Buying Advice

Save the Date & Still Looking

Pictured: Home on Melekule St. that was bought right away with my advice below!

Look up, look down, all I see is trash on the ground….or at least that’s how I felt this past weekend as members of Team Nakanishi – Hawai`i Life, along with employees from HPM and members of the Puna community joined Rep. Greggor Illagan and Councilmember Susan Lee Loy in cleaning portions of the roadway near the Kea`au Transfer station.

Litter Bugs Me!

We collected close to 70 bags of rubbish. But guess what? No sooner than we got in our cars to leave, another entire bag of rubbish appeared right smack dab where we just cleaned! In this beautiful place that we live, I’ll never understand how anyone could ever use the sides of the road as a rubbish dump. It was actually hard work but totally worth it! Rep. Illagan says the next pick up will be Oct 9th, so save the date! Hopefully, we will be able to move to a new section and not end up re-tracing our path. 

Affordable Housing

At our “after party,” the conversation naturally drifted to housing. Seems we are all concerned about making things more affordable here in Hawai`i nei. While there’s no easy or fast solution, the fact that we can all join the conversation is a step in the right direction. During the same discussion, a “getting started” story was shared. An owner who started in lower Puna sold and re-sold, built wealth, and is moving forward.

First Time Buyers…

For those still in the market, remember, you aren’t looking for your forever home. Get started where you can. Many upper and lower Puna subdivisions are as affordable as rent. Zero down loan programs are available. The house in Ainaloa that was $179k three years ago is now $339k. While there’s fierce buyer competition, there are steps (as previously covered) that might help.

  • Reliable Realtors. Find the busiest listing agent you possibly can. They normally have new inventory in their pipeline. Get pre-approved and when it’s time to write an offer, it should be well-written. Seller’s agents are crazy busy. We don’t have time to clean up paperwork for other agents.
  • Self-Control. Besides, sloppy paperwork equals sloppy representation. On the practical note…remember when you are looking at property that “Mr Blink” and “Mr Ring” (security cameras) allow the seller to hear what you are saying. If you absolutely love the property, curb your enthusiasm until you are out of earshot.

Those same tools also allow sellers to see how you are dressed. Looking like a hobo may not put you in the best negotiation position. I’ve had buyers request that sellers turn off the cameras but even if they agree, they are under no real obligation to do so. After all, most sellers are simply tuning in to determine if the showing is complete.

Work It!

So, when you are planning on “moving on up on the East Side,” remember there are many of us who really want to help but there is one thing I know for sure. You can’t buy it if you don’t have a J-O-B. Lenders may overlook periods of COVID unemployment but buying time means it’s time to go back to work…and guess who just happens to have a few good job openings at the Hilo Airport concession? Don’t delay, send your resume to

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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