Buying a home in Hawaii is just like on the mainland, right? Not so fast—the Hawaii real estate market is not quite the same as what you’re used to.
Military families, retirees, and investors often look forward to moving to the island, but figuring out the uniquely Hawaiian market can take some time.
Before starting your property search, there are a few key things to be aware of about buying a home in Hawaii. To learn more, keep reading to find seven important elements of the local real estate market.
The more you understand about Hawaiian homes, the easier it will be to find the home you’ve always wanted.
1. Many Homes Sell Sight-Unseen
Surprisingly, Hawaii is seeing a rapid increase in homes selling sight-unseen. This is usually due to buyers from the mainland who are eager to move to Hawaii and find a place they love online but don’t have the time or ability to fly out and view the home in person.
This means that Oahu real estate is moving fast, so buyers shouldn’t hesitate if they find a property they love. Since local buyers are often competing against buyers from the mainland, we recommend having your finances in order before you start looking, so that you can 1jump on your dream property as soon as you find it.
2. You Might Need to Be Flexible
It’s no surprise that Hawaii real estate can be expensive, although there are good deals to be found. However, if you have your heart set on a certain type of house, ocean views, or an ideal neighborhood, it may take a long time until your ideal home hits the market.
New buyers in Hawaii often find that they can buy faster if they have some flexibility in their requirements. If you’re willing to compromise on the size of a home or its features, you’ll find that you can buy and move in sooner.
The lifestyle in Hawaii can be a dream come true, so we think you’ll love your new home, even if it’s not exactly what you’d imagined.
3. Resale Values Are High
The great news for buyers and sellers is that resale values in Hawaii are always going to be high. There’s a huge demand for life on the island, so properties hold their value.
This is fantastic for military families, who might be relocating to Hawaii and wondering whether they should buy or rent. Military families who buy are eligible for government loans, and when they relocate again in a few years, they’re likely to sell their home for a profit.
4. Understand the HOA Requirements
Are you looking to buy a condo or a home in a community? If so, the property is probably subject to HOA restrictions.
An HOA, or homeowner’s association, is a governing body that oversees the community, keeping the property to a clean, high standard for all residents.
While HOA rules are usually very reasonable, make sure you’re ok with them before moving in, as they can govern everything from pet owernership to the color you can paint your house.
Owners are usually liable for annual HOA fees as well, so be sure to read the fine print to make sure you’re comfortable with what’s being asked.
There are plenty of advantages to living in HOA communities as well—they tend to be safe, well-maintained, and offer amenities such as pools, gyms, and a concierge.
5. Leasehold Real Estate Might Be New to You
On the mainland, most homes are sold in their entirety, with the buyer purchasing the deed to the land, the home, and any other structures on the property.
However, in Hawaii, homes are sometimes sold as leasehold sales. This means the buyer is effectively purchasing a lease to the property for a set period of time.
These properties are generally more affordable, but be sure you understand your rights as a leasehold tenant.
6. The Market Is Competitive
Hawaii is always going to be desirable for investors and residents and there are only so many properties on the islands. This means the market is always going to be competitive, even during downturns on the mainland.
This means if investors are looking for low-risk opportunities, there are plenty of amazing properties to be found in Hawaii.
7. Pay Attention to the Home’s Elevation
You might imagine yourself living on the waterfront, steps from the beach—but this dream lifestyle also brings high costs and expensive insurance premiums.
If you’re willing to look further inland, at a higher elevation, you can enjoy gorgeous properties that have one major benefit—cooler temperatures. Homes at higher elevations tend to stay much cooler, especially in the evenings.
This can be perfect for those who want to save on energy bills and love the feel of a cooling breeze. When looking at listings online, check out the property’s elevation and research what means for the area’s climate.
Contact Us for Assistance With the Hawaii Real Estate Market
As you can see, there are quite a few unique features in the Hawaii real estate market to think about. If you’re looking to buy property on the islands, you’ll want a talented real estate agent by your side to help navigate the process.
In that case, Sold by Shannon can help. Shannon Severance, with RE/MAX Honolulu, is your local expert when it comes to finding your perfect island home.
Her expertise led her to be awarded the RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award, so you can feel confident that her skills will help you buy or sell in Hawaii.
Contact us today to get started. We look forward to working together and welcoming you to Hawaii!