Specializing in Makena, Wailea, and Kihei Real Estate
Lauren Peacock
(808)280 1343(808)280 1343

Maui Lifestyle – When is the BEST time to travel to Maui?

As a realtor, I meet tons of people throughout my week and many have the same questions. Some are quite funny like “what time do the whales come out?” Yes, I have actually gotten that question. One I get quite frequently though is: “when is the best time to travel to maui?”

First, let me say that Maui is genuinely nice all year round. It’s why so many people live here and if they don’t, they keep coming back year after year. Maui is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, whales during the “winter” time, and sunshine days that seem to go on forever. That being said, it is very difficult for me to answer this question.

What I will say though, is…it depends on what kind of person you are. Do you like to cozy up to a warm fire with a sweater on, listen to the rain drops, and watch rainbows cascade over the clouds? If so, Kula in the winter is the place and time for you. “Winter” here is from December through the end of February. It’s typically our most rainy season, however Kihei and Wailea area get the least amount of rain of any part of the island all year around. If you’re a surfer and you love big wave action, then December and January is definitely your target time to come to Maui. For folks that like lazy, sunny beach days where the beach is hot and the drinks are cold, July and August is the best time for you to come. If you are an avid whale watcher, then January and February is your time here on Maui.

Like I said, Maui is so special in that it has so many seasons with different activities available for all types of people with different hobbies. Fall on Maui is my favorite time here. That’s when the weather starts to cool off a bit from the hot summer months, pumpkin patches are in full bloom up-country, fall festivals and fairs are happening all over the island, and people are starting to gear up for Christmas. I don’t know what it is about that time, but the air seems to feel a little more crisp and clean, the lines at Starbucks anxiously await pumpkin spiced everything, and I end up baking a lot more in my kitchen.

Others love the spring break action right around March and April when Maui is a little less crowded but still fun. And then there’s the daredevil wind surfers who travel to Maui during our windiest months; June, July and August.

So, did I answer your question? The answer really is, you’ll have to spend some time on Maui throughout multiple times of the year and really get a feel for the region and time of year that you love. The general answer though is…Maui is beautiful everyday of the year and we are grateful and lucky to live here! #luckywelivemaui

Ask Lauren: How do I get my beloved pup to Maui?

Aloha!

Well, isn’t this a loaded question if ya ever asked one! Tons of people move or retire to Maui every year, but we most certainly cannot forget our furry family. Right?! I, myself, was blessed with the tumultuous experience of bringing my little loved one all the way from Washington, DC a few years back. Here’s a quick article about my experience, some advice, and where to go for the real answers!

My Experience: When I learned I was moving to Maui for my job as a contractor with the federal government (many years back before becoming the awesome realtor I am today 🙂 I very quickly realized getting Cooper the Pooper (pictured) out to Maui was not going to be as easy as throwing him on a plane with me. Hawaii is blessed in many ways, but one of the biggest reasons I love living here is that there are no snakes! Or Rabies! And yah…they really pay attention to that…thank goodness.

Part of that process with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is to not only ensure people’s safety on the island, but to ensure the safety of the ecosystem here which is fragile and well…we like to keep Maui, Maui! Therefore, all fluffy ones must go through the screening process.

Because I had to be here in a jiffy (yes, I just said that) Cooper had to stay with my parents back on the east coast until we could get his paperwork finalized. By paperwork, I do mean an official blood test with a lab in Georgia, recordation and tracking down of all of his vaccines from birth, and sending in applications with the state of Hawaii. After three long months on the mainland, Cooper was ready for flight. It was the WORST two days of my life.

Cooper’s Journey: This was many years back so it may be different now, however, it doesn’t seem that the Airlines and the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture are really on the same page when it comes to importing animals. For instance, I found it very difficult to “schedule cargo” (my dog) 30 days in advance when sending in my paperwork. The application that goes to the State has to have a very specific date and flight time so they know when your animal arrives to island. All of this paperwork must be to the State no longer than 30 days prior to arrival. The problem is…you can’t schedule cargo more than 30 days out. So I just had to call and get scheduled dates and times of flights and pray that he could get on that plane. In addition, 24 hours prior to leaving on the flight, Cooper had to be signed off by a Vet on the mainland. That’s all fine and good except Cooper’s vet on the mainland is about 4 hours from the airport. Talk about a stressful 24 hours….oh, did I mention the traffic in DC. AND his flight was at 7am. Next time (which there won’t be) I’ll know to schedule a little better.

Off he went! Dad sent Cooper off in the plane (in a crate) for the long 5.5 hour flight to Seattle, Washington. I special paid for a veterinarian to pick up Cooper at the airport and take him home, rest, feed, play with him. This was the worst part. I had no idea who the vet was, he never responded to calls, I had no idea if Cooper as picked up or not or just left on the runway. If you love your dog as much as I love mine, you can imagine….my nerves were shot! I got an email the following day that Cooper had been placed safely on the plane and was headed to Maui. I could NOT wait. I was at the Cargo holding center two hours ahead of time…you know, just in case.

Arrival: He finally arrived. I saw the plane. I saw it land. I saw the cargo. I saw him….sitting on the tarmac for longer than any puppy should in this heat! Hello! Maui is HOT!

When you arrive to pick up your pup from cargo in Maui, you also have to have a vet show up as well and you meet in a tiny side room where they examine your dog. The vet I had called (and didn’t really know) was from the Wailuku Pet Clinic and he did a great job. When he noticed I was starting to freak about Cooper sitting on the Tarmac he quickly dialed someone and said in a pretty ominous voice “you get that dog off the Tarmac NOW” and not even 2 minutes later did an airport employee run out and bring Cooper right on over to me.

I’ll be totally honest, he was filthy dirty from all his muck and I’m pretty sure he puked a few times. He does that when he gets nervous (poor guy). But dear god I was so happy to see that little man! I think maybe it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I have never forgotten the whimpers, hugs, licks and tail waggles from that day.

All in all it wasn’t a TERRIBLE experience so to speak. It was long and arduous for sure, but definitely worth it and I totally understand why from the state’s perspective. Just look at how happy he is! I give a lot of credit to the Department of Agriculture for coming up with plans to allow outer islands to be a little more pet friendly and in a timely manner.

For all the details and more information, please visit the State’s website on how to get your pup to Maui.

Let’s Get Awkward: Tales from Open Houses

Oh how I LOVE holding a good open house. My favorite, you ask? OCEAN-FRONT!! Who doesn’t love a great ocean view?! Plus, I get to call amazing real estate my office for the day? Sounds good to me! Mostly though I just really love real estate on Maui….everything about it – the smells, the updates, the beach boys feel, the views, the kitchens, but mostly…the people!

In Maui, we get over 2.5 million visitors a year. Let me repeat that for you…two point five MILLION. WOW! Thats TWICE the population of the people that actually live in all of Hawaii combined. So all that being said, you can imagine I’ve met quite a few interesting people at my open houses.

Let’s get awkward for a minute. I know what you’re thinking…open houses sound like a really great idea until you actually walk in the door and see someone (me) standing there and immediately feel uneasy. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I know you are simply there to look and see what prices are like in Maui. It’s okay…I do the same thing when I travel. Why? We ALL love real estate. Don’t worry. Put your shoulders down and relax your mind. I am not going to make you buy anything. You don’t have to lie to me. You don’t have to pretend you’re a millionaire. I’m not either…it’s okay to be just a normal person. I won’t lie to you. And I won’t be a greasy salesman. I will however, let you look around and be available for any questions you might have. That’s what I’m here for…also maybe a smile and a cookie. That is all.

For those that have had poor experiences with Realtors before where you’ve felt taken advantage of or lied to…I apologize on behalf of all good Realtors. Always make sure you interview a few Realtors before you make a final buying or selling decision. No Realtor is created equal!

Here are some of the funny and awkward stories I thought I’d share from either my open houses or some I’ve heard. Go ahead, be amused but please…do not repeat history!

  • The Druggy – One of my very first open houses, I was sitting and minding my own business, working through a purchase contract when a guy came in and literally ransacked the condo I was sitting in. Nothing was destroyed (thank goodness) but he literally was like a tornado and speaking some really crazy mumbo jumbo while he was at it. Luckily there wasn’t much furniture in the place so nothing got ruined, but let’s just say…he was spitter. He never said anything to me and with his super nutso behavior all I can assume is that he was on drugs. I spent the next hour cleaning up the condo. And yes, I was scared for a minute. Thanks, dude for ruining that day. On another note – just say no to drugs!
  • The Angry Canadian – Now, we get A LOT of Canadians that buy, live, and play on Maui. I believe they call us their 13th colony? Something like that…anyways, I love Canadians. They’re always very friendly and love to just chat. One time, this couple came in and one of the questions I always ask people just as fodder for conversation is “where are you from?” since almost no one is actually from here. This particular woman turned toward me with a bright red face and very angrily said “we’re Canadian! Why? Do you have a problem with that”?             Ummmm….no. In fact, I do not. I actually love Canadians. I was a little stunned and taken aback and not sure what to say until her husband actually apologized for her rude behavior. She proceeded to be incredibly defensive towards me throughout her tour of the home where she kept staring at me…very intently…the whole time. Trust me…it got REALLY awkward. Not sure what that was all about but I must admit it was a little strange. For the record – I love Canadians. 🙂
  • The “I don’t remember what I just lied about guy” – Recently, a man came into one of my open houses and he looked like a buyer, smelled like a buyer, he WAS a buyer. How do I know? Very minimal eye contact and he paced very quickly throughout the condo almost as if his body language was saying “glad I saw this place, but this is not the one for me…on to the next.” Those are my favorite kind of people because they’re direct and know exactly what they want. BUT this guy….FORGOT what he told me. First he said me he lived primarily in LA and also had a condo here in Maui that he rented and it was getting too personally taxing renting and living in both places so he was looking to buy. ?? Not sure if that makes sense to me, but smile and nod. 🙂 When I asked him where he rented here on Maui, he got very defensive and said, “No, I have a condo in Kauai”. I very nicely reminded him that Kauai is not a part of Maui, but an entirely different island in of itself. Then when I asked what he liked to do in LA for fun, he looked at me startled and said he did not live in LA…he lived in San Francisco. Hmm this is getting very interesting. He then decided to get very snarky and left very quickly. ??? I think he was embarassed. Awkward. I just felt bad for the guy…clearly he had no clue as to where his actual home was. Poor guy. 🙂 How’s that for a little snarky.
  • The Pooper! – Ahhh yes. The pooper. I had been sitting this one particular home for a couple of weeks when one morning I came in and noticed somewhat of a fishy smell. It caught a hold of my nose as soon as I opened the door. This was odd, as the home previously had smelt like walking into Pier 1…clean, fresh, like new flowers. I love new house smell! Not today though. Today it smelled like old dead fish. I immediately went out and bought a good-smelly thing and called the listing agent to let her know something was up. Finally around noon, I couldn’t take it anymore and I started roaming around the house hunting for the culprit. It had to be SOMETHING! I thought, maybe someone threw an old sandwich away in a bedroom, or forgot their smelly shoes? As I continued my quest, I lifted the toilet in the master bedroom and there it was….poop! Gross gross poop everywhere and the smell was HORRENDOUS! I cannot express to you the amount of gags I could not contain. Why did it smell like fish? NO. Just absolutely no. All around, NO. It’s then I remembered, there had been a man the day before who had come in and stayed quite a while upstairs (where the master is). This is normal though. Typically when people really like a house…they hang out a bit. That’s cool. THIS….not so cool, dude. Go poop in your own house and next time, flush the toilet! Gross.
  • The Renter – An agent friend of mine had a showing at a lovely ocean-front condo and told me this story. He showed up with his client, only to find that the current RENTER of the unit was still hanging out in the condo when he opened the door. This is abnormal. The agent obviously introduced himself and his client and asked if they could take a look around. After the guy said yes, apparently he proceeded to get up and get SUPER (and I do mean, super) close to the poor buyer viewing the property. I’m talking creepy chest to back, super close. The renter kept whispering in the potential buyer’s ear that the condo was haunted and that there are drug addicts all over the building and that there were terrible floods and water leaks every year and that the HOA is a nightmare. The agent asked the guy to please stop…but oh no, he was not stopping. They eventually had to leave and needless to say, the poor agent lost the sale. Ohhh renters.

There’s a few of my fun stories. Trust me, there’s many many more. Hope you enjoyed these and as always, please reach out to RealtorLauren Maui@gmail.com for any Maui real estate questions you may have.

Mahalo!

 

Ask Lauren: What is the difference between Vacation Rental and Non-Vacation Rental?

Aloha Maui Real Estate Entreprenuers!

I get this question a lot at my open houses so I wanted to try to help answer this most important question. What IS the difference between vacation rental and non-vacation rental? In Maui, we have two big buckets of condominium real estate: vacation rentable, and non-vacation rentable.

Whether a condo is vacation rentable or not, is deemed by Maui County; not the HOA of the building complex. When looking at online real estate sites such as Realtor.com or Zillow.com, its important to note that this information is hard to find although sometimes it is listed in the description of the property itself. You’ll want to reach out to your favorite realtor to get more information if you’re truly interested in a specific condo or complex.

Units that are not vacation rentable can still be rented…just long term; typically with 1 year lease terms but I’ve seen as short as 6 month rentals before as well. These units are typically where people that live here full time and work; rent or buy. These units are usually lower in price and have lower HOA fees, but that’s not always the case. This is also where you find most of your dog-friendly complexes. If you’re in the market for one of these units, mortgage lenders are a little easier to find and can do mortgages right now for as low as 3% – 5% down if you’re the primary occupant and owner.

Vacation rentable units are available for nightly rentals or long term rental. If you own one of these units though, typically they are rented out nightly because well…they generate more income that way. These units come on the market at higher prices and have higher HOA fees; however you can accrue a lot more income from renting these units. If you were to purchase a vacation rentable unit, your biggest bang for your buck is to manage the rental process yourself through hiring a cleaner and using sites like AirBNB and VRBO. However, note that Hawaii state law requires you to have a “property manager” on island that has a key to your unit for things like floods or emergencies. If you’re not comfortable managing your own rental unit, companies like Alii Resorts and Kihei Condo and Car are great for managing rentals; however they sometimes come with a hefty price tag that can eat up your rental income. Vacation friendly condos are sometimes referred to as “condo-tels” by mortgage companies and can be a little trickier when obtaining a mortgage. Usually (but not always) you’ll need at least 20% down for this type of real estate.

Some non vacation rental properties in Kihei include:

  • Kihei Villages
  • Southpointe at Waiakoa
  • Kihei Shores
  • Haleakala Gardens
  • Hokulani Golf Villas
  • Loke Hale
  • Ke Alii Ocean Villas
  • Kai Ani Village
  • Kai Makani
  • Villas at Kenolio
  • and more….

Some Vacation friendly condos include:

  • Mana Kai
  • Royal Mauian
  • Hale Pau Hana
  • Kamaole Sands
  • Maui Kamaole
  • Sugar Beach Resort
  • Kihei Akahi
  • Maui Banyan
  • Kihei Beach Resort
  • Kauhale Makai
  • Maui Sunset
  • and more…

Some visitors have come to Maui and think that maybe they can vacation rent a non-vacation rental and no one will find out. That’s a big mistake. Remember, our economy here on Maui is based on tourism so Maui County has an office dedicated to finding illegal rentals. The fine is large and can be painful. Always do the right thing and follow the rules…trust me, it’s much easier that way.

When searching for your perfect vacation rental, remember to include the following when calculating your costs and projected income:

  • Nightly Rates = High season is from mid October – mid January (4 months), Low season is mid January – mid October (8 months) with a small pop in July. Make sure to calculate 100% capacity, 80%, 60%, 40% and 20% to get best and worst case scenarios.
  • Taxes (varies depending on if you are a primary home owner/occupant or if you use the property as an income investment property). Ask your realtor to help you figure out taxes for your property.
  • GET (Government Excise Tax) = 4.16% on everything
  • Housekeeping – can usually be passed through to the renter to pay as a part of their stay. Also don’t forget to include damage deposits!
  • HOA – Home owners expenses typically cover landscaping, water, trash, and overall complex maintenance. Some include electricity and cable T .V.
  • Supplies/appliances – Guests will need things like coffee, soap, towels, and occasionally break a microwave that you will need to replace. I typically account for $100/month in my rough calculations.
  • Other – renters LOVE oceanfront units. However, those can sometimes come with maintenance assessment fees. If you own an oceanfront unit, it is inevitable that someday the building will need repair and owners will most likely incur an assessment of some type to keep the HOA reserve in good standing. Make sure you account for this and save a little bit each year.

Please contact me if you have any further questions and hopefully this article helps those out there wondering about Maui and the huge potential here for investment and rental income properties.

Mahalo!

 

 

Before Listing Your Home

Clients always have many questions when getting ready to list their home. These helpful tips can provide you some insight into what to look out for and also what to do, to be prepared to list your home. 

  • Search for an excellent realtor (me!). Don’t just pick your friend’s realtor or someone you saw online in a list of realtors. Really dig in and do your research. My best advice: interview at least three candidates. It’s really a job interview and you should treat it as such (and so should the realtor for that matter). Interviewing three different candidates can give you an idea of what you’re looking for in someone, who you’re comfortable with, the different types of services each realtor provides, and how much time they are willing to invest in you as a client.
  • Make your home show ready! This one is really important. Many people when looking for a property just don’t have that creative eye that you do. They cannot decipher between your giant purple entry hallway that you adore so much and what their dream hallway in neutral eggshell white. In most cases it’s a deal killer. Don’t be a deal killer. Freshen the paint in your home to a neutral color and clear out big and bulky furniture to open up the space. “Light, bright, and airy” is the feel you’re going for. If you have children, try to get their toys into one room and stage the entire home or condo as if anyone could live there. If staging is expensive for you or you don’t have time for it – see the first bullet point for selecting a realtor that is willing to put in time and effort into helping you with this.
  • Pricing Pricing Pricing! As cute as I am…and I know I’m pretty cute (just kidding)…I will not sell your home. Price sells your home. Hands down. Let me repeat that. Price. Sells. Your. Home. When your home or condo is priced right, it will sell and it will sell very quickly. Every buyer wants the best deal. So…if you’re selling your unit in a condominium complex – be the lowest priced unit in that complex. If all units are exactly the same, it’s pretty easy for a buyer to select one; 9 times out of 10 they will go with the lowest priced unit. Think of it as a line at the grocery store. You can either get in the 9 item line and get through it quickly…or you can sit and wait in the lonnnng line with people that have huge carts full of groceries right along with you. Eventually, one at a time, those customers will go ahead of you and as your food spoils in your cart (price reductions)…eventually you will move up to the front of the line.
  • Residential homes can be a little trickier and this is where an excellent realtor (again, that’s me!) comes into play. Pricing a home that has high end finishes needs to be listed, making sure those finishes are marketed really well. The better the location, the higher the price you can have. The better the view – same. But remember, just because you bought the home for $700,000 in 2007 does not mean you can sell it for $850,000 in today’s prices. A great way to see what your home may be worth is to look at homes that have sold within the past year, are around the same square footage as your home, have comparable quality build and finishes,  and within the same neighborhood. Work with your favorite realtor to get this information.
  • What to expect: When putting your home on the market, expect to leave your home. That’s right….a good realtor should kick you out of your own home! 🙂 Just kidding. But definitely give the realtor some time and space when setting up open houses. This allows visitors to walk freely throughout your home, imagine if they could live there, ask all the questions they’d like and judge and critique your home (which secretly we all love doing so much!). Make sure to ask your realtor for feedback from every open house. As with everything, some days are good and some days not so much. Be open minded to changing or fixing items in your home throughout the selling process.
  • Offer Time! So you got an offer! Congratulations. That is very exciting. I am betting it’s not full price (unless you live in a hot zone like Portland or San Francisco in which case you may have multiple offers after 3 days). This is a big one to remember when initially pricing your home. Typically buyers will offer anywhere from 5% – 10% below list price. Never never never reject an offer. It’s a game…so play the game even with a low baller if that’s your only offer! The goal is to stay in the game and let everyone feel a little bit like a winner. Always counter an offer and always give just a little bit. Make sure to keep asking your realtor for a net sheet so you can see the true difference between selecting an offer at $500,000 or selecting one at $485,000. In most cases you’ll notice the difference isn’t big enough to worry about and sometimes its a necessary price reduction to obtain a qualified buyer.
    • Also remember that if the buyer is financing, the condo or home MUST appraise. SO….if you’re way off in left field with your pricing (which you shouldn’t be because you hired me as a realtor, remember?) you will see low ball offers and your home will not get through escrow due to the appraisal. If you have something really unique…that’s when it’s best to have a cash buyer to avoid any appraisal or inspection issues.
  • Selling and Escrow – The tedious wait: If you’re now in escrow, you now know what’s it’s like to feel an anxious panic in your stomach every day. Hopefully, you have a great realtor (me!) that keeps you in the loop of all escrow activities. A few things to watch out for in escrow: inspections can bring up items in a home that need to be fixed. I always recommend for sellers to fix any safety related issues (i.e. broken or missing smoke detectors, electrical panel issues, etc). However, cosmetic fixes are on the buyer. If a buyer requests a cosmetic fix such as a credit for an appliance to match other appliances, do not feel the need to fix it. Remember, these people walked in your home and loved it SO MUCH they want to potentially live in it for the next 30 years.
    • Escrow lengths can be anywhere from 10 – 20 days (usually for a cash buyer) upwards of 90 days for someone that is financing. Give the buyer some time to get their ducks in a row. It can be a frustrating wait, but as long as the buyer is meeting contract deadlines, stick with them. The paperwork and number of people involved in any real estate transaction can be mind boggling. Every person plays a part and transferring ALL that documentation connected to your property can take months. Be patient.
    • Be a good seller. Make sure before the final walk through to remove all of your personal belongings and have the home professionally cleaned and pet treated (if necessary). You wouldn’t want to move into a stinky home so why should your buyer? They are paying top dollar. Also – it’s typically a part of the contract.
  • SOLD! Congratulations. you sold your home. Now take that money and 1031 it into an income property in Maui. Call me! (808)280-1343.

*Unsure what a 1031 is? Check out my blog article on 1031 and deferring capital gains tax.

Mahalo and have a great day!

 

Buying Land in Maui

To buy land or not to buy land in Maui….that is the question. Right?!

Many people have come to Maui, and had the great idea: “hey! Why don’t I just build my own home on some small plot of land”? Sounds like a great idea right? Here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • Land is expensive: Because of our location and desirability, land in Maui can often be just as expensive as buying a home on the mainland. For example, the lowest price piece of vacant land as of the date of this post in south Maui is located in Kihei for $275,000. 
  • Financing for homes is quite different. Unlike homes and condominiums where you can put down as little as 3% and obtain a 30 year fixed mortgage, land often takes at least 25% down. Typically banks like 25% down and a pay off within two years. There are different programs out there so it’s best to research local banks and local mortgage brokers for the best possible bank products available.
  • Building: Did you forget that Maui is a remote island in the middle of the Pacific? Guess what that means? It’s difficult and expensive to get building materials, tools, and qualified construction engineers to the island to build. Even if you have the materials, you can’t always find good staffing for the project. Building a home can take some time. But, the good news is, if you are patient and have resources you can get a beautiful product that is exactly what you are looking for. All anything takes is time and money right? 🙂
  • Building costs: As of the date of this post, average building costs in Maui for an average build home (meaning no fancy upgrades like wolf appliance and Poggenpohl cabinets) range on average from $150-$280/square foot. Luxury home building (anywhere in Wailea and Makena) ranges from $500 – $900/square foot on average and obviously that price can go up depending on options you select. But in general, that’s a rough estimate.
  • Worth it! Buying land and building your own home can be incredibly rewarding. Not only do you get exactly what YOU want but, at the end of the day you can end up getting much more for your money.

Questions For a Maui Realtor

Aloha!

I sit a lot of open houses and in doing that, not only am I happy to be there selling a client’s home but I also get to meet people from all over the world! It’s really one of my favorite parts about my business. Understanding other’s culture, experiences, food, and finding the similarities can be so fun!

What I’ve noticed among all the people that walk into my open houses is that they have a LOT of the same questions. Here are some of those questions and hopefully answers that will help you in your journey to being a Maui home owner.

1) Is this vacation-rentable?

Many homes and condos in south Maui are vacation rentable, however many are not. It’s best to work with your favorite realtor to understand the differences between which properties are and are not vacation-friendly. Maui County deems which properties are vacation rentable and which are not. Fines can be very high for those that don’t want to mind the vacation zoning rules; up to $1000 per day.

2) Are taxes and HOA dues higher in vacation rental condos than in non-vacation rentals?

The general answer is, yes. Taxes on a second home and income property are higher than a primary residence. To meet primary residency standards, you must prove you live on Maui no less than six months. In general, Home Owners Association (HOA) dues are higher as well because the maintenance costs are more for vacation rental units. For example, HOA dues in the Wailea area are an average of $1,000 a month and typically include your trash, water, yard maintenance and sometimes cable tv. Typically (but not always) this does not include your electric, tv, or internet.

3) What does it cost for a management company to rent my unit for me?

This one is hard to answer because it varies so much depending where you are on the island. In general though, management companies take anywhere from 25% – 45%. Remember, they are booking your unit, making sure people check in and check out on time, manage keys, broken light bulbs, towels, cleaning, linens, etc. Some complexes allow owners to manage their own units either through their own website or websites like VRBO, Home Away, and Airbnb. Owners can save a lot of money by managing a property themselves.

4) How can I get my family pet to the island?

I love this question because it’s of serious concern, takes a long time, and I know it from first hand experience! I had to go through this process when I moved my cocker spaniel all the way from Washington, D.C. to Maui years ago. The general answer is that it’s not the easiest thing to do in the world but it is possible. There are specific rules that the Agriculture department asks you to abide by. It’s for good reason. The state of Hawaii does not have ANY rabies, snakes, and they want to keep invasive species out. So suck it up, buttercup…follow the rules, and your pet will be running happily on the beach in no time! You can find more information here: The Hawaii Department of Agriculture

5) Which area is BEST to buy a second home in? 

I also always love this question…because I can’t answer it! That is solely for you to decide. My recommendation is to visit Maui a few times before you buy and do as much research as you can. Do you love the sunny beaches of Kihei? Do you love the golf courses in Kapalua? Only YOU can answer those questions and pick your perfect spot on Maui.

6) What are the average prices in all of Maui? 

According to Old Republic Title (an excellent escrow company here in Maui), here are 2016 numbers.

  • Single Family Home Median Sales Price: $636,750
  • Condominium Median Sales Price: $415,000
  • Vacant Land Median Sales Price: $459,750
  • 1,076 properties were purchased in 2016.
  • The average days on market for 2016: 120

7) What are the average prices in Wailea/Makena for 2016?

  • Single Family Home Median Sales Price: $2,400,000
  • Condominium Median Sales Price: $1,230,000
  • Vacant Land Median Sales Price: $$600,000
  • Average days on market = 110

8) What are the average prices in Kihei for 2016?

  • Single Family Home Median Sales Price: $$792,500
  • Condominium Median Sales Price: $341,000
  • No vacant land sales occurred in 2016 in Kihei
  • Average days on market = 110

9) How much do I need for a down-payment and how much can I afford?

This seems to be ever-changing but some general guidelines apply here. For anything that is vacation-rentable, typically banks look for 25%-30% down. For primary homes, that are FHA approved you can typically find loans as low as 3.5% down. Some conventional loans will approve 5% down but include PMI on the loan for people that may want not want to go through the rigorous process of FHA approval and do not have a lot of “down money”.

In Maui, anything above $657,800 is considered a “Jumbo loan” and typically cannot be financed above that amount, especially for first time home-buyers. So, if you are a first time home-buyer with excellent credit, looking for anything in this price range when you’re first starting out is best. However, I always ask my clients to get pre-approved by a lender BEFORE you start the buying process. This causes less heart ache and gives you a more accurate picture of what you should be looking at and what you can truly afford.

10) Where is Maui at in the “Market”?

GREAT question. Anyone that asks me this, I know is a serious buyer. Only someone really considering purchasing a property would want to know about the market so they can decide if it’s a good deal or not. No one wants to lose money in the long run. Today is February 2, 2017 so if you read this article in five years…this information will not be current. For now, though we are in what’s called a “paper subdivision” climb. What does that mean?

Between 2005-2008, our real estate prices were at a high point in the market. And then we all know what happened between 2008 and 2010. CRASH! That was a terrible time for real estate, but a great time for flippers!

Well, the flippers have come and gone and are no longer. On Maui, you’ll be lucky to find an REO or Bank Owned property. We get maybe on average 1 every few months and they are typically listed at market price.

So, now we’ve moved into what’s called “paper subdivisions”, where new building projects are currently getting approved (on paper) and are selling out of trailers that you see around the island. Some of these right now include: Kalama Kai, Kihei Cove, Keala O Wailea, and there are a few neighborhoods in Pukalani. This is all great news! This means our market is going up!

What that means for buyers right now is that it’s A GREAT TIME TO BUY. Our prices haven’t quite reached the point where they were at between 2005 and 2006. And like in any market, the highs are always higher than the last high…so we’ve got some movement to go. Meaning, if you buy something now that is at or below the price it was in 2005, you’re likely to win. Plus, interest rates are still low.

So get out there and call me. Let me know what you’re looking for. We’ll find you a great deal!