Napoopoo – A Beautiful Place to Live and Care For

9 06 2008

What is happening to Napoopoo Road? The incredible vistas are still there, the farms that dot the hill sides are still there, the history is still there but now there is so much more – TRASH that is. It seems like Napoopoo has developed a major litter problem. It may be the increased traffic going to the expanded refuse center or it could be the lack of drivers using tarps to cover their loads or it could be the lack of stewardship that begun at the very top – the top of Napoopoo.

The intersection of Napoopoo and RT 11, is a dangerous and often times very busy that combined with the recent road work and the anticipation of a bypass – the area has become a dump. A sofa, large truck tires, litter and road debris are scattered all around. It is time for action – is the responsibity of the county to remove the big stuff and then our responsiblities as residents to police and clean up our respective road frontage.

Let us not forget that Napoopoo and Captain Cook is one of the most beautiful places in the world and when people have groen up here or come from all over to live or visit it is a sad sight to see such a growing problem with little response.

Oh ya – for the people that do take it upon themselves to pick up the trash and enjoy morning walks – I say be careful as the drivers go way too fast racing to places instead of slowing down and enjoying the ride and scenery.

Let’s see what we can do to make our road a little bit safer, cleaner and more spectacular.

Until then – A Hui Hou & Malama Napoopoo.

I am a first time home buyer – What can I do and how?

25 05 2008

Before you get swept up in the excitement of looking for your first house in a market where there is enough inventory to give you ample choices, take a minute to remember a few first timer tips.

Check Out the Neighborhood
Drive the neighborhood, and see how many properties are currently for sale. Have your agent look up DOM (or in realtor speak: Days on Market) and how different the current asking price is from what it was at first listed. If the neighborhood is selling at a slow pace, sellers may be willing to negotiate for a lower asking price, or sellers may be willing to pay all closing costs.

Look At The House You’re Buying as the House You’re Selling
A two car garage, new air conditioning units, and landscaping may not be a big deal to you when you’re house hunting, but consider what it will be like if you need to quickly sell the property once you’ve bought in. Always look at the house you’re buying as the future house you’ll be selling.

401(k) As a Down Payment
Many 401(k) policies allow for a loan up to 50% of the account, or up to $50,000. If you’re not in the 22% of first-time home buyers who are gifted their down payment, borrowing from a 401(k) can be an effective strategy. It won’t get you a tax write-off, but you’ll be repaying interest yourself as a lender. The risk is that if you lose your job or switch jobs you have to pay back the down payment loan within 60 days or pay taxes and penalties.

Home Owners’ Associations
If you thought landlords were restrictive, wait until you live under the jurisdiction of a tough HOA. Read the fine print on the scope of the HOA’s power and what they can prevent you from doing, whether that’s repainting your house or building a fence.

and ofcourse – let me now if I can help :)
Michael F. Martinage R(S)
808-870-0116 cell

Local History of Captain Cook

7 04 2008

Local History
Captain Cook Monument
Aloha and welcome to Kealakekua Bay (“the pathway of the god”). On the port side of the vessel is the Capt. Cook Monument. The monument was established by the British in memory of the site near which Capt. Cook was killed.

Capt. Cook picked a very sacred place and time to make his second landing in Hawaii. At the time he returned, the Hawaiian’s were celebrating the makahiki festival, an annual joyful tribute to a god, Lono-i-ka-makahiki. One of Lono-i-ka-makahiki’s symbols was white kapa banners that were flown on crossbars that resembled the sails and mast of Capt. Cook’s ships. Capt. Cook’s officer’s estimated 2500 to 3500 canoes and over 10,000 people were there to meet the god Lono-i-ka-makahiki …Capt. Cook.

Cook was treated like a god. The Hawaiian’s lavished him with gifts and had opulent and sacred ceremonies in his honor. In return, Cook gave tours of his ships and presented their Hawaiian host with a flute and violin concert, and a display of fireworks that both fascinated and terrified the natives.

After two weeks of festivities Cook left Kealakekua Bay, and encountered a fierce winter storm on his search for a Northwest Passage. He returned to Kealakekua Bay to repair the vessels. Upon his return Cook found the makahiki festival was finished, and a kapu was put on the bay and the bay was nearly deserted.

The natives who remained did not understand how such a great god could have sustained such damage in his own domain. Their respect for Cook diminished, and wanting coveted metals in exchange for all of the supplies the Hawaiians had given the English sailors, the Hawaiians helped themselves to metals and the Discovery’s cutter. Cook took a party of nine marines and went ashore to take Chief Kalaniopuu hostage until the cutter was returned. However, for various reasons the plan failed and Capt. Cook and four marines died in a skirmish near the monument’s location on Feb. 14, 1779. The Captain was 50 years old.

Polynesians Come Ashore
It was his most massive mountain Polynesians had ever seen. Mauna Loa loomed above the seafarers as they stepped out of their sailing canoes, climbing onto Ka Lae at South Point to settle this island of living volcanoes more than 1,200 years ago.
From the Marquesas, Tahiti, and perhaps the Cook Islands, the Polynesians used wind and paddles to carry them more than 3,500 miles north to the Big Island. In waves of migrations, they brought ingredients for self-sufficient living: banana, coconut and mulberry plantings, chickens, dogs and pigs to be cooked in their earthen ovens or imu. Knowledge of fishing and boat-building, weaving, wood and stone-carving allowed the Polynesian population to grow. By the time Capt. James Cook sailed into Kealakekua Bay in 1779, there were about 80,000 people living there.
Polynesians flourished in Hawaii under a system of chiefs and commoners, a culture of strict rules and an abundance of mythology. The most powerful deity whom Big Islanders worshiped is said to still reveal herself every time the lava spurts from a caldron or drips down a mountain. Her name is Pele, a goddess who changes place and form at will; who’s anger, fire and burning blood (lava) can run over a village and catch a man. With the volcano destroying almost 200 homes during the last decade, some Hawaiians still place gifts of food and drink on her rim, hoping to appease Madame Pele.
Modern-day Hawaiians revere their ancestors as stewards of the land and sea. They were a race who were careful not to over-fish reefs, streams and rivers, and were skilled in creating irrigation channels to water the native taro, a staple food pounded into the gray paste called poi.
The early Hawaiians lived in triangular communities called ahupuaa, each containing all the resources needed for life. Abundant water flowed the mountains, to house poles cut from forests, the lowland soils were good for planting, and the near-shore reefs teemed with edible fish.
Some of the most prosperous ancient Hawaiian communities were located on the Big Island, including Waipio and Polulu Valleys on the North Shore. These communities produced taro that was traded throughout the island in exchange for fish, cloth and other necessities.

Ancient Burial Caves
The cliff walls in front of the vessel’s mooring are sacred burial sites for the “alii” or chiefs. It was believed that the power of the royal person was in the bones, so they went to great lengths to insure the secrecy of the burial sites…to preserve their power or “mana.”

The process was to lower the remains of the royalty and a chosen person would bury the late chief and then the person would be cut loose to fall to his death taking the location of the site with him. This was considered an honor to bury your chief.

How A Realtor Can Help Captain Cook Homes Sell

31 03 2008

In any real estate market, price is the key. It’s just not as important in an increasing seller’s market than in a declining buyer’s market. In a seller’s market, if you miss the target price, the seller can always wait for the market to catch up to their price.

We are currently in a buyer’s market.

In a buyer’s market, if you miss the target, not only will the house not sell, the seller will get angry and frustrated, the agent will feel helpless and worthless, and the home will lose value daily. Even in a buyer’s market, with average of 75 days on the market, if a home hasn’t sold in the first 21 days, the seller has lost their “honeymoon period.” That is the time where the limited number of buyers that are out there, looking for the right home at the right price, would have bought the house if it was priced right. After 21 days, the house loses the “new kid on the block” advantage.

In a buyer’s market, the seller has to price their home at tomorrow’s market price, not yesterday’s. If prices are falling 5% a year, then a $500,000 property today will be worth $498,000 next month and by the end of a typical escrow, $495,000. A seller needs to price the house at $495,000 today, so they can be the next home to sell, before values go down again.

What if you miss the target the first time? How can you show the seller why they need to adjust their price and what price it should be adjusted to?

A price adjustment must begin the day the listing is signed. A properly informed seller will be primed for a price reduction the day they list and will be kept informed of the market weekly.

Discuss with the seller that pricing is an art, not a science. Your suggested price is an opinion, only the current buyers out there looking will tell them if the price is right.

As a rule of thumb, if after the first 21 days, the seller had a lot of showings, but no offers, the price is probably within 5% of market. But, if after 21 days there are very few, or no lookers, the price is likely at least 10% over market, or more. You can explain to the seller that most buyers are willing to offer 5% under the asking price, but very few buyers will offer 10%, or more, under the asking price. The buyers, and their agents, will simply refuse to even look at a property that is 10%, or more, over priced.

During the first 21 days, and throughout the listing period, keep the seller informed of the market. Do a new CMA ( Competetive Market Analysis) every 7-10 days. Be the first to call the seller when a new listing comes on the market around the corner, or when a property goes into escrow or closes escrow. Give the seller copies of news articles about the real estate market, keep them informed. Give copies of all of your marketing materials to the seller so they know what you are doing to sell their home.

After 21 days, if it’s not sold, the seller will likely come to you to give you a new, lower price, because they will begin to understand that they are overpriced.

If you have to go to the seller and ask for an adjustment, go in prepared and armed with knowledge and confidence. A real seller, one that is motivated to sell, will appreciate the information, honesty and your clear picture of the market.

You should bring these items to your face-to-face meeting with the seller:

- Your original CMA – You must show them where and why you priced the house originally. If you allowed the seller to set the first price, ask them how they derived the price from your original CMA.

- An update on each property you used in the original CMA – Show the activity, price reductions, expired, etc., from the first CMA.

- A new CMA, based on activity over the past 21 days – Give them a new CMA and ask them where they see themselves priced at given the new information.

- Summarize your marketing activities – Show them all of the marketing you’ve done to date. Let them see that you have gone above and beyond to find a buyer for their home.

- One or two key articles about today’s market – Remind them of all of the articles you have dropped off. Go over today’s articles about price declines, interest rate increases, job losses, etc., that are affecting the real estate market in your area.

- Give them your new suggested price and why – Show them that given the most recent news about the market, this is why they need to be priced at $X.

- Show them what the marketing plan is for the next 30 days – Show them that you are in this together and that you will commit to X, Y & Z marketing if they will adjust their price to your suggestion. It’s a give and get situation. You need to show them that with the right price, you can get their home sold and this is how.

With all of this data, you should get the price you want, without a fight and without hard feelings. You are just the messenger in this market!

You need to continue with these steps throughout the listing period.

Every 21-30 days, sit down with your seller, go over these items and go for a price adjustment. You may not get one every time you sit down, but at least the seller can’t say that you didn’t keep the line of communication open and keep them informed of the market. In the end, it’s not you that won’t be able to go forward with a move, nor is it you that has to make that monthly house payment.

If you educate the seller from day one and prepare them for your meetings every 21-30 days, they will appreciate your communication and be ready and open to hear your suggestions!

The sunny side of the housing slump

30 03 2008

Bargains: The sunny side of the housing slump
Here is an interesting article by Judi Hasson, MSN Real Estate. What is happening on the mainland will effect Hawai’i in the long run – However with that said despite the downturn, some people are still managing to make money off real estate. Here’s how they’re doing it.

Yes, there’s gloom and doom in the housing market. Prices are plummeting, sales are stalled and foreclosures are rising. But for some, the hard times are an opportunity.

“There’s always someone selling. There is always someone buying,” says Steven Brown, an investor who buys houses in Mobile, Ala., does a face lift and makes money on the resale.

Houses too burdensome for their previous owners have become ways for new owners to build nest eggs for retirement and college. While the market for foreclosed and distressed homes is tough to master, rock-bottom prices in some areas have tempted renters and investors out of the woodwork.

Some buy a single house and flip it for a profit. Some buy in hopes of becoming a landlord. And some buy because it’s now cheaper than renting.

Renters turn homeowners

One of those renters was Morganne Teseniar, 26, of Mesquite, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, who says she wanted to buy a house last fall despite the touch-if-you-dare market.

Teseniar, who works for the American Heart Association, went shopping with a real-estate agent. She found her dream house for $64,000, bid $50,000 on the foreclosed property and moved in this past November.

The previous owner walked away from the house when he got a new job in California, couldn’t sell it and wouldn’t pay the mortgage, she says. Left behind was a perfectly fine house with redone floors, wrought-iron fixtures and granite countertops.

“It was gorgeous. I couldn’t breathe when I got it. It was so cool,” says Teseniar, who is divorced and has a 4-year-old daughter. The price was right, too. She now pays $586 a month for her mortgage, taxes and insurance, $200 less than what she had been paying for rent. And she qualified for a 30-year Federal Housing Administration mortgage to buy it.

Then there are buyers like Lymaris Roman, a Tampa, Fla., pharmacist, and her husband. They saw opportunity, too, in a one-story home with four bedrooms in suburban Lutz, Fla. They bought it for $270,000, far less than its $400,000 appraised value. They moved in on Christmas Day.

Roman’s husband, a self-employed contractor, had plenty of time on his hands because of the housing downturn. He spent less than $10,000 upgrading the house, pulling up the carpeting and installing hardwood floors.

They took out an interest-only mortgage and are renting their old house until the market “comes back up.”

“Hopefully, the economy will be up and running again. If we can rent it out for longer, great,” Roman says.

Opportunity for the little guy

For the smaller entrepreneur, the deal is the thing.

Alex Szalay, a software writer from Pittsburgh, has redone two houses in the past 18 months. He says it’s profitable to buy foreclosed homes that are in reasonably good shape. He bought one house for $72,000 and sold it for $117,000 a few months later in Sharon, Pa., about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

“You have to be willing to sit on a down market,” Szalay says. “I have been fortunate in finding good deals. When I started doing properties, I would buy one fixer-upper at a time. Now, I am able to do a couple at a time.”

Tom Cook, an Arlington, Va., contractor, bought a ranch house in January for $500,000. He didn’t think that was too risky. He plans to sell the renovated home in this Washington, D.C., suburb for $1.2 million after a complete renovation that will include five bedrooms, 4½ baths and a two-car garage.

“The market is flat in Arlington but not as flat as outside the Beltway,” Cook says. “Arlington is resilient. People work in the government and defense industries. In the long run, we feel we can move it in 60 days.”

While Cook and others see openings in the short term, Stephen Crawford of Richmond, Va., is looking for long-term opportunity.

The father of four children, Crawford recently bought three investment properties in Atlanta at reduced prices in hopes they will help finance his kids’ college educations. He’s still looking for a fourth nest egg for his 6-year-old.

Crawford has no problem sitting on the houses, betting that the property values will rise as the market regains its footing. In the meantime, he’s renting out these homes to pay down the mortgages.

“Once the market takes a turn, these properties will be worth it,” says Crawford, who works for a health-care company. “Real estate has always been a good investment.”

Flipping on a grand scale

While mortgage rates have been dropping, it is still tough for some people to get a mortgage as a result of the subprime scandal, where buyers were signing up for badly crafted loans. Plenty of mortgage money has dried up, and banks are extremely cautious about making sure buyers are qualified to make their monthly payments.

Still, there are plenty of people willing to take a chance if they can. Brown, the Alabama entrepreneur, sold 85 houses through his company last year. He expects at least that many sales this year, banking on the construction of a ThyssenKrupp Steel USA carbon and stainless-steel processing plant that will bring many new jobs and home buyers to his region.

He usually spends less than $20,000 on rehab, adding new fixtures, upgrading the flooring and installing central heat and air conditioning in houses built 50 years ago.

Florida investor Cody Loughlin is another of the hard-times risk-takers, expressing confidence that the market will do well for him even in a state that has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.

Unlike big builders who constructed giant homes at top dollar and are stuck, Loughlin says he makes money by buying properties at 50 cents on the dollar and selling them for 75 cents on the dollar.

Loughlin’s company, Florida Property Club, is attracting buyers from all over the United States and as far away as South Korea.

He recently bought a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home in Lakeland, Fla., for $240,000, made $30,000 in repairs and sold it for $365,000 within three months.

“When people tell you, ‘Don’t buy real estate,’ well, you should buy real estate,” Loughlin says. “People aren’t going to stop retiring. Kids aren’t going to stop graduating from colleges. This lag will catch itself, and there will be more demand than supply.”

And there are plenty of people such as Loughlin still willing to take a chance to make money on real estate. Sandy Muff, 31, an office manager in Tampa, Fla., decided to buy a bungalow last year for $70,000.

She’s renting it out at $950 a month and paying a $900 monthly mortgage. She eventually hopes to sell the 950-square-foot home for $135,000, its current appraisal.

“You have to spend money to make money,” Muff says. “You’re not going to be in a slump forever.”

It’s not all sawdust and profit

Experts caution the housing market has not reached bottom, and it may be another year before the economic realities shake out. Lehman Brothers has reported that the number of foreclosed homes is expected to quadruple this year, adding 1 million properties to the market in 2008 and another million in 2009.

One economist warns that people can still “lose their shirts” with high-stakes gambles.

“There are certainly places where the market is going to be good and growing. But you still could be making a bad move,” says Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

Yet plenty of investors are willing to take that chance.

Foreclosure auctions can pit a small investor against well-schooled experts who know how to calculate a property’s real value. In addition, many properties are mortgaged so steeply that banks often ask for bids that are higher than what the properties are worth. On top of that, an increasingly stringent credit market means fewer buyers can qualify for a mortgage.

Thriving in the chaos

Despite the pitfalls, many say they can beat and have beaten the system by seizing opportunity while remaining flexible.

In Tacoma, Wash., Steven Ling is making money off foreclosures or on houses that are on the verge of being put on the auction block. He buys them at a steep discount, adds granite countertops and maple kitchen cabinets, and gives them a bit of curb appeal.

Right now, he’s working on a house originally listed at $300,000. He bought it for $175,000 because the owner wanted to avoid having a foreclosure listed on his credit record. Ling is adding some updates and a fresh coat of paint, and getting it ready for an “average Joe.”

Ling says it takes maneuvering to get some potential homeowners qualified for a mortgage. That occasionally means renting them a house on a lease-purchase deal and helping them straighten out any credit mess to qualify for a mortgage.

“We make sure the income they make is feasible to handle the house. And if that is the case and credit is messed up, we let them buy the house on a lease option,” Ling says.

Still, skeptics remain.

Mike Meredith from Washington, D.C., renovated and sold 75 properties in the past two years, but has decided to sit it out for a while.

“I am waiting until next winter, when the prices will drop more,” Meredith says.

What’s Hot and What’s Not In Homes Sales

25 03 2008

Mark Nash, author of four real estate books including “1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home”, has completed his annual survey of 886 real estate agents in all fifty states in the U.S. and the eight provinces of Canada. “What’s in, What’s out with Homebuyers” illuminates what’s popular with home buyers, and what can sour them. Compiled annually from-the-trenches, it offers a spectrum of tips that cover deal and design no-no’s for home sellers and buyer must-haves.

What’s In

- Home buyers. What goes around comes around. Relegated during the boom years to bidding wars, over-full-price offers and new construction lotteries, buyers rule in 2008, and know it. With swelling inventories, they are looking for newly updated kitchens and baths, pristine conditions, and a perception of value.

- Destination bathrooms. The master bath has evolved into the home getaway with multiple task areas. Freestanding or “throne” bathtubs (bath thrones) in the center of a soaking room, multiple flat screens TV’s, and wireless Internet so you don’t miss anything as you move from bathing to grooming to lounging. They are outfitted with serving bars featuring wine coolers, espresso machines, and grazing snacks. There is also a burgeoning need for in-home hair salons.

- Short Sales. Home owners who have over-extended themselves financially are increasingly looking to their mortgage holder to accept less than is owed on their property. Some mortgagee’s will accept less than is owed through a short sale, in place of taking ownership of a home back through foreclosure.

- Pet showers. The kitchen or work sink is out for the dog bath. Dedicated dog showers are an emerging trend. Be it in a mud or utility room, garage corner or basement, dog lovers want a place to clean their favored pooch after a visit to the neighborhood dog park. Common dog showers feature a 3′ x 3′ shower base, surrounded by ceramic tile 4′ up the wall. Pet showers are all about the convenience for Fido to step in, and eliminate the master’s need to lift.

- Home elevators. The boomers want their vertical palaces with elegant min-elevators. No more unsightly and very 1970s chair-on-the-rail-system for these financially flush, forward-thinking home buyers.

- Outdoor living spaces that look interior. Massive, soaring “statement” fireplaces of cut stone, heated (think bathroom floors) flooring and walkways, entertaining sized custom kitchens, and indoor-looking artwork, fabrics, and finishes, but ones that can stand up to the elements.

- Down payments. Sexy home mortgages are out. Those who underwrite home loans are looking for substance from potential home buyers. Substance equates into disciplined savings and credit scores.

- A home’s carbon footprint. Manufactured homes, reused construction materials, and energy-friendly mechanical systems and appliances all reduce the need for fossil fuels. Home buyers are asking about how their potential new home can save the planet. It’s more than a trend, it’s a convenient truth.

– Monitoring and controlling with hand-held devices. Forgot to turn off the coffee maker, close/open the blinds, and turn the heat down or the air conditioning up? The latest in technology that utilize hand-held devices to open or close the blinds, turn on or off lights, or let Fido out the electronic pet door, around the corner or across the country.

- Floating Homes. Not just in Sausalito. If your hood has calm protected waters, you’ll soon have floating homes, those that look like conventional, soil-situated structures. From Louisiana to Vancouver, floating homes are at the top of must-have lists for those looking for a primary home to be lifestyle oriented. Plus, watching sunsets are a more enjoyable and greener alternative to lawn mowing.

- Concealed appliances. Buyers bypass matching cabinet panels that are used to disguise the ubiquitous refrigerator and dishwasher. Hinged and pocket doors are the latest way to integrate visually those boxy necessities and make the kitchen more non-traditional and less functional looking.

- Non-smoking Homeowners Associations. Who knew that some Homeowner Associations are rewriting by-laws and declarations to include those unit owners are not allowed to smoke inside their homes? Smoke-free common areas in addition to building-code-required ventilation systems and fresh-smelling hallways have taken precedence over individual’s rights to light up in their recliner.

- Off-grid homes. Solar panels, windmills and inverters are here to stay, in a big way. With brown-outs and power line-damaging storms on the increase, buyers in 2008 will ask for hybrid home-energy options, even being partially off-grid beats getting expensive power from coal-fired utilities, to these eco-energy users.

What’s Out

- Unrealistic home sellers. These relics of another time and market missed the cocktail party chat and water cooler angst by the transitional sellers of 2007. Cautions included: pricing their home right, consider home-sale contingencies, and offer closing cost givebacks. Hear-no-evil-sellers were overlooked by buyers who pined for reality minded ones. Because if sellers were flexible with buyers needs, buyers bought.

- Living rooms. The great room has replaced the living room in American residential culture. Informal lifestyles with eating, cooking and living spaces combined so family members and visiting friends can congregate together through various activities has conquered the forced museum. In viewing homes with buyers, I see the ex-museum used as work-out spaces, home offices, craft or hobby places, and I’ve seen more than once, the coveted living room with nothing more than a pool table as its solitary focus.

- Empty for sale homes. Buyers thought people “lived” in houses, but after seeing one-quarter of the homes they viewed empty, they wondered. Even though staging was the buzzword, getting that right was prickly in 2007. Those leftover silk flowers, the left behind mis-matched furniture, and the one-off design-show decorating scheme were buyer no-no’s. Neutral palettes, personal objects, thoughtful furniture rental, and something in the refrigerator says to buyers, maybe a person lives here.

– Double-digit home value appreciation. For now, the home as “get-rich-quick” investment is over. We’re back to pre-boom norm of housing or shelter. Flat or low single-digit appreciation in most markets in 2008.

- “Order-taking” real estate agents. The hive during the boom years was real estate, and multitudes of the dot-com-busted became the worker-bees of real estate sales. Everyone and anyone got licensed and into the frenzy. Little did they know that seasoned (pre-boom), full-time, professional agents possessed ready, willing and able buyers, knew how to sooth seller’s anxieties, and produced the fifth highest year in real estate sales in 2007.

- McMansions. Size doesn’t matter if it’s not well finished. A large voluminous home whose best attribute is the square-footage is waning. Home buyers are looking for quality, not quantity in 2008. After all, who has the money to replace the faux-hardwood floors, builder grade carpet and fiberglass bathtubs?

- Obese ceiling heights. It’s cheaper to go up than out. That’s been the thinking anyway as of late in residential design. Buyers have finally said enough, they prefer ceilings between nine and eleven feet. Anything more, especially in a smallish (under 10′ x 12′) room is waste. If you can’t add a loft in a soaring room, “down size me” height-wise, buyers say.

- Pioneering locations. Buyers have moved away from take-a-chance-hoods. Pioneering or off the beaten path areas were once the hot bed of potential appreciation. However, buyers in 2008 have returned to the tried-and-true address, keeping resale desirability firmly in mind when making a purchase.

- Balconies as a marketing gimmick. Functional outdoor space, not the anorexic appendage hanging off the building, is what buyers crave in outdoor space for 2008. Real balconies have room for a grill and a comfortable table and chairs. People love the outdoors and want to use it, but not only as a solo experience.

- Option ARMS (Adjustable Rate Mortgage). Buyers have heard that these loans usually have only one option; foreclosure. Used by the rich for short-term financing, they were re-packaged to buyers who wanted to qualify for the highest loan amount. Negative amortization is the harsh reality of Option ARMS. Home buyers should run, not walk, if these words are proposed as a financing option.

- Pre-construction pricing on new construction. Builders who are plunging ahead with new projects in 2008 will be better off with one pricing model from beginning to end, and eliminating their “everything’s an upgrade” mentality.

Captain Cook- Napoopoo Road- What a GREAT Place to Live

10 03 2008

As a resident of Hawai’i for the last 18 years and as the proud co-owner of Ka’awa Loa Plantation Guesthouse and Retreat, I know that I am blessed to live in Captain Cook. Every day I am reminded of this blessing and of my passion to share this blessing with others seeking to find their slice of paradise in Hawai’i'– whether it is the breathtaking vistas, the clear ocean waters, the marine life, the dense and fertile jungles of our cloud forests. Or maybe it is growing estate coffee or working the land in a sustainable agri-tourism manner. If this appeals to you, then Captain Cook can become your special place.

As a realtor, I strive to find my clients what they love the most about living in paradise. A place where they can become a steward of the land and experience their dreams and passions. Sometimes they are looking for the perfect view, beach, or farm but most of all it is to assist them in feeling truly at home in Hawai’i.

I often say that ‘God is not making more of it’ – but then I remember I live on the Big Island – where the aina is alive. On our five acres, I find a new discovery everyday, making me feel more alive and mesmerized then any other time in my life.

Captain Cook has a diversity complete with ocean bungalows, Mauka homesteads, and great local restaurants, inviting stores and interesting museums. And, the real estate market is always good when the product is so unique and desirable as well as a place that you can truly call home.

Michael F. Martinage R(S)
Livingston Realty, Inc.
Your Big Island Bed & Breakfast, Guesthouse and Retreat Specialist

Cell: 808-870-0116
Home: 808-323-2686

Ka’awa Loa Plantation Guest House and Retreat

26 02 2008

Ka’awa Loa Plantation is a Guesthouse and start-up coffee/ diversified agriculture farm located on Napoopoo Road in the heart of the Kona Coffee Belt on the island of Hawai’i. The 5.6-acre estate is nestled in tropical surroundings at the elevation of 1,200 feet directly above Kealakekua Bay. The venue offers a wonderful spot to base your Big Island adventures and to truely experience Hawai’i.

In Hawaiian, Ka’awa is a sacred root used in ceremonies. Ka’awa Loa translates literally as “The Long Roots”. This is the name held by our neighboring apua’a (land divide), where the people from makai (the sea) and the people from mauka (the mountains) came together in the middle to trade, socialize, rest, and share their Aloha. Ka’awa Loa Plantation proudly continues this tradition today.

Area activities include swimming and snorkeling in the pristine waters of the Pacific, ocean kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, touring coffee farms, and shopping in several eclectic local shops. Historic St. Benedict’s Painted Church and sacred Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, the Place of Refuge, are just a short drive away.

Greg and I purchased the property June 27th, 2006 with the mind set of building a self sustainable farm and family business. We have renovated the home, cleared and planted the land. In Feb 2007, we received our B&B permit. If owning a B&B, Guesthouse or Retreat is your dream, let me help. Call or e mail Michael F. Martinage, R(S) Livingston Realty 808-870-0116 or

Rainbow B&B – A Tropical Paradise For Sale

19 02 2008

This unique property and business, Rainbow Plantation, is a wonderful example of tropical paradise. Tucked away down a newly paved road, and out of earshot from highway traffic noise, this peaceful 3.2 acre property looks down on the ocean with glimpses of coastline from its comfortable elevation of approximately 1,100′.
Features of the property and business include:-
* 2 story 4 bd/3ba Hawaiiana main house with a full length lanai on the ocean side wrapping part way around the south side.
* The main house is a popular licensed B&B establishment and has been in operation for almost 13 years.
* Two bonus cottages discretely located, tastefully decorated, well maintained with a combined living area of over 1,400 square feet.
* A separate workshop building.
* Three large koi ponds located in front of the main house.
* A colorful and healthy botanical garden of tropical plants and a collection of fruit trees accessed by eco-friendly pathways.
* Approximately 1.5 acres of mature coffee and macadamia orchard.
* Sections of the property have deep soil.
* Within a 10 minute drive of the property is Kealakekua Bay, one of the most picturesque and historic places on the island.
* Property is located between the townships of Captain Cook and Kealakekua and is situated 11 miles south of Kailua-Kona.
* Seller has an active real estate license in the State of Hawaii.

Call Michael F. Martinage R(S) Livingston Realty for a showing today. I specialize in B&B Lifestyle properties and would be pleased to assist.

Cedar House B&B For Sale – $1.3 Million FS

15 02 2008

Cedar House Bed & Breakfast offers five very unique accommodations, each with their own personality and beautiful views of the coffee farm and ocean coastline. We take pride in our home, making sure your stay with us is filled with gracious hospitality, fresh immaculately cleaned rooms and gourmet Island breakfasts. All our rooms have private entrances, private bathrooms, cable TV, wireless internet access and are dedicated to your comfort.

The Pacific Wing: 2 bedrooms / 1 bath
The Pikake Rose Room: Extra large room with king bed and twin bed
The Ulu Room: Extra large room with king bed, futon sofa and dining area
The Hibiscus Suite: Two bedroom, two-story apartment with kitchenette
The Coffee Cottage: Two bedroom, full kitchen, separate dwelling

There is a wonderful guest lanai that offers awesome views. A great place to over look our 100% Private Estate Kona Coffee Estate and or enjoying the sunsets.