We have a wonderful assortment of articles, Big Island Calendar of Events, resources, tips and industry updates for you this month and we hope you enjoy. Some of these include:

In addition to Kelly's Blog (, you can now also follow him on Twitter @hilobrokers!

If you are having any difficulty reading the newsletter below, you may view the current (and past) newsletter here: 

In addition to the featured articles, don't forget to dig a little deeper for additional articles located in the "Daily News & Advice" area, as well as the "More Articles" section.

Kelly & the Hilo Brokers, Ltd. Team


Some Articles Copyright © 2010 Realty Times
All Rights Reserved.

Hilo Brokers, Ltd.
400 Hualani St., Bldg 21
Hilo, Hawaii, 96720

Office: 808-969-9400

Direct: 808-938-5757

March 2010 - Hilo Brokers, Ltd.


Quality Big Island Real Estate Service & Experience
for Over 20 Years!


Your Big Island REALTOR®:

Kelly H. Moran



We Were Prepared -
and Lucky!

- By Kelly Moran

On the morning of a calm sunny Saturday, the 27th of February, tsunami alert sirens all around the island went off. An earthquake in Chile, the night before, had sent shock-waves through the Pacific, and the Big Island got ready to deal with its consequences.

Tsunami Warning Centers Took Extra Caution. Photo KITV News.

     Hilo was famously socked twice in the 20th century by the force of a tsunami – more than twice, actually, but hit really hard in 1946 and 1960. The tsunami in ‘60 had come from an earthquake in (you guessed it) Chile, which at 9.5 was the largest ever recorded. This latest one, at 8.8, was only(!) the fifth-largest.
     Here in Hawaii, we pay attention to tsunami alerts. Last September, a tsunami slammed into American Samoa. In December of 2004, a tsunami devastated several countries on the Indian Ocean.
     The Pacific has a network of buoys across its expanse and along all of its coasts, linked by radio data transmission. (The Indian Ocean does not have such a network, so the 2004 tsunami there could not be detected and warned against until it was too late.)

DART stations consist of a bottom pressure sensor anchored to the seafloor and a companion moored surface buoy. An acoustic link transmits data from the bottom pressure sensor to the surface buoy, and then satellite links relay the data to NOAA tsunami warning centers. The DART network serves as the cornerstone to the U.S. tsunami warning system. Photo: NOAA.

     The Pacific sensors picked up oceanic disturbances and local rises in sea-level almost immediately after the Chilean quake. As soon as that news reached our Civil Defense units, on Friday night (Hawaii time), they issued their warnings of a potential tsunami. Ocean waves generated by earthquakes travel about as fast as a jetliner, some 400-500 miles per hour; so Civil Defense calculated that they would reach Hawaii around 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
     The first pages of the telephone directories in Hawaii have maps of potential tsunami inundation zones on every island.  There’s even more information online, as well as news about this latest tsunami and those of the past.  It should come as no surprise that Hilo is home to a museum about tsunamis: the Pacific Tsunami Museum (, which I mentioned last November, in urging you to sign up for local Civil Defense alerts via cellphone text

     The United Nations, through UNESCO, operates the International Tsunami Information Center (, and both websites have links to additional sources of news and background information.

"Tsunami, The Great Waves": This 12-page glossy brochure provides information on what a tsunami is, how fast and how big they can be, what causes them, and describes programs undertaken to mitigate this hazard, including the development of tsunami warning centers, research programmes, and safety rules describing what to do when a tsunami attack your coastline.

So, let me tell you: We were ready!

We were also lucky. With so much advance notice, many boat-owners sailed out to sea, to ride it out. Retail shopkeepers had time to move vulnerable inventory uphill. Hilo Airport, which is inside the “tsunami indundation zone,” was closed to traffic. Mail delivery was suspended. Hotels shifted people upstairs. (All of Hawaii’s coastal hotels, by the way, are built on sturdy piers; their lobbies have tall ceilings and no load-bearing walls, so a tsunami can surge through without undermining the structure.)
     That morning, as luck would have it, there was a minus tide. I watched Hilo Bay through binoculars, from the Davidson’s oceanfront home on Paukaa Drive, and the only effect that I saw was...



Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of February 25, 2010:

30 yr. fixed:   5.05%
15 yr. fixed:   4.40%
1 yr. adj:        4.15%

View current rates



View All Featured Listings Here

Featured Listing

Cozy Custom Home in an Ideal Location Exudes a Sophisticated and Warm Ambiance

This cozy custom home has an ideal location just north of Hilo on a cul-de-sac. Outside you'll find sprawling lawns, roses, orchids, fruit-bearing citrus and fig trees, and a feeling of serenity. Inside, you'll find a unique multi-level interior with gleaming eucalyptus hardwood floors, wood burning fireplace, gourmet cook's kitchen, master suite with spa tub AND a steam shower. The owners thoughtfully considered the environment and the natural elements when they designed this home. True luxury! Open beamed cathedral ceilings are found throughout the home.

Click Here for More Info

Hilo Brokers iPhone Real Estate Search Application
- By Kelly H. Moran

We’ve created a customized, FREE, iPhone application that allows you to search hawaii real estate from your iPhone.

Read More or Download Here


 Taxpayers Seeking Homebuyer Tax Credits, Refunds Must File Paper

H omeowners filing for the home buyer tax credit are not allowed to use electronic filing and must file hard copies due to special documentation requirements.

     Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deployed new home buyer tax credit forms and instructions requiring forms that will force taxpayers to file on paper, rather than electronically.

     The new home buyer tax credit filing rules are to ward off a repeat of 90,000 taxpayers who fraudulently claimed the credit, according to the U.S. Treasury.

     Under the new and expanded home buyer tax credit rule , the credit is worth up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers and up to $6,500 for qualifying existing home buyers, in both cases, who buy a primary residence or have one built.

     The tax credit is refundable. A credit that is larger than the taxes owed is returned to the taxpayer in the form of a refund.

     The home can cost no more than $800,000 and qualifying income is limited to a maximum of $125,000 for single taxpayers and $225,000 for joint taxpayers.

     Get the full scoop online from the IRS' "First-Time Homebuyer Credit" page online.

     All taxpayers (first time and move up buyers) seeking a credit or refund, must use the new IRS Form 5405 "First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit" (Taxpayers must ...


 Here on the Big Island, a Historic Home Has Closed

- By Kelly Moran

Most “historic” homes here are merely old, and not especially significant in local history. Fewer still are also visitor attractions. But among those that can rightly be considered of historical value, and well worth a tour, none is more important than the Parker family seat, Puuopelu. Unfortunately, it’s now closed.

Parker family seat, Puuopelu

It stands a hundred yards or so off Hwy 190, on the dry side of Waimea – also called Kamuela, the Hawaiian rendition of “Samuel,” and specifically Samuel Parker, next to whose ranchland the town itself grew up.

Samuel’s father, John Palmer Parker II, created the eponymous Parker Ranch in the early 1800s, under a grant from King Kamehameha I himself, to round up and fence in feral cattle that had become a nuisance.

Parker Ranch

His original home, a few miles away, was a cottage in the New England “saltbox” style, but whose entire interior – walls, ceilings and floors – were paneled in wide koa boards.  In 1879, Samuel acquired a Victorian mansion called Puuopelu (literally a “pile of stones” but figuratively the “folding hills” of Kohala, which border the property).  It has been the family seat ever since.  Several generations have remodeled and expanded the house, and in 1986 John Parker’s cottage was dismantled, moved, reassembled and erected right next door.

Richard Smart. Photo courtesy Parker Ranch.That was a favorite project of Richard Smart, the home’s most colorful Parker heir, and the last of his family to have owned the ranch outright. Though an expert horseman, and a serious collector of European art, especially fond of paintings of Venice, Smart was not a rancher by profession.  Mainly, he was a singer, actor and theatrical producer, and in that capacity was largely responsible for the creation of the Kahilu Theater, a marvelous performance venue, which now stands in the Waimea shopping center that’s also named after the Parker Ranch.

Since Smart’s death in 1992, ownership and operation of the ranch and of Puuopelu have been the responsibility of the Parker Ranch Foundation Trust.  But the Trust has lost money in recent years ....



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Buyers ... Why Green is Worth It

  For new and existing home buyers alike, the options to "green up" homes abound. Green upgrades on homes offer two-fold benefits. They contribute to a healthier environment, both now and in the future, and they can save homeowners big when it comes to energy costs. How much impact does a green home have on the environment, you ask? The government reports that Energy Star qualified homes built in 2009 are the equivalent of:

  • Eliminating emissions from 51,645 vehicles
  • Savings 312,399,672 lbs of coals
  • Planting 85,372 acres of trees, and Saving in the environment 612,678,574 pounds of CO2.

     Many homebuyers shy away from green construction and green upgrades because of the upfront cost. But while some estimates have put the construction cost difference at 17 percent, recent estimates from The World Business Council for Sustainable Development put the cost of green construction only 5 percent higher than traditional.

     Green building means using recycled, renewable, and native building materials. It also means tapping into the energy sources that nature has to offer, including solar and wind. Here are a few ideas of simple "going green" ideas to get you thinking.

Renewable Flooring: Looking for a beautiful way to incorporate wood flooring into your home? Consider bamboo flooring. How is bamboo a green option? It grows and renews itself quickly, unlike most woods, making it an ideal and cost effective option for green flooring.

Passive Solar: In effect this option can cost you nothing, if you choose the right designed home. The goal is to design to take advantage of the sun's positioning throughout the year. o that its windows, roof, doors, flooring, etc. to take advantage of the sun's position through the year.

Energy Star Appliances: Appliances are an easy way to make a home more friendly to the environment. One of the fastest ways to explore your options is to visit At this government site you can find out more information on tax credits and rebates. As an example of Energy Star appliances and their efficiency, qualified washers use 30 percent less energy and over 50 percent less water ...


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Daily News and Advice

Read about the events shaping the Real Estate market today, find current interest rates, or browse the extensive library of advice and how-to articles written by some of the top experts in Real Estate. Updated each weekday.


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Upcoming Island Calendar of Events

Dates: (Live Feed) 4/8/10 - 4/10/10
Tickets are sold-out for 2010; there will be a live feed of the event
Place: Live Feed:

Hawaii’s most venerable hula celebration and competition with week-long festivities including exhibitions, musical entertainment, arts and crafts fairs, the Miss Aloha Hula Competition and kahiko (ancient) and auana (modern) hula competitions.  In-person tickets are sold out for 2010, but there will be a live feed of the event.

Watch the 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival in high-definition in Hawaii on KFVE or from anywhere in the world via live streaming on! All times are Hawaiian Standard Time (Hawaii does not spring forward for Daylight Savings and is currently 3 hours behind Pacific Daylight time).

Date: 4/2/10 - 4/10/10
Time: Noon - 8pm daily
Admission: Free
 Next to Edith Kanakaole Stadium on the corner of Kalanikoa & Piilani Streets in Hilo

Contact: Terri Napeahi at (808) 345-4541,

The newly formed "grass roots" organization now called PIHA (Perpetuating Indigenous Hawaiian Artists) invites all to experience the feeling of "aloha" by viewing individual freely expressed arts made by Native Hawaiians. PIHA's mission is to encourage Native Hawaiian development through the arts and their goal is to increase the number of participants. Opening ceremony will start at 12:00 noon on Good Friday April 2, 2010 followed by entertainment. A fundraising effort of a silent auction takes place on Wednesday, April 7 for the organization. The exhibition will open daily at 12:00pm and will continue simultaneously during the Merrie Monarch Festivities.

Dates: 4/7/10 - 4/10/10
Times: Wed to Fri: 8:30am–5pm, Sat: 8:30am–4pm
Admission: Free
Place: The Afook-Cinen Civic Auditorium and Butler Building, Hilo, Hawai’i
Contact: Nelson Makua – Fair Director (808) 966-4647;

The Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair is a one of a kind event and the official fair of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. This annual event selects Hawaii’s best artists, who are invited to showcase the finest collection of Hawaiian art and craft creations. Everything must be made in Hawai’i by the artist and imported products are not allowed. The result is an amazing array of handmade products including lauhala, Hawaiian apparel, ukuleles, hula implements, fine art, feather-work, wood work, Hawaiian shell jewelry and more. The annual Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair is one of Hawaii’s premier cultural events that is an experience not to be missed.


Dates: Mondays: 4/4/10 - 4/25/10
Time: 9:30am
Admission: Free; No advance reservations required
Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village, (corner of Kalanikoa & Old Volcano Roads)
Contact:  (808) 967-8222 or visit

Walking along an easy, 1/7-mile loop trail, the educational tour introduces individuals, families, and groups to the native plants and birds of Volcano. Tour guides focus not only on the biological, ecological, and geological features of the area, but also the cultural usages of flora and fauna by native Hawaiians -- such as plants used for medicinal and ornamentation purposes as well as for hula and sacred purposes. Located at 4,000', the forest at Niaulani can be cool, so participants are encouraged to dress warmly and bring wet weather gear, as walks take place rain or shine along a gravel and dirt trail.


There are always special events happening in and around Hilo!  Here are a few ongoing Calendar of Events:


Kelly H. Moran
Web: or
Office: 808-969-9400 x11
Toll Free: 800-769-4456 x11
Mobile: 808-938-5757
Fax: 808-969-7900

Twitter: @hilobrokers

Hilo Brokers, Ltd.
400 Hualani St.
Bldg 21
Hilo, Hawaii, 96720


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