Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why it’s so hard to find an Ideal Hawaii Home

We were inspired to write our first book, Your Ideal Hawaii Home after meeting so many people who were unhappy with their new dream house in Hawaii.  We noticed that mainland-style homes in our Hilo neighborhood were constantly on and off the market.  The houses usually sold quickly, however the new buyers were soon unhappy with the afternoon heat and high electric bills.  The cold-climate, mainland-style houses in Hilo, so unsuited to the tropical climate in Hilo, yet so pleasing to eyes of buyers from the mainland, had a continuous turnover of new owners.  Although people who read our book learn about the downside of mainland hot-house designs in a tropical climate, bugs, rain, humidity, garden maintenance nightmares, and other Hawaii house issues, the book doesn’t actually help with finding an ideal house. 

Recently we visited a family on a beautiful property with a Hawaiian style house, perfectly groomed orchards, quiet neighborhood, and great views.  The property had been lovingly cared for and improved to be easy to maintain.  It was a delight to spend time there enjoying the cool breezes and scented air.  The elderly owners inherited the property from their parents, who had inherited it from their parents.  The owner described how his children and grandchildren loved the place, making it clear that the property would likely not be for sale for generations, if ever. Properties in Hawaii with the positive attributes and design elements that make living in the tropics wonderful are handed down through generations.  We have even met local residents who moved to the mainland for their career and kept their grandparent’s home for their retirement.  Ideal Hawaii properties are rarely for sale

Many of the homes that are for sale in Hawaii have major problems with design, lack of air flow, wood rot, bug infestations, or mold that the new owners could not solve.  In Hawaii really nice looking neighborhoods or condos can have unexpected problems with noise or crime that similar looking (or priced) neighborhoods on the mainland would not have. When looking for an ideal property in Hawaii, find out how many owners there have been over the years. If you see a lot of owners in the last 5 years, consider it as a red flag.  If the neighborhood is having high turnover, then that is also a red flag.  Many of the best properties being sold never make it to the market, they are sold to friends or families known to the neighborhood.  Even if a realtor is used, the best properties are not put on the MLS because the realtors know they will sell quickly.


Finding an ideal house or property in Hawaii takes time.  It requires research to identify the right neighborhood and then patience to wait for a property to become available.  The prize is a property that may become a family heirloom, a place where your great-grandchildren retire.  

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