Buying a House in Hawaii? 5 Things You Must Know
Have you served in the military and are interested in buying a house in Hawaii? We’ve got information for you here. Click to learn more!
Keyword(s): buying a house in hawaii
Sparkling turquoise beaches, unbelievable natural beauty, and the spirit of Aloha—if you’re in the military and have been transferred to Hawaii, you’re in for a treat.
Hawaii attracts tourists from across the world, but it’s also home to many military bases. If you’ve served in the military and want to stay in Hawaii, or if you’re just been transferred there, you may be thinking of buying a house in Hawaii.
Are you wondering how to buy a house in Hawaii if you’ve served? If so, there are a few important things to know first.
Keep reading for our top five things to know about buying in Hawaii if you’ve served in the military.
1. When Buying a House in Hawaii, Be Prepared for Higher Prices Than the Mainland
If you’re buying a home in Hawaii after owning property in other popular military states, like Texas, South Carolina, or Georgia, you may experience a bit of sticker shock.
It’s true—real estate prices in Hawaii may appear more expensive than you’re used to. However, as the points below mention, there are a few great incentives to help military personnel buy on the islands.
So, when owning a home in Hawaii, remember that it’s an investment—much better in the long term in renting, as the monthly mortgage payments are investing in yourself and your future, rather than paying a landlord. It can be a solid investment to set you and your family up for the future.
2. Hawaii’s Basic Allowance Housing Rates Are Some of the Country’s Highest
As you know, the government offers a housing allowance to military personnel, known as the Basic Housing Allowance (BAH). Due to the higher cost of living in the Hawaiian islands, the BAH in Hawaii is one of the most generous in the county.
If you’re wondering how to buy a house in Hawaii, you’ll want to take full advantage of the BAH. This monthly allowance varies based on your military grade, location, and whether or not you have dependents.
The BAH should help you feel more comfortable buying property on the islands, as it is generous and designed to help you and your family cope with the higher cost of living in Hawaii.
3. Apply for a Mortgage Through the VA Home Loan Program
When you’re just starting out on your property search, it’s helpful to first know how much you can afford to spend. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you’ll know exactly which properties are in your price range.
We encourage all military personnel to apply for the VA Home Loan Program. This program, run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, offers mortgages not only to veterans but also to active service members and eligible surviving spouses.
The advantages of the program include the ability to purchase with no down payment (or a small one), and low interest rates. You’ll get a much better deal than you would through a private mortgage, so always consider the VA Home Loan Program first.
Eligibility is determined based on your service history, contact the VA to learn more. Generally, if you’re on active duty and have served 90 continuous days, you’re eligible to apply.
4. Oahu Has a Strong Housing Market
If you’re purchasing in Oahu, or another island, one of the biggest benefits is the strength of the local housing market.
When you buy, you’re purchasing into a thriving property market. Hawaiian property will always be in high demand, thanks to tourism, relocations from the mainland, and military life.
Millions are drawn to the islands for its world-class beaches and lifestyle, the tropical climate, and work opportunities.
This makes Hawaiian property a fantastic investment, as it is likely to increase in value during your ownership. Plus, when you’re ready to relocate, the high demand means you should be able to have a quick sale.
Or, due to the popularity of vacation rentals in Hawaii, you could also rent out your property on a short-term basis for tourists looking for an alternative to hotels. This can be a lucrative income stream.
5. Think About Elevation
One thing you may not have considered is elevation and the impact it has on the temperature in your home.
If you’ve visited Hawaii previously, as a tourist, you may have stayed at a comfortable, air-conditioned beachfront hotel. However, you may be surprised to know that not all homes in Hawaii have air-conditioning.
When house-hunting, never assume that a/c is included, and always double-check if this is something that is important to you.
You may see homes advertised that sit at a higher elevation, as much of the Hawaiian islands are mountainous, other than the beaches. Homes at higher elevation are cooler than those at a lower elevation.
If you buy a home higher up, you may find you don’t need air-conditioning at all. This can save you thousands on electricity bills, a huge advantage.
While you can always install an air-conditioning system into a home after purchase, you may want to look at homes at a higher elevation as an alternative.
Contact Us to Find Your Perfect Hawaiian Home
As you can see, there are many advantages to buying a house in Hawaii for both active-duty personnel and veterans.
Are you looking to get started with your Hawaiian property search? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Shannon Severance is a military relocation specialist and is part of the RE/MAX International Hall of Fame.
With specialized knowledge of the Hawaiian property market, she has helped thousands of military families find their dream home in Hawaii.
Contact us today—our friendly team is happy to answer any of your questions and work with you to find the ideal Hawaiian home for your needs and budget. We look forward to hearing from you.