lived in the previous property for a consecutive five of the past eight years. Proof can include property tax records, home owner insurance records, or mortgage interest statements.

If you want to use your tax credit, start looking at homes now. You must have an accepted contract by April 30. Contact me to help you fnd the Hawaii Kai home of your dreams.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jellyfish in Hanauma Bay of Hawaii Kai

Our beautiful Hanauma Bay in Hawaii Kai has been closed recently - which is not an uncommon yearly event - because of the box jellyfish visitation. They stay about 4 days, and were reported to be 100 strong by the 2nd day, Feb. 9.

Jellyfish stings are serious, and the creatures don't just show up in Hanauma Bay, but at various times, in waters around Oahu. Few box jellyfish stings in Hawaii cause life-threatening reactions, but this is always a possibility. Some people are extremely sensitive to the venom; a few have allergic reactions. Consider even the slightest breathing difficulty, or altered level of consciousness, a medical emergency. Call for help and use an automatic epinephrine injector if available.

From All Stings Considered, by Craig Thomas, MD and Susan Scott, here is a primer on treating jellyfish stings, if you swim to closely to one:

"Two concepts are key to treating box jellyfish stings. One is to prevent firing of any undischarged nematocysts remaining on the skin, thus preventing the injury from getting worse. The second is to treat the symptoms and pain caused by already-fired nematocysts. The following first aid treatment, based on current Australian research, is recommended for the stings of all species of box jellyfish:

*Immediately flood the area with household vinegar to keep undischarged nematocysts from firing. This does not relieve pain, but prevents additional stings.
*Never rub the area with sand or anything else.
*Irrigate exposed eyes with copious amounts of room temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes. If vision blurs, or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or are light sensitive after irrigating, see a doctor.
*Pluck off any vinegar-soaked tentacles with a stick or other tool.
*If the victim has shortness of breath, weakness, muscle cramps, palpitations or any other generalized symptoms, take them to an emergency room.
*For pain relief, apply ice packs. If pain becomes unbearable, go to an emergency room. No studies support applying heat to box jellyfish stings.

"Contradictory studies exist on the effectiveness of meat tenderizer, baking soda, papaya, or commercial sprays (containing aluminum sulfate and detergents) on nematocyst stings. These substances may cause further damage. Some kinds of meat tenderizer, for instance, can cause skin peeling. In one U.S. fatality from the box jellyfish, Chiropsalmus quadrumanus, rescuers placed meat tenderizer almost immediately on the affected arm. The child was soon comatose and later died.

"Alcohol and human urine are common nematocyst remedies, but both can be harmful. An Australian study reports that both alcohol and urine caused massive discharge of box jellyfish nematocysts.

"Most Hawaii box jellyfish stings disappear by themselves. Because of this, even harmful therapies can appear to work. A key concept in the first aid of any injury is: Do no harm. Therefore, avoid applying unproven, possibly harmful substances to stings.

"Occasionally, nematocyst toxins cause lymph nodes near a sting site to swell. If a red streak develops between the two areas, or if either area becomes red, warm and tender, see a doctor immediately!"

Enjoy our water resources, but share and be careful. Hawaii Kai is built around a water lifestyle. Contact me to find waterfront homes at great prices, and learn about our waterfront communities at my web site.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chinese New Year in Hawaii Kai

Feb. 14 is Chinese New Year, the year of the Tiger, a year of adventure. As those of you who live in Hawaii know, the celebration is energetic and lots of fun for all of us. We have a special buffet at East Oahu Realty where everyone brings Chinese dishes and we eat all day from the different foods.

As part of the celebration, flowers and plants decorate our homes, each of which brings its own symbolism and luck for the new year. Here are a few ideas.
  • Live Blooming Plants: a symbol of regeneration and new growth. A plant that blooms on New Year's Day foretells a year of prosperity and is supposed to bring luck.
  • Flowers: represent wealth and high positions in one's profession
  • Azaleas: symbolizes harmony and smoothness of flow in life
  • Chrsanthemum: symbolizes perfection, optimism, and joy
  • Jade Plant: symbolizes prosperity, continuous growth, wealth, and fortune
  • Oranges and Mandarins: their shape and color symbolize the sun, and connect with the yang principle, which represents the positive element and generative force in nature. Oranges are considered auspicious fruits and important symbols for the New Year.
  • Kumquats: bring good fortune and wealth
  • Lucky Bamboo: brings happiness, wealth, and longevity, the ingredients of a happy life
  • Pine: symbol of nobility, venerability, and often longevity
  • Money Tree: brings good luck and great fortune

To all of our friends who celebrate Chinese New Year, wishing you happiness and luck in the Year of the Tiger.

Barbara Abe, Realtor

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hawaii Kai Real Estate Market Report for January, 2010

The real estate market in Hawaii Kai is showing signs of life and renewal - inventory has risen, and sales numbers have improved.

Hawaii Kai Condos
15 sales closed, the lowest $360,000 for a 1/1 in the Mauna Luan, the highest, $738,000 for a 3/2.5 for a waterfront unit in Peninsula II.

This compares to January, 2009, when 10 homes sold, with a low of $300,000 for a 1/1 in Naniwa Gardens, and a high of $655,000 in Moana Kai, sold prior to listing.

For the last 6 months, 107 condos sold, with a low price of $225,000 for a Fee Available home in Koko Isle, and a high of $875,000 in Peninsula I.

East Oahu had the highest gain island-wide in number of condo sales over last year, 71.4%, and the median price rose to $445,000 from $434,500 last year.

Single Family Homes in Hawaii Kai
10 sales closed, the lowest $704,000 in Mariners Valley, and the highest, $1,225,000 in Triangle.This compares to January, 2009, when 8 homes sold, with a low of $637,000 in Kamiloiki to a high of $1,000,000 in Triangle.

For the last 6 months, 106 homes sold, with a low price of $515,000 in Kalama Valley and a high of $2,500,000 in Triangle.

It is hard to read much into statistical events with only 15 or 10 units, but I know personally that Realtors are busier and the phone is ringing again. There are currently 80 active single family listings and 41 active condo listings.

East Oahu sales rose 30.4% over January, 2009, and the median price declined to $619,500 from $655,000.

On Oahu overall, 162 single family homes sold, a gain of 32.8% over 2009. Median prices rose to $597,500 from $539,500, and average sales prices decreased to $700,082 from $731,000.

227 condos sold, a gain of 42.8% over last year. Median sales prices fell to $299,000 from $305,000 last year, and average sales prices also decreased slightly, to $340,433 from $354,542.

The Hawaii Ka real estate market is more active since the first of the year, as is the island in general. Search homes for sale in any Oahu area on my web site, and contact me for a detailed analysis of real estate sales in any Hawaii Kai community.

Barbara Abe, Realtor