This is my little Mele who loves the lights on the tree. Photography by my very talented husband, Peter Liu.
As I write this, I am trying to figure out my new IDX system. It has districts (that don’t match our MLS districts), cities and zip codes. Many years ago I figured out that nothing really aligns nicely. If you’ve ever written a contract that specifies Pukalani or Wailea, which are recognized sub-areas by the post office, you learn that they are not acceptable to the lenders. Pukalani doesn’t exist – it is Makawao. Wailea doesn’t exist – it is Kihei. I’m sure there are others!
Who determines these things and why? I’d like to think I understand real estate districts but why in the world do we have a district for areas where there is a property sold about every 50 years? Examples include Honokohau, Keanae and Nahiku. Part of this is that these areas are populated by old families who never move. Most properties have 28 owners as they are passed down through generations. There is nothing wrong with that but why do they need their own real estate district?
As many of you know, I run my own statistics reports. Early on, I realized my reports were a little off from the reports that the Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) puts out. When I called to inquire, I was told that they don’t use the field “district” (which is the only STANDARD and REQUIRED field we have) but use the tax-map keys. So some Kihei properties are actually Kula. We don’t even have a public road between Kihei and Kula!
In our MLS districts, Paia is included with Sprecklesville. Few people say they live in Sprecklesville; Sprecklesville while it has historic importance is more like a suburb of Paia. It does not show up in “Cities”.
Then there are the un-named areas that truly have their own culture. The city shows “Haiku-Pauwela”. People do talk about the dry and wet side of Haiku. “Pauwela” literally means – “end hot” in Hawaiian; you would think it means end dry or end wet! The zipcode is Haiku which goes all the way to Hana. What happened to the infamous “Huelo”? I remember going to a Huelo Open House and running into a massive steer meandering headon down the dirt road! I pulled as far over as possible and waited. Then there was the contract I wrote on a Huelo property where we requested that the owner get documented that there was legal access via a nicely paved road. County reports said the property had no access. We were told that asking this means buyers aren’t “Huelo people”.
Then you have condos that are not where their name indicates. Ma’alaea Surf has beautiful views of Ma’alaea but is in North Kihei. There are dozens of others.
I’m the type person who likes everything to fit nicely and make sense. In Maui, that doesn’t work. You can’t blame the native Hawaiians because their ahupua’a system was very logical. In fact many of our areas are still named based on the Ahupua’a including Kamaole, Honolua, Napili, Kahana and others.
Confused? It is important that you consult an experienced agent in the area you are looking in. Call Kathy at 808-344-0469 today!
Here’s a quick ZIP CODE reference for you.
I recently selected the company Home Junction to provide my listings search capability. This is a amazing tool but was recently deployed in Maui so I am working with the technical team at Home Junction to work through issues. If you have a question or suggestion, please leave a comment.
There is currently an issue where if you select Home Size, no properties will show up. It has been reported.
Tips for Use
You will be able to search all lifestyle information without logging in. You can look at a few properties and details but then I ask you to login. Registration is FREE. This helps me provide you the best service possible. I don’t lurk and I don’t send you things without asking first. But if you call, email or text to ask a question about anything, I can figure out what you have done.
One feature that most other searches don’t have is the SOLD data. You can zoom in to a neighborhood and see what is sold. This is taken from public records data and may include sales data for properties that were never listed. Also, some properties don’t have a sales price; often because it was an quick deed transfer. Unfortunately, due to MLS regulations, you can’t see both SOLD and Active data at the same time.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
HELP – I’m stuck and can’t get back. There is so much data available that it can be overwhelming. They say you can have up to 25 layers! First try hitting the reset button on the left panel. This will clear all the layers but keep the map zoomed to the same level. You can see the Zoom level on the bottom left. 10 will show you Maui Island, 13 is good to see most entire towns and 15 shows detailed streets. To totally reset, reload the page on your browser.
I am tired of seeing PENDING listings. Can I filter them? Yes, although it’s not foolproof, set up your filter and add a keyword “ACTIVE” to your search. The pendings will no longer appear. The quick searches at the bottom of each map search have this feature in them already.
What does a RED dot on a house mean? That means it is a distressed property – either a short sale or a bank-owned property.
What does a BLUE dot on a house mean? You have selected that one as a favorite. To add a property to your favorites list, select the Blue Start at the bottom of the properties details panel.
Fun Things to Try
School Information — Want to find out about your child’s school or the school they might attend? Select the orange Lifestyle button–>Schools –>Public or Private and Elementary, Middle and/or High school. Either select a school from the blue dots on the map or put in your school name and a blue dot will show up on the map. You can see quick details such as number of students, teachers and ratio, or select more details. More details provides enrollment by grade, ethnicity and number of kids on free/reduced lunch programs. Contact me to find out if they have a school garden; as a founder of Grow Some Good I’m passionate about the value gardens bring.
Love Golf? Select your home location based on proximity to golf courses! Select the orange Lifestyle button–>Golf and Fitness –>Golf Courses and then the maximum distance you want to be from a course. Warning, it seems to want to include all golf shops and is missing a few courses!
This is my beautiful listing at 2850 Kamaile Place at the top of Wailuku Country Estates. We were under contract and the buyers wanted a quick close. My seller’s had everything packed ready for the final shipment when the buyer backed out. They decided to complete the move – leaving me with a near empty house to sell. I did a little light staging immediately.
We had good showings and frequent open houses and even went under contract again; the buyer defaulted AGAIN before inspections were done. An empty house, especially a large and spacious one, just doesn’t “feel comfortable”. Some people can envision their living space but many can’t. We considered having it fully staged. But I suggested that we try Virtual Staging. I only did the five “very empty” rooms but you can see the before and after photos.
Let me know what you think!
The view at the end of the slideshow is NOT virtual. It is new as the lot next door was purchased and cleared. But I thought it went great with the before and after photos!
So this doing the virtual staging was a multi-step process. Here are the basic steps:
1) Take the empty room photos. Remove everything from room that is not attached. Best photos are done in HDR – especially if you have as much light and bright as this home. I tried to get them myself but then asked my professional photographer husband, Peter Liu, to assist.
2) Select who to use for virtual staging. I did a test run myself using an iPad app called HomeStyler. It worked pretty well but was pretty time consuming. Here’s the result from that effort.
3) I searched and found several virtual staging companies. I selected Virtual Staging Solutions. I liked them because they had the most good instructions and support that called me back. The cost was $327 for 5 photos. They have many options. You can browse through the furnishings groups before you buy to make sure you can find something that works.
3) Upload the photos to the virtual staging site. You want to load full sized photos if you are going to print to poster board like I did. This was very easy. You can add more photos and let the designers pick the best ones. With each photo, you select a furnishings style. You can give instructions on how to place furnishings and describe the room. Submit!
4) In 3-5 days you’ll get back beautiful staged rooms. If you look close, note that even the lighting is done. If anything needs minor adjustments, they’ll do that. You can put these photos in the MLS.
5) I decided to create poster board copies of the photos for my Open House’s and showings. I purchased expandable easels through Amazon for $17.97 each. I had the printing done at Costco. Costco was really good prices and quality! I submitted on a Saturday afternoon and they were done by Sunday at 2. I got 3 20×30’s and 2 11×14’s for about $110.
So am I happy? So far yes. People who have seen them think they look great. I’d probably be more specific in my descriptions of the rooms. Virtual staging is a cost-effective alternative to real staging. Buyers can visualize the what the room will look and function like. It isn’t quite as good a real staging but is a great alternative.
I recently started posting a “question of the day” on my Facebook profile. The question is in the form of an AFFORMATION. Ok, many people (especially in Maui) know what an affirmation is but what is an Afformation? An affirmation is where you tell yourself (by writing, speaking, listening) that something you want is true. For example, “I enjoy making $200,000 in 2014!” Studies have shown that affirmations do work. So I tried them. I would write my affirmations 25 times every morning for months.
Did it help? The answer is yes and no. Yes, I was more focused and positive about the tasks that I did each day. Yes, I had my best year in 2013 to date in real estate. No, I didn’t hit my goals and I’m still not close to making what I used to in high-tech. I got bored writing every morning; my hand would cramp up and my mind would drift. I would start questioning the affirmation in a very negative ways – questioning myself. There must be a better way.
Through some random email, I came to hear about Noah St. John and his Afformations. I signed up for one of his programs and then another. While the programs were good, they weren’t really necessary. I found that afformations are amazingly simple and work for me. Noah says that if we ask a question, our brains automatically will work to find an answer. It is in the same realm of affirmations in that “What you focus on becomes true” but real actions also result. So now instead of writing my affirmations over and over and over again, I let my mind focus on what I want or what I need to fix and I write down Why questions. Read Noah’s latest book to get more ideas! He has chapters of sample afformations on many topics.
Here’s a real example of my Afformations dated October 4: Why does lots of business come to me so easily? Why are the best clients attracted to me? Why is it easy for me to add value for my clients? Why to I have the courage to do what I love? Why am I so good at taking imperfect actions to improve my life and add value for my clients? (I tend to be too much of a perfectionist!) Why do I give value to hundreds of people? Why did my success grow so quickly? Why is it that most successful people are drawn to me? Why do I make such a great mentor and leader? Why are decisions so easy for me? Why is it easy for me to do what I really love every day? Why is my office so organized and clutter-free? Why do I take action to remove distractions from my environment? Why is my home beautiful and comfortable? Why am I so healthy? Why do I know how to eat the right foods to provide by body with the best energy? Why do I easily get enough physical exercise each day?
Whew! Ok, so I’ve always been an over-achiever. But I also have had some really simple improvements to my life based on simple answers to questions. Right before Peters’ birthday, I had had several sleepless nights. On the same day I pondered “Why do I know a birthday gift that would be great for Peter?” and “Why do I find it easy to sleep through the night?” That day Peter mentioned a friend who swore by blackout curtains. So I got them for him for his birthday and we’ve both slept much better since!
Afformations really helped me perform well on my broker exam too. The problem with the exam questions was that many times they were written so poorly, that it was hard to interpret. So, through afformations I was able to flag these bad questions, break them down and get the “best answer” much more often. During the exam, I actually counted them. After my first pass, I realized that even if I got them wrong, I was still in passing zone. Instead of agonizing going over them, I submitted it and sure enough – PASSED.
Afformations are working for me! I don’t write them every morning; sometimes I listen to them. Noah also has audio programs you can buy and recently released one where you can make your own audio. That’s why I am sharing a question each day with you!
Maui Market in a Minute
There is a little slowing that we expect with the fall season but when we look at the trends year over year, units sold are up 20% and median prices are up about 13%. The condo market has picked up speed long before our classic “condo season”. There has been a little slowing in some areas in the residential markets. It’s definitely a Seller’s Market in most areas with inventories under 2 months in Central Maui and a fluctuating 7-9 months in West Maui. Now is a great time to buy and have a new house for Christmas. If you missed it, check out the blog on Price Profiles where I compare prices for different areas and types of Maui real estate.
What are 1st Time Homebuyers Looking for?
Here’s a little video on U.S. Real Estate data and the results of a survey of first time homebuyers.
Distressed Properties in Maui
There’s not much new in the distressed property arena; inventories are low and short sales are slow!
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Questions or comments? Please ask below.