Uniquely Hawaiian Real Estate Terms and Phrases - Sakamoto Properties

Uniquely Hawaiian Real Estate Terms and Phrases

Home » Real Estate Tips & Guides » Uniquely Hawaiian Real Estate Terms and Phrases
July 29, 2016

Diving into the Maui real estate market can be a dream come true for those who love the island. Beautiful real estate abounds, and you’ll find no shortage of uniqueness in their designs or in the landscapes that surround them. Hawaii is dramatically different from any other place in the world, and that is what makes it special. That being the case, it follows that the real estate market has its own special set of nuances that set it apart from its Mainland counterparts.

If you’re thinking about buying real estate on Maui, learning the unique terms and phrases can go a long way to building your savvy and your confidence. To learn, we recommend exploring our Maui real estate glossary, but in the meantime, you can read on to get started.

Condominium hotel – This is a condominium building that is run like a hotel, featuring things like housekeeping and front-desk services, but its units are individually owned and often used for vacation rentals.

Fee simple – A purchased property or inherited estate which the owner has the right to control, use and transfer at will. This is the kind of ownership that most buyers are familiar with, as opposed to leasehold, which we’ll list below.

Lanai – Originally, this was the same thing as a porch or veranda, being on the ground floor, but as architecture grew in height and number of floors, it became used synonymously with balcony as well.

Leasehold – A leasehold owner doesn’t own the land, but has a right to use it for a fixed amount of time, and even build structures. When it expires, the buildings and structures may revert to the lessor’s ownership, depending on the lease. Should the land change owners, the new owner is bound by the terms of the original lease. Of course, this kind of arrangement is much cheaper than fee simple ownership, although the financing requirements are stricter.

Leeward – The southern and western parts of the island that are sheltered from the prevailing winds, known as the trade winds, which come from the northeast. These areas tend to be drier than the opposite side of the island.

Makai – Toward the ocean.

Mauka – Toward the mountain.

Ohana – Typically refers to a living area not attached to the main house; i.e. an adjoining small studio or cottage.

Upcountry – Maui’s higher elevation region on the slopes of Haleakala, generally characterized by cooler temperatures, pastoral land, and rural neighborhoods.

Windward – The northern and eastern parts of the island, which are facing the trade winds. These areas tend to be rainier and therefore greener than the opposite side of the island.

These are just a handful of common examples of terms you’re likely to encounter in your Maui real estate adventures. For a more thorough explanation of our market’s nuances, you’ll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Buying Hawaii real estate is a big decision, so why not make sure you’re as informed as possible? We look forward to assisting you through every step of the rewarding process of finding and buying your Maui home or condo. Mahalo!

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