What is the first thing you think of when you hear that someone has moved to Hawaii? Do you picture these people purchasing a large, lavish home along the beach with the latest amenities? It may surprise you to learn that buying a home in Hawaii is not just for the rich and famous.
Buying a home in Hawaii is not just for the rich. These quick 10 tips for finding a home on a budget in Hawaii will show you just how to make that dream a reality.
When Kristi and I made the leap to move to the Big Island, it had less to do with our bank account and everything to do with our belief that a life in Hawaii was possible. However, it does require some planning if you’re going to make it work. I’ve compiled this list of 10 tips for finding a home on a budget in Hawaii, and I hope you can begin to envision your own dream life here.
1. Live with less stuff. In Hawaii, less really is more. Here life is about people and relationships. The more stuff you have, the more time and money you will need to maintain it. Pare down your junk. Get rid of that weed whacker you never use. Go through your appliances and ditch the old toaster your Great Aunt gave you on your wedding day.
2. Live outdoors. One amazing benefit of Hawaii is our weather. Lanais are a common architectural feature of Hawaii, and they help make the cost of living here more doable. Lanais (Hawaiian for balcony or patio) are so common here that many people utilize this space for everything from their home office to their dining room. Some choose houses with less square footage knowing that much of their time will be spent outside on the lanai. You may not need 2 bedrooms, an office, and a dining room if your house has a good lanai.
3. Don’t obsess about your grass. Not every Hawaiian neighborhood has the stereotypical pristine look you see in movies. Homes and neighborhoods here are diverse just like anywhere else in the US. If your budget is tight, don’t feel like you have to maintain a perfect lawn. Remember, you’re moving to Hawaii to make your dream happen, not to live up to the dream life of your neighbor.
4. A carport or parking space will do. Homes with a built-in garage usually cost more. If you’re coming from Canada, I know this may be an adjustment for you. Your car actually won’t need a garage to keep it warm on bitterly cold winter mornings. Save costs by being willing to park in a condo parking lot or in a carport.
5. Consider a leasehold property. Residential land in Hawaii can be scarce and expensive. A more affordable option for some is a leasehold property, where the land and the buildings on that land have different owners. Simply put, you buy the right to lease the property for a specified length of time. The homeowner owns the home and pays a monthly fee to the lessor. This is a unique home buying option and can get confusing, but in certain situations, it may be a good way to buy a home in Hawaii.
6. Keep your distance. Location is everything. The closer you are to amenities like restaurants, stores, and beaches, the more expensive your home will cost. Consider looking further out where the prices of a home will be cheaper.
7. Rethink your view. Most people moving to Hawaii think they want that picturesque ocean view. But do you need it from every window of your house? Do you need it 24/7? Every time I get in my car and drive somewhere on the island, I have the privilege of seeing the ocean. Consider how much you want to pay for that view from your kitchen window.
8. Share space. We have 3 children. They do not each have their own room. While there are multiple personal reasons we have asked our boys to share a room, one big reason is that it cuts down on our costs. To buy a 4-bedroom home was more than we wanted to pay. Consider your needs and examine how you can use a room for more than one purpose.
9. Consider a fixer-upper. Don’t be scared of the ugliest home on the block. If you’re willing to put a bit of elbow grease into a fixer-upper, you can save on costs and end up with a very good investment, in a great real estate market.
10. Finally, be flexible. You’ve heard the term, “hang loose.” Let go of your preconceived ideas and be open to new options. Not everything you’ve seen about Hawaii on TV is accurate. We love working with people who are open to the possibilities of seeing what a life in Hawaii really has to offer.
Are You Ready to Live the Hawaii Life?
It is possible for you to find a home in Hawaii on a budget if you’re willing to be strategic about some basic, daily life decisions. We hope you’ll make the leap and come see what Hawaii has to offer you!
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