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How a Realtor is Trained to Notice Warning Signs Before You Do


The ‘Ohana Real Estate Team members have over 50 years of experience in real estate transactions and many more in property management.  For better — or for worse — we’ve seen it all. That experience makes a difference when you are choosing a realtor to work with. When you work with ‘Ohana Real Estate Team, you can rest assured that we have the expertise to ensure everything works out in your best interests.

Home buyers can often fall in love with a home so fast that they fail to see hidden damage and concealed flaws — warning signs that all is not well. Sellers may be so enthused over a promising offer that they fail to think through the terms of the agreement and what it means for them. This is why one of our most important services as your real estate agency is advocacy. We provide an objective voice of reason from outside the emotion of the process. We’re committed to informing, advising, and protecting your interests from initial consultation to beyond the closing table.

Here’s how we spot red flags you may not notice.

Extensive training is a prerequisite

To become a real estate agent in Hawaii, the candidate must complete several prequalification steps. Along with the application process, background screening, and passing a state exam, would-be agents are required to complete 60 hours of coursework that covers every facet of real estate, including:

  • Laws and policies designed to protect wetlands and other facets of the environment
  • Risks associated with buying in flood zones
  • Real estate ethics, including writing and interpreting disclosure statements and how to spot concealed property issues
  • Contractual terms and details, as well as how to spot a breach in the contract
  • Types of liens on a property and their impact on a sale
  • Property boundaries and easements
  • Titles and deeds
  • Local construction laws and limitations
Upon successfully passing the exam, beginning agents must procure the sponsorship of an established broker who will serve as a mentor and guide as they begin their careers.

Market research is a daily habit

We’ve all seen the impact of world events, economic changes, and a host of other factors on home sales and prices. When you are choosing an agent to work with, make sure that the one you select is monitoring local market conditions and signs of economic shifts and keeps you abreast of these changes and needs.

Currently, the Maui housing market is waking up after the inflation and interest rate-linked slowdown of the summer and fall of 2022. Houses for sale increased 29.7% in January compared to the previous month, and the demand for homes remains great enough that prices have risen 1.3%.

Buyers still seem a bit more cautious than they were a year ago, but as inventory continues to increase, they can take their time and explore options before making a commitment. Sellers are also finding themselves faring best when they list their homes with competitive pricing from the outset and are willing to negotiate or include attractive concessions for the buyer.

The spring and summer months are traditionally considered the home-buying “season,” with large increases in inventory and sales closed. As inflation and interest rates continue to subside to more manageable levels, we anticipate the inventory of both single-family dwellings and condominiums to increase.

Understanding how properties fit into Maui’s long-range development

Nothing is more important to the people of Maui than protecting and preserving our beautiful home. It is this tropical beauty that has lured people to the island for centuries. In an effort to balance growth with preservation, the county government of Maui has established an urban development plan to guide new development and renewal through the year 2030.

This plan can have an impact on real estate transactions in a number of ways. An impending development near your property could put you right in the middle of a construction zone in the immediate future, but new amenities close by may also elevate the long-term value of your property. A buyer may be won over by the view from a particular piece of property, but a new condo complex is in the permitting phase, and the view is two years from being completely obscured. The influence of factors beyond the property under consideration must be evaluated, and we’re here to help buyers do just that.

Savvy realtors stay informed about upcoming construction projects, capital improvements, urban renewal, and environmental concerns that will impact the enjoyment and usage of a property, helping buyers make fully informed decisions before purchasing. We make it a habit of staying abreast of what is coming a year, five years, or a decade down the road and how it can impact your property, and it’s our job to inform you so that you can make the best possible decision for your family. Make sure you’re choosing a realtor to work with that truly has their pulse on long-range development.

Other warning signs

In addition to training and information, we look out for other potential warning signs that a property is not a good choice for purchase. When many houses suddenly enter the market from a single neighborhood, something is usually amiss. We investigate and find out what.

When sellers mention previous damage and repair work in their disclosure statements, we look to see that the job was well done and that the repair work can be documented. We look for evidence of water damage, roof damage, and foundation cracks. If we spot damage that was not reported on the disclosure agreement, that’s an immediate red flag. We also observe the neighborhood to see what is happening at nearby houses and report what we find to the buyers.

Choose your agent wisely

As you are researching and ultimately choosing a Realtor to work with, remember the importance of experience, diligent research, market analysis, and an understanding of what is happening in the community as a whole. The ‘Ohana Real Estate Team is committed to providing you with all of the insights and resources you need to successfully navigate your real estate goals. Give us a call today.




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