Sakamoto Properties

Escrow and Aloha
May 20th, 2014

Betty Sakamoto: Aloha and welcome to Betty's Real Estate Corner brought to you by Sakamoto Properties. And it is true: I love Hawaii. And I love Danny Couch who sings that for us. Love him! Anyway, here in the studio today, my husband, Roy Sakamoto is here.

Roy Sakamoto: Good morning.

B: And Joel Navarro the manager of Title Guaranty in Lahaina and the guy that totally keeps us going because he handles all of our escrows and gets them closed on time and probably more important than anything, he's so good at his job and he keeps all of our clients happy. So he keeps us totally happy. Anyway, welcome Joel.

Joel Navarro: Thank you, good morning.

B: Ok, here we are, we're here for another Tuesday morning, to kind of check in with you. We seem to have a variety of different topics today and I think we're going to start as we tend to with a few of the different community things. You heard a minute ago, Neil Everett who did that great PSA, public service announcement for Lahainaluna High School. And I think any of you that are Lahainaluna wannabe's, Lahainaluna graduates, married to Lahainaluna graduates, ect. It's a great opportunity to give back in the community. And we were at a great golf tournament the other day, for Lahainaluna, which was for Lahainaluna football. And we happened to be playing with guys from Maui High that came over because they're really football people. You know, and they're around our age, wouldn't you say, Roy?

R: Yes. And it's, again, a community affair raising funds for Lahainaluna. We've also participated in fundraising activities for Maui High, Saint Anthony, Baldwin High School. It's great?

B: Maui Prep.

R: Oh, absolutely. And it's great for us to support all of the Maui activities and the various Maui charities. The guys we played with last Saturday were awesome. Maui High graduates but still supporting Lahainaluna?

B: Wearing red shirts for the Lahainaluna High School.

R: Big sacrifice, yeah.

B: Yeah.

R: Big sacrifice, so thanks Curtis Lee and Rogers Ishizu and Bobby Matsumoto. Thanks for playing.

B: They were really great. It was really fun and they made it fun for everybody. Which is part of why we're all playing in these golf tournaments.

R: And thanks for putting up with us.

B: Yes, well, putting up with me. But whatever.

R: It was fun.

B: It was fun.

R: And it raised some good funds for Lahainaluna football. But, you know, speaking of Lahainaluna, a big supporter of Lahainaluna has been Title Guaranty Escrow. And maybe Joel can explain a little bit about what Project Graduation is and how Title Guaranty supports that.

J: Well, thanks, Roy. Every year Title Guaranty puts on a golf tournament called "The Legacy Cup." This golf tournament?the beneficiary of the golf tournament is Lahainaluna High School's Project Graduation. And as some people know the project graduation is an event that's held right after graduation that's put on by the community, the parents, to keep our graduating seniors safe on their very special night. It's a top secret event that everything is pretty clandestine as far as what they're going to do, what they're going to see, who they're going to?musicians, artists, stuff like that. The event itself costs a lot of money and this golf tournament is predominantly the fundraiser for the event for those seniors graduating from Lahainaluna High School.

B: You know, one of the things I understand, Joel, is that the?in our state, in our county, Maui County, let's say, the school's that have done this Project Graduation, since it's started there has not been one fatality of a graduating senior on graduation night. And most of us grew up, even where I was, there was a fatality. And that's like 1959, after high school graduation. Somebody driving, drinking, etc. And I think it's really critical for our community and this Project Graduation is fun for everybody. I think it really is. The kids are really supporting it. The majority of the kids, I believe, are going to it. And they're having a great time and the people involved like, Joel and I think parents, teachers?are really working hard to come up with some great ideas every year so that when the kids board the buses or whatever they're using, the kids are happy and having a ball.

J: According to the Project Graduation committee, they're getting about a 90% participation and the other 10% are either?they've already had previous plans off island or with other family members. But 90% participation of a graduating class of, let's say, 300. That's incredible.

R: Wow, that's great. Super.

J: And since inception, of the Legacy Cup for this, this was the 6th year, there have been no fatalities, no incidences, since we've supported Project Graduation.

B: It's such an amazing event. Community event. Totally different than everything else which is just kind of, often blanket fundraisers. Here's something that really is critical for our children. And I hope that it goes on forever.

R: Oh, I hope so. And how did Title Guaranty get started on this?

J: The inception of this golf tournament started at another golf tournament where some realtors were discussing, "I wonder who has the strongest golfers in their real estate offices?" And it became a little competition and they looked at me and said, "Hey, if you put out a golf tournament, let's go find out which is the best real estate office." And that's kind of the genesis of the golf tournament and then it kind of flourished into this.

B: I think this moment says that I should bring up that the women of Sakamoto Properties did hold that title. We held the Legacy Cup for one year. And we're going to get it back next year.

J: There you go.

B: We're going for it.

R: I know, I know.

J: The gauntlet has been down, Roy.

R: I know, I'll never live that down.

B: I suppose Roy, we always get started with something. But we do have to remember we need to throw in a little bit of real estate information.

R: Yeah, we do. But before we do, you know, Joel mentioned Realtors helping the community. And the Realtors Association of Maui has been very, very active in supporting a variety of charities. If you look in the back pages of the Maui News on Saturday, Joe Bean writes great articles about various Realtors in our community who are really assisting and helping various charities just not for glory or anything else but for the sake of doing. And thank you fellow Realtors out there and thank you to Title Guaranty Escrow.

B: And I think you're right, Roy. The real estate community does a lot of things that nobody sees. And it is nice that someone in the Maui News keeps checking in with all of us and will put something about it. Because it really is important that people realize. You know, our office and Roy and I in particular have made it critical to us that we give back to the community. And our first thing started when Roy's mom was at Hale Makua and that was 30 plus years ago.

R: Mm-hmm.

B: So he's either been on the?well first we did some golf tournaments to raise some funds for a variety of things. But it's such an amazing place. The employees there are so wonderful. They did such a great job for mom, that I think it really became important. And Roy, since then, has been on the Board of Directors, or their Foundation Board on every committee that you could imagine. And our office has really stepped up. Mitch Mitchell has been in the middle of everything also. So that was one of our primo things and then the next has been for also Lahainaluna High School.

R: Yes.

B: And I love when Neil Everett says that, but I do have a husband that went there, I have a daughter that went there, my father-in-law went there, so I am a Lahainaluna wannabe.

R: Love it when Neil says, "Support it! Right now!"

B: Yeah, don't you love that? I do too. I love every?I mean, I think that is an amazing thing. Anyway, so. I mean, there are a lot of different things that we need to talk about from the standpoint of our community. And a couple of them today that we could hit on as we come to the end, but it'll give us a chance to think about, would be what "Aloha" means. Because you've been discussing that with someone and trying to get away from the idea that's it's just "Hello", "Goodbye", "I love you." But realizing that it is more of a state of mind.

R: Yeah, It certainly is. And you know it's good food for thought for the Maui community. "What is Aloha?" We always say "Aloha". "Hello", "Goodbye", "I love you." But what does it mean? And it's more of a frame of mind and a sense of being. And I had a great meeting yesterday and more details will follow on our radio show. But thanks to Kaui and Wilmont Kahaialii and Adam Tabura for a great meeting yesterday and more will be forthcoming on the meaning of "Aloha."

B: Ok, I'm with that and I think that we can come up with a lot and maybe if anyone wants to send us some of their thoughts, send it to us at or is a good spot and you'll get an email that'll come to both Roy and I and tell us what you feel "Aloha" means to you. You know, one of the things. Just a simple thing for all of us right now is to remember to say "Aloha." You know, I think a lot of us are almost forgetting and we shouldn't.

R: And to mean it.

B: And to mean it. But, I mean, sometimes you just gotta start saying it. Or whatever the things are. "I love you." Whatever those important words are and sometimes you do just say it. But I'll tell you, you often figure out immediately that you do mean it.

R: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

B: You gotta stop for a moment. Anyway, one of the things with Joel here. I think we would like to talk a little bit about escrow. And why escrow is important to us and Roy and I can both come up with something and you might want to ask a question first, Roy. But I think it'd be interesting, "Why is it we have escrow companies? " "Why do we have escrow companies handling our deal?" And "Why is it the most protective thing we can do for our real estate transactions?"

R: Yeah, go ahead, Joel.

J: Well, before I begin, I just want to echo off of what you guys are talking about with regard to aloha and I want to say that, you know, as being part of the real estate community, I've been witness to the generosity of the Realtors and our real estate industry and the amount of contribution and participation that the real estate community does for Maui is quite miraculous.

R: It is. It really is.

J: I'm so proud to be part of that industry and when we talk about the "Aloha Spirit" or the meaning of "Aloha," much of the stuff that the real estate industry does for the community often goes unsaid. Joe Bean really does a really good job of that article but sometimes people don't notice it. And what I love about, I think for most realtors, they're not there to puff their chest out, "Oh I did this and I did that." They just do it because it's fulfilling for them and it makes the community better, it makes their lives better. So that, to me, is a great symbolism of "Aloha Spirit."

B: It is. You know, as you said that, I thought of something. I've also been witness to the generosity of Title Guaranty Escrow Services. Whatever one of the agents, whichever one of us and we all?everybody's got something that they're working toward. You know if we talked to Joel about it or he talks then to the other powers that be, they almost always, or I would say, always have come out and helped us one way or another. You know, sometimes they actually make contributions, or they've contributed information, or printouts, or place to hold something. They have done some amazing things so I think, yup, the real estate?and I guess the point is you are a part of the real estate community and your company has done an amazing job for Maui, Honolulu, all of Hawaii.

R: All of Hawaii.

B: So that's "aloha".

J: Yeah, so and to?I guess to answer your question, "What is escrow?" and "What is Title Guaranty?" You know we are, inherently, by definition, a neutral third party that facilitates the real estate transaction between buyer and seller. And our responsibilities as the neutral third party, are to go to buyer, seller, realtor, and if there's a lender, to the lender as well. We take care of holding funds between the two parties until all the contingencies and all the contractual agreements have been fulfilled. We also take care of all the legal documents to procure the conveyance from one party to the other. And then the issuance of the title policy which guarantees ownership of the new owner.

B: You know, one of the things that I often tell a buyer when we're in the middle of doing a contract, you know, I'll go through it with them and I would be selecting Title Guaranty to be the escrow company. And when they ask how much that's going to cost, what does that do, I always say the simplest thing. You've got a deposit here, it's going to go in, and escrow's going to hold it. And then they're going to get the rest of the money. You're going to get your money from your lender, but then they're going to hold that in a totally secure fund until they've got a deed signed, notarized, etc., by the seller. So when they've got all of these documents together, they've got the mortgage, they're going to go ahead and record those documents. When they're able to immediately afterwards send the money to the seller. So it's so simple in a way you describe it. We can make complicated pretty easy for you, Joel, but they do an amazing job of that and whenever I've told someone or I'll get them to go in and talk to Joel, often, if I can, before transaction because he is comforting. He sees to it that someone understands what's going to happen.

J: Well, thank you. You know, part of my success with the company is the fact that I have a tremendous support from the entire company. You know, when you're speaking to me or any one of my officers, we have, just at the Title background, almost 100 people supporting us from the Title Plan to the Title Searchers, to all the people that are making sure that the title transfer is accurate. You both have had the pleasure of coming to our Honolulu office to see our Title Plan, which is the largest and only Title Plan in the State of Hawaii.

B: It's amazing. Amazing.

J: And when you look at the historical searches that is done, and the maps that they have to go through to insure that ownership transfers properly, that's what's part of what we do in the transaction.

B: And also keep in mind that they do this job and when you look at the title plan and what is going to go into it to be sure that the title is clear, but you know that when title transfers to you, Title Guaranty is going to give you an insurance policy. So they're going to ensure that they didn't miss anything. So when you take that title policy and put it in a safe or under your mattress or wherever you put it, you know that you're secure because Title Guaranty is the biggest and the best and they're always going to be there so I think it really is?it does say a lot about how we operate in the state of Hawaii.

R: And it makes buying and selling so easy and so worry-free because you do have an escrow company like Title Guaranty who will ensure that all proper documents are recorded and for selling real estate, assure that the buyer's funds will be in and so forth. So by all means, escrow is a vital, vital part of any real estate transaction and working with someone like Joel, the manager at Lahaina Title Guaranty, is very essential.

B: You know, one quick thing, Roy is the one that usually keeps me on with this but, try to reach us by phone, 808-669-0070, we can help you with all of your real estate needs. Check out our website: or you can reach us #BettyMauiRadio. So check in with us because a lot of times someone will have a few questions. Maybe they've listened to us on the radio and they're wondering what can these guys do for me? Well call us, if you have something you need to sell or that you're thinking you might want to buy something, anybody wanting to buy should be getting started early. You know, whether you're here on vacation for ten days or you've lived here all your life and you're thinking, "You know, I've gotta get a home for my family." Call us: 808-669-0070 and we will help you. We'll help you figure out what it is that will meet your needs and will probably have you go in and meet Joel as part of the process so that when we do open in escrow and we're starting your transaction, you're going to know the face of Joel and his company, etc., and I think that will make a big difference to you, whether you live here or you live on the mainland or somewhere around the world. We would like to be the person helping you buy real estate here.

R: And how to people reach you, Joel? What's your number?

J: Our main number at our Lahaina Branch is 661-8715. If you want to reach me directly, be more than happy to call 661-1223 or they can go to our website at

R: If you have any questions at all on the escrow process, or you thinking of buying, thinking of selling, and you just want to ask a question about how the escrow process works, call Joel.

J: And one of the things that we've often done for Roy and Betty is that if you're a prospective buyer and are interested in a particular property and want to know the title, the things that encumber the property and want to know more about the property, we're happy to provide a complimentary title report even before you put an offer so that you are comfortable with your purchase and are sure that there is no weird incumbencies or leans, or tax matters affecting that property.

B: I think that can mean a lot to a certain buyer. Especially an international buyer, someone in the mainland that isn't going to be here through the escrow process. And if they've thought about it they may well want to look at something or maybe they've heard something about Hawaii properties and how you can't get real title or people come here sometimes thinking that the state owns everything?well, that's not really true?but I think that there are the people that get here that are going to want us to be able to give them a title report to just glance at as they're making an offer. So that would be great.

R: Not only a title report, but we've asked Joel to come up with just tentative closing statements, so a buyer can pretty much figure out how much cash they'll need to purchase. And a seller can kind of get a ballpark idea of the proceeds of the sale.

J: Absolutely.

R: That's a great service that Title Guaranty has for the community.

B: You know, Roy, I don't know if you've paid attention, here guys, but it looks like we hit the two minute warning. And we do want Neil Everett to come back on and kind of push everyone to help us out with the stadium campaign. The bleachers are poured, they're almost completely poured. They're going to be installing seats shortly. And the fundraising effort is very important to the community. This year there's going to be four games at Lahainaluna High School unprecedented in the first night game in the history of the school will be held this year. So there will be a football game at night, under the lights, and it's going to be really an exciting time for Lahainaluna High School. So you guys will be there, right?

R: Oh, absolutely.

J: Yup!

R: We'll be there.

J: Go Lunas!

R: Yes, go Lunas, and Jeff Rogers is at the Foundation office, 661-5332, or call Sakamoto Properties: 669-0070.

B: And then we could do, If you're looking for the Lahainaluna High School Foundation,, which Neil Everett will probably tell you in a little better tone than I am. But it looks like we're just about to put Neil Everett on, so aloha and thank you all for listening to us today.

J: Aloha.

R: Aloha.

B: Aloha, Joel, Roy.

Mailing Address:
Sakamoto Properties
P.O. Box 10068
Lahaina, HI 96761
Phone: (808) 669-0070
Fax: (808) 669-1234
Office Address:
Sakamoto Properties
Napili Plaza
5095 Napilihau Street #203
Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761
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