Buying a House in Hawaii from the Mainland

If you are considering buying a house in Hawaii from the mainland, there are a few things you need to know first.

Keep reading for 5 things you need to be aware of before buying a property in Hawaii from the mainland.

buying a house in hawaii from the mainland

1. Fee Simple vs. Leasehold

There are two types of property ownership: fee simple and leasehold. If you currently own property on the mainland, it is almost certain that you were a fee simple buyer. Fee simple ownership means you own the property, including the land it is on. When you are given the title for the property, it includes the structure, the land, and any improvements made to the land or structure in perpetuity. You as the owner have the right to use, possess, and dispose of the land in any way you wish (within the bounds of a local HOA and local laws).

In Hawaii, there are some properties that are sold as leasehold. Much of the land on the islands is owned by either the State of Hawaii or the Federal Government. Some of this land is leased out to homeowners, called a leasehold. In this scenario, residents own the structure (house), but lease the land from the government. Buying property with a leasehold requires a full understanding of the conditions, as they are totally different from fee simple ownership.

Do you like beaches, or hate the sand? Looking for a single family home or a condo? Take this fun quiz and find which neighborhood suits you best!

The conditions of the lease will likely include stipulations about how the land can be used and for how long. If the homeowner would like to sell before that period of time is over, the new owner will be subject to the current land lease agreement. At the end of the predetermined period, the land will be returned to the lessor (the government), and in some cases this includes the buildings and improvements on the land.

When buying a house in Hawaii from the mainland, be aware of prices that are far below market value as they may indicate a lease that is about to end and will need to be renegotiated.

2. Mortgage Funding from Mainland Banks vs. Local Banks

Hawaii is a Good Funds State, which means all funds have to be in the hands of the title company before closing on the sale. Mainland banks often have the policy of not wiring funds until closing day, which can cause delays because a Hawaii bank will have to wait up to five business days to receive the funds.

Working with a local bank will allow the process to be streamlined, with funds in the title company's account at least two days before closing to ensure a seamless process.

3. Lava Zones

Something you likely haven't taken into consideration when shopping for real estate on the mainland is lava. When buying a house in Hawaii, however, you need to find out whether the property is in a lava zone. Check out the Lava Zones Table to find out if the area you are considering is at risk, and determine what level of risk you are comfortable with.

4. Square Footage Expectations

Moving from the mainland to Hawaii, many people overestimate the amount of square footage they need, or want. With a climate as perfect as ours, locals live outside. We dine and entertain on our lanais, we spend our weekends at the beach or on a hike, and all year round we have the whole island to enjoy.

You are not likely to find a large home within your price range, unless you have a substantial budget, but this doesn't mean you won't be able to have the lifestyle you want with a smaller house. As you think about buying a house in Hawaii from the mainland, keep in mind that your lifestyle will likely shift to include way more time outside than it does right now.

5. How Elevation Affects Energy Costs

One of the major differences between vacationing in Hawaii and living here is energy costs. That hotel air conditioning didn't factor into your vacation budget at all, but energy costs as a resident are substantial. Buying a house with the right airflow will allow you maximize on the tropical breeze and minimize your energy costs, but this requires the right elevation and orientation of doors and windows.

Keep these factors in mind when buying a house in Hawaii from the mainland, especially if you are considering buying something sight unseen. Ask your agent to tell you about the airflow and elevation of the home. Homes at a higher elevation in Hawaii are often priced higher, but this cost is generally balanced by the decrease in energy costs to cool the home.

To learn more about buying a house in Hawaii from the mainland, contact us anytime. We have the team you need to make your plans a reality.

211 Properties
Page 1 of 18
6
Beds
3
Baths
2,432
Sq.Ft.
1949
Year Built
1
Day on Site
202220392
MLS
Home is being sold in it's "as is" condition, tenants have been moved out of the property and cleared.
$329,000
Condo: Rnr Condominium
2
Beds
1
Baths
638
Sq.Ft.
1992
Year Built
1
Day on Site
202220359
MLS
Rarely available! Renovated 2 bedroom, 1 bath located in central location of Wahiawa Town. Move in ready condition, with low maintenance! Washer & dryer in unit. Building is well maintained &...
Open 10/2
2333 Kapiolani Boulevard #2208 Honolulu, HI 96826
2
Beds
2
Baths
930
Sq.Ft.
1971
Year Built
1
Day on Site
202219853
MLS
RARELY AVAILABLE, HIGH FLOOR, CORNER UNIT. RECENTLY UPDATED 2 BED/2 BATH FOR RENT IN THE MARCO POLO. GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN AND OCEAN VIEWS, 24 HOUR SECURITY AND ASSIGNED PARKING. AMENITIES INCLUDE,...
1
Baths
389
Sq.Ft.
1975
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220302
MLS
A cozy and completely renovated studio in the heart of Makiki. This unit is move in ready and located a few streets away from Punahou School, Restaurants, and freeway access. Unit is vacant and easy...
1
Baths
379
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220294
MLS
Welcome home to your Aalii sanctuary in the heart of thoughtfully curated Ward Village Master Planned Area. This preferred Diamond Head/East facing apartment allows for natural, cool temperatures all...
Open 10/2
1391 Kapiolani Boulevard #2711 Honolulu, HI 96814
$1,479,000
Condo: The Central Ala Moana
2
Beds
2
Baths
1,159
Sq.Ft.
2021
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202219751
MLS
Must See! Beautifully-kept & upgraded 2 bed 2bath unit at the Central Ala Moana built in 2021 comes with 2 parking stalls. Breathtaking Ocean, Harbor, Diamond Head view. Enjoy the stunning Ala Moana...
Open 10/2
5396 Poola Street Honolulu, HI 96821
$2,158,000
Neighborhood: Waialae Iki
5
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
3,155
Sq.Ft.
1972
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220176
MLS
Visit OPEN HOUSE: 10/2 at 2pm-5pm. Coastal Living on the Ridge! This spacious 5-bdrm, 3.5-bath beautifully renovated family home w/ amazing views of the ocean, southern shorelines, mountain ridge and...
$308,000
Condo: Luna-Liho Towers
1
Baths
502
Sq.Ft.
1979
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220305
MLS
Large 502 Square Feet Studio. Renovated & ready to move in. Building has upgraded entire plumbing. 1 Assigned parking stall big enough to fit a Full Size vehicle and a moped. Washer and Dryer in unit....
1
Beds
1
Baths
622
Sq.Ft.
2018
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220238
MLS
Beautiful one bed, one bath Ae'o condo with STORAGE room in Ward Village, enjoy urban living in the heart of Kakaako with direct access to Whole Foods market. This must-see unit comes with premium...
1
Beds
1
Baths
758
Sq.Ft.
2022
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220028
MLS
Ko'ula at Ward Village, Honolulu's newest luxury high-rise in Kaka'ako! This 753sf "Residence 1C" is the largest 1-bedroom unit in the building located on the 22nd floor. On the preferred Diamond...
$480,000
Neighborhood: Nuuanu-Lower
2
Beds
1
Baths
800
Sq.Ft.
1917
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220179
MLS
Centrally located with desired town parking! Enclosed yard with back area. "Contractor's Dream" - Property sold "as-is" located at the end of Mutual Lane. Home is vacant. Please call for showing or...
Open 10/2
91-1180 Puamaeole Street #10A Ewa Beach, HI 96706
2
Beds
1F11/2
Baths
717
Sq.Ft.
1989
Year Built
2
Days on Site
202220313
MLS
Ground Floor Unit in Palm Villas! This 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath unit features a newly renovated kitchen with aqua blue cabinets and quartz counters with new stainless steel appliances; newly renovated...

Post a Comment