- It is a leasehold property. If it is land, it is mostly likely Hawaiian Homelands and you need to be part Hawaiian descent to purchase. With leasehold condos, in addition to paying condo maintenance fees, you also pay a month lease fee for rental of the land. These can vary quite a bit. Some listings will say leasehold-fee available which means you can purchase the “fee” and not have to pay the extra land rent. Caution: Many of the common listing providers don’t have a field for leasehold. If the listing agent doesn’t put it in the description, you won’t be able to know without calling an agent.
- Look at the age of the property or condo complex. Property values and desirability decrease with age. Cost to maintain can also go up.
- If it is a condo, look at the maintenance fees. You need to ask what the maintenance covers and determine whether or not it makes sense. You may be walking into a money pit where fees may just keep going up. This often goes hand in hand with #3 and condo units do not have proper reserves to cover major needed upgrades.
- It isn’t on the main island of Maui. There are some beautiful properties on Molokai and Lana’i but generally property values are lower. These islands are perfect if you REALLY need to get away from it all. But don’t expect a large choice in restaurants and entertainment!
- You may not be able to get financing for many different reasons. If there are no indoor photos or you see a total mess or no appliances, you know that you will not be able to get loans on these. Also, if the condominium complex has had difficulty in collecting maintenance fees from owners, you may not be able to get financing. If you have cash, make sure to understand how much additional work is going to cost. Also, note that with most bank-owned condos and some short sales, the buyer may need to pay up to 12 months worth of back maintenance fees.
Remember that the “great deal” may not look so sweet when you see the whole picture.