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You’re living the vacation dream here in paradise, and the thought crosses your mind: “I wonder if I could ever live here?”

That’s a question that Annabelle Smith and Susan McKay have been asked many times in their Kona Coast real estate career. “At one time, I asked those questions,” says Smith, an Ohio native. “When I decided to move here, I also became a realtor so I could determine the best strategy for owning real estate here. There are important differences between here and the Mainland. We help our clients navigate through our unique buying environment.”

Call Annabelle and Susan and they’ll walk you through these five issues and more, providing peace of mind in your decision-making process:

  1. Fee Simple versus Leasehold. “Our Mainland clients understand fee simple because that is the common form of ownership. Leasehold means that the property is owned by a landlord, and you are only buying the structure itself. That is why the purchase price is much lower.”
  2. Lava Zones. “This is just what it sounds like,” says McKay. “All land on the Big Island is divided into seven lava zones. We can explain each zone, what each means and the financing consequences.”
  3. Elevation. “Elevation on the Kona side impacts energy costs, which can impact purchase price,” says Smith. “It’s a bigger deal than people think.”
  4. Square footage expectations. “People spend more time outdoors here,” says McKay. “Mainlanders often need to readjust their expectations regarding square footage.”