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and here's a further glimpse of paradise,

https://youtu.be/zx37Sdm7Lu4

Friendships and Maui Real Estate

7/4/2019

I love Maui real estate….it has become a foundation for me for new friendships.

Last December I hosted a Christmas party at my home.  I had to laugh – more than half of my guests were my clients-become-friends!  It was a running theme in the conversations around the room, “Katy sold us our condo.”

 

Although some of my friends through real estate have made the permanent move, the greater number make up the friends who own second homes.  These friends I tend to see whenever they return to Maui.

 

Because living on a resort island by nature means people come and go, it is a difficult aspect of island living to see friends leaving for the mainland and having to say goodbye.  However, my real estate clients-become-friends tend to make up the exception.  By securing real estate in Maui, I have a catch-phrase guarantee from them, in the famous words of Arnold Schwarzeneggar, “I’ll be back!” and in turn I have the emotionally cushioned benefit of never having to say “goodbye” simply “Aloha!” and “A Hui Hou” which means “until next time.”

 

As I mentioned, some of my clients have actually moved to Maui and have become my nearest and dearest friends.  Missing out on tornadoes and flooding in Oklahoma, to dodging volcanic ash and vog of the Big Island, the transplants to Maui are finding that Maui Life Is Good, Really Good!

 

Locals, here called kama’aina which translates to child of the land, enjoy what is known as “kama’aina rate” on various activities, at select restaurants and in supermarkets and stores.  The word Kama’aina identifies you as being a Hawaii resident, and retailers and business owners take account that residents are often paying a premium for living in a resort environment so offer a discount to compensate for this surcharge.

 

 

An early lesson for my new friends who buy Maui real estate is teaching them to say and correctly pronounce “kah-mah-aye-nah” in order that they may enjoy the benefits of the discounts afforded locals.  This typically requires having a Hawaii State ID or drivers license.  I read to my amusement somewhere that if you haven’t learned how to say “kama’aina” then just bring a dog with you wherever you go as proof you live here!  Because of our quarantine laws, it is not likely you will have a dog if you are a visitor.….and as an aside, if you need information on moving with your pets, see the links here about the quarantine process with changing requirements and fees. 

Needless to say, much of my social calendar is made by when my friends are here, staying at their properties.  It is a privilege I enjoy as one of the greatest perks of my job!  As a former employee at Four Seasons without any disrespect to their company policy, they do not permit “fraternization with guests” so this is something I have been liberated from by being a Realtor.  As much as being a professional comes first, the natural outcome has tended to be friendship.

Over the years I have seen friends leave Maui, especially those who work in the resort industry who typically do not own real estate as they are climbing the corporate ladder and moving every 2 or three years to other hotel locations, getting a resort under their belt with Maui to add to their resumes.  I remember one friend who’d relocated to Chicago tell me, “I used to think when I lived in Maui, the people just didn’t get it!  Living in a paradise island, enjoying a resort lifestyle, sunshine weather…it’s not real life.  Then I moved to Chicago with the hustle and the bustle of the daily grind and the snow freezing my pipes in winter and came to realize “no, I’m the one who didn’t get it!”  Another family I knew packed up and moved to Florida having sold everything.  They were back in Maui within a year.


 

It is what I have always believed, Hawaii gets under your skin!  Many years ago I read if you come to Hawaii once you will always come back.  At whatever level, that seems to ring true.  Did you know that Hawaii is the most remote island chain in the world?  Even my fellow Brits who endure the 24-hour journey across the globe to get to this dot in the central Pacific, 2390 miles from the nearest landmass, leave intent on returning.

As I wrote in a previous blog, I moved here having travelled extensively to discover that there is no place like Maui.  When I would visit, I felt a terrible dread each time I left that I recognized could only be eased by putting down roots here and becoming kama’aina myself.  I knew that by buying something in Maui I would ensure, in Arnold’s words adapted, “I’d be back.”

My clients who have bought here concur that the peace they have when time comes to leave is the assurance they’ll return because they have property here.  And if they happen to be in Maui over the Christmas holidays, they can be assured of an invitation to my annual Christmas party!

MAUI LIFE IS GOOD

I was driving behind a Jeep on Piilani Highway yesterday, whose bumper sticker read "Life is Good," my thoughts immediately went to something more County-specific, "Maui Life is Good!" 

Now, granted, not all days are good wherever you may be but as a friend once told me, you don't have good days or bad days, you have moments!  How much more manageable is that concept!  I determined then I would no longer clump a bad moment in to a day but rather pad the day with better moments and bright and grateful thoughts.

Having dinner with clients earlier in the week, they remarked that I was still taking photos of sunsets and flowers after 22 years of living here.  I admit to being in child-like wonder at the masterpiece afforded each day.  Any visitor to the islands can attest that their personal photographs could make up a most splendid coffee table book.  I could open a library for the coffee table books that my Maui photos amount to over the years!  

 

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting a home on the south shore where its owners had collected sand from beaches of the world in jars that they'd labelled.  There was an entire shelf devoted to beaches of Hawaii.  Had I done the same with the intended coffee table book collection I too would have shelves stacked full of art, not by my photographic skills by any means, but by God's hand in every sunset here, each ripple and crash of the waves, the fanning fronds of a palm tree, petals of plumeria and footprints in the sand along the shoreline.

We all have our smart phones "at the ready" with traditional cameras made obsolete by todays technology.  Capturing the moment is nonetheless a pastime that won't escape the generations as we grow ever more technologically inclined.  What we might want to consider is to put the camera, or more aptly, the phone down, pause, inhale, and take in the moment, selfishly make it your own, a picture that will stay with you forever, to flash back to when coffee table books and camera phones are not at hand and where you can reflect upon, and own the moment again and again, to pad the not-so-good days with great "aloha" moments, as you put yourself back in the picture and smile,

"Maui Life is Good!" - 4/19/19

ALOHA STATE OF MIND

You're going to begin to think I am on the road a lot.  I have another bumper sticker to share with you. "Practice Aloha".   Bear with me, I am considering a bumper sticker blog series!  Stopped in slow moving traffic behind a Maui cruiser with its proclamation of PRACTICE ALOHA on its bumper, I got to thinking as to its inherent meaning.  

Aloha is a polysemous word and a philosophy.  Most know it as a salutation, said as in a greeting "hello" or with a parting goodbye.   In the Hawaiian language it has a greater all-encompassing definition of peace, grace, affection, compassion, respect, all-embracing love, kindness, breath, life force, a sending and a receiving of positivity.   In Hawai'i, the spirit of aloha is a fundamental way of life for which we are officially known as the Aloha state. 

The Hawaiian alphabet consists of just 13 letters including A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W, and the thirteenth being the 'okina, a glottal stop, written as a reversed apostrophe.  With a limited alphabet, its words pack punch.  Broken down to its essence "Alo" means presence, face, front, and "ha" which translates to breath.  Aloha then literally means "presence of breath" though its full meaning and usage go beyond any singular definition.

Back to the traffic, navigationally speaking, "mauka" is a colloquial term meaning towards the mountain and "makai" translates to towards the ocean.   By example, a local islander may tell you to "go mauka" if you are driving upcountry, and "stay makai" if you are going towards the ocean.

It was here then, stuck in slow moving traffic, on Pi'ilani Highway where a new and needed high school is being built mauka (mountainside) of the highway in north Kihei, I began contemplating the impact of the word Aloha.  Some road delays with the first phase of infrastructure construction work are inevitable, and begs for patience.  The end goal is a new school for our Maui keiki (kids).  

 

Blazing orange "Road works ahead" signs alert approaching cars to merge lanes and take caution.  With all the rising stress and anxiety that traffic evokes, I began to imagine a road sign that reads instead "Practice Aloha," the gentle nudge to slow down, pause, be considerate, give way, get Zen, and try to go with the flow.  At the end of the day it's a journey.  And there are always other paths or in this case routes to reach your destination.  For those who can avoid Pi'ilani Highway for the time being, there is the shoreline road, South Kihei Road.  And my detour sign?  "Stay Makai"! - 4/20/19

Wailea Is A Shining Community

WAILEA, Paradise discovered, located on Maui’s famed and sunny south shore.  Carefully planned enclaves of stately island homes and condominiums sit with world-class hotels lining the shore to give entry to full and part-time residency within its zip code.  Maui’s most desirable neighborhood – a 1500 acre resort conceived in the 1960s as an integrated residential/resort community –  has become the benchmark by which all world-class ranking resorts aspire offering everything opulent.  

Hospitality reigns with leading hotels Andaz Maui, Wailea Beach Resort, Wailea Beach Villas, Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, and Fairmont Kea Lani marking an elegant trail along Wailea’s magnificent coast.  The Shops at Wailea have become the focal point where top island-restaurants sit juxtaposed local and world-renowned designer shops as well as Windermere’s Boutique office, Wailea Realty, itself positioned at what I have come to term the south facing “aloha” entrance across from Whalers General Store.  Three of Hawaii’s best golf courses, Wailea GoldEmerald and Blue, boast the Wailea address,  the Wailea Tennis Center, Maui’s premier tennis club, “The Most Beautiful Place To Play” in the heart of its community.

Public shorelines bare the loveliest extensive acres of beach and shimmering temperate ocean.  Wailea is truly a community that has it all, in fact it also has its own governing body, Wailea Community Association, “The purpose for which the corporation is organized is to provide for the management, maintenance, protection, preservation, aesthetic and architectural control and development of property,” committing to “promote the health, safety and welfare of its members.”   Quoting WCA’s moniker, “We believe that Wailea is the best residential resort community in the state, if not the nation.  The great climate, topography, long-term planning, fantastic amenities, and its effective community association all contribute to this belief.”  

The running theme in my current blog series seems to be bumper stickers and signage.  So in closing it may be fitting to shine the light on one of Wailea’s uplifting directional signs which is a checklist to paradise, “Golf, Hotels, Beaches, Shopping” 

– Wailea has it all! - May 3, 2019

WHAT IS ESCROW?

- 8/17/19

Escrow is the neutral party integral to the transfer of property in Hawaii.

Escrow acts as the guardianship where all monies are held, documents are prepared, signings are facilitated, title searches are instructed, and all the checklist items necessary from both buyer and seller, as well as lender, attorneys, and title departments are coordinated to streamline the exchange of property.  Escrow serves as a necessary intermediary to the Purchase Contract where all papers and monies are ultimately deposited.  Escrow also refers to the transaction stage and process of a purchase.

 

As a noun escrow means a bond or deed, kept in third party custody, to take effect when conditions have been satisfied, to place in to trust or custody hence the phrase "in escrow."

 

When we say "we are in escrow" this means that the offer for purchase of property has been bilaterally accepted and the property goes in to a pending status.  The appointed escrow officer receives copies of the agreement and opens a file which will remain active until its successful conclusion which is the recordation at the Bureau of Conveyances confirming the sale.  The morning of recordation is the day the keys are handed over from seller to buyer and the buyer takes possession.

 

In many states and Canada this process is handled by an attorney.  In Hawaii, the attorney is party only to drafting of the Deed to the property.

 

Likewise, in some states, the exchange of keys is done at the table also referred to as the closing when all parties sit down and sign the closing documents which may include the lenders package if applicable, affidavit and all other required documents including the deed.  Keys are handed over and the deal is completed same day at the table.

 

In Hawaii, closing is effected by the recordation process which occurs at the Bureau of Conveyances with the State of Hawaii located in Oahu.

 

Because we do not have this agency in Maui, there is a 2-day lag on recording which means all necessary signatures and paperwork is "pouched" and sent to Honolulu, queued for the Bureau of Conveyances to effect recordation.  This is coordinated in time with funds being made ready for deposit to the seller at closing (loans are funded and cash must be deposited 2-days prior to closing).  Ownership is then considered transferred.

This happens on weekdays and typically between 8-830am escrow calls the agents to the transaction to confirm that "we have recorded!" at which point the sellers agent liaises with the buyers agent to hand over keys.  As such, we do not see closings occur on weekends in Hawaii.  Because the Bureau of Conveyances is a state agency, we see this office is closed on state and federal holidays, which coincides with escrow offices also being closed.  This is important to note when counting backwards the days of the transaction to incorporate any possible holidays that fall within the timeframes of an escrow.

A number of escrow companies in Hawaii are affiliated with their own title companies and the title searches are therefore conducted "in-house".  Title searches and title insurance are both required in the exchange to ensure clear title and to protect both seller and buyer from future claims against the property.  Escrow handles the ordering of a Preliminary Title Report which reveals the parameters of the property, the taxes owing or paid, liens against the property or encroachments and encumbrances.  These issues are then addressed during the escrow/transaction process to ensure any defects or claims against the property are settled prior to the exchange.

 

The escrow officer keeps all parties alerted to the progress of the file, communicating with all parties to ensure the process is error free.

 

The elements of a transaction are handled by each side, the sellers agent works with the seller, the buyers agent works with the buyer, and both buyers and sellers agents work with escrow as well as lenders, County tax offices, etc., to bring together the fulfillment of contingencies in order for timelines, appointments, inspections, wired monies, completed paperwork, with guidance and coordination the resultant exchange takes place.

 

There are many moving parts in the process of a transaction and escrow becomes the source of contact for all party to the process.  The hub in the wheel, escrow is a fundamental part of transacting property in the state of Hawaii.

 

I'd be happy to assist you and your friends with housing market data or help with any questions!  Maui living is a daily blessing I am eager to share!  Please send me an email or give me a ring, I guarantee Aloha!

 

Let's get you "in escrow!"

Sellers Ask: Should I Renovate or Sell ‘as is’?

May 21, 2019 

I am often asked by sellers who are bringing their properties to market, “should I renovate or sell ‘as is?'”  It is a valid consideration and one that is worthy of a case-by-case assessment when the property begs the question “to renovate or not to renovate?”  The answer is always… “it depends.”

In real estate, location, price and condition are the three main determining factors for value.  You only really have control over price and condition, Maui checks the box on location, you are a third of the way to a home run.  But seriously, a unit with a view is going to command a definite advantage!

A compelling price position may be the quick answer to compensate for less than perfect condition.  Certainly if the unit is in original or dated condition, the price might reflect as a buyers’ opportunity next to a unit that’s been tastefully renovated.  

Addressing the more complex issue on condition, allow me to put forward some thoughts,

Certainly a good opportunity for renovation work is when you are making repairs and upgrades can be incorporated at the same time.  

However, bringing a property to market points to personal reasons for selling and if time is a factor, a renovation is certainly cause for delay to that timeline.  With the exception of buying at a bargain and investing in improving the property to bring it back to market at market value, the question here is for those who hold a property and are weighing the costs of a remodel to increase upon the value in todays’ market.

  

Renovation work equals Time and Preparation.  There is a lot to take in to consideration such as market direction, permit applications, interviewing, availability and scheduling of reputable contractors….  motivation to sell based on a more immediate timeframe may negate the undertaking of a remodel.  

There are two sides to the coin when it comes to a renovation.  The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” should serve as a “seller-beware” reminder as we often get emotionally attached when we are involved in remodels.  After all, it is a reflection of one’s taste and becomes a personal investment of time and energy.  A buyer may rather see a blank canvas and not appreciate the efforts of an expensive remodel when their intention is to allow their own creative flair its expression.  It is therefore something to carefully consider as a seller.

  

Some sellers will naturally take the cost of the remodel and understandably add that amount to the list price.  Conversely the buyer may look at the property and think “we aren’t paying for the sellers remodel” and deduct the calculation in their offer amount.  It is the proverbial two-way street.  It is with cautionary advice then that sellers be mindful of over personalizing a remodel if the intent is to sell.  There is the consideration of time, cost and equally time lost in undertaking a renovation.  Whilst Buyers may buy and pay for your efforts equally so a buyer may look for an opportunity to embrace their own renovation…..in which case your remodel may be for nought.

Without discounting the shining results of renovations, there are probing questions as a seller to explore with your Realtor to arrive at the best decision for your situation with the ultimate intention being to sell your property.

In my experience, contractors share that those happiest with a renovation tend to be the new owners.  It is in that marking of territory, putting ones stamp on things, that we witness this innate human nature, with even recent remodels being reinvented.

Many complexes, such as Wailea Point for example, have a renovation calendar to allow for construction work to happen in summer months before the busier high season months of winter.  As such, you will find contractors working flat out from April 1 to October 31 on renovation projects.  It is crucial to make the necessary enquiries with the Homeowners Association to understand when you may undertake a remodel, if there are restrictions on when and what association approvals call for.  You may find that what you hope to achieve with a remodel may not be allowed by the association or advance permits may be required.   Best to ask first rather than seek forgiveness later!  

To renovate or not  is therefore a more personal proposition that is a discussion to be had with your Realtor, contractor, homeowners association, and, if applicable, community association, which, like Wailea Community Association (WCA) which requires review by the design committee for approval for any improvements to ensure aesthetic conformity.  

We remain in a market in Maui that has limited inventory and we are seeing buyers looking for both move-in ready and “project” purchases.  At the end of the day, “you only need one buyer” as the saying goes, so this is where your chosen Realtor goes to work, promoting the assets of your property, to reach the ideal buyer.  Sometimes a home run equation is location + price, versus location + condition.  I am making a sweeping “home run” call on location, where anywhere Maui qualifies as location box ticked!  If you have questions, lets talk.  There is a vast landscape to explore when it comes to opening the pandoras box on renovations!

WHAT IS FSBO?

June 30, 2019

Pronounced fiz-bo, the abbreviation “FSBO” means For Sale By Owner, and refers to a property brought to sale by its owner instead of going through the channels of hiring a professional Realtor.

 

As a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) licensed as a broker in the state of Hawaii I have to tell you I get nervous about FSBO properties.  Without question, buying real estate is a significant financial investment and commitment.  When navigating such a substantial transaction, your Realtor takes over the enormous details of the process and garners the team needed to effect the sale and legal transfer of the property.  

Let’s understand the primary reason an owner may choose the alternate route of “FSBO“ over taking Realtor representation.  The owner may assume they will see a greater return for not paying commission to Realtors by concluding they are equipped to manage their own sale with marketing, showings and contract negotiations.   This however comes with unanticipated real and intangible costs.  So let’s take a deeper look.

 

The seller undoubtedly has intimate knowledge of their property and, as a result, may believe they best understand its value.  This is the first alert….sellers have an emotional attachment which oftentimes reflects as an inflated valuation of the property without the guidance, and leveling expertise of a market-aware Realtor who can provide fact-based data and market trends for the neighborhood.   NAR research shows the most difficult task for FSBO sellers is pricing. Hence, For Sale By Owner properties, by NAR statistics, more often than not, are overpriced.  

The consequence of overpricing and lack of market exposure relates, statistics show, into FSBO properties sitting far longer on the market than a property listed by a Realtor.   The FSBO buying audience is very limited versus the market reach to a targeted audience that a Realtor can access.  Most important, however, is the perception for the buyer when a seller hires the services of a Realtor.  This conveys that an informed professional is party to accommodate the sale immediately removing any qualms or concerns the buyer may otherwise have about what may be considered an unqualified property.

As a buyer pursuing the purchase of a FSBO property, I would urge to contact your Realtor.  Allow your Realtor the opportunity to introduce you as a potential buyer and thereby reflect your best interest.

Some FSBO sellers may offer a cooperation to an agent who brings the buyer, in which case the buyer would have representation in the sale.  In this instance, oftentimes the buyers’ Realtor is directing the ship through the intricacies and details of the escrow process.  Research tells us that understanding and performing paperwork is a significant issue with FSBO sellers as well as devoting the time necessary to accomplish this task without a Realtor.  Not least, the seller is faced with the challenges of navigating negotiations and contingencies when engaging a buyer in a legally binding contract.  The seller, without representation, may not be aware of all the legalities with disclosure and recourse by the buyer if seller fails to provide transparency on all aspects of the property.  Therefore, when the seller is not represented, missing is the level of comfort I would want to see for my clients as buyers.

 

The negotiating process is very personal and oftentimes here sparks fly!  Typically the sellers agent and the buyers agent will serve as buffers for the parties to come to an amicable and working agreement on price and terms for the sale.  Both parties should enlist this protection gained only by having Realtor representation to educate and direct the process.

The point here is that making one of life’s most significant investments with the purchase or sale of property should be handled by licensed professionals.  

My experience is that buyers are wary of entering in to a contract with a seller who is unwilling to hire a Realtor.  It can often reflect the owners reluctance to negotiate, spell that they are overly-emotionally vested, and holding a perceived and set price which may not be an informed valuation, reflective of or realistic for the market.  It truly can be read as a red flag for buyers.   Where you see the For Sale By Owner sign, be forewarned, recognize that FSBO often signals and advertises the sellers position, “For Sellers Best Outcome.”

 

My advice?  PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT….whichever side of the transaction, sellers and buyers both, use a licensed Realtor!

MAHALO, PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES!

June 26, 2019

Here, in Hawaii, it is customary to remove your shoes when you enter someones home.  As such, it is not uncommon to be met with a gentle reminder posted decoratively on a ceramic tile at the door that reads “Please remove your shoes, Mahalo!”  Prolific at craft fairs and market stalls, this little message is a lesson in short for visitors unfamiliar with a tradition in Hawaii where we take our shoes/slippahs/flip flops off at the door!

 

A number of years ago I was showing property to a family from Washington.  We spent a wonderful few days together viewing real estate, and at almost every listing we found that reminder sign at the door….”Please remove your shoes, Mahalo!”  Over breakfast one morning, my client shared that for the longest time his children thought “Mahalo” meant take your shoes off!  Mahalo is actually the Hawaiian word for “thank you.“  However, juxtaposed to every plea to take your shoes off it is an understandable confusion!

 

You may ask, but I thought “Aloha” meant thank you?  You are not mistaken.  Mahalo in translation means essentially thanks and in gratitude. Aloha and Mahalo are interchangeable in the sense of both meaning “thank you, please.”

 

Aloha, however, has a broader meaning (love, compassion, affection, salutation, compassion, grace, kindness, regards, sentiment, thanks) that allows for many uses, interchangeable with Mahalo, where Mahalo is more specifically “in gratitude” so not as broad in its definition and therefore not seen as often as the wide-ranging catch all “Aloha.”

 

Back to the custom itself of taking ones shoes off at the door.  This was born in the early days of plantation workers who came to Hawaii from Japan, bringing their tradition of removing their shoes as they enter a household which became a tradition here, some add because of the red soil of the fields that was otherwise tracked in through the house with shoes left on.

 

As the old adage goes, “when in Rome do as the Romans do” and in Hawaii the custom stands, shoes off!…..and without resisting the pun, as a “footnote,” might I add the second half to the equation here…. leave with the shoes you came in with!  This is not an opportunity to upgrade on footware.  Or, as another gentle nudge in the way of a ceramic tile at the door might put it,

“Mahalo for removing your slippahs, but no take mo’ bettah ones when you leave!”

I MOVED TO MAUI INSPIRED BY A GOETHE COUPLET - 6/10/19

It’s true.  I moved to Maui in 1997 with Goethe as a driving force. The daily message on my screensaver blinking its inspiration, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” 

It was my mantra through a grey winter in England.  It was the daring beacon of promise to myself that I was already committed and on my way following a 2 week getaway.

 

It was the autumn of 1996.  With three options to choose from – an Irish retreat in Galway, a family visit to Virginia Beach or a soul-seeking vacation to Maui – you guessed it, I picked Maui.

I remember lying on the beach at Charley Youngs in Kihei reading a motivational book which promised “let go, there is always more!”  

 

Putting aside any question of success or failure, reality or fancy, it was simply a soul-stirring call to action for me to move to Maui.

The promptings of my north star were again reinforced in the stirring thoughts of Mark Twain who wrote,

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.   Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  

Mr. Twain, here I am, now 22 years later!

Rational or not, this calling from the pages of a holiday read spoke to me in volumes.  I determined on that day at the beach that I was going to upend my life, leave England and move to Maui by the next spring! 

“All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.”  – Samuel Johnson

True to my north star, I walked in to a real estate office where, emblazoned on the wall, as coincidence or confirmation, were the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, 

“Few men who come to the islands leave them; they grow grey where they alighted; the palm shades and the trade-wind fans them till they die, perhaps cherishing to the last the fancy of a visit home, which is rarely made, more rarely enjoyed, and yet more rarely repeated.“, 

and ended up buying my first Maui condo at Maui Vista.   Sure enough, within four months, I had landed!  That was 22 years ago!

 

I am by no means suggesting or recommending this course of action, mine was an extreme reaction to an all encompassing “I-have-to-live-here-full-time” dream.  A complete upheaval is neither common nor is it necessary to own a piece of paradise!  I remember once a Realtor associate pulling my clients aside and saying, “it doesn’t matter if you buy this house or something else, just buy something!”  His passion for Maui was above making the sale.  It was about spreading the word, we have something special here.  His message was to get a foot in the door, on the Maui rung of real estate.

In my real estate career it is not uncommon that I meet with people who have been coming to Maui for years, sharing their regret that they did not buy something 30 years ago!  “If only…” they lament.  We have all been there, dealing in the “what ifs” and “if onlys.”  I can look back on an opportunity to buy a flat in London on Abbey Road that was being sold by a flight attendant for a mere twenty six thousand pounds, mind you, that was 1979, and I was still in school.  However, missing out on owning a flat across from the famed Abbey Road studios and crosswalk still stings just a wee bit.

But let’s gain some perspective from the data itself.

 

Over the past 48 years, interest rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage have ranged from as high as 18.63% in 1981 to as low as 3.31% in 2012. Mortgage rates today remain at historical lows, with over 60% of mortgage holders paying rates between 3.00% and 4.90% as of 2015…the average rate of interest on a mortgage loan in 1989 was 10.32%…..

The rate of interest today is still a record low in the neighborhood of 4%.  With interest rates just dropping again this past week, lenders are touting this is the time to “buy or re-fi!”.

My point is, don’t miss out on your paradise.  Now is as good a time as any if you have a dream.  Don’t try to time the market.  The real indicator is what stirs your soul to action, what dream lies in your harbor?  No incentive with interest rates, or hope of return, just a pure driving passion that owning a place in Maui can assure you of.  Although low interest rates help with momentum to act, I would, like Goethe, encourage “live your boldness!”  You never know where it will take you!  

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Katy Foxwell

katyfoxwell@gmail.com

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