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James M. Harris celebrates 25 years with Whalers Realty Inc.

By Staff | Aug 13, 2009


Jim Harris has been a resident of Maui for over 30 years, and before getting his real estate license, he bought, sold and developed real estate on his own behalf.

Upon becoming licensed and joining Whalers Realty 25 years ago, Jim immediately went into new development sales in Kaanapali with a little neighborhood that was once referred to as “The Eminence Homes” — a development that allowed architects from around the islands to showcase homes.

This was not the greatest time in the world to pursue a real estate career, and in fact, that unique little neighborhood — basically known as the first phase of Kaanapali Hillside today — wound up in serious trouble, to the point that those homes were marketed in the Wall Street Journal with very aggressive purchasing options.

Since then, the rest is history — not one more down market, but several more events since then have impacted Hawaii’s real estate market. The Asian economic decline, Gulf War, presidential elections, DC-10 planes (one of Hawaii’s main type of carriers) being pulled out of the air due to mechanical problems, 9/11, and the recent economic downswing have all severely effected Maui real estate. But as severely as it was effected over the years, it has ALWAYS come back.

There is no place like Maui in the world, as noted by numerous travel publications naming Maui beaches time and time again as some of the Best in the World. Combine that with the perfect weather, the incredible beauty of the island and the Aloha of its people, and it is no surprise that people plan their whole lives around being able to spend time on Maui.

Some start with a time interval unit at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach or Papakea Beach Resort to ensure their yearly return. This is a price range that even the first-time buyer can afford, with prices starting at approximately $3,000 for two weeks at Papakea. Another option many consider is a “Condotel” — a condominium that is operated like a hotel. This means there are vacation rentals with a front desk type of operation that allow you to offset your cost of ownership through the rentals generated. For many people, this is a way to come and go from Maui when it is convenient for them and have the comfort of their own home. Generally, there are owners’ lockers that allow you to store personal items such as surf and boogie boards, golf clubs, clothing, etc. to keep your traveling back and forth simple and light.

There are, without question, some of the best buys we have seen in several years available in many different properties on Maui, from land and homes in the Kaanapali Golf Estates, which includes the neighborhoods of Ke Alii, The Summit Estates and The Summit at Kaanapali, The Pinnacle, The Vintage at Kaanapali, Kahua Kai, North and South Ulukoa Place, Kalaihi Way, Haloko Place, and Kaanapali’s newest residential neighborhood Lanikeha.

Jim Harris, along with his wife, Mischelle M. Lawrence R (S), have been involved in original sales with all of these neighborhoods, as well as The Masters at Kaanapali Hillside and Kaanapali Hillside original lot sales. It’s no wonder Kaanapali has always been their home. Being associated with Whalers Realty Inc. has always given us the ground floor opportunities to be involved with many of West Maui’s newest properties, not only in Kaanapali, but recently at Lahaina Town’s newest condominium property, Ainanalu, where the tropical feel of Hawaii is felt throughout the whole property, from the large infinity pool to the bamboo cabanas and long house available for lush and comfortable places to hang out or go on the Internet. Beautifully appointed, turnkey two-bedroom units with two full baths start at just $330,000. This is just one of the very many incredible buys available right now.

In Kaanapali’s newest residential neighborhood, Lanikeha, where Heaven and Earth meet, the buys are fantastic. This is the only gated neighborhood where the amenities are above and beyond, with a state-of-the-art gym that can be open to the gentle trade winds of the Pacific (or chilled with the comfort of air-conditioning), barbecue area, clubhouse with full kitchen and big screen television for games, and pool to sit and enjoy the view. The showcase of the property is the alluring and mesmerizing waterfall that drops off the very usable pool for swimmers and children alike. This is a very special new opportunity in Kaanapali, and these home sites now start at $455,000 for approximately quarter-acres. There are also unbelievable buys on half and full acres.

A great concept for those looking for a second or third home is the condominium homes that sit on the Kaanapali South Course called The Vintage at Kaanapali. Three- and four-bedroom homes with two-car garages, these single- and two-story properties have fantastic views along with a community pool area, gym and walking trails. Located in Kaanapali proper, prices start at $1,100,000. This is truly an unbelievable price for a Great residential property.

If rental income is important, we have not seen the prices this low in years at Kaanapali Royal — all large two-bedroom/two-bath units located on the Kaanapali Golf Course across from world-famous Kaanapali Beach and Whalers Village. These are exceptional units for the size, price and location starting at $599,000.

All of these exceptional properties are easy to view, and we are always available to show them to you. “Ask for the Best of the Best” in James M. Harris Inc. and Mischelle M. Lawrence. If we can help you with these or any other fine Maui properties, call (808) 280-1640 (cell), 877-Jim-Maui (546-6284) toll-free, or e-mail Jimmaui@maui.net.