What does Escrow do ?
*Escrow is a neutral third party who performs the many details required to safely close your real estate transactions
*Escrow protects both buyer and seller and acts as an impartial, independent party. Escrow companies work with lenders, attorneys, brokers, agents and other parties of the transaction.
*Escrow companies will perform a title search and sell title insurance for assurance of a clean title/deed.
*Escrow companies while acting as a third neutral party, they transfer funds from Sellers to Mortgage Company's, and then from Buyer to Seller.
*Escrow companies provide safety and assurance that the funds are transferred appropriately.
*Escrow companies record documents/deeds with the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances.
Who Pays For What ?
Items the Seller can generally be expected to pay for:
• Real Estate Commission
• Escrow fees / attorney fees
• County documentary transfer tax
• Document preparation fee for deed
• Any loan fees required by buyer’s lender
• Payoff of all loans in seller’s name
• Interest accrued to lender being paid off Statement fees, re-conveyance fees and any prepayment penalties
• Termite inspection/Work (according to contract)
• Title Insurance premium 60% Sellers expense
• Home Warranty (according to contract)
• Any judgments, tax liens, etc… against the seller
• Tax proration (tax unpaid at time of transfer of title)
• Any unpaid homeowner’s dues
• Recording charges to clear all documents of record against seller
• Any bonds or assessments (according to contract)
• Any and all delinquent taxes
• Notary fees-escrow fee
• FIRPTA (Federal withholding tax) if applicable
• HARPTA (State withholding tax) if applicable
Items the Buyer can generally be expected to pay for:
• Escrow fees/attorney fees
• Documentation preparation (if applicable)
• Notary fees
• Recording charges for all documents in buyer’s name
• Tax proration (from date of acquisition)
• Homeowner’s transfer fee
• Title insurance premium: 40% Buyers Expense
• All new loan charges (except those required by lender for seller to pay)
• Interest on new loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date
• Assumption/Change of Records fees (if existing loan)
• Beneficiary Statement fee for assumption of existing loan
• Inspection fees (roofing, property inspection, geological, etc.)
• Home warranty (according to contract)
This is not intended to be a complete list of expenses; there are many variables in each specific property. Many of the expenses listed will not affect your transaction.
Forms of Tenancy ?
Buyers are advised to seek legal counsel when deciding how to take title. This information is being provided as a courtesy and is not intended to be legal advise. Please consult your legal advisor when deciding which form of tenancy is best for you.
Tenancy in Severalty:
Tenants in Common:
Interest may be unequal; deceased shares passes to his heirs or devisees under his will; parties need not be related.
Interest must be equal; a Joint Tenant my NOT will his share since upon his death the surviving Joint Tenant(s) succeed to the deceased interest.
Tenants by it's Entirety: Co-Tenants must be legally married. Survivors succeed to property.
Are permits required for real estate ?
When purchasing or selling real estate the buyer and the seller should check with the County to make sure all improvements are permitted and all and received a passing final inspection. Your Realtor can help you understand this process. The County of Hawaii requires a building permit for Residential New Construction. Hawaii County requires all new construction to hire a licensed contractor. Owner/Builder permits may be issued with certain requirements. One of the requirements is that a licensed plumber and a licensed electrician must be used for the project. Also a State requirement is that you can not sell or rent the residence for one year after final inspection is approved.Under certain circumstances The State will issue an exemption from this law. Laws and regulations are always changing, it is important to be circumspect.
What is HARPTA ?
State of Hawaii (whether U.S. persons or foreigners) requires the reporting of income from sales of real property located in Hawaii, Section 235-68, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”), requires every buyer of Hawaii real estate to deduct, withhold, and pay to the Hawaii Department of Taxation 5% of the amount realized by the seller or transferor of Hawaii real estate. This 5% withholding tax is designed to enforce Hawaii state income taxes on the sale of Hawaii real estate. The state tax withholding requirement does not increase the amount of income tax paid by nonresidents since the amount withheld will be claimed as a payment on the Hawaii nonresident income tax return.
Under the Hawaii withholding requirement, the buyer of any Hawaii real estate is required to (a) withhold and deduct a tax equal to 5% of the amount realized by the seller of the property and (b) file Forms N-288 and N-288A to report and transmit the amount withheld to the Hawaii Department of Taxation within 20 days of escrow closing, unless an exemptions applies. Example of exemptions are: 1) If the seller is an Hawaii State Resident or 2)if the Seller can provide proof of no income proceeds from the sale. Escrow company's generally withhold these amounts and pay them to the State. Please contact your accountant or attorney for more information.
When the Seller files their Hawaii Income Tax Return at years end they will itemize expenses and receive a rebate if one is due.
This information is not meant to interpret the law and all Buyers and Sellers should discuss this on a case to case situation with their accountant and/or their attorney. http://tax.hawaii.gov/forms/a1_b3_6harpta/
What is FIRPTA ?
FIRPTA is similar to HARPTA, however FIRPTA is the foreign investment real property tax act. For Sellers of real property who reside out of the United States and do not have a Social Security Number. This information is not meant to interpret the law and all Buyers and Sellers should discuss this on a case to case situation with their accountant and/or attorney.
The disposition of a U.S. real property interest by a foreign person (the transferor) is subject to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA) income tax withholding. FIRPTA authorized the United States to tax foreign persons on dispositions of U.S. real property interests. A disposition means “disposition” for any purpose of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes but is not limited to a sale or exchange, liquidation, redemption, gift, transfers, etc. Persons purchasing U.S. real property interests (transferees) from foreign persons, certain purchasers' agents, and settlement officers are required to withhold 10 percent of the amount realized on the disposition (special rules for foreign corporations). In most cases, the transferee/buyer is the withholding agent. If you are the transferee/buyer you must find out if the transferor is a foreign person. If the transferor is a foreign person and you fail to withhold, you may be held liable for the tax. For cases in which a U.S. business entity such as a corporation or partnership disposes of a U.S. real property interest, the business entity itself is the withholding agent.
What is SSPP ?
Special Subdivision Project Provision and is a program installed by the Hawaiian Electric Light Company (HELCO) to provide power poles to parcels in rural subdivisions. HELCO has divided the areas into SSPP units. Those within a given unit share the cost. The cost varies in different areas and depends not only on the location but also on the distance to an existing power line. It can be paid off in cash or as a loan after a small down payment and then in very affordable monthly installments. If there are already power poles in front of your property that does not mean that the SSPP is paid. You might need to pay for the SSPP or arrange for monthly installments before your property will get hooked up. When you inquire about any new property that you are considering purchasing, make sure you always ask about the property's electricity and if it is a part of a SSPP program and confirm with HELCO to see if there is a cost associated to hooking up to electricity. Contact Hawaii Electric Light Co Inc, Engineering; new construction, installation of Lines-Poles, Hilo, (808) 969-0311.
What is Conveyance Tax ?
Conveyance tax is imposed by the Hawaii Revised Statutes on all transfer of interest in real estate. The conveyance tax is based on the Sales price as well as whether or not the seller uses the property for their primary residence, in which case you receive a discounted tax rate. The lowest rate is .10% and the highest rate is .30%. Generally the tax is paid through escrow from escrow proceeds at the time of the sale. Based on the sales price paid, including leases and subleases, a tax of 10¢ per $100 is imposed for conveyances under $600,000; 20¢ per $100 for conveyances between $600,000 and $1 million; and 30¢ per $100 for conveyances in excess of $1 million. Certain exemptions are allowed. This is not intended to be complete and legal information. If you want more information you can Google "HRS Chapter 247" OR discuss with your accountant. Generally your escrow company will provide this service for you with the appropriate rate and pay it to the appropriate source. This information is provided as a courtesy. Laws and tax rates change periodically, I am not a tax accountant nor an attorney. Please confer with the appropriate professional for exact and current information.
What should I know about Cathcment Water ?
When you hear the term rainwater soft, as in soft water. The term really is true. I live off of a rainwater catchment system in Puna Hawaii and I love the softness of my water, it is like no other. In simple terms I catch the rainwater that falls onto my roof, the water then fills up the house gutters and instead of just draining onto the ground, the water travels through PVC pipe and drains into a holding tank. That water is then filtered and pumped into your house, just like any water would be pumped. Patricia S.H. Macomber (University of Hawaii) says that an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 people in Hawaii are dependent on rainwater catchment systems for their water needs. You can get more specifics in a publication put out by the University of Hawaii. The link is provided on my Resources page.
What are Recording Fees ?
Effective July 1, 2013, there shall be a $1 increase to the fee for all documents recorded in the Regular and Land Court Systems at the Bureau of Conveyances. The fee to record documents in the Regular System shall be $31 for the first 20 pages. The fee to record documents in the Land Court System shall be $26 for the first 20 pages. The fee remains $25 for the issuance of a transfer certificate of title in Land Court. There will be no change to any other recording fees.
The $1 fee increase will be deposited into the State Archives Preservation and Long- Term Access special fund which will support long-term access to government records through the Department of Accounting and General Services, Archive division.
This increase is mandated by Act 88, 2013 Session Laws of Hawaii, which was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie on May 31, 2013. A copy of Act 88 is available on the State of Hawaii Legislative website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.
What is the population of the Big Island ?
The Big Island is the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands, it encompasses 4,028 sq. miles and has a population of 185,079 according to the 2010 census.
What should I know about Hawaii Volcanos ?
The Hawaiian islands were (and continue to be) continuously formed from volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called a hotspot. Five volcanoes make up the island of Hawai`i: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea. According to the USGS "ever since lava first erupted above sea level over 500,000 years ago to begin building the Island of Hawai`i, countless eruptions from its five volcanoes have built the "Big Island" to a towering height of more than 4,000 m (13,000 ft). Its two most active volcanoes -- Mauna Loa and Kilauea -- erupt lava frequently enough to pose a serious hazard to property on many parts of the island. About 40 percent of Mauna Loa has been covered by lava in the past 1,000 years and over 90 percent of Kilauea's surface is covered by lava less than 1,100 years old. As land development expands toward areas of relatively high hazard, the threat to life and property on Hawai`i will increase accordingly." See My Resources page for a link to information regarding Hawaii Volcanoes and a link to Volcano National Park.