A recent letter from a reader who wants to move to Maui asked, “What’s the prettiest town?” I think that’s a very subjective thing, and I can’t choose pretty for you any more than you could choose it for me. A better question might be about the weather of the town you choose to live in. For instance, I was at a party up in Kula, and everyone there was freezing. It was an outdoor party, and the windchill felt about 30°. I was wearing the same leather coat I wear in San Francisco and was still cold. After you live in Hawaii a while, your blood thins out and you can’t take the cold anymore, particularly if you live at an elevation that is always warm.
At the party I visited with a lady who had moved from Oahu (very warm there) and needed to choose a place to live on Maui. Her husband asked, “What about Haiku?” and the lady responded, “Too rainy.” Her husband said, “What about Hana?” The wife responded, “Too remote.” (At least she’d done her homework, lots of people don’t). So they ended up in Kula, where there is less rain, but it’s too cold for her. I almost asked her, “So what about Kihei, or Lahaina? But I know what her response would’ve been: “Too crowded. Too hot!”
So it really is like Goldilocks, you have to pick what’s “just right” for you, and you alone.
I also spoke with another couple who recently purchased a home in Maui Meadows (a residential area up the hill from Kihei) after living in a condo for years. I asked why they moved, and he said, “It gets old living in a resort. Tourists coming and going all the time.” So that’s another thing to think about when moving here: condo life might sound wonderful and low – maintenance, but there are very few condo complexes on Maui that are long-term rental only. What that means is at least half (or usually a higher percentage) of the people on the property where you will be living are transient or tourists. There is no getting to know them better, and the worst of them really feel no obligation to behave. (“We’re on vacation…par-tay!!”)
Then there are the maintenance fees at condos…ask lots of questions. I was tempted to buy a lovely condo when I first loved here, till I found out the maintenance fees were $1,200. per month– and this was fifteen years ago!
If you’re thinking of a move to Maui, like Goldilocks, I hope you do your homework and find the area that is “just right.”
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