If you are a VA buyer there are many things to consider when moving to Hawaii. The number one concern is: what lender should a VA buyer use? If you google “VA loans,” tons of companies, web sites, and rates immediately pop up. Certain names and companies have been well established, and these may seem like the best choice for no other reason than familiarity. The housing market in Hawaii is fairly competitive, and a VA buyer needs to be prepared to move quickly. Many times, the big, more recognizable names in lending may not always be the best choice.
Choose a Lender Who is Familiar with the Hawaii Market
A real estate transaction can be challenging, so you really need a lender who understands the Hawaii market. More often than not, using an out of state VA lender can create more harm than good. One simple challenge is time zones. Some of the larger companies simply assign a loan to a broker and office randomly and that office might be located somewhere on the East Coast, for example. Some of these offices are wrapping up a day when we wake up in Hawaii. This can make for a very challenging line of communication. The Hawaii real estate contract has many deadlines, timelines, and dates that need to be adhered to, and a VA buyer can find them self in breach of contract for missing certain timelines. A real estate transaction needs to be a well-oiled machine with all parties, including the client, the agent, the escrow office and the lender, helping to make the transaction as smooth as possible. If any of these parties are out of sync, the whole process can get thrown off.
Local is Usually Best
It is usually best to use a local VA lender when possible. They understand the market, the challenges, and the process. Not all states handle transactions the same, and Hawaii certainly has a specific way of handling transactions; we have a unique way of recordation that can add time to a transaction. Many times, a military member may be staying in a hotel and only allotted a specific number of days. Of course, the military is helpful and always tries to accommodate, but this may require moving the member from rooms or properties. It is important again for the buyer or seller and the transaction that the timeline is met. The closing of the property needs to be timed with the possible arrival of household goods, cars and the end of temporary housing.
Relationships are Key
I am a huge fan of developing a team and good relationships. This is why I think it’s vital in a transaction for everyone to be able to work together. Using local resources that have a track record together helps keep the process moving smoothly. One company that I highly recommend is Pacific Rim Mortgage based in Aiea.
They are operated by a brother and sister team, Derek and Jodie Tanga. They have local offices and are always available, including nights, early mornings, and weekends. Some deals boil down to nothing more than personal touch. On a small island where everyone knows everybody, that personal connection may help get the deal done. If a call needs to be made, a question answered, or paperwork prepared you simply need someone local and responsive that can act quickly. If your broker is not available when you need them, it can create a massive issue with a deal, or more importantly, kill a transaction.
The Bottom Line
Most of the VA rates quoted should all be very similar. A lender in Florida or Chicago should not have a drastically different offer than a broker in Hawaii, meaning you are usually getting good rates here on the island– the deal and payments should all be somewhat on par to one another. The real advantage to using a local lender comes down to their understanding of the market, the culture, and knowing how to get to the finish line.
As a proud member of the Hawaii Life MST (Military Specialized Team), I have had the pleasure of working with numerous VA buyers, sellers, VA lenders, and escrow companies. I have a great team of assets in place to help make sure that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Please get in touch with me should you have any questions on VA lenders or real estate, in general, I am always more than happy to help.