What are Hawaii MLS listings?
The Hawaii MLS listings (MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service) form a database that contains all properties that are sold in the state of Hawaii through a real estate broker. FSBO (For Sale by Owner) properties are usually not in the Hawaii MLS listings, although the recent trend has been for private sellers to work out a special deal with a broker to also get listed there.
The simplest way to do that is by using
. For a flat fee of $699 you can list your property in the MLS. If a realtor sells your property, you agree to pay him a commission, if you sell the property yourself, you don’t owe anybody. So you are selling FSBO, but at the same time you have the national exposure of MLS listings through real estate broker.
So, list your home "commission free" on the MLS.
Hawaii MLS listings contain a fairly comprehensive description of the property and information about financing options. The Hawaii MLS listings are not public and only available to people with a real estate license. This tool makes it possible for a real estate broker or agent to retrieve information about any property that a Hawaiian real estate broker is listing. The broker or agent can sell this property and both listing agent and selling agent will share the commission. In Puna the selling commission is usually between 6-10%. That means that a real estate agent can still make 3-5% commission on a property that he is not even listing.
If you are interested in a specific property you can call the listing agent and ask him to send you the MLS data sheet for the property.
So, how do you read Hawaii MLS listing data sheet?
Here are the most important things to read on the MLS data sheet:
MLS#: The top righthand corner shows you the Hawaii MLS listing number. If there is a camera symbol next to the camera, this means that there are photos available of that particular property. Just click on the camera. (This will not work on this example though, because it is not an active MLS sheet)
TMK#: The TMK (which stands for tax map key) is a number given by the State of Hawaii in the format Island-Section-Plat-Parcel that describes the exact location of a property according to the Tax map.
Property type: this will say residential property, condo, land or commercial.
Tenure: This could be either leasehold or fee simple. Leasehold means that you only own the dwelling, but not the land that it is built on. Fee simple (which is the more common thing in Puna) means that you own the land and everything that is built on it.
Sub: This shows in which subdivision the particular property is located.
Zoning: This is important, especially when you buy bigger land. “A” stands for agricultural (and most of the properties in Puna are actually zoned as agricultural) – 1 A means that the property is zoned for 1 acre. That means that if you would buy 5 acres of land that are zoned A-1A, that you would be allowed to subdivide the land into 5 one acre properties that are zoned agricultural. Please note: You are only allowed to have one permitted family dwelling on a property that is zoned agricultural.
Utilities: water supply (rain water catchment, county water, private water), power (overhead electricity, SSPP), telephone. This does not necessarily mean that you will already have this on the property, but just that this is what would be available (with no time frame on how long this would take to get it to the property) and what has to be used.
Waste disposal: this spot will list sewer system (cesspool or septic). The law forces you to use a septic system, when your property is smaller than 1 acre.
Schools: a lot of times it will just say check with the DOE (Department of Education). Here is a link to the 2006 Directory of the Department of Education: http://doe.k12.hi.us/directorybook2006.pdf
Current Taxes: You will notice that in most cases the yearly taxes are fairly low, compared to other areas in the country. This is because most of the properties are zoned as agricultural land.
Road Maintenance Amount per year: You see in that example I’ve given above that the roads are private. The road maintenance fee is then paid to the subdivision association. Different subdivisions handle their road maintenance fees differently. In some subdivisions this fee is optional, but if enough owners pay the fee in a certain area and the road in front is not paved, this will mean that it is very likely that that road will get paved. For more info on roads, click here.
Terms Acceptable: This is a really important point, especially when you are interested in a property for investment purposes. This shows what kind of financing the seller is willing to do. A lot of times it will say “cash” but it could also say “CNV” for conventional loan. Sometimes, when the seller would consider owner financing, it will be mentioned there too. Please note: even if it only states “cash” there, it is still possible that the seller is willing to go for other financing. It all depends on how urgently the seller needs to sell and/or how long the property has already been on the market.
C,C&R’s: Stands for Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. This is a document that controls the use, requirements and restrictions of a property. If it says “no” that means that you can basically live in your tent on a property. But as many people in Puna are now experiencing, your neighbors will keep an eye on you.
Tip: It is also important that you know that just because a space on the form is not filled out doesn’t mean that it isn’t applicable. It may just mean that it was not completely or properly filled out. If a seller does not disclose the road maintenance fee that does not mean that there is no fee.
As the numbers of Hawaii MLS listings are done in order, it is possible to for you to estimate how long the property has been on the market by just reading the MLS number. Here are some. Here are some reference points for 2006 Hawaii MLS listings:
1st week of February: 172100
2nd week of February: 172400
3rd week of February: 172900
4th week of February: 173200
1st week of March: 173800
2nd week of March: 174100
3rd week of March:174500
4th week of March: 174900
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