Chapter 20 – Joe Hawkins
Kihei/wailea from American Samoa
How long have you lived in Kihei?
I’ve lived in Kihei for 12 years. Previously I’ve lived in Paia, in the Kula area, and Haiku.
Where is Kihei, and what’s it like as a community?
Kihei is on the south shore. And as a community it’s a blue collar working class community. And we have some of the large resorts areas, too. It caters to local and tourists alike.
What brought you to Kihei?
I was hired as the operations manager of HHawaii Media. I chose Kihei for the proximity to work. As the operations director I’m on call 24/7. An emergency can happen any time day or night so I choose to be close by.
How’s the job market?
I know that most of the jobs here are service related— hotel, restaurant, tourist. I’ve never had to look for a job on Maui. Each time that I’ve come I’ve had a job. Most people don’t move to Maui for work. They move to live on Maui and then they find any type of work they can do to sustain themselves. Everybody sees the postcards and they think it’s a great place to live, and it is, but it’s not as easy as all that. It’s an expensive place to live. Many people here work 2 or 3 jobs to sustain themselves.
Do you worry about crime in Kihei?
I don’t worry about crime. The area I live in, I haven’t witnessed any crime. I live in a large condo complex that takes care of security well.
Was it hard to meet people when you moved to Kihei?
It’s not hard. I’m an outgoing person and I’m also a high profile person. I do the morning show on the local radio station. I find that most people here in my age group– 60s– have retired from something. Their focus is on their family, grandkids. Their activities are centered around that. It is a transient population. People come and go with tourism.
What’s your commute like?
I’ve driven on all the islands, and we have less traffic than all the islands. I’m fortunate that I’m not out in the traffic in the morning because I’m the radio. We do have normal situations with accidents and traffic. The biggest problem here is there are no alternate routes. There’s one set of roads, and if there is an accident you are stuck until it’s cleared.
Do you have to be rich to live in Maui
I’m certainly not rich. You have to want to live on Maui. You have to have the heart for living in Maui. It’s a different lifestyle. The people who have been born and raised here have seen so many people come and go over the years, and the outcome hasn’t been great for them. It’s important to have a good heart and understand and respect the culture.
How has the real estate market changed between the time you bought your first house and your most recent purchase?
When I moved here in 1975 you could buy a house on the beach for $30,000. That’s not going to happen anymore. We had a huge downturn in the market in 2007, like everywhere, and that made it affordable for me to get into the market. That was unfortunate for some people who couldn’t stay in their homes, but it was good for me as I was able to buy a house I love.
Do you like the quality of life in Kihei?
I think the quality is excellent, There’s plenty of exercise. You have the beaches, the weather is perfect year-round. There is hiking, surfing, water sports. There are some things we don’t have in abundance, but all in all, this area holds a lot of promise for people
What surprised you most about moving to and living in Kihei?
The only surprise was the growth. I lived here in the 1970s and moved back 12 years ago, and to see the growth was surprising. Also it surprises me that so many of the houses don’t represent the Hawaiian architecture or lifestyle. It surprises me there is not more effort put into cohesive architecture standards. I’d like the place to look less like Ohio and more like Hawaii.
What would you say is the best way to spend a weekend on Maui?
Any weekend away from work is a good weekend. I enjoy driving up the mountain, going to the summit and hiking, or going to the backside to Hana and hiking. If I can go to my favorite beach with a good book and a good cigar, I’m a real happy guy.
What places should you avoid if you don’t want to see a lot of tourists?
Stay in your house; they are everywhere! We are a tourist-based economy. It would be like moving to Iowa and saying how do you avoid the farmer. That’s our business, tourism. It’s the machine that operates this place. Tourism and construction are the biggest factors in our economy. Without one you don’t have the other. I love talking to tourists and hearing if they are having a nice time.
Do you travel between the islands much?
Not as often as I would like, but I’ve travelled plenty. Each one holds something special and I’ve lived on them all nearly. In the 1970s I was a young guy out of the military, and I lived on Waikiki on the north shore, and it was wonderful. I really enjoyed living on the Kona side of the big island in the 1980s. Kauai is the island I go to most often. It’s the farthest north, the oldest island. To me it is what most people think Hawaii should look like. It gets the most rain and has the tropical environment.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Kihei or in other parts of Maui?
I have several. I often go to Fabiana’s—they have two locations. I’m probably there most often. And I like the salad bar at Ruby Tuesdays.
Is there anything that you don’t like about living in Kihei or living in Hawaii?
I’m a pretty content person. The cost of living is relative. You learn where to shop and how to shop. Your expenses are different here. I don’t find it any more expensive than certain places. There are certain things you pay more for. I shop at local produce stands for produce. You do pay more for some things, but you don’t pay for other things. You don’t pay for a seasonal wardrobe. Gas is expensive but you don’t have far to drive. You learn how to live Maui and then it’s not so difficult.
What advice would you give people who are house hunting in Maui and especially in Kihei?
My first bit of advice– if they’ve come on vacation and say we’re going home, selling everything, and moving back– perhaps what you want to do is rent first and make sure this place is for you. People visit here and fall in love with it and everything is wonderful. Then they come here and they’ve left all their family on the mainland. Unless they are willing to make a huge change I’d say give it six months to test the waters first.
“Team Lally is awesome!! Without their help we would have never been able to sell our home as fast as we did. Everything went smoothly and better than expected.”
“HANDS DOWN! Team Lally is the best in Hawaii! My experience with Team Lally was amazing! They’ve went beyond my expectations for any realtor. My first visit with Team Lally, they gave me “The Red Carpet Treatment”, they immediately treated me like family and was very supportive every minute I was with them. When Team Lally list your home, they’ll start with being super flexible with your schedule, they’ll recommend on what to do on getting the most out of your home. They then will install their awesome sign in front of your home! After, they’ll have their professional photographer come by to take pictures, who is SUPER NICE and he understands everything you’re going through. Not only does he take pictures, but he takes a VIRTUAL TOUR of your HOME, a luxury feature NO OTHER REALTOR I’VE SEEN PROVIDE!!! They will also keep you in loop by updating you every week once your homes on the market! Like I said Team Lally is the best in Hawaii! I highly recommend all my friends to Team Lally! Thank you!”
“Working with Team Lally was fantastic! Celeste helped us to buy a new home and Adrienne and Atillio helped us to sell a home. Team Lally was responsive to all of our needs and questions. Team Lally exceeded our expectations!”
“Aloha! I have worked with Adrienne for several years. She is the hardest worker and the most knowledgeable realtor I know. And there is nobody better than Team Lally when it comes to Short Sales! That’s why I used her! Her Team sold my home! And they make it easy with their outstanding team! And their marketing is 2nd to none! I highly recommend Adrienne and Team Lally!!”
“Adrienne was very in tune to my desires to sell my property. I was losing money on it and even though I didn’t do a short sale, she was very much prepared in advising me of all of my options. We sold the property for what I was hoping to get for it and the process was smooth and as painless as possible. She was always available to answer my questions and I couldn’t have had a more professional team helping me out.”
“I walked away from my property three years ago and assumed that it would get foreclosed upon or just disappear….Three years later I was contacted by a tenant that was being rented the condo from a company that was operating illegally and claimed to have ownership of it….I contacted Team Lally and they were able to navigate these very difficult waters: me not having paid my mortgage for three years, a company claiming ownership, the condo association not happy because they were not paid for three years…Team Lally worked through all of this to complete a short sale of the property and I paid virtually nothing…I worked with other real estate companies in the past and Team Lally blows them away, I would highly recommend them for all your real estate needs”
“When my husband and I began working with Team Lally, we thought we were in an impossible situation. We had been working with our then current realtor for more than a year and to no avail. The short sale on our condo proved to be too much for her. Three failed contracts later, we were finally referred to Team Lally. At this point in the process, we were very disappointed and a skeptical.To our surprise we were greeted with smiling faces and reassuring words by Adrienne Lally and Attilio Leonardi, however, I still remained skeptical. Then we were introduced to Howard, an Agent with Team Lally. From the start he was professional and extremely efficient and patient. He worked day and night and made me feel we were Team Lally’s only clients. I would honestly have so much anxiety with our short sale and yet every time I spoke with Howard I was put at ease. It took six months to close, but it was to no fault of our Realtors but due to our Mortgage Company (GreenTree) dragging their feet and playing hardball. The entire process was made easy with Team Lally steering us. Howard’s communication and explanations in all of this is what made it straightforward. Whether via email or telephone, I felt informed of the whole process. Again, I honestly at one point thought we were his only clients. Thank you Howard. Team Lally is EXCELLENT! They used every avenue to promote our property, from the internet like Zillow and Trulia to mailings to magazines. They took a disappointing …
“Mrs Lally was very aggressive with advertising and putting our home out there. She sold our house 5 days after listing. Wow! We were excited and very impressed with her quick sale. We will definetly use her services again when we sell our next home.”
“Aloha, My name is Bryon Tucker. My wife and I sold our home via Short Sale with Remax Team Lally. We are very pleased with the sale! I have had the pleasure of working with Adrienne & Attilio for the past several years. They work hard and educate themselves. There is nobody in this business that works harder, studies more, and has the experience to sell your home.! And their marketing systems is second to none!! They make it easy….they handle the banks for you…so you don’t have to! When it comes to selling your home in distress, do what I did! Sell your home with Remax Team Lally! Yay!!!!”
“Aloha! Calen at Team Lally has worked with my husband and I since day 1 of our search for our home. She was always so prompt with emails, house listings and also giving us an unbiased and honest opinion. She’s extremely knowledgeable about real estate and was constantly patient if we had any questions. She would always make sure that we could get the most bout of our money and would constantly be negotiating for us with our best interests at heart. She was on top of things and I didn’t have to go hunting for her or feel alone in this process. Our experience with working with Calen at Team Lally has been such a pleasant and personal experience that anyone should be blessed with! Elizabeth and Justin Munson”