Things You Need to Know Before Buying Land in Kona, Hawaii
If you're in the market to buy your own piece of paradise in Kona, Hawaii, you should know a few things first and this is a good place to start. Zoning laws, climate zones, building restrictions, use restrictions, cultural considerations, access to utilities, you name it! Every state, county and neighborhood across the country is different and you need to know the things that may affect your use and enjoyment after you purchase land in Kona, Hawaii.
Now, the easiest way to handle this is to, of course, call me. I will answer your questions, find out what you are looking for and help you find a great property in Kona. I have been selling real estate in Kona for over 20 years and I can honestly say experience is not expensive, it's priceless.
I could never cover everything you need to know about buying land in Kona in a blog but let's touch on a few items.
What climate do you want to live in? The Kona district of Hawaii sits on the flanks of the beautiful 8,271 foot tall, Mt. Hualalai. There are subdivisions that go as high as about 5,000 feet, where you can buy land. A general rule is that, as you go higher up the mountain, the rainfall increases. It also gets cooler. The Kona Coast is very dry with rainfall totals around 20" per year. Most of the rain on the coast falls at night and summer is wetter than winter. You can drive just a few miles up the mountain and have over 60" of rainfall per year. On any given day it could be 80 degrees at the coast and 70 degrees at 1,500 feet elevation only a few miles up the hill. The climate is mild and comfortable no matter where you are in Kona, but some folks like 73 degree weather every day and others prefer it in the 80's.
Does the lot have access to county water? If you are looking for land above Mamalahoa Hwy, it may not have access to county water. In most areas of Kona the water lines follow Mamalahoa Hwy at about 1,100 feet elevation. Many lots above the highway need to pump the water to their land or just collect rainwater from their roof into a catchment tank. These catchment systems work very well at elevations of 1,000 feet and higher, due to the abundance of rainfall. There are also filtration systems that keep the water very clean. I have references to very competent catchment tank companies that I can provide. Most of the land below Mamalahoa Hwy. has access to county water but you have to make sure that the Water Department will issue a water meter for that specific lot. That is something that I will help you with during the due diligence period of the purchase transaction.
Does the zoning allow you to do what you want with the land? In Hawaii there are specific uses allowed for land depending on the zoning. Do you want to build a home and a guest house? Do you want to subdivide the lot and sell one? Better check the zoning. Are there CC&R's and design guidelines that restrict the style or size of home you would like to build? Buying land in Kona is almost never a blank slate where you can do whatever you want. However, with the right agent to guide you through the process, you can find land in Kona that you can enjoy with friends and family for a lifetime.
Rich Bosselmann R(S) - Excellent buyer and seller representation.
Real Estate Agent
Cottages on Alii Drive - New Housing Development on Alii Drive
There is a new housing development getting ready to break ground in Kailua-Kona. Cottages on Alii Drive will consist of 58 single family homes and a neighborhood park on a 10 acre parcel. Soon there will be more information about floor plans but at first glance, it looks like there will be both single story and two story homes with lot sizes ranging from 5,000 to 13,000 square feet, with most in the 5,000 range. The developer is Stanford Carr, he has built quite a few, well received condominium and single family developments in West Hawaii and on Oahu.
The location for these plantation and craftsman style homes is fronting Alii Drive, across the street from the ocean and about a mile south of historic Kailua Village. Hawaii County recently purchased a 10 acre, ocean front lot, that will be developed into a park only a few hundred feet from this new development.
With the highly desirable, Alii Drive location and record low inventory of available homes in Kona, demand will definitely be very high. Prices have not been released but are expected to start in the low $800,000 rage. Reservations for the first release of single family homes at Cottages on Alii Drive will be available sometime in December 2021. Remember, it doesn't cost anything to have expert buyer representation. Developer agents represent the developer. Contact me today to see how you can reserve a home at pre-construction prices at Cottages on Alii Drive.
Rich Bosselmann R(S) ~ (808) 785-4664 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Estate Agent
8 Things to Know Before Buying a Vacation Rental Condo in Kailua-Kona, HI
Kailua-Kona has become a very popular place for second home/ vacation rental condo purchases. The weather is perfect year round so there really isn't an off season. The right condo will have very high occupancy rates all year. Buyers should know a few things before starting their search.
1. On the Big island, condominiums rented for less than a 30 day period need to have an STVR (short term vacation rental) permit. The application can be found at the Hawaii County Planning Department web site .
2. The condo has to have the proper zoning and CC&R's that do not restrict rentals for a period of less than 30 days.
3. Location matters. The condo will have higher occupancy rates if it's in a location that offers ocean views or the opportunity to walk to the beach or restaurants.
4. There are many ways to manage. Some vacation rental condo buyers want to be completely hands off. Others, would like to be involved in the booking and marketing of their unit. Some are in between. The level of service that you choose will affect the cost of operating your vacation rental. If you have the time to answer occasional emails from guests and can keep an eye on the booking calendar, I can share some other cost cutting options with you.
5. Furnishings and artwork. Most vacation rental condos in Kona are sold turnkey furnished but it's a good idea to check the condition of the mattresses and furnishings. Refreshing the unit with some tropical art and, if necessary, some new furnishings, can provide a boost to your bookings.
6. Know your niche. Some vacation rental condo complexes have exercise rooms, pool/spa, expansive landscaped grounds, on site restaurants , tennis courts and more. Others may only have a pool with very limited common areas. Amenities cost money in the form of higher maintenance fees. Some travelers are looking for the best priced rental and do not care to spend more for amenities that they don't want to use. Others, are looking for more and are willing to pay for it.
7. Damage protection. A busy vacation rental is going to get some damage from time to time. The big vacation rental advertising web sites like VRBO and Airbnb offer policies that are guest paid and offer different levels of protection for a small premium. Normal wear and tear like plumbing issues and appliance repair can be handled by one of the many handyman/tradesmen services in town that specialize in these things. If you have a property manager, they take care of these issues. If you self manage, it's not difficult to get someone to make a house call.
8. Good agent. Lastly, you need a good real estate agent that knows which units and condominium complexes will allow you to reach your goals. Whether that is having a top producing vacation rental condo, or just a place that you and your family will enjoy while offsetting some of the expenses. I have been a real estate agent and vacation rental owner for many years and take pride in providing excellent buyer and seller representation. Feel free to call, or email with any questions that you may have. (808) 785-4664, email@example.com.
Buying a coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii can be a rewarding experience. Living on the slopes of Mt Hualalai with beautiful vistas, year round perfect weather and a crop of delicious coffee is a pretty good way to spend some time. That's why many people move to Kona every year and do just that. If your dreams include owning and operating a coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii, I am the real estate agent to help make it happen. But first, here are a few things you need to know about being a coffee farmer in Kona, Hawaii.
1. Growing coffee is a labor intensive business. The coffee cherries need to be picked by hand as they ripen on the tree. You only want to pick the ripe red cherries, so it is done today as it was 100 years ago, by hand. Fortunately, there are many experienced coffee pickers that go from farm to farm, picking ripe cherries when the crop is ready.
2. What if you want a Kona Coffee Farm but don't want to do any of the labor? Good news, many multi million dollar estates in Kona have neat rows of beautiuful coffee trees and the owners just sit on the lanai and enoy the view. There are companies that manage farms in return for a share of the crop. I know of some very good ones and it doesn't have to be a multi million dollar estate.
3. Elevation matters. The climate in Kona changes with the elevation. Suitable elevation for growing coffee is between 800 feet to 3,000 feet above sea level. The lower the elevation the dryer and warmer it is. Some prefer to grow at the upper end of the range because they say the beans grow larger but most consider an elevation between 1,000 and 2,000 feet the best.
4. Not all coffee orchards are the same. There are many variables that affect coffee quality and yield. Are the trees too close together? Is the soil suitable? Are the trees being fertilized and pruned properly? All of these questions can be answered by a knowledgable Kona coffee expert with a visit to the property. I know the guru and I'll be happy to bring him out to analize the property before you buy.
5. Water supply. Many Kona coffee farms are at an elevation that provides ample rainfall to grow coffee. But what happens if there is a drought and you are 100% dependent upon rainfall? Your crop will suffer. Having access to county water is a big plus, especially if you are starting your farm from scratch with plantings. Many parts of the Kona coffee belt do not have access to county water. Often catchment tanks can get you through a dry spell.
6. Does the farm have processing facilities? After coffee is picked it needs to be pulped, dried, processed and roasted. You can pay to have this done, or if you have the equipment, you can save money and do it on your farm.
7. Does the farm have a label and customers to sell the Kona coffee to? You can design your own label and start selling at farmers markets, a web site, local stores etc., but it's easier to start with established customers. Other options are to sell cherry or green beans to wholesalers but you make more money if you sell your product retail.
8. Buy at the right price. Once you find the perfect Kona coffee farm and want to move forward with the sale, it's important to have an agent that can show you comparable sales and determine a current market value for the property. My brokerage is located right in the heart of Kona coffee country in the community of Holualoa and we have the experience in these types of transactions that you need.
9. Kona has a lot of leasehold coffee farms. Some of the best coffee growing land is owned by Bishop Estates, formerly owned by Hawaiian royalty. Bishop Estates grants long term (usually 35 years) leases and as long as you are farming the land they will keep extending the lease. You can live there your whole life and pass it down to your kids if you want. You are also free to sell it to another farmer. These properties sell for around half the price of a similar fee simple property.
I hope this information has been helpful. There are many other things that you should know about real estate in Hawaii and with my 20 years of experience, I am happy to help.
Rich Bosselmann R(S)
What Happens To A Mortgage With Inherited Real Estate?
When it comes to inheriting real estate, is the mortgage also included? Or does the trustee or executor pay the mortgage off before the property is transferred to the new owner? Well, simply put, the mortgage stays with the property.
If the property is in a trust or estate, the executors should keep making the mortgage payments before the title is transferred to the person inheriting it, using the trust or estate funds. This will help to prevent incurring late fees, or even lead to the default on the mortgage, and even trigger a foreclosure proceeding.
Refer to the Will or Trust for Guidance
The trust or will document should always be used for guidance. This means that if the document stipulates that the estate or trust funds be used to pay off the mortgage, then the path is clear. Nonetheless, most wills do not contain such information, and will probably use general terms on debt repayment. In general, that doesn’t always mean paying off a debt secured by or attached to a certain real estate or other assets.
The Rights of the Inheritor
As mentioned earlier, someone inheriting property that is under a mortgage will also inherit the mortgage as well. As such, the new owner can take over the old mortgage and resume repaying without any change in the terms. This was made possible by the Federal Law referred to as the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982.
Set out in the Act are a number of provisions that prohibit lenders from enforcing a “due-on-sale” clauses in mortgages, called acceleration clauses. Acceleration clauses allow the lenders to demand a mortgage to be fully paid off when real estate is sold. But under the Act, the lender is not allowed to demand mortgage payments when the transfer:
• Is due to the death of a tenant by entirety or a joint tenant
• Is being made to a relative after the death of a borrower
This law is applicable to residential property with four or fewer dwelling units, and includes residential manufactured homes. It’s also applicable to a lien on the stock that’s allocated to any unit with a cooperative housing corporation.
What Options Does the Inheritor Have?
The new owner can keep making the mortgage payment if the law covers the inherited property, based on the existing terms of the mortgage. This is often ideal if the new owner can afford making these payments, since they don’t need to apply for a mortgage considering all the expenses and hassles it entails.
What Happens When the Beneficiary Can’t Afford the Property?
If the new owner can’t afford making the mortgage payments and/or the other expenses of home ownership like repairs, taxes, and maintenance, they must consider using other strategies, just as any homeowner in such a situation would.
When affordable refinancing isn’t available, or when the new owner doesn’t intend to live in the house or rent it out, selling it might be the best option. Keep in mind that when the property is sold within the first year after the death of the previous owner, the inheritor will most likely not owe any capital gains tax.
Thanks to our friend, trusts and estate planning attorney in Carpinteria, Neal Bartlett, for his insight on what happens to a mortgage with inherited real estate. Neal is the founding attorney at Bartlett & Herrington, PC. He helps families in Carpinteria, Montecito, Ventura and Santa Barbara create estate plans and elder law plans to protect their families and assets. Visit the website to learn more about the law firm.
Hawaii County (Big Island) Property Taxes Explained
Most people think of Hawaii as a beautiful place to live where taxes are high. In some areas, they're right. But, when it comes to property taxes, Hawaii has some of the lowest rates in the country.
Each Island in the Hawaiian chain is it's own county. The Island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island is Hawaii County. Each Hawaiian county sets their own property tax rates. In Hawaii County there are tax rates for the different property classes, ie. Residential, Commercial, Hotel/Resort, etc. There are are also tax rates for owner occupied properties and investor owned properties.
Hawaii County tax rates are very favorable to owner occupant residents of Hawaii. The county determines an assessed value for each property. There are two exemptions for owner occupants. The first exemption is determined by the oldest owners age. Owners younger than 60 receive a $40,000 exemption off of the assessed value. Owners between 60 and 70 receive an $80,000 exemption and owners 70 + receive a $100,000 exemption.
The second exemption for owner occupants is 20% of the assessed value up to a maximum of $80,000. This amount is also taken off of the assessed value. Another benefit of being an owner occupant is the 3% cap yearly on assessed value increases.
Once Hawaii homeowners add up their two exemptions and deduct it from the assessed value they calculate their property tax by multiplying the reduced assessed value by $6.15 per $1000 dollars of assessed value. That is just over 6/10th's of 1% of a discounted assessed value. These are some of the lowest tax rates in the country!
Residential tax rates on investment properties in Hawaii County are just over 1% of the assessed value. Which is also very reasonable and just think, one day you can move here full time and enjoy these low Hawaii resident property tax rates.
So, if you are thinking about living in Hawaii, I just gave you another reason. If I can be of assistance in your search for real estate in Hawaii, don't hesitate to contact me.
Rich Bosselmann R(S)
Koa Realty Inc.
If you are looking for a condo in Kailua-Kona that accepts dogs and cats, you are in luck. There are many pet friendly complexes in Kona, but finding them can be a challenge. Owners and residents of condominium complexes agree to follow rules that are spelled out in the development's CC&R's or Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Some Kona condominiums have CC&R's that do not allow dogs or cats. Others, welcome our four legged friends with open arms and aloha.
Many Kona condominiums have a weight limit on the dogs allowed to live in the complex, I have seen quite a few that cap it at 25 lbs. In most cases, there is some flexibility when it comes to the size of the pet. Larger dogs are often allowed with Board of Director approval. So, if you find that perfect Kona condominium but your little friend is a little too heavy, there is hope.
As a long time dog lover and owner in Kona, Hawaii; I must say, finding places to let your dog exercise and play can be challenging, but not impossible. There currently are no designated dog parks and I don't know of any beaches that allow them off leash. However, the Humane Society is building a dog park right above town. The little beach at Honokohau Harbor is one of the only dog beach areas we have and it's a great place for dog's that love to swim. With the limited options out there it's a good idea for dog owners interested in condominium living to find a complex that has good access to great trails, sidewalks and other places to walk their pets near home. Some complexes are better located than others.
If you would like me to email a list of active condominium listings in complexes that allow dogs and cats I would be happy to. I can also point out some complexes that are walking distance to great trails and scenic sidewalks.
Don't hesitate to call or email with any other questions that you may have about the Kona real estate market or real estate in general.
Rich Bosselmann R(S)
Take a look at my great new listing! This 3 bedroom 3.5 bath beauty is very successful vacation rental. Families love it, and you will too. Located in the exclusive Ho'omalu on Alii Drive, just a short walk to popular White Sands Beach where the swimming is great and lifeguards are on duty daily.
This neighborhood consists of mostly 5 AG zoned acre parcels right in town. This particular home is on a 14,000 sq. ft lot. with great privacy.
This home is built with high end finishes including, solid wood doors throughout, 10' ceilings, granite counters, stainless appliances, quality cabinets and much more.
If you are looking for a high end vacation rental, luxury second home or beautiful primary residence in Kailua-Kona, take a look at this gem.
Contact Rich Bosselmann R(S) for a private showing (808) 785-4664.
New Listing! 75-634 N. Lanikila Place, Kailua-kona, HI 96740
Beautiful, very well maintained single level 3/2 in popular Pualani Estates. Looks like new, built in 2010. Central air conditioning, stainless steel appliances, tile surround in bath/showers, covered lanai off the great room and much more. Located at 600 feet elevation with lovely ocean and mountain breezes. The back yard has a vinyl fence and the entire property has irrigation. Excellent location on a quiet cul-de-sac street. Sold furnished. Asking $549,900.
Contact Rich Bosselmann R(S) (808) 785-4664 for a private showing.