Maui Real Estate Newsletter


While there are many reasons why Maui Real Estate is of interest to an International audience, the predominant attraction continues to be Condos or Homes that can be used as Vacation Rental properties.  Reasons range from the obvious—that being the income they can potentially create—to merely wanting to own a “piece of the rock” for family and lifestyle activities.  Based on questions I often get, here are some myths about Maui Vacation Rental properties that are worth dispelling.

that can be used as Vacation Rental properties.  Reasons range from the obvious—that being the income they can potentially create—to merely wanting to own a “piece of the rock” for family and lifestyle activities.  Based on questions I often get, here are some myths about Maui Vacation Rental properties that are worth dispelling.

1.  Many properties on Maui are “Leasehold”

Leasehold is a way to hold interest in property that is unique to Hawaii and a handful of other states.  Back in the early plantation days—some say going back as far as 400 A.D.--all land was owned by Kings, also known as Ali’I and operated as a “feudal system”.  Kanaka, or commoners, worked the land and the bounty was distributed amongst the Ali’I and workers.  Centuries later, real estate was still owned by a few elite families then “leased” out to others to be developed or farmed.

Most real estate on the US mainland is owned as “freehold” or “fee simple”, meaning that the land and the improvements on it are wholly owned—not leased.  While this is now true of the vast majority of property in Hawaii/Maui (less than 12% is still held as leasehold), there are still some condominiums and a very few homes that are leasehold.  And, yes; with these properties you own the improvements on the land, but you are leasing, or renting, the land for a period of years.  While the lease rate is fixed for many years forward, most have a provision that the lease may be adjusted based on the accelerated value of the land.  At the end of the lease, the owner can even elect to remove the improvements to the land, although this is hardly ever done.

So that’s the bad news.  The good news is that leasehold properties often sell for less than half of what a neighboring fee simple property might sell for.  Many have 30, 40, 50 or more years left on their lease.  Lower cost to purchase means higher returns on rental income.  Be advised, though, that Maui County bases property tax rates on neighboring fee simple properties and not the lower leasehold value.  A good fit for some, but not all.

2.  Financing Costs More on Maui

Since most mortgage loans today are sold to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae—government sponsored entities that act as links between banks and lenders, the Federal government, and private investors--rates are set on a national rather than a state level.  The mortgages are then held as investments or packaged as mortgage-backed securities that are then sold to private investors on the secondary mortgage market.  Thus the rate would be the same whether buying property in Maui or anywhere on the US mainland.

Having said that, I often get clients who want to use their banks or lenders in their hometowns rather than one based in Hawaii.  While this can sometimes work out ok, especially with a client who has a close relationship and many holdings with their personal bank—out-of-area lenders often struggle with a sub-category unique to Hawaii/Maui known as “condo-tels”.  While the criteria that establishes a condo-tel vs. just a condo seems to be a moving target from year to year, it’s typically defined as a condominium complex that functions as a hotel.  In other words, there is a front desk that checks guests in, distributes keys, provides housekeeping and rental management services, etc.  Lenders unfamiliar with this category of property are often leary and will not lend on such properties.  That’s when using a local lender becomes your best option.

Exceptions to all this?  Our friends in Canada may find it easier to get financing through their local sources.

3.  Managing your Vacation Rental can require a good deal of time and effort.

Yes, it can, but it doesn’t have to.  That’s why I always query my clients on their goals, objectives, and expectations when purchasing a Vacation Rental property.

Those who are looking to maximize their income from their Vacation Rental property, will, in fact, have to be very involved in the rental process.  It will be like having a part-time job that you can work from your home by using one of the many Vacation-Rental-By-Owner websites out there to give your property exposure.  You will need to have professional photos, set up a calendar with nightly rates based on seasonal highs and lows, and write good copy to make people want to rent your place over another.  You will have to have housekeeping service, handy people and in some instances licensed contractors available, and at the very least an on-island contact who can be available to your guests as questions and/or repairs arise.

But options abound.  If max-income is not your priority, then there are several choices of third party management companies out there who will handle the details for anywhere from 20%-35% of your monthly revenue.  In addition, many of the larger condo complexes have their own built-in management program that offers a total turnkey service and you don’t have to be involved at all.  Simply check your mailbox every month and see if there was any money left over after they have taken their cut (often 50%) and paid all your taxes, association fees, utilities, operating costs, etc.

This is when your main motivation for owning a Vacation Rental property may have to be based on wanting to be part of the community; having access to it yourself and for your friends and family; or simply being able to afford the lifestyle that you want and deserve!

FYI, I manage a select handful of Vacation Rental properties for clients who purchased their properties through me.

O.K.!  Let’s take a look at some new Featured Properties that have come on line in the last 30 days!

Condos Under $1 Million

MLS #384513  Kihei Sands, $499,000
MLS #384565  Hono Kai,   $550,000
MLS #384845  Maui Kamaole,  $629,999
MLS #384821  Ke Alii Ocean Villas,  $799,900
MLS #384501  Kihei Sands,  $925,000
MLS #384789  Wailea Ekolu,  $938,888

Condos Over $1 Million

MLS #384817  Wailea Ekolu, $1,225,000
MLS #384830  Mana Kai, $1,595,000
MLS #384459  Kai Malu,  $1,599,900
MLS #384797  Wailea Point,  $2,300,000
MLS #384659  Wailea beach Villas, $2,775,000
MLS #384449  Wailea Point,  $6,250,000

Single-family Homes Under $1 Million

MLS #384634 $749,000
MLS #384465 $835,000
MLS #384732 $900,000
MLS #384476 $950,000

Single-Family Homes Over $1 Million

MLS #384687 $1,150,000
MLS #384666  $1,249,000
MLS #384470   $3,750,000

Click Here for complete October Maui Real Estate statistics

The baseball World Series is unique to sports in many ways, but I think more than any other sporting event it is watched and revered by hardcore fans and the occasional viewer as well.  Last week, the Washington Nationals brought the title to Washington D.C.--the first time in 95 years-- when the Nation’s Capitol most needed a little breath of fresh air!

As we have seen with our nation in the past, sports can often provide at least a distraction if not a calming and healing effect during difficult times.  We saw this with the Boston Red Sox after the horror of the Boston Marathon bombers paralyzed the country for days.   And prior to that post 9-11 when President Bush threw out the first ball to start the World Series in Yankee Stadium.

Yes times are tough.  Our country is more divided than it has ever been before.  But when you think about the things we all share in common as Americans—when you see first responders risk their lives to save others, health care professionals giving loving care to all who are in need, our neighbors bringing us food and hugs if we’ve been through a disaster or bad times, we know that America is still, always has been, and always will be great.

Mahalo nui loa for following my Newsletter.

My best,

Michael Blaz

Maui Realty Associates
(808) 283-9093 direct
(808) 879-5510 fax


Sure it’s only October, but I’m about ready to pull a Rip Van Winkle and go into a slumber—not for 20 years, but until 2020 and call 2019 a “done deal”; wake me when it’s over! Enough already! There’s the daily news constantly filling the air waves with the way the Constitution of the United States and our very political system are getting tested to the max. Constant warnings of imminent climate change seeming to come from all parts of the planet. Storms that have become bigger and more devastating than ever. The economy and how the housing markets will faire moving into 2020 (an election year). Oh, that…let’s stop there and focus on what this Newsletter is, and always has been, about-Real Estate!

For some time now I’ve tried to expand the scope of this Newsletter by including interesting and relevant links for you to read. My reporting data tells me that less than 20% of those who read the letter actually click on the links. Understandable, I guess. But here’s one you may not want to miss.

Austin, TX

“The Ten Trends That Will Shape Real Estate in 2020*”, described as “…find(ing) some direction within a fog of uncertainty” is a must-read. To pique your interest, here are a few of the ten trends anticipated:
·     Who’s Afraid of a Recession
·     Capital with No Place to Go
·     The Rise of Hipsturbia (can you guess?)
·     The “Silver Tsunami” of Senior Housing
·     The Potential, and Pull, of Principled Investment

Personally, I’m pleased to see trends moving towards sustainability, energy efficiency, clean transportation, and environmentally friendly technologies. “Look up at the mountain, I have to climb, oh yeah, to reach there” **

Moving right along, here are some great Featured Maui Properties for your viewing pleasure separated into categories to satisfy every preference and budget!

Vacation Rental Condos from $445,000 - $950,000

MLS #384141, MLS #384447, MLS #384429, MLS #382512, MLS #383080, MLS #382990 Click Here to View Listings

Vacation Rental Condos from $1,055,000 - $6,250,000

MLS #382731, MLS #383928, MLS #383204, MLS #383648, MLS #383867, MLS #384449 Click Here to View Listings

Single-Family Homes from $675,000 - $975,000

MLS #384244, MLS #381908, MLS #384293, MLS #383716  Click Here to View Listings

Single-Family Homes from $1,175,000 - $29,750,000

MLS #384066, MLS #383119, MLS #383963, MLS #381831 Click Here to View Listings

Click here for complete September statistics.

Maui icon Kris Kristofferson and his band The Strangers will be performing a benefit concert at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center’s Castle Theater on October 19th. Kris is not only a great musician but he can still spin a good story or two when he gets a microphone in his hand.  Kris, and his good friend Willie Nelson, are both full-time residents on Maui and are very gracious with their time when it comes to supporting worthwhile causes. I know most of you will not be here to catch this show but here’s an insider tip: Check out Charley’s Restaurant and Saloon in Paia for a late breakfast some morning and you just may run into Kris or Willie talking story with friends at a nearby table.

As always, thanks for taking time to read my Monthly Newsletter. I hope in some small way it helps keep that dream of owning Maui Real Estate (someday) alive.

Mahalo nui loa and a hui hou!

Michael Blaz
(808) 283-9093

* Urban Land Institution’s Annual Report by Patrick Sisson
** Cat Stevens, Miles from Nowhere/Tea for the Tillerman


At the risk of sounding a bit self-serving, I came across a well-written article on the value a Real Estate agent can bring to a transaction for both buyers and sellers. After 30 years in the business, I still flinch a little when I hear comments that all we do is drive around in our Mercedes’ and BMW’s and charge exorbitant fees (fees are always negotiable, BTW) for very little work. Or the tried and true joke, “What does it mean when you find a Realtor buried in the sand up to his/her neck?” “Someone ran out of sand!” (This was a joke I originally heard describing Attorneys, but it transitioned nicely).

I have a contractor building a new spec home on a lot right next to my house. The lot became available when a fire destroyed the home that was on it a year+ ago. Needless to say I have had conversations with him suggesting I would be an excellent choice to list and sell the home for him when it is ready. His response was that a) he has an inactive(?) license; b) everybody on Maui has a Real Estate license (??); and c) who better to describe the features and sell the home than the person who built it? That’s like suggesting that when you get the flu, rather than go to a doctor go to the guy you caught it from. Proof in the pudding, as they say, is the fact that two homes on the same street were recently listed with Realtors and they were both in escrow within one week. He has had a shabbily written For Sale By Owner sign in the front yard for three months without an offer.

Although the vast majority of U.S. home sales involve real estate agents, the notion in the industry that consumers would be fine buying or selling a home without one is not really a new one....
Read More

For the sake of simplicity, I am going to feature just two very special properties this month.

MLS #384043—I have selected this sweet little 2BR/1BA condo as “special” because it is very near and dear to my heart. The first time I ever visited Maui in 1985 I stayed in another unit in this building that to this day is owned by friends of mine. The complex is small (18 units), quiet, homey, and without the hustle and bustle of the larger vacation condo complexes in south Maui. It is positioned right across from the Mana Kai hotel that features the 5 Palms Restaurant and a great happy-hour in the bar, and is situated at the gateway to Wailea. To me, it offers a taste of what Maui was like 30 or 40 years ago, before the big hotels, big box stores, etc. The five-minute walk to one of Maui’s most iconic beaches, Keawakapu, will take you to a beautiful grassy lawn area replete with showers, restrooms and a nicely stocked deli, and a stretch of white sandy beach that goes on for miles. Lather up with SPF 30 and spend a day at the beach, grab a cold beverage or lunch at the 5 Palms bar or restaurant and breathe in all that Maui has to offer. $595,000!!!

MLS #383928—And if “across the street” from all of the above isn’t good enough for you, then check out this designer-decorated 7th floor 2BR/2BA beauty at the Mana Kai itself! Again, right in my wheelhouse of things, places, that mean so much to me on Maui; so much of my free time having been spent lounging on the lawn of this iconic property over the years. The current owners have cherished this special condo since 1999 when they first purchased it. Many a memorable time was spent enjoying this unit with the kids and friends in the early days. As time has passed, the kids have grown and now the owners are willing to pass it on to others to enjoy. As an owner at the Mana Kai you can take advantage of all the amenities of the property—daily yoga classes indoor and out; a well-equipped private fitness room; BBQ grills for owners and their guests only, and a large swimming pool with sundecks to get that awesome Maui tan. Click here to enjoy a video that can tell the story better than I can.

But that, in fact, may not be the best part! The Mana Kai is a very popular vacation destination property, and while the owners no longer use it themselves, they have created a successful business renting the unit out that they will pass on to the new owners! For the past several years, they have grossed over $100,000/year (please see “Associated Docs” link by clicking on the listing). Make your Maui dreamin’ come true! $1,590,000!!!

Click here for complete August statistics.

Opening at the Iao Theatre in downtown Wailuku this month is the classic favorite The Graduate, running from Sept. 27 to Oct. 13. Maui has one of the best amateur theater programs you will find anywhere, so this is sure to be a fun show. Come check it out if you will be on island during those weeks—and be sure to give me a call to get together for a coffee or glass of wine—wine preferred! Is there a Mrs, Robinson out there?

Mahalo nui loa and a hui hou!

Michael Blaz
(808) 283-9093

Blogs for November 2019

"Dispelling 3 Myths About Owning a Vacation Rental Property on Maui"

Posted on November 01, 2019


While there are many reasons why Maui Real Estate is of interest to an International audience, the predominant attraction continues to be Condos or Homes that can be used as Vacation Rental properties.  Reasons range from the obvious—that being the income they can potentially create—to merely wanting to own… Continue Reading