Sakamoto Properties

First Time Home Buyers in Maui, Hawaii
August 7th, 2012

Betty Sakamoto: Aloha and welcome to Betty's Real Estate Corner brought to you by Sakamoto Properties where prestige is our business, reputation our foundation. This show is brought to you exclusively by Sakamoto Properties and we definitely approve of its contents. Today I think I'm going to be here alone for a bit, we have a mortgage broker stopping by, David Freedman. I'm thinking Mitch Mitchell, who is here very often, is going to check in with us on a couple of deals that he's been working on and closings that are happening. I'm going to try to go through what I think is going on with the market and come up with a couple of different thoughts for everybody. One of the things that I keep getting on to and it's not a share of the market that we're the most active in but the first-time homebuyer, and for a lot of you it does seem the first-time homebuyers listen and check in with us after the show. So that by itself is pretty interesting, trying to figure out who it is, who is listening to us ? sometimes I'm not positive. But there are some great mortgages that are out there today. There's some great values in property and if the first-time homebuyer, you know, the person that thinks that they're never going to be able to buy a property in Maui, it's very possible that you will be able to. But you have to check it out, you have to talk to, I still think number one, talk to a lender, and if the only way you're going to get to a lender is through a real estate broker call a real estate broker. Almost everybody on this island knows a real estate broker, they live next door to you, they're friends or they have a friend of a friend, but you know someone that's in the real estate business and if you're comfortable with them talk to them. If not, look in the phonebook or call us, Sakamoto Properties (808) 669-0070. Another thing is check out all of our websites, our website is Very easy, very easy to navigate around, it's set up so you can look at all of our listings very comfortably, or as you go down the website you can go and search out other properties. So you can go and fill in the blanks and pick Napili, Kaanapali, Upcountry ? you'll find everything that is currently in the Board of Realtors MLS. You can go to our website and find every property that is currently for sale in Maui which I think is a pretty amazing thing to be able to do. So do that, check it out, or call us (808) 669-0070. One of us is usually around the office and we'll chat with you a little bit, fill you in on what you would do next. We'll give you a couple of names of a lender, one lender possibility for most of us here on Maui is: call your banker. First Hawaiian Bank has some great mortgages right now, Bank of Hawaii, all of the banks. So if you've had your accounts for a long time with a bank go in and talk to a branch manager or talk to whoever is on duty that does mortgage loans and you'll be surprised. You'll either figure out well it's not time yet, I'm going to have to wait a while. In some cases what they'll want you to do is maybe clean up some old credit and in a lot of cases they'll help you, they'll help you figure it out. Another great person to reach is Tricia Morris, Premiere Mortgage, and I'm sure you always see her advertising where she comes up with they're the "magicians", you know they're the ones that make magic happen, and they do, they make magic happen. Today we're supposed to have David Freedman here and he's another great one to talk to. His phone number is (808) 385-8558. I am hoping he's just going to walk in here and fill us in on some current rates, etcetera. He could be a little stuck in traffic as he was coming from West Maui, but David Freedman is in the studio. Here he is, so he's going to put on some earphones and here we go. Now I better tell him what I was just saying ?

David Freedman: I, of course, was listening to the radio and right after Tricia Morris I think I'm in good company.

B: You're in good company. Well like I said David was going to be here and what I was saying is David is a person that knows how to get the deals together and when you talk to David he will help you. He will help you figure out what it is you need to do, he may send you to someone that's going to help you with credit and the other thing I think, and David can tell you himself, but today, if you know what you want to do, you know how much of a payment you're comfortable with let David tell you number one what you can qualify for, you can tell him what you're comfortable with and you may want to have a little extra spending cash. But David, why don't you tell us what's going on in mortgages?

D: Excellent, I heard what you're saying as we were driving and I think the key thing to remember for everyone is you have more resources at your fingertips than you're aware. As Betty said your neighbor, the person you may play tennis with, golf with, usually has an experience or a contact that you can use as a friendly background experience, someone who goes, "I just used this person and here's my experience". I'm a little bit out of breath, I just ran across the parking lot.

B: Well, let me give you a break for one second and tell you more about David. David's been in the mortgage loan business for a lot of years, I don't know the exact number ?

D: Eighteen

B: Eighteen, excellent. And he's been a person that if he could, certainly everybody can do the easy loans and he can definitely get those done, but he is someone that has a lot of knowledge and doesn't mind stepping in and really working with someone to help them get to their goals. To help somebody that maybe has a minor problem and is trying to clear up a little bit of credit or someone that has their heart set on something, or thinking that the place has an Ohana and how they can utilize it, and I think you can still utilize Ohana income can't you

D: I have now caught my breath, thank you for that. We spoke six months ago on this show and one of the things we talked about is the guidelines are loosening up and the brokers are going to be able to be a little bit more aggressive because when you go to a bank they're going to be using their select product but when you go to a broker it is the broker's job to look at all the available banks and all the available resources and outlets. We have our conventional outlets, we just became partners with Quicken Home Loans.

B: I've never heard of that, it's Quicken as in the website Quicken and the financial bank?

D: Yes, when you see the TV commercials and the radio commercials, we're now partners with them and we're the first brokerage in the state to be approved in partner with them. And if you come to us, we may take your loan to Quicken, we might take it to First Hawaiian Bank, we might take it to whoever we feel you're going to fit with best. That's the difference between a broker and a bank. Whereas the bank goes we have to take you to our home, all of our guidelines, all of our product, we get to go "we have the world".

B: That's right, I mean there's no question there, and sometimes you do, you've got a banker that you love and he figures it out and it's really simple and "boom" your loan is done. But in a lot of cases that isn't the way it goes and you do need somebody like David, again David does a great job. I did say your number a minute ago, (808) 385-8558.

D: I think someone was just calling because that's how popular the radio show is. Now one of the things I did hear you also mention as we were coming in is the neighborhood concept and what's nice is this is "lucky we live Maui, lucky we live this beautiful place". In a small community you have all the resources at your fingertips. Let's mention one of your newest agents, Lars Holberg-Olsen.

B: Lars, he's fabulous.

D: He is fantastic, and so here is someone who has twenty-five years of living here on Maui and so he had experience as the consumer when he bought his house, his home loan is an example, and now he's selling real estate. So he can say, here's what it was like to be on this side of the fence and now here's what it's like to be on this side of the fence. Sometimes we all forget what it was like to be the consumer so that reminder of here's the first-time homebuyer is fantastic. That brings up Mitch Mitchell, one of the best agents. If you're ever going to be surprised at one of the ultra-high end of exclusive realtors and how much time they'll take for someone on their first purchase whether it's a $30,000 studio to a five million dollar exclusive estate, Mitch's heart goes into every part of that.

B: It does, no question, Mitch's heart goes into everything. And he's been on the show a lot of time but his heart, do you know that he is up for a huge award ? the Palaka Award ? for what he's done for Hale Makua. It's going to be coming up in a few weeks, I wish I had everything here and I don't think that any of us get to vote or something but he's so honored and thrilled that somebody nominated him for the award, but in addition like you say he's there if he's working with the first time homebuyer or even someone that's here and we all think they've got a ton of money. But the reality is, it doesn't matter how much money somebody has, all of a sudden they're back in Chicago and they're calling you because they're buying this property and they're nervous, it's a long way away and he will give a lot of heart and soul to that deal as he's done for Hale Makua to make things happen for Hale Makua. So you're right, Mitch is great. Lars, I agree with you, he's in a way new to the business, he's worked in a timeshare thing so he knows how to do deals and how to make things happen but a real worker and such a nice, nice man. It's wonderful.

D: And that's the whole thing, is these are people in your community that you know and you touch. This show is about real estate and I think that the American Dream is still to buy a home and right now it is the most affordable time that we've ever seen in my forty-six years of being on this earth. The rates that we're at today is an example, if I could just plug rates just for a second?

B: Okay, we would love to hear a lot of rate information.

D: Fantastic, our five-year fixed is at 2.375% today, our thirty-year fixed is at 3.5% today. We've never seen rates this low. We were looking at the cost of certain houses that we had looked at twelve or thirteen years ago when Mitch was helping us with our first-time purchase that are now back on the market some of them are actually the same price as they were then. Back then interest rates were at eight, and nine, and ten percent. Our first rate was at 10.5% and we were happy to get it.

B: No question, I think that the biggest thing here is when you think about today's market and I know I've said this before to whoever happens to be listening but you're at a time that low prices on real estate, at least for Maui, it's the best prices that we will ever see and low interest rates are virtually colliding. So I don't think we're going to see that again but I think we are going to see it for the next "X" number of months or maybe it's going to go into a year and I've seen people that are looking to buy something. I have some people that want to buy a property for around a million dollars, they would like it to be West Maui, they've kind of given in and looked Upcountry a little bit, but to find a million-dollar property that's nice, that they're going to be comfortable, they don't want to buy something that they're going to have to put a couple hundred thousand into they can go up a little higher than that, but they just want a nice home. And it's hard because a year ago you could find that and now for Kaanapali, most of Lahaina, pretty much all of West Maui, it's hard to find a really nice home for a million dollars, it's frightening.

D: I disagree with you. Let's take the math part for just a moment: the million dollar purchase used to be a five to six thousand dollar a month payment. Today with taxes and insurance we're looking at around $3,300 dollars so if it has an Ohana which our first home when you gave us counsel, you said if it has an Ohana it helps you and if worst comes to worst you can always rent out the room. Well an Ohana today in West Maui rents for $1,500 a month easily.

B: Well there are ways to go with it, these people in particular they have gone through everything. They know the interest rates, I mean they're number one, they care about where they're living, they care about everything and they've talked to lenders, they know exactly what they can qualify for, they can pay a little more if there's an Ohana, they've got it down.

D: May I interrupt you for just a moment? Are you living in the first house that you bought?

B: No, and they aren't either.

D: Right, so as life changes our wants and needs change and it's amazing that the house that I was absolutely in love with twelve years ago I wouldn't want to live in today and the house that we want to buy now is completely different from the house we were living in four years ago. So I think our wants and needs are always changing and so again, going back to what we do, we give people our opinion and hopefully let them choose what their heart tells them to do and I've learned that from you and from Roy. It's "create the dream, not the nightmare" and it really has served us well.

B: Well I'm totally with you that the American Dream is now and I think always will be homeownership. There was a point that it was looking like it just may not be happening. It was a while ago now and maybe a year ago, or a year and a half ago that you could see that people were ready to just rent something. It was too hard, they had lost a property, they didn't care anymore. But I'll tell you, that mindset is gone again. You need to talk to your lender, talk to your realtor ?

D: The adrenaline from running across the parking lot has really got me chatty today. Let's say that it happens again? It's better that you get your loan today and not wait because we know that there's problems throughout the world and it wouldn't surprise me if in six months or eight months we see the financial markets lock up a little bit. Don't wait thinking it's going to get a lot better because at 3.5% on a thirty-year fixed, it's not.

B: Absolutely, that's what we've been saying. Oh it's not going to get better, I didn't mean that. It is not going to get better from the standpoint of prices, they're not going to go down and if somebody wants to look at every property on the island, you can probably find something that you think is the deal of the century, fine, but you've got to want to live in it. You know, but if you're looking and you really want to own something there's no better time, you're never going to get better deals and what David is saying there's no question, you're never ever going to get better interest rates than you've got right now.

D: I have to, now I'm going to interject again with my opinion. You may not find the perfect house but you can find close to it and that's what landscapers and contractors help you do. If you find something that's close you might look at it and go, "am I looking for something too perfect?" It's great timing, I think, to go "you know what, I'll probably be in this house two to five years and maybe if we just do that add-on or perhaps just put the privacy hedge up this may not be it perfectly but this is pretty much close to it.

B: You know, I think everybody, I mean certainly we would be sure that people are looking at that whole idea of "the odds are you're not going to step into the perfect house, even if it's ten million dollars". The guy who is buying the ten million dollar house probably is going to do a two million dollar remodel because they don't like a wall where it is. And there's definitely the guy who's buying a $250,000 house, same thing, I mean whatever it comes with, like you say he's going to fix the shrubs or he's going to change something or he's going to block out some of his neighbors or he's going to get out there and paint it like we all did when we were young and buying our first home. I think that there's another interesting key, we've all, at least I've certainly hit the point where we're not painting anymore, we're not wallpapering, we're not whatever, and we've been able to not have to do that today. But I'll tell you, we did that more than once where we totally painted the whole place ourselves or painted the exterior or wallpapered. I was wallpapering for clients a while ago, I mean quite a while, but it was fun. I mean, you did what you had to do to get the listing and then you saw to it that it sold. But people, people are going to do that, you're right. They're to fix it up if they can and now everybody wants to do that. So there are people, and we deal with them, that they are going to look into moving right now and they don't want to have a construction job. They don't mind going in and painting or they don't mind certain things but you've got to take your buyer as you find them and try to help them work within that and be comfortable with that. Now it looks like we've got somebody calling in here. Hey Mitch, it's Betty and David Freedman is here with me.

Mitch Mitchell: Oh great. Hi Betty and David.

D: Hi Mitch, how are you?

B: We just talked about you.

M: Oh, I wasn't able to listen to you guys today, I was running around trying to take care of some escrows you and I have.

B: Excellent, thank you.

M: Anyway, just thought I'd call in and say things are beautiful here in West Maui and wanted to remind you that you need to save the 24th Betty. I have been nominated for the Palaka Award.

B: Yes, we just talked about it.

D: Mitch you look great in Palaka.

M: Oh, okay then I won't toot my own horn again other than wanting you to be there Betty. I am so honored looking at the names of the people that are up for this award. It's really unbelieveable to me that my name can be in with some of these people that do so much for our community as well as Michael Irons did. It's a tremendous honor and I really, really am quite honored by the Kawanis.

B: Well I think it is a great honor and I think that you totally deserve it and before we actually started the show and we did a little bit on the show already, talk about what you've done but I was telling everyone here at the station how you got started in it and how it all happened and the carrying of hundred pound bags of ice during golf tournaments. And Mitch has given his heart and soul to Hale Makua, and David said a minute ago, as you do to your clients. You take the first-time homebuyer or the five million dollar homebuyer and give them equally of your heart, you know, not just of your time. So Mitch, you are a great, you're a great realtor and ?

M: Oh, I didn't call to hear that, I just wanted to make sure you got it down and on the calendar.

B: And now everybody has to buy the balls.

M: And give a sincere acknowledgement to the Kawanis for allowing me to be among the names that are nominated.

B: That's great.

M: The Kawanis club does so much for Maui and I just wanted to thank them publicly.

B: Nice.

M: You guys are getting kind of down to the wire so I'm going to let you go. I've got a couple of escrows to take care of here.

B: Well take care of them so I don't have to worry.

M: Okay, and thank you and David. Aloha.

D: Aloha Mitch.

B: Okay, aloha. Talk to you soon, oh he's gone. He's gone. So I think we've kind of maybe hammered some of that but ?

D: Let's have some more fun, maybe talk about homes. You know, the pleasure that people get when it's their own. Again, going back to the range of whether it's the $250,000 house or the five million dollar house anytime that I've done something to my house that I live in, that's my primary residence, I usually feel a sense of pride, I usually get a sense of therapeutic relaxation out of it. Homeownership, it's one of those things you don't realize how much joy, and how wonderful it is until you actually do it and I always, always just am so impressed with the staff that you have and just some of the realtors that we have in general in West Maui. Because of the concept of it's a small community, how you have a great experience here as opposed to somewhere in the mainland where they may never see you again, they may never see you in the supermarket. It's the comfort of knowing that this is your fellow member of the community helping you gain roots ?

B: Maui is like that. No matter what you do in Maui, to a certain extent, David's right. Especially dealing in real estate, whether you're doing a loan through David or through your banker, whoever it is, you are going to most likely run into them in the super market, you're going to know who their wife is, their kids are probably going to be going to school with your kids, and you're going to be there for one another. You know, it's a community where people are working together whether it's getting the kids to the soccer matches or swim or to the beach, people are working together. It's still like it used to be when you see the young people, I mean things that we used to do when we were younger, you know, where they're getting together night after night barbecuing. You know, I've got buns, you've got hot dogs, I've got potato salad, let's all barbecue and everybody heads over to some yard. And it will be when you do that, you may end up with your realtor there, you may end up with your lender there and those are things that we are a small community, we're all helping one another, we've all seen so many times when the community comes together when someone has a child who is sick or when Hale Makua has had needs. Or Lahainaluna high school you know, has ended up with that fabulous football field because of one person stepping up, now the rest of the community has surely helped but it really took someone to bring it to the next level and see to it that it happens. You know, David, we're winding down right now and we're probably almost at the one minute warning, it was two minutes a minute ago. So we have barreled through this quickly. You never quite said all of the interest rates though, do it one more time.

D: You know, the thirty year fixed today is at 3.5%, we have the five year fixed conforming at 2.375%, we have the fifteen year at 2875%. Again these are conforming loans. You know, Betty said it when I was driving in and it's true, we have some great people here in the industry. Tricia Morris is fantastic, again these are, it's a unique situation where today I can say these are the people who will help us, there are people at your fingertips, don't be afraid to ask. It's a great time, it's a great place to live, just doesn't get any better.

B: It does not get any better than this. So call us again, (808) 669-0070, check out our website which is If you're looking for David's number and you don't remember call us. But his number is (808) 385-8558 and we'll be here again in a couple of weeks and look forward to chatting with you. thank you to our listing office for calling us and aloha and Danny Couch is back with us. Aloha.

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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