Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past few months, if buying residential Real Estate is in your radar you know it’s a very competitive market out there. In my 30+ years in the business, I have been through similar markets, but none with more tenacity and staying power than this one. If you want to become an owner and not a perennial shopper, you will need all your ducks in a row. The following 5 tips will go a long way toward helping you acquire your dream home.
1. Know Your Budget
Knowing how much house you can afford before you start shopping is an absolute must. Unless you’re paying cash, it’s more important than ever to connect with a lender who will provide you with a pre-approval letter to submit with any offers you may make. Sellers today will not only select the highest bid, but they will also consider the buyer’s ability to pay cash or at least qualify for a loan within a short time period.
2. Fasten Your Seat Belt
Be totally prepared to compete in a very fast-paced market. As much as you’d like to give your niece or nephew a helping hand with their budding Real Estate career, you will want to align yourself with a seasoned Realtor—a veteran of past wars if you will—to get you to the Winner’s Circle. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), on a national level homes are selling in 17 days or less. Here on Maui, if it’s a particularly desirable property, make that 7 days or less, and at least 3 of those days will be spent comparing multiple offers. You want to make sure you’re at least in the fray!
3. Listen to Your Realtor!
If you don’t have enough confidence in your Realtor to rely on his/her expertise to follow his lead, then you hired the wrong Realtor! Don’t let Grandpa Joe or Aunt Mary, or your hair-stylist or workout partner, side-track you with their “opinions” of how things should be done. An experienced Realtor will be able to offer suggestions and creative options—just a little thing perhaps, like offering the seller a free 30-day rent back after closing—that could be the one thing that swings the deal your way.
4. Start with a Strong Offer
Sorry, low-ballers, Do Not Apply. Skillful negotiators, save those skills for the new SUV you’ve had your eye on; it’s time to be the best with the most here if you want to succeed. Sure, in times past, offers as low as 5-10% under asking price were the norm, although not so much in Maui even in less competitive times. Homes and condos here have typically sold in the 3-5% under asking range. Now, as I check on the properties that have sold (closed escrow) in a given day, at least half have sold for more than the asking price. Again, as a veteran of many Real Estate wars, I have some tricks up my sleeve that could be the difference maker for you. Emotions and prices can run high and part of my job is to keep everyone focused yet calm.
5. Try Putting the Seller’s Hat on When Making an Offer
With your Realtor, think outside of the box. If you’re attempting to buy a short-term rental condo in a popular complex, offer the seller and family a free 2-week stay sometime after closing. Offer flexible (long or short) closing dates. Again, consider free rent-backs to allow a comfortable amount of time for the seller to pack and move with the cash from the sale in hand already. Minimize the contingencies, or eliminate them entirely when possible, if it makes you the Grand Prize Winner. While conventional wisdom would dictate to at least retain your inspection contingency, you can agree to waive incidental repairs should they be identified in an inspection report (and they always will).
Sooo……take a deep breath and dial or text (808) 283-9093 so we can get started finding the perfect home on Maui for you!
Stunning. That is the only word to describe the current demand for Maui Real Estate. In May, Maui breached the $1,000,000 mark for median price of single-family homes for the very first time at $1,039,000. Last month, that high point was completely blown away with median home prices coming in at $1,117,500—a gain of $78,500 month over month!
Perhaps even more stunning is the 44% year over year gain (appreciation) from June of 2020. Inventory remains historically low which continues to drive prices up, but it seems the balance point may have been reached where there are just not enough homes on the market to choose from anymore. Pending sales have slowed somewhat. While the numbers on condo sales are not quite as dramatic—you can click on the link below and see for yourself—they are still significant.
More importantly, it continues to beg the question of what is driving the present frenzy—and whether it will be sustainable over time. Here’s my personal take on the matter:
Much credit, or blame if you will, has been directed to the pandemic. Families leaving metropolitan areas seeking safe harbor from Covid, with a little more sunshine and lifestyle thrown in with the deal, is no doubt a factor for choosing Maui. A realization that business and commerce can, for the most part, be conducted from home in a now virtual world has contributed. The fact that single-family homes have seen the greatest rise in prices rather than condos suggests that relocating and longevity are factoring in as well. All true.
In my opinion, it’s more than that. Truth is, Maui real estate has always been under-valued compared to other highly desirable destination locations.
Point in fact—my career in real estate began in 1989 in Santa Cruz, CA. I was a Top-Producer with Coldwell Banker for 14 years before re-locating to Maui. Santa Cruz has always been (and continues to be) a highly desirable beach community with its special set of amenities revered throughout the Bay area and beyond. If I’m not mistaken, my Realtor friends in Santa Cruz will verify that median home prices left behind $1,000,000 as a median price point long ago. Maui is just now catching up.
If you believe the hypothesis, then it’s easy to believe the conclusion that $1,000,000+ median home prices for Maui are here to stay—sustainability. Certainly prices will not continue to escalate at the current pace forever—if for no other reason than we will run out of houses for sale! I never thought I’d see my lovely Kihei home hit the $1,000,000 mark, but it certainly has! Wanna buy it?
The news is all good here, so here it is in a concise, bullet-point list:
As of July 8, there are now two ways to avoid a 10-day quarantine when visiting Hawaii 1) proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to your visit, or 2) providing proof of vaccination, with the final injection at least 15 days prior to your arrival.
- Go to the Hawaii Safe Travels site at travel.Hawaii.gov/#/welcome to upload a copy of your vaccination certificate (or bring a hard copy) or…
- Upload a copy of your Covid-19 test result from one of Hawaii’s Trusted Testing and Travel partners.
- While outdoor masks are no longer required, many residents and visitors choose to still wear them outdoors. Social distancing and masks indoors are still mandated here on Maui (yes, even Costco).
- Restaurants have been approved for 75% occupancy and most restaurants with cocktail lounges (bars) allow seating at the bar—again, 75% occupancy.
- The rental car situation is still a bit vague—Britney Spears was just here and acknowledged she was having a good time even though she’s “driving around in an old car”. Adam Sandler and family were recently spotted, as well.
So, while Hawaii is not offering any perks for being vaccinated as far as I know, just being able to avoid the Covid test may be enough incentive for some!
That’s a wrap for July! Yes, our very warm weather is upon us once again with little rain in sight for the leeward side of the island (Kihei, Wailea, Makena). But if you’re planning a visit for a week or two, and especially if you like to spend time in the water you won’t be bothered by the heat and will appreciate the sunshine. Remember, if you are interested in Maui Real Estate, simply send me your contact information and criteria and I will get back to you right away with a list of properties and other tips.