My Experience Moving to Maui.... (Kahului, Kihei: for sale, real estate, apartments)
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My boyfriend and I (both college graduates) decided to up and leave and move to Maui from California about 7 months ago. As we are both very cautious people we spent about 8 months researching and visiting to ensure we were making the right decision.
First and foremost... we put everything we owned that we couldn't live without on Craigslist. We sold every piece of furniture and/or big item and surprisingly made about $4,000 in the process which covered all our moving costs. We kept all the small things that either had sentimental value or would be more expensive to replace than to ship... We shipped four pallets, which now looking back on it was probably still too much. I was able to find 4, 4x4 foot boxes which we filled and shipped for about $1500. We shipped our clothes, pots and pans, dishes, kitchen utensils, bedding, sentimental items, computers, important paperwork, dive gear, etc.
Now the cars... We both had SUV's. His was paid off, mine was not. So we decided to go ahead and sell his and keep mine. We shipped my car out of Richmond/Oakland (cost $1000) through Matson.... big mistake. Apparently Matson is one of the only companies that doesn't put the cars in a container. FIND A COMPANY THAT WILL PUT YOUR CAR IN A CONTAINER!!! I can't stress this enough, my newer car (with no previous rust) arrived rusted... There are little rust spots all over the car which are just going to grow. I had no idea that could happen so quickly!! Also they left the lights on inside my car and when it arrived the battery was dead. Matson leaves your car out in the ocean air for the whole trip allowing all that sea spray to just eat away at your paint. We even waxed the car prior to sailing... didn't help. If you do ship your car in the open air, wash and wax it the day you pick it up... get all that salt off of there!! I have heard Horizon Lines is a good company to use as they do put cars in containers. We were told the car would take about 3-4 weeks to get there which it did... We shipped it 5 weeks in advance as we did not want to rent a car when we got here. If you are able to ship a car that far in advance I would definitely advise you to do so. Borrowing a second car tends to be very easy in your home town... renting a car in Hawaii=super expensive.
Also just so you know, you have to re-register your car within 10 days of picking it up from the port, not from when it arrives (ours got there more than 10 days prior to our arrival). The DMV will ask you to show them receipt of when you picked up the car and will fine you if it is after 10 days. But first you have to get a safety inspection... The safety inspection takes about 15 minutes (costs about $15) and you can get in done at most repair shops or gas stations. If you have any busted lights, crappy windshield wipers, etc... you will have to get them replaced before you can register your car. Expect to spend over an hour at the DMV. The cost of registration here is based on your cars weight. I have a Honda SUV and it was about $150. You have to surrender your plates from your former state to get your new plates at the DMV (they give them to you at the DMV). Your current state's drivers license is good until it expires so no worries about getting that changed right away. When you do decide to get your Hawaii drivers license they will make you take a written test. If you download the Hawaii drivers manual there will be a list of about 170 practice questions. They pool from those questions. I was a dork and studied all of those and got 100% on my test! You also have to surrender your former drivers license in order to get your new one. Go online and check the hours of all the DMV locations... they are very weird.
Oh and just so you know, the insurance on my car actually went down when I moved here. I lived on the central coast of California. It was only about a $50 difference for a 6-month premium... but hey it is something!!
HUGE HINT!!! ATA allows you to have THREE pieces of checked luggage (I believe they are the only airline that allows that)!!! Between my boyfriend and I we were able to have 6, 50 lb boxes on top of our carry ons (which were suitcases). That can save you lots of money!! In those 6 boxes we packed a few pots an pans, some plastic silverware, clothes, etc. We wanted to make sure we had all the necessities until our pallets got there (arrived 2 weeks after we moved).
Which brings me to food costs. I am a very savvy shopper. I scan adds for sales, shop at costco, etc. I have no problem finding things for the same prices on the mainland. I also go to the swap meet every Saturday morning in Kahului where I buy the most delicious fruits and veggies (Maui grown) at a bargain price! Beer is a little more expensive, on the mainland at costco I paid about $19.99 for a 24 pack, here is it about $26.00. Asian foods are actually CHEAPER here!! Scan those aisles and you will be surprised. When I do go shopping I hit up every aisle. If I see canned tomatoes on sale, I buy them even if I don't need them. You learn to adapt your shopping to meet the sales!!! I don't pay more here than I did on the mainland... oh and FYI milk is $4.69/gallon at costco and always on sale at Safeway for $4.00/gallon. It really isn't as bad as everyone thinks....
Housing.... hmmm... bad story here. We rented a place site unseen. Be very careful about that!!! We signed into a 6 month lease (before we even saw it because we were desperate) and hated the place. We knew we wanted to buy a condo but went ahead and rented a place first. The place we originally moved into was so bad that we bought a place a little sooner than we had expected and moved out early (had to pay to the end of our lease). We are sooooo happy we bought and love our new condo! Our 2 bedroom 2 bath rental was $1250/month... which is what we paid in California. We found Maui Real Estate, Hawaii Real Estate, Maui Home for sale, Hawaii Home for Sale was the best place to look at homes for sale and ended up using the Hansen family (owners of that site) to buy our condo.
Jobs... We traveled to Maui about 3 months before our planned move where I interviewed for multiple jobs and found the perfect one. I have a unique job talent that was scooped up immediately!! If you have some new or needed job talent that can benefit the islands you will be welcomed with open arms. My boyfriend worked for a big box store in California and used it to transfer here knowing he would leave as soon as he could find something better. That something better came along about 2 months into our stay here and he is now making way more money than he every could have on the mainland. There is a major lack of good workers here, if you have a work ethic (and won't ditch work when the surf is high) finding a job isn't much of a problem....
On the money side of things... we came over here with nothing (except what we had saved for a down payment for a condo and didn't touch) and it was no problem. If you have a job lined up it is a perfect transition... We are still trying to find furniture to fill our condo which is proving to be a challenge! Be careful of what you buy on craigslist or in the paper... bedbugs and termites are a HUGE problem here (we have heard stories). You don't want to bring anything into your home that is going to cause problems...
Overall we love it here.... I was soooooo scared when I moved here because of all the racism (I heard about) against white people. Well I have yet to see it. In fact the minute we got here we made lots of friends, many of them locals (I am haole by the way). If you come here with open arms and blend into to culture rather than try to change it there are no problems... And don't read Hawaii Rants and Raves on Craigslist.... That is just a bunch of racist people who have nothing better to do than to ***** about others. This is a much better blog, listen to these people!!!
Aloha everyone (congratulations if you made it this far)... and feel free to ask me any questions.. at this point I feel like an expert!!
Last edited by LovinMaui; 06-18-2007 at 12:03 AM..
A huge MAHALO for sharing your story. I moved to HI sight-unseen several years ago and also had a wonderful reception and experience. I had a job and housing lined up, which was a great way to transition, and then moved from Oahu to the Big Island a few years ago. Still loving being here! It's all about what you bring to it!
I found your move to Maui very interesting because I am moving there myself in December. I have developed a fondness for the town of Paia from what I have read. The one dissappointing thing I heard is that there are not too many people my age (56) in Paia.
Do you have any impressions of it?
Also, your quote about finding a job, "I interviewed for multiple jobs and found the perfect one. I have a unique job talent that was scooped up immediately!!"
How did you find out about jobs available? I have a pension income but would love to work at a no-stress job to get to know people and find some friends to spend time with.
Do you think I would be better off in another area of the Island?
Beer is a little more expensive, on the mainland at costco I paid about $19.99 for a 24 pack, here is it about $26.00.
I used to buy my beer at Costco, but shifted to Daiei - now Don Quijote, on Oahu. There is not one on Maui, but Foodland has 24 packs under $20 this week if you drink domestic brands, and under $22 for Kirin and Gordon Biersch.
I live in Kihei so I don't know much about Paia. I would try posting a separate thread and ask people about Paia. I have been to the town a few times during the day and it is very cute, lots of shops and restaurants. Although traffic getting into town on the Hana highway is a big pain!!
I found that Kihei was a very good town to transition into. It is a fun beach town with lots to do (a lot like California). It is also very diverse and not as intimidating as some of the other towns. There are also an abundance of rentals available in Kihei. Finding a place in Paia might be a little harder. I have found that many first timers that I have talked to tend to move to Kihei, explore other areas, then move again later.
As for jobs, I actually found mine in the Maui news paper... These are the websites I frequented when looking... The first 3 of these sites also have tons of information on rentals and such..
What would you consider a new job source that is needed in the islands. Currently in hospitality (hotel/resort). Looking to expand horizon. I hear that speaking another language other then english is a neccesity? Something that I would be very willing to do.
I read your e-mail and found all the answers to what I was wondering about.
I have one question; well maybe two!!
First: my daughter will be going to school in Hawaii. (College-University of Hawaii). She is an aspiring actress and her field of study is Film/Movie.
Do you know anything about opportunities for her over in Hawaii?
2nd I want to live on a houseboat! Do people do that over there? How would I find more information about this? I am selling my house and paying for her college and my son and I would like to have a Jimmy Buffet life style for awhile.
There is a 8 year waiting list for the boat harbor in Lahaina. And the slip rents are over $2000 a month I believe.
Your best bet for a "Jimmy Buffet" style life on Maui would be to purchase a very nice tent/used van and live on the Beach. One bedroom apartments rent for $1100+. The tent would be much cheaper. Just be sure to have something to defend yourself with if you get atacked or robbed by the other "Jimmy Buffet" campers.
Your post had a lot of good info in it. Sounds like your doing well. If you can make it 5 years you will have beat the odds. I remember reading that something like 15 out of 100 people that move to the state of Hawaii make it 5 years or more.
As far as other job opportunities around the islands, check out web sites (see the links that I posted previously) and find out what people are looking for. I know hospitality is huge here, and have many friends that work at some of the major hotels. I also know they are struggling to fill jobs and will pay for good people. It is also very easy to move up in companies. I know a couple people that moved here and within 2 years went from line staff to restaurant managers! As far as acting goes, I know they film a ton of stuff here.. don't know where they find their people though!
We will see if I make it 5 years... right now I am just living moment to moment and loving it! It is hard to say what the future will hold. I thought I would miss my family a lot but I think I see them more now than I did when I lived on the Mainland!! They are always visiting!!
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