Whether you're looking for a retirement home or relocating for work, house hunting in Hawaii will be an expensive proposition. You can still find a good deal if you time the market and work an experienced, local real estate agent.
Real estate market demand fluctuates throughout the year, influenced by the weather, back-to-school, or new jobs available in the area. The time that you buy a house can have a big impact on the price you pay for it so many home buyers try to time the market.
The reality is that unless you have intimate knowledge of a market and projections, a local real estate agent who has spent years learning your market will be able to help you better plan your house hunt. While you’re searching for an agent, here’s what you need to know about the best time to buy in Hawaii.
Best Time of Year to Buy in Hawaii
The state of Hawaii consists of a series of six islands, which naturally limits expansion and new home building. Land is scarce and property prices high.
The median home value in Hawaii is $617,900. Home values only rose 3.3% last year, with another 2.8% expected in 2019. Hawaii has an extremely low unemployment rate, only 2.1%, but this hides the problem of retiring employees and worker shortages. If you can afford the higher home prices, now could be the time to scoop up a deal from someone retiring and down-sizing.
Because Hawaii features a mild climate, there is no true prime home buying season, though you may want to avoid hurricane season from June to November.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Hawaii
Honolulu is the largest metropolitan area and a hub for banking, manufacturing and military defense. If you don’t mind the constant drove of tourists, you’ll appreciate the nightlife and restaurant scene.
Located on Maui, Kahului sees its fair share of tourists but has a more established resident community. It also features excellent schools.
Pearl City on Oahu, home of Pearl Harbor, has a community college and good public schools. Popular hiking trails feature waterfalls and ponds.
Kailua, on the island of Hawaii, features attractions like Kahana Beach, Kahana Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. The Maui Arts & Cultural Center hosts more than 1,800 events annually, so the city is home to an active arts community.
4 Ways to Get a Great Deal on a Home in Hawaii
Find a Great Hawaiian Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents have been trained to help along every step of the home buying journey. They’ll be able to recommend lenders where you can get pre-approved for a mortgage, as they probably have experience with most local lenders. Their insightful questions will narrow your search to the best neighborhood to meet your needs and budget. Once you make an offer on your dream home, an agent handles the negotiations over price, move-in dates, and closing costs.
You’ll want an agent who advocates on your behalf, working as a buyer’s agent with no conflicts of interest. Clever Partner Agents only represent the buyer in transactions. Top agents from nationwide brokerages such as Century21 or Keller Williams make up our network. They join Clever because it’s easier for them to find buyers through our platform. Many offer home buyer’s rebates, and they accept flat fees or low commissions.
If you’ve never bought a home before, you might not know the answer to the question, "What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?"
Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
Every home buyer has different needs, whether it’s downsizing for retirement or needing more space for a new baby. As your real estate agent gets to know you, they will learn what you’re looking for and will help you prioritize your needs.
After the initial meeting, an agent describes the homes and neighborhoods which are within your budget. First-time home buyers often have to compromise, so they can help you prioritize your list. If you have specific financial goals or monthly mortgage payment amount in mind, they’ll show you what and where you can find what you want for that price.
If you’re unsure of where to start, read What to Look for When Buying a Home for guidance on making a list of needs and wants.
Find a Lender and Secure Financing
Whether you decide to get pre-approved for a mortgage or wait until you know how much you’ll need, an agent is an invaluable resource on which financing options work for you given your goals and financial situation. Part of their job is educating their customers, so they’ll be happy to explain confusing mortgage terms and how they’ll impact your monthly payments.
If you need to move by a certain month like before school starts, you should keep in mind that the closing process typically takes around 30 days. Count back to when you make an offer. Learn more about what to expect in our article, A Step-By-Step Guide to the Home Loan Process.
Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
Houses are one of the few areas in our economy where people negotiate. Because so few of us negotiate often, this is where your agent’s skills shine. Once you want to make an offer, your agent prepares and submits it. After the home inspection, they’ll make a list of repairs and how serious they could be, then negotiate price reductions for major repairs or to have items fixed before you move in.
Since negotiating terms and a sale price can save you thousands it’s essential to Find a Buyer’s Agent That’s a Good Negotiator.
If you’re ready to begin house hunting in Hawaii, fill out the online form to be contacted by a Clever representative. Once they’ve gathered your details, they’ll connect you with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation.