Teacher Appreciation- Waimea Style!

Here’s a hint. IT INCLUDES THE TRADITIONAL IMU BUT WITH TURKEY! I’ve had kalua pig and turkey and I can tell you they’re both great! You’ve never tasted anything so good in your life. It’s uber moist due to the slow cook method and the fact that the meat or fish- whatever you choose to put in the imu, is wrapped in a variety of green leaves -either banana, coconut palm or ti leaves (or a combination of these) and steamed underground.

The students at Waimea Middle School have had an existing tradition (16 years and running) of serving lunch to the teachers just before the Thanksgiving break to show their appreciation.

Besides being a lot of fun, the entire exercise enables the students to keep their culture alive by building the imu themselves and learning the intricate steps involved. On weekends prior to the luncheon they gathered the firewood, banana stumps, ti leaf and rocks (believe it or not, there are a certain very specific type of rocks that work for this underground pressure cooker).

And best of all, they get to eat the terrific food they prepare! As a new twist and due to the universal appreication for kalua anything, they added a fundraising element this year. For $20, family and the community in general were invited to drop off food items to go into the imu for cooking. A Wednesday morning drop off before the imu was closed yielded hot, steaming delicious kalua items for pick-up that evening just in time for Thanksgiving. The money raised went directly back the school for other projects and events. Truly a great Thanksgiving event -local style!

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

The Highs & Lows

Okay, here’s my monthly quick ‘n dirty for you. I keep doing this monthly run-down of the number of homes currently for sale, the number less than $500,000 and the least expensive and most expensive because IT’S AN EASY WAY FOR PEOPLE -BUYERS OR SELLERS- TO GET SOME HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE MARKET. By going back to previous monthly posts in this category (The Least Expensive & The Most Expensive) one can quickly get both a current view and a peak back at these market areas: Waimea, Waikoloa and Kohala.

TODAY IN WAIMEA:

  • 99 homes on the market
  • 36 are less than or equal to $500,000
  • The least expensive = $328,000
  • The most expensive = $7,000,000
  • The highest days on market (DOM)= 640

IN WAIKOLOA:

  • 87 homes on the market (10 fewer than last month. There were 101 homes listed on Aug 22, 2007 so the inventory is slowly being absorbed)
  • 24 are less than or equal to $500,000
  • The least expensive = $379,900
  • The most expensive = $895,000
  • The highest days on market (DOM)= 615

IN KOHALA:

    ** NOTE** Kohala data pertains to the entire district of North Kohala, including the coast and resort properties

  • 60 homes on the market
  • 8 are less than or equal to $500,000
  • The least expensive = $334,000
  • The most expensive = $5,099,000
  • The highest days on market (DOM)= 772

For more information on any of these areas or to fill in the blanks between the least expensive and the most expensive, just call or email me!

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

New Vacation Rental in Waimea!

This will be a smashing success just based on its central location, ambiance and price! The newest vacation rental in the heart of town, the Waimea Rental Cottages, Pua and Manu, rent for $135 and $125 per night respectively. There’s a 3rd cottage, Menehune Cottage in the works to add even more selection.
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The latest in vacation rental choices are located on the grounds of Daniel Thiebaut Restaurant in Waimea right behind the wonderful eatery known locally and affectionately as Daniel T’s, so you won’t even have to drive to dinner! And you are also walking distance to the HPA lower campus, the post office, Waimea Center and Parker Ranch Shopping Center, Parker Square and the Waimea Coffee Company.

You may think, “but it’s not on the beach, and there’s no pool,” but not everyone looking for accommodations on the Big Island is a tourist who wants to be on oceanfront (and pay those prices). If you’ve got kids at Hawaii Preparatory Acadmey and it’s parent’s weekend, guess what? You’re right there in the thick of things, smack dab in between the lower campus which houses K-8 and the upper campus where the high school is located.

If you’re in town from outer island on business you don’t need the touristy stuff. Or you may be a visiting astronomer vying for time on our world reknown telescopes, two of which (Keck Observatory and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope) are headquartered right in Waimea. Then again you could be doing a temporary stint at the North Hawaii Community Hospital. Again within walking distance from the Waimea Rental Cottages.

What else can I say? Oh yes, I know what, they even offer various discount coupons for the Daniel T’s, and they have access to reduced rental car rates. You just can’t beat it! Call today, (808) 885-8533 or visit their website.

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
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Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Post Thanksgiving Reflections

Okay, guess what my favorite holiday is. No, it’s not Christmas or my birthday. MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY IS THANKSGIVING! Sure there’s stuff about it I don’t like -the commercialization of it for a start, but hasn’t every holiday been co-opted in that way? Grandparents Day -give me a freaking break already! We don’t celebrate holidays anymore -they’re all shopping days, and that has made me an avowed non-shopper. We decorate our house, but WE DON’T DO THE CHRISTMAS THING and haven’t for years. Does that make me a scrooge? I don’t feel like Ebenezer.

Oh, and there’s the feeding the hungry at Thanksgiving that somehow erases all obligation for tackling that same hunger that returns every day to far too many in our own neighborhoods and communities, never mind the world community. This also gets to me. Oh yeah, we used to volunteer serving the holiday meals to the “needy” and always walked away with a good feeling, but you can only witness the ongoing hunger and the homelessness and lack of affordable housing so long before you’re just sick of it and frustrated beyond belief as our county and state governments just talk, talk, talk and go through the requisite motions (meetings, planning, passing resolutions, etc., etc.), but at the end of the day, actually accomplish almost nothing.

But I do especially like Thanksgiving because it’s a time to really pull back, quiet down, reflect and enjoy your family and friends in a way that you don’t quite ever do most of the time.

THIS BUSINESS, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS CAN BE 24-7-365 -or at least you’re expected to jump to that schedule if anyone shows up wanting you to, and there’s always that nagging thought “IF I WON’T -SOMEONE ELSE WILL”, just under the surface. Yee gads, is that any way to live? But having said that, I think Thanksgiving may be one of the few times people expect you to take a day off. In fact, most even take the following Friday (today!) off too and if you’re really lucky the whole dang weekend!

I have found in just these few days, I really can re-charge my batteries and ponder what is important to me, my family and my life. We have so much to be thankful for – especially living in Hawaii! All I can say is we are truly blessed. Take time to reflect and appreciate those blessings and

Please, please if you recognize even for an instant, your fortunes and blessings, share your wealth, spread it around. There are numerous well deserving charities and organizations THAT WELCOME YOUR HELP ALL YEAR ROUND! You can make a difference.

Here are a few of the worthy organizations both on the Big Island of Hawaii and nationally that you can contribute to:

  1. The Salvation Army Hilo, (808) 935-1277; Kona, (808) 326-2330
  2. Habitat for Humanity Hilo, (808)935-6677; Kona, (808) 331-8010
  3. Rotary International
  4. North Hawaii Hospice (808) 885-7547
  5. Hawaii Island Food Bank (808) 935-3050

Give a little, give a lot, but give!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
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Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Buy a House -Win a New Truck!

You don’t even need to get A HOLE-IN-ONE TO WIN A NEW TRUCK, toyota-tacoma.jpgall you have to do is buy a house through one of the more creative incentive programs offered lately by these local developers in Waimea on the Big Island.

BTW, this blog post falls under the “Coconut Wireless” category because the tip came from our friend Carmine who heard it at his Thursday night poker game! No lie, but it was the first I’d heard of it. Sure enough the next day it was all over the radio, so I called the sales office and it’s true!

D.R. Horton, which is a massive home development company you may be familiar with through projects in other states, has joint ventured with Schuler Homes and Parker Ranch in the creation of Luala’i at Parker Ranch in Kamuela (Waimea) and has a fun sales incentive going on right now.

If you buy any home they have in their inventory (and you are not taking advantage of any of their other incentives) you will get a NEW TOYOTA TACOMA TRUCK at closing! I think the only other stipulation is you have to close in the normal 45 day time frame a typical escrow takes.

Now if the big shiny, new truck doesn’t turn you on, well there are other incentives to choose from, but I just think this is really clever and actually shows some motivation on the Seller’s part -something we need more of in this market!

So what other incentives is D.R. Horton at Luala’i offering? Try these:

  1. 5.625% financing through their in house lenders
  2. 100% financing with a buydown paid by D.R. Horton
  3. free backyard landscaping
  4. and . . . TO KEEP THE AGENTS HAPPY THEY ARE OFFERING A 5% SALES COMMISSION on a particular house each month. This month the agent bonus is being offered on the Waena Model, the beautiful 4-bedroom pictured here.
    waena-model-homea.jpg
    The sales team has really put their heads together and developed some great marketing to at least gets people considering buying one of their homes and I think that’s a good thing!

    Aloha, Mike
    RE/MAX Pacific

    On Island: 885-5557
    Toll Free: 800-500-4895
    My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
    MikeSells.com
    WestHawaiiBlog.com
    Mike@MikeSells.com

Lovely Hula Hands – Embraced by the Japanese!

Hula has become so popular in Japan there are now at least FOUR nationally circulated hula magazines and a number of hula related television programs to satisfy the Japanese thirst for Hawaiian culture.
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The hula tradition is one that clearly demonstrates the nature of The Aloha Spirit. Naturally THIS CAN’T BE BAD FOR TOURISM! And it’s always nice to have people who come to us wanting to learn more and appreciate our culture (you can do it too at Hawaiian Home Page) Otherwise, why not go to Mexico, The Bahamas or the Canary Island??

Robbie Kane, with the Hawaii Tourism Authority said the impact of the Japanese hula tourists is sizeable and has led to repeat business for hotels, restuarants and stores.

“They have such a passion that they will continue to come, even multiple times during the year. It’s because Hawaii is the birthplace of hula.”

Last week wrapped up the Second Annual Moku O Keawe International Festival (Nov 7-11) at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa right here on the Big Island. Between this event and two others in the Islands, hundreds of Japanese tourists passionate about hula are expected this month alone. Kumu hula are loving it too (Na Kumu Hula = Master/Hula Teacher), as they are in great demand in Japan.
hula-japan.jpg
According the a recent article in Pacific Business News, Kuma hula Kawaikapuokalani Hewett began promoting hula in Japan twenty years ago and now spends 70% of his time there. Hula in Japan does go way back, having been introduced by Hollywood movies in the 20s and later by the likes of Elvis, but no matter when it started it’s huge now!

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Real Estate is NOT for Sissies!

Part time Realtors need not apply! You know the ones with the other day jobs? Sure I often work real estate in the evenings, but my day job is real estate – day just runs into night sometimes. But did you ever try to reach a part-timer during normal business hours -you know when the banks and title and escrow companies (and any other entity involved in the business) normally conducts business?

The fly-by-night Realtors sprout up like weeds in hot markets WHEN THEY CAN MAKE MONEY IN SPITE OF THEMSELVES (at everyone else’s expense), but there are still a few around even in this market, which certainly is not for sissies!

Now don’t get me wrong, I was a rookie once and I had to learn too, so I never mind helping someone out who is earnest in the job they are doing, working full time and trying honestly to do what’s right by their clients and the transaction in general. But when I call the Realtor who is on the other end of a deal with me and she answers the phone WITH THE CHATTER AND CLATTER OF A BUSY RESTAURANT IN THE BACKGROUND and she tells me she’s at her other job right now, but she’ll be in the office tomorrow, well I just want to scream!

Real estate is a SERVICE job, it’s all about the details and timing, timing, timing. If something needs attention, it most likely needs it now. If you want to show a house, you need to show it when your client can see it, not when the part time listing agent can be there to open the door for you! But more critical than showing access is being on top of all aspects of the transaction; the buyer’s loan contingencies, inspection details and deadlines and probably the most important of all -negotiating anything and everything that comes up between the buyer and seller until closing and beyond. Yes, beyond!

Did you ever have a past client call you a year or so after closing with the discovery of a leaking roof which apparently the sellers had knowledge of? I have. Yes it had been missed in the home inspection, but upon careful investigation of the kitchen ceiling where the water was coming in, there was evidence of old repairs and painting over previous leaks. The information had not been disclosed, the seller is long gone and guess what? So is their part-time Realtor! Now what?

No need to go into the history of that particular incident, but the point is, using a part time Realtor (I know she’s your niece or your neighbor’s brother’s cousin, or maybe your favorite waiter at the local coffee shop) but you do not do yourself or anyone else involved in the transaction any good by going this route with so much at risk. Just resist the tempation and save yourself a lot of trouble and very possibly a pile of money too!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
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Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Puna District Lava Worries

A new vent on the north side of Kilauea Volcano’s east rift zone has Puna residents wary of the lava flow. This new vent formed on July 21st so you may wonder why the ramped up concern now? Well the development of a lava tube (read: funnel propelling fast flowing molten lava) has stepped up residents anxiety over the last 2 weeks.

According to scientists with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory lava tubes insulate lava, keeping it hotter and more fluid than surface flows giving credence to the residents concerns and questions. Understandably they want to know will the flows threaten our community? How long will it take for the flows to get the 10 miles to HWY 11? Will the lava keep moving northeast toward us or to the south away from us?

The HVO answers that so far, the flows have only widened the lava flow field and no flow has moved in the same direction for more than 3 weeks at a time. At any rate, the HVO promises to keep the public apprised of the current activity through the media and it’s activity update website.

In the meantime, visitors and prospective new residents should understand a little more about volcanic hazard zones on the Big Island. There are 9 hazard zones. Zone 1 having the greatest hazard, Zone 9, the least. For maps and zone descriptions based on the percentage of land area covered by lava, check this out.
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By the way, hot action (no pun intended) in certain zones is why I usually recommend that buyers use local lenders for Big Island property. Almost everyone on the mainland has seen spactacular footage of the erupting volcanoes at one time or another. Let’s face it, it’s an image that lasts a long time. So with this in the memory bank, mainland lenders have been known to come up with some pretty ridiculous questions and requirements for insurance, etc. Understanding the lava zones goes a long way toward eliminating that likelihood.

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

To Buy or Not to Buy??

When is it the right time to buy? This seems to be one of the most frequently asked questions in today’s uncertain real estate market.

With listing prices being reduced daily, the vast inventory of homes on the market and interest rates still very low, I think it would be safe to say that THE GOLDEN GATE TO HOME OWNERSHIP HAS OPENED!

If you were one of those buyers who held off during the real estate frenzy now is the time to sit down and GET YOUR PLAN BACK INTO ACTION. Many of the homes on the market right now are a result of Buyers who purchased during that time and basically got in way over their heads. There are a ton of homes listed at less than what they purchased the property for only two years ago! SOMEONE ELSE’S LOSS CAN BE YOUR GAIN!

Purchasing a home is often compared to the stock market as you never know what it will be worth the next day. But at least a house provides a tangible asset! Something you can touch and see (and sleep in!). You have control over your destiny as far as improvements go; no rising rent issues and you’ll have something that has always appreciated over time.

When I purchased my home seven years ago, the market was changing (as it always does) but was considered to be neither a buyers nor sellers market. Both sides were making concessions to make a deal happen.

We felt like we got a fair deal on our property, but we took a chance. When we considered selling two years later we were surprised to learn that we’d barely be able to break even (sound familiar?). That’s just the way it goes! I decided to hang onto the house and ride it out. I needed a place to live anyway and the end of year tax benefits made up for any hardship I endured during the year.

A year or so later, I had my property appraised just when the market started to rise. It came in at $75,000 more than the purchase price and I WAS STOKED! Little did I realize that two years later another appraisal would reveal a $300,000+ gain! I know it sounds too good to be true, but it wasn’t. I lived through my very own real estate roller coaster ride.

Well, we still own that house and today use it as a rental investment. It may have depreciated since our last appraisal due to the market ups and downs, but we have learned the true value of home ownership (and yes, some of the uncertainty that comes with it). Most importantly however, we know how much our family has benefited from being owners, not someone else’s tenants!

It’s kind of like a marriage; “thru thick and thin, for richer or poorer” ~ knowing you can succeed with hard work and determination, but it all starts with taking that chance! And the right time to buy will be when you can benefit from the advantages of home ownership, whether it be the tax reasons, a roof over your head or as an investment.

Until next time, dream BIG and set goals!

Aloha,
Heidi K. Perreira ;o)

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In Hawaii:885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-987-8299
MikeSells.com

Save on Homeowners Insurance?

Ha! Not very dang likely in the wake of all the fires in Southern California recently. You know insurance companies always spread their risk and their losses. My guess is it won’t matter what part of the country you live in. Most of us will be faced with higher premiums next time around.

But, you may be able to save a little bit on your policy premium if you have a detached garage. Be sure to tell your agent when they are rating your home if the garage is not connected to the house. When detached, there is less risk of a fire originating in the garage (say at Mr. Fixit’s workbench) spreading to the home.

Showing property just this morning in Waikoloa I noticed the detached garage and luckily it jogged my memory so I mentioned it to the buyers. My husband and I had a rental home with a detached garage that we failed to get this advantage on because we’d never heard it before and our insurance agent didn’t think to ask. When we moved into it (to start the 2-year owner occupant clock ticking to avoid capital gains tax ;>) it came up. I cannot remember how much the savings were, but I know over the 14 years we owned the house it would have added up to a substantial amount. Oh well, one of life’s little lessons. Now you know!

That’s my Tip of the Day and I’m sticking to it!
happyfaceunderpalm.jpg

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Mauna Kea Gets First Snow of the Year!

That’s right, I said SNOW!! It does snow in Hawaii, at least on the Big Island and we just had a Kona storm that brought us our first this year! The same Kona storm rained us off the golf course this afternoon which doesn’t happen very often.

Now to educate you a little. A Kona storm means basically a storm from the south (Kona side of the island. Kona side also refers to the leeward side of the island). Since the tradewinds blow from the North East, most of our weather comes from that direction. But when we have a Kona storm, the wind and weather is coming from the South. And Kona storms can sometime bring heavy rain, hence snow at elevation on Mauna Loa (13,679 ft) and Mauna Kea (13,796 ft).

I’ve actually seen snow on Mauna Kea as early as October and as late at June. It’s always exciting to see the first snowfall. I remember when I used to live in Kohala and I’d be driving the Kohala Mountain Road (Hwy 250) on my way to the office in Waimea. You’re driving along this fairly curving road and all of a sudden you round a bend and “Wow, look at the snow!”. If it’s clear, it’a absolutely beautiful. The pastures in the valley below you are the most verdant green imaginable, with a gorgeous blue sky backdrop and then, BAM – Snow topped mountains so close and vivid you could almost reach out and touch them. Coming from Kohala you see Mauna Loa first, but not much further along Mauna Kea comes into view. If Mauna Loa has snow, Mauna Kea will too. I have actually pulled off the road just to gaze at this beautiful site more than once.

amksnowfromgolfcourse.jpg Then of course, you can go right down to the coast and go to the beach or be playing golf with snow capped mountains in your vista.

As they say, “Lucky we live Hawaii!”

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com

Waikoloa Golf Course Goats

Mascots? Well maybe not, but whether you label them mascot, pests or cute critters, ala “All Things Great & Small,” we got ‘em! (but hey, the new babies are cute!).
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They come through the 7th hole anywhere between 11 AM-1 PM from what I can gather perched on my lanai about 35 feet above. At least that’s when I most often see them. Not that I hang out there every day. After all, I do have a j-o-b.

The herd numbers from 50-60 goats, though I think they’re a little like rabbits -so watch out! But goats aside, the Waikoloa Golf Course is a great asset to the community.

This is the 9th fairway with Maui in the background.
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The Waikoloa Village Association owns the golf course, and though there are some who think otherwise due to the cost of operating and maintaining the course, I think everyone’s property values are enhanced by having the golf course. It affords open green space that otherwise would be covered with homes. It’s a venue for many of the communities’ charity events and it attracts repeat visitors every year who support our small businesses and rent vacation homes and condos in the area. The fire department has even used the water features (being a golfer, I call them magnets!) on the 3rd and 18th hole for the helicopters to fill up their buckets to fight local brush fires!

At any rate, it’s a fun and fairly forgiving golf course and the rates are great too – only $25 for a round including cart, for anyone living on the island (FYI, this rate is accurate, but not posted on the website). Once you’re a property owner you’ll get that rate too! So if you’ve got a hankering to get out there and whack a few, enjoy the beautiful views and get some fresh air, come on down! The course is hardly ever crowded. (did I just say that for the whole world to see??) Just call (808) 883-9621 for a T-time!

Aloha, Mike
RE/MAX Pacific

On Island: 885-5557
Toll Free: 800-500-4895
My “Sell” Phone: 808-896-1943
MikeSells.com
WestHawaiiBlog.com
Mike@MikeSells.com