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To Buy or To Build a Home in North Kohala

Vacant land is selling in Kohala

For the past year, I’ve been selling lots of lots (vacant land ranging from 3 acres to 40 acres) in North Kohala. Parcels sold from Puakea Bay Ranch just before Hawi, out to Kapana’ia which is past Kapa’au on the road to Pololu Valley. Many of my buyers are planning for future retirement, 2 to 10 years out, although some clients who purchased recently are already hiring architects and builders hungry for their business in a slow market.

Sometimes prospective buyers just starting their search ask me whether it makes more sense to buy a home for sale or to buy acreage and build…and the answer is it depends. At a few of my favorite smaller gated subdivisions in the Hawi area such as the Ranch at Puakea and Puuepa Ranch, there is no choice, as there are no residences to buy, just 20 acre lots waiting to break ground.

In other communities, such as Kohala Waterfront, Kohala By The Sea, and even the Heathers at Kohala Ranch, the buyer for whom ocean view is critical may find the lots picked over. You can always renovate a house, change the floor plan and finishes, but you’ll never change the view!

For the ocean view buyer, one of my favorites for a long time has been this home on 5 acres at the very bottom of Kohala Ranch, which just had its price reduced to $2,199,000. Of course, the King of the Hill on Pueo Place a great Hawaii Life listing, is famous for its mountain (Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Haleakala) as well as ocean views and a value at only $1,399,000.

If you have a very specific idea about your dream home that nothing on the market fits; if you are the kind of person who just has to have a project; if you have experience managing construction (yes, even if you have a contractor you will be asked to make more decisions then you ever thought possible)…then you can certainly negotiate excellent rates from contractors and subcontractors right now.

But…even with the savings on labor and professional services, there are plenty of nearly new homes on the market selling for considerably less than the owners spent to build. Some are purchased furnished, so the new owner could move in or begin using the day after closing…or, depending on location, get income from a long-term or vacation rental. If the property is in a gated community, the buyer also saves the time and uncertainty associated with getting house plans reviewed and approved by an architectural review committee, if that’s what the CC&Rs require.

North Kohala real estate offers luxury residences that you could not replicate for today’s listing price include a 7,000 sq. ft. home at Puakea Bay Ranch on 10 acres with big whale watching view offered for $2.2 million (click here for the virtual tour); or this resort-quality home above Hawi listed for $1,450,000 with custom furnishings (here is its virtual tour).

Another option that can put buyers on the fast track is to buy a lot on which some of the work has already been done. A 10-acre parcel that just sold at the Summit elevation of Kohala Ranch came with a full set of plans. Here’s an already fenced Kohala Ranch lot of almost 13 acres nearby that also has plans for a 5,000 sq. ft. house with 5 bedrooms plus ohana approved by both the County Building Department and the Kohala Ranch review process. Added bonus: the current owner has estimates for building a riding arena on the side of the lot nearest the equestrian easement. Super for $429,000!

The Hawaii Life search tools do a great job of empowering the real estate buyer, but often it is an agent’s local expertise that makes the difference in matching a buyer with the ideal property. We’re always happy to answer questions about the neighborhoods where we live our Hawaii lives!

A hui hou,

Beth Thoma Robinson, R(S)
Direct: 808.443.4588
Email: beth@hawaiilife.com

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[…] general, fewer lots have sold in gated communities and resorts in the past 12 months, because the math doesn’t work. At the prices homes are selling for in this market, it is cheaper to buy a finished residence […]

Mireille Pita

June 13, 2010

great blog, Thanks for your time in writing this. It was great information and I feel I learned a lot from your thoughts and summary. As Arnie would say “Ill be back”

Mireille Pita

June 13, 2010

great blog, Thanks for your time in writing this. It was great information and I feel I learned a lot from your thoughts and summary. As Arnie would say “Ill be back”

Beth Robinson R(S)

June 14, 2010

Mireille, MAHALO for commenting, I love knowing that someone out there is reading and that what I write is helpful.
A hui hou
Beth

Beth Robinson R(S)

June 14, 2010

Mireille, MAHALO for commenting, I love knowing that someone out there is reading and that what I write is helpful.
A hui hou
Beth

Josh

July 28, 2010

It is very interesting to hear about the Hawaii real estate market. I think people are terrified to look into buying a home or land in Hawaii because they fear the price will be too high. I’m glad I read this because it lets us know property in Hawaii is attainable for reasonable prices.

Josh

July 28, 2010

It is very interesting to hear about the Hawaii real estate market. I think people are terrified to look into buying a home or land in Hawaii because they fear the price will be too high. I’m glad I read this because it lets us know property in Hawaii is attainable for reasonable prices.

Beth Robinson R(S)

July 29, 2010

Josh, actually North Kohala is one of the most expensive areas on the Big Island (outside of the resorts, that is). There are neighborhoods that by Hawaii standards are really “cheap” now. BTW, both the luxury residences I mentioned had price reductions!

Beth Robinson R(S)

July 29, 2010

Josh, actually North Kohala is one of the most expensive areas on the Big Island (outside of the resorts, that is). There are neighborhoods that by Hawaii standards are really “cheap” now. BTW, both the luxury residences I mentioned had price reductions!

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