Buying Advice

The Reality of DIY Real Estate

Pictured home: 15-1887 30th Ave. (PUAKALO) Keaau, HI 96749

Remember when reality and do-it-yourself TV shows were all the rage. For over 20 years (until 2021) an entire TV channel existed to preach self-help 24/7. Networks still seem to race to find a new angle to attract those interested in taking on projects in their spare time. Obviously, there are no programs about fixing your own teeth or self-help brain surgery. Likewise, there are no programs about buying or selling your own home. I suppose there are those who insist on pulling their own teeth and there will forever be those who believe they don’t need a REALTOR®.

The fact is, 90% of all homes are still sold through an agent. Most sales made without an agent are sold to friends or family. Few sell to “walk-in” buyers. It makes perfect sense. Even without addressing the technical aspects of a transaction, REALTORS® have a huge advantage when selling a home.

The Home Seller

Sellers have but a single commodity. Buyers shop by comparison. Even when they like what they see, they still want to look around. Sellers historically overprice their home but eventually accept lower than market value (even considering commissions). Sellers generally have no real basis for pricing.

In representing several on-line sites where sellers anonymously ask for price opinions, I find that even under the best of circumstances, I am only able to give a broad opinion of value until I actually visit the property. Pricing requires a direct comparison. Sellers price mainly on the basis of wishful thinking.

The Home Buyer

Buyers make offers based on comparison, market data, and the recommendations of a seasoned agent. REALTORS® with an established relationship can assist buyers in evaluating whether or not a property is a correct fit. Buyers aren’t normally forthcoming with a Seller, either in their opinion of the property – or their true ability to buy. Lookers waste time. A less than professional yard sign gives a buyer the impression they are dealing with an amateur; they negotiate accordingly.

Get Professional Help

REALTORS® can best expose properties to the largest pool of potential buyers. Conservatively, a REALTOR’S® ability to expose property probably exceeds a seller’s 1,000:1. Sellers are limited to the local paper and perhaps a buried website; certainly not where today’s buyers shop.

So, while everybody loves their good ol’ Uncle and his self-imposed toothless smile, I prefer to stick with my regular dentist. The “reality” is some things are undisputedly best left in the hand of a true professional!

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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precie padua

July 7, 2022

I am not familiar with this island. Are there tourist in Keaau island. How many hours to fly to get to this island . Is there any airport to fly there?
Please provide some information about Keaau Island.
Precie Padua

Denise Nakanishi, R(B)

July 11, 2022

> Aloha Precie-

Kea`au is not an island, but a city located on Hawai`i Island. It is about a 55 minute flight from Honolulu airport on O`ahu to Hilo airport on Hawai`i Island. From there, it’s about a 20 minute drive to Kea`au.

One of the most popular areas in Kea`au is Hawaiian Paradise Park. I wrote a blog about it:

The blog is a few years old, so some of the information need to be updated, but it remains one of the fastest growing and most popular neighborhoods on the island.

Feel free to reach out with any other questions!

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