Is Hawaii Real Estate Too Expensive? Local & First Time Home Buyers with Maui Realtor Ethan - Sakamoto Properties

Is Hawaii Real Estate Too Expensive? Local & First Time Home Buyers with Maui Realtor Ethan

Home » Betty’s Hawaii Real Estate Corner » Is Hawaii Real Estate Too Expensive? Local & First Time Home Buyers with Maui Realtor Ethan
January 6, 2022
YouTube video

Betty Sakamoto: Aloha and welcome to Betty’s Real Estate Corner brought to you by Coldwell Banker Island Properties and Sakamoto Properties. Today, we have something very exciting in the studio, Ethan Kaleiopu from Lahaina.

Ethan Kaleiopu: Good afternoon.

BS: We are really excited about him being here. We are going to kind of tell you the story about Ethan. It’s a great Maui story even you’ve got to think that, don’t you Ethan?

EK: It definitely is.

BS: It definitely is. Ethan when he was graduating from High School his final year ended up coming to Sakamoto Properties and working with us. He was Roy’s intern for the year, and he could do anything. He was one of those people that fell into real estate like. He was meant to do it all his life and he was like 17 years old, but he was spectacular. We all had a lot of fun doing that.

EK: It was definitely good fun.

BS: It was. It was really fun. Anyway, it was beyond good fun really because he really helped us. Then, at the end of the year, he was supposed to be going to college and decided he wanted to sell real estate which we felt a little guilty about because we wanted to see him in college like any of our grandkids. Anyway, it was his decision and he ended up getting a real estate license was going to come to work theoretically for us except we realized that we were such a small company. We wanted him to be able to really do his best so we ended up having him talk with Coldwell Banker in Wailea. They work all over the island, but he met with Bob Sella and all the guys.

EK: And Tommy

BS: And Tommy Muldoon. He decided that he would do that. He went with them very successfully really worked well for him but then decided he was going to spread his wings and go to Honolulu. He went to Honolulu for 2 years.

EK: Almost 2 years.

BS: Almost 2 years and at the end of that also extremely successful but now realizes that he can come home. He comes back to Maui and at first, he was kind of sticking with the same company he was with until we decided we need Ethan.

EK: Until I got that phone call on New Year’s Eve.

BS: New Year’s Eve that’s pretty funny. It was New Year’s Eve and we all decided that we are going to figure this out so by New Year’s Day pretty much.

EK: Yeah

BS: We were all over it.

EK: You called New Year’s Eve and you say come on over let’s talk.

BS: Yeah

EK: About should come on back home.

BS: Yeah and he did. Now, it is like home. It’s like old homework everybody home week. Everybody loves him and we are having a great time.

EK: I’m super excited all about it.

BS: We are too. What were some of your goals right now?

EK: I think one of my biggest goals is still being a young entrepreneur and a young realtor here in the community am continuing to grow my influence and kind of gain the respect and the community of being a young professional in the business.

BS: Everybody knows who you are and that’s half of the battle. He had a big tie to Kapalua. His dad has been with Kapalua for years. It’s kind of as long as we’ve been there. He is much younger than we are, his dad.

EK: Between you and Roy and my dad I think the couple is I’m supposed to be.

BS: Yeah, I think it is too. It is for everybody. Again, we were all feeling like an old home week and kind of it’s only a few days now.

EK: Yeah

BS: It’s a great vibe for all of us.

EK: It is.

BS: And he brings a great youth to the office also. A lot of the people even from the early days he met people that he just could connect with. That’s half of the key is being able to really care, connect. A good thing that you might want to talk about for a minute is how you’ve worked with a lot of people, local residents getting their 1st like the 1st time home buyer residents.

EK: Right. I know for sure when I first got my real estate license of course we are all looking for our first deal and what can we do. One of my other mentors told me is to find a niche. One of the things I found was I really liked working with local people so trying to figure out what I can do to be of value to them. The biggest thing I found being there is many of these local residents who are qualified to make great money but no one really held their hand and guided them to where they needed to be. I kind of studied more and kind of put together something that would really help them and get them those house keys that they really deserve.

BS: One of the things remember early on you did that show.

EK: The seminar.

BS: The seminar. I’m going to call it the show. Tell about how you did that because we were really impressed with what he pulled together. We had already been in the business for so long and we were happy to help any local resident. Roy was also born and raised here so it really matters to all of us, but you get stretched out and you are doing a certain like you say niche in the market. Tell exactly what you did there so it helped.

EK: I was just trying to figure out a way to get in front of the community and really educate them, be in front of them to guide them to homeownership so I decided to host a first-time homebuyer seminar. It was held by myself when I was working with Sakamoto Properties, Tera Paleka who owns Hawaii Financial Services, and Kelena who is also an escrow officer. We put ourselves together and we got a good amount of people over I think 30 almost 40 people.

BS: it was really great.

EK: It was a really good turnout. We educated them on the process of finances, credit, the steps of homeownership, and pretty much how to elevate and leverage from there to kind of move up because we say your first property of purchase isn’t going to be your last property.

BS: Not going to be your last.

EK: Yeah

BS: One of the things I was impressed with was the idea that they were willing to sit down and work with people about how they could save some money and that is a knack because most of us no matter how much money we are making we are spending it and not a good thing especially young people.

EK: Right

BS: Because they have a lot of obligations, new obligations, maybe all of a sudden pregnancy, and whatever. You’ve got an apartment.

EK: Cost of living.

BS: Cost of living, everything. You were working in a way with them like if you could just I maybe I’m exaggerating so you are going to have to take it for a minute.

EK: Right

BS: Like where they maybe didn’t have to do this, but they could save this.

EK: What we did was I created KCG which is Kaleiopu Consulting Group and I trained a few other agents below me as well. What we did was we pretty much counseled our first-time homebuyers who were probably 6 months to a year out. We help them from fixing their credit to budgeting and pretty much being a good candidate in a mortgage broker’s eyes to qualify for a mortgage. That was a really good turnout and pretty much everyone in that seminar room signed up for our program and just about all of them closed on a property within the last 2 years.

BS: Wow. That’s amazing.

EK: Yeah

BS: Yet it is hard to keep it all going.

EK: It definitely is.

BS: If you are really looking for a first-time homebuyer you can come out to Kapalua check with Ethan first but come out sit down with them. He can do the same thing for you, give you some direction, and help you figure out how to be a home buyer. I think at this point the hardest thing is everybody thinks it’s too expensive and you want to wait. I think there will be coming up some good home workforce housing projects that will be good opportunities to get into. Again, if you get ready now and work with someone and Ethan that is part of his knack and niche whatever.

EK: Politely say they don’t make land any more, right?

BS: They don’t make land anymore exactly. They are not making any more land. Hopefully, a little more of it will get opened up from time to time.

EK: For sure.

BS: I think it will.

EK: It will.

BS: There are ways to do it. Interest rates are still fabulous.

EK: Phenomenally low. It’s a really great time if you are a homeowner now to either refinance or kind of figure out there but if you are on the fence of homeownership it’s a great time. There are great programs, FHA 3.5% down. Honestly a really great time.

BS: I think you are right. What you are saying right now is if you have a property and you are ready to sell it, but you are thinking there’s no way to get anything else it’s possible there is. There is limited inventory but again taken to your heart the fact that interest rates are low. You could talk with Ethan and try to figure it out ahead of time. If you had to like sometimes somebody’s thinking well, I couldn’t do this because it’s anything on the market now is so expensive. It’s possible your home has a greater value than you think. Ethan also has been great about giving people a little counsel on how to get the home ready to sell it.

EK: For sure.

BS: That it sells for a maximum?

EK: A big thing, as well as home preparation but what you might not think, is valuable is definitely valuable to someone else. There are many buyers out there in all the different niches and there’s something for someone out there so your property could be someone else’s new home.

BS: Yeah and then you end up upgrading, getting a little bit of a larger place.

EK: Leveling up.

BS: Leveling up exactly. Those things are all pretty amazing. Now, what else worked from there?

EK: Leveling up is pretty much the next thing many of the clients that we close as first-time home buyers 2 or 3 years ago, they come back to us and they are like, what’s next? What can we do now? In a market like this where properties are worth great dollars. They are coming to us to put the home on the market and many of these people bought pretty small. I always tell them that the 1st property you purchase isn’t going to be your dream home but it’s definitely going to leverage you to get to that dream home. Many of those clients now are refinancing and putting more rentals out there for other families or selling the home to level up into something larger for them. That’s kind of where we are at. I like the word level up.

BS: I like that word too. Level up is a good one really because we’ve all done that at different times. I think you’ve dealt with some really young and the other thing is to keep in mind there’s a lot of people who are not traditionally young meaning they are not maybe still in their 20s maybe not even in their 30s, but they still haven’t been able to make that move.

EK: Right

BS: It’s a little sometimes you will talk to someone in their 40s or 50s that really needs that moment. They have maybe saved some money but think they’ll never be able to own anything. The same thing they are still classified as first-time homebuyers.

EK: Correct.

BS: In many cases, you could have owned a variety of homes but if you don’t have a home and you haven’t for x I don’t remember how many years. Do you? You do re-qualify.

EK: You definitely do and especially if you are owner-occupied then you can still qualify for certain loan programs to still put the least amount of money down to the next property you purchase.

BS: It’s a great opportunity.

EK: It definitely is. Many of these people kind of sit on the fence. They want to be homeowners but there are not the right people in their corner to grab their hand. I think we are definitely the right people to kind of motivate you and put you in the right direction where you need to be.

BS: That’s a great line too. Grab your hand because people do lose track of that you can do it. I think you get a little beat up and we all get a little beat up at times by life and there are so many things that are difficult. You’ve got maybe by then children and even grandchildren and you still haven’t got your 1st homeownership. You can do it.

EK: My business partners Courtney she taught me something that kind of stuck with me for a bit. We just believe that “No” doesn’t mean no it just means not yet. If you were in the process of buying at one point and maybe just wasn’t your time it just means that when it is your time it will be your time.

BS: That’s a great one because you are right “No” doesn’t necessarily mean no it’s just not yet.

EK: Just not yet.

BS: Yeah and that’s hard though it’s hard to swallow that. The other thing driving over here today was as we were talking a little about what’s going on in the Kapalua market which has been our market for a long time.

EK: Everything is pending.

BS: Everything is pending just about. Right now, at Kapalua, there are 3 homes on the market that are not already under contract. There are actually 5 that are pending and 3 that are still active listings. There have been so many sales that it really is crazy but the listings right now are between $8,900,000 or actually $9,000,000 in effect and $59,500,000 for an unbelievable home at 9 Bay Drive. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime buyer or maybe not quite just once but it is a spectacular property.

EK: Beautiful property.

BS: Yeah. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is so phenomenal but then again condos at Kapalua are almost the same thing. Where you are almost everything on the market is pending. Everything in the Golf Villas, The Ridge, etc. If there’s been something on the market, it’s selling right away. The Ritz Carlton has a couple of active properties. Have you looked at those at all?

EK: Yeah and Davis just listed a new one as well. That one is a nice unit. I think that was listed just a few days ago. Those go really quickly as well.

BS: 1602

EK: Yeah

BS: That’s a nice location. It’s on the courtyard side. It’s the downside is a little bit that it’s right next to where everything’s happening.

EK: Right

BS: That’s also the upside to me.

EK: You can kind of get in and out of the building and to the pool and the restaurants.

BS: You can get to everything. I think it’s a great location. Then the Golf Villas the lowest listing is $1,125,000. Again, in a way these should have been selling for a lot more a long time ago, so they are picking up. There’s just such a limited amount of activity that it’s frightening but you can give us a call. Betty Sakamoto (808) 870-7062 or Ethan at…

EK: (808) 269-8033.

BS: Perfect so give us a call if you want to look at any real estate coming up or talk to Ethan about all of these different possibilities.

EK: There’s something for everyone.

BS: There’s something for everyone.

EK: It’s just a matter of time and even if there’s not something for you right now it’s getting prepared.

BS: Yeah. We work off and on with someone that’s lived here for a lot of years but for a variety of reasons suddenly is realizing that it’s time for them to go back to somewhere. Let’s say Pennsylvania I mean could be anywhere. It could be California, but they’ll contact us, and they own 1 property or 2 properties or they are trying to make a transition. They’ve got whatever they are in and they want to sell it they might really want to hook up with one of our affiliates on the mainland Coldwell Banker office. We can help somebody also do that. We can help you with that. The opposite side in a way of the first-time homebuyer but the person that really is ready to possibly move on head back. We’ve seen people that have ended up having to make a move back home where their kids and grandkids are because life got a little bit difficult. That isn’t as hard as you think.

EK: Yeah

BS: If you get some counseling on that also.

EK: Well, I think that’s what these past couple of years taught everyone is time is definitely valuable. Everyone’s kind of on the move and a lot with real estate as well. People pick up and go and try to get closer to home and be with their family.

BS: Yeah, it has been a hard travel year I mean in a way this is the year you came home.

EK: Right, it is.

BS: Last year.

EK: Yeah

BS: It’s hard to believe that we are 2022. It’s really been pretty interesting.

EK: It has been.

BS: We are again certainly happy.

EK: Very blessed and thankful for having me back.

BS: Well, we are blessed and thankful to have you back. By the way, Roy is out of the golf tournament today. This is day 1.

EK: Yes

BS: The real tournament and he went down there to see a couple of the people that are teeing off earlier.

EK: The Plantation Course.

BS: Yeah, The Plantation Course. If you have time head out that way. I don’t know right now I think you get tickets online.

EK: Yeah. I believe still on the website. There are still tickets available for purchase.

BS: Yeah, it’s a great time we are going all get up there for a while or our office on 700 Office Road right next to the Pour House and The Florist.

EK: And right next to Honolua Store.

BS: And the Honolua Store where you can have breakfast any time. You can bring it over and sit down outside our office to eat.

EK: It sure can.

BS: There are some really good spots.

EK: Make sure to bring us a plate lunch too.

BS: Yeah, bring plate lunch to us. I don’t know let’s see. There are so many different things that we were talking about for people today at 2022 we should all talk about. Here’s the thing, we’ve talked about this a lot around the holiday season but you know with the new year coming and everything going on it’s a great opportunity to remember that we all need to be a community and to remember what it takes to be a community and helping one another doing little things. Helping just someone that you see, or you run by or you talk to. I think we should all make a commitment this year.

EK: For sure

BS: To doing things like that.

EK: That takes a village. Kokua each other is the biggest thing that we can do.

BS: It does take a village. I’ve noticed recently and I was telling you this. One day, I was at the Napili market and just picking up a few groceries heading to the parking lot and I noticed somebody sitting on a bench there with a bunch of groceries. A family I mean a couple and I just said are you waiting for the bus and he said well we are just trying to get back to Napili. We are on vacation, but we couldn’t get a rental car and for a while there it was almost impossible. I said my car is nearby I could just drive you. They were really awestruck by that. Hopped in the car with me and I took them, dropped them off and that was it. They kind of know my name. I wasn’t trying to give anyone a card or anything, but it was really an interesting moment of just trying to help a visitor.

EK: It’s the little things that people appreciate more than we should sometimes see.

BS: Yeah, we should all do that. There’s been a lot of difficulties traveling. A lot of problems we are all quick to say the “T” word tourist which I think we all need to use the “V” word visitor. I think it is important because as much as it’s not always perfect for everybody that’s our source almost everybody on the island is working in the visitor industry in one way or another. Let’s remember to be kind and it works for everybody.

EK: As much as we share our home with them is sharing aloha with them as well it’s really important.

BS: I think so. I think sharing aloha is one of the most important things in the world no matter where we go now. It makes you feel good when you smile at people.

EK: Just makes life much easier when you lead with aloha.

BS: Yes. Lead that’s another great thing. I think we’ve got to remember that one. Everybody should think of that today. Lead with aloha whatever it is you are doing, wherever you are going, whatever you are doing. Let’s lead with aloha. Meanwhile, we do have properties that you can see pretty quickly, and you can check in with us anytime. Roy felt really bad not being here today. If somebody’s looking for Roy Sakamoto (808) 870-7060 for Ethan Kaleiopu.

EK: At (808) 269-8033.

BS: Okay, Betty Sakamoto (808) 870-7062. 870-7062 is the better number to call. We still have our old office number but anymore it’s just hard because everybody is using a cell phone. It’s just easier to stick with a cell phone. We do have the 4-minute warning probably down to 3 minutes now. We don’t know for sure, but we are pretty sure. What else would you think that you’d like to talk to our public?

Ethan Kaleopu: I don’t know. I think it’s a new year and whatever you are out there to get this year go for it because we’ve kind of experienced the past couple of years and it’s just a matter of time honestly.

BS: You are right. It should be a go for it kind of year. Let’s all work hard. Let’s make life better.

EK: Yeah

BS: Let’s everybody have more kindness with everybody in your family, with our children. Our children and grandchildren are now all grown up even the grandchildren. Again, always remember to be kind. Have time for everybody when somebody just wants a little piece of you when you are feeling like you are already maxed.

EK: Yeah

BS: Just extend it. Extend the aloha, lead with aloha.

EK: Lead with aloha. Tomorrow is never promised.

BS: Yeah. Oh, what a horrible thought but you are right. Tomorrow is never promised.

EK: It definitely is.

BS: It’s really hard. I’m hoping that’s going to be a big year for all of us at Coldwell Banker Kapalua. Our new office is spectacular. If you are around next door at The Pour House they are doing coffee in the morning and they are doing some really great crepes.

EK: It is, really good.

BS: They are really good and then you can just sit out there in front of our office. We have some extra tables so you can hang out there or with the Honolua store. Come by there. It’s a great moment to get together and hang out and come in say hello to us. Usually, we are in the office one of us is almost always there.

EK: Someone is always there.

BS: There’s somebody at the front desk to hang out and talk to. We are now down just a few minutes left so I think we got to always acknowledge Danny Couch who sings I love Hawaii as we come in and out of the show. I love Danny Couch and he has some fabulous if you check him out online. He has some of the best Christmas music and fabulous Hawaiian music.

EK: Definitely gives you the aloha spirit.

BS: He does. He definitely leads with aloha.

EK: He does so do his music.

BS: There are so many things, Willie K. I miss Willie K. He passed away it’s over a year now, I think.

EK: Yeah

BS: It seems in a way like yesterday or he is still here somewhere. Lahainaluna High School is another quick something. Lahainaluna High School has a lot of people up at the tournament working to get things done. Part of that all is because the tournament makes fabulous contributions like to Hale Makua, to Lahainaluna High School, and to a variety of other local charities that all put in some time to be able to help with the tournament. Now, we’ve got Danny Couch back. I hope we’ve said something that’s been interesting for you and call us. Just find us we still have so just come and find us. We are there for you. What’s your website?


BS: Okay, aloha.

EK: Aloha

BS: We will see you in 2 weeks.