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 Post subject: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:21 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
I am interested in a professional opinion on buying a condo at The Islander Inn. I lived in Kona for a number of years until relocating to Texas. My plan is to retire in Kona, and I am researching condo's in town where I can pay cash and have low maintenance fees. I want to be as close to the ocean as possible and be able to walk to restaurants and shops. I don't require much room. The Islander Inn fits what I am looking for very well. Any professional feedback and opinions would be appreciated.

Mahalo!


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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:33 am 
Kona Kastoff
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Location: Kailua-Kona
texankitcat wrote:
I am interested in a professional opinion on buying a condo at The Islander Inn. I lived in Kona for a number of years until relocating to Texas. My plan is to retire in Kona, and I am researching condo's in town where I can pay cash and have low maintenance fees. I want to be as close to the ocean as possible and be able to walk to restaurants and shops. I don't require much room. The Islander Inn fits what I am looking for very well. Any professional feedback and opinions would be appreciated. Mahalo!
There are two major issues you need to take into consideration. One is the land tenure: Leasehold. Two is the lack of kitchen. All units have kitchenettes, which consist of a small fridge, microwave and/or a hotplate. That's it. If you are frugal than I think the Islander Inn is a good place to stay at for a week, but it's not really suitable for permanent residency.



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John S. Rabi
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"THE NEXT LEVEL OF SERVICE"
Typically Tropical Properties
75-5737 Kuakini Highway
Suite 202
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
888.819.9669
johnrabi.com


This is what I think of the Kona Board of Realtors: Click HERE
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:22 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
Thanks for your response John! I am aware of the kitchenette setup in these units, and of course I wouldn't consider living in one without remodeling it to suit my needs including a full refrigerator. I love cooking and have done very well living in studio Ohana's in Hawai'i previously that were not much larger. I can do very well with a good quality hotplate and convection oven. I am also aware that this is a leasehold property. What I like about this property is the location, the price and the low monthly maintenance fees that include utilities. As I will at some point be reliant on Social Security and a substantial savings, keeping monthly expenses low rather appealing. I know I could buy a larger decent condo in the 150 -200k range, but having a mortgage on top of 800+ for monthly maintenance fees doesn't appeal to me. As I know you are an expert in Condominiums is there any other information you can tell me that I may not be aware of or not considering? I know insurance isn't cheap, which is another factor in keeping other expenses low. Thanks John!


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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:36 pm 
Malihini
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Location: Bellevue WA, Kailua-Kona
Have you considered Kona Shores? While you can hear your neighbors snore they do have real kitchens. Its not in the middle of town, but fairly close. They have studios and some one and 2 bedroom units but they are all fairly small. If you did buy at the Islander have you checked to see if it is feasible to put in a real kitchen?



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Aloha,

Todd
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:41 am 
Kona Kastoff
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texankitcat wrote:
Thanks for your response John! I am aware of the kitchenette setup in these units, and of course I wouldn't consider living in one without remodeling it to suit my needs including a full refrigerator. I love cooking and have done very well living in studio Ohana's in Hawai'i previously that were not much larger. I can do very well with a good quality hotplate and convection oven. I am also aware that this is a leasehold property. What I like about this property is the location, the price and the low monthly maintenance fees that include utilities. As I will at some point be reliant on Social Security and a substantial savings, keeping monthly expenses low rather appealing. I know I could buy a larger decent condo in the 150 -200k range, but having a mortgage on top of 800+ for monthly maintenance fees doesn't appeal to me. As I know you are an expert in Condominiums is there any other information you can tell me that I may not be aware of or not considering? I know insurance isn't cheap, which is another factor in keeping other expenses low. Thanks John!
Good plan but it won't work. There is no room for a larger fridge in the kitchenette, the fridge is under the counter. There is no room for a stove either. Worse yet, the electrical wiring of the complex is very weak, and can't handle anything more than a small fridge and a hotplate. One good news: the insurance is not expensive. Since the insurance on the buildings and common elements are paid by the AOAO, you only need insurance for your own belongings. It's about $150/year. I agree with Todd, you should look at the Kona Shores instead. Another recommendation would be the Kona Plaza and Kona Mansions, both fairly close to the Islander Inn. They both are in the lower price range and they both are fee simple.



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John S. Rabi
Principal Broker
"THE NEXT LEVEL OF SERVICE"
Typically Tropical Properties
75-5737 Kuakini Highway
Suite 202
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
888.819.9669
johnrabi.com


This is what I think of the Kona Board of Realtors: Click HERE
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:53 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
Aloha Todd,

Yes, I have been looking at Kona Shores. I had a friend that lived there years ago and have been inside units. They are 100 sf larger than the Islander and they have full kitchens, however, they are also a higher price point and although the MF is comparable to The Islander, it doesn't include electricity. Also not in town as you pointed out. Some owners at the Islander have remodeled the bathroom/kitchenette area to include a larger refrigerator and some have relocated the kitchenette to the main room in the alcove where typically the beds are placed so that the bathroom area can be utilized as was intended. Either way, it's still a kitchenette without a cook surface or oven, which doesn't bother me. There are pros and cons to both complexes, but the bottom line is location and price since I would prefer to pay cash outright rather than have a mortgage and there aren't that many options that close to town.


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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:10 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
Deleted due to duplicate post


Last edited by texankitcat on Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:13 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
texankitcat wrote:
!
Good plan but it won't work. There is no room for a larger fridge in the kitchenette, the fridge is under the counter. There is no room for a stove either. Worse yet, the electrical wiring of the complex is very weak, and can't handle anything more than a small fridge and a hotplate. One good news: the insurance is not expensive. Since the insurance on the buildings and common elements are paid by the AOAO, you only need insurance for your own belongings. It's about $150/year. I agree with Todd, you should look at the Kona Shores instead. Another recommendation would be the Kona Plaza and Kona Mansions, both fairly close to the Islander Inn. They both are in the lower price range and they both are fee simple.[/quote]

Thanks John. Here are two units that were remodeled to allow for a full size fridge at the Islander. Obviously, electrical would need to be upgraded in the unit to accommodate this. Hope it's okay that I post these here:

http://www.vrbo.com/379815" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.vrbo.com/373794 onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;[/quote]

P.S. The Kona Plaza is my ideal, but the MF's are a killer. I would also need to finance, therefore an added mortgage.


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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:12 pm 
Malihini
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Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:37 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Bellevue WA, Kailua-Kona
Quote:
Obviously, electrical would need to be upgraded in the unit to accommodate this. Hope it's okay that I post these here:


The electrical is probably fine if there is a plug there. The refrigerator shown in the one picture is still pretty much a dorm fridge and probably doesn't take much more electricity, if any, than the one it is replacing. The microwave is probably the same and I didn't even see a hot plate, which probably takes more than either the fridge or microwave.

John mentioned the Plaza, which has fairly inexpensive units, but the dues and fees there are over $1000/month, I think close to $1200. The absolute cheapest place is probably Kona Kai which is located close in, but it is probably what most would consider low income housing. I'm guessing they don't allow vacation rental either, but at 20K selling price why would you need to?

Kona Mansions is probably a good option. Close to town, full kitchen but still small and inexpensive.

I like the islander but more as a motel, I really can't picture living in one of those units for more than a week or maybe 2. But if you're good with it, go for it. I don't have to live there :P



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Aloha,

Todd
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:28 pm 
Kona Kastoff
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Todd, I recently sold a Kona Kai unit for $14,000, so they certainly are cheap. Would I want to live there? Heck, no! :lol: :lol: :lol: My biggest issue with the LH condos is that they worth less and less day by day, until the lease runs out. They are worth ZERO at that time.



_________________
John S. Rabi
Principal Broker
"THE NEXT LEVEL OF SERVICE"
Typically Tropical Properties
75-5737 Kuakini Highway
Suite 202
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
888.819.9669
johnrabi.com


This is what I think of the Kona Board of Realtors: Click HERE
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:22 am 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
Todd, for one person I think that size fridge is fine. A professional portable induction hotplate and a convection oven and I could cook just fine. I have lived in similar sized O'Hana's and was able to manage with a cheap hot plate and microwave, so that doesn't bother me. The Lanai's are nice and the grounds are gorgeous. Yes, it is a vacation property, but it is also well maintained with on site security. As previously mentioned, Kona Plaza is my ideal and I would be willing to pay more to live there except for the high MF. You can't have it all being that close to town and the ocean in the price range I am looking for, so I am willing to sacrifice space and a full kitchen for convenience of location. The fact of it being Leasehold rather than Fee Simple is a consideration, but realistically, it's a place to retire and live for as long as I have at that point. If I can pass it on to my family after I am gone to use for vacation all the better. It's ideal for that alone. Whether they sell it or keep it in a vacation rental program to pay for the monthly expenses it would be their call. If they sell it, it would be 100% profit to them regardless of it's market value since it would be entirely paid for. My bet is they would keep it.

Kona Mansions does have larger units and reasonable MF, however, the lowest priced unit I see for sale there is $159K. Granted, it's completely remodeled and very nicely done, but not what I am looking for in location or price. Kona Kai.....ummm...no. That didn't have a good reputation when I lived there 11 years ago and apparently it hasn't changed. Good suggestions though! I am not ruling out any other options, I am just being practical with expenses and realistic with what my needs will be. I want to simplify my life with less things, less stress and more quality. I want to have the ocean, shops, restaurants, convenience stores, etc....all within a short walk. Thus far, the Islander Inn fits that bill without breaking the bank.


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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:34 am 
Kona Kastoff
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Location: Kailua-Kona
The Islander Inn has greatly been improved since they started selling time shares there. The landscape and common area are nice. Most units have no breeze, so good fans are a must. They have a huge problem with parking and many people are forced to park on Kuakini Highway.



_________________
John S. Rabi
Principal Broker
"THE NEXT LEVEL OF SERVICE"
Typically Tropical Properties
75-5737 Kuakini Highway
Suite 202
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
888.819.9669
johnrabi.com


This is what I think of the Kona Board of Realtors: Click HERE
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:41 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
Good points John. I would imagine it's a little better for air flow in the East/West faced buildings which would catch the makai/mauka breezes. We'll see where things are when I am ready to buy. Do you know anything about the time share company currently operating there?


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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:38 pm 
Kona Kastoff
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Posts: 2631
Location: Kailua-Kona
texankitcat wrote:
Good points John. I would imagine it's a little better for air flow in the East/West faced buildings which would catch the makai/mauka breezes. We'll see where things are when I am ready to buy. Do you know anything about the time share company currently operating there?
There are three East/West buildings, one on the Kuakini Highway side (the Lobby Building, noisy because of Kuakini Highway), one on the makai side of the pool (the Molokai Building, the breeze is blocked by the Lobby Building here), and one facing the ocean on Alii Drive (the Kauai Building). The latter would have cross breeze. The time share is called "Islander Club" and was formed by the management company of the complex. It didn't really take off, they didn't sell that many units, though I don't know the specifics.



_________________
John S. Rabi
Principal Broker
"THE NEXT LEVEL OF SERVICE"
Typically Tropical Properties
75-5737 Kuakini Highway
Suite 202
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
888.819.9669
johnrabi.com


This is what I think of the Kona Board of Realtors: Click HERE
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 Post subject: Re: Aloha! I need a professional opinion
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:22 pm 
Keiki

Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:04 pm
Posts: 14
Good info John. Thanks! One vacation rental I was reviewing at the Islander said that the unit they stayed in had a nice breeze going through it throughout the day. It appeared from the pictures to be a 2nd floor South facing unit, which seems rather odd. At any rate, heat is just part of living in town and compared to what I endure in Dallas this time of year, it's nothing. Just being able to open windows and doors and have fresh air moving through your home, even with fans is a luxury I will never take for granted again. I was a little concerned about the timeshare aspect but I see now this is definitely not a Interval/RCI/Shell Vacation type of operation.

I really appreciate all your feedback John and Todd. I assure you I will not make any future decisions about the Islander without actually staying on the property to make sure I know what I am dealing with. I know I am a good decorator and a rather anal organizer so could turn it into quite a little showplace and make the space work for living and storage. Until I can live in it for a week or so, take measurements of every nook and cranny, do my research and experience the complex I won't get too invested. As for Kona Shores.....at the right price I would definitely be tempted after seeing this remodel:

http://www.vrbo.com/503054

Not my taste in décor and I would do plantation dividers rather than Shoji screens, but the finishes are right up my alley. Not sure what these owners paid for this remodel, but it certainly is a stunning result! :bounce:


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