5 Tips on Buying a Home in Hawaii



Many people dream of visiting Hawaii, a tropical heaven known for its stunning coastline, lush forests, and extremely appealing culture. Hawaii is perhaps the most famous travel destination in the world. But did you know that Hawaii is also a great place to buy a home?

If you’re planning to purchase a property in any of the islands of Hawaii, you’re confirming your place in the paradise on earth. Rich culture, unique lifestyle, and sandy beaches right in the middle of the ocean are nothing short of a fantasy coming true.

Whether you’re purchasing a beach property to call home or generating a handsome income stream for the long term, purchasing a property in Hawaii is definitely a wise decision. However, considering the high cost of living and competitive real estate market, buying a home in Hawaii can be somewhat challenging. To make the homeownership journey easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of valuable tips and tricks on how to pick the best property in Hawaii. Let’s dig in!

Understand the Local Real Estate Market

We get your enthusiasm to start your house-hunting adventure immediately. But before you start visiting properties, it’s important to understand the Hawaiian real estate market.

  • The real estate market of Hawaii is highly competitive, but the market conditions can vary from island to island.
  • Maui is the second-largest island of Hawaii and is considered the best place to find both rental properties and beach homes or condos. If you’re looking for a peaceful beachfront or oceanfront home on a serene beach, Maui is the best place to be! Take a look at some of the best beach houses in Maui at https://www.mauirealestate.com/ and get a virtual tour of your favorite properties in the best communities near the beach.
  • Apart from the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui island offers the most stunning views, situated right in the middle of all the neighboring islands of Hawaii and the next-biggest epicenter of Hawaii’s main tourist activities.
  • If you’re planning to grab a rental property and generate a steady income stream, The Big Island of Hawaii could be the best place. However, since this island is usually overcrowded with tourists, you may want to avoid purchasing a beachfront or oceanfront home there.

Plan Your Budget Accordingly

Due to its massive tourist influx year-round, Hawaii’s real estate market is super competitive.

  • The median house price in Hawaii was as high as $730,000 in March of 2023, and many single units are sold for approximately a million dollars.
  • Apart from the primary home price, try to keep some spare funds for closing costs, income taxes, ownership costs, insurance expenses, and home repairs or renovations.
  • Research your chosen real estate market and go through listings in detail. This will give you a crystal clear idea of how much budget you need to allocate for the purchase.
  • If you prefer a beachfront or oceanfront house, be prepared for a premium price tag.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Location is perhaps the most important factor in determining the value of a property. A property of the same type and size located near the beach or ocean will typically have a much higher price tag than a property located in the center of the island.

  • The location you choose depends on your lifestyle choices, your overall budget, and the purpose of purchase.
  • For instance, if you’re buying a rental beach property to get lucrative benefits from your investment, you should look for areas that have higher potential rent rates. Although such properties will almost always end in a multi-million-dollar deal, the expected returns are worth the investment down the road.
  • If you’re purchasing a place to call your new home, try to find a location that best suits your individual preferences. Do you want to be near to the beach? Is market accessibility or proximity to community facilities your primary preference? Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start narrowing down your search for the best location.
  • If your dream location is around the beach, be sure to assess the location’s overall vulnerability to floods, corrosion, and weather fluctuations. This will allow you to decide whether or not your investment will remain safe.

Determine Your Purpose of Use

Now that you’ve chosen your desired location, you need to determine how you want to use this property in the future. This is because your intended use will greatly impact the type of accommodation, as well as the size and layout of your potential beach house.

  • Think about how you plan to use your beach property before making a choice. If you want to use the house for personal use, you may want to match the home’s size and layout with your individual needs.
  • Check out the listing in your chosen location and shortlist houses based on your desired number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, beachfront, and other private amenities like pools, outdoor living areas, etc.

Learn the Local Rules and Regulations

If you’ve never owned a beach house before, it’s particularly important to be well-versed with the local rules and regulations of homeownership in Hawaii.

  • Unlike other US cities and states, beach properties in coastal areas typically have their distinct set of rules and regulations.
  • These rules and regulations clearly mention the prerequisites for building or owning a beach house. They provide detailed information on building codes, beach access rules, and legal aspects of construction to ensure environmental conservation.
  • If you’re looking for a property near the beach, you may have to apply for various permits and certifications, which assess your home’s layout, square footage, and distance from the beach. Certifications like elevation certificates, floodproofing certificates, and flood hazard area certificates are prerequisites to building a house. These certifications ensure that you maintain a secure distance from the ocean.
  • Violating rules and regulations can land you in legal repercussions and financial penalties.
  • If you want to avoid any legal issues, we recommend hiring a real estate attorney. An expert local zoning expert or attorney will help you navigate the intricacies of homeownership in Hawaii and ensure compliance with all the rules and regulations.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a beach property in the hottest destinations like Hawaii is a massive investment that pays off well. The above tips and tricks will help you steer through your homeownership journey in Hawaii with ease and make the best investment decision that will safeguard your financial interests.

To make the experience even easier, we recommend hiring a competent local real estate agent or taking help from real estate companies like Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. Best of luck with your house-hunting journey!