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Old 12-17-2007, 08:24 AM   #1
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Oh man, after reading so many threads here about frugal retirement housing options I just about peed my pants this morning. My browser brought up an ad at the top of the forums for some place in Hawaii.

"Live the Legend of Maluaka. RESIDENCES FROM $4 MILLION"

It's a condo complex for crying out loud!! "69 Families will have the opportunity to live the legend." All the pictures of kids show pre-teens or very young teens. Oldest adults appeared to be somewhere in their 40's. It is astounding to me that anyone that young could have $4 million to spend on a residence.

My first thought was "Boy are THEY advertising in the wrong place!" But then I got to thinking, there probably are some folks here that could swing that, financially at least. Kind of made me feel out my element. Good thing everyone here is so nice. It offsets those feeling of inadequacy.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:29 AM   #2
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I think we have poked fun at this ad before. Definately miss-marketed. But, as long as it brings in funds to help Andy support and run this place, I don't care, it's their ad $$. and for those prices, the sellers can afford it.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:29 AM   #3
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Mike,

Yes, the forum allows all to participate, even the riff-raff downtrodden with portfolios under $5M.

You'll have to excuse any grammatical or spelling errors in my post as one of my staff has taken over the burden of posting here for me.

Ta ta...
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:29 AM   #4
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Hey, if one of the top 1/3 of the scenarios that FIRECalc spits out ends up being my reality, a $4M condo in Hawaii will be well within reach.

If the bottom 1/3 are my reality, please send a post card.

-ERD50
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:52 AM   #5
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I know exactly where that is on Maui, having spent a couple of weeks a year vacationing in south Maui. It is a very attractive spot, and as waterfront as one can get nowadays. However, I don't think it really has a useable beach. I recall it's a rocky shelf that is highly surf washed.

Anyway, it certainly is a glorified condo complex. Like most of the other fancy glorified multi-million dollar complexes all over Hawaii. It doesn't seem to be selling all that well.

For $4million, I'd rather have my pick of home rentals all over Hawaii and the South Pacific, as my tastes dictate.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:18 AM   #6
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:41 PM   #7
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Huh? You mean there are ads around here somewhere? Dang....and here I am missing out on 'em!
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:54 PM   #8
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Anyway, it certainly is a glorified condo complex. Like most of the other fancy glorified multi-million dollar complexes all over Hawaii. It doesn't seem to be selling all that well.
For $4million, I'd rather have my pick of home rentals all over Hawaii and the South Pacific, as my tastes dictate.
Heck, you could probably snap up these little bargain babies for as little as $2.5M... let me know if you need anyone to do some surfing shoreline reconnaissance over there.

I can see why condo developers think they can sell second homes to a certain Pacific Rim sector or Silicon Valley demographic. Trump Waikiki sold out within 24 hours and the trophy real estate has so far been immune to the hollowing out of the real estate boom.

But if you want a 3/2 bargain in our neighborhood I can send you to four of them...
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:53 PM   #9
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Nords,

What price range are bargains in your neighborhood?

(DW and I would like to retire in Hawaii. The question is, are we willing to w*rk the extra time it takes to save the money? Lifestlye vs. time... decisions, decisions...
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:12 PM   #10
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What price range are bargains in your neighborhood?
By Mainland standards, ain't no bargains in this neighborhood. We bought in Aug 2000 for $405K and even our tax assessment has more than doubled. We know friends in a nearby bedroom community (a bit older but just as nice) who sold their home in 2000 for $345K and have felt priced out of the market for more than seven years. They're currently paying $2100/month rent for what I think is a 3/2 in a 1950s-60s neighborhood.

Typical Hawaii homes are built without insulation or energy-efficient windows, and in many cases with only carports. (Few are willing to pay for these "extra" features.) Electricity is expensive (22+ cents/KWHr) and even more so if air conditioning is used in non-energy-efficient homes. (Average electrical bill is ~$140/month for 600 KWHrs but neighbors with A/C complain of being over $200/month. Even in December.) Average lot size is measured not in acres but in square feet-- about 5000 sq ft is "nice", 4000 is more common in newer homes.

The "good" news is that prices are starting to drop! A 3/2.5 a few streets over was initially listed at $710K in Sep but has backed off to $645K. (The owners must be getting worried.) Our 2008 tax assessment has also dropped by 8% from last year's peak.
Hawaii Real Estate Central - Honolulu Board of REALTORS

The search criteria of that website can give a better feel for the locations & square footage you're interested in. Median Oahu condo price is about $300K and median SFH price is about $615K but there are "cheaper" homes for lower-demand neighborhoods. Neighbor islands like Kauai & Maui's resort areas are generally more expensive but the Big Island is probably cheaper.

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(DW and I would like to retire in Hawaii. The question is, are we willing to w*rk the extra time it takes to save the money? Lifestlye vs. time... decisions, decisions...
It can be done, but I'd strongly recommend living here for several months before making any decisions.

Many are unhappy with "rock fever" and the idea of a 5000-mile round trip just to get to LAX or SFO. Most kids attend Mainland colleges, build a life around their Mainland careers, and raise the grandkids there for a few years before attempting to return home... if ever. Life here can be insular. If you're not accustomed to living in multicultural neighborhoods where family is paramount and people spend more time at work or with relatives than with neighbors, then you're in for a big change. You might have to bring your own job, too.

We lived all over the world before we lived here, and we've been here for 18 years, but in some circles we'll always be regarded as ignorant newcomers. As a Pittsburgh native and a recovering submariner I'm pretty much immune to all that and I blend in as much as a big haole can. Spouse has also spent more of her Navy career off the Mainland than on it so adaptation wasn't too difficult.

Our kid was born here and she would stop speaking to us if we tried to move her to the Mainland. Heck, she'd probably abandon us to sleep in a neighbor's garage. She's gonna go through serious withdrawal at a Mainland college, even if there's no winter.

OTOH Hawaii's weather is freakin' unbelievably fantastic, there's no air pollution, you can surf every day, and if your material standards are low then you might make the change with no problem.

Another way to get a feel for the lifestyle is reading the local papers and discussion boards. HawaiiThreads is particularly good for malihini and the expat perspective.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin | starbulletin.com | /2007/12/17/
The Honolulu Advertiser - Hawaii's Newspaper Online
HawaiiThreads.com - The Hawaii Forum
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:24 PM   #11
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TickTock- read everything Nords posts about Hawaii living/buying.

Also read KONAWEB - Online Resource for the Big Island & Kona, Hawaii for the threads about moving to/living in the Big Island. Much of the information is very germane to all the islands. Learn about how to maintain houses and posessions ( wiping stuff with bleach is not fun), insect pests (centipedes), coqui frogs, rough neighbors, lackadaisical construction/contractor standards, etc.

I've been researching about a Hawaiian retirement. Not sure it's for me. A recent health problem in Hawaii that sent me to the ER answered the question.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:32 PM   #12
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A year ago, any place that I would consider living in in Maui was in the $1 million neighborhood. I really mean that. There were $1 mil places with old formica kitchens. $1 mil places in neighborhoods that are steps away from gang territory. Places that I would have lived in as a starving college student, but not for my precious retirement years.
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for the info and links!
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:35 AM   #14
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Check on Big Island, the one named Hawaii. Read "Affordable Paradise" 3rd edition by Skip Thomsen and Punaweb.com for some info about where the workers and retirees live. Spend some time near Hilo. You can pick and choose your climate by elevation and windward/leeward aspect. There are coqui frogs, vog, lava flows through residences, termites, daily showers with attendant mold, homeless people on undeveloped jungle lots, and it still looks good to me.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:15 AM   #15
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I wonder what the rent is in some of those places that 'Dog' the bounty hunter visits? Probably more than I would want to pay.
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:07 AM   #16
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Is there some sort of "double standard" regarding rent? Like if you are native you only pay X, but if you are a haole you are told the rent is 10X? I don't see how locals can afford those housing prices AND the "shipping prices" for all the food stuffs, furniture, appliances, and other things they ship in from overseas.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:11 PM   #17
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Is there some sort of "double standard" regarding rent? Like if you are native you only pay X, but if you are a haole you are told the rent is 10X?
Landlords can play vacancy/rent games but end up losing tenants/money. The Internet (especially Craigslist and the military's housing website) has really flattened that out. You can easily figure market rent. And if the landlord has to play those games, you don't want to live there anyway.

You have to show a Hawaii driver's license to get the "kama`aina discount". But there's also a military discount, a Safeway club card, Costco memberships, kupuna discounts... the same things everyone else uses.

As one of the haole-est among haoles, I seldom encounter outright racial discrimination. Many complainers find that to be a convenient excuse for their otherwise unacceptable behavior, and it usually only surfaces when people get angry. Inarticulate rage also quickly spews out racial epithets like "#$%^ing haole", which I've never been called to my face but which frustration has led to even nastier racist characterizations for other races... especially if they can be translated to English. You've probably seen the same in the prison. The worst I've ever been around in nearly 19 years is "Eh, cuz, you wouldn't believe what that big dumb haole-- oops, sorry brah." Today it's more descriptive than pejorative, and oddly enough the subject in question deserved the description.

An Asian culture perhaps puts more emphasis on family and long-time close friends than on openhearted goodwill toward all. Nepotism is highly prized for its loyalty ("We train 'em later, eh") while a long list of Mainland-expert credentials (yet no local ties) may be viewed with suspicion. I've lived all over the world and discrimination/racism is far worse on the Mainland than it is in Hawaii, let alone other countries.

As for housing, many residents bought at the bottom and used sweat equity. Others use ohana housing or inherited, some made their money on the Mainland and cashed out when they could afford the Price of Paradise. But most did it the old-fashioned way-- working, exchanging school/training/experience for promotions, and saving their butts off. It can be done and I read the success stories all the time on HawaiiThreads.com.

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I don't see how locals can afford those housing prices AND the "shipping prices" for all the food stuffs, furniture, appliances, and other things they ship in from overseas.
Well, actually it's cheaper to ship from Asia than from Los Angeles, even with the currency depreciation. I have friends bringing me requests all the time from Korea, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines... I'm going to have to try to think of anything I've asked for from the Mainland. Isolation has its advantages-- used cars are a LOT cheaper around here because you can't drive it to the next state and it costs over $1000 to take it with you. The same is true to some degree for the other possessions.

When I order something from the Pacific Rim it comes in a few days or a couple weeks. I get heartily tired of hearing "Four to six weeks from the Mainland" or "We'll ship it as soon as we have a full container."

It gets real old encountering call centers saying "Oh, yew-all's from Hawaya, hawnh? Sawry, hunny, we only ship to the Yew-nighted Stayats. Say, my cuzin's sister's auntie's brother went to that thay-ure Whykeekee once, and hayud a greayat time, but no one stamped his passport! What's the whethur liyak thayure tuhday? Have a nice'un now, sugar!" And that's easy to understand compared to some fast-talking northeast accents. Foreign languages, alien cultures, & racial discrimination indeed.

But Mainland shipping gets a lot cheaper through ShipToHawaii.com.
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