I mentioned earlier I'd run a house 4 sale post, this is my big real estate sales pitch. Way back in '97 my wife and I took a trip to Kona for a 10 or so day vacation. By day number two, Pat, my wife, said "wouldn't this be a great place to live?"... well, it took us a year and a half, but the rest is history.
On that trip we fell in love with South Kona. It was rural, yet close in if staying in the area of Captain Cook. We spent much time down around Kealakekua Bay, checking out Napo'opo'o village, the Place of Refuge, Napo'opo'o road, the stretch from Honolo to Capatain Cook, and the surrounding area. I remember clearly us taking a ride up Napo'opo'o road after hanging out at Kealakekua Bay and Pat mentioning she wasn't sure if she'd want to live at the top of the road near the highway, nor at the bottom of the road in the village. I remember pointing out the window and saying "somewhere around here would be ideal". We didn't intend it, but after we moved to Kona in '99 and house hunted for a couple of months, checking out areas from the Palisades subdivision up by the Kona airport, on up to the Holualoa area, and all the way down to Capatin Cook, we ended up choosing our future home... our driveway is probably within about 300 feet of where I said would be the ideal place to live. Cool coincidence.
We've been in the house for 13 wonderful years now, but we've decided it's time to downsize and move a bit closer to my work (Pat works from home and can be anywhere).
The property is located roughly half way down Napo'opo'o road above Kealakekua Bay, at what we consider an ideal 900' elevation. Kona is unique in that there are numerous micro-climates. If you are near sea level, it can get quite warm at times, if you are away from mountains it can be kind of a desert, if you are on a mountain at a high elevation it can be a humid and wet jungle a significant portion of the time. At our elevation you still get sun in the morning, then cloud cover around mid-day to where it cools off, and live in a green jungle without it being a humid wet mess. It's a great place to visit the coast, then cool off a few degrees after a day in the sun.
One of the great things about the location is that it's 5 minutes to the ocean, 5 minutes to a gas station, 6 minutes to groceries and restaurants, 18-20 minutes to movie theaters and more shopping, and no more than 30-45 minutes from anywhere else in Kailua Kona, often quicker in non-school traffic drive times.
There is nothing like sitting on your lanai, sipping a maitai in the evening and listening to all the bird songs (we have doves, cardinals, finches, mynahs, pheasants and more wandering through most every day) and enjoying the view, without the trappings of being surrounded by loads of neighbors (to be fair, we just cut down some trees for a view and can see our next door neighbor for now, but that'll grow out).
The floorplan is large and open, with roughly 1900 feet of living space (not including the lanais which surround the house) on the main living level upstairs. There is an additional living space I'm taking the above photos from I'm not showing that we currently use as an office, the original owner had a pool table in it, it's plumbed for a wet bar as well.
The house features an extremely nice koa wood kitchen. Koa has become a very expensive exotic wood in recent years and is highly sought after. You'd pay a pretty penny for a koa kitchen these days
The master bedroom is large, with twin skylights over the bed, with an adjoining koa wood and marble bath featuring separate shower and partially sunken bath tub.
The second bedroom and bath, on the opposite side of the house from the master, both open to jungle views, with the bedroom also getting a coastline view as well.
Downstairs is a completely separate one bedroom one bath living area of over 700 square feet. When we purchased the house we took a look into fixing it up and renting it out as a vacation rental. That is probably one of the smartest things we've done with the propety. Fully updated, it has a huge bedroom and a nice sized bath with a nice little living area and a kitchenette/wetbar. One could live there quite comfortably.
The last few years we've been buffering the length of time between bookings and taking the rental out of service 2-3 months a year, but we've still been bringing in about 2K a month when we want to have it booked. With the tourism downturn, '09 was a slow year, then in early '10 we were looking at no bookings after our typically full winter season we were getting a bit worried... decided to play with our VRBO.com listing for the first time in ages and changed some things and ended up booking up the rest of the year in 5-6 weeks. We just took the vacation rental out of service to have it available for showings (although we are open to short notice stays if anyone feels like visiting Kona soon) and have dropped our VRBO lising, but we've kept the information and would be happy to pass that along to the next buyer if they are interested in a jumpstart on renting out the unit as a vacation rental.
Land- 1.72 acres
Extensive rock walls on the property
House- 2646 square feet
Built in 1985
Garage- 987 (I think, haven't checked lately, I've lived in houses and apartments smaller than our garage) square feet
3 bedroom, 3 full baths, laundry facilities upstairs and downstairs, large living areas, nearly a 1000 square feet of lanais
Hawaii MLS Number- 254553
Our agent- Sue Brown, Livingston Realty
Price- 699K I think there's a good opportunity for increased valuation the next time the market turns around, it was worth in the million + range the last time the market was up.
The house has been well maintained. We recently upgraded most of the skylights in the house. We wanted to get away from metal roofing some years ago and had it reroofed with composit shingles (wow, what a difference in both heat in the sun and noise from rain, much nicer). We're in the process of repainting the eaves and replacing the rain gutters. Nearly all electrical and lighting fixtures, as well as the appliances and several plumbing fixtures (aka low flow toilets) have been upgraded over the years.
If you are house hunting in the Kona area, and looking for a rural place in good condition with room to entertain (I haven't even touched on our parking) guests or just enjoy a tropical paradise, check out our listing. Note: It's July 5th 2012 right now, I know how things tend to hang on forever on the internet, so check that MLS number to see if we're still on the market if some time has passed.
Happy house hunting!!!!