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The recent tragedy of an Arkansas REALTOR® is a stark reminder of the risks that come with the real estate profession: working with people you don’t know, working alone, being in unfamiliar locations, and working during off hours. There are resources available to members to help educate them on ways to increase their safety. Visit the NAR REALTOR Safety website at: http://www.realtor.org/topics/realtor-safety
Do you or your clients have $15,000 to convert from cesspool to septic tank?
Is it okay with you government mandates that anyone buying a home with a cesspool to convert to a septic tank within 180 days of the ownership transfer?
Do you feel that point of sale mandates create a bad precedent on future real estate transactions?
If you feel uneasy about any of these questions, the Department of Health is proposing to require replacement of all cesspools upon change of property ownership, conversion if there is a new restaurant tenant, limit rural development that have no sewer access, and many other burdensome requirements.
What can REALTORS® do?
Read HAR's testimony and familiarize yourself with the proposed rules.
Share this email and testimony with your family, friends, neighbors, and clients, especially if they have a cesspool system -- this will affect them.
Ask them to write testimony and share their stories on how this affects them.
The Hawaii Association of Realtors (HAR) is pleased to announce its officers for 2015.
President Arabel Camblor, ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO, is the Vice President and Broker-in-Charge of Clark Realty Corporation – Hilo, a locally-owned real estate brokerage firm with six offices on Hawaii. She is a past HAR Treasurer, former chair of the Education and Finance Committees for HAR, and a past president of the Hawaii Island Realtors.
Camblor succeeds Trudy Nishihara, CIPS, CRB, CRS, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, who now serves as the immediate past president.
The remaining 2014 officers include:
- President-Elect Moana Andersen, CIPS, CRB, CRS, GRI, Equity One Real Estate (Maui)
- First Vice President Susan Savage, CRS, SFR, Friendly Isle Realty, Inc. (Molokai)
- Treasurer Jodee Farm, Prudential Locations (Oahu)
- Executive Liaison Mary Begier, CRB, CRS, Mary Begier Realty, Executive Liaison
- Cherie Tsukamoto, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, SRES, East Oahu Realty (Oahu)
- CEO/Corporate Secretary Nancy Donahue Jones, CAE, RCE, PMN, Hawaii Association of Realtors.
Berton Hamamoto, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, Owner and Broker of Property Profiles, Inc., which specializes in residential sales and property management, has been selected as the 2014 Realtor of the Year by the Hawaii Association of Realtors.
The award was presented to him during the 2014 State Convention held from September 4 and 5 at the JW Marriott Ihilani at Ko Olina.
Hamamoto is being recognized for his efforts to promote education and professionalism in the real estate community. In addition to holding several designations, he is an instructor for the Graduate Realtor Institute program. He also works to further the image of Realtors to the public by writing articles on current real estate events in the local newspapers and has established himself as a source of real estate information in the media.
Hamamoto has been practicing real estate in Hawaii for nearly 30 years. He has volunteered for numerous committees and assignments, serving on over 30 committees on the local, state, and national level, including chairing six of them.
He is the 2004 CRB Pinnacle Award recipient, the 2007 President of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the 2009 Honolulu Board of Realtors’ Realtor of the Year, and the 2011 HAR President.
There will be a public hearing on October 2, 2014, at 10 a.m. where the Department of Health will explain proposed amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules for the Clean Water, Safe Drinking Water, and Wastewater Branches. These changes to the Wastewater rules include an end to approving new cesspools for construction and provisions to upgrade existing cesspools to septic systems upon the sale of property.
You can find the proposed changes and the rationale for these changes to Ch. 11-62 for the Wastewater Branch here on its website: http://health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/home/public_notice/
Some proposed provisions:
- Proposing new language that requires upon sale of any building served by an existing cesspool, the building, no later than one hundred and eighty days after ownership transfer, shall be connected to a sewer or, where a sewer connection is not feasible, the cesspool shall be replaced with a new wastewater system, other than a cesspool.
- Requires the owner of a commercial or shopping center to upgrade their wastewater system when they have a new tenant that opens a restaurant.
- Imposes new requirements for farms.
The present rules allow for an exemption from a private wastewater treatment facility if the proposed subdivision is no more than 50 lots. After 50 lots, a private sewage treatment plant will be required. The new rules change the exemption to 15 lots. This is totally unreasonable as there is no way to amortize such a huge expense under so few lots. This virtually rules out subdivisions in the 16-50 lot size.
Some of the unintended consequences of the above are lenders will not want to lend on properties subject to conversion or the outcome will likely be that the cost will be born onto the Buyers in the way of higher housing costs. The argument by the Department of Health that Buyers and Sellers will not be adversely affected during the transaction is false speculation and truly misunderstands the real estate industry.
This issue is very important to Hawaii REALTORS® and their clients. HAR believes it is unfair for the government to mandate that a property owner upgrade at the point of sale when the cesspool system was built using DOH standards and approved in writing by the DOH. These cesspools should be grandfathered.
The Hawaii Association of REALTORS® has been discussing this issue in coordination with the Local Boards and will proceed in a coordinated effort, which may include a membership Call-for-Action.
There is an estimated cesspool residential property count of 50,000 on Hawaii, 14,000 on Kauai, 12,000 on Maui, 11,000 on Oahu, and 1,400 on Molokai.
HAR contributed $4,000 to the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center (HHOC) as part of the REALTOR® organization's commitment to increase the homeownership rate in Hawaii. HHOC Executive Director Dennis Oshiro received a check from President Trudy Nishihara at the Board of Directors meeting on July 23, 2014.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had made changes to its loan guarantee program resulting in a significant drop in the maximum loan guarantee for veterans in Hawaii. In 2013, the VA loan limit was $750,000 for Oahu (and slightly higher in 2012). For 2014, it has dropped to $625,500.
The Hawaii Association of REALTORS® (HAR) applauds the announcement that the VA will increase loan limits in several areas of the State effective immediately.
Due to our high cost of living and high home prices, it’s extremely difficult for Hawaii residents to gather together enough money for a down payment. For many, the VA loan is the only way they can purchase a home. Many of our active duty, reserve and national guard members purchase homes using no down VA loans.
Last year, more than 5,000 families in Hawai‘i relied on VA loan guarantees.
The Hawai‘i Association of REALTORS® (HAR) commends the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for its announcement that it will resume guaranteeing home loans for veterans seeking to purchase rainwater catchment properties in Hawaiʻi.
“For several years, HAR has been working with local and Washington, D.C. representatives on finding a solution to a gap group of veterans that have been denied VA loans based on rainwater catchment systems,” said HAR President Trudy Nishihara. “We applaud the efforts by representatives in Washington, D.C., local governmental representatives, and the VA for coming to a resolution that provides an approval process and resuming the home loan guaranty program.”
Since 2011, veterans in Hawaiʻi have been unable to take advantage of VA benefits to purchase homes or refinance existing loans on homes served by rainwater catchment systems.
VA policy and details may be viewed here.
The Hawaii Association of REALTORS® has compiled the 2013 Statewide Housing Report from data shared by the various MLS/Local Boards. The report includes 2008-2013 comparisons on the following:
- Total Single Family Sales
- Total Condominium Sale
- Median Sales Price for Single Family and Condos on Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.
View the Report