I’m a California born and bred gal, originally from southern California, but most recently from Sacramento, California, prior to moving to Hawaii with my husband Eddie and our then 14 year old Pomeranian, T.C.
I loved growing up in Southern California having the beaches near by and the wonderful South CA weather. I remember wearing flip flops most of the year and rarely ever needing a heavy jacket. Living in northern California was a different story all together. We had wonderful springs and summers, but fall, and especially winter, were way too cold for my taste.
My husband and I started vacationing in Hawaii about eight years prior to moving here, and loved it, so kept coming back every year; sometimes twice a year. While vacationing, it dawned on me that not everyone in Hawaii were tourists—-some lucky people actually lived here, so I started asking people their stories about moving here and started dreaming about one day doing so myself.
A few years ago on the island of Kauai, we decided to meet with a Realtor and look at some property and homes to explore availability and pricing, and we were astonished by what we saw. Very small (800 sq. ft.) fixer upper homes were selling for over $300,000 and a small (7500 sq. ft.) lot, with no ocean view, was selling for $210,000. YIKES! Needless to say, it was a discouraging experience.
Oh yes, one thing that I forgot to mention was that the $210,000 lot had been purchased by the existing owner only five years prior for something like $10,000! No kidding! It was mind blowing! Similar appreciations in real estate had happened on Oahu and Maui as well.
We continued to keep tabs on the real estate market on Kauai, hoping that we might find some way to make it work….. maybe by buying a vacation rental or something like that. Then one day, a friend of ours suggested that we check out The Big Island of Hawaii as he had heard that the prices were quite a bit more reasonable than the other islands, and was he ever right. Our internet searches of Big Island properties got us so excited that we decided to take a long weekend trip over to check it out in person. If the other islands had appreciated so dramatically, I figured that it is only a matter of time for the Big Island to catch up.
After a lot of dicussion and heart rending decision making, we decided that it made great sense to sell our home in California and buy a less expensive home on the Big Island, which drastically reduced our mortgage payment, and start a new life in Hawaii while we were still young enough to get out and enjoy all the fantastic things that the island has to offer.
So, that’s exactly what we did. I will not say that it was an easy move to make, because it wasn’t, but I will say that I have no regrets about making it. My life is dramatically different than it was on the mainland. I live in the country and work from my home office which has an amazing view of the southern Hawaii coast line. My closest neighbors are about ten acres away from my house instead of ten feet away. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet, it’s definitely a slower pace of life, there is much less crime and the weather is wonderful all year long! I love it! And when I’m not working, I get to go out and do all of the fun touristy things that other people just get to do on their vacations. Life in paradise is pretty darn nice!
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