You Had Me at Kauai


The Seattle fog has rolled in which tends to get me longing to be somewhere warmer (and sunnier). My wanderlust and need for some Vitamin D took me to the Island of Kauai where I found myself questioning a second home purchase. I mean lets be real, which one of us hasn’t dreamed of island life at one point in time?!?

In between Mai Tai’s and beach bumming, I found myself on a quest to learn more about this Hawaiian island’s real estate market. How easily could I make my island dreams come true? And is having a second home in Kauai profitable?

I buddied up with Jacque Shockley from Oceanfront Sotheby’s International Realty, rockstar and Kauai real estate pro. She was kind enough to drive me around—beach hair and all—and give me the low-down on the Kauai housing market. Below is what I learned:

  1. Princeville is the PLACE

    Looking for an investment? Unless your property is located in community of Princeville, you must have a very specific (and HARD to get/keep) permit to rent your property. You cannot use the home more than 30 days a year and unless you live full-time on the Island, you are required to hire a local company/representative who can manage and check in on your guests and property. We took a tour of a two bedroom, water view condo ON a golf course, listed for $650K, located in the Princeville area, so YES, you can rent it…too good to be true? Nope! This place is still available and waiting to make your island dreams come true.

  2. Custom at a Cost

    Building the home of your island dreams sounds realistic enough. Jacque showed us around a few vacant lots, one with the most perfect North Shore views. But these views come at a premium. A $5M price tag only buys you the land. Okay, so even money isn’t an obstacle—next you gotta build it. The Island has some funky rules when it comes to custom builds such as the “no taller than a coconut palm” rule. Hiring local builders and contractors is a must for success.

  3. Not Just Lush but also Hush Hush

    Privacy for the rich and famous keeps them coming back. On our tour I got a quick peek at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent lot purchase. Jacque began to rattle off numerous celebs such as Julia Roberts, Pierce Brosnan, and Trey Parker who have property on the seemingly small Island. Shockley insisted that the reason so many stars flock to Kauai, besides the obvious to-die-for scenery, is because the locals pride themselves on keeping it real, no paparazzi, and no star-struck fans. And who wouldn’t want to rub elbows with the rich and famous? Want to be Zuckerberg’s neighbor? This gorgeous 4 bedroom home with peak-a-boo views is practically in Zuckerberg’s backyard. The $1.6M price tag speaks to the homes massive update, large lush lot, and well thought out “mother-in-law” suite.