Buying a Vacation Home or Condominium in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
The vacation rental/ second home market in Kona Hawaii has really grown over the past decade. But recently, the rules have changed. The County of Hawaii is now requiring all vacation rental owners to register for a STVR Use Permit. Short term vacation rentals (30 days or less) are no longer allowed in residential neighborhoods unless the home is grandfathered in with a non conforming use permit. An exception to this rule in residential neighborhoods exists if the property is hosted by the owner or caretaker. So, a property with a home and a guest house, with a host living in one of the living spaces, would be exempt and allowed to rent for any length of time that the owner chooses, as long as the CC&R's, if any, allow it. Most condominiums in Kailua-Kona, are zoned to allow short term rentals so the only change for current or new owners is that they must be registered at a cost of $250 per year. It's also a good idea to check the condo house rules or CC&R's to make sure that rentals of less than 30 days are allowed, just to make sure. The rules governing vacation rentals on the other Hawaiian Islands are very different with most having additional restrictions and requirements.
The Big Island and especially the Kona and Kohala Coasts are perfect places to own a second home/vacation rental. With Hawaii's mild climate, beautiful scenery and year round tourism, occupancy rates for well managed properties often exceed 80%.
Owning and managing a vacation rental is very different from a long term rental. First you must decide if you would like to manage it yourself or hire a property manager. Most property managers charge between 20- 25% of the gross rents for vacation rentals in Kona and Kohala. However, there are also property managers that offer options for homeowners to handle some of the responsibilities, like marketing the property on some of the web sites and responding to renter inquiries.
It is important to know that not all properties in Hawaii make successful vacation rentals. Guests renting these properties have very specific wants and needs and it is important that the property have the features that are in demand. In Kona, oceanfront complexes and condominiums and homes with ocean views are very popular. Call or email if you would like to discuss some of the "must have" features. I'd also be happy to discuss complexes and neighborhoods that make great rental investments.
Vacation rental owners on the Big Island need to make sure that they have linens, silverware, dishes, pots and pans and appliances like a coffee and rice maker. Many properties in Hawaii are sold turnkey furnished and that makes the job much easier. If the home isn't furnished you will need do some shopping. There are some great stores that specialize in tropical furniture on the Island, some even sell used furniture on consignment. I can help point you in the right direction.
Keeping a vacation rental home well maintained and in good condition requires house cleaners, landscapers, a pool cleaner, a handyman and a good appliance repair man. Condominiums have landscaping, pool service and exterior maintenance included in the maintenence fees and many owners like the reduced responsibilities that these properites provide.
I have over 15 years experience successfully selling, owning and managing vacation rentals. If you are interested in buying a vacation rental in Kona, Kohala or anywhere on the Big Island of Hawaii feel free to call with any questions that you may have. I can go into more detail about all aspects of buying, owning and managing a vacation rental and I'll be happy to help you find the right vacation home for your needs.
Rich Bosselmann R(S)
Koa Realty Inc.