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Buying Land on the Big Island of Hawaii

What does it feel like to own land in Hawaii? Exhilarating!

A client who recently purchased 3 acres showing his son where his future home will be.

There is something exciting about buying raw land in Hawaii that is like being at the top of the roller coaster before the first big drop. It’s a little scary and your heart beats quickly. You might say, “I can’t believe we are doing this.”  Then you imagine the home and living in it and you smile from ear to ear. For those of us who have been there or are just beginning the journey, you know what I mean.

In 2009 we are enjoying the view from our lot and making plans

Hawaii Island is the largest in the chain and has only about 200,000 people living here, yet there is shortage of housing. If you cannot find what you are looking for you may want to consider building. This may be a good option if you have time and patience to wait for the home you desire. Building here can take anywhere from 12 – 18 months once you have the lot and plans in hand. This time depends on availability of contractors, subcontractors, materials as well as the County Planning and Building Departments.

The price of land naturally varies with location. Oceanfront land in sunny locations can run as high as $1 -2 million for half an acre. For off-grid parcels in lava zone 2 (high risk) you can buy a 7,500 sq. ft. lot for $7,500. There is everything in between of course, and that’s where a Realtor comes in handy.

The cost of building in this remote part of the Pacific is higher than mainland USA. Depending on quality of materials, finishes and labor required you can spend anywhere from $200- 700 per square foot. The lower end being a straightforward modest home, and the higher being a luxury resort quality home you see in the magazines. Costs can be contained somewhat by being an owner builder. If you do this, you will need to coordinate your subcontractors and plan on this being a full-time job for the duration of construction. You must have patience, flexibility, and skills to work well with people. Having knowledge of the process and planning is a must.

My owner builder husband helps with framing and trusses

Building a home on vacant land here can be a uniquely rewarding process. If you would like more information on selecting, purchasing a lot and first-hand experience on building a home here,  please contact me. I would be happy to share my knowledge.

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Andy Gulmon

May 11, 2018

Hi Lisa,
I’m about to buy a property on the Big Island in Mountain View near hwy 11. I will need to install a septic. The property is on 3 acres. Can I assume that I can install a septic system? Has anyone ever not been allowed to put one in? How costly are they?

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