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

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.

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!

 

 

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!