Maui Real Estate Blog
4 Critical Things to Know When Searching Online for Maui Real Estate
According to the National Association or Realtors, the first step of the home buying process for forty-seven percent of home buyers was to search online. With Maui’s significant number of off island buyers, that number is substantially higher locally. Quirks of our MLS, a limited number of Post Offices on Maui and the relatively unique types of ownership in Hawaii can make the information displayed in online Maui real estate listings confusing or incomplete. Here are 4 things you should look out for when searching online for Maui Real Estate.
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Figuring out the Exact Location of the Property Isn’t Always Easy
Our website and almost all real estate websites use what is called an Internet Data Exchange or IDX to display MLS listings. We use an underlying company called an IDX provider to package property data and photos into the listings you see displayed on our site. The IDX provider doesn’t just service Maui, they provide a similar service to real estate companies throughout the country. IDX providers use Zip codes as the primary means to identify the location of a listing. That works great in most areas where a town or city may have one or more zipcodes. It doesn’t work as well on Maui where zip codes can span across a large geographic area and cover multiple communities.
It’s easy to see how this can cause some confusion. This is especially the case in West Maui after the Lahaina fire. A significant portion of Lahaina Town’s residences burned. Those that were listed, but did not burn were subsequently withdrawn from the market. That said, a number of properties with a Lahaina address can be found listed for sale currently. The reason is that the Lahaina Zip code expands well beyond the fire area. West Maui runs from the small village of Olowalu down South all the way to Kapalua up to the North. All of this area falls under the Lahaina zipcode.
This challenge isn’t unique just to our site or other Maui Realtor sties. It is also true for bigger national real estate portals like Zillow and Redfin. It is evident with the screen captures that show a Lahaina address for a Kapalua Property on Zillow. You need to scroll deep within Zillow’s listing information or look at the associated map to find the Kapalua Location.
Again, West Maui isn’t the only part of the island with a Zip code that spans a big area. In South Maui, Makena and Wailea resort fall under the Kihei zipcode. Looking Upcountry, Makawao and Pukalani also share the same zipcode. All of East Maui including Hana, Nahiku, Kipahulu and Kaupo share a single zipcode. The coastal community of Ma’alaea and rural community of Kahakuloa fall under the Wailuku zipcode.
To help alleviate confusion in your search, look for the district on an IDX site or the specific location information within a portal site like Zillow. When using our site, you should note that we have community level searches available along the footer of our page. Of course, you are always welcome to send us a message if you remain unsure of a property’s exact location or need assistance honing in on a specific community.
How Much Land Area Does That Listing Really Have?
Land area is something else to keep an eye on when searching online for Maui real estate listings. There are a number of Maui listings where the area of land included with a property is less than what shows on the online listing. This stems from the growing frequency of Condominium Property Regimes (CPRs) also known as residential condominium listings.
A CPR is a type of ownership where portions of a single parcel of land may be sold off as separate units. The units have their own deed and tax map key. Each unit of a CPR can be mortgaged. In essence, this type of ownership applies the same principles of how an apartment building is turned into condos, and applies them to any piece of land that can have more than one structure. Since Residential Condo ownership isn’t common nationally, IDX providers and Real Estate Portals show the land area of the whole parcel of land and not the individual CPR unit.
For example, let’s take a two acre lot with a house and a cottage that goes through the CPR process. Unit A consists of the house and 1.5 acres of land. Unit B consists of the cottage and .5 acres of land. The underlying area of land with each unit is frequently called the limited common element. If unit B is listed for sale, most real estate sites will show the listing as having a full 2 acres rather than .5 acres of land. It doesn’t become readily apparent that it is really .5 acres until one reads about it in the detailed description of the listing.
Keep your eyes peeled for words like CPR, residential condo or limited common element in the listing description for lots and homes. That’s a pretty good clue that the land area is smaller than what is listed. A good listing description for a CPR property will specifically mention the limited common element or area of land associated with the listing. When in doubt, contact us and we would be happy to help you determine if the property is a CPR and how much land is included.
Listings Don’t Always Show All Monthly and Quarterly Fees
It goes without saying that determining the cost of ownership plays a big part in the typical search for real estate. That includes both the purchase price and any monthly fees associated with a property. There are a few types of properties on island where all monthly fees aren’t clearly spelled out in IDX and other online listings.
Leasehold condos are at the top of the list of properties that don’t show all monthly fees in their online listings. The monthly condo association fee is clearly listed, but the monthly and quarterly lease payments seldom make it on IDX sites. IDX providers use standardized display fields so they can work across markets across the country. With leasehold ownership less common, that field is omitted from most idx providers.
The monthly lease payment does show on Zillow, but good luck finding it and figuring out what it means. Deep in the bowels of the listing detail is a field called total actual rent. The way it is presented looks more like income than a fee.
Two other expenses that don’t always make it into an IDX feed are homeowner’s association fees and resort fees. There are a couple of fields in the MLS that cover homeowner association fees for single family homes. Depending on what field the listing agent uses, it may or may not show up on the IDX search results. Some of the resort areas also have quarterly resort fees. Those help to maintain landscaping in the resort as a whole. Since it isn’t a required field to list a property, some agents omit those fees when listing resort properties.
When inquiring about a condo, lot or a home located within a subdivision, it is worth asking if all fees are included on the MLS listing. Contact us if you have any questions.
Not All Condos Allow Vacation Rentals
A significant portion of people searching online for Maui condos for sale are looking for potential vacation rentals. Be aware that not all condos on island allow vacation rentals. Whether a condo allows vacation rentals isn’t always clear when looking at Maui listings online. There are no specific fields for vacation rentals on most IDX sites, and Zillow does not display whether a condo development allows vacations rentals.
If confused about whether a Maui condo that you are looking at can be vacation rented, here are a few things to look for. Focus on the remarks. Listing agents may mention the ability to vacation rent in the listing remarks. It is an attribute that agents will try to highlight.
Amenities and maintenance fee may also offer another clue. If there is no pool and the maintenance fees are comparatively lower, chances are that the development does not allow short term rentals. Most but not all condos that have more amenities and higher maintenance fees allow vacation rentals. There are some high end condos with numerous amenities that prohibit vacation rentals.
Last but not least, look at price. With the exception of a few leasehold condos, vacation rentals currently start over $600,000. Most condos below this price point, prohibit rentals. Again, It is also worth noting that not all high end condos allow vacation rentals.
When in doubt, ask us! We are happy to let you know what you can and can’t rent short term. Our Kihei, Wailea, Ka’anapali and Kapalua Condo listing pages also list which developments allow vacation rentals and which prohibit vacation rentals.
The points above should improve your experience when searching online for Maui Real Estate. MauiRealEstate.com offers the option to review inventory at a more granular level. We have listing pages at the community, condo development and neighborhood level. As mentioned above, we also welcome any chance to be of assistance and answer questions as they arise.
Are you looking for a new Maui home?
We want to help!
Maui Real Estate Blog
A Message From The Team
It was exactly one month ago today that fires swept through Lahaina killing 97 people, leaving 22 people missing and destroying over 2,000 homes and structures. Also destroyed were numerous priceless historical sites and artifacts from the former capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. At the same time as the Lahaina fire, two separate fires burned in Upcountry Maui destroying 19 homes in Olinda and Kula. We feel fortunate that none of our agents lost homes in the fire. That said, we all have friends, clients or relatives who lost homes or were displaced by the fires.
To say it’s been a challenging month would be an understatement. Grief over the loss of people and homes lingers over the island. Maui is still at the very initial phases of what will be a multi-year recovery process.
If there has been one positive throughout the month, it’s been the response of the local community. Members of the community stepped up for their neighbors in a big way. Island residents led the charge in providing food, shelter, comfort and more to their neighbors who lost everything over in Lahaina. Upcountry, residents joined firefighters in putting out hotspots. As the fires came under control energy shifted to helping to clear storm debris.
We would be remiss if we did not give special mention to the firefighters and other first responders. Four separate fires on the island stretched the fire department beyond the point of exhaustion. The island owes them a debt of gratitude for their valiant efforts to protect life and property.
It’s been far from business as usual when it comes to real estate on Maui. While most existing transactions moved forward, there were a higher than usual number of cancellations. Several active listings were pulled from the market. Some due to the general circumstances and other homes and condos were quickly converted to short term shelter or longer-term rentals for people displaced by the fire.
There was a somewhat unofficial pause in marketing activities observed by most of the real estate community through the end of the month of August. Some of that was agents taking time to grieve, some of that was due to agents immersing themselves in volunteerism and most of all it was a question of appropriateness. Stylized photos of beautiful homes and the Maui lifestyle are a stark contrast to the immediate aftermath of the fire.
I alluded to this in a paragraph above, but there is also a recognition that the fires exacerbated what was already an acute housing shortage on the island. A lot of the fire victims are currently being housed in hotels and Airbnbs. Those are only short-term refuges. Finding longer term residences for what will be a prolonged rebuild remains a monumental challenge. Many fire victims fear short term and long-term displacement from their homes.
We’ve been quiet on our blog and in our social media channels over the last month. For all the reasons above, it’s been a struggle to figure out when the time is right to get back to working and operating as a real estate brokerage in a “normal manner”. We feel our own pain and we recognize that of our colleagues, friends and neighbors. That said, we do have a fiduciary responsibility to our sellers and our buyers.
We recognize that we are moving forward in a Maui that has changed a lot over the last month. We understand that the sense of loss and grief on Maui remains raw. We know that housing shortage provokes its own set of frustrations and other emotions. With that in mind, we plan to choose our words and actions carefully in the hope that we can continue to be of service to our clients and the community. The Maui Real Estate Team invites your questions, comments and feedback.
Maui Real Estate Blog
Mortgage Rates and Treasury Bonds
Three months into the year and interest rates continue to fluctuate. In January it seemed like rates were heading downward steadily. February saw an increase in rates. The banking crisis earlier this month caused rates to adjust downward again. Last year, there was a lot of ink spilled and key strokes dedicated to predicting rates. Most predictions proved to be wrong. At this point, prognostication on rates seems like a fool’s errand. That said, I wanted to talk about one of the better bellwethers for mortgage rates, the ten year treasury bond.
In the financial world, a bellwether is an indicator of something bigger. For the bond market, the ten-year Treasury bond is the go-to indicator of how things are going. When investors are feeling good about the economy, they tend to buy more bonds, which drives down the yield (i.e., interest rate) on the ten-year Treasury bond. Conversely, when things are looking a bit shaky, investors tend to flock to the safety of Treasury bonds, which drives up the yield.
So, what does all of this have to do with mortgage rates? Well, the yield on the ten-year Treasury bond is a key indicator of where mortgage rates are headed. When the yield on the ten-year Treasury bond goes up, so do mortgage rates. When the yield goes down, mortgage rates tend to follow suit.
Think of it like a game of follow the leader, but with money. When the leader (the ten-year Treasury bond) goes up, the followers (mortgage rates) try to keep up. And when the leader goes down, the followers slow down too.
What Does This Mean for Buyers?
Consider this as more of how does this work vs a how to post. I’ve read in some places that following the ten year treasury closely may give buyers a sense of when to lock their mortgage rate. I have to say, I am a little skeptical about that. While the two are closely correlated, there may not be enough lag between the change in treasury bond yields and the change in mortgage rates. It’s a pretty busy world out there and unless you work in finance, you also may not have the time to closely monitor treasuries. This is where I would lean on a knowledgeable mortgage professional rather than tracking things yourself. Let your mortgage professional give you guidance on when to lock your rate.
Are you looking for a new Maui home?
We want to help!
Maui Real Estate Blog
Big Ocean View Land Opportunities in Haiku
A quiet country road that wanders towards the ocean. Cooling trade winds. Swaying palm trees. Vibrant greens and the vivid blues of the ocean along Maui’s North shore. If this sounds like a place that you would like to call home, 300 Mehana Road offers two separate opportunities for those that want to build their dream home or cottage on Maui. The state recently approved plans to drill a well to serve the parcel, making these two CPR properties a great places to create your own personal paradise.
300 Mehana Road is located in the community of Haiku on Maui’s North Shore. This quiet town is located on the windward side of the island. Mehana Road is a small private road on the ocean side of Hana Highway. It is about 10 minutes away from a grocery store, restaurants, food trucks, the post office and fitness centers at the Haiku Cannery. It is about 15 minutes from Paia town. Ho’okipa Beach Park is ten minutes away. The airport is roughly half an hour away.
300 Mehana Road Unit A
Unit A consists of 3.88 acres of gently sloped agriculturally zoned land. This unit is designated for the construction of the main house on the property. There is plenty of space for your building site with lots of room left over for gardens or orchards or you can expand upon the existing grove of Coconuts. The property is just one lot back from Uaoa Bay. You don’t just see the ocean, you can smell it and hear it too.
300 Mehana Road Unit B
Unit B has entitlements to build a 1,000 square foot accessory farm dwelling (cottage), This unit includes 4.22 acres of gently sloped land. As with unit A, it offers big ocean views and Haleakala views. There is a grove of guava trees and plenty of space to plant your own orchard, gardens and more. There is even an ag storage shed included in the sale for you to keep all your farm and garden tools.
Electric and high speed internet both run to the edge of the property. A buyer will be responsible for bringing those utilities to the building sites. There are two options for water. Many homes in the Haiku area rely on water catchment. Water is caught off a metal roof, stored in a catchment tank and then filtered prior to consumption. The seller also recently obtained approvals from the state for a well. The buyers of the units would be responsible for installation costs of the well.
Contact The Maui Real Estate Team
Unit A is offered for sale for $985,000. Check out the 300 Mehana Unit A listing page for additional photos. Unit B is offered for $895,000. Check out the Unit B listing page for additional photos. If you want the opportunity to build both a house and a cottage and just over 8 acres of land in total, you can of course buy both! These listings sold! Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for assistance with other Maui Land listings.
Maui Real Estate Blog
Four Listings for Your Christmas Wish List
Christmas is just a few days away. Still stumped on what to get the family or that special someone? While none of these suggestions will fit under the tree, maybe the keys would fit nicely in your Christmas stocking. Here are four of our listings that would make this a Christmas to truly remember.
For Those That Love The Ocean
If there is a certain someone in your life who loves the ocean and ocean sports, you would be hard pressed to find a better option on the market than Sugar Cove Building 6. This is the ultimate North Shore lifestyle property. This whole building in the Sugar Cove condominiums is located right above the golden sand of the beach. The beach is as good as it gets for water sports. Long considered a good spot for windsurfing, these days it is a hot spot for wing foiling, kiting, surfing, stand up paddling, body boarding and fishing. Our agent Ridge Lenny gives a taste of the lifestyle on offer in the video below.
While location may be the biggest amenity of Sugar Cove Building 6, the condo itself is a one of a kind offering. Originally three separate units, it was consolidated into one primary living space and a guest space. Overall, it includes eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, three half bathrooms and a total of 5,950 square feet of living space. This other video highlights the quality design, materials and finishing.
The asking price for Sugar Cove Building 6 is $17,000,000. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for more information.
For Those That Demand The Highest Quality
A Design Nerd’s Dream. Impeccable finishing. Precision Crafted. Carefully Curated. Just some of the ways that people describe the Oasis in Spreckelsville.
This immaculate property includes a 2 bedroom, 3 bathroom main home, a detached garage with second story studio apartment, a soaking tub, lap pool and a zero edge main pool. The construction is truly of the highest quality as are the fixtures and building materials. It is sold with furnishings and selected artwork. Again, all of these items carefully chosen by the owner with an attention to detail and quality rarely seen on Maui. Check out our previous posts on the Oasis, its outdoor spaces and design details. Offered for $9,800,000.
For Those That Want to Build The Best…
Five Star Location. A big lot of 1.88 acres. A gated subdivision with only one other vacant lot. Easy access to beautiful beaches and fantastic resort amenities. All of the above make 21 Ualei Place a truly tantalizing spot to build a spectacular luxury home. Located in the One Palauea subdivision, the lot is just to the south of the Fairmont Kealani. Palauea Beach, Polo Beach and the Wailea Beach Path are all a short minutes walk from the property. The Wailea Blue, Emerald and Gold golf courses are again all close by.
This lot is offered for $6,500,000. Check out the 21 Ualei Place listing page for more photos and details.
For Those That Want to Build Now!
Building takes time and patience. One of the biggest time sinks can be the permit process. That is particularly true when you are in a special management area close to the ocean. That makes 300 Mehana Unit B in Haiku the perfect spot if you want to build your dream cottage on Maui sooner rather than later. SMA approvals are done and the permits approved for a 1,000 square foot accessory farm dwelling (cottage), detached garage and agricultural workshop. The CPR property includes 4.22 acres of land. There is plenty of room for gardens or orchards. Set close to the ocean, you can hear the waves and smell the salt in the air. The ocean and Haleakala views are both fantastic.
Grab your builder and break ground in the new year. The asking price for 300 Mehana Unit B is $895,000. Check out the listing page for more photos and details.
Contact Your Favorite Maui Real Estate Elves
There you go! Four last minute gift ideas for the family or a special someone clearly not on the naughty list. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for help with these properties or if you have something else in mind on your real estate holiday wish list. We look forward to being of service.
Maui Real Estate Blog
2022/2023 Maui Property Tax Rates
Updated County Tax Rates for the New Fiscal Year and New Tax Classifications
On May 13, the Maui County Council approved new property tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year. There are a some particularly notable changes. The new rates decrease tax rates for owner occupied properties and apartments while significantly increasing rates on non owner occupied properties. Rates for the Short-Term Rental, Agricultural, Industrial and commercial classification also changed.
Another notable change for the coming fiscal year is the creation of a new long-term rental category. This is a lower tax rate category meant to incentivize more long term rentals. The county council created this classification last fall but this is the first fiscal year it will be in effect. Owners who qualify for this classification also get an exemption that reduces their assessed value by $200,000.
One last note, there was some modification to the tier system first implemented in the 2020/2021 fiscal year. For certain categories of property, this system created three different tiers of tax rates based on the assessed value of properties. The tier system was implemented for the homeowner, short-term rental and non-owner occupied classifications. The new long-term rental category is also part of the the tier system.
Previously, tier 1 was for properties assessed up to $800,000. Tier 1 is now for properties up to $1,000,000. Tier 2 was for places assessed between $800,001 to $1,500,000. The new tier 2 is $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 for owner occupied, short-term rental and long-term rental. The new tier 2 for non owner-occupied is $1,000,001 to $4,500,000. The old tier 3 was for properties assessed for more than $1,500,000. The new tier 3 is more than $3,000,000 for owner-occupied, short-term rental and long-term rental. The tier 3 for non owner occupied properties is more than $4,500,000.
2022/2023 Maui County Property Tax Rates
Here are the updated rates for this coming fiscal year. If there is any change in rates, last years rates are noted for reference. All rates shown below are per $1,000 of assessed value.
- Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 Formerly $2.41 now $2.00
- Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 Formerly $2.51 now $2.10
- Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 Unchanged $2.71
Non Owner Occupied
- Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 Formerly $5.45 now $5.85
- Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $4,500,000 Formerly $6.05 now $8.00
- Tier 3: more than $4,500,000 Formerly $8.00 now $12.50
- Formerly $5.55 now $3.50
Hotel and Resort
- Unchanged $11.75
- Unchanged $14.60
- Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 Formerly $11.11 now $11.85
- Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 Formerly $11.15 now $11.85
- Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 Formerly $11.20 now $11.85
- Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 New Class $3.00
- Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 New Class $5.00
- Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 New Class $8.00
- Formerly $5.94 now $5.74
- Unchanged $6.43
- Formerly $6.29 now $6.05
- Formerly $7.20 now $7.05
- Unchanged $4.50
About Maui Property Taxes
The new rates go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st, 2022. Property taxes are due in two separate installments. The first installment is due in August 2022 with the second installment in February 2023. Owners should have received notification of their new assessed values in March of 2022.
Homeowner and Long Term Rental Exemptions
The deadline to file for the homeowner or long term rental exemptions and classifications passed. If you file by the end of 2022, you would be eligible for the exemption and tax rate for the 2023/24 fiscal year. Here is the link to the Long Term Rental Exemption and the Home Owner Exemption forms. The eligibility for the homeowner exemption can be confusing. It is worth reading the county Exemption FAQ to better understand eligibility requirements. Check out the county’s explanation for different property type classifications if there is any confusion on what category your current property or future property might fit into. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team for assistance buying or selling Maui property.