Prepare Your Hawaii Home for Sale - Get Your House Show Ready - Sakamoto Properties

Prepare Your Hawaii Home for Sale – Get Your House Show Ready

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February 12, 2024
Prepare Your Hawaii Home for Sale - Get Your House Show Ready

Prepare Your Hawaii Home for Sale

Getting Your House Show Ready

Selling your Hawaii home can be a big undertaking, whether you’re upsizing, downsizing, or leaving the state entirely. But with proper preparation and staging techniques, you can make sure the sale is smooth, profitable, and hassle-free. Before you put up that ‘For Sale’ sign, there are important steps to take that can wow potential buyers.

Let’s dive into a collection of expert tips that will help you showcase your home in the best possible light, highlighting its unique features and creating an inviting atmosphere that captures attention.

Cut the Emotional Ties

Preparing your home for sale requires acknowledging and releasing the emotional attachments you have with your space. While it’s true that this is the place where countless cherished memories were made, it’s important to shift your mindset and envision it as an empty canvas, eagerly awaiting new occupants to fill it with their own unique experiences. Remember, a house is ultimately about the people who inhabit it, not just the physical structure itself.

As you embark on this new chapter, take solace in knowing that another family will soon step in, ready to create their very own precious memories within these walls.

Make It Impersonal

When it comes to selling your house, potential buyers want to envision themselves living in it, not you. To create that inviting atmosphere, it’s crucial to pack away family photos, keepsakes, and other personal items that could divert their attention. Even unique pieces like a quirky zebra sofa or abstract painting might need to be temporarily concealed.

By doing so, you create an open canvas that allows buyers to imagine their belongings fitting perfectly into the space. This simple step can make a big difference in capturing their interest and helping them see the true potential of your home.

Define Your Goals for the Sale of Your Hawaii Home

Deciding to sell your home is a big step. As you embark on this journey, it’s crucial to understand your intentions and expected outcomes. Are you part of the 15,000 people who bid farewell to Hawaii in 2024? If so, you need to consider:

  • Do you know where you’re moving?
  • Is there a new home waiting for you?
  • Will you need storage for your belongings during the transition?


Over the years, as we go through life, we tend to accumulate a multitude of possessions – so much stuff. However, before you welcome potential buyers into your home, it’s time to embark on a mission of decluttering and organization. Take a moment to evaluate each item and ask yourself, “Have I used this in the past year?” If the answer is no, it may be time to let it go.

Create space and remove any bulky furniture that could obstruct movement within your home. Consider donating unwanted items to organizations such as Goodwill or Salvation Army, disposing of broken items responsibly, or even renting a storage unit if needed. Decluttering not only attracts buyers but also makes your upcoming move much smoother and more manageable.

Keep in mind that potential buyers will explore every nook and cranny, including closets and storage cabinets. Show them that you have taken care of your home by keeping these spaces well-organized and tidy. Take the time to tidy up your kitchen, perhaps even alphabetize your spice jars, align your coffee mugs, and ensure your clothes and shoes are neatly arranged in your closets.

By investing the effort to declutter and organize, you create an inviting and well-cared-for atmosphere that gives potential buyers confidence in your home!

Enhance Your Home Decor

While your personalized bedroom may be your haven, it might not appeal to potential buyers. To make it more universally attractive, consider a cost-effective neutral makeover. This allows buyers to concentrate on picturing their style within the space.

Additionally, if there are items in your home that you’re particularly fond of and don’t intend to include in the sale, like an antique chandelier or built-in appliances, it’s best to remove them before showing the house. If a buyer forms an attachment to an item during the viewing and later learns it’s not part of the deal, it could potentially threaten the sale.

Minor Repairs Can Make Major Differences

In the dynamic real estate market of Hawaii, homes can sell rapidly even with minimal improvements. Still, if your goal is to boost your selling price or secure a sale during slower demand periods, minor repairs can make a substantial impact. Undertaking simple and affordable fixes can significantly enhance your home’s appeal without breaking the bank.

Addressing issues such as leaky faucets, rusty fixtures, poorly closing doors and drawers, burnt-out lightbulbs, and wall holes is recommended. Furthermore, refreshing your space could be as straightforward as adding slipcovers and new pillows to worn-out furniture. These seemingly minor changes can greatly improve the overall condition and aesthetics of your home.

These measures not only enhance your home’s appearance but also increase its market value. They make your property more appealing to potential buyers. So, if you’re aiming to leave a lasting impression and stand out in the Hawaii real estate market, investing in these minor improvements can yield significant benefits.

Let the Sunshine In

Embrace Hawaii’s famed natural lighting to make your home stand out. On the day of the showing, turn on all lights, fans, and air conditioning, and open all doors and curtains. Creating a bright, airy space can make a room appear larger and more inviting.

A welcoming ambiance extends beyond sight to the sense of smell. Enhance this with pleasant aromas such as fresh flowers, lit candles, or freshly baked cookies. However, avoid strong, potentially divisive smells like bacon or burnt popcorn.

Cleanliness is a virtue closely linked to success

Maintaining cleanliness is paramount in leaving a lasting positive impression on potential buyers. It’s essential to make every corner of your house shine, from dusting the tops of furniture and fan blades to washing windows both inside and out. Keeping kitchens and bathrooms sanitized, and floors gleaming can make a big difference.

As you prepare your home for viewing or photography, don’t overlook the small details. Make sure toilet seats are closed and fresh towels are hung up in the bathrooms. These seemingly minor touches can significantly boost the overall presentation of your home, enhancing its appeal to potential buyers.

Professional Photos – A Worthwhile Investment

In the realm of home sales, the value of professional photography cannot be overstated. Investing in high-quality photos can be a game-changer in attracting potential buyers. These photos do more than just showcase your property; they capture its unique charm and essence, crucial for marketing Hawaiian properties.

Buyers from neighboring islands, the mainland, and even abroad rely heavily on these images to make their purchasing decisions. Remarkably, some have bought homes in Hawaii without setting foot on the property, solely based on the strength of the photos. This highlights the profound impact that well-crafted images can have on buyer interest and confidence.

Professional photos should not be seen as just an expense, but rather as an investment towards the successful sale of your home. The right images can significantly boost buyer interest, lead to more inquiries, and potentially result in a higher sale price. So, when it comes to showcasing your home’s true potential and attracting the right buyers, never underestimate the power of professional photography.

Curb Appeal: Making a Lasting First Impression

Curb appeal is crucial when it comes to making a lasting first impression on potential buyers. As soon as they see your property, they should feel an irresistible draw to explore further. Enhancing this appeal can be achieved by adding beautiful exterior plants, maintaining the walkway, and considering a fresh paint job for your front door.

Ensuring your house number is visible is also important. This avoids confusion for visiting buyers and facilitates easy identification of your property. Remember, the exterior of your home sets the tone for what’s inside, so make every detail count.

By focusing on these aspects, you significantly increase your home’s attractiveness. A well-presented exterior not only invites potential buyers in but also helps your property stand out in the competitive real estate market.

Consider the Tax Implications of Your Hawaii Home Sale

In Hawaii’s vibrant real estate market, selling your home often leads to a significant increase in home value. However, this also brings tax implications into play. Both federal and state governments will require a portion of the profits from your sale.

Engaging a tax professional early in the process can result in substantial savings. For instance, investors may have the option to defer capital gains using a 1031 exchange. Moreover, if you’re selling your primary residence in Hawaii, you could exclude up to $250,000 of the gain, or up to $500,000 if you’re filing a joint return with your spouse.

In summary, it’s not advisable to navigate this complex process alone. Investing in professional advice can be incredibly beneficial and can lead to considerable financial savings in the long run.

HARPTA & FIRPTA: The Tax Implications

As a non-resident selling property in Hawaii, it’s essential to understand the Hawaii Real Estate Property Tax Act (HARPTA). This act mandates a flat 7.25% of the entire home sales price to be collected from non-residents to ensure capital gains taxes are collected. However, this only applies to the appreciation of the property (the capital gains), not the total cost. Non-residents can file form N288C post-closing to seek a refund if the HARPTA withholding exceeds the actual capital gains tax due.

Foreign investors who are not U.S. citizens may also have to pay a 15% FIRPTA withholding. The Foreign Investment in Real Estate Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA) enables the federal government to tax capital gains on real property sold by non-citizens. Like HARPTA, a tax return can be filed to receive a refund of any excess taxes paid.

Timing is Everything: When To Sell Your Hawaii Home

After deciding to sell and planning your next steps, the next crucial step is to determine the best time to list your property. Data suggests March or April might be the ideal month to sell your home. Although Hawaii has beautiful weather all year round, using this data can potentially increase your sale price or quicken your sale process, but personalized advice from a trusted real estate agent is always recommended.

Summer in Hawaii is the peak season for moving. If a summer move is on your agenda, it’s best to contact your chosen moving company as soon as possible to secure a slot. However, if you have flexibility with your moving dates, planning a relocation outside of the summer months may offer more scheduling options.

Be Flexible with Showings

Increasing the number of individuals who view your home can significantly enhance your chances of selling it quickly. To maximize your potential buyer pool, it is advisable to maintain flexibility with showing times and accommodate as many interested parties as possible. By doing so, you can create more opportunities for potential buyers to explore and consider your property, ultimately improving your chances of a swift and successful sale.

Collaborate with Experts

Choosing the right real estate agent is a pivotal decision that can significantly shape your home selling experience. You need to select someone trustworthy and attuned to your selling goals. An experienced agent, like those found at Sakamoto Properties, can guide you through crucial steps such as pricing your property competitively, preparing for viewings, selecting the most fitting offer, and navigating the closing process.

It’s equally important to choose an agent with a deep understanding of the specific Hawaiian Island where your property is located. For instance, an agent experienced with the Big Island may not have the same expertise for a sale on Maui. Roy & Betty Sakamoto are renowned agents who specialize in Maui real estate, making them ideal partners for a stress-free home sale in this region.

Selecting a Dependable Moving Company

When the deal is sealed and it’s time to part ways with your beloved home, a trustworthy, cost-effective, and professional moving company can make the transition smoother. Whether you’re planning a local, interisland, mainland, or international move from Hawaii, we suggest obtaining three independent estimates. This approach will provide a clear picture of your options and associated costs.

If a particular company offers an estimate significantly lower than the others, it warrants a careful review. Ensure that this quote encompasses all services to prevent surprises on moving day. Unforeseen costs can quickly turn a seemingly attractive deal into an expensive ordeal.

Finally, remember to inquire about storage facilities. When selling your home, being prepared for unpredicted situations is always beneficial. A moving company that provides storage solutions offers you added flexibility, allowing you to safely store your belongings until you’re ready to transition them into your new abode.

Setting the Stage for Your Hawaiian Home Sale

The Final Flourishes

After diligently preparing your Hawaiian home for sale, it’s time for the final walk-through. This stage focuses on perfecting every detail to create an inviting ambiance. Visualize yourself as a potential buyer, critically assessing each room.

The Hawaiian housing market is competitive with low inventory. However, strategic preparations can enhance your chances of attracting faster, higher-priced offers. The effort you put in today could lead to a successful sale tomorrow.

Don’t wait – start your preparation journey now! Remember, your home is more than a structure; it narrates a story. Make that story compelling for potential buyers, setting the stage for a successful sale!

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