Kevin E. Lewis,
Realtor® (808) 895-4956
Kevin @ Hiloagent.com
Clark Realty Corporation - Hilo Orchid Isle
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Sep 2014 YTD Median Sales Price
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1) How is the Big Island Real Estate Market? It's still a Buyer's Market opportunity, but inventory is declining and prices are increasing in 2014 as Buyers and Investors return to our local market.Big Island Real Estate Listings
2) Volcanoes, Lava, and VOG: We actually have very few properties for sale in the remote areas near the active lava flow, which border the east side of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Since 1983, the lava flow has covered about 80 square miles (approx 2% of our island) and destroyed approximately 200 structures in the Kalapana - Kaimu area. In recent weeks, a small creek of lava has been moving in the direction of Pahoa town, however the County has been taking preventative measures with new road construction and hosting public information meetings. Civil Defense reports "No evacuation is needed at this time and area residents will be given adequate notice to safely evacuate should that be necessary."Puna Lava Flow Update Hawaii County Civil Defense Alerts Facebook Updates
Vog is more common to our Kau and Kona districts, and on occasions affects the Hilo and Puna districts of the Island. Vog generally is carried to the southwest by the trade winds from the volcanic vents in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and can sometimes even affect our neighbor islands. A "Voggy" day looks like a smoggy day, and creates brilliant red sunsets. People with respiratory ailments are more prone to the adverse effects of Vog, which can include headaches, breathing difficulties, watery eyes, and sore throat. If Vog is a concern, we can focus your real estate search for properties on the east and north sides of the Big Island.Big Island Vog Conditions UH Vog Projection Map
It is true that Hawaii Volcanic Lava Zones 1 and 2 are often more difficult to get mortgage loans on homes, while most permitted homes can get insurance through the HPIA program (Hawaii Property Insurance Association.) Insurance is also available through Lloyds of London. Many residents love these areas in Puna, Kau, and South Kona because of the weather and scenic beauty. If "being as far away from the lava as possible" is important, then we have areas in the Hilo, Hamakua, and Kohala districts to search for property.Big Island Lava Hazard Zones
Living near an active volcano is also a matter of perspective. No matter where you live there is risk of some kind of natural disaster: Earthquake, Tornado, Hurricane, Blizzard, Flood, Lightning, Landslide, Sand Storm, Fire, Meteor, Volcano... It's a matter of which risks you are willing to live with. Our volcanoes tend to ooze out a lava creek and not explode like they can in other parts of the world. When the lava flows, we literally get thousands of people who visit the public our national park and viewing areas to come see! Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
3) Coqui Frogs or Caribbean Tree Frogs: These small Koki tree frogs are said to have found their way into Hawaii several years ago in tropical plant shipments from Florida or Puerto Rico. I estimate about 25% of the clients I work with HATE them, about 25% LOVE them, and the other half tell me "we have louder things that than where we are from!" Coqui Frog Information
4) Rainwater Catchment Systems: Catchment Water is fairly common in parts of our rural Big Island, where piped county or well water is limited. Typically you have a metal roof on your house, and use the rain gutters to catch the water where it goes into a large steel or plastic water tank. There is a filter system and water pump to bring the water into the house. Catchment Water Hawaii Island Weather
5) Big Island Hawaii Flood Zones: All of Hawaii County is mapped with a flood zone code. However, unless you are near a stream or low elevation shoreline area, chances are your Hawaii property will be located in Flood Zone "X", which is the lowest level of risk area (less than 1% annual risk from surface flooding). Some properties may have localized ponding during a heavy rain, which is not reflected in the flood zone designation.Big Island Flood Zones
6) What is SSPP? Special Subdivision Project Provision. This is a cost share between HELCO (Hawaiian Electric Light Company) and land owners to bring electricity to some of the rural subdivisions. When you hook up to the electric lines you pay a share of the cost of the power poles. I've seen SSPP range from about $500 to over $5000. Depending on the amount, you may be able to qualify for a payment plan with Helco. For specific details you will need a tax map key number of a particular property, then contact HELCO Engineering (808) 969-0311
7) Hawaii Land Tenure: Fee Simple or Leasehold. Fee Simple is when you buy the land, with the package of legal rights that come with it. Leasehold is when you rent the land, usually on a long term lease. For most people, fee simple better fits their long term goals, while for income investors, leasehold is an option worth looking at.Hawaii County Tax Map Key
8) What is a Cesspool? Basically, a cesspool is just a well in the ground. It differs from a Septic System in that there is no tank that needs to be pumped every so often.Hawaii Cesspools Septic Systems
9) HARPTA - FIRPTA. Hawaii Real Property Tax Law (HARPTA) allows for income tax withholding from the proceeds of a sale, similar to how an employer withholds income tax from your paycheck. The State of Hawaii requires that 5% of the sale price be withheld for taxes from an out of state Seller, unless you can qualify for an exemption. Likewise, the US Government has theForeign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) which requires that 10% of the sale price to be withheld for federal income tax from non-US residents. The Seller will get credit for the amount withheld towards any income tax owed on capital gain when it is reported on their Federal and/or Hawaii non-resident income tax return. HARPTA FIRPTA
10) How many square feet are in an acre? 43,560 feet are in one acre. For most people, an acre of land is plenty to take care of. 12,000 sq ft is enough to give you a nice front yard and a back yard, while 8,000 sq ft gives you one or the other.
11) Can I use a Mainland lender to buy property in Hawaii? Yes - BUT! Off-Island mortgage agents may not familiar with some unique details in making loans in our local market, such as volcanic zones, agriculture zoning, catchment water systems, or which type of loans work in the various districts and subdivisions. I'm glad to work with whomever lender you choose, but I would like to encourage you to check out the recommended local lenders and mortgage brokers on my Hiloagent.com website, if just to compare loan options. Referral Resources
12) Where is the best place to live on the Big Island of Hawaii? Well... it all depends on YOU. What I have found is people generally like where they live, and for that reason, recommend that area or subdivision, and they do not always recommend where someone else lives. Some people like the warm dry sunny Southern California like weather of our Kona coast on the west side of Hawaii Island, with nearby golf and beach resorts, condos and timeshares, tourist shops and restaurants, sandy beaches of South Kohala and green pasture landscape around Waimea. Others prefer the cooler, more tropical and greener Hilo side of Hawaii Island, with its sunny mornings, partly cloudy afternoons, and rain most evenings as the clouds pass high around the mountains. Hilo has a "local Hawaii" small town atmosphere, scenic but rockier coastline with parks along Hilo Bay, or the developing Puna district from eclectic Pahoa to artsy Volcano, rural and farmish by nature, with relative privacy in the Ohia forest. I have worked with clients who have moved from one side of the Big Island to the other saying "it was so different than what everyone told us!" Recommended Books
The County of Hawaii districts include Kona, Kohala, Hilo, Hamakua, Puna and Kau. Hawaii Island (as many of the local residents call our Island) is a little over 4000 square miles and is quite diverse. Our Island is a wonderful place to live - we like to think that we have something for just about everyone! Big Island Drive Times Hawaii County Population
More Questions and Answers Coming Soon! Meanwhile, check out these website links on my Big Island Information webpage.
Hawaii Drive Times
Hawaii Island Map
Hawaii Lava Zones
HawaiiTax Map Key
Puna District Map
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Mahalo for visiting my Big Island Hawaii Real Estate Website! Kevin E. Lewis, Realtor® Clark Realty Corporation - Hilo Orchid Isle NOBODY Knows the Big Island Like We Do!™
The information contained on this website is from various sources that are considered reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Disclosure: I may receive a small commission from products purchased thru links on this website.