About Me

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Honolulu ホノルル, Hawaii ハワイ, United States
ALOHA! I am a full-time real estate agent at List Sotheby's International Realty in Honolulu, Hawaii. Born and raised in Japan, Hawaii resident since 1990. Background in insurance, banking and tourism for Japanese market. Focus on condos (luxury apartments) in Waikiki, Ala Moana and Kaka'ako area. With this blog, I will share upcoming development and real estate topics unique to Hawaii. Feel free to contact me! こんにちわ。 リストサザビーズインターナショナルリアルティに所属、ハワイの不動産売買をお手伝いしていますミサです。1990年よりハワイ在住。好奇心・興味旺盛な性格から、日本と違う仕組みを知りたいと、保険(生保と損保)の資格取得、その後ネット銀行では全米からの電話問い合わせに英語対応を経験(汗)。度胸がついてハワイ法廷通訳者にも登録。不動産免許は2007年に取得。不動産に限らずご質問はいつでもお気軽にどうぞ。

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Attention! (Hawaii Homowners)

For all Hawaii homeowners - Yes, your real property tax will be due tomorrow (Semi-Annual 1st installment, another February 20). If you have a mortgage, chances are your lender will be paying from impound account on behalf of you. I would suggest to check your mortgage account activities to be sure this has been paid on time. For those income under $50,000 in year 2007, City and County has real property tax credit: please take a look at this link for more information.

In Hawaii, there are many homeowners who are "house rich, cash poor". Imagine you bought your home in Kahala 30 years ago - humble cottage on a big lot. You have worked all years, and paid off mortgage, now on fixed income into retirement. Real Property Tax assessment in recent years has been very tough for those who "Lived in whole life" homeowners. Find out more and be sure to file before September 30.

About Home Exemption:
I have seen many homeowners who purchased their homes and moved in "forgot" to file this rather simple homeowner's exemption form. Chances are, you are given this form at the escrow table, and you filed away without submitting. You can check your property tax status and if you don't see any exemption status (and you don't remember if you filed it), follow the instruction and file by September 30, for the next fiscal year (July 1~June 30 of following year).

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goodreads - my bookshelf

I recently sign up for Goodreads, just so that I keep notes on myself about books I read and remind which book I want to read (if I have a time). These days, books are things of the past for Gen Y (they migrated to MySpace and YouTube or Wikipedia), but I still like the spare time spent at bookstore just browsing around, or the almost forgotten old books in the library...
Even local library offer e-book you can rent for 2 weeks electronically. No past dues or lost books.

Enjoy books!

Real Estate for Boomers and Beyond: Exploring the Costs, Choices and Changes for Your Next Move Real Estate for Boomers and Beyond: Exploring the Costs, Choices and Changes for Your Next Move by Tom Kelly

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a must read for all baby boomers. It explains why we feel the way we feel, and how we attract certain things... Just like birth order or birth place, the generation we born in affect our way of decision making. This book is to learn the social trends, know where you stand, and make wise decision: find the balance of financial and emotional needs.

Some chapters are related topics, mortgage and reverse mortgage, long term care facilities and "age in place" concepts. You can pick and choose what interest you, just be aware those are within the sphere that influence your lifestyle.

Title cover shows the intent of this book. In order to make a move in real estate (or anything else in this regard) is to know yourself first, learn how other thinks (market), and measure if that makes economical sense, particularly if you are thinking for short-term or transitional. This is the wisdom needed in today's market and forward.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sustainable Housing - Tokyo Style

MAN MADE -one of the TV series by National Geographic-aired interesting episode: Tokyo-Living Small in the Big City and I would love to share 4 minutes of the video about "penguin house" - the extreme creativity and innovation for mere garage space.

I remember years back (circa 1990) when I used to rent an apartment in Tokyo. It was a sticker shock how expensive those tiny rentals were. But in lieu of personal space, this metropolis provides the unlimited opportunities to explore beyond your small pad.

Another article the Newest Cottage Industry is also worth the reading. Slideshow of instant history of housing trends are informative. Baby Boomers (born between 1946~1964) are largest, healthiest and wealthiest group ever appear on the US growth landscape. Builders and developers has been researching this most influential group as target market. To reflect what Baby Boomer wants, the size of average home grown from 953 sq ft to 2,200 sq ft in 50 years.

I don't see smaller homes gain popularity here in Hawaii, yet. Maybe Hawaii's home is smaller by mainland standard, and their lifestyle and choice of furniture doesn't allow any shrinkage to the Hawaii home. Once supersize it, isn't it hard to go back to the size it used to be?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Club Monaco opening at Nordstrom

Club Monaco - I never heard of it, but I'm sure its a known brand for Gen-Y, will be opening at Nordstrom Wing of Ala Moana Center this Friday. We've been hearing economic slowdown - recession, inflation, job loss... Under the cloud so gloomy, there are some new stores coming into Hawaii.

Per Wikipedia, Club Monaco had humble beginning in Toronto in 1985, grew over to North America and Asia, acquired by Polo Ralph Lauren in 1999. Fascinating! Club Monaco had stores in Japan but they all closed while ago. They may find another reason to come and shop!

*Photo exhibit "See the World in Black and White" opening 7/16 6:30pm, with 3 local photographer's art at display available for purchase.(partnership with Honolulu Academy of Art "ARTafterDARK")

Here's the YouTube - Famed fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh's footage of photo shoot of Club Monaco's black & white. I like B&W photography, Irving Penn being my favorite. Hope you enjoy it, too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"Buzz Words" in today's real estate

This year's Hawaii Build & Buy Green Conference is held May 20 and 21 at Hawaii Convention Center. I've been hearing "buzz words" for a while (Realtor Magazine featured Eco-friendly movement as a trend in May 2007 issue), and now it becomes daily topic - "how to save energy$".

With the boost with rebate and tax credit incentives, solar panel installer is working overtime to meet the demand. Some may consolidate the driving pattern to save gas.

For realtors, there is a new "Eco-Broker" certification program, a marketing specialization of this new trend. Becoming an "Eco-Broker" help homebuyers? when majority of properties in the market is not going to be adopted by this new trend? It may show that you care, but it doesn't change how properties are built.

I would think developers and architects are the visionary and take active role for future building to be LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design) certified. Older existing building should improve its energy-efficiency at reasonable range by contractor and eco-friendly products on the market.

I renovated my condo in 2005 with my little effort to be eco-friendly:
*change all bulbs to CFL, *replace old water heater with tankless (on-demand), *replace old kitchen appliance with energy-star appliance, *replace toilet with ultra-low flush model, *Rip off old wall-to-wall carpet/pad with recyclable carpet-tile (FLOR*) and just open up the window instead of a/c. This is not much to change the world, but I'm glad I did. Be green!

*picture is for Wolf showroom on N. King St. Architecture incorporate some energy-efficient feature, but do you know Wolf appliance is energy-star?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Brand New Model Open - Ka Makana at Hoakalei

Haseko's master planned community Ocean Pointe models are now closed, and brand-new project "Ka Makana" sales office will open tomorrow with 15 models.

Ka Makana means "the gift" in Hawaiian, and this is the first village of Hoakalei Haseko envisioned to create a major international resort destination.

Hoakalei Marina (largest marina in the State), Hoakalei Country Club Golf Course (Ernie Els signature design), Hoakalei Beach/Canoe Club, Ka Makana Swim Club, tennis court and fitness center are the features you see in their conceptual plan.

HALA series - The 20s (4 models) From mid $500,000s
MILO series - The 40s (4 models) From high $600,000s
BANYAN series - The 50s (3 models) From mid $800,000s
KOA seris - The 60s (4 models) From mid $900,000s* ($1,000,000 for homesites w/golf course view)

I previewed those models April 16 and my favorite are:
HALA 20.10 (3bed/2bath 1,212 sq ft living area) only 2 single level floor plan (other is MILO 40.10), vaulted ceiling in master bedroom, 2 tiny fixed windows in kitchen, small porch/lanai area doesn't require much maintenance/gardening for those who opt out, separation of master and 2 bedrooms, bedroom 2 facing frontage can be used for study/den/office, and another still away from street. This is small bungalow cottage feel, small and cozy.

KOA 60.30 (5bed/3.5bath 3,552 sq ft living area) Maybe the color scheme attract me (nautical theme in teal blue green shades), but I do love the airy open spaciousness with little bit of extra, such as kitchen nook and master bedroom retreat area. Check to see his and her walk-in closet, appropriately proportioned! Balcony/Lanai space is larger and square than other models. If I vote for Parade of Homes, this gets my vote.

For more information about this project or buyer's representation, please contact:
Misa Kataoka (RA)
Cel: 808-927-2000

Monday, March 31, 2008

1723 Kalakaua

"Dynamic. Stylish.Chic. 1723 Kalakaua." I would say, "Lean. Simple. Metro". Image of Bamboo, riverstone and seagrass... Designer Shari Saiki's Asian-Pacifica feel is well represented in the model room I visited last weekend.


This new project has just released March 23, and 17-story new construction is set to begin when 75% pre-sale is achieved, and once it break the ground, it has completion goal in early 2010, rather shorter and faster timeline, thanks to the size of the project.

In spite of small space (407 sq ft Studio ~ 703 sq ft 2bed), this is not the same category as vacation rental or condotel. It has full kitchen function with aestetic open layout, normally only afford to luxury condo. As any new condo, you would need to de-clutter, live zen-like simplicity, make the most of available space for comfortable metro living. I thought of HGTV "Small Space, Big Style", Honolulu metro version.

I would like the idea to have a small pad in town, intention to keep it minimal. Taking the different approach to the mid-priced ($300's~$500's) buyers, it chose the window a/c over central a/c, attempt to contain the maintenance fee.

I would love to see how local residents will take advantage of... For those young college sons/daughters to start out, or emply-nesters picking up oriental foods at Palama Market and Don Quijote... or walk to Nordstrom for another pair of shoes?

For more information about 1723 Kapiolani :

Friday, March 14, 2008

Future Kaka'ako

Since General Growth Properties (GGP) unveiled the long-term vision of Ward Neighborhood in February, their community outreach effort is demonstrated by the new website:
and community open house held March 11, sharing visuals and welcoming comments from public. I had a chance to hear their vision at CCIM meeting today.

It is still early stage, and we will see this transformation gradually, expected next 20 years of "smart growth". Hope I will be able to witness when I happily retired and fondly remember where Ward Farmer's Market and Marukai used to be.

Initial phase is the development of "Central Plaza" as a magnet for community and commerce.
This place will be used for special events, community gathering, pedestrian experience...
Later, there will be 3 Plaza (Ewa, Central, Diamond Head), 3 corridors for enhanced mountains and the sea. Public space, commercial and residential all blend in, creating the lifestyle of live-work-play for many Kaka'ako residents will be happy to embrace.

(Photo has nothing to do with this topic. I had many of my friends and family's birthday in March, and was checking with Satura Cake's website ...Isn't this cute?! Happy Easter!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Watermark

New luxury condo in prime location is about to complete - The Watermark Waikiki.

Intracorp focused on this Hawaii project to incorporate tropical lifestyle, with North American interpretation. ("perfect blend of contemporary and traditional island living" by sales material)

Private tropical gardens, infinity pool, fitness pavillion, barbeque alcoves, grand open-air lobby... Most welcomed feature out of all, in my opinion, is Storage space for bicycles, kayaks & surfboards! Imagine how many condos go without, and they have to live with self-storage facility (or good friend's garage or backyard).

Real estate and interior trends are most likely cyclical. Remember Avocado-green appliances?
Last few years, dark cabinets ("wenge wood") were "in", and many kitchen designer and HGTV shows featured many, many episodes. Recent trend I hear now is "White is back"! Oh well, we just need to live another decade that one day it goes back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nanala at Mehana Lottery

1st release of Nanala at Mehana by D.R. Horton-Schuler had been received strong demand, and this is the second release by lottery.

For those projecting your future lifestyle in second city of Kapolei to Live-and-Work, be sure to submit application by the deadline - Thursday, February 21 by 4:00pm. Lottery packet can be downloaded or pick up at the sales office (1001 Kaimokila Blvd, #133 by Fort Barrett Road & Kapolei Pkwy) Lottery Date: Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 10:00 am.

Nanala has 6 floorplans (ranging from 1,040 sq ft. to 1,814 sq ft. of living area) and this is the one of 8 communities planned for the master development of Mehana at Kapolei. You will see its transformation in the next 8~13 years.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Future of Ko Olina

"In October 2007, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced the purchase of 21 acres of oceanfront property at Ko Olina Resort & Marina to develop the hotel in Ko Olina.

Disney paid $144 million, planning to develop an expansive resort that will open in 2011 with 800 units of mixed use resorts, hotel rooms and villas for the Disney's time-share brand..." (excerpt from Honolulu Star-Bulletin, October 4, 2007)

Wow, will this happen in 4 years? Controvertial mass-transit plan is still miles to go, and congestion of leeward community has not reach any solution yet... "The second city of Kapolei" has its expansion plan, and Kapolei~Ko Olina region will be transforming agricultural land to wonder land.

Contact me if you want to know more about the current project or available units in this luxury resort in the making.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kaka'ako Neighborhood

Developer of the newest high-rise condo in Kaka'ako revealed its new project's crescent-shaped tower. Shown above is the preliminary rendering of 404 Piikoi expected to begin construction at the end of 2008, with delivery in 2011.
This is the last phase of the project permitted by HCDA (Hawaii Community Development Authority), and completed project are Nauru Tower, Hawaiki Tower, 1133 Waimanu and Koolani.
Honolulu Advertiser has another article ..."Population of Kaka'ako district is expected to jump to 30,000 by 2030, from just 6,000 in 2000, according to Census and state estimates. The number of housing units is expected to grow to 20,000, from 4,200..."
Read more from Honolulu Advertiser:
Most recent public hearing information can be found at this link:
To learn more about this neighborhood, here's the HCDA website:
Check also my website http://www.gothawaiihome.com/ and
Japanese Blog http://misakataoka.blogspot.com/ and feel free to leave me a feed back.