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  • Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:32 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    WHAR is offering a scholarship for the Hawaii Association of REALTORS® Leadership Academy (HARLA).  Download the application here! Email completed application to

    HARLA is a program crafted by Hawaii Association of REALTORS® for Hawaii REALTORS®. Students will join their peers in a series of powerful retreats to improve all aspects of leadership skills such as communication. Media training, team-building, goal-setting, and more.  HARLA graduates have used what they learned to take on leadership roles in businesses, communities, or within local, state, or national REALTOR® associations.

    Click here for more information.

  • Monday, March 16, 2020 11:48 AM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)


    WHAR has made the following decisions to provide for the health and well-being of our members, our staff and our overall community. Several factors helped to arrive at this decision, including the increasing number of calls being received from members with concerns. Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 through Thursday, April 30, 2020:


    ·         All WHAR classes and events will be cancelled or postponed. This includes, but is not limited to, the YPN Professional Panel on March 25, our General Membership Meeting on March 27, and the weekly Kona Caravans. DCCA has notified all CE providers that as of this time they are not planning to extend the license renewal date and will look to online classes.  Anyone who has paid for classes or events will be refunded. 

    ·         WHAR offices will be open for email and phone service only, no walk-in service. Should a member have a need (which could include the need to purchase store items or lockbox servicing), members will be asked to schedule an appointment with staff. 

    ·         All committee meetings will take place via tele-conference, including the WHAR Board of Directors meeting on March 25, 2020. Assistance will be provided to committee/board members if needed to provide a call-in number for meetings.

    ·         The period of modified classes/events/meetings/walk-in service will be Monday, 3/16 through Thursday, April 30, 2020. Should the situation improve, full services may be reinstated sooner. We will reassess the situation and make further determinations as necessary on April 1, 2020.

    Mahalo for your patience and understanding during this time of uncertainty

  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 11:49 AM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Amidst the economic upheaval that is affecting global markets recently, the shining light is the drop in interest rates, providing home buyers more purchasing power. Will this help the West Hawaii real estate market through the spring market?

     The first two months of 2020 have indicated the desire in the North Kona single family home market with prices and sales seeing double digit increases year over year, according to the February statistics from Hawaii Information Services. There are also buyers, who have been waiting on the sidelines for years, waiting for an opportunity to get into the market after the year over year increases in home prices since 2012. 

    The median price for a single family home in North Kona was $770,000, an increase of 17.56% from $655,000 year over year. Single family homes sales jumped 19.44% from 36 homes sold in February 2019 to 43 in 2020. 

    For condos in North Kona, sales were up 9.68% from 31 in 2019 to 34 in 2020. Prices, however, dropped 13% year over year from $375,000 to $323,500. 

    South Kohala, which had been tracking the robust market in Kona the past few months, saw a dip of 18% for single family home prices from $690,000 in 2019 to $565,000 in 2020, with 23 homes sold last year compared to 25 this year, an uptick of 8.7% year over year for sales. 

    Sales volume for North Kona for single family homes was up 57.34%  year over year and 65% up year to date while condos were up 10.98% year over year. 

    As we know, inventory is still tight and there have been instances of multiple offers in the market. Anecdotal stories of buyers looking to remove funds from the stock market to put it into real estate have occurred. 

  • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 3:19 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Do you have a favorite local not for profit that you would like for WHAR to support? WHAR is now accepting applications for it’s annual Charity of Choice. The announcement will be made at the General Membership Meeting on March 27th at the Waikoloa Marriott. Previous recipients include Hospice of Kona,Teach For America and Kona Historical Society

    Applications are due by March 18th. Click here for the link to the application. 

    In past years, WHAR has created fundraising events to fund the Charity of Choice, including a Halloween-themed event which raised $31,000 for Hospice of Kona. Last year, WHAR held a successful silent auction during the Annual Membership Meeting and Inauguration which raised over $2500 for Teach for America. 

    Help us make a difference in our community and nominate your favorite charity today! 

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:13 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Buyers Snap Up Single Family Home Sales in Kona and South Kohala

    The West Hawaii housing market saw a banner month in January with increased sales activity this January compared to last year. 


    Single family home sales increased 35% year over year in North Kona and 150% in South Kohala, according to sales statistics from Hawaii Information Service for January 2020. Homes sales in North Kona rose from 34 homes sold in 2019 to 46 in 2020 and in South Kohala from 12 to 30. Condominium sales fell 12% in Kona year over year and rose 8.3% in South Kohala. Islandwide, residential homes sales rose 44.5% from 148 in 2019 to 214 in 2020. 

    Median Price 

    The median price of single family homes rose in both areas as demand for homes in West Hawaii increased dramatically from the fall and into the new year.  The median price of a home in North Kona rose 22.23% year over year from $609,500 to $745,000 and in South Kohala, prices rose from $545,000 to $702,500, a 31% increase from January 2019 to January 2020.  The median price of condos in North Kona rose 20% year over year from $325,000 to $390,500 and in South Kohala prices rose 31% from $482,000 to $632,500. 

    Sales Volume

    For sales volume for January in North Kona, single family homes rose 74% year over year and in South Kohala, the sales volume rose by 567%. 

    What Are They Saying?

    Industry leaders are sharing that the mortgage rates holding at historic lows are driving the national real estate market. Mortgage rates have fallen a full percentage point since October 2018 to around 3.7 percent.

    WHAR Realtors we spoke to shared that there are occurences of multiple offers in the local market, homes that have been sitting on the market for over 200 days are getting new interest and offers and there continues to be pent up buyer demand. Homes in the $600k-$750k range are seeing alot of interest and buyers looking for deals are often disappointed as buyer demand makes deals less and less common. 

  • Tuesday, February 04, 2020 2:46 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Join us at the Keauhou Shopping Center on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 12:00-6:00 pm for the Best of Kona Festival. The festival offers exposure to all aspects of life in Kona; education, healthcare food, agriculture, keiki activities and more!

    As one of the event sponsors, West Hawaii Association of REALTORS® (WHAR), will have REALTOR® members and mortgage professionals on hand to discuss the home buying process from 12:30-4:30.  All sessions will be held in the in the Keauhou-Kahaluu Heritage Center, which is located off of main courtyard of the shopping center.

    Information covered will include understanding the pre-approval process, dispelling the notion of a 20% down payment, credit worthiness, short term vacation rental information, down payment assistance programs, exactly how to go about buying a home in Hawaii from searching to contract and more!


    12:30-1:15 “Facts and Fiction About Getting A Mortgage” Sponsored by West Hawaii Association of REALTOR® Panelists: James Allen, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Susan Gordon, Premier Mortgage Resources; Barbara Welsh, APEX Mortgage.

    1:30-2:15 Homebuying 101- (REALTOR PanelSponsored by West Hawaii Association of REALTOR®.  Panelists Gretchen Osgood, Hawaiian Isle Real Estate; Kelly Shaw, Elite Pacific Properties; Angel Wannemacher, Hawaii Beach and Gold Properties.

    2:30-3:00 “What You Need To Know About Buying Second Homes and Vacation Property in West Hawaii” Panelists: Kathren Rosales, American Financial Network and Gretchen Osgood, Hawaiian Isle Real Estate

    Other presentations include:

    “3:15-4:00 “Debunking the Myths Stopping You from Buying a Home” Sponsored by the Wynn & Eagan Team-Citywide Home Loans  

    4:00-4:30 Accessing Down payment /Closing Cost Assistance Programs and Grants – Featuring Hawaii Homeownership Center

    For more information go to:

  • Wednesday, January 29, 2020 4:13 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Effective August 1, 2020: Below memo, unless or until the Hawai'i County Code is amended to address the issues contained herein.

    This memorandum (memo) is to provide clarification regarding code interpretation and implementation of guest houses and detached bedrooms. Although there have been numerous director policy memos on this subject, former Director Duane Kanuha issued a memo on October 20, 2014 which rescinded all previous directors' memos. Effective August 1, 2020, this memo will rescind all previous memos regarding code interpretation and implementation of guest houses and detached bedrooms until an ordinance amending the guest house sections and related sections of the Hawai'i County Code can be adopted by the County Council, at which time this memo will be considered void.

    The traditional single-family dwelling unit comprised of a single structure containing all functions of a dwelling is still applicable. Today landowners often want to utilize an architectural style of dwelling design commonly referred to as "pod" or "pod design" where the functions of a home are dispersed across several structures. However, pod construction does not comply with the county code. The current code only allows for one detached guest house with a maximum of 500 square feet of gross floor area.

    A previous director had implemented a policy that offered a solution that meets the requirements of the current code while allowing the possibility of having pod style  dwelling.  This alternative was termed a "structural attachment." A structural attachment establishes a common roof line where the structures share a roof or a common wall line where the structures share a wall. The structural attachment maintains the single-family definition of a house as it may be considered one structure while allowing the appearance and functionality of a detached structure.

    This memo returns to the policy of structural attachment as it provides architectural guidance to designers and landowners for application submittals, as well as to staff for review of the requirements for application approvals.

    Therefore, the department will implement the following:

    Guest House

    Section 25-1-5 of HCC defines a guest house as the following:

    '"Guest house' means an accessory building used as sleeping quarters for guests of the occupants of the main dwelling and having no cooking facilities." (underline added for emphasis)

    By definition, a guest house is sleeping quarters. Bedrooms are spaces within dwellings where occupants sleep, so they are also sleeping quarters. Thereby, a detached guest house and a detached bedroom are the same thing pursuant to the following:

    Section 25-4-9 of the Hawai'i County Code (HCC) states:

    "One guest house may only be established on a building site that is at least seven thousand five hundred square feet in area. A guest house shall not exceed five hundred square feet in gross floor area, shall not be more than twenty feet in height, and shall not have a kitchen." (underline added for emphasis)

    Gross Floor Area

    Section 25-1-5 of HCC defines gross floor area as the following:

    '"Floor area, gross' means the total area of all floors of a building including a basement measured along the exterior walls of such building."

    The planning department continues to interpret the gross floor area to include all interior space and any attached area including, garages, car ports, lanai's, decks, balcony's, etc. This will now include living areas that are structurally attached as outlined in this memo.

    Structural Attachment

    If the structure or living space is structurally attached, the 500 sq.ft. limitation does not apply. The structural attachment provides the planning department a reasonable argument to identify all structures attached by roof or wall as one structure.

    Maximum Distance for Primary and Accessory Structure Relationship

    This applies to both detached guest houses and structurally attached living spaces. As noted in the definition of a guest house, it is an accessory building and is accessory to the primary dwelling. As the accessory structure increases in distance from the primary structure, it loses its relationship to the primary structure or use.

    This memo establishes a policy that has been a long-standing practice for the accessory structure to be within thirty (30) feet of the primary structure to maintain the relationship between structures. If a hardship is clearly identified on the application and found to be reasonable by the department, a distance of no greater than fifty (50) feet can be allowed between the primary and assessor structures on a case by case basis. Potential hardships may include but are not limited to: a change of grade on the site, existing vegetation that is to remain or is difficult to relocate like a large tree, siting of utilities like wastewater septic system, etc.


    •  A dwelling may have separated living spaces that are structurally attached by a common roof or wall.
    •  In addition to structurally attached living spaces, a dwelling may have one (1) guest house in accordance with the Hawai 'i County Code.
    • Both guest houses and structurally attached living spaces must be within thirty (30) feet of the primary structure, subject to demonstration of a hardship, which may allow a distance of up to fifty (50) feet.
    • The above is subject to compliance with all other Hawai 'i County Codes.

  • Saturday, January 11, 2020 2:20 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Much has been written ad nauseam about how to sell a house. Clean, declutter, reorganize, pressure wash, paint, freshen up landscaping, make repairs, update light fixtures and plumbing hardware, stage, repeat. The list goes on and on.

    Most times, sellers implement some of the agent’s  recommendations, but not all. Financial and time constraints are often two of the biggest factors that influence what items they accomplish and what they leave alone, whether intentionally or not.

    Do we really have to do all of that? Isn’t a buyer going to want to come in and paint the walls a color of their own choosing anyway? What’s the point of making repairs when an inspector is going to poke around and come up with a “list”?

    Despite an agent’s proactive efforts, many potential sellers insist on doing things their own way. Sometimes it’s better to tell your sellers what not to do.

    Telling people what they should do can often have an opposite effect (rather than pointing out what not to do and robbing a seller of maximum equity). Did your ears perk up? Without further ado, here’s how not to sell a home:

    1. Overpricing 

    This is one of the most common sale sabotaging tactics that sellers do. Everyone wants the most the market will bear for their home, of course; however, the buyer’s perception along with agent perceptions are likely to be less than how the seller sees the value of what they are offering.

    Sellers are fearful of leaving money on the table, but that money is perceived, not actual dollars and cents in their pocket.

    There’s a saying that you can’t lose what you don’t have, and overpricing is a classic example of this. While a home sits on the market with a high price, buyers are making offers on the competition that is more reasonably priced.

    2. Lacking preparation 

    To do anything well in life requires planning and preparation, and selling a home is no exception. Why risk the single largest investment by leaving it all to chance?


    The notion that you don’t really have to do anything and can throw a home on the market to see what sticks is plain foolish. Every property has strong points, weak points and challenges.

    Many can be overcome with proper preparation — cleaning, painting, repairs, staging, etc. Some cannot be changed such as location or layout, but the more preparation that takes place, the better the chance of a more positive outcome.

    Just assuming buyers can see past the clutter, overgrown landscaping, old worn furniture and not notice the dog smell is like taking money out of your wallet and flushing it down the toilet.

    3. Making it difficult to show

    What’s the point of being on the market if the ability to see the home is more of a rarity than an everyday event? Complicated showing instructions, lots of notice, specific blocks of time during the day or certain days that the property cannot be shown will only contribute to the property sitting.

    Depending on the price point, if the majority of the competition is relatively easy to show and is on a lockbox, then a seller’s home that is about to come on the market should be as well (luxury and unique homes or those with special circumstances where listing agents need to be present excluded).

    Do you really think an agent is going to go out of their way to coordinate with your listing agent so they can be present when they are showing five or six other homes in the neighborhood that are accessible via lockbox?

    Showing homes is an on the fly, any time and all the time business, and when showings need to happen, they need to happen.

    You don’t want your property to be a thorn in a showing agent’s side. Like it or not, the reality is agents absolutely can and do influence what a buyer ends up seeing and making an offer on.

    The home that is difficult to show when 15 other properties can easily be seen? Don’t expect an agent to go out of their way to rearrange all of the other showing appointments and unfairly inconvenience those sellers to make the difficult property a priority or double back when that’s an hour in a completely different direction.

    4. Hovering over showings

    Sellers who insist on being home or lurking around for every showing almost guarantees that an offer won’t be made on their home or that it’ll sit for a really, really, really long time on the market.

    There is nothing that makes buyers and their agents more uncomfortable than a seller who won’t allow a lockbox because they don’t trust anyone or the showing process and insist on being there for every viewing.

    When counseled on the perils of being home for showings, these sellers tell their agent, “I’ll just open the door and step aside.”

    What does that mean?

    The seller that goes into the office, listens to every word being said and takes note of how long the buyers and their agent spend in each room and what areas of the home they didn’t explore.

    No wonder the buyer doesn’t want to go in that area of the home at all. This plays out while the seller is texting their own agent in real time giving room-by-room updates.

    When the buyer leaves, the seller calls his or her agent to download about the showing, analyzing every move the buyer made and trying to figure out if they are the right one for the house.

    They also proceed to lament how the buyer didn’t even go in the backyard or just poked their head in the garage for a brief second, quickly walked around and then left.

    And the buyer’s agent? The seller vents that the buyer’s agent just didn’t seem to understand the home or appreciate all of the details.

    Disappointed, they are upset and quite worried that because these things were seemingly missed or skipped over, the buyer won’t make an offer for that reason. Hmm … if the seller only knew why that might be.

    5. Not disclosing and denying repairs

    Sellers who are in la la land when it comes to their home’s condition will only contribute to losing potential buyers. What seemingly appeared as the perfect home suddenly turns into anything but after inspections.

    There are things that scream attention, yet the seller shrugs their shoulders and thinks it is the buyer’s problem to deal with. The sellers who offer to do very little or throw a couple of hundred dollars toward a several thousand dollar issue is likely going to send the buyer running for the hills.

    Old water heater that is corroding with a slow leak? What’s the big deal? Multiple electrical issues that are potential fire hazards? The seller’s attitude is they’ve lived with it for years, so it can’t really be that dangerous.

    Not their problem to deal with in their view. Confusing and incomplete answers on a seller’s disclosure is also another area of concern for buyers.

    When the buyer (through their agent) seeks clarification and does not get much in the way of answers or information is a surefire way for a buyer to grow suspicious and think the worst.

    6. Stepping over dimes to save nickels

    Everyone loves to save money when it comes to selling a house. Nickel and diming the buyer to death in a negotiation is not the way to do it.

    Sellers who counter nearly every item in the offer that has been requested is a huge turnoff. Especially when they keep trying to step over dimes to save nickels.

    Home warranty? No way. When the buyer pushes back in the negotiation asking for one again, the seller only agrees to pay a certain amount toward it and only for basic coverage.

    They will not leave their refrigerator or washer and dryer, but they will be happy to sell them to the buyer at a price nearing the equivalent of purchasing new ones.

    They intentionally exclude their perceived fancy light fixtures and fans and list out the cost of everything they spent on each component in a home to  justify the number they are coming back with.

    The back-and-forth is endless with no conclusion in sight. When it appears to be close, the seller asks for a different closing date that is the most inconvenient date for all involved but the seller.

    The buyer might just walk away out of pure mental exhaustion. If it is this difficult now, they tell themselves, what will it be like once they go under contract?

    7. Putting unreasonable conditions on the sale

    Although this practice is done in some markets — particularly low inventory, high-price markets like California — this type of contingency creates too much uncertainty for all involved.

    A buyer needs to know where they are going and by when. An entire contagion effect comes into play and that might stall a buyer’s ability to sell and close on their current home if they own one or hamper them terminating a lease.

    To try to match up the timing of a seller finding the ideal property while they are trying to find a buyer for their home might be extremely difficult.

    It could also cause the seller to miss the market for their home, costing them not only time and a potentially higher selling price, but also and most of all, inability to move forward on a property that they like because you never know when your dream home will hit the market.

    Inspired daily by the takeaways learned in the field, top producer Cara Ameer has 18 years under her belt with licenses in both Florida and California. A self-proclaimed fitness fanatic, she loves working out, finds cleaning and organizing relaxing and can’t say no to strawberries

  • Tuesday, January 07, 2020 3:02 PM | Karin Shaw (Administrator)

    Controversial policy will require brokers to submit listing to MLS within 1 business day of marketing

    November 11, 2019 

    UPDATED 11:15 a.m., Nov. 11: The National Association of Realtors’ board approved a controversial policy that could drastically cut down on pocket listings, a popular practice in the world of luxe real estate.

    A roughly 120-member NAR committee overwhelmingly approved the Clear Cooperation Policy on Saturday morning, sending it to the organization’s Executive Committee for consideration, according to Inman. On Monday, NAR’s board passed the policy 729-70.

    The policy would require brokers to submit a listing to the Multiple Listings Service within one business day of marketing a property to the public. NAR argues it will help make the business more transparent.

    Bright MLS Chair Jon Coile said pocket listings undermine the “social contract” that Realtors have with each other. Other supporters say it will help the NAR compete with off-MLS services popping up across the country.

    Pocket listings are popular in the higher stratas of residential markets in top-tier cities such as New York, L.A., and Miami for a few reasons. They help obscure ownership and listings for high-profile clients and allow agents to be more flexible with asking prices.

    They can be extremely lucrative for agents who have them because they essentially cut out outside agents. Those agents often end up representing both parties in deals.

    The proposed policy has a cutout allowing brokers to make a listing an office exclusive and keep it off the MLS and platforms that aggregate from the MLS, including Redfin and Zillow, which could alleviate concerns for celebrity clients.

    Last year, Pacific Union International launched an online platform that acts as a pre-MLS listing service. Pacific Union properties go on that platform with limited information starting when an agent signs on to represent a seller until it hits the MLS, which can take up to 10 days or so. Pacific Union says that lets agents gauge interest before listings start to accrue “days on the market.” In 2017, The Agency broker Christopher Dyson partnered with the firm’s CEO Mauricio Umansky and “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” stars James Harris and David Parnes on a new online platform dubbed “The Pocket Listing Service,” or, which allows brokers to share and search nationally for off-market properties.

    The NAR vote suggests there is strong support for such a policy. If approved by the Executive Committee, the measure would go to NAR’s board of directors for final approval, according to Inman. The policy would come into effect January 1, 2020. [Inman] – Dennis Lynch

West Hawaii Association of REALTORS®
75-5995 Kuakini Hwy., #221, Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Phone (808) 329-4874 Fax (808) 329-5191

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