Neighborhoods – Honolulu

Making the Most of Open Houses

It helps to think of open houses as learning experiences, not shopping expeditions, where you’ll zero in on the type of house you want and which neighborhood you want to live in. Here, some additional guidelines for making the most of an open house.

Home Staging for a Quick Sale

A lot of factors—home values, location, inventory, etc.—contribute to whether or not a home sells. But staging a house prior to putting it on the market can lead to faster closing times and more money.

At Home on Diamond Head

This Hart Wood-designed residence is located on an exclusive street of multi-million-dollar homes tucked away on the lower makai slopes of Diamond Head, with views of the Pacific Ocean and, if you look up, tourists snapping pictures from the top of the trail. The current owner, who resides on the Mainland and has recently had the home rented out, also owns the neighboring property, a low-slung Ossipoff design that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

The Deal: REOs

According to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure listings, as of October this year, Hawaii had nearly 3,600 REO (real estate owned), or foreclosed, properties. “Any time you hear the word REO, a lender has foreclosed on the property and is putting it on the market for sale,” says Century 21 All Islands realtor and REO specialist Mathew Ngo, who says that the greatest concentration of foreclosures on Oahu is on the island’s leeward side.

This Week’s Open House Pick: The Pinnacle Honolulu

Several luxury condominiums in The Pinnacle Honolulu will be open this weekend, a boon for anyone thinking of buying in the luxe building. The Pinnacle, which was built in 2008, is an in-demand address largely because of its downtown location and unique design. There are 36 floors with no more than two private residences per floor for a maximum of 50 residences. With the exception of the expansive two, two-story penthouses, units range between 1,545 square feet for a half floor to just over 3,000 square feet for an entire floor. Another unique feature is the biometrically keyed elevators that open directly into private foyers in each half-floor residence.

Stepping Back in Time at Honolulu’s Liljestrand House

This column has afforded me an all-access pass to some of Oahu’s most rarefied homes, a privilege I thoroughly enjoy and am happy to share with you. And while I’m glad to pass on the backstories of homes across the island, I’m even more pleased when you, the readers, have the chance to see it for yourselves. Which is why all of you with even the slightest interest in local architecture need to reserve a private tour of the Liljestrand House, which is considered to be one of Vladimir Ossipoff’s finest residential designs.

Ossipoff-Designed Paiko Lagoon House Sold for $7 Million

With 700 feet of water frontage on three sides of the property, this Vladimir Ossipoff-designed home’s dominant architectural feature is the ocean itself. Built in 1964, the Paiko Lagoon estate is surrounded by conservation lands, the lagoon as well as the ocean, offering panoramic views from just about every room.

Hawaii Loa Ridge Haven

We’ve covered this Hawaii Loa Ridge home, which Sydney Snyder of Ossipoff, Snyder and Rowland designed, before: See senior writer Mike Keany’s 2007 article, “Zen on the Ridge.”

Ossipoff’s Diamond Head Design

Given architect Vladimir Ossipoff’s influence and popularity, his homes, when they come on the market, are highly coveted and command hefty price tags. For instance, there are about five Vladimir Ossipoff-designed homes currently for sale, most located on the island’s windward side and all listed for more than $3 million.

Hawaii’s 17th Most Expensive Home on Market

Many of you may recognize this opulent Kahala estate from this magazine’s 25 Most Expensive Homes in Hawaii article, which appeared in the September issue. Built by Honolulu attorney David Schutter in the 1980s, the property, which was ranked as the 17th most expensive home in Hawaii with an assessed value of $19.2 million, is currently owned by Kirin Planning.

Landlord-Tenant Issues 101

I’ve had my fair share of maniacal landlords (you know who you are), and, as a result, I’ve acquired a thorough knowledge of Hawaii’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Code. But when I had my first crazy-landlord run-in, I didn’t know where to turn. The following information has saved me from a number of bad situations.

Japan Meets Hawaii Loa Ridge

Traditional Japanese homes are fairly common in Hawaii, though with 3,441 square feet of livable space, this authentic Japanese estate in Hawaii Loa Ridge is done on a much grander scale than most.

Historic George D. Oakley Residence Back on Market

Architectural gems like this don’t often come on the market. In fact, this is the first time since it was built in 1929 that the George D. Oakley house in lower Manoa has been listed for sale. The residence, which was designed by architect Miles H. Gray, an engineer with the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps., is considered one of the state’s best remaining examples of houses built in the English cottage style, and is listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

Proposed Changes to Taxes on Historic Homes

If you’re interested in the preservation of historic homes on Oahu, today’s column is for you. This Wednesday, Nov. 10, the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee, chaired by councilmember Nestor Garcia, will hold a public hearing to discuss Bill 55 and Resolution 10-274, both of which will impact residences placed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places after Jan. 1, 1977.

Ossipoff-Designed House on Market for $3.5 Million

A fan of the work of architect Vladimir Ossipoff (yes, even the hotly debated IBM Building), I’m experiencing a bit of real estate envy with this house, a Diamond Head stunner that displays many of the details for which Ossipoff has come to be known: whitewashed masonry, exposed concrete, natural finish woods, picture-window walls, large overhanging eaves and lanai that act as extensions of the interior spaces.

Spook-tacular Real Estate

I love a good ghost story, and, here on Oahu, there are plenty of tales of spooks and ghosts and things that go bump in the night. And there are definitely haunted-house (and haunted-building) stories galore.

Vintage Ilikai

HONOLULU Magazine goes back to 1888, and was called Paradise of the Pacific until 1966, so its back issues act like a time capsule of Hawaii's pre- and post-statehood years. I particularly love the vintage condominium and home advertisements in the 60s and 70s issues. I found one that touted its “asbestos flooring” (fireproof, one of our editors cracked), and another that described Makaha as the “new Waikiki.” The advertisements, cheesy and retro as they may be, offer a snapshot of a different era, evidence of the island’s swift development during those decades.