Wow, where do we begin talking about ourselves and why we started Calling Kona Home?
Oh…I know! How about our names?
We are Scott & Marla Wynn.
We relocated to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii in April of 2019 from Broomfield, Colorado. We had always dreamed of the day we would live in Hawaii but, to be honest, I don’t know that either of us were confident it would actually ever happen…until it did!
Here’s How We Ended Up Moving to Hawaii
Marla & I got married on Oahu in January of 2010 on the beautiful Waimanalo Beach. After that we were hooked, like most people who visit Hawaii. The weather, the ocean, the mountains, the people, everything about Hawaii was just magical.
From that point on when we had a decision to make about where we would go for vacation it was an easy answer. HAWAII!
Over the next few years we visited each of the 4 major islands. We started with Oahu, then went to Maui, next was Hawaii (or the Big Island as people like to call it) and last was Kauai. With the tour of the islands completed we knew it would come down to either Maui or the Big Island as the place we would buy (or so we hoped).
Maui draws you in. The landscape created from Maui’s two volcanoes, Haleakala and Mauna Kahalawai, creates this unique valley like no other island. When visiting Hawaii we enjoyed looking at real estate and dreaming about the day we would buy a home and move to Hawaii. When in Maui we fell in love with Kula.
It’s Cooler in Kula
There’s a saying in Maui, “It’s cooler in Kula!” And there’s a reason for that. Kula sits up a bit higher than the more populated areas of Kihei & Kahului which means the temperatures are just a tad cooler than they are at sea level. That’s exactly why long-time residents of Maui enjoy it and we did too. A bit rural and not so much hustle-bustle Kula provided some absolutely incredible bi-coastal views forms from its two volcanoes.
If we were going to be moving to Maui it was going to be in Kula!
Feel the Aloha
When we visited the Big Island there was something different about it. At the time we couldn’t quite put our finger on it but after a few more visits we realized it was the true aloha spirit.
Aloha means love. And that’s what the people on the island of Hawaii represent. Everyone was just so friendly and welcoming. We couldn’t really tell who was a local and who was a tourist.
In addition to feeling so welcomed the Big Island had so much to offer. There are 14 climate zones in the world and the Big Island has 10 of them! That is some diversity for you. Whether you want something tropical or you want the desert the Big Island delivers. Like a place that’s dry & cool, no problem. Or would you rather have a place that’s wet & warm? The island of Hawaii has that too.
For us…we like the warmer, dryer climate which is why we stayed in Kona when we would visit the Big Island.
Big Island of Hawaii
When we visited the Big Island we did what most tourists do when they visit including:
- Go to a luau
- Swim with the dolphins
- Night swim with the Mantas
- Visit some breathtaking waterfalls near Hilo
- Take a helicopter to see the island from above
- Drive around the island to see South Point & Waipio Valley
Every time we visited Hawaii we experienced more of what it had to offer falling more in love each time. But then we would go home and get back to our routines and eventually forget just how amazing Hawaii really is. Until the next time we came.
Share the Love
We loved Hawaii so much we wanted to share it with others. Other than our kids, who visited about every other time we went, we wanted to share Hawaii with even more people. That’s the reason why we took our entire mortgage team to the Big Island in March of 2017! Pretty crazy, right?
We had hit a milestone sales goal the year before and as a reward to the team we decided to cover both airfare and lodging for each of our employees. We even paid for a guest to come along. We ended up renting a massive house on the Kohala Coast with each group getting their own master suite. The house has a pool, tennis court and bocce ball court! It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for everyone who went.
But we couldn’t leave our customers without someone to help them! So, we ended up taking two different groups so each group could help cover the office while the other group was in Hawaii. They actually saw each other at the airport as one group left and the other arrived.
It was during this trip that we committed to moving to Hawaii…for sure.
The Trial Run
When you’re on vacation you aren’t normally working. You normally don’t have to worry about the day-to-day stuff like traffic, grocery shopping, etc. And if you are dealing with those things it is normally at a much lower stress level than when you actually live there and have to get something accomplished.
We realized this and did not want to move across the ocean over to Hawaii without first giving it a trial run. We decided that if we were ever going to actually live in Hawaii we better experience what life in Hawaii was actually like. We booked a six-week trip to Kona, Hawaii so we could see what life would really be life. We would work while we were there. We would have to grocery shop multiple times throughout the trip. It would be a good test.
We arrived for our trial run to Hawaii at the end of December of 2018 right after Christmas. This trial run would take us through the beginning of February. We booked a vacation rental on VRBO in the Keauhou area and packed two huge suitcases full of everything we would need to “live in Hawaii” for those six weeks.
Second Guessing Ourselves
The first week to two weeks were a bit iffy. We had just arrived and expected things to be the same stress-free experience we had had when visiting. But there was something different about this trip. I guess that was the point, right? It didn’t seem quite as exciting as previous trips had been which worried us if this was the place we were going to be calling home.
During our morning walks on Kaluna St and Kealii St we discussed whether or not Hawaii was really the place for us. And whether or not now was the time. It was on one of those walks we decided maybe not. At least not right now. We decided we would wait another two years. Our youngest daughter, Marisa, had just started college and we wanted to make sure she was comfortable during this life transition with a soft place to land in case she needed us. Our 19 year old son, Jared, who is autistic had recently transitioned to living with his dad full time (Scott is his step-father) and this would be an adjustment for all of us.
Coincidentally we ran into our real estate agent who had shown us homes on previous visits to the island. It was at Tropics Tap House in the Keauhou shopping center where we were enjoying dinner when Kevin walked in with his family. What a crazy coincidence. I guess Kona really is a small town with a population of just under 12,000 at the time of the 2010 census. Now, I’m sure it is quite a bit higher than that now, but still, Kona is a pretty small town.
When we saw him we said hello and let him know that we had been on island for a little over a week and that we had decided we would likely not be looking at real estate as our timing was probably another 2 years or so.
Let’s Just Look
I don’t know if seeing our agent did it or something else caused us to want to look but within just a few days we decided we would just look at what homes were on the market. We didn’t want to bug our agent since our timeframe was so far out so we decided we would just look for open houses.
Ha! Yeah right. Where do we begin?
We could not find open houses anywhere other than just randomly driving around town looking for open house signs. Now, that might work just fine if you are looking for a condo off of Ali’i Drive but if you are looking anywhere else, good luck!
So, we turned to our agent and asked if he would be willing to show us around. He, of course, said, “no problem!”
We then spent the next week or so looking at homes as he had availability. We figured nothing would happen and just wanted to get a feel for which area of town would be a good spot for us when we did decide to buy. We found some properties online and let him know so he could create a showing tour. Without any judgment he showed us all of the properties we had asked for. He knew some were not the right fit but explained that buying a home in Hawaii is an “educational experience”. You’ve got to see properties!
So, we did!
The Real Estate Tour
As we looked at homes we became educated on which areas of town we liked. Which neighborhoods we wanted to be in. And what elevation range we wanted to stick with.
We ended up finding a home that could work for us. It wasn’t perfect. The price was a bit higher than we expected. But it could work. But…if we were going to buy in Hawaii it had to be the right home and not just one that could work. Plus, we weren’t really looking to buy right then.
The Perfect House
You know where this is going, don’t you!?
Yep, as we continued to look at real estate the perfect house came along. Scott told Marla the moment he saw the listing online that was “the one”. Marla wasn’t so sure but we passed along the listing to our agent to set up a showing.
We walked in the front door of that home and knew, instantly, this was it!
The picture above is the view from the lanai. And that’s the view you see the moment you walk through the front door. No other home came close to this one. The view was amazing. The elevation was at an ideal 1300 ft which eliminated the need for both heat and A/C. The location was 10 minutes from the airport, Costco and Safeway. It really could not get any better.
So we did what any rational human being would do…we made an offer.
We offered lower than the asking price and said we would not get in a bidding war with them. If they accepted our offer great and if not, we were fine waiting. They accepted our offer!
We moved on to inspection and we told ourselves that if everything is not in great shape we would walk away. We didn’t need to buy right now. There were no issues!
We were under contract and set to close in the next 60 days! OMG! WE ARE MOVING TO HAWAII!
Moving to Hawaii
When we got back home to Colorado we got a few things handled and got our home listed for sale within just one week.
We started researching everything it would take to move including:
- How to ship our furniture
- How to ship our cars
- Booking a one-way ticket to Hawaii!
- Selling the stuff we wouldn’t be taking with us
- Getting Insurance (for the house and cars)
It was overwhelming but we wanted to get back to Hawaii as soon as we could.
We just had to figure out one minor detail…how to earn a living.
Working in Hawaii
The good news for us is that we had our own mortgage business. Nothing tied us to Colorado other than the business relationships that referred us business. But throughout the years we had been transitioning more and more to our “assistant” Joe Eagan. Joe had been with us for 9 years. He was the first person we hired on our team and had taken the roller coaster ride with us every step along the way. Joe was so much more than an assistant. He was our Partner! He is one of the major reasons we had been so successful and now had the opportunity to relocate to Hawaii without negatively impacting our source of income.
Joe now handles everything related to our business in Colorado that requires someone in person to handle including managing our branch, visiting with our referral partners and seeing our clients face to face. We also worked on getting licensed to do business in Hawaii and now Scott, Marla & Joe all have their Hawaii mortgage loan originator licenses as well.
Calling Kona Home
We created this blog and website for those like us. Those that dream of living in Hawaii or already do!
We learned so much on our journey and are passing along the knowledge we gained along the way to make it easier for others. We even created a resource for finding open houses to make it easier for you to check out real estate while you’re visiting the Kona area!
If you are considering a move to Kona, the Big Island or anywhere in Hawaii for that matter this site can be a great resource to you. We cover topics primarily related to Kona or the Big Island but many topics cross over to Hawaii in general.
We encourage you to subscribe or join our community on Facebook so you get notified of all our posts whether you live here or would like to some day. Either way we believe you’ll get some great info.
We thank you for reading our story and look forward to getting to know you.