Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

How to Actually Afford to Buy a Home in Hawaii

How to Actually Afford to Buy a Home in Hawaii: Navigating Paradise on a Budget

Ah, Hawaii! A tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and unfortunately, its notoriously high real estate prices. However, with the right strategies and tools, owning a home in this slice of heaven can be more achievable than you think. Here’s how:

1. Understand Hawaii’s Unique Real Estate Market: Hawaii’s real estate market differs significantly from the mainland U.S. Familiarize yourself with local trends and nuances by following reputable sources such as Hawaii Real Estate Report.

2. Seek Local Mortgage Lenders: Local lenders may offer specific programs tailored to Hawaii’s market. Institutions like Bank of Hawaii or First Hawaiian Bank often have insights and deals that mainland lenders might not.

3. Explore Down Payment Assistance Programs: Hawaii offers several programs to help with down payments, especially for first-time buyers. Check out the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center for resources and guidance.

4. Consider USDA Rural Development Loans: Some parts of Hawaii qualify for USDA loans, which offer zero down payment. Visit the USDA RD Hawaii to see eligible areas and learn more.

5. Think Outside the Box with Locations: While everyone dreams of beachfront property in Waikiki or Maui, consider areas like the Big Island’s Puna district or parts of Molokai, which might offer more affordable options. Local sites like Soldier to Soldier can give you a sense of prices across various locations.

6. Stay Updated with Real Estate Apps: Using platforms like Zillow or Trulia can help you track properties, get price drop alerts, and compare homes within your budget.

7. Connect with a Local Realtor: Having a realtor who understands Hawaii’s unique market dynamics can be invaluable. Look for agents with good reviews on platforms like Realtor.com.

8. Be Ready to Act: Hawaii’s real estate market can move quickly. Ensure you have pre-approval for a mortgage, so when you find the right home, you can act fast.

9. Understand the Total Cost of Ownership: Apart from the mortgage, consider homeowners association (HOA) fees, maintenance costs specific to tropical climates, and higher utility bills.

10. Consider Rent-to-Own Options: Some Hawaiian properties offer rent-to-own schemes, allowing you to rent a home with the intention of buying it later. This can be a good way to transition into homeownership.


While Hawaii is undoubtedly expensive, don’t let the daunting real estate prices deter you. With a bit of savvy, some research, and leveraging local resources, you might just find yourself sipping a Mai Tai on your very own lanai sooner than you think.

Celester Thomas

Company Blog – Soldier to Soldier Hawaii Realty

Apply for a loan