Things You Need to Know When Relocating to Maui, Hawaii

In this economy, you may be surprised that many Baby Boomers are making plans to move to Maui. Some of us are already here. There are 600 Washingtonian’s who currently own property in South Maui according to the Real Property Division of the Maui County. Health conscious lifestyle Boomers can be seen on the golf courses, biking all around Maui, hiking Haleakala, surfing Ho’okeipa, or paddle boarding at the Cove.

Ho'okipia, Maui's North Shore

The weather and healthy living lifestyle are not the only reason Boomers are making Maui home. They also want to save on taxes. Although Hawaii does have an income tax, it doesn’t tax Social Security or pension income, and property taxes are incredibly low on residential property. 

For instance, on Maui a $12.9 million home has an annual property tax bill of approximately $36,000; in San Diego, a $10.9 million home comes with an $110,000 annual tax bill. You need to apply for the tax exemption, but once you have it, you are set. Additionally, as Maui homeowners grow older, a bigger portion of their property tax bill could become exempt using the Circuit Breaker Program.

Some claim the cost of living is higher in Hawaii, but if you ask your local neighbors, they will tell you it’s all in knowing where to shop. A local favorite for fresh upcountry produce is the Saturday Maui Swap Meet. Whole Foods and Safeway are always affordable places to shop for the BBQ, and loading up your shopping cart at Costco is an opportunity to run into your friends and neighbors from the Mainland.  

The first step in buying in Maui is defining your lifestyle needs, real estate goals, and how you will be paying for your home. The 1031 exchanges are popular; 401K has some option programs, Home-Equity lines of credit, or that perennial favorite, cash, can help you make the transition. It is always best to check with your CPA to help plot your move.   

Truly, this is a great time buy. Low interest rates, and the significantly lower prices are making Maui affordable. If you aren’t quite ready to retire, there is an abundance of short term vacationers who want to escape the brutal wind, rain, and snow of Canada and the North West, and will be happy to rent from you. The Pacific Northwest folks are constant visitors—they love those non-stop flights from Seattle to Kahului, Maui on Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines. 

A basic one-bedroom condo starts at $180,000, while a beautifully appointed oceanfront condo with a few bedrooms can run anywhere from $3 million to $7 million in Wailea and Kapalua. Oceanfront homes start at around $5 million. In Kihei, a 2-bedroom ocean view in a short term rental complex starts at $455,000 to $750,000. There is something for every budget available to purchase.

If thinking you have to leave your pet in quarantine is stopping you from moving to Maui, don’t worry, there is no longer a pet quarantine requirement in Hawaii. Pets moving to Hawaii must be up-to-date on their shots, have a recent travel examination, and copies of records for entry. Animals must also be micro-chipped and have an airline ticket for passage. Call the airlines for more details on pet carrier specification as they are all different.

Karen Keefe is a licensed Realtor for Windermere Real Estate/West Sound Inc. and a Bainbridge Island, Washington resident for 32 years. She owned a condo rental on Maui for many years and recently moved to Maui full-time where she works as a Realtor for Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Wailea, Maui. She is a fountain of information about the condo/rental, or relocation processes and happy to answer any questions you may have about real estate in Maui…or she’ll simply recommend a great place for dinner on the island. Give her a call at (808)-268-1885 and start making your Maui dream come true today.

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Gary Bland R (S)

October 23, 2011

Great information. I will share on Facebook.

Gary Bland R (S)

October 23, 2011

Great information. I will share on Facebook.

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