Steps in Buying Real Estate in Maui - Condos, Homes, Land 

Step 1 Get Pre-Approved
Step 2 Find a Broker
Step 3 Custom Search
Step 4 Buyer Agreement
Step 5 View Homes
Step 6 Make an Offer
Step 7 Escrow
Step 8 Move In and Enjoy

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Step 1 Get Pre-Approved 

Maui is a bit different market from other areas. We have buyers coming from all over the world. Well priced properties tend to have multiple offers on them. Prior to even looking at properties, you should get pre-approved. The reason for this is that when you go looking at properties, you may find the one that you want on the first trip. However, it may take a day to get pre-approved. In that time frame the property could go under contract with another buyer. It is not uncommon for the well-priced properties to have 5+ offers. Don't lose out on a property because of not having a pre-approval. Plus, due to the higher than normal demand that is currently occurring, most Realtors will not take clients out looking for property without a Pre-Approval Letter or Proof of Funds Documentation. The Pre-Approval ensures that you are looking in the right price range so that you don't waste time looking at properties that are either too high or too low in price for your qualifications and what you are comfortable spending.

You can check out some preferred lenders here.

Step 2 - Find a Broker

While I would love it if you select me as your Real Estate Broker, it doesn't always work out that way. I thought I would try to pass along some helpful tips that help you select the right broker for you. This is one of the most important parts of purchasing a home. It is also important that you are represented by a buyer's agent instead of using the listing agent on a transaction. Main reason being that the listing agent represents the seller and will keep the seller's best interests in mind. While a buyer's agent will represent you in your purchase even though they are paid by the seller at closing. Just like there are bad doctors and good doctors, there are bad agents and good agents. You want to make sure you select an agent that will work their best for you.

  • Experience matters. When selecting a broker you want to have some one that has been in the business for at least 5 years. This will ensure that they have had enough exposure in the business to have worked through all different kinds of transactions. They will know what to expect when the unexpected happens, as it often times does. If you choose someone with less than 5 years’ experience, make sure that they have closed at least 30 transactions as a general guideline.
  • Full Time Brokers Only. When you select your broker, make sure that they are a full time Real Estate Broker. Using the doctor analogy again, you wouldn't want a doctor to operate on you that only works 5 hours a week in a doctor’s office and spends the rest of their time Bartending or Surfing professionally. The same goes for the Real Estate Professional. Make sure to hire a full time broker.
  • Hire a Broker Not an Agent. This is not a requirement, but usually a better way to go. A Real Estate Broker has more experience and Education than a Real Estate Agent. You will usually have more luck with a Real Estate Broker.
  • Technology is important. Even if you are not that tech savvy, it is important to find a Real Estate Broker who knows technology. This will allow for them to offer you the best possible selection of homes to choose from.
  • Responsiveness is key. If an agent doesn't get back to you in 24 hours after you contact them that is a sure sign that they will not be very responsive to your needs. Select an agent that returns your calls promptly as well as your e-mails.

Hope this helps you in your selection of a Real Estate Broker on Maui. I am here to help. Please let me know how I may be of service.

Step 3 - Custom Search

Setting up a custom search for your criteria is crucial on Maui. Waiting for the property to be marketed will ensure that you don't find the best deals. The best deals come on the market and are picked up by the people that move quickly in just a few days, sometimes hours. Remember, Maui has a very limited supply of homes, so if you see something you like you have to be prepared to move quickly. The custom search that is setup here, will allow you to see properties as soon as they come on to the market. You won't have to wait for them to be advertised. The Custom Search will show you all that is available to be viewed through the MLS. If you have questions on how to setup a custom search or you would prefer that I set it up for you. Please contact me via e-mail at mias@miamauirealestate.com or phone at 808-250-4289. I would be glad to make sure this gets setup for you correctly.

Step 4 - Buyer Agreement

In nearly every state in the country, a buyer's agent is required to disclose their agency relationship. In many states it has become law to require that this agreement be in writing. This agreement protects you as well as the agent from sticky agency issues. When you work with a buyer's agent you expect them to represent you and not the seller. Granted they may be getting commission from the seller at the close of the transaction, but you still want to make sure that they are representing you as the buyer and will keep your best interests in mind. Make sure to request this if the agent you choose does not volunteer this agreement. It will lay out all that is expected of the agent and you can hold them accountable to the agreement.

Step 5 - View Homes

At your first appointment you will be given listing sheets of all of the properties you will be seeing for the day. Typically it is between 3-5 places. Most people buy after seeing 15 places on average. 3-5 places will take 1-3 hours to view depending on the size and drive times. It is best if you have an area narrowed down before viewing as otherwise it can delay the process considerably when shopping for your property. Drive times can be more than an hour on the island to different areas so be prepared for a long day if you have more than one area you will be viewing. Make sure to bring water, snacks, and pens. If you have children, you may want to bring games for them to play. Some agents will come prepared, but it is always better to be on the safe side. Typically the agent will meet you either at their office or the first property to view and drive the rest of the day. Most of all, have fun shopping for a home. This should be an enjoyable experience. Never feel pressured and make sure you are making the right decision for you and your family.

Step 6 - Making an Offer

Once you have found the right place in Maui you will want to make the offer. Maui is an escrow state. All funds for purchases will be handled by Escrow Companies for security. Your agent will prepare the offer based on your specific criteria, have the managing office broker sign off on it, and then submit it to you for review and signature. The offer will be submitted to the seller and negotiations will begin. Pre-approvals and Proof of Funds are submitted with all offers in Maui. The seller will accept, reject, or counter your offer. Negotiations may take several days. Once accepted, earnest money will be deposited into an escrow account and you will enter what is known as being "In Escrow" similar to "Under Contract" in some other states/countries. Hope you have found this quick info on making an offer useful.

Step 7 - Escrow

There are many things that occur when you are in escrow on Maui. Depending on the type of home, some or all of the below steps will occur. Your broker should walk you through the timelines that have been agreed to on your specific contract so that you have a clear understanding of what is scheduled to happen next.

Typical Steps Included:

  • Receive copy of all executed docs
  • Home inspection
  • Radon test (if applicable)
  • Lead test (if applicable)
  • Termite test (if applicable)
  • Mold test (if applicable)
  • Inspection repair request 
  • Seller response to request
  • Attorney approval
  • Lender appraisal
  • Buyers Mortgage Approved ( if applicable)
  • Final walk-through (ensure cleaned before)
  • Closing

Each closing is different so your broker will customize the correct sequence and timing of events for you.

Step 8 - Move In and Enjoy

Once you get your keys on the property you closed on, it is time to enjoy moving in, unpacking, and getting everything just how you like it. Maui is unique that often times homes and condos are sold fully furnished so you may need to just move you clothes and bathroom stuff. Every property is different and it will be known well ahead of time what is included in the sale. None the less, moving can be a bit tricky if you are moving your things, moving pets from the mainland, or moving children. Here's a good resource to help: MoveToHI.com. MoveToHi.com is useful even if you already live on island. Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding the real estate processes described in the series. I am here to answer all of your real estate related questions.