Homes For Heroes is a FREE nationwide program that gives back to the real heroes: Firefighters, EMS, Law Enforcement, Military (Active, Reserve & Veterans), Healthcare Professionals and Teachers. For every real estate transaction, be it the buying or the selling side of the transaction, a percentage of the sale price is sent back to them after closing. If someone is working or retired from any of these careers they qualify to get this when they work with a Homes For Heroes affiliated real estate agent. Read on to see how much heroes can actually get back. It's our way of saying thank you for all that you do!
Calculating The Award Amount
On Oahu, the average check that a hero gets is actually more than the image above stating $5,250*! The amount a hero gets back is .07% of the sale price. To calculate the sale price of $750,000 the equation would be: .007 x $750,000 = $5,250
You can also think of it this way: Take $700 for every 100,000 of the sale price. This takes care of a lot of the closing costs as a seller. For a buyer in this market, you could use this to help pay for lender points to lower your interest rate which in turn lowers your monthly mortgage payment. Then refinance in a year or two with a Homes For Heroes lender and save again!
Why would anyone who qualifies for a Homes For Heroes check not take advantage of it?! Simply because they don't know about it. They are working with a realtor who isn't affiliated with Homes For Heroes, so their realtor isn't sharing this information with them.
My husband is a fireman as well as in the Air Guard. We missed out on a nice thank you check for his service when we bought our home back in 2014 even though this program has been around since 2001. We just didn't know about it. So now that I'm a realtor I'm making it my personal mission to make it more well known here in the islands where real estate and the cost of living is so expensive. Everyone could use an extra few thousand dollars. Why not?!
If you're a hero who is refinancing, work with a lender who is affiliated with Homes For Heroes and you'll save even more.
The first thing most people ask is, "do I really qualify for this? What's the catch?". There's no catch. Just work with a Homes For Heroes specialist. If you're a hero who is refinancing, work with a lender who is affiliated with Homes For Heroes and you'll save even more. Just ask your Homes For Heroes agent to refer you to a HFH lender. Here's the list of everyone who automatically qualifies to work with a Homes For Heroes agent:
There needs to be more awareness of this program in our local community. Most people are doing real estate transactions and leaving thousands of dollars behind. Help me spread the word by sharing this post with all the heroes you know. This program is nationwide!
If you're a Hero looking to buy or sell real estate soon or in the future, visit http://MarinaForHeroes.com. Even if you aren't ready to transact right now, I would suggest getting into the Homes for Heroes database now so that you're set to get your rewards when it's go time. I mean, its free so why not?
*Savings is an estimated amount based on Oahu's Median Price as of October 2022. Information sourced from the Honolulu Board of Realtors.
Marina Yamamoto (RS) RS-85659
Homes For Heroes Specialist
Brokered by eXp Realty
500 Ala Moana Blvd., #7-400
Honolulu, Hi 96813
When And Why It’s Helpful To Use A Gator Lender
As real estate wholesalers are looking to assign or double close on properties found listed on the MLS, they have to work with standard realtor purchase contracts. Often this means that an earnest money deposit (EMD) is due almost immediately after the offer gets accepted. Wholesalers can’t quite manipulate the terms with on-market deals like they can with a purchase contract for an off-market deal. There just isn't much time to get the end-buyer to submit the EMD on their behalf. On top of that, wholesalers can’t even begin to talk about a property to buyers until the deal is under contract. This can make wholesalers hold back on making offers for on-market deals found listed on the MLS with realtors. But there’s a solution.
Question: How do you get a real estate deal under contract without paying the EMD with your own money?
Answer: Use a Gator Lender.
Here's how it works. A Gator Lender sends in the earnest money deposit on your behalf along with instructions for the title company on how to pay them back at closing. The term Gator Lender was first coined by real estate investor and coach Pace Morby, who has also trained a tribe of gators to be able to execute this process using legal documents written by a real estate attorney. Pace Morby is better known as the Sub-to guy in creative financing for real estate. Gator lending is just another brain child of his in the creative financing world.
Gator lenders get paid with a portion of the wholesalers assignment fee at closing, directly through the title company, making the whole process very streamlined and convenient for the wholesaler. The amount the gator is to be paid is negotiated according to the deal and how much EMD is needed. The process is quite similar to a Joint Venture which wholesalers tend to do when working with another person who helped in the process of either acquisition or disposition of the deal. Luckily for most, Gator Lenders know how to execute the paperwork and work with the title company so that the wholesaler needing the service doesn't need to join another course or spend 10 hours on Youtube to figure it out. And if they're extra lucky, their Gator Lender can help with dispositions too (finding a buyer), if needed.
If you haven’t already started seeing the term Gator Lender in REI Facebook groups and other places online where real estate investors mingle, you probably will now. With a Gator on speed dial, you can feel confident submitting offers through realtors. Especially if you’re wholesaling in a state that doesn’t require mutual release of EMD. But if you are, there are solutions that a gator can provide. Mutual release means the seller has to sign-off on the release of your EMD even if you cancel before inspection period ends. Without the proper paperwork, it can make it very risky for a Gator Lender to lend in a mutual-release state. If you’re wholesaling in a mutual-release state or not sure, the best thing to do is to speak with a Gator Lender about the process before getting anything under contract. Working with a Gator may still be possible with the right documents presented to and agreed upon by the seller. Your Gator will be able to explain in further detail.
So now that EMD is no longer an issue for wholesalers, are there any more excuses holding them back from taking action? (Yep, there always is another excuse! Share yours in the comments.)
NOTE: Gators can also help with off-market wholesale deals. But again, it is preferred you use the purchase contract a Gator Lender will provide designed to protect the earnest money deposit. You can grab a gator-approved purchase contract hereGator Lender.
This Virtual Coffee Tour Will Have You Saying Aloohaa
Sometimes it takes a quiet sit and think, with a fresh cup of Joe in hand to realize a good idea. That, followed by the confidence that sets in with the caffeine to make you feel like you can make the idea a reality. I just love coffee and for some reason, I love visiting coffee farms. I want to visit them whenever I can. Subscription boxes are popular and many coffee brands offer their own coffee club subscription, but to my demise, I couldn't find one that offered the ability to try different coffee from across the state each month. After finally finishing my business degree from Hawaii Pacific University in October, my time was freed up enough to get started. With the tremendously powerful help of CrateJoy, I aim to launch www.HawaiiCoffeeBox.com in January of 2017.
The biggest goal during pre-launch is to make sure that there is a market for my coffee club. Ok business student, what does that mean? It means I can't be the only who thinks this is a good idea. Will others want to try coffee and goodies from a different Hawaiian coffee farm each month? Allowing customers to only purchase one box without subscribing, and making it easy to manage their subscription, I figure it would at least make an amazing gift! But sometimes we need to remember to gift ourselves, too.
It's been 14 years since I was Miss Kona Coffee participating in the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and promoting the coffee industry in Japan with Ueshima Coffee Company. Now that I live on Oahu, I visit the Big Island often with my daughter to visit family, and coffee farms, and Lava Java, and Daylight Minds... to name a few favorites!
Follow Hawaii Coffee Box on Instagram (@hawaiicoffeebox) for more up-to-the-day updates about this virtual coffee tour of Hawaii. I say virtual because I will be blogging all about the farm/brand that is highlighted in the box each month! So much fun!!!
Ath, short for athlete, is a new nutrition supplement company headquartered right here in Oahu. Founder Stuart Kam says his vision for Ath Organics is to create a worldwide brand that is synonymous with natural athletes and represents the highest quality natural sports nutrition. “I envision the brand promoting sports & activities that we are passionate about while providing valuable careers to the local communities we are a part of”, says Stuart. The sports and activities that he is most passionate about are Jiu Jitsu and surfing, both of which he spends time doing whenever he can. When visiting the company’s website it is clear to see that his branding is geared towards these two sports first and foremost.
The website also boasts it’s mission statement which is, “to provide you with the best all natural sport supplements in the world to help you train harder, recover faster, and live a healthy lifestyle”. Stuart’s current goals and objectives for his company are to secure national distribution to help them scale. Being a smaller manufacturer, in order to scale up and take it to the next level, the company needs regional & national distribution. They are actively negotiating with a few national brands to make this happen. Stuart is currently talking with a few different national specialty retailers with a strategy to target buyers of retailers that align with his vision. “I'm a firm believer of knowing which retailers you'd like to represent your brand and targeting those specific retailers”, he said.
Stuart didn’t talk about his ingredients, but I can see that this is also a huge part of his strategy. His unique proprietary blends of organic ingredients including hemp protein, plant-based alkaline electrolytes, and turmeric help support a strategy of differentiation.
My SWOT analysis from an outside perspective is a little different than his own. I asked Stuart what he would say his strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are. He said Ath’s strengths are the strong social media presence from an authentic and loyal customer base. I would say that the other strengths include the unique spin on healthy ingredients, the fact that Ath is one of the only protein shakes and energy bars founded in Hawaii, and maybe the only of it’s kind specifically targeting surfers (which is strong locally) and martial artists (which is a strong niche nationally and even internationally).
While Stuart thinks Ath’s weakness is it’s limited distribution and retail footprint, those things can be fixed, and are natural challenges of a startup product business. The real root of this being a challenge in the first place is that the sports nutrition supplement market is extremely saturated. Ath’s weakness is that it is a new venture, up against much competition. Luckily, Ath Organics has it’s strengths in social media and is making sales online through it’s own website.
I agree with Stuart that Ath can benefit from opportunities to scale up with national distribution and a proven model that he is following to make it happen. So far, the only stores that Ath has a retail presence in are in Hawaii. While 20 retail stores in Hawaii have welcomed this local company onto their shelves, Ath has yet to make it’s debut in other states. The opportunity for growth through more wholesale business-to-business sales is there.
There is an extremely competitive landscape in the specialty foods and sports nutrition category. Stuart is correct to list this as a threat and elaborated by saying, “Changes happen fast in this category, for example expiration dates. There’s also a high turn over rate in the industry as profit margins are lower than other categories”.
Something Ath Organics brags about on their website is the fact that the ingredients are organic, and products are made in small batches to keep freshness. I’m sure this helps prevent having to toss expired product. How nice it would be to need to make bigger batches to fill wholesale orders. I would love to see Ath Organics in Whole Foods Hawaii. Whole Foods tends to carry different products at different locations to cater to the local market. I would imagine that this would be a great opportunity for Ath because if the products sold well here, Whole Foods might consider carrying Ath products at other locations in the country.
Stuart Kam is a great example of a natural entrepreneur. Check out his company website with this link for $15 off of a purchase of $75 or more at www.athorganics.com
Captured on film by Christine Clark
I'm just so blown away with how nice these photos came out! I had just returned home from a trip to Texas and barely had enough time to figure out what to wear for this photoshoot. Christine ended up being the stylist as well as photographer by lending me the black dress. It worked perfectly with the haku lei. I had been looking forward to having an excuse to order a custom flower crown from PaMakane for a while. Flower crowns and round pregnant bellies compliment each other well ;-)
Follow me on Instagram! @Marina_Yama_Moto