Maui Home Prices Surge

Aloha!

If you want to check out Maui real estate, it’s helpful to know that the median prices for single-family homes jumped 21.3% to $570,0000 in September, compared to 2013. Condos are up 34.8% to $465,000, according to the Realtors Association of Maui.

It’s worth noting that all of this is based on the area. For single-family homes, Central Maui (Kahului) had 32 sales and a $449,500 median price. Kihei had 12 sales and a $502,500 median price. But Haiku came in with eight sales and a $745,575 median price.

These low-end median prices are usually a typical Maui home made of cement block, and have three bedrooms, one bath, and a tiny kitchen. Perhaps a more accurate depiction of a median is this home in Olinda that I found on http://www.Zillow.com. (I love Zillow, especially the mapping and birds-eye views.) With a nice-sized kitchen, covered porch, etc.

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Four sales of luxury homes occurred in Wailea, for a total sales volume of $12.4 million and a median price of $1.4 million.

For those interested in condos, Kihei, the town right next-door to Wailea, outpaced all of the regions. It had 31 sales of condos with a median price of $315,000. Up north, Napili/Kahana/Honokowai had 12 condo sales, and a median price of $465,000. And upper-end Kaanapali came in with a median price of $930,000.

This is good news for Maui homeowners who have been hanging on waiting for their house prices to bump up so that they could sell. For those looking to buy in Maui, the time is now!

The full report can be seen at http://www.ramaui.com

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Aloha, Jamaica

Why Are There So Few Places to Live On Maui?

Aloha!

Some friends recently moved to Maui, and commented on how hard it was to find a place to live. They asked, “Why are there so few long-term rentals on Maui?”

The answer is simple and complicated at the same time. A typical landlord can pull in much more per month renting a condo unit out by the week in a rental pool, than by the month. Of course, he/she has to keep it rented.

If you are the condo owner, you probably want to use the condo a month or so in the year– or let the kids and grandkids use it. You can’t kick a long – term tenant out, but you can block out a month for yourself– which means it’s a vacation-rental only.

So now you, the landlord, have yourself a place to vacation on Maui, plus it’s pulling in money the rest of the year. Pretty much a win – win, wouldn’t you say?

Yes, for everyone except the locals, who are pulling their hair out trying to find a decent rental for a decent price. And be warned, what is out there for rent is rarely in pristine shape. One of the first places I rented on Maui was a condo in Honokowai. It was built in the early 70’s and had dirty, worn Pepto-Bismol pink carpeting throughout. Plus a pink toilet, a pink sink… just lovely. (Not). Nothing had been replaced or upgraded.

When I moved in, the new owner/landlord hadn’t even had it cleaned after taking it out of the rental pool. When I asked him to clean it, he acted shocked, SHOCKED! that he wasn’t going to get to be a slum-lord with no out-of-pocket expenses. And then he found the two lowest priced local girls to come in and do the job, because I’d never seen two people move so slowly and get less done in that amount of time.

I cleaned the whole thing over again, which was fruitless, because there were holes so big in the “natural” rock walls that the cockroaches had a freeway going from the outside in. And red dirt blows right through jalousie windows, even when they are closed.

For this, I was paying an exhorbitant price. And this was the beginning of my real education on Maui: the landlord mostly wins.

Now that I’m a landlord, I vow never to be that way. And I don’t vacation-rental it. I save it for a local, who is tired of the rental war.

I was once that person, you see.

A hui hou! Mahalo For reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Ask the Right Questions Before Vacation on Maui

Aloha!

We just had the staycation from hell here on Maui (the vacation that wasn’t). So even though we asked all the right questions before staying in this condo, we still got burned, so I thought I would share the questions always to ask before renting a place here.

Realize that the west side of Maui was first settled in 1969, with a few resorts. Condos then sprung up along the shoreline and across the road from the ocean, and those units are now 30 to 40 years old.

Condos that are part of a chain HOTEL property are required by their owners to upgrade to a certain grade, such as A, A+, etc. Not so with an individual condo owner in a little complex, who posts a rental on the web, complete with photos, and it looks just too good to be true. Perhaps it is.

Ask:
1) “How old is this unit? When was it last updated? Is there a dishwasher?”
2) “Is the subfloor between floors wood, or concrete?” You want concrete. I once rented an oceanfront condo in Honokowai with wood subfloors and the people above me scraped counter stools in and out at 3 AM for a week. Who knows what they were doing up there!
3) “Is it air-conditioned?” Most older units are not. (“But we have the sea-breeze!” they say gleefully). Realize this: red dirt blows all the time on this island. If the only means of cooling a unit is open windows, it is most likely full of red dirt, which is hard on allergies. Ask also: “Is it central air, or a room air-conditioner? Located where?” I once stayed in an old Kihei condo while attending the Maui Writer’s Conference, and I’ve never been so hot my life. The window unit was in the living room and the cool air never got close to the back bedroom.
4) “Is it carpeted?” Many places have tile floors. That’s a good thing, because all that red dirt and dust and sand is otherwise trapped in the carpet.
5) ” Is there shade on the property for the pool/lounge chairs?” My favorite property on Maui, the Aston Kaanapali Villas, (http://www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com) is beloved by guests who return every year because of it’s wide expanse of lawn with lounge chairs under glorious old shade trees….absolutely perfect for stretching out with a summer read.
6)” Is there road noise?” This is obviously subjective, because I asked the woman before we rented the condo, and she said no. I didn’t sleep a wink. We checked in one day and checked right out the next. (After hauling a week’s worth of food, drinks and clothes up a flight of stairs. The idea of a condo is to be able to eat in it. So then we had to haul it all back out.) And the road noise was just one of many issues, like no hot water!
7) Which leads to, “What is your cancellation policy?”

When you go online and see these cheap units in Kihei, Honokowai, Mahinahina, Kahana and Napili, it’s tempting to whip out the credit card and book. Realize how old they might be, that many have never been upgraded or have been done cheaply or shoddily.

So don’t forget: ASK QUESTIONS.

And remember, the closer your unit is to oceanfront, the quieter it is more likely to be (and more expensive).

Now, if you rent a house, room, or ohana someplace like Paia, Kihei, or Upcountry, I’m afraid you’re on your own. Here’s a hint though: your first question should be “Are there roosters in this neighborhood?”

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the Follow button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica