Kona Home Buyer’s Workshop works to empower aspiring homeowners

  • Minoo Elison

KAILUA-KONA — When Minoo Elison, principal broker at Connect Hawaii, asked the room of potential homebuyers to visualize their new home, the crowd responded with plenty of answers.

A “big” or “open” kitchen was a popular response. Some wanted a lanai while others wanted the ability to live off-grid. Space for their kids or “a giant bath tub with an ocean view” were other visions lobbed from the crowd.

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For Elison, who hosted Saturday’s Kona Home Buyer’s Workshop at West Hawaii Today, taking the time to literally draw that dream house out and get goals on paper is a big step in making them a reality.

“When you visualize something that you want, you understand how it feels,” Elison said after the workshop. “And you’re in touch with the goal deeper than just writing ‘Oh, I want to buy a house.’”

The free workshop took attendees through the process of home buying from the initial buyer’s consultation through the home search, inspections and appraisal to getting the keys to the front door.

“It can be possible with education and support, that whatever your goal is, that you’re gonna be able to achieve it as long as you have a plan and you take action.” she told the crowd.

In addition to providing a road map to home ownership, Elison also offered tools for prospective home buyers to use and take into consideration when they are shopping for a home. That included market data, such as how tight inventory results in more competition, as well as outlining how agents get compensated for their role in the home buying process.

After the workshop, attendees said the program gave them a boost of confidence in going after their next home.

Jimmy and Sue Sakumoto, who inherited the home they currently live in, said they’re now looking for a home to buy — a whole new process for them — and that the workshop gave them a good idea of what to expect in terms of how long the process can take and how much commission real estate agents make.

After coming out for the lesson, they said, they’re feeling good about starting the process.

“Now, at least, we know a few things more than we did before in looking for a house,” said Jimmy Sakumoto.

Susy Bullard, who came to the workshop with her husband Duane Bullard, said they’re “hoping to dive into the crazy homebuying roller coaster.” They wanted to learn the first steps they need to take as well as how to get started.

Duane Bullard said Elison’s exercise of illustrating the house they want gave them the opportunity to define what they were looking for and “gives you hope that you can achieve it.”

“It puts it closer in reach by drawing it out on paper, narrow down and seeing that we’re both on the same page with what we’re looking for,” he said.

While Duane Bullard has been through the home buying process before, Susy Bullard said it’ll be a first for her.

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And while there will always be a little fear with making the leap to becoming a homeowner, she said, she’s leaving the workshop determined to not let it hold her back.

“It’s, ‘OK, I’m going to take that leap,’” she said. “And stuff is going to happen, but I’m going to have it.”

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