Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

Tips for first time home buyers

Essential Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Hawaii

Buying a home is an exciting milestone in anyone’s life, and the paradisiacal surroundings of Hawaii make it all the more enticing. However, the process can also be daunting, particularly for first-time homebuyers. The real estate market in Hawaii has unique characteristics that require careful navigation. To help simplify the journey, here are some tips designed to guide you through your first home purchase in the Aloha State.

Understanding the Hawaiian Real Estate Market

Hawaii’s real estate market is highly desirable, not only for local residents but also for out-of-state buyers and international investors. This high demand, combined with the limited supply of land for development, results in a competitive and pricey market. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the median home price in Hawaii was approximately $800,000. Therefore, it’s crucial to plan and prepare adequately before diving into the Hawaiian real estate world.

1. Assess Your Budget

Start by determining how much house you can afford. This includes not only the purchase price but also other expenses like closing costs, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, homeowners association fees (if applicable), and maintenance costs. Meeting with a financial advisor or mortgage lender can help you establish a realistic budget for your home purchase.

2. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage

In a competitive market like Hawaii, having a mortgage pre-approval can give you an edge by showing sellers that you’re serious and financially capable. Contact a reputable lender to start the pre-approval process early.

3. Research Different Islands and Neighborhoods

Each of Hawaii’s islands offers a unique lifestyle and varying property types and prices. For instance, Oahu, home to Honolulu, is known for its bustling city life and high-end properties, while the Big Island offers more rural living options. Spend some time researching different neighborhoods and consider factors like proximity to work, schools, amenities, and climate.

4. Work with a Local Real Estate Agent

A local real estate agent will have valuable insider knowledge about the Hawaiian real estate market. They can guide you on market trends, pricing, desirable neighborhoods, and even nuances such as local customs and regulations. They’ll also have access to listings as soon as they hit the market, which is crucial in a fast-paced market like Hawaii.

5. Understand Leasehold vs. Fee Simple Properties

In Hawaii, it’s common to find both leasehold and fee simple properties. Fee simple means you own the land and the home outright. Leasehold means you only own the building and lease the land it’s on for a specific period. Be sure to understand the difference and the implications before making an offer on a home.

6. Be Prepared for Bidding Wars in certain areas

Given the competitiveness of the Hawaiian real estate markets in a few Highly desirable neighborhoods, be prepared to face bidding wars. Having your pre-approved mortgage and being ready to act quickly can give you an advantage.

7. Consider New Construction

Depending on your timing and budget, buying a new construction home could be an option. This would allow you to customize your home to your taste and might alleviate some of the pressures of a bidding war.

8. Be Patient

Last but not least, remember that buying a home is a significant decision and can take time, especially in a competitive market. Be patient, stay focused on your needs and budget, and the right opportunity will present itself.


Buying your first home in Hawaii is an adventure. The journey to homeownership can be complex, but with proper preparation and local expertise, you can navigate the process with confidence. By considering these tips, you’ll be well-equipped to make informed decisions on your path to owning a piece of paradise. Aloha, and happy house


Celester Thomas

Company Blog – Soldier to Soldier Hawaii Realty