Everything you need to know from Karen's Point of View

Karen E. Bail is a top producing, high quality real estate salesperson.  An Islander at heart, Karen has lived in Hawaii most of her life and on the Big Island since 1977.  Her intimate knowledge of all aspects of island living make her the preferred professional for all types of Big Island real estate.  Her experience as a real estate professional for nearly 25 years, past professional associations and networks add immense value to every transaction and for every client, whether buying or selling.  She can also help you with real estate purchases throughout the state.  Why go to anyone else, when you can work with a dedicated professional who puts you first!

Nov. 25, 2022

Local Family Offering Hawai’i County the Deal of a Lifetime in Kailua-Kona

Local landowners Ed and Rhonnia Rapoza are big believers in the power of community—which is why they sold a large swath of beachfront property off Ali’i Drive to the County of Hawai’i fifteen years ago instead of selling it to developers. All the people who now enjoy the views at Honl’s Beach have them to thank for their stewardship of the ‘aina.

“I’ve been an advocate for community and open space for years,” said Mr. Rapoza, himself a graduate of Konawaena High School. “And we have very little of it in Kona...This is our way of giving back to the community we grew up in, we live in, and we raised our family in.”

Keeping with their values and aspirations for public spaces, Mr. Rapoza and his wife are currently in the market to sell another slice of prime land in Kailua—well over 26,000 square feet, to be exact—to Hawai’i County, and all with the intention of creating another public space for the community to enjoy, according to a recent report appearing in Big Island Now.

The land in question, which sits upon two different parcels, sits upon the north side of Keauhou Bay, and even comes with a certified boat ramp to boot. Each parcel is located across from the area’s other boat ramp (which is not in use), and is also near to the onsite facilities owned and operated by Kamehameha Schools.

The deal has been kicking around since around 2020 or so, when the couple first approached County officials about purchasing the property. Last week, the Hawai’i County Council’s Finance Committee recommended that the Council authorize moving forward with the purchase, which means that negotiations can begin in earnest should the measure win full approval later this fall.

The Council noted that the site could “provide easy access to old and young for swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding and a host of water activities”—and who among us doesn’t like the sound of that!?

“It’s quite a jewel,” Councilmember Ashley Kierkiewicz said when asked about the potential property.

Money for the potential purchase would come from the Big Island’s Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resource Commission (PONC) fund, in which 2% of collected property tax revenues are placed.

Furthermore, should the deal be completed it may well dovetail quite nicely with Kamehamena School’s recent plans to renovate around 30 acres of Keauhou Bay, planning to improve the overall flow of traffic and create new commercial and cultural attractions, including the birth location of Kamehameha III.

 

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? We sure do—and we’d love to help a plan come together for you and yours to lay down new roots here on the Big Island in your next home! Give Karen a call so we can help you and your ‘ohana become a member of our island ‘ohana and start enjoying all the new plans for Keauhou Bay today.

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Nov. 18, 2022

What’s on Tap for the Big Island Economy in the Near Future?

You might have heard that there’s an old adage about the economy and the state of Hawai’i, which also recently appeared in Big Island Now:

‘When the economy goes in one direction, so shall Hawai’i follow suit…around six months later or so.’

However, according to a recent article, that may not actually be the case—or, in the words of Carl Bonham, the executive director at the University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization (UHERO), “that’s not true.”

According to Bonham, in two of the past four recessions—defined as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research— “Hawai’i basically grew right through the U.S. recession, or at least grew much more than the U.S. economy did, which was shrinking.”

We certainly like the sound of that!

Accordingly, the UHERO program’s latest forecast for the Aloha State predicts that the economic outlook has indeed worsened overall, likely resulting in a mild recession during the first half of 2023. However, it also states that Hawai’i could likely come out of thing far better than the mainland, even as inflation continues sending interest rates toward the sky via the Fed’s ongoing hikes.

“[T]here is a possibility that Hawai‘i could get through this without much of a downturn,” said Bonham. “It’s mostly because we’re still in recovery mode; we still have a way to go. We are talking about a much slower rate of job creation throughout 2023.”

Per Bonham’s words, the state continues to benefit greatly from the ongoing recovery of our tourism industry, which could serve to shield the state from more-severe job losses as our international visitors from places like Japan have returned since the early summer.

Furthermore, UHERO is reporting that, likely by the first part of next year, the state will return to around 50% of our Japanese tourists from the averages seen prior to the pandemic. Currently, Japanese tourists account for only around 10% of their historic levels, leaving much room for growth in the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.

What’s more, according to Bonham, it turns out that all islands are not created equal—when it comes to feeling the impacts of a recession, that is! (emphasis ours)

“The negative impacts of the U.S. recession are going to be felt most acutely on Maui and Kaua‘i, on the two markets that are predominantly U.S. markets,” Bonham said. “In contrast, because of our anticipated relatively strong return of Japanese visitors and spending, the smallest effects and the best growth will be seen on O‘ahu and the Big Island, where you can actually imagine starting to see businesses that cater to Japanese visitors starting to come back.”

 

So folks, you heard it here first! The Big Island is poised to continue along the comeback trail for the rest of this year and beyond, hopefully signaling a true return to form in the coming years ahead. Of course, Karen Bail and co. will continue to track things here as they happen, helping you and your ‘ohana to navigate the challenges as they arise and providing you with one-of-a-kind realty services here on the Big Island.

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Nov. 5, 2021

Which Big Island Neighborhood is Right for You?

Aloha, and welcome back! We hope you’ve been enjoying the fall season, and if you’re not enjoying it here on the Big Island of Hawai’i…then we’ll bet you’ve been thinking about packing up and making the move to paradise as temperatures drop across the mainland! 

But whether you’re thinking about relocating to the island or simply looking for an upgrade here in Hawai’i, you might be wondering which Big Island neighborhood is right for you? 

Today Karen and her team will share some of our favorite island neighborhoods and communities to help you find the slice of paradise that’s just perfect for you and yours!

North Hilo: If spectacular ocean views and rich, fertile grounds are your thing, then North Hilo just might be the neighborhood for you! This area sports some of the Big Island’s most spectacular natural beauty – wait until you see those waterfalls! – and has recently seen some of our favorite luxury dwellings come up for sale. Trust us: this is an area that has to be seen to be believed!

South Kona: Also known as Kona Hema, this leeward-facing community is renowned for its hospitality – not to mention all the upscale living options. Sporting some of the clearest coastal waters anywhere in the state, fans of outdoor recreation and exclusive, one-of-a-kind properties are sure to find something to their liking in this historic region.

Hamakua: Located just north of Hilo on the west side, this positively gorgeous area contains some of our most breathtaking scenery on the Big Island – or any other island, for that matter! The beneficiary of far more rain than many other spots on our list, Hamakua is thus able to provide the kind of natural abundance that would suit any nature lover (not to mention any aspiring gardeners and planters) to a ‘T.’ 

North Kohala: Surrounded by eye-popping, lava-formed landscapes, North Kohala is home to many of the island’s most desirable resort-style living spaces: this sunny spot accumulates less than ten inches of rain per year, making it the perfect landing spot for those who are looking for spend most of their time luxuriating in the sun’s rays. If you’ve been hoping to escape a frigid, mainland winter, then North Kohala has what you’ve been looking for. 

Waimea: Sometimes known as Kamuela, this northside community was formed from Kohala, the oldest of the five volcanoes that comprise the island of Hawai’i. If you’re looking for the very best in hiking and horseback riding, right in your own backyard, then you’ve come to the right place: these rolling hills offer some of our favorite views in the entire state. 

Waikoloa: This coastal town is dotted with beaches and offers some of the Big Island’s very best in island living. Several resorts and exclusive communities are located within Waikoala, which means you’ll be in close proximity to some of the island’s most-renowned choices in shopping and dining. Oh, and did we mention those year-round tropical temperatures? Make no mistake, this cultural hub just about has it all!

Are you ready to make one of these gorgeous areas your home? Then you’ll need the expertise and the experience of a local realtor who knows this island like the back of her hand. Give Karen Bail a call today and let’s get started on finding you the perfect landing spot here on the Big Island. 

 

Aloha & a hui hou!

Posted in Moving to Hawaii
Oct. 29, 2021

How to Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent Here on the Big Island

Buying (or selling) a house is truly one of those landmark moments in life – and certainly not something to be taken lightly. These days, information is power, and buyers or sellers never want to be left in the dark around the process. 

When it comes to finding a trustworthy and reliable real estate agent on the Big Island, it pays to do your homework! Today, we’d like to share with you a few questions that are important to ask yourself when looking for the right realtor to work with here on the island of Hawai’i: 

Are they experienced? 

It definitely pays to go with a real estate professional with experience – in more ways than one! Buying and selling on the Big Island will require a seasoned professional to see you through every step of the process – and it will also save you money in the long run. If you’re looking secure that dream home before someone else snaps it up – or looking to maximize the value of your current home in the marketplace – then you’re going to need a realtor known for delivering the goods, time and time again. 

Are they local?

File this one under funny but true: not every Big Island real estate agent is actually living here on the island! This might not be as big of a deal back on the mainland – a real estate professional who lives in Ventura can still be effective in the Los Angeles market – but here in Hawai’i, things are a little bit different. You need a realtor with the local connections and feel for the island to guide you into the neighborhoods that suit your needs, not to mention an understanding of the culture and the movements of our local marketplace. 

Are they renowned?

How a real estate professional has been reviewed can say a lot about their business – after all, if someone took the time to leave a review, then the services they received must have left an impression (good or bad!). A realtor’s social media presence and online consumer reviews speak rather loudly about their overall level of engagement and level of expertise in the field, and it’s vital to do your research when it comes to vetting your next real estate professional. 

When in doubt…always go with the best

Thankfully, this one is a no-brainer! Quite simply, when it comes to finding a top-notch realtor on the Big Island, Karen Bail fits the bill:  

  • Over 30 years of experience as a real estate professional – right here on the island of Hawai’i

  • Credentialed by the National Association of Realtors, a Certified Property International Specialist, the Transnational Referral Network, and a Previews International Specialist, among others

  • She’s been a Big Island resident for over 40 years now (and a resident of the state since 1967!)

  • A litany of five-star reviews from longtime, satisfied customers on Zillow, Google, and Facebook

 

Ready to get started on making those island real estate dreams a reality? Don’t delay – give a call today!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Oct. 22, 2021

How much does a typical home cost on the Big Island?

It’s a fair question, after all. Interest in relocating to paradise has never been higher – and really, who can blame anyone looking to get more aloha in their life? 

Bear with us…but it can be hard to say!

First off, let’s take a broad look at things:  as of September 2021, the median sales price on the Big Island clocks in at a cool $499,000 – which, in comparison to the rest of the state in September, sure sounds like a bargain:

  • Kaua’i: $1,172,500

  • O’ahu: $1,050,000

  • Maui County (Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i): $996,500

However, a deeper dive into the numbers reveals that things are invariably a little more complex than that – and, when it comes to making the move to paradise, you truly get what you pay for. 

Why the median sales price? 

It’s important to keep in mind that real estate values tend to utilize the median price, or the value of the midpoint between all the available sales numbers for any given period of time, because it’s often far more indicative of the overall movement of the market than the average, as the average is more prone for outliers on either end of the spectrum to skew the overall numbers. By way of example, let’s consider the following five numbers: 

[ 1, 2, 3, 4, 99 ]

Figuring for the average (sum divided by total numbers), that comes out to 21.8! But is 21.8 truly reflective of the overall set? In this case, it could be argued that, since four of the five numbers are far lower than 99, the 99 is skewering the average because it is so far above the rest of our set. 

Along these lines, the median, or middle number of the set, is 3 – and utilizing the median not only lends a balancing point to the set (by landing in the direct middle, with equal amounts of numbers above and below), it is also not prone to influence by any unduly high or low figures at the tail end of the given set. 

What neighborhood are we talking about? 

Having said that, it still doesn’t mean the median sales price can’t be misleading…especially here on the Big Island. 

When it comes to assessing real estate, you know what they say: location, location, location! That goes double for the island of Hawai’i, as the general area and location in which a single-family home or condominium is located has a major effect on the typical sales price a buyer can expect to encounter.

For example, single-family homes in the Puna area had a median sales price of only $310,000 in September, whereas homes in the Kona region sport a median sales price of $887,000!

Ultimately, where you purchase your home will undoubtedly have an outsized impact on the expected sales price. Low inventory and high demand will continue to drive prices forward in the foreseeable future, especially in many of the Big Island’s most-desirable areas. 

Ready to get started?

 

Needless to say, when it comes to landing a big fish in the proverbial real estate pond, you need an expert to help you navigate all the changing tides of the season. Give Karen a call today and let’s get started on making all your island dreams come true.

Posted in Real Estate Trends
Oct. 15, 2021

Our Top Five Reasons Why the Big Island is a Great Place to Live

If you were to ask around, most folks would easily agree that Hawaii is one of the most-desirable places to live in the entire world, and it’s easy to see why. Sprawling beaches, tropical scenery, and a never-ending supply of sunshine make the islands both easy on the eyes and a true delight to call home.

Having said that, many don’t realize that each of Hawaii’s islands have their own unique feel, culture, and vibe to them—and as a lifelong resident of the Big Island, I can safely say there’s nowhere else I’d rather be! Today, I’d like to share with you my top 5 favorite reasons to call the Big Island your home: 

The weather: We bet you saw this one coming a mile away! Even though it goes without saying, it still bears repeating: the Big Island is home to some of the most-hospitable climates in the entire world. Sure, most people already consider all the islands to be a tropical paradise… but what isn’t quite as well known is that the Big Island is also home to 10 of the world’s 13 total sub-climate zones, giving you an abundance of choice as to the kind of weather you’d like to experience on any given day!

All that natural beauty: Going hand-in-hand with our outstanding weather, Hawaii’ natural beauty is truly a sight to behold – and it makes for quite the scenic backdrop to your home or condo! Where else can you find pristine beaches mingling with awe-inspiring volcanoes, right in your backyard?

The culture: The state of Hawaii is famous for its vibrant culture and sense of aloha – and where better to find it than on the island that lends our state its name? Indeed, aloha serves many purposes to Hawaiian culture that are difficult to capture in just a few words. It’s a greeting, an expression of love and kindness, it's an encapsulation of the outlook for so many across this wonderful place. 

All that glorious space: They certainly don’t call it the ‘Big Island’ for nothing! With over 4,000 total square miles of splendor, you’ll never be in danger of running out of new places to discover on the island of Hawaii, from mauka to makai. Even as a lifelong resident I still find new places to explore almost every week – and I’m not in any danger of running out anytime soon. 

The magnificent homes: Last, but certainly not least -- get a load of some of these properties! The Big Island’s Northern and Western shores are home to some of the world’s most-desirable dwellings and luxury living spaces in the entire world. I’ve been living on the Big Island now for nearly 25 years, and Hawaii stands second to none when it comes to gorgeous spaces to call your home. 

 

Are you thinking it’s time to make the move to this sprawling island paradise? I’ve helped thousands of clients make their real estate dreams come true here on the Big Island and would love to help you do the same. Give me a call today and let’s get started on making those island fantasies a reality. Aloha!

Posted in Moving to Hawaii
Oct. 8, 2021

Big Island Real Estate is Booming…But How Long Will It Last?

As you might have heard, real estate on the Big Island – and across the Aloha State in general – are having quite a moment so far in 2021! Homes in the northern and western areas of the island of Hawaii have been selling like hotcakes, with the median sales price hovering around the $800k mark for these regions in particular. Keep in mind: here we reference the median sales price, or the value of the midpoint between all the available sales numbers, because it’s far more indicative of the overall market trend than the average, as the average is more prone for outliers on either end of the spectrum to skew the overall numbers. 

Furthermore, the lot size for residential properties has most definitely been on an upward trend over the course of 2021 thus far: lots under one acre have reached a median sales price of around $775k in the north and western parts of the island for the calendar year, whereas residential lots over one acre in size are now coming in at a cool $1.3 million, per the median price through August.  

Exciting times to be sure! But it also begs the question: how long will the 2021 real estate market remain so scorching hot?

While it’s true that the state of Hawaii has historically always stood tall as one of the more exclusive and desirable markets across the world, owing to its abundant desirable location and natural beauty, it’s also true that there is a natural ebb and flow to the housing market. What goes up, must come (at least somewhat) down. 

Unfortunately, any attempt to put an exact timeline on however long such a seller’s market can last would be akin to trying to ‘time’ the stock market for maximum returns – nearly impossible, not to mention not a very good idea for your financial well-being! Ultimately, there are several interrelated factors that work together to influence the overall market’s direction, including: 

Global and local trends

Local construction

Inflation

The current availability of homes on the island

Current interest rates

For buyers, all these interrelated factors can make it difficult to forecast the ‘best’ time to buy – and especially in a locale as gorgeous as the Aloha State! Having said that, deciding on the right time to purchase your home has a lot more to do with factors that are both more predictable and more within your control: namely, your own financial outlook and housing goals. Working to align and harmonize your budget and your goal is a far more critical aspect to securing the home of your dreams than attempting to predict the timing of a coming market cooldown. 

Alternatively, as a seller, the time is definitely right to sell your home on the Big Island! While it’s extremely likely that Hawaii’s housing market will always remain a cut above the competition, it’s also true that the recent housing boom will cool off at some point in the future – because that’s what all markets do! In the month of August, 35% of all single-family home sales were bid-ups, or homes that sold for above their predicted market value. With buyers literally lining up for their chance at living in paradise, there’s no time like the present to maximize your potential returns. 

Wondering how to make your Hawaii housing dreams come true – buying or selling? Contact me today and let’s get to work on helping you find your place in paradise!

Posted in Real Estate Trends
March 25, 2010

Moving to Hawaii FAQ's

How much does the weather change from season to season?

Hawaii has a great tropical climate that does not change much year-round. That said, you may find that some areas of the Island can have a drop in the average temperature by as much as 10 or 15 degrees seasonally! One could say that the Winter and Spring months tend to have more rain, but it is really hard to make generalizations like this, the weather is ALWAYS changing! One of the most amazing things about Hawaii is that if you find yourself surrounded by gray clouds and rain, it is a safe bet that you can drive less than 1 hour to a part of the island that is warm and sunny! The same goes if you want to escape the heat.

How can I move all of our personal belongings?

There are basically two options here, you can use a full-service shipping company to make it happen, or you can pack and load a container yourself and then just have the shipping company haul it away. If you are a regular do-it-yourself type of person/family, you can use a shipping company like Matson or Pasha to ship a full container (20-40 feet in length) from the West Coast to your Island destination. If you'd prefer to leave the details to the expert moving company, they can handle it all in a door-to-door move. Check out our Links section for information on how to contact some shippers.

Is it hard to bring our pets? What is involved?

Hawaii has an animal quarantine process that must be followed. More information can be found here.

How much higher is the cost of living in Hawaii?

The cost of living here is roughly 30% more than the national average, but please don't quote us on that. There are many factors that come into play so it is hard to come up with exact numbers. Also, it really depends where you shop. If you shop at Costco you may find the prices are about the same, but if you go to a convenience store you may find the prices are substantially higher. Remember, about 90% of all products here in Hawaii are shipped in!

What part of the island should I live on?

This depends on your personal taste. The Big Island of Hawaii is home to so many climatic zones, meaning that we have an incredibly diverse climate and you only have to drive a short while to go from one to the next. We have broken down the island into regions based on the climate on this page here.

What is "Island Fever"?

Some people move to Hawaii only to find that they can't quench the longing to move back home! Some call this "Island Fever". Living in a small state with small towns, a rural atmosphere and a tropical climate is not for everyone. We recommend that you make a point to visit the Islands a few times and explore the different areas to see which location you want to call home. You can drive Hawaii's Big Island in about 5 1/2 hours in a circle. That is the largest of the islands, the rest going down to about 4 for Maui and Oahu, 2 1/2 for Kauai and 1 for for Lanai and Molokai. Many people can only drive that circle so many times. Even if you typically stay within 2 hours of your house most of the year on the mainland, it's the IDEA that you CAN drive to another state if you want to. Here, you can't. You may very well be the kind of person that can handle that but honestly, you won't know that until you get there.

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Posted in Moving to Hawaii