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How a Home Equity makes dreams come true


What would you do with an extra $100,000? Would you buy a piece of real estate? Send your son or daughter to college? Renovate your home?

Unless you’re one of those people who get really lucky in Vegas, you probably don’t have that kind of money available at your fingertips. Or do you?

Here, three First Hawaiian Bank customers tell how they harnessed their home equity to fulfill dreams that otherwise were out of reach.

First, there is Chris Agena, an Oahu resident, who found a very special property that he wanted to purchase. But with the housing market in demand right now, he knew there would be other buyers competing for this property as well.

“This was an extremely desirable property that would have multiple offers well above the asking price,” says Agena. “The purpose of the (equity) loan was to purchase this very special property with an all-cash offer. We wanted to present an all-cash offer without having to sell any of our other assets.”

Agena was impressed with the service he received from Rona-Lynn Fejeder at the Kapahulu branch. She personally answered her phone and returned his calls right away, and even made house calls to meet with them – going the extra mile to make the loan process painless.

“It was very easy,” he says. “First Hawaiian Bank knows what they’re doing and really took excellent care of us. We wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without them. We will definitely use First Hawaiian Bank in the future with all our financial needs.”

A second customer, Ricky Zheng, applied for an equity loan for a different purpose. He wanted to have the money available for his business.

“I needed to have emergency cash funds for my business in case opportunities came up or we ran into cash-flow issues,” says Zheng. “I was looking into buying real estate and thought it would be a good idea to have cash available in case something came up.

“With all the increased activity due to the lowest interest rates we’ve ever seen, all applications are taking longer than normal, so by the time you realize you need a loan, it might be too late,” he adds. So he got the process started before he needed the money.

Zheng said that in addition to his equity serving as a safety net, he felt it helped increase his purchasing power, which is ultimately what transpired. His personal bankers at First Hawaiian Bank, Greg Hackler and Lois Tojio, made the process extremely easy – including helping him to understand the pros and cons of the different types of loans and to develop his strategy.

“I was able to use the entire equity loan along with some saved up money to put down an all-cash offer to close on a short sale property,” says Zheng. “I’m currently paying an extremely low promotion rate on this equity loan but will be converting to a traditional mortgage when the time is right.”

The third customer, Daryl Fujiwara, purchased the home he and his family are now living in, using money from an equity loan as his down payment funds.

“Taking out an equity loan was the only way we would have been able to have the sizable down payment we knew we would need,” says Fujiwara. “The equity loan enabled us to move forward in our search for a home and now will help us put our boys through college, or we may do some future renovations,” he says.

Fujiwara’s advice to others is talk to a personal banker at First Hawaiian Bank, who can give you the tools you need to realize your dreams.

“What they’ll do is sit you down, listen to your needs, dreams, goals and future plans,” he says. “They will give you many suggestions and scenarios on how to move forward and help you move toward that goal.

“We found our dream home and, because we had the home equity line of credit in place, were able to move quickly,” he adds. “I think it is important that you trust and are comfortable with the people you work with as this is without a doubt a very stressful process. We also took out a mortgage with First Hawaiian Bank and that process also went very smoothly.”

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