The sandy beaches, the delicious food, and the amazing scenery – it’s no wonder why emigration to Hawaii has doubled since 2000. Many people want to enjoy the warm sun and live the Aloha lifestyle. However, moving to Hawaii can come with a unique set of housing rules. The Hawaiian housing market can be hard to navigate for someone that hasn’t bought on an island before. Therefore, check out some of these tips before you purchase your dream Hawaiian home.
Most Housing is Sold as Leasehold Property
In mainland USA, most of the housing is considered fee simple estates. Therefore, the buyer is given the title of the home as well as the land that it resides on. This means that the owner has the right to the land and as long as they pay the monthly mortgage, they can use it however they wish. However, property in Hawaii works a little differently. Most of the land throughout the islands is actually owned by either the Hawaiian state government or the federal US government. This means that when you buy the land, you don’t actually own it. You lease it from the government for a determined amount of time. If the land or property is being sold to a new owner, that person is limited to living on the land for the remaining amount of time of the original lease. Then at the end of the period, ownership of the land and home goes back to the government. Therefore, you need to be cautious when purchasing a home. If you find a cheap home on the market, it may be the result of an expiring lease agreement. So be sure you read all the fine print and determine how much time is left on the home.
Elevation and Lava Zones Affect Your Costs
If you’re from the mainland, you may not be familiar with lava zones. These areas are generated based on the location and frequency of volcanic eruptions in the past. Therefore, when you’re searching for a home consider the lava zone information as this greatly alters pricing. Another thing that is unique about Hawaii is that elevation can affect the price of your home. Since air conditioning can be costly on the warm, sunny islands, many homes don’t have AC systems. Instead, people simply purchase homes that are away from the sea. The air temperature becomes a degree cooler every 200 feet that you’re away from the ocean. Therefore, housing around 700 to 1500 feet above sea level tend to be more expensive. If you’re looking to cut costs on your home buying process, you may want to elect for a home that’s closer to the water. You will, however, have to install AC systems or learn to adjust to the heat.
Paying for Your New Home
Once you’ve finally found your dream home, it’s time to pay for it. The first move is to determine if you want to pay using your own bank or through a Hawaiian island bank. On any of the Hawaiian Islands, all funds must be received by escrow before anything is finalized. This can take up to five days if you’re transferring money from a mainland bank, so you need to consider any time restraints. The best way to figure out the time schedules is to talk directly to your bank.
Owning a home in Hawaii is a dream. However, there are certain unique items that you have to take into consideration before diving into the waters. Do your research, understand Hawaiian laws, and give yourself enough time to purchase the home of your dreams.