How would you advise going about purchasing a house from across the country?

Asked by Unidentified Internet Roamer, New York, NY Wed Apr 3, 2013

Hi, i'm in New York currently, and i'd rather not spend $1500-$5000 going back and forth to look at houses. Is a "skype tour" recommended or feasible?

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Jeff Graves, Agent, Kihei, HI
Thu Apr 25, 2013
UIR, As a full time real estate agent on Maui the majority of my clients live in the US and Canada. Of the last 8 transactions I've done...7 of those were to clients who never walked through the property until after closing. Although I don't necessarily recommend this, it's a reality of our business here.

Generally what I do is take additional photos of the property and immediate area. I also take video, using my DROID, of the interior (pointing out areas that could be of concern) as well as the exterior of the property...and the immediate neighborhood or complex.

I am more than happy to provide you with references that have purchased property here without physically walking through the property. In fact, I have a client in North Carolina who purchased 4 properties and another in Seattle that is buying her 3rd.


1 vote
Kathren Rosa…, Home Owner, Wailuku, HI
Mon Mar 10, 2014
Aloha... I agree with the previous poster that is is BEST to live in an area first to understand the local feel and flavor...however, Maui county has many second home owners who love to come and stay a few weeks to a few months out of the year in this beautiful tropical paradise in the Pacific. I would recommend getting on a good realtor's email list for a specific type of property that you are looking to purchase and then do your homework: study the comps, Google Earth the area, ask questions of the realtor and the local lender you are working with, come and visit so that you can see the unit in its culture: at day, evening and over the weekend. That way you can feel comfortable with the entire transaction and be confident that you are purchasing a great property for you.
0 votes
mauistix, , 96768
Tue Jan 14, 2014
Never buy a house without living in an area first. I have lived on Maui for over 20 yrs. I am a home builder here. mauistix RENT FIRST Then buy once you figure it out.
0 votes
Teri Sherrow, Agent, Kihei, HI
Wed May 22, 2013
Aloha UIR,
Mahalo for the great question!

As a 24 year resident of Maui and broker/owner of my own real estate firm, I am very familiar with properties here and have had many transactions where the initial selection phases are without ever really seeing the property. It's best to get a feel for the island as there are so many options here with several microclimates that may affect your life style. For instance, if you want acrage and cool summers yet be on the island, you may want to be what we call "up-country" or perhaps you want to own a vacation rental oceanfront which will give you several other choices.

It's important to sift through the information and after you are familiar what the island has to offer, then begin the process of working together to find the top three to five choices.

Some people are able to purchase without having seen the property although I do not recommend it. I think that during the process of the contract and prior to the deadline for the inspection, then a visit is a very good idea. If you can't or do not want to come to Maui to find your property, then making sure you are working with someone you can trust who has your best interest in mind is so very important.
Feel free to contact me with your concerns:
0 votes
Simon Campbe…, Agent, Miami Beach, FL
Wed Apr 3, 2013
There is a degree of risk that comes from buying property without personally seeing it. Video tours are a great starting option.

I would recommend that you contract with a buyers agent who will represent you personally. Once you find a home that you are interested in, have him or her make their own video tour (or at lease a photo graphical one). Make sure that they show the bad side of the home. This would include cracked tiles, evidence of water leaks, mold, peeling paint etc. You want to see all the negative points as well as the positive ones.

If you are still interested in the house, make sure that you make a satisfactory home inspection a contingency on the purchase agreement. Hiring a good home inspector to look at the property is a great form of insurance against costly surprises.
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Alan Walls, , Maui County, HI
Wed Apr 3, 2013
I have worked with many mainland buyers, including from NY. Video tours are very easy to do. In fact now days many homes for sale already have video of them posted on YouTube. Search for homes on Maui for sale on my site and them search the address of the ones that interest you on YouTube. If there is not a video posted, I can make one for you easily. Email:
0 votes
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