Maui Real Estate Blog

Maui County 2024/2025 Property Tax Rates

The County of Maui has announced new property tax rates for the 2024/2025 fiscal year. Rates went up in a number of different categories to address both the property taxes lost and the significant additional expenses incurred due to the 2023 fires. The bulk of the increases were focused on second homes and vacation rental condos. The only homeowner rate that increased was for homes that are assessed for more than $3,000,000.

Maui 2024/2025 Property Tax Rates

Here are the updated rates for Maui County in 2024/2025. 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.

Owner Occupied

  • Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 Formerly $1.90 now $1.80
  • Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 Unchanged $2.00
  • Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 Formerly $2.75 now $3.25

Non Owner Occupied

  • Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 formerly $5.85 now $5.87
  • Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $4,500,000 formerly $8.00 now $8.50
  • Tier 3: more than $4,500,000 formerly $12.50 now $14.00

Apartment

  • Unchanged $3.50

Hotel and Resort

  • Unchanged $11.75

Timeshare

  • Unchanged $14.60

Short-Term Rental

  • Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 formerly $11.85 now $12.50
  • Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 formerly $11.85 now $13.50
  • Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 formerly $11.85 now $15.00

Long-Term Rental

  • Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 Unchanged $3.00
  • Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 Unchanged $5.00
  • Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 Unchanged $8.00

Agricultural

  • Unchanged $5.74

Conservation

  • Unchanged $6.43

Commercial

  • Unchanged $6.05

Industrial

  • Unchanged $7.05

Commercial Residential

Prior to this year, there were no tiers for commercial residential. There are now three price tiers. The tiers are the same as other property tax classifications that use tiers.

  • Tier 1: up to $1,000,000 formerly $4.50 now $4.00
  • Tier 2: $1,000,001 to $3,000,000 formerly $4.50 now $5.00
  • Tier 3: more than $3,000,000 formerly $4.50 now $8.00

Check out the county’s description of different property type classifications if there is any confusion on what category your current property or future property might fit into. If you are relocating to the island and intend to use the home as your primary residence, please pay attention to eligibility for the homeowner tax classification.

Maui Homeowner and Long Term Rental Exemptions

If you have a primary residence on Maui or own a property that you rent long term, you may be eligible to reduce your tax bill. Under the homeowner (primary residence) exemption, residents are eligible for a $200,000 reduction on their assessed value. The long term rental exemption also provides a $200,000 reduction on the assessed value if your tenant has a year lease or longer. If you have a long term rental on the same property as your primary residence, you may be eligible for a $300,000 total reduction on your assessed value.

The deadline to file for the homeowner or long term rental exemptions for this coming fiscal year passed. If you file by the end of 2024, you would be eligible for the exemption and tax rate for the 2025/2026 fiscal year. Here is the link to the Long Term Rental Exemption and the Home Owner Exemption forms. As noted above, the rules for eligibility for the homeowner exemption can be confusing. It is worth reading the county Exemption FAQ to better understand eligibility requirements.

Maui Property Tax Notable Dates

The new rates go into effect at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st, 2024. Property taxes are due in two separate installments. The first installment is due in August 2024 with the second installment in February 2024. Owners should have received notification of their new assessed values in March of 2024. Anecdotally, the county increased assessed values for a significant number of properties around the island. In some cases, the increase in assessments was substantial.

Questions, Comments, Need Help Buying or Selling?

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Buying Land For Sale on Maui: Tips for Success

Essential Considerations for Purchasing Maui Land

Key Points:

1. Understand your budget and financing options

2. Get realistic estimates of building costs and timelines

3. Learn about Maui’s zoning laws and property entitlements

4. Assess utility availability and potential off-grid solutions

5. Evaluate environmental factors and property boundaries

6. Review easements, CC&Rs, and condo documents (if applicable)

7. Consider topography, orientation, and neighboring properties

8. Consult with local experts and professionals

There are are three primary reasons why people buy land on Maui. They may not be finding homes that fit their needs or preferences. They may envision a specific design or style for their home.

For others, maybe a lot is available in a location they love. While buying property and building comes with obvious rewards, buying land for sale on Maui can come with its share of challenges. It requires careful due diligence to ensure everything is as it seems.

This post is an extensive guide to help you navigate the process. It covers key areas such as your budget, zoning, entitlements, easements, utilities, and more. We created this guide to help you make informed decisions and avoid pitfalls.

Determine Your Budget

The first step of the purchase process is determining your budget or even the viability of a land purchase. It’s one thing to say you want to buy a lot and build; it is another to have the financial resources to do so.

The cost of land on Maui is high, and the cost to build is much higher than most anticipate. Are there parcels of land on Maui to park an RV or a tiny home? Yes, but those opportunities are limited.

Buildable lots currently start in the $300,000s. Land at lower price points usually has some obstacles. They may lack utilities, have more difficult building sites, or have more onerous zoning. More conventional lots with utilities typically start somewhere in the $500,000s.

Finance or cash?

There is a reason why only 15% of land purchases on Maui over the last year used some form of conventional financing. Obtaining a land loan is more challenging than obtaining a home loan. Rates are higher, the borrowing period is shorter, and you won’t be able to borrow as much money as you would for a home purchase.

Owner financing is another way to purchase land. About 9% of last year’s land transactions used Purchase Money Mortgages (a Purchase Money Mortgage is where the Seller holds the note). That said, Purchase Money Mortgages won’t help if you struggle to qualify for a conventional land loan. Savvy sellers are going to closely scrutinize your finances before providing a PMM.

The budget process is more straightforward if you are a cash buyer. Do you have sufficient cash to acquire a lot that meets your wants or needs?

Do you have the money necessary to build what you need or the time to build up the capital to build what you want? That brings us to the next section.

Get A Realistic Sense of Building Costs

Over the last five or more years, we have seen a fair number of parcels of land on Maui sell and then come back on the market within a year or two. Some of that is sellers taking advantage of the market’s appreciation or sellers who had a change in life circumstances. However, we know of more than a few people who bought land and ended up selling after realizing that building costs were much higher than anticipated.

Building costs on Maui were high before COVID-19. They rose significantly during the pandemic due to increasing material and labor costs.

While some material costs have decreased, labor costs remain persistently high on Maui. The rebuilding of Lahaina over the next five to ten years threatens to increase costs even further, as competition for scarce labor will be much higher.

It is worth contacting contractors who work in the part of the island where you want to build. If you give them a sense of what you want to build and the quality of materials you would like to use, they can provide rough per-square-foot estimates. Give yourself a healthy buffer on top of that quote to account for change orders, unexpected costs or increases over time.

How Long Will It Take?

Time is money. It’s an old saying, but it is appropriate if you plan to buy and build. That’s particularly true if you are building a primary residence. Remember that the longer it takes for you to build, the longer you will be paying rent or another mortgage before you can move into your new place.

Make sure you get a realistic sense of how long it takes to obtain permits, the availability of your builder or potential builders to start on your home, and how long the construction should take. It’s always better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best by building buffers for unexpected delays.

Understanding Maui Zoning and Entitlements

Knowing the zoning of any property you might be interested is an integral part of your purchase. Zoning can dictate the size of the structures you can build, the number of structures you can build, setbacks from your property lines, and the type of activities you can engage in on a property.

Types of Zoning You May Encounter

When looking at land on Maui, the odds are high that you will encounter one of three different types of zoning. They are the agricultural, rural, and the residential districts. Agricultural lots are typically parcels of 2 acres or more. Rural lots are typically a half acre or larger. Residential lots are smaller in size. There are three different types of residential lots R1, R2, and R3.

Less common zoning that you might encounter include interim zoning and urban reserve. While not a county zoning, lots in the state Conservation District carry additional restrictions. Buyers considering these types of lots should do careful research so that you fully understand all permitted uses and restrictions.

We advise considering other properties if you have grand plans for a property, but the zoning does not fit your needs. While rezoning is theoretically possible, it is not frequently practiced on Maui. The odds would not be in your favor to rezone your lot, let alone do it in a timely manner.

Verify Zoning

While there are zoning maps for Maui County, the best way to verify zoning is to use a Zoning Confirmation Request Form.

It is also worth checking to see if there are any discrepancies between the zoning and the community plan. Such discrepancies could lead to permitting issues. It is worth discussing such discrepancies with the county planning department and/or a land use consultant if you encounter them.

Special Considerations for Agricultural Properties

As the name implies, the intent of agricultural zoning is to encourage agricultural practices. You can build a home and an accessory farm dwelling (a cottage), but you are required to sign a notarized agricultural declaration with Maui County to confirm that you use 51% of the property for agriculture.

People often correlate large acreage with subdivision potential. That said, assuming that larger agricultural properties can be subdivided isn’t always safe. First and foremost, agricultural lands can’t be subdivided to where any parcel is less than 2 acres.

Depending on the property’s previous subdivision history, many four plus acre ag lots may not be further subdivided. The lot will need to have future allocations for subdivision potential. Information about future subdivision allocations typically can be found in a preliminary title report for a property.

Special Management Areas

If a property you are considering is located within the Special Management Area, which includes most coastal areas of Maui, you will need to obtain an SMA permit before beginning any development work. This permit process is designed to protect coastal resources and ensure that development is consistent with the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program.

SMA permits are discretionary. That means the county may not approve all of the entitlements particular to a lot’s zoning.

While we rarely see that happen in practice, it is worth remembering. It is also important to note that the overall permit process for property in the SMA takes longer than for properties outside the SMA.

If you have questions about building or developing in the SMA, consultation with the planning department and/or a land use consultant is advised.

Assessing Utilities

Utility Availability

It is worth verifying what utilities are available for a property. While the representations of the agent and the seller are important, it is important to confirm this information independently.

It is also worth determining if the utilities available are public or private. Private utilities may have higher rates, and or could entail periodic assessments or fees to improve or repair infrastructure.

While it is essential to verify the presence of utilities for a lot, it is also critical to understand their location. While electricity may be nearby, bringing electricity to the lot or a building site may entail installing power poles or trenching.

Additional electrical infrastructure like transformers may also be required. The cost to install power poles and transformers can add up quickly.

Water meters can be located off the property or a considerable distance up or down the street. In some rural areas, water storage tanks or cisterns may be needed to ensure adequate water pressure.

If the utilities are not located directly on the property, efforts should be made to ensure that the necessary easements are in place to allow utilities to traverse neighboring properties.

Wastewater Disposal

County sewer services are not available throughout Maui. Determine if the lot you are considering purchasing has access to either a public or private sewer system for wastewater disposal.

If your home will need a septic system, it is worth looking into additional potential costs. If near the ocean, a stream, or any potable water source, a more expensive aerobic septic system might be required.

If you intend to build a home with six or more bedrooms and the property isn’t connected to a sewer system, you would need to install a wastewater treatment plant. These systems are expensive to install and expensive to maintain every month. Check out our post, Know Your S@!t, for a more in-depth discussion of Maui wastewater systems.

Going Off The Grid and Other Utility Options

Not all lots on the market have utilities readily available. There are some lots where you are outside the service area for public water infrastructure. Places like Upcountry and Haiku may have water systems, but there is a long waitlist for meters.

Furthermore, the waitlist is closed at this time. There are rural areas where electrical infrastructure is also more limited. Connecting to the grid may be a challenge or cost-prohibitive.

Does that rule a property out for building? The short answer is no. People have been living off-the-grid in parts of Maui for decades. That said, if you are considering a fully or partially off-the-grid property, additional due diligence is required.

If water is not readily available, there are two primary options. Water catchment and well water. The former is a lot more common on Maui than the later.

The water table on Maui is located down near sea level. If you are located at any sort of elevation, the cost to install a well may be prohibitive.

Water catchment is used extensively in Maui’s wetter areas, including parts of East Maui and the North Shore. With water meters becoming scarcer, some agents have advertised water catchment as an option in dryer areas.

Any one considering water catchment should consult an off-the-grid or water catchment expert. An expert will be able to assess the viability of water catchment for your needs. They will look at area rainfall and expected water usage to make recommendations on the storage capacity you might need.

Off-grid electrical systems have come a long way in the last 20-30 years. Off-grid doesn’t demand a Swiss Family Robinson lifestyle. Solar energy contractors can design systems suitable for heavy appliance use.

It is worth contacting local solar system installers to get an estimate of your energy system costs. If you have a lot near electrical infrastructure, but connecting to the grid entails expensive power pole installation or extensive trenching, it might be worth pricing out an off-the-grid system. It may prove to be more cost-effective and more resilient.

Internet Access

With the number of people who work from home, quality internet access is a must. Spectrum provides Cable Internet to most of Maui. Hawaiiantel’s footprint of fiber optic Internet is expanding.

In the areas where no fiber optic or cable is available, there are satellite services, including Starlink. Check with Hawaiiantel and Spectrum Cable to determine availability in the areas you are considering.

Determining Property Boundaries

Survey and Boundaries

In some cases, the seller of a property may have had their property surveyed with boundary corners marked prior to going to market. If not, survey is a standard part of the Hawaii Purchase Contract.

Typically, the sellers pay for the survey. It’s worth noting that the surveys provided typically only provide boundary corners and show the location of any encroachments or recorded easements.

If you are planning to build, paying extra and completing a topographic survey may make sense. Architects and builders use topographic maps for construction plans. If it is a more complex or heavily forested lot, it might also be worth paying extra to have points on line between the boundary corners.

Evaluating Easements

Easements are another important consideration when looking at vacant land. It is paramount to ensure that you have legal access to any property you are considering. It is also essential to evaluate any easements that might encumber the property, such as any access easement that a neighbor or utility company may have through the property.

While a Realtor can help you identify the easements on a property, you may want to consult with a real estate attorney to verify the legal status and necessity of any easements associated with the property.

Reviewing Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

Buyers should review CC&Rs to determine if neighborhood association rules are compatible with building plans. The strictness of CC&Rs varies widely on Maui.

On the more restrictive end, covenants can dictate minimum home sizes, architectural styles, paint colors and landscaping. It is also worth checking to see if any restricted uses in the CC&Rs limit your intended use of the home.

Check the Condo Docs, too!

What? I thought we were talking about land and not condos. Well, on Maui, a growing number of land sales are for spatial Condominium Property Regimes (CPRs). Confused? The condensed explanation is that properties with zoning that allows for multiple residential structures may be converted into a CPR.

Each structure and an associated area of land becomes a unit within the condo. For a deeper dive, you can check out our in-depth explanation, “What the FAQ is a Residential Condo?”

Unlike a subdivision, the CPR process does not create additional entitlements. The units within a condo share the entitlements of the original lot.

Therefore, it is imperative to understand what entitlements are associated with the Unit you are buying. CPRs can also have their own CC&Rs and house rules.

Not all CPR documents are created equally. It is worth having an attorney familiar with Hawaii Condo law review the CPR documents during the document review period of your purchase contract.

Environmental Considerations

From safety, to usability, to cost, there are variety of potential impacts to consider when reviewing the environmental considerations of a property

Flood Risk

Buyers should evaluate a property’s vulnerability to flooding, whether from the ocean or streams. The Hawaii Flood Hazard Assessment Tool is an excellent place to start.

It provides information on the FEMA flood classification for a property. Extreme weather events can cause flooding outside of FEMA flood zones.

If the property you are considering is close to a shoreline or a stream but not in a FEMA flood zone, it is worth checking with the county to see if they deem the area to have a higher flood risk. Of course, it is also worth asking sellers if they are aware of any previous flood history with a property.

It is worth checking if the property is in a potential tsunami evacuation zone if you are in coastal areas. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration has Tsunami Evacuation Zone maps.

Building in and near flood zones may impact the design requirements for your home, and will likely impact your home insurance rates.

Topography

It is worth considering how topography can impact your building plans. Will the property require significant grading?

Are there any steep areas that could be subject to erosion? How easy will it be to create a driveway to a potential home site?

Orientation and Air Flow

Related to topography are the subjects of orientation and airflow. Maui’s tradewinds bring rain and cooling breezes. There are certain locations on the island where the winds can be strong and gusty.

How you are oriented with regards to the wind can have a big impact on the enjoyment of your home. You may not spend as much time in your outdoor spaces if they face directly into gusty tradewinds.

Maui also has areas that get significant amounts of rain. Airflow can be your friend if you are looking at places in the wet areas of the North Shore or East Maui.

Stagnant air and high moisture are a recipe for mold and mildew. Have we mentioned that we’re weather geeks? We’re happy to chat about the different climate zones and microclimates on Maui as well.

Neighboring Properties

With its combination of mountains and ocean, many properties on island offer beautiful views. When looking at a view property, it is worth considering whether those views are forever or if buildings or vegetation could compromise the view.

Could construction on a neighboring property block all or a portion of the view? What about vegetation? With a 365-day growing season, trees and landscaping may obscure what were once beautiful views. If that is a concern, it may be worth checking CCRs if there are view corridors or height restrictions on buildings and vegetation.

Awareness of neighboring properties extends beyond views. Does the property you are considering offer privacy from neighbors?

What is the zoning of your neighbors? If you are considering ag land, are you comfortable being next door to all permitted ag activities like keeping roosters or pig farming?

The Three Visit Rule

While falling in love with a property is easy, you want to ensure the love will last. It is worth visiting a property in the morning, midday, and evening to understand how it feels during different times.

If conditions allow, it is also worth visiting a property during different weather patterns. Visiting a property located in a windy area on a calm day may give you an inaccurate sense of how the property will live.

Helpful Contacts and Links For Land Purchases

Maui County Planning Department – 808-270-7735

Maul Electric – 808-871-2390

Spectrum Cable – 888-406-7063

Hawaiian Telcom – 808-643-3456

Maui Water Department – 808-270-7330

Maui County Website

Maui County Title 19 –Zoning       

Let us know if you want to talk to a land use consultant, architect, or Hawaii Real Estate attorney. We would be happy to send you the contact information for qualified resources.

Buying Land for Sale on Maui With The Maui Real Estate Team

Buying vacant land on Maui involves a series of important checks to ensure you make a wise purchase. Thorough due diligence is crucial, from understanding zoning laws and ensuring utility access to checking environmental factors and reviewing legal documents.

Consult with professionals such as real estate attorneys, planning consultants, and environmental experts to assist you through this process. This guide provides a comprehensive overview, but it’s always wise to seek tailored advice based on your situation.

Our team of dedicated agents is experienced representing buyers interested in purchasing land on Maui. We are experienced guiding buyers through their search and into the contract process while lining up the right outside resources along the way.

Contact The Maui Real Estate Team to set up a free consultation to discuss your needs. Use our site to search for current Maui Vacant Land Listings.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying Land on Maui

People buy land on Maui for three primary reasons: they can’t find homes that fit their needs, they want to build a home with a specific design or style, or they’ve found an available lot in a location they love. Buying land offers the opportunity to create a custom home, but it comes with challenges that require careful due diligence.

Buildable lots on Maui currently start in the $300,000s, but these often have obstacles like lack of utilities or difficult building sites. More conventional lots with utilities typically start in the $500,000s. The cost of land on Maui is high, and building costs are often higher than anticipated, making budget considerations crucial.

The most common zoning types for land on Maui are agricultural, rural, and residential. Agricultural lots are typically 2 acres or more, rural lots are usually half an acre or larger, and residential lots come in three types: R1, R2, and R3. Understanding zoning is crucial as it dictates what and how you can build on the property.

When buying land on Maui, it’s essential to verify the availability and location of utilities such as electricity, water, and wastewater disposal. Some areas may require septic systems or even wastewater treatment plants. In certain locations, off-grid solutions like water catchment and solar power systems might be necessary or more cost-effective.

 
Important environmental considerations include flood risk, tsunami evacuation zones, topography, and orientation for wind and airflow. Maui’s unique climate means factors like trade winds and rainfall can significantly impact property enjoyment. It’s also crucial to consider potential impacts on views and privacy from neighboring properties.

Evaluating easements is crucial when looking at vacant land on Maui. It’s essential to ensure you have legal access to any property you’re considering. Review any existing easements, such as access easements for neighbors or utility companies. Consulting with a real estate attorney can help verify the legal status and necessity of associated easements.

When buying land on Maui, it’s advisable to consult with various professionals. These may include the Maui County Planning Department, real estate attorneys, land use consultants, architects, and environmental experts. These professionals can provide tailored advice based on your specific situation and help navigate the complexities of land purchases on Maui.

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Buying a Home in Maui: Unlock the Door to Your Tropical Dream Life

Buying a home in Maui is a dream come true for many, but navigating the island’s unique real estate market can be challenging. From understanding the local neighborhoods and market trends to securing financing and finding the right property, the process of purchasing a home in Maui requires careful planning and expert guidance. 

In this blog, we’ll share essential tips and insights to help you make informed decisions and turn your dream of owning a piece of paradise into a reality.

Key Takeaways:

  • Limited Inventory: Maui’s real estate market has had limited supply over the last few years. Well-priced properties can be competitive as a result.
  • Quality of Life: Maui offers exceptional natural beauty and a relaxed lifestyle.
  • Detailed Process: Buying a home requires careful planning, from budgeting to inspections.
  • Financing Hurdles: Navigating financing is crucial, with a need for thorough lender comparison and local expertise.

Why You Should Buy A Home in Maui

If you’re considering buying a home, here are some compelling reasons why Maui should be at the top of your list:

Spectacular natural beauty

Maui boasts stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and scenic landscapes that will take your breath away. From the iconic Road to Hana to the summit of Haleakala, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to explore.

Perfect weather

With average temperatures ranging from 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C), Maui offers a comfortable climate year-round. You can enjoy outdoor activities and indoor/outdoor even during the heart of winter.

Quality of life

Maui offers a laid-back lifestyle that prioritizes community, culture, and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. While many on the island work hard to make a living, Maui’s natural beauty creates extraordinary opportunities when you have downtime.

Unique Culture

From the proud cultural traditions of Native Hawaiians to the varied cultural traditions that came with the immigrants who worked the Sugar Cane Fields, Pineapple Patches, and Ranches, the influence is felt throughout Maui in the food, language, art, and traditions of our island home.

Excellent amenities

Maui is a Goldilocks place—not too big and not too small. For its size, it offers a thriving arts and culture scene, great restaurants, and improved healthcare resources.

Appreciation potential

If you plan on holding your Maui home for an extended period, the odds point to the potential for appreciation. The Maui market can fluctuate, but over the long haul home prices have appreciated significantly.

Owning a home in Maui is more than just a financial investment; it’s an investment in your quality of life. With its unmatched beauty, welcoming community, and endless opportunities for adventure, Maui is the perfect place to call home.

The Real Estate Market in Maui

Maui has long been a sought-after destination for both tourists and homebuyers alike. The island’s real estate market is dynamic, offering a wide range of properties to suit different lifestyles and budgets. Here’s an overview of the current state of Maui’s real estate market:

Demand

Maui’s popularity as a vacation destination and a desirable place to live results in consistent demand for island homes. This demand comes from local buyers, second-home buyers, and people relocating from the mainland U.S. and abroad. Recently, higher Interest rates and high prices have led to affordability challenges curbing demand from recent heights.

Limited inventory

Due to the island’s finite land resources and strict zoning regulations, the supply of available properties can be limited. This scarcity is a major factor in rising prices.

Luxury market

Maui is known for its luxury real estate, with many high-end properties featuring stunning ocean views, beautiful grounds, and top-of-the-line amenities. These properties often command premium prices and attract affluent buyers.

Diverse Options

For a relatively small place, the different parts of Maui have distinctive personalities and climates. From the manicured golf courses and well-groomed landscaping of Wailea to the Bohemian vibes of Paia Town. From the sunny and dry desert climate of Kihei to the lush, tropical foliage of Haiku to the cool, rolling green countryside of Kula. With all the different options, some corner of the island is bound to appeal to your personality.

Vacation rentals

We frequently field inquiries from potential buyers who want to Airbnb homes. The zoning of the vast majority of homes prohibits vacation rentals. If you want to vacation rent your property, your best bet is to buy a condo on Maui. That said, proposed legislation by the Mayor of Maui may further reduce the number of condos that can be used as short-term rentals.

Price trends

Maui’s home prices have been on an upward trajectory in recent years, with median home prices consistently above $1 million. Of course, the COVID-19 real estate boom significantly impacted prices. Starting in mid-2022, demand began to lower as interest rates increased. However, supply has remained very low over the last couple of years. Even with reduced demand, the low inventory helped keep prices on an upward trajectory.

The Lahaina Fire exacerbated the inventory crunch. Competition for homes at or below the median Maui sales price continues to push prices up. One last thing to keep in mind about price trends is that not all parts of the Maui market are in lock-step when it comes to inventory and pricing trends. Market conditions can vary by price point and community.

Despite the challenges of limited inventory and high prices, Maui’s real estate market remains an attractive option. The lifestyle component is arguably the most compelling draw for prospective buyers.

Buying a Home in Maui: Step By Step

Purchasing a home in Maui can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the process and be prepared for each step along the way. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the home-buying process in Maui:

1. Determine your budget

Before you start house hunting, assess your financial situation and determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Consider factors such as your income, savings, and potential mortgage payments.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender to show sellers that you’re a serious and qualified buyer. This step also helps you understand your purchasing power and narrow your search. This goes hand in hand with determining your budget.

3. Find a reputable real estate agent

Work with a local real estate agent who has experience in the Maui market, like one of the agents or brokers of the Maui Real Estate Team. They can help you find properties that match your criteria, navigate the buying process, and negotiate on your behalf.

4. Start your property search

Begin looking at properties that fit your budget and preferences. Your real estate agent can help you identify suitable listings and schedule viewings.

5. Make an offer

Once you find a property you love, work with your agent to submit a competitive offer. Carefully review the purchase agreement with your agent and attorney. Ensure that all terms and conditions are clearly outlined and that you understand your obligations. Be prepared for potential counter-offers and negotiations.

6. Conduct due diligence

After your offer is accepted, it’s time to conduct a thorough inspection of the property. Hire a professional inspector to assess the home’s condition and identify any potential issues. Bring in contractors as needed to explore any issues identified in the home inspection further. Research permits on the property.

7. Get quotes for homeowner’s insurance

Insurance is getting more expensive nationwide, and underwriters are becoming more particular about what they insure. The Lahaina Fire makes insurance on Maui a little more challenging. It can also take longer to get insurance quotes. It is advisable to start pursuing quotes for insurance shortly after going under contract.

8. Finalize your mortgage

Work with your lender to finalize your mortgage application and lock in your interest rate. Be prepared to provide the necessary documentation and meet any lender requirements.

9. Close the deal

The closing schedule for Hawaii is a little different than that for most states. Closing documents are signed at least two business days before the actual closing date. It is common for closing documents to be signed off-island via a mobile notary. The buyer’s funds, including additional deposits and mortgage proceeds, are also due two business days before closing.

On closing day, the title and escrow company is notified by the Bureau of Conveyances that the transaction has been recorded. In turn, the Title and Escrow company will be sure to let your agent know. At that point, you can get the keys to your new home.

10. Celebrate and enjoy your new home

Congratulations! You’re now a proud homeowner in Maui. Take the time to explore your new neighborhood, meet your neighbors, and start enjoying the island lifestyle.

Remember, buying a home in Maui can be a complex process, but with the right preparation and guidance, you can make your dream of owning a piece of paradise a reality.

How To Get Financing For Your Maui Home

Securing financing is a crucial step in the process of buying a home in Maui. Here are some tips to help you navigate the financing process and increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage:

1. Check your credit score

Your credit score is a key factor in determining your eligibility for a mortgage and the interest rate you’ll receive. Check your credit report for any errors and take steps to improve your score if necessary.

2. Save for a down payment

Most lenders require a down payment of at least 10% to 20% of the purchase price. Start saving early to ensure you have sufficient funds for a down payment.

3. Gather necessary documents

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to provide various documents, such as proof of income, tax returns, bank statements, and identification. Having these documents ready can streamline the application process.

4. Shop around for lenders

Compare mortgage rates and terms from multiple lenders, including local banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Don’t forget to consider factors such as fees, customer service, and reputation.

5. Consider local lenders

Working with a local lender who understands the Maui real estate market can be beneficial. They may have more flexibility and be better equipped to handle any unique challenges that arise.

6. Get pre-approved

Obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender before starting your home search. This letter shows sellers that you’re a serious and qualified buyer, which can give you an advantage in a competitive market.

7. Explore special programs

Look into special mortgage programs that may be available to you, such as VA loans for veterans, FHA loans for first-time homebuyers, or USDA loans for rural properties.

8. Be prepared for higher interest rates

Due to Maui’s unique market conditions and the fact that many properties are considered second homes or investment properties, interest rates may be slightly higher than in other parts of the country.

9. Consider alternative financing options: 

If traditional mortgage financing proves challenging, explore alternative options such as owner financing, private money loans, or partnering with investors.

10. Work with a knowledgeable real estate agent

An experienced Maui real estate agent can guide you through the financing process, recommend local lenders, and help you find properties that fit your budget and financing options.

Remember, securing financing for a Maui home purchase may take time and require careful planning. By following these tips and working with trusted professionals, you can increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage and making your dream of owning a Maui home a reality.

Leave Your Maui Home Search in The Hands of Experienced Maui Real Estate Professionals

Buying a home in Maui offers a unique and rewarding homeownership experience. It is an incomparable lifestyle opportunity, from the jaw-dropping scenery to the beautiful people. By understanding the steps involved in the buying process, securing the right financing, and working with knowledgeable professionals, you can turn your dream of owning a home in this beautiful place into a reality.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your Maui home-buying journey, the Maui Real Estate Team is here to help. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the local market, our agents can guide you through every stage of the process, from finding your ideal property to closing the deal. Contact The Maui Real Estate Team today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you find your perfect home in Maui. 

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Buying Property In Maui: Tips, Steps, Challenges and Rewards

Maui is known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and laid-back lifestyle. With its year-round warm weather, diverse outdoor activities, and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder many people dream of owning property on this beautiful place on our planet. Whether you’re looking for a permanent residence, a vacation home, or a rental property, buying property in Maui can be exciting and rewarding. 

However, navigating the island’s unique real estate market can be challenging, especially for first-time home buyers or those unfamiliar with the area. In this blog, we’ll explore the ins and outs of buying property in Maui, from understanding the local market trends to finding the perfect location and property type to suit your needs and budget.

With the help of online tools that allow you to search for properties in Maui, you’ll be well on your way to finding your dream home on the island.

Key Takeaways:

  • Research: It’s important to study Maui’s real estate market trends, property types, and zoning laws.
  • Local Expertise: Understanding different Maui areas can help align investment and lifestyle goals.
  • Professional Guidance: Engage with local real estate experts for effective navigation through the market.
  • Financial Planning: Assess financing options and secure mortgage pre-approval to clarify budgeting.
  • Due Diligence: Ensure thorough property inspections and legal checks to meet investment criteria.

Researching the Maui Real Estate Market

Before diving into the Maui real estate market, it’s essential to conduct thorough research to ensure you make an informed decision. Here are some key factors to consider when researching the market:

1. Market trends

Analyze the current state of the Maui real estate market, including property prices, demand, and supply. Understanding the market can give you a better sense of the relative abundance or scarcity of properties that fit your needs. It can also give you a sense of the competition you may face in your segment of the market.

2. Location

Maui is divided into several distinct areas, each with its own unique characteristics and amenities. Research the different regions, such as the North Shore, South Maui, Central Maui, and Upcountry, to determine which location best suits your lifestyle.

3. Property types

Maui offers a variety of property types, including condos, single-family homes, and land parcels. Consider your budget, desired amenities, and maintenance requirements when deciding which property type to pursue.

4. Zoning and regulations

Familiarize yourself with Maui’s zoning laws and building regulations. This is particularly important for those considering vacation rental properties. Maui has numerous restrictions on short-term rentals. Very few single family homes on island have the zoning that allows for short-term rentals. Not all condos may be rented short-term either. In fact, there is a good possibility that as many as 7,000 condos that are currently allowed to rent short-term will be subject to prohibitions on vacation rentals in the near future.

5. Real estate professionals

Connect with local real estate agents or brokers who specialize in Maui properties. These professionals can provide valuable insights into the local market, guide you through the buying process, and help you find the perfect property.

By thoroughly researching the Maui real estate market, you’ll be better equipped to make a sound investment decision and find the property that best aligns with your goals and aspirations.

How To Decide What Maui Home Fits Your Needs

When searching for your dream home in Maui, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs and preferences to ensure you find the right property. Here are some factors to help you decide what type of Maui home you need:

1. Budget

Determine your budget for purchasing a Maui property, taking into account not only the purchase price but also ongoing expenses such as maintenance, utilities, insurance, and property taxes. This will help narrow your options and ensure you’re looking at properties within your financial means.

2. Purpose

Consider the primary purpose of your Maui home. Will it be a permanent residence, a vacation home, or a rental property? Each purpose may require different zoning, features, locations, and amenities.

3. Size and layout

Think about the size and layout that best suit your needs. Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you require, as well as any additional spaces like a home office, storage or outdoor living areas.

4. Location

Decide which part of Maui you’d prefer to live in based on your lifestyle, interests, and weather preferences. For example, if your top priority is sunny days at the beach you might want to focus on South Maui. If you want a more rural or lush tropical environment, you may focus your search on the North Shore or even East Maui.

5. Amenities

Make a list of must-have amenities for your Maui home, such as a pool, ocean views, or a gourmet kitchen. Prioritize these features to help guide your search and decision-making process.

6. Maintenance

Consider the level of maintenance you’re willing to take on. Condos offer the best option for people looking for low maintenance. With most condos, your association fees help fund the maintenance of landscaping and the exterior of the building. While acreage has its appeal for privacy and spaciousness, you either need the time to maintain the property or the money to pay others to maintain it for you.

7. Future plans

Think about your long-term plans and how they may impact your Maui home needs. If you plan on growing your family or eventually retiring in Maui, consider properties that can accommodate these future changes.

8. Prioritize and be willing to compromise

Unless you have an unlimited budget, it may prove difficult to find a property that ticks all your boxes. For example, you may need to be willing to compromise on location to get the size home you want or vice versa.

By carefully evaluating your needs and preferences, you’ll be better equipped to find the perfect Maui home that aligns with your lifestyle, budget, and long-term goals.

Financing Options for Buying Property in Maui

When purchasing a property in Maui, it’s essential to understand the various financing options available to you. Here are some common financing methods for buying Maui real estate:

1. Conventional mortgages

Conventional mortgages are loans not backed by a government agency. They typically require a higher credit score and down payment than other loan types, but they can offer competitive interest rates and flexible terms for qualified buyers.

2. FHA loans

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are government-backed mortgages that can be easier to qualify for than conventional loans. They often have lower down payment requirements and more lenient credit score standards, making them a popular choice for first-time homebuyers.

3. VA loans

Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are available to eligible military service members, veterans, and their surviving spouses. These loans offer competitive interest rates, no down payment requirements, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums.

4. Jumbo loans

Jumbo loans are mortgages that exceed the conforming loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). These loans are common in Maui’s luxury real estate market and may require a higher down payment and credit score than conventional mortgages.

5. USDA Farm Ownership Loans

If you have experience in agriculture and aspire to own a Maui farm of your own, USDA Farm Ownership Loans can be a great option. They offer competitive rates and up to 100% financing. The financing process is longer and it requires more steps. Keep in mind that not all sellers will be open to 100% financing or longer transaction times.

6. Owner financing

In rare cases, the seller of a Maui property may be willing to offer owner financing, where they act as the lender. This can be an option for buyers who want more flexible terms or with properties that may not be suitable for conventional financing.

7. Cash purchases

If you have the financial means, purchasing a Maui property with cash can simplify the buying process and give you a competitive edge in a tight market. Cash purchases eliminate the need for mortgage approval and can result in a quicker closing. Maui sees a higher percentage of cash purchases than many real estate markets.

When considering financing options for your Maui property purchase, it’s essential to consult with a financial advisor and a local mortgage professional. They can help you evaluate your financial situation, explore available options, and determine the best financing strategy for your unique circumstances.

There is a reason we bolded local in the paragraph above. We advise buyers to use a local mortgage broker with experience and the necessary licensing to close mortgages in Hawaii. Our observation is that buyers who use mainland-based lenders have greater difficulty getting final loan approval.

How To Navigate the Home Buying Process in Maui

Purchasing a property in Maui can be an exciting but complex process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the buying process:

1. Hire a local real estate agent

Work with a reputable, experienced real estate agent like someone from The Maui Real Estate Team, who specializes in Maui properties. They can provide valuable insights into the local market, help you find properties to match your criteria, and guide you through the entire buying process.

2. Get pre-approved for financing

Before starting your property search, obtain a pre-approval letter from a lender. This will give you a clear idea of your budget and demonstrate to sellers that you’re a serious buyer. With competitive offers, most sellers will not consider a buyer without a pre-approval.

3. Conduct property searches

Work with your real estate agent to identify properties that align with your needs, preferences, and budget. Attend open houses and schedule private viewings to get a better sense of the properties and neighborhoods.

4. Make an offer

Once you’ve found the perfect property, work with your agent to craft a compelling offer. Your agent will help you determine a fair price based on market conditions and comparable sales and will guide you through any negotiations with the seller.

5. Perform due diligence

After your offer is accepted, conduct thorough due diligence on the property. This includes hiring a licensed inspector to assess the property’s condition, reviewing any relevant documents (such as the title report and disclosure statements), and evaluating the permits for a property.

6. Get quotes for insurance

Insurance is becoming a bigger pitfall in real estate transactions with insurance companies becoming more selective about issuing new policies. Roofs, electrical systems and age of homes are being scrutinized. While the situation on island is exacerbated by the Lahaina Fire, many of these new, stricter policy guidelines are national. Start getting quotes for insurance earlier in the purchase process. You will need insurance lined up to finalize your financing.

7. Finalize financing

Work with your lender to finalize your financing and lock in your interest rate. Be prepared to provide any additional documentation requested by your lender, such as updated financial statements, your most recent tax returns or proof of insurance.

8. Close the deal

As closing day approaches, you will work with the title and escrow company to sign the necessary documents for closing. These documents can be signed on island or remotely with a mobile notary. Your final funds are due to escrow a minimum of two business days prior to closing. On closing day itself, the title company will notify your agent when the transaction is officially recorded and the deal is closed! At that point, you can expect the congratulatory phone call from your agent and make arrangements to get the keys to your new home.

Throughout the buying process, it’s essential to maintain open communication with your real estate agent and other professionals involved in the transaction. By staying organized, informed, and proactive, you can navigate the Maui buying process with confidence and successfully acquire your dream island property.

Choosing The Right Maui Real Estate Agent

Working with a skilled and experienced real estate agent is crucial when buying property in Maui. A good agent can make the difference between a smooth, successful transaction and a stressful, complicated one. Here are some tips for choosing the right Maui real estate agent:

Note: The Maui Real Estate Team ticks all these boxes. 

1. Look for local expertise

Choose an agent who specializes in the Maui real estate market and has a deep understanding of the island’s unique neighborhoods, market trends, and property types. Local expertise is invaluable when navigating the complexities of buying in Maui.

2. Check credentials and experience

Verify that your potential agent is licensed in Hawaii and has a proven track record of successful transactions. Look for agents with designations like Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) or Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), which indicate advanced training and expertise.

3. Read reviews and testimonials

Research potential agents online, paying close attention to reviews and testimonials from past clients. Look for agents who consistently receive high praise for their professionalism, responsiveness, and ability to deliver results.

4. Evaluate communication skills

Choose an agent who communicates clearly, promptly, and effectively. You want an agent who will keep you informed throughout the buying process, answer your questions thoroughly, and be readily available to address any concerns.

5. Consider personality fit

Buying a home is a highly personal experience, so it’s essential to choose an agent whose personality and working style align with your own. Look for an agent who listens carefully to your needs, respects your preferences, and makes you feel comfortable and supported.

6. Ask for referrals

Reach out to friends, family members, or colleagues who have recently purchased property in Maui and ask for agent recommendations. Personal referrals can be a valuable way to find a trusted, effective agent.

7. Interview multiple agents

Before committing to an agent, interview several candidates to compare their experience, expertise, and approach. Ask questions about their familiarity with your desired neighborhoods, their strategies for finding off-market properties, and their negotiation skills.

Ready To Work With Maui Real Estate Professionals?

Buying property in Maui can be a dream come true for both Kama’aina and new island residents. By thoroughly researching the local real estate market, determining your specific needs and preferences, exploring financing options, and navigating the buying process with the help of a skilled real estate agent, you can turn your aspirations into a reality. 

The Maui Real Estate Team is staffed with real estate agents who are experts in Maui neighborhoods and know how to make your buying experience as pleasant as living here. 

Pete Jalbert

Maui Real Estate Blog

Exploring the Best Neighborhoods in Maui: A Home Buyer’s Guide

For a small island, Maui offers a diverse variety of living options. Each town has a distinct personality. Even neighborhoods have their distinct flavor.  Talk to different residents and you are bound to hear a variety of strong opinions on Maui’s best neighborhoods and places to live.

Those opinions are going to be based on personal lifestyle, climate preferences, and that person’s particular wants and needs. That makes the best neighborhoods on Maui post bound to create some disagreements.

We recognize the diversity of opinions and acknowledge own own biases. As a real estate brokerage, The Maui Real Estate Team tries to be location agnostic and provide our buyers with the tools to make their own decisions. With that in mind, this post takes a look at some of the different areas of the island more broadly suited to certain lifestyles.

If you love to play in the wind and waves, we’ve got a neighborhood you should consider. If general beachgoing is a priority, we have a community worth a look. Golfers, we give you a good option outside the more well-known resorts.

If you just want to soak in big panoramic views, we’ll tell you a good place to do it. Want to live in seclusion? We have an idea for you. Convenience is king for your lifestyle? We’ve got you covered. 

Curious yet? Keep reading and we will give you some ideas on the best Maui neighborhoods and communities to suit your personal Maui lifestyle.

For a comprehensive listing of Maui condos, be sure to explore our extensive collection of Maui Condos Listings.

The Allure of Spreckelsville for Ocean Sports Enthusiasts

Maui is a great place for ocean lovers. It is world-renowned for its combination of wind and waves. There are very few places on the planet that can match the combination of wind and waves found in the waters offshore from the North Shore’s Spreckelsville neighborhood.

Unraveling the Thrill of Water Sports in Spreckelsville

Pick a water sport, any water sport outside of ice fishing and you can do it in Spreckelsville. 

Surfing is of course a staple of the Hawaii Ocean Sports diet. From fun on a soft top in the Sugar Cove Beach Break to bombing barrels on the outer reefs that are a half mile or more offshore, you can find a variety of waves to keep you entertained.

Of course, you don’t just have to ride a surfboard to enjoy the local waves. Whether you like to body board, stand-up paddle, or body surf, you will be entertained in Sprecks.

Sprecks has always been known as a haven for wind and water sports. It first gained renown among windsurfers in the 1980s. To this day, it is considered a premier area to rig and launch to enjoy consistent tradewinds and waves.

In the late nineties, Kitesurfers started to descend on the area and nearby Kanaha Beach Park. More recently, Wing foiling became a sport of choice in the waters near Sprecks. 

The stretch of coastline between Maliko Gulch to the East of Paia and Kahului Harbor is one of the world’s best for downwind coast runs. Whether you are in a canoe, stand-up paddle board, or some variety of foil board, the glide of riding open ocean swells in this area is tough to beat. Spreckelsville is right in the middle of this downwind run!

Our Choice for Best Maui Neighborhood for Ocean Sports is Spreckelville. World renowned waterman Kai Lenny grew up playing the neighborhood's offshore waters. Spreckelsville is the Choice for Best Maui Neighborhood for Ocean Sports. World-renowned waterman Kai Lenny trains in the waters off of Sugar Cove. 

Housing Options in Sprecklesville

Living near such incredible sporting opportunities needs housing options that match, and Spreckelsville delivers. There is a pretty diverse array of properties in the area from executive homes fronting the Maui Country Club Golf Course to oceanfront estates to homes on two-acre lots and even a beachfront condominium development.

The one thing you won’t find is lower-priced properties. The Spreckslsville lifestyle comes at a premium.

Oceanfront properties are highly sought after in this area due to their proximity to the water sports action. Imagine waking up each morning and being able to check the wind and waves from your backyard- it’s no wonder these homes are prized possessions.

Sugar Cove is the area’s only beachfront condominium development. This small condo development consists of just 18 units. Due to its size, listings rarely come on the market.

Key Takeaway: 

With world-class ocean sports just offshore, Spreckelsville is a dream destination for water enthusiasts. Whether it’s surfing, winging, windsurfing, SUPing, or kiteboarding, this neighborhood offers the ultimate playground. The housing options sell for a premium due in large part to the appealing lifestyle of the community.

Honorable Mention for Ocean Sports Communities

There are other great places to live on the island if you love playing in the ocean. Heck, I know people who live way up in Kula who play in the water every day. Here are a few other oceanfront Maui communities and neighborhoods worth mentioning. 

Paia Town is just down the road from Sprecks. There is surfing right behind downtown in Paia Bay. World-renowned Ho’okipa Beach Park is close by. Kuau Point is another great neighborhood for its wind and waves. There is surfing, windsurfing, foiling, and kiting just off the point and Ho’okipa is just a couple minutes down the coast.

The Oceanview Estates neighborhood in Wailuku is a sleeper pick. It is located right above the Sandpiles surf break. There are waves at Sandpiles almost every day of the year and the frequent tradewinds make kiting and winging a possibility.

Kihei – The Quintessential Beach Town

Known for its sunny weather and diverse beaches, Kihei is a favorite destination among locals and tourists alike. This coastal town in South Maui offers casual beach living with a variety of housing options.

The Many Faces of Kihei’s Beaches

No two beaches in Kihei are the same, each has its distinct charm that draws people to it. For instance, Kamaole Beach Parks I, II, and III have clear waters perfect for swimming or snorkeling amidst colorful marine life. These family-friendly parks also feature picnic areas where you can relax after enjoying water activities.

Keawakapu, another popular spot, boasts soft sand ideal for leisurely walks while watching sunset hues dance on gentle waves. It’s also known as one of the best places in Maui for snorkeling thanks to its vibrant underwater world.

Beautiful Keawakapu Beach in KiheiBeautiful Keawakapu Beach is one of the many stretches of sand that helped Kihei earn my choice of best beach town. 

Sugar Beach might be your pick if long peaceful walks appeal more to you than anything else – this five-mile stretch allows uninterrupted strolling while soaking up ocean views and maybe spotting humpback whales during their season.

Cove Park serves as a starting point for beginning surfers due to smaller wave breaks, but don’t let that fool you into thinking only beginners come here. You’ll often find seasoned surfers enjoying early morning rides too.

Mai Poina ‘Oe Ia’u (also called Mai Poina) stands out from other beaches because it’s favored by windsurfing enthusiasts along with wing-foiling aficionados or kitesurfers who prefer the consistent wind conditions of this area.

Residential Choices in Kihei

The housing scene in Kihei is as diverse as its beaches. Whether you’re a single professional, raising a family, or looking to retire by the beach, there’s something for everyone here.

Kihei has the largest number of condos of any community on the island. It’s a pretty varied bunch. Of course, there are many vacation rental-friendly condos with lush grounds and inviting pool areas.

There are also condos with fewer bells and whistles and lower maintenance fees geared towards year-round residents. If you don’t want to vacation rent, you can still live at a place that’s well-appointed. Again, the options are many when sorting through the inventory of Kihei Condos for Sale.

If more privacy is what you seek then one of Kihei’s single-family homes might be your choice. Ranging from simple bungalows nestled amidst lush greenery to executive homes to beautiful beach and oceanfront estates. There are varied options in the current inventory of Kihei Homes for Sale

Key Takeaway: 

Kihei’s charm: A beach town offering sunny weather and diverse beaches. Each beach here is unique, perfect for everything from snorkeling to windsurfing.

Residential options: Kihei is a treasure trove of housing choices. You’ll find condos boasting ocean views, and single-family homes if you’re after more privacy.

Other Beach Towns of Note

Needless to say, when you live on an island there is more than one good beach town. we already mentioned Paia town among the island’s surf towns, but you don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy Paia Bay, Baldwin, and Ho’okipa Beach Park.

Kula – A Community with a View

Beautiful beaches and tropical landscapes are two images that immediately come to mind when you think of Hawaii. But there’s more to Maui than just beachfront living. Take Kula, for instance. This community offers panoramic views, rolling green pastures, and crisp cool nights on the slopes of Haleakala.

The Majestic Views of Kula

In Kula, the landscape takes center stage. Situated at elevations ranging from 1,200 feet to 4,000 feet on Haleakala Volcano’s western slope, this rural community’s perch on the mountainside means stunning views. The range in elevation within Kula also means variety in the window dressing for your views.

At lower elevations, the climate is warm and sun-baked with an almost desert-like climate. As you gain elevation, you get closer to the clouds. Afternoon clouds can bring mist to help green the landscape. 

On any given day, residents can soak up the sights of the South Maui Coastline while sipping their morning coffee or watch as Lanai and Kahoolawe islands appear to float above the Pacific Ocean under an orange sunset. The grandeur doesn’t stop there though; Central Maui and West Maui Mountains also form part of this spectacular panorama.

Kula gets the award for best place for viewsThe best area for views? A picture from Kula is worth 1,000 words. 

Living in Kula

If Kula’s views and environment sound enticing, let’s review the options among the inventory of Kula Homes for Sale

Housing varies widely within Kula due to its size and varied topography. From sprawling estates nestled amidst the clouds to cozy cottages that are reminiscent of a more pastoral lifestyle, Kula has it all.

So whether you’re looking for ample space or something quaint and charming, this community offers a unique mix. Many homes here capitalize on their elevated location by offering expansive decks or patios – perfect spots for taking in those iconic views we talked about earlier. 

The climate, elevation, and soils of Kula make it an ideal locale for gardeners and small-scale farming. From Flower Farms to vineyards to orchards to simple vegetable and herb gardens, plant it, give it love and it will thrive in Kula. The higher elevations of Kula support some surprising produce including apples and assorted stone fruit.

Key Takeaway: 

Whether you’re sipping your morning coffee while soaking in the South Maui Coastline view or watching the sunset over floating islands, Kula life is all about majestic panoramas. The housing options are just as diverse and appealing – from grand estates to cozy cottages. 

Other Notable View Neighborhoods and Communities

Wailuku Heights sits on the lower slopes of the east face of the West Maui Mountains. From that vantage point, homes look across the Central Valley towards Haleakala. Most homes have a view of one or both of the coastlines. It is also a great place to see sunrises and moonrises.

Maui Meadows is a subdivision located just above Wailea. It is the best place in South Maui for ocean views particularly as you move higher up in the neighborhood. The topography is a lot more favorable for views than Kihei and a number of the neighborhoods in Wailea.

Pukalani- A Great Option for Golfers Outside the Resorts

Maui’s resorts are renowned for their golf courses. Every year, the first event of the PGA tour kicks off on Kapalua’s Plantation Course. Courses in Wailea and Ka’anapali also hosted professional events in the past.

That said, homes that front those golf courses tend to sell for an absolute premium. If you desire to live on the golf course but want something outside the resort for either lifestyle reasons or due to budget, Pukalani is worth a look. 

Golf with a View at Pukalani Country Club

Located on the western slope of Haleakala, Pukalani is situated between 1,000 and 1,600 feet in elevation. Pukalani translates to “hole in the sky.”

That speaks to the area’s sunny days and cooler nights. The community’s orientation on Haleakala makes for nice views of the West Maui Mountains, Central Valley, North Shore, and Ma’alaea Bay. 

The golf course in the community is the Pukalani Country Club. This 18-hole course offers reasonable greens fees and is low on pretense. It is open to the public. Local residents are able to apply for annual memberships. The membership fees mean that you get to play for a discounted cart rate.

While I am not a golfer personally, my father-in-law enjoys playing the course whenever he visits. He frequently joins up with other golfers or golfers to share a cart. Everyone he meets on his rounds is always friendly.

Living Options in Pukalani

The golf course is surrounded by both single-family residences and two townhome communities. The homes surrounding the golf course show diversity in size, age of construction, and finishing. The oldest homes in the neighborhood were built in the 70s.

The highest-priced community that abuts the golf course is The Residences at Kulamalu. This is the newest development in the area. Lot sizes along the golf course range from 7,000 square feet to upwards of 20,000 square feet.

There are a fair number of half-acre properties located within half of a mile of the golf course if you are looking for a little more land. The breadth of options for Pukalani Homes for Sale grows even more the further you get from the golf course. 

Sunset Views from a home located along a fairway at the Pukalani Country Club Golf CourseSunset Views from a home along the fairways of the Pukalani Country Club Golf Course

Key Takeaway: 

Pukalani offers golf course living with views and without a lot of pretension. Homes along the Pukalani Country Club golf course are more accessibly priced than homes in resort areas. 

Other Community Options for Golfers

The Dunes at Maui Lani is Maui’s most unique golf course. It is a Links-style course located in the heart of the Maui Lani Planned community. There are several subdivisions in the community with homes that back up against the golf course.

My sleeper pick is Oceanview Estates in Wailuku. This neighborhood is the closest to the Waiehu Municipal Course, known by some locals as the poor man’s Pebble Beach. This is the least expensive course on the island. 

Hana Town: When Seclusion and Quiet is Paramount 

Hana is located on the very eastern tip of the island. It is only 64 miles from Kahului to Hana, but the drive can take over two hours. The windy road travels through lush rain forests and crosses over 46 one-way bridges.

That means a trip of up to 2 ½ hours to get from Kahului. There is also a small airport that has two commercial flights to and from Kahului daily. This type of seclusion makes for a quiet rural community.

An aerial view of secluded Hana TownAn aerial view of Hana Town, secluded and quiet

Limited Amenities, Abundant Beauty

Hana Town is home to roughly 1,500 full-time residents. There are no stoplights in town and Hasegwa General Store is the main place to shop. Food options increased over the last ten years with several food trucks opening.

Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of conveniences and amenities. Plan on shopping at the Farmer’s Market, Hasegawas, or making periodic trips to the other side of the island to load up on staples. 

Shopping isn’t the draw. It is the quiet and natural beauty of the area. There are a few beautiful beaches, Wainapanapa State Park is on the north side of Hana and the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park is a short drive away.

While not as wet as the areas you pass through on the Road to Hana, it is the lush windward side of the island. Trade showers keep the area green and longer periods of rain are common during the winter rainy season. 

Hana Property Options

As a rural community, single-family homes are the primary living option. That said, the range of homes for sale in Hana is pretty diverse. There are more modest homes on smaller lots in Hana town itself, larger estate-type properties located on acreage, and oceanfront homes perched above the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific.

Interested in growing your food or having a small farm? The combination of sun and abundant rainfall makes for flourishing fruit trees. There is one condominium development in Hana. The Hana Kai is a small 20-unit, vacation rental-friendly development overlooking Hana Bay.

Due to its small size. Sales are pretty infrequent. Due to the smaller pool of properties in Hana, patience or compromise can be important when shopping for a Hana home. 

Key Takeaway: 

Hana Town offers peace, quiet, and tropical tranquility. What it lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in natural beauty.  Residential options include homes on smaller lots in town, small-scale farms, and oceanfront homes. 

Other Places to Find Seclusion

You don’t have to head to the eastern tip of the island to find seclusion. The Huelo area of Haiku is located at the start of the road to Hana. This rural community offers quiet without having to make the full drive to Hana.

Ulupalakua is a Tranquil community in the Kula area of Upcountry Maui. Properties don’t come on the market very often, but it is a great place if you want to live a little off the beaten path with big views. 

Kehalani- Convenience and a Truly Central Location

Let’s face it, living a life of seclusion isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you prioritize ease of access to shopping, medical facilities, and entertainment or you just want to be relatively close to everywhere but Hana, Central Maui is the place to live. We wanted to highlight the master-planned community of Kehalani, one area in particular that offers convenience to its residents.

Kehalani is A Newer Community Close to It All

Kehalani first broke ground in the mid-1990s. New construction continues to this day. New releases in development tend to go quickly. Location is a significant reason why. The community is set at the base of the eastern slope of the West Maui Mountains.

It is within a 5-minute drive of downtown Wailuku, Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and the University of Hawaii Maui College. Costco, Target, Lowes, and other Big Box Stores are right around 10 minutes away. You can be on a beach on the North Shore, South Maui, or West Maui in 20 minutes or less. 

Kehalani is the pick for best Maui Neighborhood for ConvenienceKehalani is the Best Maui Neighborhood for convenience. 

Kehalani Offers Condos or Single-Family Homes

Convenience isn’t just about location. When it comes to where you live, it might mean less home or yard maintenance. Kehalani offers a variety of both condominium and single-family home developments that offer easier living.

The combination of newer construction and smaller lot sizes means that owners spend less time maintaining their property and more time enjoying all that Maui has to offer. That being said, there are 23 unique neighborhoods within Kehalani.

If you like having a little more yard space, there are neighborhoods like Koa at Kehalani with lot sizes between a quarter and a half acre. 

Key Takeaway: 

Kehalani offers easy access to Central Maui Amenities and is a twenty-minute drive from beaches on three sides of the island.  There are a variety of residential options within this master-planned community ranging from condos to custom executive homes. 

Other Maui Communities to Consider When Convenience is Paramount

Add another Central Maui Planned Community to the list. Maui Lani is located just down the hill from Kehalani and shares similar attributes. Newer construction and easy access to all of the amenities in Wailuku and Kahului. For that matter, most of Wailuku and Kahului offer convenience and easy access for owners.

Discover Maui’s Best Neighborhoods with The Maui Real Estate Team

Let’s look back on our picks for some of the best neighborhoods in Maui.

Spreckelsville – where water sports enthusiasts find their paradise. Here, surfing, kitesurfing, winging and windsurfing are a daily thrill. 

Kihei – the quintessential beach town that gives you variety at every turn with beaches like Kamaole and Keawakapu for snorkeling or swimming.

Kula – an elevated rural community offering breathtaking views from sprawling estates to quaint cottages.

Pukalani – laid-back living along the fairways of the Pukalani Country Club. A more affordable option to live along the links. 

Hana – for those who want to get away from it all. A great option if quiet and natural beauty take precedence over amenities.

Kehalani – location and lower maintenance are two of the reasons that make this community ideal for those who value convenience above all.

One last note about this article. You will notice that there are no neighborhoods listed in West Maui. To be clear, there are a lot of great neighborhoods on that side of the island that would normally be contenders for this list.

That said, West Maui is facing a massive housing crisis in the aftermath of the Lahaina fire. Over 6,000 residents are in temporary accommodations looking for long-term housing. In light of that situation, we did not feel it was appropriate to draw additional competition to the limited housing resources available. 

As we have said at the beginning of our post, this is an imperfect list bound to create disagreements. It is also worth noting that you don’t have to be a surfer, windsurfer, or kiteboarder to enjoy a community like Spreckelsville. For that matter, you don’t have to play golf to enjoy Pukalani.

You may have passions or visions of a Maui Lifestyle that aren’t covered by the list. Give us a call or send us a message with your interests, needs, and budget and we would be happy to come up with options for the Best Maui Neighborhoods for you!

Pete Jalbert

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.

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.

Zip codes cover big areas on Maui. This causes some confusion about location when searching online for Maui Real Estate. This is an example of a Kapalua Home that shows a Lahaina location due to address.
This Kapalua Home shows a Lahaina Address in an online search.
Looking a little deeper in the search results, the Kapalua location is shown by the district.
Scrolling down in your search, the district shows the home is located in Kapalua.

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.

Zillow's listings also feature a Lahaina address for a Kapaua home when searching online for Maui Real Estate.
This same listing on Zillow also shows a Lahaina location
Location Information on Zillow shows under the Community and Neighborhood section

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.

This online listing appears to show 2 acres of land. In reality it is smaller CPR unit.
An online listing that appears to show 2 acres.
Closer examination of the listing remarks of this online listing shows that this is a half acre cpr listing rather than a full 2 acre lot.
A closer review of the listing remarks shows that this is a half acre CPR unit.

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.

Zillow's monthly lease payment on lease condos is displayed as total monthly rent.
While Zillow includes the monthly lease payment in its leasehold listings, it looks more like income than an expense.

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.

Last Thoughts

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!

Pete Jalbert