Betty Sakamoto: Aloha and welcome to Betty’s real estate corner brought to you by Sakamoto Properties where prestige is our business, reputation our foundation. Again we get that great Danny Couch coming in to this and “I Love Hawaii” and somehow I can’t say it enough, ‘I love Hawaii.’ I'm one of the most fortunate people in the world. I grew up in Buffalo New York and I'm living in Hawaii. That just fascinates everybody back home in buffalo. Today in the studio we happen to have David Freedman whom many of you know his company formerly was Island Mortgage. And he has been one of the top lenders in Maui and is now working, his new company is Diamond Head Funding, Diamond Head Funding. And he seems to be able to pull off some loans that no one else can pull off so David what do you got to say this morning?
David Freedman: Well I'm reminded of how lucky we are first of all to live in Hawaii and on Maui as you say. And on the drive over I saw beautiful whales, a Hawaiian monk seal, and rain showers and a rainbow. It's a really special place to live and I think with that means specialists when it comes to your real estate advice as well as your lending. And it's, you know, one of these things where I have been a lender in California and throughout the whole US and Hawaii has situations that are unique only to Hawaii and we are a small state and whenever you are doing some type of transaction here whether it's in finance or purchasing of a real estate and when it comes to permitting and things like that you need someone who has local experience has done it before and usually you'll get the results that you pay for.
B: Totally agree with you and today if never, if more than ever before, you know when you're looking for a loan you really need to have a specialist. David has helped us in a number of fairly high loan balances right now or loan purchases and it's been amazing what he's been able to do. But even if your purchase is small you want to try to hook up with the best lender that you can and really learn as much as you can because it's something you can't do yourself. The last thing you want to do is start an online process that you end up a little buried in and then you end up closing a loan that in the end probably costs you a lot more than it should. So David can be reached at (808) 385-8558. How do I always remember that number? I'm doing good here David.
D: It's a great morning.
B: It is a great morning and nobody got really stuck in traffic today. There's a little construction going on but we did really good.
D: When you're stopping to look at whales I don't think you can really complain.
B: No I'm totally with you. There were whales everywhere today so it really is, you know actually this is really good to say because we do put this up on YouTube and I've had calls now from people that have listened to this or watched this show so I think we should remember that even though these people aren't necessarily here on Maui today able to listen to the radio we do have a number of people now that are listening or looking at it on YouTube so let's remember that. I mean this is the greatest place in the world, bar none.
D: Absolutely. You know we had a storm the other week where it washed some of the boats on shore and we were at the office in Lahaina and we had our guests and we turned on the web cams and we were looking at Sheraton Black Rock and we saw one of the boats on the sand. And it's one of these things where it's amazing what technology allows us to see and have access to. I think you know again touching on certain things sometimes it gives a false sense of comfort to someone's background and knowledge. The consumer is still going to need the professional advice of a realtor or the lender. The sites that are out there, we have access to tons of information, but unfortunately without that person's counsel, one of those professions, we can find ourselves once again getting a little over our head.
B: Well I think you're right. Even we are finding right now the same thing that you're saying. People arrive in town and they want to look at real estate but they've been looking at a variety of sites for months so they've got this preconceived notion that they already have it figured out and what they're doing is bringing us a list and that's exactly what they want to look at. But pretty quickly we figure out that doesn't work because it isn't what they really want or, I mean there's a whole lot of different things that are going into that today. But I think it is vitally important that people realize that they do want an expert and I agree with you whether you're buying real estate, selling real estate, or you're looking to refinance, or you're looking for a purchase loan you need experts. And what's going on online, it's really great, I respect the people that take the time to do it, but ask your expert and figure out why you should look at some of the other properties. You know as long as we're in here and we've got you in the loan and in the studio, what is going on right now? What would you say for different loans, you know whether it's the lower end or the top end? Can you give us a little bit of a brief summary what you think is happening and what it would take right now. Let's say somebody is buying a 3 million dollar property or someone's buying a 300 thousand dollar property.
D: Well it's a fantastic time. I'm going to start off with the basics of the conforming loan in Hawaii. We're in a little bit of a higher cost state and that allows a higher loan limit. And our 3-year fixed is at 3.5% today, I've never seen rates like this and I've been a lender for almost 20 years. Our 15 year fixed is at 2.875%, these are fixed rates for conforming loans. What it does is the person who's refinancing might either pull cash out of their home, if they have the equity, or they might save on their monthly income. And what's great is the prices are at an all time low, in my opinion, when you factor in inflation, the rates are at an all time low. People's buying power is being increased by the lower rates. So I think if everyone can get back from all the bad news which everyone loves to digest and throw back and really take a look at where we are today it's a great time to buy and it's a great market. The lenders are becoming a little bit more quick to lend on the conforming loans but we're seeing a lot of niche and specialty products come out because people in the banks are only getting 1% so the lower rates get that pendulum effect is that it drives the money out of the banks and it drives it into real estate backed securities.
B: David we're going to interrupt this a little bit because we have a very famous caller. We have Roy Sakamoto coming on the line with some information on a property that we just listed and he's at the property right now. Aloha Roy.
Roy Sakamoto: Good morning. I'm just getting ready to show our newest listing listed at 114 Woodrose place at Pineapple Hill in Kapalua. It's a great new listing it's a 3-bedroom. Each bedroom has its own bath, so each bed is one suite and one also has 2-half baths, it's 4,100 or so square feet of livable area.
B:You know Roy, don't you think the 2-half baths really do make that special at Pineapple Hill because the office upstairs has its own bath, I think it really is really an amazing property
R: Right now we're having our first showing, just hit the market this morning, and we're already having our first showing. So I'm sitting here waiting for the clients to show up.
B: Let's hear about the view, just kind of walk out there. Are there any rainbows, any whales, anything we've been talking about, what's going on today with rainbows or whales and stuff?
R: I just saw a pod of whales a few minutes ago. It's unbelievable, great, great views of Lanai and Molokai in the distance. You'll get sunsets all year round, but it's spectacular.
B: I think actually, I'm sorry, but actually you can see all of Molokai and beyond and all of lanai and beyond.
B: Yeah, that's amazing, the view there is amazing.
R: This has one of the best views anywhere in Kapalua, and certainly in Pineapple Hill
B: Sometimes when I think of Pineapple Hill, now maybe because we happen to be living there it's, you know my opinion could be not taken as seriously, I think there's some of the greatest views in the world. You know where you're looking out at that full ocean view and you've got two outer islands and if you can keep that pod of whales there till the people arrive they're buying that place.
R: Right now, no question. And the serenity of Pineapple Hill, you can hear the birds singing, and the Kapalua Resort, as we know, has made quite a comeback. It was kind of on its way down for a while but with the upgrading of the golf courses, the immensely successful HYUNDAI tournament in January, the Kapalua Resort is back on the map and going places again.
B: Yeah I feel ever since, and I don't know, did you watch the tournament David?
D: Yes I did
B: Good. Yeah we have found that since the tournament we're getting tons of calls, we have way more escrows than we've had before, and in a couple of cases we're almost hitting bidding on some of these properties. So it is, it's a way interesting time than what we've been dealing with and I believe it started as the tournament got into full swing. When you've got a tournament that's going to be prime time in New York you've got a lot of bodies that are going to be watching it so we're really happy with everything that's happened and what Troon golf has done for Kapalua. Oh huge, absolutely huge.
R: And I'm going to have to ring off now because the clients are here.
D: Great to hear from you Roy.
R: Talk to you soon David.
B: Okay, call the whales back.
R: Okay, have fun.
B: Okay, aloha.
D: If I can touch on this, you know, Troon has a fantastic track record if you go to Scottsdale area and you see what they've done to their communities it's incredible and you know we forget, we take it forgranted. I've been here for several years, I live in a house where your husband grew up -
B: This is an amazing story actually, cant' go through the whole thing but he actually does live in a house that he purchased after Roy's dad passed away and we almost kept it and then David and his wife decided to buy it and we didn't think they'd really stay forever. It's kind of a smaller cane house on Lahainaluna road but there's something special about the property, and they've stayed there, I mean this is like 11 years isn't it?
D: It is, we're going on our eleventh year. It touches on this, it's Maui is a very unique and special place. The last couple of years we've been very fortunate to travel throughout the US and North America and everybody always compares everything when they come back to Kapalua and to West Maui. And I see this when I come back, I live in a fantastic place but sometimes we take it for granted.
B: We all take it for granted, sometimes when I'm driving or somebody might say to me where is the sun setting right now? And I have to stop and think, you know I don't know, I'm not looking out all the time. But I need to remember, we all need to remember, what an amazing life we have and appreciate every sunset. Let's remember that tonight David.
D: Absolutely, if I can touch on one more thing if I may. Betty and I we live about 17 miles apart and we sometimes will go "it's too hot in Lahaina" and we'll take a drive up to Kapalua and we'll see a fantastic sunset, beautiful weather, it's 5 or 6 degrees or sometimes even 10 degrees cooler. And this goes back to a real specific knowledge in an area, and this goes back to a specialist and this is where I think it's more important today than ever. Today when we're making our commitments to new real estate, to purchasing new real estate, we wanna make sure as with us, with the house that we bought, we're okay being within it 11 years. I think we looked at it as we could be there for a long time and we've been happy with it. And I think the long term horizon, with the commitment of money, we really wanna make sure that the person we're dealing with is going to help you get the property that suits you. Sometimes I think that realtor is also a little bit of the psychotherapist.
B: Oh absolutely, absolutely. We definitely think we're psychotherapists. We may not be but we give it a try, we give it a go. And I think it is hard because people don't always know exactly what they want, and I think it's good, I think counseling and being honest with your realtor and your mortgage broker so that we don't get you into something that's above what you really wanna do. And it's not whether you can, you know sometimes I'll try to say to someone, you know, how much cash do you want to put into a property right now versus how much can you afford. You know, it's not how much you can afford necessarily, and with all that we've learned it definitely isn't. You wanna get into a property that you're comfortable with and that you'll be comfortable with the next 11 years at least.
D: Every time when we come home we always look at our home as not a house but as a home.
D: And so this morning I was picking an avocado off one of the trees in our back yard and you know home ownership on somewhere like my level where it's my home but we have a couple of investment properties but our home is something that's so important to love where you drive home to, love the door when you open it, and just go 'this is it'. And today we are seeing prices that are fantastic in West Maui and with the cost of money being what it is I think it's brought in a whole new sector of buyers, at the rates we're at you might find someone who couldn't afford a house two years ago can absolutely afford more house than they thought they could.
B: I think that's totally right. You know, we should probably drift back to where we stopped before Roy got on the phone with us and let's talk a little more about some of these rates because when you're saying right now that a conforming loan, which is up to 6 -
B: And that's a loan, you know, you'll be able to do that amount of a loan and at 3.5%, 30-year fixed, and 2.87% for a 15-year fixed. You know that is, really has been unheard of, you know those were the prices that were adjustable rate mortgages and we were feeling really good about them but I think it is worth somebody right now that thought they weren't going to buy or was thinking about buying, I think this really does step them up to a buyer and being able to get a fabulous house here.
D: That is a payment on the $625,000 loan dollar amount of $2,631
B: And that's based on the 30-year fixed?
D: The 30-year fixed at 3.5%
B: Now, again, for us in Maui that price $26, or let's say $2,700 a month, you know if you're going to have a home, you're gonna have higher rent than that, so in addition to that, obviously you have insurance and you're gonna have your taxes but when you sit down with your lender and or at the same time your accountant and you realize the benefits of home-ownership, you know, a lot of people right now, residents here, you should be buying now, there's no question, you should be buying now because these prices aren't going to last.
D: I had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth from your office the other day and one of the things she really seems to embrace is the new, first time home buyer.
B: Absolutely, she does.
D: And it's one of these things where when that person takes that jump, we have all been there. I remember when I bought my first home with the help of Mitch from Sakamoto Properties and having been in the business even for 5 years I was scared and Mitch walked me through it, he held my hand, and I shed a couple of tears, as well as Mitch.
B:Is that, Mitch is the best. Mitch is someone that, God forbid, you shed a tear in Mitch's presence because he is, he will cry with you and totally out of love and caring. But he is someone that really does care and I remember that deal.
D: You know, I really, I can't speak enough about that experience because it was probably not the normal house that Sakamoto Property listing would have expected. It was in an affordable area and the service that we got was exceptional. And I was absolutely, having been in the industry, still blown away and having seen many great transactions, still blown away by how well we were treated. And I see that care go into all of his transactions and I think that speaks so much to you because when I came here, that time that Roy, and you, that Dean, and Mitch, all imparted on me how to treat the clients.
B:And Charlie Pride.
D: And Charlie Pride, how could I forget that
B: Yes, I did until this minute. When we met Charlie Pride was having dinner with us in a restaurant and David was there and we had the best time getting together and talking but I totally forgot that experience and then we've all been friends and we've worked together ever since and that's a lot of years.
D: And to bring the point of Roy grew up in Lahaina and Roy has decided to specialize with you in Kapalua real estate. I think it's very believable to say that no one has more experience in Kapalua than Roy.
B: Absolutely, you know just so you know we do as an office, and we will ourselves, we help any first time buyer and we'll be available to therm. I mean Elizabeth like you were saying and Mitch recently did a couple of really great purchases for people. And we do wanna always help the first time home buyer or the local resident who's trying to figure out how they can move up in what they're doing or should they buy or maybe they've owned before but they just really have been a little afraid they sold something not too long ago but you know we will take the time with you have you come into our office maybe have a cup of coffee some morning and talk to you about what direction you should be going in. Tell me before we, I mean, I think we're going to wind down faster than we think here so I'm hoping, why don't you tell us a little more about what your company is doing and how somebody should reach you, and your website. I've got somebody right now I'm going to ask you about afterwards, that's working, that wants a loan so -
D: I think first off, the thing is first time home ownership is so important because that's where the whole recovery has started and prices are affordable and we're gonna see that move upward all across the board and I want to tell everyone out there because I went through this experience because Mitch worked with us and showed us homes for 6 months and I honestly could not believe the experience we had as first time home buyers and don't be scared if you're out there. It doesn't cost anything to give myself a call or to speak to someone from Sakamoto Properties, you have a wealth of resources and it's free and easily accessible. My website is www.diamondheadfunding.com and Sakamoto Properties online you can't beat that for information.
D: And when you have someone, I won't say somebody Roy's age, but it's fair to say he's got more than 50 years living on the west side involved with real estate on the west side. When I bought, their, Roy's, childhood home there were books from the '60s and '50s on real estate. And so the depth of the experience and it's accessible. This is so important because to get someone who said I've lived here, I've done this my whole life, you're never gonna really find that here anywhere else at any other brokerage at all. So I'm a fan, I'm a user as well.
B: Thank you so much.
D: For product, we see new products coming out every day. I think the hedge funds and the commercial banks are excited because they're able to lend with Hawaii real estate. We see product coming out specific to Hawaii that is a lot easier to qualify today than it was just 3 months ago, it's changed that dramatically.
B: That's going to make a big difference in sales because people have been somewhat afraid to end up, you know, into the, what they thought was the mortgage loan saga, that they would never come out of, or then they're going to be spending money on a variety of things to get to the stage and then they're going to lose whatever that was, inspections, etcetera, etcetera. So when David says that over the years David has always been able to once he steps in and he's got a loan application and he's met with you if he says he can do a loan, borrowing something that comes back a little different from what you've said or a change he does get the loans together and he does make them happen. So I think again talking to David is really great and talking to Sakamoto properties, obviously Mitch is the man, that's (808) 870-5548. Mitch is the man, he was going to be here today then -
D: He allowed me to step in for him. So I wanna say thank you, Mitch, for that.
B: He did. And Mitch is out now selling something so hopefully he's getting you a loan.
D:Of course he is.
B: Of course he is. Well you know it already looks like hard to believe that we're winding down. We've got about 2 minutes left so I think, is there anything in particular that you can think of that you'd like to say about -
D: Yes, I've said it already once but I think it's $625,000, we quoted a payment on that but for the average loan amount here in Hawaii a payment is going to be $1397, that's a loan amount of $330,000 and today that buys you a heck of a lot of house. And so what we know is most people out there pay more for rent today than the cost of home ownership so if you're out there looking is there a property out there that you can think of Betty in the $500,000, $400,000 range out there that you would show someone today?
B: There is an amazing number of properties right now that you can purchase in the $500,000 range. But give us a call (808) 669-0070, check our website at www.sakamotoproperties.com and you can go through there, but call us and make an appointment, more important just make an appointment and we'll go through everything with you and help you with your wants and needs. So now we actually are totally winding down so I think we're gonna have to be moving on we'll be chatting with you again in 2 weeks on the radio, but call us any time. And what we're saying here is that we don't just do the multimillion dollar properties. We like the reputation for that, but we want you to know that we will be there to help you with anything you need help with for your real estate needs call us (808) 669-0070 and pretty quickly we're coming back up to Danny Couch so let's all enjoy that for a moment and remember that we do love Hawaii and we're the luckiest people in the world. Thank you David.
D: Thank you for having me on.