Welcome to the Dream Home Maui Blog!  Here you will find the latest information on real estate market trends, as well as Maui lifestyle tips.  Please reach out with any comments or questions.  I look forward to connecting with you!

Aloha, Stefanie

Oct. 27, 2021

Tips for Moving your Dog to Maui

Dog in Suitcase

Moving Your Dog to Maui

You’ve made the exciting decision to move to Maui, and now you just need to figure out how to bring your pup along for the adventure! If you’re anything like us, your dog is the heart of the family, and it’s important to take them into consideration when making the move to Hawaii. By carefully following the rules and travel guidelines, your sweet pup can join you in paradise!

Hawaii is the Only Rabies-Free State in the Nation

As you may have read through your research on moving a dog to Maui, Hawaii is the only state in the nation that is rabies-free. In order to keep it that way, the state has set in place strict rules and guidelines for the protection of our beautiful islands, and the people and animals that live here. Even with the strict quarantine process for animals entering the state, it is possible to take your dog on the same flight to Maui as you, and then take them home with you when you leave the airport. That’s what we did with our dog, and it made the experience much more enjoyable for us.

Gracie in the Car

Gracie’s Adventure Moving to Hawaii

The move from Minnesota to Maui would be a monumental one, and didn’t want our dog Gracie (who’d never flown before) to endure two lengthy flights across the country. We decided it would be best for Gracie, as well as memorable and educational for our four children, to see the beauty of our country by taking a week-long road trip from Minnesota to California.

We took in all of the sights along the way, visiting Mount Rushmore, going horseback riding in the mountains of Wyoming, being awestruck at the beauty of Yellowstone National Park, seeing the Hoover Dam, and exploring the majestic Grand Canyon. Once we got to California, we dropped our car off at the shipping dock and got ready to board the flight to Maui! We chose Alaska Airlines as they would allow Gracie to fly in the cabin with us since she’s only 15 pounds and could fit in the carrier under the seat.

The quickest way to get your dog to Maui is through the Direct Airport Release. Both the Maui Humane Society and the West Maui Animal Clinic are APPROVED by the State of Hawaii Quarantine Division to inspect animals at the Kahului Airport for Direct Release to the owner. We used the West Maui Animal Clinic and they were wonderful! The staff helped to create a stress-free arrival for Gracie. Please read more about the Maui Animal Clinic Direct Airport Release or Maui Humane Society Direct Airport Release

When Should Planning Begin?

The Maui Humane Society recommends that you start making preparations 4 to 6 months in advance of your travel date due to specific vaccination and blood testing protocols. We used the West Maui Animal Clinic and highly recommend contacting someone directly to walk you through the process. They helped answer all of our questions and made sure our paperwork was filled out correctly, alleviating any headaches that might occur during the somewhat daunting process. I recommend reading up on the State of Hawaii’s Rules and Guidelines and speaking to your local veterinarian. Our vet was very aware of Hawaii’s stringent rules and made sure we were following the recommended timelines to keep us on track.

Living Her Best Life

Today, Gracie is loving her island lifestyle with sunny walks and frequent golf cart rides. Please reach out if you have questions about Maui real estate, moving to Maui, or moving with children or dogs. I’d be happy to meet you and share my experiences!



Sept. 8, 2021

Top 3 Reasons to Raise Your Kids on Maui

Top 3 Reasons to Raise Your Kids on Maui
One of the most frequent questions we get is: What is it like to raise your children in Hawaii?  We moved to Maui with our four school-aged children and were excited to discover how the island experience would enrich their childhood. Here are what I believe to be the Top 3 Reasons to Raise your Kids on Maui:

1. Healthy Lifestyle
Gone are the long, cold winters that caused us to spend too much time indoors, happily replaced by sunny days on the golf course and weekly surf lessons for the kids.  We instantly embraced the endless variety of outdoor sports and activities our new island life offers. Where else can you go cliff diving, snorkeling, golfing, hiking and surfing all in one day? Whether going to the beach for a playdate, or participating in a variety of local youth sports, there is always something outdoors for our kids to do - and it adds up to a remarkably healthy lifestyle!  

2. New Friends from all Over the World

Often when your kids meet new friends at school, they tend to be born and raised in the same town you live in (or at least from the tri-state region you're in). Maui is an extremely transient community and our children have become friends with children from all over the country and world! While some may see the transient nature of island living a shortfall, we view it as a rich experience for our kids to explore new cultures and meet children with vastly different upbringings.  

3. Safe Communities

As parents, we want our children to be safe, first and foremost. I researched crime data for years prior to moving here and was happy to find that Maui consistently has very low crime levels. The communities are very tight-knit and neighbors watch out for one another. The spirit of Aloha is ever-present; our children certainly feel it and benefit from the warmth of the community.  

While all families' experiences are unique, I am thankful that our children have embraced the incredible island lifestyle Maui has to offer. Please reach out if you have questions about Maui real estate, moving to Maui, or raising your kids here. I'd be happy to meet you and share my experiences!

With aloha,


Sept. 7, 2021

Our Unforgettable Journey: From Minnesota to Maui

Our Unforgettable Journey: From Minnesota to Maui
Born and raised in Minnesota, I got my first taste of paradise in 2001 when my husband and I honeymooned on three islands of Hawaii, one being Maui. We were excited to experience the breathtaking views of Kapalua, Haleakala and Hana. For nearly every year thereafter, we vacationed on Maui and as our family grew and grew, we brought our four sweet children along. For years, my husband felt a calling to move to Maui, but I was content to visit once a year and remain close to family and friends in Minnesota. In 2017, my father suffered a medical crisis and the fragility of life was suddenly thrust upon us.  
To move or not to move? 
For the next year, I gave my husband's dream real consideration: Could we really uproot our four school-aged kids and begin a new life on an island? What would school be like for them? What medical resources are available on the island? Would we build close connections within our new community? Where would we live? Would we rent or buy? I sought the counsel of friends, family and my church before coming to this conclusion: 
Sometimes life presents us with an open door - a shiny, eye-catching new door that can't be ignored - and we have to make the formidable decision to walk through it or close it, knowing that a similar one may never reappear. My father's health crisis was the bittersweet motivation I needed to see life more clearly and know that we might never get another opportunity to make this Maui dream a reality. I called a realtor to list our home for sale and just like that, the wheels were in motion for the most monumental change any of us had ever experienced in our lives.  
Taking Chances and Making Changes
Change can be frightening; it certainly was for me. We are often tempted to resist it, but change is necessary as it provides invaluable opportunities to learn, strengthen and grow. Stepping onto a brand new path in life is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in one that isn't fulfilling. And that's exactly what we realized. If you never step out of your little pond, you might miss the vast ocean that awaits you beyond the horizon.  
Adventure, here we come!
We left Minnesota in summer and spent a week driving cross country with our four children and small pup. We took in all of the sights along the way, visiting Mount Rushmore, going horseback riding in the mountains of Wyoming, being awestruck at the beauty of Yellowstone National Park, seeing the Hoover Dam, and exploring the majestic Grand Canyon. We dropped our car off at the shipping dock in California and flew to our new home island of Maui!

Savoring the Journey
Within weeks, our kids felt settled, happy and adjusted to their new island life.  We decided that we wanted all four of them on the same campus for their first year and enrolled them at Maui Preparatory Academy, a small independent school in West Maui. They finished two successful years at Maui Prep and are now attending Lahaina public schools. My children are strong, and this move has taught them that change is inevitable and learning how to successfully adapt is key to a healthy life. This move has been transformative for us as a family, bringing us closer than we ever imagined possible. I am privileged to be a realtor with Hawaii Life so I can help families and individuals perhaps seeking a similar story to ours. Your dream is waiting; you just have to have the courage to grab it, and I would be thrilled to help you achieve it.  


Posted in Moving to Maui