July 2, 2009

We all delight in spending less! “Recessionistas” are Finding great deals….

As the world economy tanks, recessionistas are finding pleasure in finding bargains rather than paying top dollar.  From clothing stores, to bottles of wine, to real estate investments-the discerning buyer is basquing in the opportunities to cut back, save, and ultimately find the best deal. 

It’s not just a sign of the times-I think it may be an adopted lifestyle as job cuts and the American dream of owning a home quickly falls apart for many.  Think about it….what are we going to learn from this credit crisis.  Be more discerning with our purchases and be responsibly on a budget.  Ostentatious consumption is out and Recessionistas is in! 

What does this mean for future home buyers her on Maui and other places????  It may be a buyers market for a very long time.  In some cases, like her on Maui our inventory of bank owned properties has not hit the active listings yet which means more inventory and better prices. 

Mary on Maui  808-283-4688


June 30, 2009

Forget leaving Maui for a vacation….why not think of a stay-cation and stay right here!

Its the newest trend-skipping the vacations and staying close to home…and having a STAY-CATION!!!!  As gas prices, airline fees, and declining income and the dollar overseas….planning vacations close to home is the right for the travelers on a budget!  We live on the worlds best island so why not stay put and let what money you do have stimulate our economy.  The next thing you have to do is look for resident discounts….take advantage of Kamaaina rates at local restaurants, hotels, tours and more.  The ocean is our backyard and we need to do what we can to keep the local businesses here on Maui during this hard time.  We are all budget concerned and right now if we spend a little with our neighbors we can help keep everyone earning a living.  So-ask your local favorite place if they have Kamaaina discounts-take advantage of staying close to home and enjoy our fabulous Maui days!

February 20, 2009

Proposed Stimulus Bill–Home Buyer Tax Credit

 It’s important to remember that the proposed credit is far from becoming a done deal. The bill still has many hurdles that need to be address, as well as, the unknown which keeps popping up everywhere in our economy these days.  If it passes we could see some encouragement for the current buyers with a possibility that if you buy in 2009 you can take the credit on your 2008 taxes.  Your lender may have more news as soon as March 4th on this.

Here are some more Frequently Asked Questions but understand if and when the bill gets passed these answers may change.

If I bought a home and used the $7,500 home buyer tax credit, can I retroactively receive $15,000 credit if it becomes law?

Are there any income restrictions on the tax credit? Currently there are no restrictions in place for the future bill.   

When will the new tax credit go into effect? When the bill is signed.

Can I take the tax credit this year? Yes. The proposal would allow buyers (even those who purchase in 2009) to claim the credit on their 2008 taxes.

The proposed tax credit is nonrefundable. What does that mean? You can only receive the credit to the extent that you owe federal income taxes. The Senate proposal would give home buyers two years to claim the credit.

Are there any repayment requirements on the tax credit? No.

If I am eligible for the current $7,500 credit, am I also eligible for the $15,000 credit? While the $15,000 credit has fewer restrictions than the existing credit, there is one big difference: because the credit is nonrefundable, if you have a low federal income tax liability, you could end up receiving more money with the current credit than the larger, proposed credit.

Can I use the tax credit to buy a second home? No.

How long do I have to live in my home after I purchase it with the tax credit? Credit has to be “paid back” if you sell the home within two years.

Remember all of this is PROPOSED.  So check with your tax attorney prior to making any decisions.

Mary on Maui

Century 21 All Islands-Wailea

Your Maui Realtor

February 11, 2009

Short Sales, Bank Owned (REO’s) and New developer offerings….

If you are wondering how to sell your home on Maui right now here is what is selling.  Short sales, Bank Owned Properties and New Developer Homes are taking over the market sales.  They each attribute about 1/3rd of the actual sales right now.  What does this say to the Sellers who are serious about selling right now??? It says that if you are serious about selling your home or condo on this island PRICING is EVERYTHING.  Take a look around.  The media is warning buyers to be fearful of the current market conditions and the reality is “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”

 If you have a Seller who is not serious (Seller’s take a long hard look at the supporting comps and make the right decisions) about pricing then take the property off the market.  This will in-turn lower the inventory and stimulate the market for those Buyers and Sellers who are ready and willing to buy and sell. 

Maui is selling along all three fronts. 

 Short Sales:  What has changed though, in spite of Act 137, short sales are closing and are beginning to be quite significant in our current marketplace.  If you need market information about helping you price and market your home contact a Realtor for help.

REO’s (Bank Owned): The banks are not in business to own houses they are in business to lend money.  They don’t want this inventory sitting on the market.  Make offers, be patient and see what great deals you can get now!

New Housing Developments: These guys are not wanting to sit with inventory and accounts payable.  They are offering great incentives, loan packaging and often times a larger commission for the Buyers agent.  Buyers out there….you can use any Realtor you want to represent you for free. The Sellers and or Developers pay for their services. 

Buyers if you are waiting for the bottom…..you may only see its been the bottom once the indicators show the pricing going up again.  Interest rates are still low but I am guessing we may not see them stimulate the market again with 4.5% or less for a while.  This bogged down the financial system with too many refinances and now the banks are unable to respond within the time frame that consumers are used to, the que for refinancing is weeks in waiting to hear for approval and the lenders are requesting at least 45 days to close a tradtional home purchase.

Get off the fence. Get prequalified. Go shopping.  Make offers.  And Sellers if you are not willing to move on your pricing then take your home off the market and let some of the inventory absorb prior to relisting your home.  This will help Maui, its residents and the investors who are trying to accomplish buying!

December 27, 2008

To Buy or Not to Buy Now that is the Question….

If we only had a crystal ball.  If we may  have been able to prevent what the US is seeing in the housing crisis….but we don’t and we have to look at statistics, facts and figures to make our best educated guess on when and how this is going to turn around.   Currently what we are seeing is an inventory which keeps growing and is currently at a surplus meaning its a buyers market. 

Interest rates that are falling.  Expected to go as low as 4% or lower….now may be the right time to start planning the future for your family or just your investment portfolio.  What buying power does that reduced interest rate give you…the numbers below are a guideline but they WILL HELP YOUR BOTTOM LINE!

The information is 6.5% interest vs 4.5% interest on a 30 year fixed loan.  This means that you can save money on a monthly payment or just simply afford a home that may not have been in your price range prior to the rates dropping.

Loan Amount of $500K: $3,160.34 Vs $2,533.43 

Loan Amount of $250K: $1,580.17 Vs $1,266.71

Interest rates are low, now is the time to look at buying…your dollar goes much further. 
Have a safe, happy and fabulous New Year.

Much Aloha. 

Mary on Maui  Your Wailea Real Estate Agent.

C21 All Islands-Wailea

December 23, 2008

Support our local economy…

As the world is seeing the worst mass layoff’s since 1974 with 533,000 jobs lost in Nov and now over 10 million out of work its time to not order online, stop  going to large coffee chains, and supermarkets and start supporting our local business owners.  Buy buying local you are probably saving a bit of cash as well as helping your neighbors.  Some analysts predict that between now and 2010 that 3 million more jobs may be lost.  Batten down the hatches and plant a garden, help out a friend, recycle those used clothes and give them to Big Brothers Big Sisters….with a record 1 in 10 Americans with mortgages late or facing foreclosures we can only predict more pain ahead.  We need to support our politicians that are wanting to explore efforts to ease housing, credit and financial stresses.  If you need assistance call a tax professional who can legally guide you to your best solution.  Consult with a Realtor about where the current value of your home is…listen when someone is offering assistance.  There is no quick fix or easy equation to make this disappear…but take the time find out your best option.  Time may be the only thing we all have on our side.

Be well

Mary on Maui

c21 All Islands-Wailea  Your Wailea Realtor


December 18, 2008

The country’s “bailout” sparks a future for Maui’s Solar Energy!

Solar Tax Credits are growing as the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) is getting established.  Prior to this solar credits maxed out at 30% or $2000 max and was due to expire at the end of this year.  However, with the interest of reducing the fossil fuel dependence that Hawaii is extremely dependent on the new legislation has provided much more appealing tax credits….there are important exceptions such as you can not install solar/photo voltaic systems to heat pools and still get the tax credit, check with your tax professional for all tax credit details.  Residential dependence of fossil fuel is costly and now the future of solar seems to be a little brighter with possible credits of a residential system that may cost $27,000 for a single family dwelling with up to $9000 or 30% be tax deductible.   Solar may be one of the safest investments right now!

Mary on Maui

C21 All Islands Wailea-Your Wailea Realtor


December 14, 2008

Our local legislation want’s to keep neighborhood character for new B&B laws

Local legislation to find balance and compromise in regards to B&B’s, the permitting process, the number of units allowed and the “house rules” to go along with them.  In hopes to promote locally based economic development this legislation is looking currently at B&B’s which is significantly different than the Transient Vacation Rental issues that Maui Co is also experiencing.  B&B’s have owners who live on site and officially share the residence with the guest.  Looks like this may lighten up and the owners will just have to be on property.  For the TVR’s or “vacation rentals” owners and or managers are living off-site.  The second issue is being deferred to the next Maui Co Council.  So where is the current focus going:

Limits B&B’s in the following areas to:  Hana 48, South Maui 100, UpCountry 40, Paia-Haiku 88, West Maui 88 and Central to 36 for a total of 400.

Provisions include no more than 6 bedrooms, owner must live on property, if on Ag land owner must show a crop of $35K per year, enforce “house rules”  for noise with the initial permit being valid for 3 years. 

Some still have concerns for the bill…I don’t blame them.  Its been years since the council has had this issue on their desks and we have all been waiting way to long for compromise.

Mary on Maui

Century 21 All Islands Wailea  Your Maui Wailea Realtor


December 12, 2008

Transient Vacation Rentals Press Release….our fragile economy still not supported.

I am not really sure how I feel about this.  For years and years Hana, Haiku, Paia and other parts of Maui Co. have been renting rooms and homes to accomodate the people in search of a true sense of the island.  These homes and rooms were catering to a specific niche market.  Tourists who did not want to stay in Hotels or Condos, people who perhaps had children with specail needs, people who enjoyed surfing the big waves on the North shore or windsurfing and did not want to spend time driving to these locations or just people looking for more of a budget vacation. 
It seems to me in these economic times when the Hawaiian Islands are suffering with little to no money in the budget for  much of anything…. that they would be looking for opportunites that helped the locals who are trying to make it here….

The current B&B issue has gone before the council….the TVR issue is going to be the next Maui Council’s task at hand.  The main difference between the two “types” is B&B owners are on property

December 10, 2008
Appeals Court Rules in County’s Favor on TVR Case

WAILUKU, Maui, Hi – On December 10, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in Maui Vacation Rental Association vs. County of Maui, ruling in the County’s favor.
The Maui Vacation Rental Association sued the County and its Planning Director in September 2007, seeking an injunction that would have prevented the County from enforcing its zoning ordinances pertaining to transient vacation rentals. When the MVRA’s case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court in December, 2007, the MVRA appealed.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the MVRA had no right to operate transient vacation rentals without the required permits while Maui County processes permit applications. The Court also ruled that the MVRA’s members could not require Maui County to “indefinitely maintain” enforcement policies put in place by previous administrations. “MVRA members operating TVRs without permits were on notice that their conduct was unlawful and that Maui County retained discretionary authority to enforce the permit requirement,” the Court concluded.
“I’m pleased that once again the County’s policies are validated before a high court that recognizes our responsibility to enforce existing laws,” said Mayor Charmaine Tavares. “My Administration has proposed several bills to update current laws, and the County Council has been working diligently to review and adopt appropriate legislation. We have maintained that the proper way to change County laws is through a public legislative process rather than by ignoring them altogether.”
The MVRA was initially represented by attorney James Fosbinder. After losing at the U.S. District Court level, the MVRA replaced Fosbinder with the law firm of Damon, Key, Leong & Kupchak in Honolulu. The County was represented by Deputies Corporation Counsel Jane Lovell, Madelyn D’Enbeau, and Mimi Johnston.
# # #

Mary on Maui

Century 21 All Islands-Wailea  Your Maui Real Estate Consultant


December 11, 2008

Mark you Calendars! December 13th from 3pm to 7pm Island Spirit’s Holiday Party!

Come on in and enjoy this social hour with food and beverages…… and a great island vibe. The girls behind Island Spirit in Kihei who are selling wonderful shell jewelery and more are taking the time to appreciate their customers.  If you purchase anything in the store for a total of $100.00 or more you will get to pick a pair of beautiful shell sandals for free.  Come on in and see what is in the store for you!

Saturday, December 13th  Island Spirit is located in Kihei right by Foodland and three doors down from Sansei Sushi!

From 3pm till 7pm with a Blessing of the store at 4PM
RSVP would be nice. 


Much Aloha,

Mary on Maui-

Your Maui/Wailea Realtor


Century 21 All Islands- Wailea