9 Tips to Get Your Hawaii Home Sold in 2016

REALTORS® are routinely asked by sellers why their homes haven’t sold. After two and a half decades in this business, I’ve learned that there is a buyer for every property. Sadly, the traditional seller’s goal of selling for the highest price in the least amount of time can be sometimes be an elusive concept.

stewart miles

Photo courtesy Stewart Miles/

Truth is, for years, finding a buyer was a slow, steady process. The market is much improved, but the days of run-away pricing “if you list it, they will come” are long gone.

The Past Few Years Have Conditioned Buyers to Look For Bargains

Here’s what I know. Buyers are still looking for a bargain; in most cases they likely waited too long but they are still in denial. There’s very little foreclosure or short sale inventory. This makes competition among market rate properties very tough.

Traditional sellers have one distinct advantage and that is their ability to “get ready.” Properly preparing your home for the market is vital even in today’s market. An article I once read by David Crook is on point. His “Seven Tips for Sellers Who Can’t Wait Until the Market Turns Around,” still applies. It should be required reading for sellers.

Here Are a Few Highlights

1. “Don’t wait.” It probably won’t help, not in the near term.

2. “Make your house shine.” No major renovations. Clean it, paint it, and make it look loved. Mr. Crook is right. Buyers are “taking your house on a date. It has to make a good impression.”

3. “Price to sell!” Buyers are looking for bargains. Price below competition. Price to sell in 30 days.

4. “Be the best of the bunch.” It’s not 2005 any longer. Buyers can still buy for the same rent. They are out there looking. Buyers are conditioned that listings take time to sell. Listings become stale quickly. Price it right from the get-go! If not, buyers will sit…and wait.

5. “Hire the best representation you can find.” Choose a top agent in a top office. Look for world-class marketing, but don’t expect top-notch representation at a discount. Tough markets require marketing which employs systems that take years to cultivate. Marketing is expensive. Your agent needs a marketing budget.

6. “Promote aggressively”. Hire the best but help with the process. Your agent knows what to do, but help them increase exposure when you can.

7. “Be the bank.” Offer to “carry paper” if you can. This isn’t as easy as it once was, but it sometimes helps.

8. “Take the offer.” Seriously consider every offer. Don’t quibble over a survey or a couple of thousand dollars. A bird in hand and all that…Even sellers who turned down last year’s offer could face a smaller number this year.

9. And last, “After you hired the best, listen!” If your agent says you are over-priced, listen! If she tells you to clean the house, clean it! If she says to paint, then do it! She is on your side. She is there to help you get ready and make sure your New Year’s resolution is one you can accomplish with some certainty.

About the Author

Denise Nakanishi

Denise Nakanishi is a REALTOR Broker with Hawai'i Life. Denise Nakanishi is one of Hilo's most acclaimed real estate agents. She reached the rank of Major in the US Army and is now known by many as "Major Mom." The nickname fits–not only does Denise bring the discipline and mission-oriented attitude you'd expect, she's also caring and compassionate, always looking out for her clients like they're her own family. Having made the Big Island her home since 1987, Denise combines her extensive knowledge of the area with a sharp focus on customer service and the results speak for themselves. She's the recent recipient of the Best East Hawai`i, Best of Zillow, Chairman's Circle Award, President's Circle, Top Producing Agent since 2001, and Realtor of the Year awards. Denise stays ahead of the curve because she's passionate about education–she served as Education Chair for Hawaii Island REALTORS® for many years. She's one of Big Island's best real estate resources, known for her weekly article in the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Denise leads Team Nakanishi for Hawai`i Life, who is committed to their family, work, and community. In her little time away from work, Denise is a committed runner and Grandy. She also devotes many hours to various Veterans' Organizations, the East Hawaii Cultural Center, and the Hawaii Island REALTORS®. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 936-5100.

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