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Hawaii Beach and Golf Properties Launches New Website and Expanded Office

It’s been a busy year so far for Hawaii Beach and Golf Properties. We recently expanded our offices in Mauna Lani Resort and launched our newly redesigned website HawaiiBeachGolf.com!

Headquartered at the Shops of Mauna Lani, Hawaii Beach and Golf Properties has become one of the fastest growing real estate firms on island in terms of production since it was founded in 2013. Our real estate brokerage firm now encompasses two storefronts at the upscale shopping center within Mauna Lani Resort.

“We’ve worked really hard for the past four years and have reached a milestone to position us for the future with this expansion,” says Owner and Broker Eileen Lacerte, whose real estate career spans more than three decades.

Open seven days a week, 11 hours a day, uniquely from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Hawaii Beach and Golf Properties office has become an informal gathering place within the resort community in recent years. “We’re here early in the morning for people getting their morning coffee and we’re open at night for people having dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House or any of the other nearby restaurants,” says Eileen. “People stop by and love to hang out in our comfy atmosphere.”

As part of the renovation and to accommodate the number of people that visit the real estate company, we’ve installed a free Internet Lounge featuring a large sleek custom-built worktable that seats 10 with each seat having its own charging station. Offering free wifi, our new office and Internet Lounge resembles an Apple Store with its high-tech look and feel with large flat screen TVs and touch screens for 3D virtual tours of homes for sale. Eileen got the idea for the Internet Lounge when she saw a similar set up while awaiting a flight at an international airport.

Hawaii Beach Golf office renovation

“Since our clients love to stop by and use our office space, it just made sense for us to open up our own Internet Lounge to resort visitors who may still need to do work away from the family in a quiet place while on vacation,” says Eileen. She jokingly adds that she put a client’s name on a chair in the office because he often works on his legal practice while his family is at the beach. Clients often stop in to print their boarding passes.

Updated and expanded online presence
In addition to expanding our physical office, we recently launched our newly redesigned website, HawaiiBeachGolf.com, which provides comprehensive real estate market information in a clean, crisp format. The new website was created by Waimea-based Susan Chouinard Communications.

With a fresh new look and feel, easy-to-use tools for property searches, detailed community profiles, real estate market information, and community resources, website visitors can now quickly and easily search for property types and useful information.

The new home page offers a Google-style search by area, subdivision, or zip code. People can also use map-based tools to search for properties by resort or search for property type, such as ocean front homes or golf frontage properties. Visitors to the website can log in and create an account, choose an agent, receive email updates on properties, and save their favorite listings. Detailed community profiles provide in depth information on each of the communities within the resorts from Kohanaiki to Mauna Kea Resort, providing insight into what it is like to live in different resorts.

Check out our new website or stop by our office today!

Top 3 Reasons to Have an Open House When Selling Your Hawaii Resort Home

Open houses should be a vital part of your Realtor’s marketing plan, especially if you are selling a resort home in Hawaii. I’ve held dozens of open houses along the Kohala Coast and have distilled it down to three top reasons why you should hold an open house when selling your Hawaii resort home (as opposed to year round residential properties.)

1. Big Island visitors surged in 2016

Visitor arrivals to Hawaii surged to record highs last year according to new year-end stats just released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. On the Big Island alone, 1.55 million people visited our island, spending $2.1 billion, up 11 percent over 2015.

Why is this important? Because real estate is among the items people purchase when visiting the Big Island. If you’re selling a Kohala Coast resort property, you really need to have a Realtor who is committed to holding open houses. Every week new visitors are arriving in the resorts. Holding open houses on a regular basis enables more visitors to see your house for sale.

2. Vacation renters are potential buyers.

Many communities within the resorts, such as KaMilo at Mauna Lani Resort, allow for vacation rentals. Indeed, using your home as a vacation rental is a great way to offset the cost of your investment. People who seek out vacation rentals in Mauna Lani Resort do so because they love this resort over other nearby resorts. They love strolling around the Kalahuipua’a fishponds, dining at the Shops at Mauna Lani, and the privacy and luxury found within this exclusive resort.

Simply put, people are vacation renting in Mauna Lani because they like the resort. It’s been my experience as a residential developer and real estate agent that after people do some initial sight seeing, they settle down in their vacation rental and start looking around the neighborhood as a potential place to live. This leads me to reason #3 why it’s important to hold an open house.

3. Buying a home is an emotional experience

This is where holding open houses becomes key to selling your resort home. People on vacation in Mauna Lani are strolling and driving around the neighborhood. While out exploring and enjoying the community a home might catch their eye. If your Realtor is holding an open house on a regular basis, it’s easy for potential homebuyers to stop in and see if the property is right for them.

While most homebuyers start their house hunting search online, they still want to see and feel what a home is like in person. Buying a home is an emotional event. Buying a vacation home in a community the family visits year after year is also emotional. When selling your resort home, it’s better for your Realtor to interact with potential buyers in person on location than via the phone when they are back on the mainland. Holding open houses regularly ensures that more people can see your property first hand and fall in love with it in person.

As a Realtor focusing on Hawaii resort homes, I have several listings in KaMilo and hold more open houses in KaMilo than any other real estate agent on island.

If you have questions about listing your Kohala Coast resort property or buying a resort home, give me a call today at (808) 674-7576.

Hawaii Beach and Golf Agent is Among Top 10 Surfers in Hawaii

Racking up wins on the Hawaii surfing circuit while giving back to the community.

Our team at Hawaii Beach and Golf is a talented one, bringing together individuals with diverse backgrounds and skills. Each successful in their own right, as a team the agents and brokers of Hawaii Beach and Golf work synergistically in a collaborative spirit not often found in luxury real estate brokerages.

This is the first in a series of articles in which we’ll feature a member of the Hawaii Beach and Golf team, what makes them unique, and how they can help you buy or sell the right Hawaii property for you. Today we introduce you to Brandon Hickman, a competitive surfer who specializes in helping clients find their ideal beach property along the Kona and Kohala Coasts.

A surfer for more than 30 years, Brandon Hickman is currently ranked among the top 10 amateur surfers in Hawaii. He’s ridden waves across the Pacific Rim from Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay in his native California to Australia, Japan, and Mexico. Brandon credits his real estate career with the flexibility to combine his two loves of surfing and real estate.

“A good surfer, like a good real estate agent, knows their environment,” says Brandon. “They know how the wave sets differ in size between the summer and winter, whether the waves break to the right or left, and what hazards may lay beneath the waves.

“It’s that ability to read the ocean and know instinctively whether the timing is right to hop up and catch the wave that makes good surfing look easy.”

He applies those same skills to real estate and has built a reputation as the go-to guy when it comes to buying or selling beach properties on the Big Island. Here in Hawaii surfing is a way of life as well as a lifestyle and you’ll find business leaders, famous rock musicians, and lifelong island residents sharing waves on the water. People frequently stop by our Hawaii Beach and Golf office located at the Shops at Mauna Lani to ask Brandon about local surf conditions or which communities are close to good surf spots.

When not busy selling real estate, Brandon can be found riding the waves, racking up wins in Hawaii’s amateur surf circuit. He recently took first place in the Grandmaster Division qualifying contests held by the Hawaii Amateur Surfing Association (HASA) at both Pinetrees in Kona and Honoli‘i near Hilo. Both surfing competitions were qualifying contests for HASA State Championships held recently at Ala Moana Bowls on Oahu. In order to even qualify to compete at the State Championships, a surfer needs to place in the top three of at least four separate surf competitions – a feat Brandon accomplished with ease. After last month’s competition, he’s currently ranked sixth in the state!

Brandon surfing a wave

As a long-time Hawaii resident, Brandon knows it’s important to give back to the community. For several years he has volunteered as a judge at the annual Keiki Surf For the Earth surf contest and beach clean up at the Bay at Kohanaiki.

Kohanaiki Beach Cleanup

“Keiki Surf is one of those great community events that’s a win-win for all involved,” says Brandon. “The kids get to show off their surfing skills and help the environment at the same time.”

Brandon’s other community activities include participating in annual food drives at the Hamakua Youth Center and Parker Ranch’s annual 4th of July Rodeo, the largest food drive of the year on island.

If you want to know the best surf spots or are seeking a Hawaii beach house, drop by our office and talk to Brandon or call him at (808) 896-6137.

What You Need to Know About Selling Your Hawaii Vacation Rental

When buying a home or condo in Mauna Lani Resort, purchasing a property that can also be used as a vacation rental is a great way to offset your investment costs. But what happens when it comes time to sell that property? This actually happens a lot in Mauna Lani where people frequently upgrade from a condo to a detached home or move from one resort community to another.

A recent experience selling a luxury KaMilo home that doubled as a vacation rental inspired me to share some tips with my readers on key things to do – and what not to do – when selling your Hawaii vacation rental.

Steps to take before listing your Hawaii resort home

Whether your Mauna Lani resort home is your primary or part time residence, here are some simple steps you should take if you are thinking of listing your property. These hold true whether or not the property is being used as a vacation rental.

    • Tackle any deferred maintenance projects.
      When it comes to properties within Mauna Lani resort, there’s very little I haven’t seen. I was the developer representative for Ke Kailani and my wife was the former sales manager for KaMilo for years. I know what the properties look like brand new – and can easily spot when maintenance issues that have not been addressed within a home. Do the wood floors look worn? Does the kitchen faucet leak? It’s important to address any maintenance issues before you list your property, otherwise those issues might scare off potential homebuyers.
    • Declutter/depersonalize the living areas
      Whether or not you live in your home, you want to ensure it looks inviting and that potential clients can imagine their furnishings and personal pictures in the property.
    • Spruce up curb appeal
      In many resort communities, such as Mauna Lani and Mauna Kea Resorts, landscape maintenance of common areas is included in homeowner association fees. However, even when it is, the exterior of your home may still need a little power washing and elbow grease. The goal is to make your home look pristine and well worth the price, and that will only happen if your home makes a great impression on potential homebuyers.
    • Prove your success as a vacation rental
      If your property is a successful vacation rental, make sure prospective homebuyers know it! Be prepared to have records ready showing the rental income history, future reservations, and the operational costs associated with those rentals.

What NOT to do when selling your Hawaii vacation rental

Just as important is what NOT to do when it comes time to list your Hawaii vacation rental. Not doing any of the above mentioned items – especially if there are maintenance issues that need to be addressed, can result in possibly lower sales offers and/or a having your home sit on the market for a longer period of time.

If you’re selling your Hawaii vacation rental property, the most important thing you can do while your home is on the market is to take it out of the rental pool.

Doing the following tip is the #1 thing you need to do when selling your Hawaii vacation rental: take it out of the rental pool! Listing your property for sale while simultaneously using it as a vacation rental is not a good combination. The two events are incompatible.

Whether you’re property is listed on VRBO or AirBnB, when it’s time to list your vacation rental for sale, make sure you take it out of the vacation rental pool! I can not stress this enough. I recently sold a beautiful luxury home in KaMilo that the owners used as a successful vacation rental.

The sale serves as a cautionary tale because we could have sold the house a lot faster (months faster!) if it had not been in the rental pool. Other realtors had serious buyers who wanted to see the property and were qualified to purchase the home, but were unable to because the home was being used as a vacation rental. No one could access the property while it was being used as a rental. As a result, the sale probably took about six months longer, than if it had not been vacation rented.

If you’re considering selling your Mauna Lani resort home, give me a call today at (808) 674-7576. I would be happy to meet with you and help you explore your options.

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Golfing Along the Kohala Coast

Golf lovers know a good course when they play one, and golfers from across the world flock to the Big Island to play on the multitude of exceptional courses found along the Kohala Coast. According to Travel + Leisure magazine, the Kohala Coast may have “the greatest collection of dramatic seaside golf courses in the world.”

At Hawaii Beach and Golf Properties, we know that the golfing lifestyle is fun and a big reason why people want to live in the resorts. Here’s a look at the courses found in and around the resorts of the Kohala Coast. Each of these golf courses was skillfully designed by industry leaders to provide exciting golfing experiences amongst a spectacularly beautiful natural environment.

Mauna Kea Resort
You’ll find two outstanding golf courses within Mauna Kea Resort, the shoreline Mauna Kea Golf Course and Hapuna Beach Course located upslope at an elevation of 700 feet.

Originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and redesigned by his son Rees Jones, Mauna Kea Golf Course is widely considered one of the best resort golf courses in the world. Expanded in recent years, the par 72-course features 7,114 of yardage.

Upslope, Hapuna Beach Course is also a par 72 course that’s been ranked by numerous golf publications as among the best in the country. Golf Digest ranked it among the top 25 Best Golf Resorts in North America. Designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, this tough but fair course features 6,875 of yardage and its high elevation provides breathtaking views of the Kohala Coast.

Mauna Lani Resort
Mauna Lani Resort also features two excellent golf courses, the Francis H. I’i Brown North and South Golf Courses, named after legendary sportsman Francis H. I’I Brown, who pioneered the development and preservation of Mauna Lani Resort.

Built on expansive lava fields along the coastline, the championship courses were designed by Ray Cain, Rodney Wright, and Robin Nelson to provide hours of challenging golfing with gorgeous ocean and mountain views. The views are so incredible that the15th hole of the South Course considered one of the most photographed over-the-water golf course holes in the world. Both courses are par 72 with Mauna Lani North Course providing 6,913 yards and the South Course 6,938 of yardage.

Waikoloa Beach Resort
As with the other resorts, you’ll find two courses to choose from within Waikoloa Beach Resort: the Waikoloa Beach Course and the King’s Course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., the Waikoloa Beach Course is a par 70 course located along the shoreline with 6,566 yards of challenging play. Meanwhile the Kings’ Course offers 7,074 yards on which to play. Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the par 72 course features a lava amphitheater and is next to fields of historic petroglyphs.

While each of the courses described above offer incredible views and playing conditions, each is unique in their own way. Whether you’re a golfing professional or amateur these fairways will provide you with a range of playing opportunities for years to come. Living within walking distance to these great courses is just one of the many benefits of living along the Kohala Coast!

Big Island Beaches Along the Kohala Coast

Hawaii is famous for its white sandy beaches and warm tropical waters that invite you to swim, sail, surf, and snorkel all year round. When you live along the Kohala Coast, some of the best beaches in the world can be found right in your backyard. Here’s a look at some of the top beaches in and around the Kohala Coast resorts.

Kauna’oa Beach
When Laurence Rockefeller decided to build the very first luxury resort on the Big Island back in the 1960s, he selected Kauna’oa Beach, the very finest beach on the entire coast, for the site of the Mauna Kea Beach Resort. Ranked among the best in the world by Conde Nast and the Travel Channel, Kauna’oa Bay’s long crescent-shaped beach stretches nearly a quarter mile and is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Manta rays are known to frequent the area and at night the Mauna Kea Hotel shines a spotlight into the water so you can see these magnificent creatures as they swim in the wild. Limited public parking means this beach is rarely crowded.

Hapuna State Beach
Just to the south of Kauna’oa Beach is Hapuna State Beach, also ranked among the best in the world. Like Kauna’oa Beach, you’ll find amenities like showers and restroom facilities here. However, it can get crowded at Hapuna. With its covered pavilions, picnic areas, and BBQ pits, the nearly 62-acre state park is one of the most popular on island and can get crowded on the weekends.

Wailea Bay in Puako
Travelling south along the Kohala Coast, you’ll next come across Wailea Bay in Puako. Adjoining Hapuna Beach, it is frequently referred to as Beach 69 because of its close proximity to electric pole #69, which serves as a landmark to help guide beach goers to this small sheltered beach. Once known only to locals, this beach has grown in popularity over the years and has received several upgrades, including a paved parking lot, outdoor showers, and restrooms. Snorkel near the south end of the beach and you may see green sea turtles and manta rays.

Mauna Lani Beach

Homeowners in Mauna Lani can avail themselves to three miles of pristine private white sand beaches. Mauna Lani property owners are also eligible to become members of the private Mauna Lani Beach Club, with its ultra-private beach cove and Naupaka restaurant. Adjoining the historic Kalahuipua’a Fishponds, Mauna Lani Beach Club members can avail themselves to a variety of beach amenities, including snorkeling, kayaking, and sailing.

A beautiful public beach is available within Mauna Lani Resort fronting the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows. The calm waters of this white sandy beach make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling and here you’ll find restrooms, outdoor showers, and a beachside restaurant. Mauna Lani Resort has a strong conservation program and this beach is also the site of the annual July 4th Turtle Independence festivities when Hawaiian sea turtles are released into the wild.

Anaeho’omalu Beach in Waikoloa
Waikoloa Beach Resort is home to one of the most well known and beautiful beaches on the Kohala Coast: Anaeho’omalu Beach, called “A Bay” by island residents. One of the most photographed beaches on island, it’s famous for its grove of coconut palm trees and long white sand beach. The south end of the beach is popular with windsurfers while the northern end fronts the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort. A variety of activities can be found at A Bay, including boat charters, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, boogie-boarding and surfing.