There are few things more exciting than buying a house – especially in beautiful Hawaii. If it’s your first home, then there’s that extra dose of anticipation of creating your own home as you visualize it. If it’s a second home or an investment property, well, that’s exciting as well but more from a financial perspective.
No matter your reason for buying a house in Hawaii, there are definitely some boxes to check off along the way, steps you need to take to see the purchase through to a final recorded sale. Skipping any of these steps puts you and your investment at risk.
Screening Your Potential Home Purchases
Before we even get into anything contractual, are you even looking at the right properties to begin with? Is that 1500 sqft single family house in Kailua going to fit your growing family’s needs, especially with another baby on the way? Maybe not. Is that Waikiki condo you plan to renovate and rent out the best use of $350,000? Perhaps, but have you looked at other, newer buildings? Make sure you understand your needs and have aligned those needs with proper real estate goals. The “sexiest” choices aren’t always the best ones.
Get a Home Inspection
Boy, you just don’t ever want to skip a home inspection. Unless you’re a trained inspector yourself, there are so many things that you wouldn’t notice in a potential home buy that either aren’t up to current code or wouldn’t be permitted, such as improper height of stairs or ceilings, electrical issues, width of hallways, minor ground settling and more. While a quality professional home inspector will spot these trouble issues immediately, the rest of us would likely be oblivious to these deal-killers. Yes, it may cost you a few hundred dollars, but it’s money well spent. Ask anyone who’s made this mistake.
Run Your Numbers
Don’t overpay for your house. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? You’d be surprised how many times I’m left scratching my head wondering why a particular property sold for so much more than its comparative counterparts. Yes, the Hawaii real estate market is attractive and continues to gain ground. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your first-born to pick up the cute duplex in the valley.
Every property has a fair price, no matter the state of the local market. Make sure when you’re running your numbers, you only look at true “apples to apples” comps. That means homes with similar: living size, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, age, condition and location. Using these data as guidelines will really help you target in on what a fair price to offer is.
Have a Trusted Real Estate Team
Perhaps the best way to protect yourself is to not go it alone. If you’re working with a broker or agent, they should have your back to make sure your interests are preserved. Perhaps even just as important, if not more so, is your title and escrow officer. They’ll keep any mortgages and lien payoffs taken care of, clear other title matters and make sure all the funding is properly in place for a smooth transaction. They’ll be just as much help if you’re selling your house in Hawaii as well.
Buying a house in Hawaii can be a wonderful adventure and smart financial investment – just make sure you go about it the smart way!