Fine Island Properties Monthly Newsletter

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November on Maui signals our winter months are coming. We see the return of our Humpback Whales from Alaska and our returning “snowbirds” our seasonal residents.  We welcome you back if you are returning and we say Aloha to you and to our Maui residents as well.  If you need assistance with anything concerning real estate even service providers the Fine Island Properties team is here to help.This is the time when we see our inventory of properties increase.  We are hoping to see that trend as the inventory like many places across the US has been lower than in the past.  We are seeing a trend in buyers on Maui to be particular when thinking of their purchase unlike property on Oahu that generally will have competing offers.

Sellers are still having to price within appraisable values and to have the properties in good condition to sell quickly.

About our Mortgage News: The Pre-Approval is the new standard for buyers when making an offer on a property.  All Pre-Approvals are not alike as Alan explains but they are more often being asked for than the less reliable Pre-Qualification Letter.

At Fine Island Properties we are rooted in the culture of Aloha, our Maui community, and our professional knowledge.  We are ready to serve you and accomplish your goals, with Aloha!
Gina Duncan, R (PB)

Mortgage News

Does Pre-Approval Mean Anything?

The Pre-Approval – the most coveted document short of Loan Approval, has had a hard time lately.  Since the financial crisis of 2008 listing agents have always requested a Pre-Approval over the simple Pre-Qualification Letter to prevent deals from falling out of escrow.  That’s a wise move, because a Pre-Qual really means nothing.

So why has the Pre-Approval Letter come under fire recently?  Like a “lifetime warranty”, it is only as good as the company that issues it.  Just this week I had two different panicked buyers call me to ask if there is anything I can do to help them.  In both cases they were “Pre-Approved” for a loan, only to go into escrow and find out deep into the process that the lender will not approve their application for a mortgage.  In a third, the roles were reversed.  After I had informed an applicant that unfortunately he did not qualify, he informed me three days later that another company provided him a Pre-Approval Letter and was off to buy his home.

How can it be that one lender “Pre-Approves” someone yet they can’t do the loan, and in the other, a lender like my company says no way, yet another company says “Sure!”

It is very important for both those seeking a mortgage and all real estate agents to understand what the “Pre-Approval” is all about.

In theory, a Pre-Approval Letter is issued after the following:

  1. A credit report has been pulled and reviewed.
  2. Income and assets reviewed.
  3. The loan scenario was run through an automated underwriting system like Fannie Mae’s or Freddie’s Mac’s.

Here’s the problem:  #2.  The review of income and assets.  It doesn’t matter if the issuing entity is a Broker or Banker, in almost every case, the income and assets of the applicant are reviewed by the Loan Originator and not an underwriter.  Some big national lenders have rolled out their completely automated systems, advertising an instant Pre-Approval Letter.  A human doesn’t even review those at all.

The typical Loan Originator in the mortgage industry today is horrible at calculating income.  Even the test we were all required to take and pass, gave us the simplest of scenarios to figure out.  Calculating income is not why lenders hire these people.  Their greatest skill is in convincing you to go with them to get your financing.  That is why for years I have referred to anyone you would speak with about obtaining a mortgage as a “Loan Salesperson”.  They are truly in sales.  If they were able to underwrite a mortgage application, the banks would save money and eliminate the expensive underwriters from the process.

In my case, I have been originating loans for 21 years and at one point thought of becoming a math teacher, yet I have one dedicated person in my office that does nothing but calculate income on all new applications.  I also have a secondary manger review the calculations to make sure it’s right.  It is not the math that is hard.  For some borrowers, it is knowing what income can even be considered at all.  That is why my company is known throughout the real estate community for specializing in applicants with complex income streams.

If the income calculations are wrong, even someone with excellent credit and verified funds may not really qualify for the loan.  As with any computer based system – garbage in, garbage out – will cause the automated underwriting system to return an approval when one really doesn’t exist.  Hopefully you can now see that a letter issued by a salesperson selling mortgages really doesn’t mean anything.

There’s one thing I have never been able to do in all my 21 years of providing financing to the people of Hawaii.  It’s the ability to promise someone I can provide them the financing they applied for, not come through, and have them be okay with that.  For me, reputation is everything.  If I fail, and that includes anything throughout the process, I take it seriously and know the buck stops with me.  I don’t blame it on the lender I chose for the client, or any particular underwriter.  If I issue a letter saying I can provide financing, I better come through.  I can’t say it’s the same for most in my industry.

Please don’t take the above as some high and mighty speech.  Most originators in the mortgage industry are trained to get you in the door, and let the process take its course.  The mantra of “if we can’t do their loan, then nobody can” is drilled into these people.  I’m not saying that a majority of originators in the industry are purposely lying – they simply just don’t know better.

If you want to avoid a disaster, you have every right to ask the person and entity that issued the Pre-Approval Letter how the review was done, who did the review, and what their qualifications are.

This month’s Mortgage News brought to you by:
Alan Van Zee
President | NMLS #: 297154
Hawaii Mortgage Company, Inc.
Company NMLS #: 232582
Phone: 808.988.6622 •

Maui Real Estate Statistics

Brief Maui Statistics Overview:Page 4 – October’s Sales Unit Volume

– Residential and Condominium sales held steady at 82 homes and 97 units sold respectively. Land sales decreased to 12 lots sold in October.Page 5 – October’s Median SALES prices –The Residential median price declined to $632,500 while the Condo median price rose significantly to $460,000. Land median price decreased to $455,000.

Page 6 – Days on Market, Residential homes = 103, Condos = 139 DOM, Land = 200 DOM. (General DOM Note: this is the average DOM for the properties that SOLD. If predominantly OLD inventory sells, it will move this indicator upward, and vice versa. RAM’s Days on Market are calculated from List Date to Closing Date [not contract date], including approximately 60 days of escrow time.)

Pages 10 – 14 – This month’s “Year to Date Sales” numbers compare the first ten months, JanuaryOctober 2016 to January-October 2015. Shorter timeframe (monthly) views do not necessarily reflect the longer timeframe trends.

For a more comprehensive view, see 2015’s Year-End (Dec. 2015) figures available at:

YTD – Residential unit sales declined (887 homes sold / -38 units / -4% change YTD), average sold price = $937,166 (+7% change YTD), median price = $635,000 (+9% change YTD) and total dollar volume sold = $831,266,039 (+3%YTD). [Note: The large increase in this year’s Sprecklesville/Paia/Kuau Residential YTD Total Dollar Volume is due to the sale of an unlisted $18,000,000 beachfront property in July.]

YTD – Condo unit sales increased (1,076 units sold / +61 units sold/ +6% change YTD), average sold price = $635,849 (0% change YTD), median price = $419,500 (+4%YTD). Total Condo dollar volume sold = $684,173,635 (+6% change YTD).

YTD – Land – NOTE: Land Lot sales are such a small sampling that statistics in this property class are not necessarily reliable indicators. The number of Land lot sales remained steady (127 lots / -2 lots sold / -2% YTD change), average sold price = $621,887 (-31%), median price = $450,000 (-7% change), Total dollar volume = $78,979,626 (-32% YTD).

Total sales for immediate past 12 months: Residential = 1,052 (with 10% being REO or Short Sale), Condo = 1,251 (5.0% REO or SS), Land = 156 (2.6% REO or SS). NOTE: 37.7% of these Sales in the last 12 months have been CASH transactions.

For full report click here.

November  2016

In this issue…

  • Our Featured Properties
  • Mortgage News
  • Monthly RE Statistics
  • Outside of Real Estate – Calendar of Events
  • Video of the Month-

for Maui Listings Search, our Blog, and More!

If you know of anyone looking to purchase a home or sell their home please don’t keep us a secret.  We will treat your referrals with the experience & aloha they deserve.  No Pressure, just Aloha Services. 

“The Key to your Hawaii Real Estate Success”

Click Here

Our Featured Properties

1037 Ilima Avenue
Link to MLS Listing
Gina Duncan
RB – 21124

Direct: 808-250-9858

Lanai City Charmer. Tropical cool breezes from the many newer windows make this home light and bright. The main level boasts high ceiling in the spacious open living area & kitchen areas, two bedrooms and lower level offers spacious Master Bedroom with fully bath that was remodeled in 2011 along with another full bath. Master can also be additional family room or large home office. Outside entry also to the remodeled area. Carport attached to the home for extra storage and 2 car tandem parking. Add door to convert to garage. Perfect Lanai home with low maintenance CMU fenced yard. Yard has papaya tree, small grassy area in front and patio space out back that is great for outdoor entertainment. Centrally located to the shops and restaurants, Dole Park just a few blocks away.

Unit 6 Kamaole One
Link to MLS Listing
Dan Uhrich
R (S), RS-
Direct: 808-268-3435

Stunning! Unique!! One of a kind remodeled 2 bed/2 bath corner-end unit in prestigious South Maui in a secluded small boutique complex. Located on one of the most pristine beaches in all of Maui….Charlie Young Beach!! Kamaole One has only 12 units and rarely ever come on the market. Take advantage right now of owning one of Maui’s premier properties!! This unit has been upgraded to New York standards: Top of the line Jennair appliances throughout in a copper finish, designer bathroom fixtures and faucets, designer flooring and quality designer furnishings. It has two split system A/C units, new full size washer and dryer, and a LOFT!!! which can be used as an office, art studio, or simply extra storage. Vaulted ceilings with extra windows provide those amazing ocean views and sunsets!

Calendar of Events from

Click on Link Here for exciting upcoming activites and events on Maui.

Our Visitor activity spotlight this month is on Golf.  If you are a Golfer than Maui
is more than just paradise, it is Golfer’s Heaven.
Please see the link from our friends at GoHawaii and check out all that Maui has to offer for Golfers
novice and expert:


Click the image for the link to the events.

Our Video of the Month


Harry Donenfeld - Cinematography & Natural History Demo Reel

Aerial Whale Video

Our Team

 Gina Duncan
Principal Broker
Direct: 808-250-9858
 Marion Haller
Broker-in-Charge RB-18060
Direct: 808-250-8553

 Christina “Chris” M Bakeman
R (B), RB-19188
Direct: 808-283-6126

Rhonda J Faleafine

R (S), RS-65614
Direct: 808-250-1463

Matt Daniells

R (B), RB-19622
Direct: 808-281-7175

Alicia Souza

R (S), RS-69029
Direct: 808-284-0049

Melissa Nakagawa
R (S), RS-77950

Dan Uhrich
R (S), RS-

Direct: 808-268-3435

Fine Island Properties LLC
“The Key to Your Hawaii Real Estate Success”
275 W. Kaahumanu Ave 2CA1
Kahului HI 96732
Located in the Queen Kaahumanu Center
Next to the Armed Forces Recruiters Offices

Copyright © Fine Island Properties, LLC, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
275 W Kaahumanu Ave 2CA1  Kahului HI 96732