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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One of Our Favorite Homes on the Market Right Now

Aloha everyone, it is time for our pick of the week. This home in Kailua Kona really stands out to us. This week’s pick is MLS number 282312 listed for $725,000. This property is located in Kuakini Heights Subdivision in Kona. It has such wonderful island style design, which appeals to a lot of our buyers.

It is at a great location and perfect elevation as it sits on the hill above the Keauhou Resort. This home is close to some really great shopping and restaurants and also very close to Kahaluu Beach Park, home to some of the best snorkeling in West Hawaii and a great place to work on your surfing skills.

Both Shannon and I have shown this home and love the old style Hawaii design and feel of it. The home is 2,064 sq. ft., has 4 Bedrooms and 3 baths, and sports a nice ocean view, with plenty of downstairs storage The property has a very comfortable, island sophisticated feel and is close to everything in Kona. If you would like more information on this home, or any other properties on the Big Island of Hawaii, please call or email us anytime, 808-929-7063, or eddie.underwood65@gmail.com . You can always search for this property and many others in Hawaii, in real time, in our MLS at our website by clicking here.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kailua Kona Condo Market
by Eddie Underwood, Realtor Broker-in-Charge

Here we are at the mid-point of the summer here in Kona and we just wanted to give a quick update on what’s been going on with our condo market. As of this post there are 179 active condos here in the district of North Kona. This includes everything, fee simple, leasehold, studio condos, 1 bedroom 1 bath and up, all the way from the high end units up at Kukio and Hualalai, to just a little leasehold property to hang a hat at over at the charming Kona Islander Inn. This is a stark contrast to where our condo market was in North Kona back in 2009 to 2010 when we were looking at over 350 condos on the market in Kona at any given time.
The good news is that there are still some nice 2 bed 2 bath units that are available. As of this email there are 74 active condos on the market in Kona that are 2 bedroom 2 bath. Some of our favorite complexes along Alii drive still have some decent units that do not have high home owner’s association dues. Our personal favorite complexes are Alii Lani, Kona Sea Ridge, and Alii Cove as their dues remain low compared with many other condo complexes in Kona. If you are someone with pets, we also really like Alii Park Place as a nice complex in the heart of Kailua that will allow you to have a dog or cat. Seascape, out near the airport also allows a pet.
With low inventory we still see sales moving along pretty well. In the last 6 months there have been 158 2 bed 2 bath condos that have sold in Kailua Kona ranging from $95,000 - $799,000. With our median price of condos sold being $282,450. There are still good interest rates available and Hawaii’s Big Island and its real estate still seems to be an attractive opportunity than that of the other islands. We have had clients tell us that they like that the prices for property on Hawaii’s Big Island as they are so much more affordable that than the other islands. Same great weather, same awesome aloha but for a lot less out of pocket. If you have more questions or want to discuss you options of a home or condo in Kona, please feel free to contact us at any time. We can be reached at 808-345-9898 or 808-929-7063. Until then Aloha and A Hui Hou!


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Good Time to Become A First Time Home Owner
- by Eddie Underwood, Realtor Broker

In the last few years the Kona and West Hawaii housing rental market has become increasingly expensive, and it has become very hard for folks to find a place to rent. It certainly is a landlords market now. With the ever increasing rents, the cost of renting may be the same, or close to, the same amount you would be paying for a home mortgage here in Hawaii. Many renters assume that they would not qualify for a mortgage. There have been some changes over the last year that could benefit renters and help them become first time home owners.

Did you know that that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now allow a down payment as low as 3%? They have also lowered their minimum credit score requirements to 620.
Did you also know that on FHA loans, the mortgage insurance premiums have been reduced to 0.85% of the loan amount? That is down from 1.35%. In addition to this, FHA credit standards have been lowered and some banks are accepting minimum credit scores of 600.

If you are a member of the military, a veteran, or the spouse of a veteran or military member, you can apply for loans with a zero down payment and no mortgage insurance premiums. There are also many state and local programs designed to help first time home buyers. The federal government’s definition of a first time home buyer is someone who has not owned a home in the last 3 years.

Buying a home in Kona and Hawaii’s Big Island might be easier that you think. If you are interested in learning more about the home buying process here in Hawaii and how it relates to a first time buyer, please feel free to call or email us anytime 808-345-9797 or eddie.underwood65@gmail.com We are free to talk to and are happy to offer our assistance and share our experience with you.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"A Winter Day in Hawaii"

This morning we woke up to rain in Kailua Kona! This might seem like an odd thing to be excited about in Hawaii, but it's been awhile since we've seen any rain on our "dry side" of the island. It was so lovely to lie in bed and listen to the rain falling against the roof and through the trees.


Sadly for us, my husband, Eddie, and I had to leave our cozy home to drive down to the southern tip of the island to show a listing of ours to a client in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. We drove through heavy clouds/fog and rain all the way down and this was a pleasant change from our normal sunny and 80 to 85 degree weather. I actually had to turn on the heat and the heated seat in the car!

On our way back from the showing, we stopped for lunch at The Mehina Cafe in the Captain Cook area and had a hearty and delicious Portegeese Bean Soup, which was just perfect for a wintry day.

I have to admit that, although I have enjoyed this cloudy, rainy, wintry day, I would not want to return to living somewhere where I had a steady diet of it. Even after one day in the clouds and darkness, I start to get this heavy, almost ominous feeling. The desire to hibernate hits and I am once again reminded why I've chosen to live in a place that normally has winters that feel like other places spring. Winters on the mainland used to really bring me down and here in Hawaii, it is my absolute favorite season of the year!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"A Taste of Our Own Medicine"

Since early in April, when my husband and I made an offer on a foreclosure home, which was contingent on the sale of our current residence (or what WAS our current residence--we no longer own it), we have become both Buyers AND Sellers and have been experiencing a HUGE taste of what our clients go through. This has been good experience, but, I can tell you, it has NOT been easy.

Here are the things that have made this process difficult for us.

1. The emotional backlash of letting go of a house that we have enjoyed living in, even though the one that we are buying is only about 5 minutes away and I'm sure will be a wonderful place to live as well. This wasn't something that I expected to feel and it's weird how attached to a home you become.

2. Feeling both Buyer"s and Seller's remorse. It is true that a Buyer almost always feels like they have paid too much for a property and a Seller feels like they have sold for too little. We are feeling this on both sides of our two transactions.

3. Getting a loan right now is HARD! My husband and I have very high credit scores, good income to debt ratios and have owned a home for over 19 years and were told early on in the loan process that we shouldn't have any problems getting our mortgage. The fact that we are purchasing a foreclosure home, which had suffered a whole lot of neglect, has made this slippery process a whole lot worse. Not only did WE have to qualify for the mortgage, but the house has to qualify as well. In our case, our lender has required that quite a lot of work be done to the house prior to them finalizing our loan. Guess who had to pay for and get that work done? We did! We have now completed every condition that our lender required from us (including selling our current home for down pament), and we still don't have a finalized loan in place. Our loan package is being reviewed by the underwriters as I type this. Hopefully, the next time I write, I will have good news to share.

So, what am I learning that will be of value for my own buyer and seller clients? Well, I know what my clients are going through from recent, first hand experience with the process myself. I always encourge my buyer clients to "get their ducks in a row" as far as getting pre-approved for a loan BEFORE you even decide to look at properties. This is even MORE important now than ever before.

For my Seller clients, I will say that I've learned how brutal potential buyers can be. Declutter, declutter, declutter and keep your house extra clean while you are showing it. (It's really a pain in the rear end.) If possible, leave your house while it is being shown. You don't want to hear what comments Buyers will make. They are looking at your house completely differently than you see it. AND finally.......be patient with yourself and the process. Try to accept that this is going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride, no matter how good your Real Estate Agent is. Buckle up baby.......it's gonna get a little bumpy along this road! If I or my husband Eddie are your representatives, at least you'll know that we truly DO know what you're going through and will do our very best to make the process as easy as we possibly can.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"It's a PEOPLE Business"

About a year and a half ago, in February of 2012, I went from being a Realtor Salesperson, working for another real estate brokerage, to becoming a Realtor Broker and starting my OWN real estate brokerage, Hawaii Coast Realty, LLC, with my wonderful husband Eddie. Eddie and I both got our Brokers licenses, which entailed getting additional training and taking and passing ANOTHER state exam.

Starting a new business has been challenging as I had to do a lot of research and comply with various rules and regulations on State, County and local levels, in addition to setting up the finances, policies, procedures and training tools of the company and a multitude of other details, BUT it has also been extremely rewarding in so many ways.

Financially it has been wonderful and now, as our little Ohana of agents begins to grow, that is another area that brings it's own challenges and rewards. It's nice to be able to share our experience with our new agents and I hope that their own businesses will begin to take off so that they can share in the joys and rewards of helping others acheive their Hawaii real estate dreams. Selling real estate really is a PEOPLE business. We become quite close with many of our clients during the process of either buying their home here, which usually represents a new, exciting beginning for them, or selling their home and moving on with a new chapter of their lives. Either way, we "root" for our clients as we represent them and do our utmost to protect their best interests in the transaction, and sometimes we cry for our clients as they face the personal challenges in their own lives, One thing for sure is that, if we allow ourselves to, we LEARN from our clients because each person has a unique story and a unique perspective that can open us up to new thoughts and ideas and enrich our own lives dramatically. Ultimately, though, isn't this true in all of our interations with other people? It is amazing what we can learn from each other if we just take the time to really LISTEN to each other.

I hope that you are blessed by the people that you interact with today, and hopefully, they are blessed by us as well.

My best to you with much ALOHA,

Shannon

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Aaaahhh......Some Alone Time at Last"

There is no doubt in my mind that by nature, in my heart of hearts, I am basically a "loner." I know this because I literally CRAVE time by myself and when I go too long without it, I become anxious and even a little testy and cranky. When I finally get some "alone time", I'm excited about all of the possibilities of what I can do with it. This has been my nature since birth as I can remember being a young child completely content to sit at my little table in my bedroom drawing, coloring, listening to or playing music or writing. Hhhhhmmmmmm.........flash from my 1970 childhood bedroom in Buena Park, California to my office here in Hawaii in 2013, and I am still just as content doing the very same things all by my lonesome.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE people too and I need other people, of course. Although I do love my time alone, it wouldn't be nearly as sweet if I had an over abundance of it. I guess it's the balance of time with other people, my husband, family, friends and clients that makes the rare "alone time" even more precious.

Oh, and speaking of time.........what the heck happened to 2012?? I feels like I blinked and it was Christmas time and I blinked again and it is already February 2nd, 2013! Jeeeezzzzz! Just one more reminder of how quickly the time zooms by. My few hours of "alone time" today are ticking away, so I'm going to sign off here and go enjoy myself. Gardening, reading, crafting, swimming......oh the possibilities. Writing/blogging........check that one off the list!

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013!!

Aloooooha! ---- Shannon

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"OMG! I am the Worst Blogger!"

Well, my lack of blog posts this year is a testiment to how crazy and busy life has been for us in 2012. I have kept meaning to update this page, but sadly, there are too many other priorities that have to come first. Oh well......we do what we CAN.......

I think that people get the idea that when you live in paradise, all you do is go to the beach, go surfing, drink mai tais and watch the sunsets over the ocean. Well, we DO do those things, when we have the time to do them, but MOST of us, who are not retired, are just as busy as our mainland counterparts trying to make a living, keep up on our household chores and family obligations. Living in paradise is no different than living anywhere else EXCEPT for the fact that you get to live your life in fantastic weather and surrounded by the beauty of Hawaii all year long. Hey, and those benefits are nothing to sneeze about in my book!

This year our family has been facing and dealing with some of lifes heaviest issues. Sadly we lost my husband's step father, Adrian, who passed away recently from a heart attack, His wife, my lovely mother-in-law, Barbara, suffered a heart attack,as well, incredibly, on the same day as her husbands. In addition, my husbands father has been battling esophogial cancer all summer long. Both Barbara, my husbands mother, and Reg, his father, are recovering well from their health scares, at the moment, but we are definitely more aware than we were of our and our loved ones impending mortality and I think that we treasure our families and each other more than ever because of it.

Life is fragile and oh so uncertain and we are not guaranteed even another moment here on this planet. This just reminds me to try to enjoy my life as much as I can each and every day. For me, living my life in Hawaii helps me to do that and I STILL, after living here for over eight years, feel "Lucky to live Hawaii."

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Saturday, March 23, 2012

"Crazy Busy, But it's All Good"

Wow has 2012 started off to be a busy year for me so far!!! I have taken my Hawaii Broker's Exam, and passed, received my Broker's license, researched and opened my own real estate brokerage firm which is called Hawaii Coast Realty, LLC, designed my logo, forms and procedures for the business, and am in the process of training a brand new real estate salesperson to boot. I've done this and have continued to also SELL and LIST properties in the meantime. I've been a very busy girl! No wonder this year is already feeling like it's going by way too fast! When you are in business for yourself your work is just simply never done. But it's all good!

On the home front we have also already had a pretty busy beginning to the year. We had been wanting to replace our horrible white carpeting in our living room and hall ways with tile, and the contractors that we really like and trust had an opening in February to do it, so jumped on it. It took about two and a half weeks for them to complete the job, but it sure is beautiful. The day after the job was completed, we had friends arrive from California for their very first visit to Hawaii EVER. It was really fun to take a few days off and show them around the island. We all had a very nice time.

I'm ready for a little peace and quiet now, please. Usually I get a couple of hours on Sundays to relax by the pool and that's my peace and quiet time. Tomorrow is Sunday..........hooray!!!!

2012 has so far been very crazy, but very good too!!! Hope it is for you too!

Aloha for now,

Shannon Underwood

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Monday, December 12, 2011

"Mele Kalikimaka or Christmas in Hawaii"

Okay......I am officially a really bad blogger! It is the 12th month of the year and I was just looking to see how many blog posts I have done for the year and this is only my fourth. Four!! Four blog posts all year!! That is really being a bad blogger!

Oh well..... enough berating myself....in my own defense, blogging is not my life and it is NOT how I make a living. Selling real estate is how I make a living and unfortunately, I am not wealthy enough to not have to work, so if I'm too busy trying to make a living to write blog posts, then that is just how it will have to be. If there is someone out there that adores my writing style enough to pay me to be a more prolific blogger, I'd love to hear from you. ; ) Until that day comes, I will blog when I can fit it into my schedule.

As 2011 comes to a frightening fast close, I can't help but reflect on how grateful I feel for everything and everyone in my life. As I write this my house is decorated beautifully for Christmas complete with a lighted Christmas tree and our favorite decorations that we've collected over the years. Two of my very favorites are these cheap little hand crafted ornaments, one, a Santa made from a pine cone and the other a little red velvet angel elf, that were from my childhood in the 1960's and 70's. I think the little elf angle was made to be put on top of packages, but I've stuck a hanger through her pointed hat and hung her on my tree. There are also two old glass ornaments with my and my brother Mark's names written on them in glitter. I love those old ornaments!

Last night we attended our company Christmas party which was held at our owners (Putty Clark's) ocean front vacation rental home, which was a really lovely setting. We munched on pupu's from Big Island Grill, drank a little wine, shared our favorite homemade desserts and several of us brought our instruments with us and played Christmas carrols while the rest of the party goers sang along. I played my violin with our little "band" and my husband Eddie played his guitar. We had two other guitar players, a pianist and an ukelele. With absolutely no rehearsal together, I thought we did fairly well. Well..... at least we had fun doing it. That's what's most important isn't it?

Today I finished my Christmas shopping online and feel really good about getting that done and over with. Christmas always kind of stresses me out and when I lived on the mainland it was probably ten times worse than here. That probably had to do with the fact that when I worked for the State of CA I spent over 40 hours a week stuck in a cubicle behind a computer, so there just wasn't the flexibility with my schedule that I have working for myself as a Realtor. It also may have to do with the fact that Hawaii is just so much more laid back and I'm also not having to deal with freezing cold weather and driving in all the traffic and interacting with the crazy shoppers, etc. etc. We've got less than 200,000 people total who live on the Big Island, so that alone cuts down on the stress! I certainly enjoy Christmas in Hawaii much more than I did in California.

I hope that you and all of yours have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy 2012! Maybe we'll see you out here on the Big Island next year!! Mele Kalikimaka!!

Aloha for now,

Shannon Underwood

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Paradise in My Own Backyard"

My home office is located in my family room and while I'm typing away on my laptop or speaking with clients on the phone, I am treated to a lovely view of the paradise that is my own backyard. Our yard is fenced with a tall border of areca palms and there are six very large coconut palms scattered about as well as a large planter of ti plants and other planters with flowers such as hibiscus in a variety of tropical colors like red, pink, yellow and orange. In Hawaii, the flowers bloom year round, of course, and I never tire of their beauty.

The pool that we built a little over a year ago, has a lava rock waterfall that attracts birds like crazy. When I have a few moments to just sit and enjoy the show, I am delighted by the birds bathing and ruffling their feathers about, drinking from the pool at the top of the waterfall and generally just having a wonderful time. We get such a variety from itty bitty finches no bigger than an inch or two, to large doves or common mynas, who are the bullies of the backyard.

Earlier this summer, I had the privlege of being able to save the life of a baby cardinal who had fallen out of the nest which was in our areca palms. I had noticed the adult cardinals, Mom and Pop, frantically flying from above, where the nest was in the trees, to the ground where their baby had fallen. Thankfully, the baby appeared to be intact and I quickly got on-line and found plenty of information about what I should do to help the baby. In the nest there were three other baby birds and there really wasn't any room to place this one back in, so Eddie and I built a new nest from a paper bowl lined with paper towels and attached it right above the original nest. I gently scopped up the fallen baby and placed it in the new nest. The parents discovered the new nest and their baby very quickly and Eddie and I felt like heros. Within a week the babies were beginning to fly with their parents close by, assisting all the way. Now the family is long gone, but when I see a cardinal in the backyard, I can't help but wonder if it belongs to our little cardinal family.

When you are your own boss and run your own business, as my husband Eddie and I do, you don't ever REALLY ever get a full day completely off from work. In real estate you need to be available for your clients when your clients need you to be available, and Eddie and
I try very hard to accommodate our clients schedules. We do TRY to make Sunday our one day off together and I feel cheated if I don't get to spend at least an hour or two on that day off swimming, lounging and reading by the pool, enjoying the beautiful paradise that the birds enjoy all day and every day in my own backyard.

Aloha for now,

Shannon Underwood

 

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Living With the Geckos"

Finally a spare moment to write! I'm actually forcing myself to take a moment because I just got caught up with my phone calls and now I need to get back to my studying for my Brokers license. Yes, I've decided that I want to get my Brokers license now after almost seven years as just a Real Estate Salesperson. Hooray for me!! Lot's of studying and then another State exam to take, but I'm confident that I can do it!!

Anyway........onto life with the geckos! I will never forget the first time that I encountered a gecko. It was on our very first trip to Hawaii, which was to the island of Maui, and there was this small, brown gecko in the kitchen that really freaked me out. It freaked me out so much that my dear husband, Eddie, called the front desk about it. The front desk folks chuckled a little and told us that geckos are considered lucky in Hawaii and that it would just go away and not to worry about it. Looking back on that phone call now, I just have to laugh.

Living with geckos is part of living in Hawaii. They are everywhere here in many different colors and sizes. (All small) I even have a gecko that I consider a pet who I have named "Gary". Gary hangs out with me all day long while I am working at my desk. He sometimes sits on the window sill next to my desk begging for a taste of fruit, jam or whatever I happen to be able to provide. Just a moment ago Gary was drinking water from the condensation on the outside of my ever present glass of ice water!

I have taken so many darn pictures of Gary the Gecko that it is laughable. I was tempted to grab my camera to try to capture him drinking the water just a minute ago, but restrained myself. After all, how many gecko pictures do I need? Gecko photography here on the Big Island has actually become big business for some photographers and I've met two of them who take incredible photos. One of the women even sets up little "scenes" like geckos doing laundry or cooking, on motorcycles, in snorkel gear and other gecko fantasies. They are actually quite adorable!! This photographer lives in Kona Paradise and I love her work! I can't remember her name though!! Uuugghhh!

Gary the GeckoMy gecko photos don't compare to hers, but I'll share one here with you. As you can see, Gary is pretty cute! I must say that I've come a long way with my gecko phobia since we've moved to Hawaii these past seven years. Sometimes I will even attempt to pet Gary, but so far when I extend my hand slowly out to him, he scurries away and hides. I don't know what I would do if he actually let me pet him or if he climbed aboard my hand. I'd probably panic, freak out and accidently through him across the room! Maybe Gary can sense that about me and that's why he keeps his distance. For now, we're content to share office space with each other.

 

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Aaahhhhhh.......Winter in Hawaii"

Aloha!

Well, I've only got a few moments to sit down and write today before I get going and get busy, but I just can't help but reflect on how lucky I am to live in Hawaii. Especially when I think about how lovely this day is, with high temps in the mid 80's, sunshine and soft ocean breezes, while so much of the rest of the country is digging out of snow. For me, winter in Hawaii is absoultely the best time of the year and when I lived in northern California, it was absolutely the worst time of the year. It's amazing what a change in the weather can do for your mood! Did I mention that I am grateful, grateful, grateful to live here? Well, I am!!! Gotta run!

Have a wonderful day!!

Shannon

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Hawaii Coast Realty, LLC
75-5737 Kuakini Hwy. Suite 102
Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 929-7063
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