JUST LISTED! Tropical Estate on 51 Acres of Producing Farmland with Breathtaking Ocean and Mauna Kea Views

31-200 Old Mamalahoa Hwy, Papaaloa, HI
31-200 Old Mamalahoa Hwy, Papaaloa, HI

On a hill overlooking 51 acres of producing farmland and breathtaking Pacific Ocean views you’ll find a tropical-style residential estate — the ultimate Hamakua home. This over 5000 sq. ft. residence was created to take advantage of unparalleled panoramic Pacific Ocean & Mauna Kea mountain views. Upstairs, massive Douglas fir posts suspend soaring cathedral ceilings, crowned with a custom skylight.

The spacious interior features 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, with many unique custom details. In the gourmet kitchen the counters are granite, and custom tilework is found on the floors and in the bathrooms. Furniture-quality vanities and one-of-a-kind teak built-ins give evidence of quality of craftsmanship that went into building this unique piece of paradise.

Wrap-around lanais provide additional outdoor living areas that are ideal for relaxing and enjoying the million dollar views. If you’ve dreamed of getting away from it all, this home offers privacy, serenity, and freedom to generate your own electricity for your home. There are no telephone or power lines to obstruct your views!   A complete alternative power solar system provides energy for the home.

Cellular telephone reception is excellent. Multiple options for internet access.

In addition to the generously sized home there is a separate farm/utility building.

And … the current owner leases the farmland to sweet potato farmers, making the acreage profitable!

For Current List Price, Virtual Tour, Additional Photos, Downloadable Flyer & More see:

HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND – Could You Live Off-the-Grid? Part VII: Staying In Touch

By Kelly Moran

Could You Live Off-the-Grid? Part VII: Staying In Touch

Once you have secured water and electricity, and can keep the temperature comfortable in your off-the-grid house, you can start thinking about what most people also consider key ingredients of civilized life: telephone, television and internet.

Obviously, you can not have a “land-line” if you are off the grid. But you may already have a cellular phone, and market research shows that more and more people – in younger demographics, especially – are now using their cell phone as their only phone.

All the major carriers (e.g. Verizon, AT&T, etc.) are here on the Big Island. Their coverage areas overlap, and reception is generally very good. If you are contemplating buying a particular piece of land, you will want to make and receive a cell-phone call while you’re checking the place out. There are only a few “dead” zones on the island, most noticeably at the bottom of the three gulches along the Hamakua Coast; but it’s not likely that you’ll be living down there.

Cell phones are very reliable, and there are many (some folks would say “too many”) choices of equipment. You can have anything from a simple voice-only phone to a phone with a camera – even a video camera – to something like a Blackberry that gives you almost as much power as a laptop computer, to do email and browse the Web (about which, more next time). A client of mine, who needs to constantly hack down ginger and other weeds around his stream, found it necessary – after a little mishap – to get a cell phone that is waterproof!

The only disadvantage to having a cell phone as your only phone is that you don’t get listed in local telephone directories – they are published by the land-line phone companies – though you could, if your business needs the exposure, buy a listing in one of the “yellow-pages” directories and include your cell phone number there. Otherwise, if someone wants to phone you, they will need to know your number already, or acquire it some other way – perhaps by a “Google” search.

Satellite TV is very popular in Hawaii, even where cable TV is available and convenient. Both Dish Network and DirecTV  are offered here, and their rates are competitive. The only technical requirement is that the bowl-shaped antenna must be able to “see” its affiliated satellite(s) in the southeastern sky, with no hills or trees blocking the way. Typically, it’s about two feet in diameter, and doesn’t weigh much, so it is usually mounted right on the house (or can be pole mounted, cemented in the ground).

TV Satellite: Roof Mounted
TV Satellite: Roof Mounted
TV Satellite: Pole Mounted, Cemented in Ground
TV Satellite: Pole Mounted, Cemented in Ground

Like cable services, most satellite services include a digital video recorder (DVR) for recording programs to watch at your convenience. This is especially useful in Hawaii, because we are two hours behind the West Coast and five hours behind the East Coast (three and six, respectively, in the months when the Mainland observes Daylight Saving Time – which Hawaii does not).

Time-specific programs, like sports events, may have ended by the time you are ready to see them, and local broadcasts of national programming, such as PBS documentaries, may not be shown on the same day and time as on Mainland stations.

There are some downsides to satellite TV. Your choice of channels may be limited, compared to cable programming; and although light rain won’t interfere, a really big storm can interrupt your TV reception. Also, since any electronic equipment may fail unexpectedly, you may want to consider getting a DVR that allows you to back up recorded programs on an external hard-disk drive.

TV is passive; the Internet is interactive. I’ll cover internet options next time.

View Other Posts in the “Could You Live Off-the-Grid?” Series

HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND: Could You Live Off-the-Grid? Part III: Here Comes the Sun


By Kelly Moran

Could You Live Off-the-Grid?  Part III: Here Comes the Sun

          Turning sunshine into electricity is the most popular way to generate your own power, here, although two conditions must be met.  First, you really have to have a good view of the sun all day: no trees or hills shadowing the house.  And second, you have to have dough: the initial investment is high, and likely to remain so for the near future.  A “family-of-four” will probably need a system costing $30-40,000, including batteries and control equipment. 

          But electricity from the Hawaii Electric Light Co. (HELCO) costs more than 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, pushing utility bills up into thousands of dollars a year, and the rates will only go higher.  So, a solar system should break even in ten years or less.  Moreover, the price of photovoltaic panels is slowly coming down, while their electrical efficiency keeps going up.  And there are no ongoing costs: once the system is in place, your electricity is free, and your batteries get charged up every day!

          Two recent technological developments make solar increasingly attractive. The newest photovoltaic collectors aren’t like heavy picture-frames, with glass on top.  They’re lightweight, flexible sheets of plastic that are available either as shingles or as peel-and-stick strips that lie flat, between the ridges of standing-seam metal roofs.   And these new materials are more sensitive to ultraviolet light than the glass panels are, so they keep on making electricity even on cloudy days, when there isn’t as much “visible” light.

Two ways to Capture Sunlight:

"Building-integrated photovoltaic" (BIPV) panels adhere directly to a standing-seam metal roof.
"Building-integrated photovoltaic" (BIPV) panels adhere directly to a standing-seam metal roof.
Framed-glass photovoltaic panels are mounted on a carport.
Framed-glass photovoltaic panels are mounted on a carport.

          If your land is close to an existing utility pole, the Hawaii Electric Light Co. (HELCO) may accept whatever electricity you generate and, in effect, store it for you in its grid.  But hey! – this is about living off the grid.  And that means storing your electricity in batteries.

          The right kind of batteries for home-size power-plants are similar to car batteries, but larger and heavier, with higher electrical capacity (24- or 48-volt, instead of 12).  And their installation has to meet building codes (e.g., you can’t put them in the crawl-space under the house).

          To keep your system operating at peak efficiency, you will have to take on some responsibilities that have traditionally been shouldered by the utilities.  Though you don’t have power-poles to climb, or high-tension wires to string, you will have to perform some regular maintenance tasks, the equivalent of those that utilities ordinarily do, and the cost of which they bundle into their monthly bill.

          So, for example, you must ensure that the fluid in your batteries is at the proper level, by topping them off with distilled water, once a month.  And as soon as you do that, it’s a good idea to run your backup generator for at least an hour or two, not only to help your batteries stay fully charged, but also to keep the generator itself in top running condition, so it’s always ready in case of emergency.

          Go solar, and you also ride the wave of the future.  If we in Hawaii are ever going to free ourselves from imported petroleum fuels, we will have to generate more and more of our electricity from the sun.

View Other Posts in the “Could You Live Off-the-Grid?” Series

HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND: Could You Live Off-the-Grid Part II: (Electric) Power to the People

By Kelly Moran

Could You Live Off-the-Grid Part II: (Electric) Power to the People

In my discussion of catching rainwater, last time, I neglected to mention that in some places it’s possible to draw water from a well, especially if your land is near to places where Hawaii County draws its water. But finding a reliable and sufficient source of water underground is not easy, and on the drier, western side of the island, wells have to be drilled very, very deep. So, you may get lucky. Or not. And the cost of drilling could exceed the cost of a catchment tank. Besides, a well needs a pump – and that means you need electricity.

There are four ways that people here generate their own electricity: fuel, wind, hydro, and solar. I’ll cover the first three now, and discuss solar next time.

  • Fuel. By far the easiest way to get power is to buy a generator, keep it stocked with whatever it burns — typically either diesel or propane — and run it until your batteries are charged, roughly six hours a day. With either fuel, you can assume that your electricity will cost a few hundred dollars a month — about what you’d pay Hawaii Electric Light Co. (HELCO), the local utility. Generators are not expensive, but you should balance that low initial investment against the certainty that the price of fossil fuels will keeping going up, even if renewable alternatives like bio-diesel or methane enter the mass-market. (No matter how you make your own power, if you live off the grid you should have a generator anyway, even if it’s only a portable gasoline model, for backup or emergencies.)
  • Hydro. If you have a good-size stream on your land, a hydroelectric turbine may be the way to go. The machinery is not very expensive, and you do not need a waterfall, as long as the water level drops at least 40 feet from the intake point down (through a pipe) to the turbine. But the stream has to run year-round, and in a drought lasting several weeks, even some large streams may shrink or dry up. Ironically, the only serious disadvantage to hydro is that under normal conditions you may get too much power from it! Unlike breezes or sunshine, streams run 24/7. After your batteries have been fully charged, any excess electricity can damage your system: it must either be stored (in yet more batteries) or consumed immediately. One fellow I know had to buy a chest-freezer and an air conditioner solely to soak up all the electricity from the turbine in his stream.
A stream this big could genereate electricity, but only if the water level drops 40 feet or more from the intake point down to the turbine.
A stream this big could genereate electricity, but only if the water level drops 40 feet or more from the intake point down to the turbine.


  • Wind. A small windmill may generate enough power for a barn (or a well-pump) but a windmill sufficient to power a household must be quite large, and hence expensive. On this island, that’s a viable option only if your land is really windy, which you’ll know because your trees are bent over, as they are near HELCO’s “wind farms” — clusters of turbines – -at the northern (Kohala) and southern (Ka’u) capes. On the Hamakua Coast, the onshore tradewinds are not constant; and on the Kona coast, daytime breezes tend to die down at sunset.

View Other Posts in the “Could You Live Off-the-Grid?” Series


Strange Fruit

Dragon FruitIn my previous blog, I remarked that the hairy red rambutan strikes many people as strange-looking. But rambutan is small. Something else in the farmers’ markets is stranger, and bigger! It looks like something out of science-fiction — an alien man-eating flower-bud. Even the name is fantastic: dragon fruit.

But oh, is it delicious!

It grows from a cactus – Hylocereus undatus – the Latin name showing its family resemblance to the ornamental Night-Blooming (and
night-fragrant) Cereus. On the Big Island, dragon fruit is cultivated in Kona, whose microclimate is much like that of Honolulu (where a famously extensive Night-Blooming Cereus adorns a lava-stone wall along Punahou

Dragon fruit apparently originated in South America, and is now extremely popular in China and southeast Asia; it’s also cultivated in Mexico, Texas and Israel. A summertime treat here, it’s easy to spot at the Wednesday and Saturday Farmers’ Market on Kam Avenue in Hilo, and at the Saturday Farmers’ Market in the Keauhou (Kona) shopping center.

Dragon Fruit

The dragon fruit’s red, scaly exterior may be off-putting, but appearance is only skin-deep. A thin, easily peeled rind surrounds a sweet flesh that’s either dark red and sweeter, or gray-green and firmer. Hundreds of very tiny seeds are embedded in the fruit; like strawberry seeds, they go down practically unnoticed. The taste is watermelon- or kiwi-like, but (not surprisingly) most like the fruit of prickly-pear cactus.

Chill dragon fruit for the best texture and flavor; in a plastic bag, it will keep for a week in the refrigerator. You can cut the whole fruit in half and dig in with a spoon. You can peel it and slice it into bite-size chunks. And you can delight your next dinner guests by serving a palate-cleanser, between courses, of a small scoop of dragon fruit.

Time is running out for $8,000 Exemption!

Time is running out!

Pocketwatch for blog

The US government has an $8,000 tax credit for you if you have not owned a home in the last three years. It is called a First-Time Homebuyer Credit, but it is for anyone who is buying a primary residence that has not owned a home since 2006. This means that you can deduct $8,000 from your 2009 taxes and may end up with $$ in your pocket in 2010. Please see your CPA or Tax adviser for guidance.

The single most important rule in this stimulus program is that your escrow must close by November 30th, 2009. This gives you less than 120 days from the publication of this blog to close. Since many affordable homes are in the distressed market, foreclosures and short sales, time is literally running out for buyers. These properties tend to have longer escrow periods and must be approved by various entities. A short sale can take as long as 5 months to clear escrow.

Now is the time to contact Hilo Brokers, LTD to see what bargains are available in this market. There are plenty to be had all over East Hawaii in all classifications.  Whether you are looking for a Farm property, waterfront home or a cottage, there are fantastic deals available in today’s market place. At Hilo Brokers, LTD, we can offer you turn key assistance in making your purchase and you can rest assured that we will find the best home for your real estate dollars and if it is your first home in 3 years, you can take advantage of this Government incentive for home buyers. You must act quickly if you want to be assured of qualifying and receiving your $8,000 credit.

House made of money

For more details on the tax credit and what it can mean to you, check our past post about this incredible program: $8,000 Tax Credit Used for Closing Costs & More

ContactHilo Brokers, LTD today and get the ball rolling!

Hale Kawainui; House of Big Waters

I want to take you somewhere very special on the Hamakua Coast. Come with me to see this very special estate.

Just off of the Onomea Scenic Drive sits a magical estate where beauty and craftsmanship reign, awaiting the future owner of this gem of Hawaii.

Kawainui Estate
Kawainui Estate is a 14.5 acre dream come true for a gentleman farmer, orchid grower and lover of life in paradise. Come with me as I show you some of the amazing features of this custom estate home.

When you enter the gated drive, immediately you see that there is ample parking and a spectacular entrance to the home. As you pass the citrus and Macadamia Nut Orchards, large specimen palms come into view and then you see a custom piece of artwork which is in fact the massive front door to this palatial tropical home.
Hand Sculpted Metal Art EntranceThe doors are a huge wall of copper and bronze screens with hand sculpted metal art which mimics the many wild vines found in the pali next to the property.

As you enter through the metal art doors, there is more art and craftsmanship in every direction. This house was crafted with the concept of beauty from nature reflecting in every room. From the vaulted cathedral ceilings to the slate floors there is beauty and light in every part of the living space, which opens up to the outdoors through telescoping doors and screens.

The massive living room has exquisite exotic hardwood display cabinetry as well as many pieces of art & furnishings by master wood artist, Perry Policicchio. Perry spent several years creating the cabinetry, furniture, and artwork throughout the house. His touch is evident in every part of the estate. His work is featured in exclusive galleries around the islands and his commissioned pieces, such as those featured in this home, are in high demand. Just having his logo on your cabinetry is a sign of excellence in the art of wood working. His pieces continue to escalate in value and are in high demand.

Off the entrance room is one of Perry’s first challenges, an all Koa powder room. Even the sink is made of Koa. It is both a room of warmth and exquisite artistry, the perfect place to let your guests know just how much local art is a priority in your home.

As you enter the home you will find that it opens into an emerald green space outdoors. While the home is on 14.5 acres, it also looks across to an amazingly beautiful rainforest conservation area over the Kawainui River, resplendent in palms and foliage and with a restorative tumble of waterfalls below. The sound of water and birds completes the ambiance of Kawainui Estate’s charms.

Kawainui Estate Infinity Edge Pool

While we are talking about the outdoor spaces around the main house, we must include a beautiful natural stone multi-level infinity pool with waterfalls and pools. From here, there is also a Tiki lounge over looking the river. The lounge is screened-in and has a fantastic view of the waterfalls below. It is a great place for cocktails and parties. Kawainui Estate Waterfalls

Among the outdoor amenities are luxurious grounds and a second more traditional “blue” pool, just steps from the master bedroom with a secluded landscaped lanai.

Back inside the house you will find a master suite that is as large and luxurious as a small home, complete with office, sitting room and library. With walls full of custom cabinetry and a fully draped bed, touches of luxury are evident everywhere.
Kawainui Estate Master SuiteKawainui Estate Master Bath
The master bath is spacious and well appointed with custom Koa cabinetry and a deep soaking Japanese bath, as well as a huge shower area and a massive walk in closet.

In the kitchen and dining area there are custom Koa cabinets which include a Sub Zero, dishwasher and ice maker covered in Koa. Ample countertops blend in well with walls of windows overlooking the Pacific. There is a custom Koa table embellished with a giant pineapple. A dining lanai with an ocean view completes this very special kitchen.

A huge walk in pantry is a big plus, as is the ample laundry room, which opens onto the breezeway leading to the guest quarters.

The Tea House was meticulously created with authentic detail. Kawainui Estate Tea House
It is a one bedroom guest house integrating custom Soji screens and a multitude of cabinets in the full kitchen designed by Perry Policicchio. Perry also built antiqued gates to the Tea House, which makes it seem as though it is ancient. It is a delightful traditional space surrounded by exquisite Koi ponds, bonsai and gardens with unobstructed ocean views of Keaukaha Point.

There is also a free standing spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath guest quarters adjacent to the garage.

The massive grounds include acres of macadamia nut trees, avocados, rambutan, bananas, citrus and papayas. There is a large barn and storage facility next to the state-of-the-art tissue culture lab for orchids and other exotics, as well as a fully functional adjacent green house and lath house space. There are also dog kennels near the green house.

Take a virtual tour of Kawainui here:

Click Here to see the Virtual Tour

If you would like to make an appointment to view Kawainui Estate, call Kelly Moran at Hilo Brokers 808.969.9400.

Kailua-Kona to Kealakekua Bay

Posted by Guest Contributor: Aaron Geerlings

It was a beautiful day in sunny Kailua-Kona when Kelly and I met on the small beach parking lot across from King Kamehameha Beach Hotel to cruise the Kona Coast.
Map of ride

The tourist action was in full tilt mode as a cruise ship disembarked their passengers. Lei makers were peddling their wares and tour guides were propositioning tourists. It was not 100% sunny weather as a slight overcast was just enough to take away the harsh glare of the tropical sun. Not too hot – basically it was perfect for an afternoon of great riding.

We cruised along Alii Drive checking out all the great places to eat, the good looking women and the sunny beaches that are intermittent along the 2 mile stretch.

After downtown Kailua-Kona we begin passing Kahului Bay, Holualoa Bay, and Magic Sands Beach. Magic Sands is named such because the sand comes and goes on depending on the weather and intensity of the surf. Some days it is nothing but a rock outcropping and other days it is a beautiful sandy beach.

Alii Drive eventually dumps you onto Highway 11, which merges into Highway 180. Highway 180 winds along the coast at 35-45mph – it’s a great leisurely cruise that really lets you soak up the scenery and fresh air… Hawaii riding at its finest. Although this road is narrow and winds through various small towns that inevitably slow down traffic, this adds to the enjoyment as it forces you to slow down and enjoy all the great sights: coffee trees, old historic buildings, local residents, fantastic landscape and great views.

We eventually got to the turn off to our Kealakekua Bay – Napoopoo Road. This road is a fantastic ride as it winds down to the coast with many twists and turns. The views overlooking the Bay and south along the Kona Coast are spectacular. After a few miles you eventually get to Kealakekua Bay. This is simply a stunning sight. The bay and surrounding historical state park is amazingly pristine and gorgeous. Kealakekua Bay is the location where Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians in 1779.

After enjoying the scenery and shooting some video we headed back up to the highway where instead of taking highway 180 back we took the old Mamalahoa Highway to Waimea. This old road is a great ride as well – it gently rolls through Big Island Country Club and Parker Ranch before finally arriving at Waimea.

We show up just in time to miss the clouds rolling in… what a great ride!

Hamakua Coast Motorcycle Ride

Since I share a love of motorcycle riding, especially along the relaxing and beautiful roads of the Big Island, I’ll be dedicating some upcoming posts to just that. Helping me as a guest contributor is Aaron Geerlings, fellow riding enthusiast and University of Hawaii at Hilo student. We also have an Aloha Rider page dedicated to this adventure, which includes motorcycle links of interest and a short bio to help you get to know Aaron.

Here’s Aaron’s first contribution about our Hamakua Coast ride:

Aloha Everyone!
Hawaii as long been known for its great beaches and lovely weather, but what it’s not known for is its great motorcycle riding. Most think of it as an island (which it is), but one that is lacking in great riding asphalt — well I am here to put that myth to rest. Over the following weeks I will be introducing you to some great places to ride, eat and relax here on the island, so suit up and enjoy the show.

Our first ride took us from Hilo, Hawaii up the Hamakua Coast on the Mamaloha Highway that winds along the eastern side of the island. It was simply a stunning day. We couldn’t have asked for better.Our first detour along the way was the 4 mile scenic route along the old Mamaloha Highway. This is a beautiful detour that winds along lush forest, waterfalls, Onomea Bay, smoothie shack and a botanical garden.The road is almost completely covered by plants in some areas, giving a feeling as though you are riding through a living tunnel, and in a way you are — just watch for the moss growing on the road as it is very slippery and can lead to some un-fun sliding.

Onomea bay is absolutely amazing (it can be seen in the first video linked at the end), and to think they once unloaded freight from ships there! After we enjoyed the view for a few minutes we continued on past the botanical gardens to What’s Shakin smoothie shack, where we met Tim Withers who owns and operates it with his wife Patsy. Here we interviewed Tim about his upcoming Baja races and his feelings about Hawaii motorcycle riding.

After our fantastic smoothies we continued our ride along the coastal route before coming back to the highway. It was a true detour.As we continued along the highway enjoying the great view, wonderful asphalt and the gorgeous day, we came in contact with one of the few speed traps on the island. Between two 55 mph zones there is a 45mph zone. It isn’t very big so people don’t seem to slow down, so the police sit on the side of the road and enjoy the easy prey as they fly by. But we easily missed this trap as having lived here for quite some time we knew the secrets. Riding through the gulches can be a lot of fun — long wide sweeping turns allow a lot of space to lean and drag your knee. The rest of the ride was uneventful other than the great view and wonderful weather.

We finished the ride at an amazing home overlooking an amazing bay. We relaxed and enjoyed the view before heading back.

This was an amazing ride that covered approximately 120 miles. Although this could easily be added-to if you explored all the various side roads that wind through farms, forests and orchards, it was a fantastic ride in the middle of February.

Stay tuned for the next entry that I can hopefully do this Sunday if the weather holds out. I also hope to take more stills, but this time our still camera broke at our first stop, and all we had is the video camera.