Answers to your property buyer questions amid Covid-19
- Home Buyer FAQs
- (800) 370-3848
Q: Can I still buy a home in Hawaii right now? How have the steps to secure financing for a home purchase changed due to the social distancing?
Yes. As long as your employment/income has not been negatively impacted, you can still go through the normal pre-approval process and qualify for a home loan. Please see the Finances & Lending section for more information.
Showings are a little more challenging, but the buying process is still the same. Our agents are leaning heavily on virtual showings.
If you are financing your Hawaii home purchase, be patient since the process has slowed down. Plan for a 60-day closing period as lenders are also working from home, and in some locations, communications may lag.
***Important*** Borrowers currently in forbearance are not eligible for financing and they can’t simply cancel the forbearance in order to qualify for a loan.
Q: When will it be safe to view properties in Hawaii as a prospective homebuyer?
It will take months for things to get back to what we see as normal. As long as the virus is around, we will continue to take every health and safety precaution. We are sharing virtual showings with clients wherever possible.
With local buyers, some agents are suggesting to their clients that they drive by prospective properties first before scheduling an in-person showing.
We are still showing properties, but agents are ensuring that buyers are ready to make a purchase now, to avoid unnecessary risk.
Q: How has the process of buying a home in Hawaii changed in recent weeks?
The process has become more virtual. Technology has always been our strong suit, and we continue to embrace virtual showings and offer the option for electronic signatures on contracts.
Buyer showings are being conducted using personal protective equipment (PPE) and lockboxes, with physical distancing of at least six feet. Inspections are being done virtually via Zoom. Buyers are narrowing down their choices drastically before going to see “the Perfect One” and wearing PPE.
Usually, an agent from only one side of a transaction will be on site. Buyers are prohibited from traveling in the same vehicle as an agent. We are asking buyers to drive to showings only with members of their household.
Q: What are the current investment opportunities in Hawaii real estate for the average buyer?
Right now, with low-interest rates and an uncertain economic climate, buyers have more negotiating and bargaining power.
Land purchases make a great investment for buyers looking to put their cash somewhere other than the stock market. Some people sell their homes because they have to, not because they want to. Some sellers are more eager to sell their properties now, and some may be willing to negotiate on price.
Q: What can I do now to prepare to purchase a Hawaii home?
Technology is key right now. Now is a great time to research the Hawaii market online by viewing listings and reading our agents’ blogs at hawaiilife.com.
Determine the island/area where you’d like to live. Click through Google Maps. Read reviews of places and, of course, consult a talented, tech-savvy agent to help you in your search.
Talk with a lender, make sure your finances are in order and understand the lending requirements currently in place. Make sure you have access to all of your financial accounts online. Obtain digital copies of your tax documents. The faster you can send your lender the documentation they need to complete your loan application, the better your chances of a smooth transaction.
Finally, you can contact our lending partners at Element Mortgage or your preferred lender to determine how much money you’re qualified to borrow and to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Q: I am moving to Hawaii for work, school, etc. What should I do?
Have a plan now for your move as we anticipate moving to Hawaii will be a more lengthy process once travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders are lifted across the country. Expect limited flights to the islands, and limited vendors transporting household shipments unless they are essential. Everyone in our industry is taking extra precautions for safety.
Q: Where can I find additional resources for buyers in Hawaii?
Find an agent by island. Connect with one of 350+ tech-savvy agents statewide to answer your questions.
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