Kuki’o – A Private Equity Beach and Golf Club Community

When it comes to luxury real estate in Hawaii, Kūki‘o is in a class all its own. Often mistaken as a resort, this ultra-exclusive community seven miles north of Kona airport is actually a private equity beach and golf club. Unlike resorts on island, including adjoining Hualalai Resort, there is no hotel located within this secluded community. Membership to the Kūki‘o Beach and Golf Club is by invitation only and as a private equity club, it is not open to the public.

Set amongst 1,100 acres of oceanfront property just south of Hualalai Resort, Kūki‘o fronts two of the finest beaches along the Kona Coast: Uluweuweu and Kua Bays. A playground for Hawaiian royalty in days of old, Kūki‘o is rich in natural beauty with coconut groves, anchialine ponds and lava tubes and outcroppings. Here sparkling white sand beaches, the warm ocean waters, stark black lava outcroppings and the lush green fairways provide a breathtaking backdrop for exceptional luxury living.

Within this ultra-exclusive community, there are three distinct areas: Kukio, Ka‘upulehu, and Manini‘owali. The Manini‘owali community within Kūki‘o features 97 home sites ranging in size from one-third to three acres. The Sports Complex is also located here with a myriad of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Nestled between Manini‘owali and Hualalai Resort the Kūki‘o neighborhood features 143 home sites and 31 cottages. Most of the Beach and Golf Club’s amenities are found within this part of the community, including the 10-hole short golf course, club house, dining pavilion, bar, and spa. Ka‘upulehu is situated to the north of Hualalai Resort and includes 70 lots, several of which are oceanfront.  Membership to Kūkiʻo Golf and Beach Club is included in some Kaʻūpūlehu home sites.

Price points within Kūki‘o vary from $1 million to $19 million including condos, hales, villas, and custom home sites. You’ll find a variety of home styles too from contemporary to Balinese-inspired and traditional.

Kūki‘o Golf and Beach Club membership provides unrivaled amenities including use of the Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole course and 10-hole short course, as well as the members-only 13,000-square-foot Clubhouse with its fine dining, beach bar, water sports center and indoor/outdoor spa. The expert staff at Kūki‘o’s renowned Outdoor Pursuits program will assist you in a wide range of outdoor activities from sailing to surfing to kayaking and stand up paddleboarding.

Membership fees for Kūki‘o Beach and Golf Club include an initial fee of $275,000, with annual dues of $57,000. Kūki‘o Community Association dues are $18,480 annually with Kaʻūpūlehu Community Association dues running $16,000 annually. (All fees as of 2016.)

If you’d like to learn more about living in Kūki‘o, contact Marco! He can help you find the ideal Kūki‘o property to suit your lifestyle and needs.

View available properties in Kūki‘o


Fifth Annual Big Island Chocolate Festival!

In five short years the annual Big Island Chocolate Festival has become one of the “must attend” food events of the year in West Hawaii. It’s easy to see why. Happening May 13-14 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and sites across the westside, the Big Island Chocolate Festival features cooking demonstrations by some of the finest chocolatiers in the world, farm tours, and the piece de resistance—a gala that’s a feast for the senses. 

The Chocolate Festival’s Gala at Hapuna

Most people focus on the Chocolate Festival’s gala, which will be held Saturday, May 14 from 5:30 – 9 p.m. Top chefs, chocolatiers, and confectioners from across the country offer a mouth-watering array of sweet and savory food creations. But that’s not all; there will also be beverage purveyors creating signature cocktails, plus fine wines and handcrafted ales on tap.

Chocolate sculpting by Donal Wressel-Guittard-post

Chef Donald Wressell

This year, the Festival honors the centennial of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with the theme, “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.” Gala culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park and judged by Cindy Orlando, HVNP superintendent. Also, award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company will sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate!  

Add in live entertainment and a silent auction and you’ll see why the Chocolate Festival is so popular. 

Plus, you can have fun knowing that it’s all for a good cause. Sponsored by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), festival proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui in West Hawaii and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua. 

Local Farm Tours

The Big Island Chocolate Festival also provides opportunities to learn about cooking as well as local agriculture. For instance on Friday, May 13, the Festival offers a guided plantation tour at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou from 11 a.m. to noon. You can visit the nation’s first tree-to-bar chocolate operation to see cacao growing on trees and how it’s processed into chocolate. This chocolate is sought after the world over and is grown and made right here on the Big Island!

Cooking Demonstrations and Tastings

On Saturday, May 14, at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel there will be several cooking demonstration and tasting, including one on “How to Make An Elegant Dessert Full of Textures,” from 10:45-11:45 a.m. Derek Poirier, Valrhona, an international pastry competitor, will provide pointers on how to create desserts with milk chocolate and hazelnuts. Chocolate Bird

Tickets and More Information

Whether you’re interested in learning more about growing cacao, cooking with chocolate or just tasting yummy food, you’ll want to check out this year’s Big Island Chocolate Festival. 

Pre-sale gala admission is $75 or $100 at the door. Choice of unlimited beer, wine and two specialty cocktails is also included in the ticket price. Find ticket info, including details on the event’s May 13-14 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com or phone (808) 324-6100.

Chocolate sculpting photo credit: Denise Laitinen

Holualoa Short Sale – SOLD!

I love selling Holualoa real estate! I was raised in the beautiful town and live in the area currently. Over time, my property familiarity and the professional relationships I’ve developed have benefited many buyers and sellers.

I am happy to report  that  77-6128 B1 Mamalahoa Highway, closed recently!

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This short sale brought it all. The highs of multiple lien holder approval, and the lows that the bureaucratic short sale process can bring at times.

Along the journey, I put the property into escrow multiple times, and for one patient buyer, the dream came true. They secured a GREAT deal on a property, because of their patience and short sale preparedness.

The short sale process is changing dramatically right now as lenders are working to streamline their approval process.  As the listing agent of this property, I wanted to share topics of interest that were beneficial to the completion of our short sale . 

Proper Market Positioning

Different lenders are now establishing the list price of properties. One of Bank of America’s newer programs is their Preapproved Short Sale pricing. You and/or your listing agent contact Bank of America directly, and work with them to set the list price of the property. This is tremendously beneficial as it takes the guess-work out of what sales price the bank will accept. Check with your lender to see if this is something they offer. Be sure to emphasize that you want to hit the market competitive,  not overpriced!

Seller Financials

Be aware that the seller’s lender will require bank statements, retirement account information, tax returns, pay stubs along with any other financial documents that they see fit to examine. This is part of the process.

The sooner you can get these together for your agent to submit to your lender, the quicker your short sale will proceed.

Be prepared to update these documents as time goes by.

Buyer Preparation

As a purchaser, make sure you have a pre-approval letter from your lender certifying your purchasing ability. If  purchasing with cash, be prepared to submit “proof of funds”.  This can be a recent bank statement or letter from your financial institution certifying the funds are present and liquid. The listing agent will need either of these to submit the offer you present to the seller’s lender.

Realize that even as lenders work to expedite approvals, this transaction will take time. If you are in a rush to purchase, a short sale property may not be in your best interest.

Don’t forget, short sale properties do close. The better prepared all parties are, the more chance of a smooth and expeditious escrow!

Kona Makai #6301: Exquisite Oceanfront Living!

I previewed Kona Makai #6301 recently on our West Hawaii Realtor caravan and was so impressed I had to share it!

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A top floor, oceanfront end unit with vaulted ceilings, Unit #6301 is the pride of the Kona Makai condominium project.

This spacious 2bed/2bath offering has been completely remodeled with cherry cabinets, slab granite counter tops, new tile flooring, redone bathrooms and all new appliances!

The master bedroom provides stunning ocean views and the unit is graced with an enormous 531 sq ft wrap around lanai that is ideal for enjoying Kona’s year round sunsets! To give you a better idea, that square footage is comparable to some of Kona’s smaller condos!  

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                                                                                                                                                                Up for a swim, kayak or some great snorkeling? Immediately below your unit, you have direct ocean access! Walk downstairs and climb on in!

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Can you imagine the vacation rental potential here?! WOW!

This is a lease hold property, with the lease due for renegotiation in 2019 and lease “expiration” in 2039. If you have questions about the lease and lease hold property, please contact me directly.

Offered for purchase at $449,000,  Kona Makai #6301 needs to be experienced in person to fully capture what a fantastic property this is, please contact me directly if I can arrange a private viewing for you!

Understanding Short Sales: Kailua-Kona Short Sale Information

Understanding Short Sales: Kailua-Kona Short Sale Information, Short Sale, Kailua Kona Short Sale, Kona Real Estate, Kailua Kona, Holualoa real estate,Holualoa, Hawaii Real EstateA short sale is a real estate transaction in which the lender agrees to accept less than what is owed.

For example: John Doe owes $400,000 on his mortgage, after discussing and listing his property with Marco, a buyer is produced at a $300,000 sales price. With lender approval, the sale is completed. The difference of what is owed vs what is paid by the new buyer is $100,000, hence the “short sale”. 

This difference in amount can be forgiven by the lender, or arrangements may be made for the seller to repay the difference. This a case specific decision, and can have tax consequences for the seller.

In all short sales, there must be a documented form of hardship on the seller’s behalf. This can be attributed to any number of things ranging from reduction in work hours, job loss, divorce, illness, etc that is affecting the seller’s ability to pay their mortgage. The lender will require this hardship to be outlined in detail in the form of a hardship letter.

Short sales are viewed favorably by sellers because there is less long-term damage to their credit as opposed to foreclosure. Also, lenders prefer short sales many times, as this is far less costly for them then going through the foreclosure process.

Navigating the short sale process can prove challenging as various lenders have different guidelines, requirements and lender specific forms to be filled out. Ideally, listing agents will have already been working with their sellers and the specific lender to accumulate necessary financial documents, etc that the lender requires before the property hits the market. 

After the buyer and seller come to terms, that agreed upon contract is sent off to the lender for their approval. The lender goes over the seller’s financials, short sale information packet, along with other pertinent information. The lender then presents that file to the investor and/or private mortgage insurance company (PMI) for their approval. If all agree to sales price, sale proceeds and terms, the lender will issue short sale approval!

Once approval is granted typically the buyer and seller have 45-60 days to complete the transaction.

Above all, patience is necessary. Institutions are overwhelmed with short sales these days as homeowners seek to avoid default. The above steps outlined can take anywhere from days to weeks, to sometimes months.  One of the key factors in the time a short sale takes is the seller’s preparedness and cooperation in providing their documentation.

Thankfully, as the process has gotten more streamlined, we are seeing quicker turn around times, which is great!

Currently I have three short sale properties in escrow, two of which I am the listing agent. Before you get involved in a short sale, be certain that you are working with a Realtor that has a firm grasp of the short sale process. In working towards sale approval, 80% of the work in a short sale transaction falls on the seller’s listing agent. You want to be certain the seller has their financial documents and short sale packet together and ready for submission, so their lender can approve the transaction!

I’ll be following up this blog with specific buyer and seller short sale tips on what and how one can successfully purchase or sell a short sale property, stay tuned!

Kona Real Estate HOT Buy: Beach Villas at Kahaluu #302

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Beach Villas at Kahaluu, Unit #302 located on the southern side of Alii Drive, here in Kona is the perfect example!

The Beach Villas at Kahaluu  is situated directly across from the world famous Kahaluu Beach Park,  a highly popular destination for snorkeling or just enjoying sand and sun.  The variety of sea life you’ll encounter is almost astounding, but be sure to keep a safe (and required) distance from our local Honu sea turtles which are considered a threatened species.  Looking for surf? You’ll find a great break on the northern end of the beach! Not too big, not too small….just right! Kahaluu Beach, Kona Ocean view properties, Kailua Kona Real Estate, West Hawaii Real Estate, Kona Property Blog, Kona Hot Buy, Big Island Property Deals, Kona Property, Kona Condos, Big Island Condos

The Beach Villas at Kahaluu is a 22 unit, newer (2004) project that has an exceptional pool/BBQ area and is vacation rental friendly.  Unit #302,  purchased in 2005 for $781,000, is 2 bedroom/2 bath drop dead gorgeous, turnkey furnished unit offered for purchase at $399,000.  That is correct, sold furnished at $399,000! Though the price has dropped by nearly 50%  than what originally sold for, it is my pleasure to note this unit is not a short sale or bank owned property!

With a gourmet chef’s kitchen, granite counter tops, top-of-the-line designer furnishings, air-conditioned comfort and impressive ocean views, the only thing missing to date is the lucky buyer that is going to pick up a fantastic unit at an amazing price!

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 Let me know if I can arrange a viewing for you!

West Hawaii Oceanfront: Kona Bay Estates 2 Parcel Offering

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My listing at 75-5444 Kona Bay Drive offers contiguous oceanfront parcels, TMK numbers   3-7-5-5-40 & 3-7-5-5-41 together for purchase! 
Live in your airy 3bed/3bath deluxe beach cottage that boasts ocean views from every room, while building the estate property you’ve always dreamed of next door (Lot #40)! Together these parcels combine for over half an acre of oceanfront living!

Lot #40 offers you 16,972 sq. ft. of prime ocean front property that is hands down one of, if not THE BEST parcels on the market!

Kona Bay Estates is a mature, private, gated, ocean front community that provides 24/7 roaming security, direct beach access & represents the truly exquisite Kona lifestyle.

Enjoy ocean front living at it’s finest in Kona Bay Estates!

Buyer Property Tips – Asking The Right Questions

When previewing property in West Hawaii remember you aren’t just looking at the home, condo or land, you are gathering valuable information. The quality of the information you gather will prove itself to be very helpful, when you are ready to make an offer. Simple questions you ask can save you thousands of dollars when it comes to the negotiating process!

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Often times listing agents of the subject property host the viewings. You will arrive with your buyer’s agent, and the listing agent will give you a tour of the property. On this tour you will have the opportunity to:

Ask pointed questions

Why are the current owners selling?

Moving off island? Job loss?  Illness in the family? Just testing the market? You will get valuable information into the sellers motivation, and how quickly the property needs to be sold. This simple question can speak volumes. Let the listing agent talk, as you listen and take notes.

How did you arrive at the current list price?

Each property is unique, with each seller having different motivations. You will at times run into a seller that is holding out hope for that one buyer that is willing to pay much higher than market value, believe me, I’ve run into them myself!

Realtors provide their clients with facts and figures, market statistics that illustrate where the market is and at what price the sellers are most likely to sell their property. Once presented, sellers embrace this information, or take into consideration and position their property differently. The listing agent will have provided this information, and if the property is $50,000-$75,000 overpriced, will have a hard time keeping a straight face.    What he or she will be able to do is provide neighborhood information, and give you the reasoning/facts as to their current price.

At the conclusion of the showing make sure you and your buyer’s agent discuss what the listing agent has relayed. Compare notes and fact check with your agent on what was presented in the showing.

Remember, you aren’t just looking or previewing, you are gathering valuable information on that property, and on that specific seller. Information that you can put in your buyer’s tool kit, that will help YOU when it is time to write-up an offer!

I’m off to show property in beautiful West Hawaii, stay tuned for more buyer property tips!

Alii Drive Oceanfront Cottage HUGE Price Reduction!

**Post Update** The below mentioned property SOLD April 1, 2012 for $650,000 CASH!

This stunning property was on my short list of HOT buys in West Hawaii, and this morning catapulted itself to the top of the list.

My phone rang earlier today, and with it came HUGE news! I was alerted that the below oceanfront cottage that was originally listed at $949,000 in May of 2011, reduced to $799,000 over the past year, had been reduced by another $100,000, offered for purchase now at  $699,000!

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78-6654 Alii Drive is an oceanfront lot a little over 9,000 sqft. The single level residence is a super cute 1bed/2bath cottage located on Keauhou side of Alii Drive. Seller has completed plans for an upstairs addition which I am in receipt of and am happy to pass along to interested parties.

Your view looks directly onto the surf break of Kahaluu Beach Park, giving you the option to go for a snorkel or grab your board and jump in!

West Hawaii, oceanfront, $699,000…unbelievable!

West Hawaii’s Newest Real Estate Blog!

As a West Hawaii resident whose profession is real estate, launching a blog devoted to property, lifestyle and island happenings I felt had the potential to be informative and helpful to persons interested in our own wonderful part of the Big Island, West Hawaii.

I have been an active, licensed Hawaii Realtor with Clark Realty Corporation since 2007 and with that has brought market experience, knowledge, along with a few absolutely hysterical stories!

Real estate isn’t just a “job” for me, it is something I personally enjoy. Being able to preview, show and sell amazing property in one of the most beautiful locations on the planet, truly is a gift.


Mahalo for stopping by, and be sure to check back frequently for updates!