One of the things I always get around to asking my clients when I’m showing vacation rental condos is, “So, can you see yourself staying here and enjoying it?”
The Kamaole Sands is a vacation rental thoroughbred, and performs better than some higher-priced properties
Buying where you like is important, but assuming that the investment aspect is at least part of your decision to buy a vacation condo, it makes sense to research and identify properties that perform well. Not all vacation condos are created equal, and there is a huge variation in overall occupancy, average room rate, and return on investment.
In June 2010, a 639 square foot 1-bedroom condoÂ at the Kihei Bay Vista, a neatly kept little resort in North Kihei, sold for $220,000. About a month later, a 588 square foot 1-bedroom at the Maui Vista in South Kihei, a nicely maintained property across the street from Charlie Young and Kamaole I Beach, sold for $200,000.
I know there are those who loveÂ North Kihei, but to the vacation visitorâ€”your future customerâ€”there is just no comparison in these two locations. South Kihei’s beaches are among the best in the worldâ€”North Kihei’s water is murky, its shoreline rocky, and wind blows frequently. The Maui Vista is in the heart of dozens of restaurants and shopsâ€”North Kihei is a car ride away.
South Kihei’s Maui Vista, located across the street from stunning Charlie Young Beach,Â is a proven performer in the entry-level vacation rental market; units here are priced comparably to some in North Kihei, a far less desirable and harder to rent vacation area
The Maui Vista is a better place to stay than Kihei Bay Vista for most visitorsâ€”period. Which means, as an owner, you’ll have to work a lot harder, discount your rates a lot more, and expect lower occupancy than at the Maui Vista.
You should be able to get some perspective on the various reputations and performance of the different properties from your Realtor. You can also find out a lot online: go to websites like VRBO.com, AliiResorts.com, RentalsMaui.com, and othersâ€”you can see rates, availability calendars, and get a sense of the various properties as rentals. Don’t let this be your end-all criteria, but factor it into your decision.
Also on my personal list of peak performers in their respective price classes: the Wailea Elua, Kamaole Sands, and Kihei Bay Surf. If you want another perspective on your short-list of properties, call or email me.
Note: Kevin Spaise, R(S) is the author of The Maui Condo Book, the reference directory used by Maui’s brokers, Realtors, and title/escrow professionals (www.TheMauiCondoBook.com).