Real Estate

How Bargain-Hunting for Homes on Maui Can Backfire

February 25, 2016, 12:37 PM HST
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Haiku driveway. Alexandra Mitchell photo.

Ha‘ikū driveway. Alexandra Mitchell photo.

There are at least five ways bargain-hunting for homes on Maui can backfire.

1. Underestimating the Cost of Upgrades

Underestimating the cost of upgrading a home in Hawai‘i is a common occurrence, especially for first-time buyers. Properties with the best value on Maui usually need a little TLC.

There are a variety of different restoration issues that can come up when buying a property in Hawai‘i.

New owners may want to invest in updated kitchens and bathrooms, new appliances and plumbing, flooring restoration or the creation of more open space.


A hugely common oversight is estimating the cost of these upgrades. Labor costs and time management, material costs, delivery and shipping costs, inspection and permit fees must all be considered.


If you’re property is a rental property, you may also want to include the loss of income during property vacancies.

2. Unforeseen Problems

Unfortunately, the true state of a property is not always revealed during the escrow period. Make sure to research all county and state requirements, and hire the most thorough professionals to asses the state of your new property.


Common issues that buyers have to deal with when buying a bargain property on Maui may be mold, termites, persistent critters, unforeseen landscaping costs, septic issues, neighbor-property issues, and foundation and roofing issues.

3. Not Being Familiar With a Specific Area

When purchasing any property on Maui, make sure to learn more about the specific area, including common seasonal issues and what it’s like to live there year-round. If the property is in Ha‘ikū, for example, will you need to apply gravel to your driveway every year? Will you need four-wheel drive to get home during the wettest rainy seasons?

4. Short Sales & Foreclosure Processes Can Be Lengthy

Although Maui short sales and foreclosures aren’t as common now as they were a few years ago, buyers can still find some of these bargain properties. But just because you secured a short sale or a foreclosure, it doesn’t mean that the buying process will be quick. Sometimes buying a short sale or a Maui foreclosure can take four times longer than an average Maui real estate sale.

5. Cheap Labor Issues

On Maui, it’s super common to find cheap labor. And, yes, less expensive workers can be awesome. But, there are, unfortunately, some inexpensive options that may cost more in the long run.

Word-of-mouth is king in Hawai‘i, so make sure to do your research on each labor company or independent contractor that you work with. Are they time-efficient? What is the quality of their work? Do not be afraid to ask for references, and be sure to ask if they are insured.

Mahalo for reading Maui Now’s “How Bargain-Hunting for Homes on Maui Can Backfire.”

What are ways that you’ve seen bargain-hunting in Hawai‘i backfire? Please tell us your thoughts in the comment section below…

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