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HPM Kit Homes – An Alternative to a Hot Market?

I was recently assigned a Military Buyer from one of our LRE affiliates. They were a young family that needed housing close to Wheeler AFB. We met and talked about options. Their choices were Mililani, Ewa, and Kapolei. They loved Waialua and Haleiwa on the North Shore but decided it was out of their price range. After viewing several properties, they quickly realized that it was a Seller’s market in their chosen area and did not have the patience nor the time to compete with a multiple offer scenario, and possibly overpaying for a home. They needed a place sooner than later and decided on grabbing on-base housing while it was available, agreeing to revisit purchasing when the market cooled off.

Alternative Building Options

That decision got me thinking about alternative options for this family, and others in similar situations. Are there alternatives to premium-priced subdivisions? Can you get creative and build a house for less than the median in a Mililani tract home? A tall order to be sure, but I have a leg up in the form of a listing that I share with Sean Ginella for Waialua Beach Colony, a 4 parcel vacant land CPR that is ready to build. All utilities are in, and prices for the lots start at $475,000. They have oceanfront access and a beautiful mountain view. The Honolulu Board of Realtors Local Market Update puts the July Mililani SFH Median price is at $876,000. This left $401,000 to take out permits, find a builder, and build a comparable home.

HPM Kit Homes

I did more research and decided to make a call to Beau Nobmann at HPM Building Supply. They have had a good track record of delivering kit homes across the state as a turn-key solution to a more traditional building method. A spec home from a builder may cost $250-300 per square foot, an HPM Kit home ranges from $185 to $215 a square foot, so big savings. There are also economies of scale as well. HPM delivers everything needed to the site, including precut lumber and joists. The icing on the cake is that HPM just doesn’t sell you a kit home, waive a shaka, and send you on your way. They help make any modifications to the standard home if needed to fit the site using their in-house draftsman. They also have builders at the ready, and an expeditor for plans submittal to the Department of Permitting and Planning! All included in the cost of the kit home. So using Beau’s high-end estimate, it is feasible for a 1500 sq. ft. structure to come in at $322,500, which brings us to $797,000 in total, well under the Mililani median home price of $876,000.

Possibilities Abound

This is, of course, a rough estimate. A simple exercise in possibilities that in the real world is bound to have added costs. It is also a much more intense process than simply buying a home and moving in when you close. The rewards outway the more extensive process IMHO. You will have a home that is uniquely yours in a place that is truly special. Private beach access for morning and evening walks, swimming, surfing, and paddling. Views of Mount Ka’ala and Ka’ena Point out your front door, and ocean views out your back. A Hawaii Life worth working hard for!

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Bill Bunch

January 25, 2021

Hope you can help. I’m ready to build on the big Island. Problem most of the DIY home builder kit companies no longer are going Business in Hawaii. Example. Budget home kits no longer can send there metal frame kits to Hawaii.
Are there any DIY home kit companies left?
Than you. Capt. William Bunch. USA

John Climaldi

January 25, 2021

Aloha Bill,

Unfortunately, I do not know of any DIY kits that are available. The main issue on Oahu is that an owner-builder can’t sell for a year unless there are mitigating circumstances (short sale). Not that you would want to sell, just a limitation. That being said, I would call Beau Nobmann and get his take on owner-builder options. He has a wealth of knowledge and may be able to connect you to a company. Also, HPM did help with the replacement homes on Hawaii Island after the eruption.

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