Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii

Military personnel who have relocated across the Pacific Ocean to Oahu, Hawaii are always astounded at the differences in homes once they arrive here. Okay, let’s say stunned instead. I have had many military clients who were so shocked at the size of homes that they had no alternative but to store the majority of their household goods once they arrived because they brought it all. They also had a cultural shock as well with all our diverse cultural and ethnic groups. And the difference in weather conditions? Tropical paradise to say the least.
If it’s one thing we all will agree on is that Hawaii, the island Paradise, is full of beautiful tropical island scenery that will captivate you to no end.

As a Hawaii Realtor Associate® and Relocations Specialist I guaranty that the following information will help you in your relocation across the Pacific Ocean to the Hawaiian Islands!

ENVIRONMENT: Expect a totally different environment! You will need an open mind for a brand new experience with Hawaii’s diverse community full of ethnic groups and cultures from all over the world! Do not expect everything to be the same as the Continental United States because you will be disappointed! Wherever you look you will have Japanese, Chinese, Filipino. Portugese, Hawaiian, Tongan, Samoan, Caucasian, Korean, African American, Vietnamese, Spanish, Guamanian and Polynesian races with different beliefs and styles of living. And the food? We have all the fast food places but why keep eating burgers when we have such a variety to choose from?
JOBS: Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The vast number of military stationed in Hawaii make up the majority of the federal government employees although spouses surely have an advantage if they have been previously employed on a military installation and transferring to a new duty station. We also have many jobs in the tourist industry including but not limited to hotels, restaurants, historic and scenic sites and so forth.
HOUSE HUNTING: Make arrangements with this Realtor® to give you information, send you a relocations packet and start you out with your online search for your home purchase. Remember, Hawaii is not the same as the last time you were stationed here in back in 1975 and the change will shock you. We have many freeways, traffic, high rises and such. We may be more laid back but change is always inevitable with just so much buildable land.
MORTGAGE LENDER: Make sure to use a local lender as Hawaii lenders know the Hawaii real estate laws. There is no recourse (RED FLAG!) if something goes wrong with a mainland lender, negotiating the best price and time lines are a very important factor in a real estate transaction. Even if your cousin or uncle is a Loan Officer it is a given that they will not know about Hawaii mortgage funds. I guaranty that I can tell you some stories about the deals that fell through due to using lenders not familiar with our Real Estate Laws, Contracts and Contingencies. Also, make sure and hand carry your important financial papers as you will need them!
VA GUARANTEED LOAN: The most important thing to consider before utilizing your benefits is what you want to allot yourself for a monthly mortgage payment. The current VA Loan Amount is $625,500 (this is INCLUDING the funding fee) and soon to go up to $700,000. MEDIAN HOME PRICES: During our home search online you may see a home that may interest you. I’ll be sure to give you the median home price for that neighborhood. If it’s way below the median price…well, it just may be too good to be true! If this is your first time to Hawaii we will cruise the different neighborhoods so you can get a feel for the community. We will also need to choose between condos, town houses and single family homes according to your price range. (which is determined by your conversation with your local lender who prequalifies you)
HOUSEHOLD GOODS: Our homes are smaller so be prepared to bring half of the household goods you currently have in your 3,000 sq. ft. interior home on the mainland. A 1,200 to 1800 sq. ft. for a single family 3 bedroom around the $500,000 to $600,000 range in Central Oahu is about the median sq/ft for the price. Be flexible and open minded!

Our office is located in Mililani Town in Central Oahu and 10 minutes from Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Air Field. We are also located about 20-25 minutes from Hickam AFB & Pearl Harbor Navy Base although I service all of the island of Oahu.

It’s not easy moving across the Pacific Ocean let alone to a totally different “world” of people but you can do it with effort, motivation and a great Realtor®!

The Art of Hawaii Relocations

Relocating to Hawaii? With our warm climate and breathtaking scenery it’s no wonder why everyone (including locals) call it “Paradise”! Hawaii is the choice of many people who prefer a tropical setting to live out their retirement years. It also becomes everyones favorite Hawaii Relocations spot when transferring to the military bases in Hawaii including the Schofield Army Base, Wheeler Army Air Field, Pearl Harbor Navy Base, Hickam AFB, or Kaneohe Marine Corp Air Station.

Education, Information and a Good Realtor® is The Art of Hawaii Relocations.

Do your homework if you are contemplating a Hawaii Relocation. Check out employment options, schools, plan a trip (if you are not familiar with our islands) and do your budget! We are (by far) different than elsewhere in the world and our homes are one of the highest priced in the nation. Why?

Inventory/Demand: Very little buildable land is available on these small islands and with their steep mountains and canyons the prime land has already been developed. Much is owned by the Federal Government, the State of Hawaii, and private landowners and no place to build out into the outlying areas. This will be true whether you rent or purchase a home.

Neighborhood: Get to know your neighborhoods. Take into consideration the price ranges and how they are determined. Convenience to business districts, schools, quality of homes, character and street/curb appeal. Your island Realtor® will know the neighborhoods and give you alternatives to your criteria for neighborhoods.

Expensive areas (luxury estates): Diamond Head, Kahala, and East Honolulu towards Hawaii Kai. (Truly level land is in short supply so many homes are located on the steep hillsides)
Affordable areas: The Leeward area (Waipahu, Ewa, Waianae) are the more affordable neighborhoods on flat land and some newly developed areas and homes offer some of the best values. If you work downtown traffic may be an issue for you though.
Mid Range Areas: Central Oahu (including, Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele, Wahiawa) and the Windward area offer a variety of “suburban” communities and homes.

Value and Price: Most of the value is in our land, Expect SMALLER and compare to other Hawaii homes…not other areas. Additional features and upgrades are not always what you may expect for a higher priced home. Be realistic and ask your Realtor® to make appointments in your price range. It’s like going shopping for food without eating first. Wants vs. Needs!
Home Styles: As stated above Hawaii has JUST SO MUCH buildable land, therefore the percentage of condo/townhouse ownership is one of the highest in the nation so don’t disregard the possibilities of owning a condo or townhouse. As far as heating and cooling go we don’t have central heat (we have year round climate) and air conditioning is not mandatory with our trade winds cooling our air. Most homes here include most appliances so you may want to save on shipping costs of your appliances. Same goes for your auto; unless it’s a collectible or you have an employer paid move.
Living Area: Most of our homes have less than 1500 sq. ft . roofed living area and very few have more than 2400 sq. ft. even in the higher priced ranges. Take into consideration the amount of furniture you have that may not coincide with the size of our island style homes.
Market on Oahu: Of course you will want a Realtor® to guide you through your home purchase and let you know what the current market is like. Your Realtor® will also be able to give you knowledge (pick an island wide knowledgeable agent) to help you find that right home.
As of October 2007 the inventory is higher than usual although the prices are holding in many of the neighborhoods. Just know that interest rates are still low and prices are not dropping drastically. Also, the rental market is very high so you might as well get those tax breaks on owning your own home.
Rentals on Oahu for a 3bdrm house will range anywhere from $2,000 to $3500 plus per month so regardless if you are renting or buying the town areas will be priced higher and the more distant (Central and Leeward area) will be lower. Just be aware that if you are working in Honolulu and live further away you will have to consider the rush hour traffic.

Oahu Single Family Homes Prices overall went down 2.3% for the third quarter of this year ending with a median sales price average of $649,000. Condos/townhouses went up 0.6% topping off at a median sales price average of $330,000 on our island of Oahu.

Be Part of the Solution For Your Market; Because “Shift” Always Happens is another article discussing the market shift and what the market looks like this year. If you are planning on moving to paradise please contact me for a Hawaii Relocations packet so you can get started!

"Kuleana: Knowing Your Responsibility"

There’s a fine line between common sense and KNOWING what I am responsible for.

Kuleana (Koo-lay-ah-nah). basically means “Knowing Your Responsiblity” and used in the context of Leadership.

We all have a responsibility for the preservation and conservation of our land and water. So we abide by the laws set forth by our state.

Previously, I had written Purchasing Hawaii Vacant Land? Ancient Hawaiian Burial Sites and Laws and discussed our laws regarding ancient burial sites and our responsibility to do due diligence if you are considering purchasing vacant land. These laws not only apply to vacant land but property already in use that you may be building a new project on and the discovery of an ancient burial site or human bones.

The State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Divison held a Oahu Island Burial Council Meeting on October 10, 2007.

Some of the topics discussed at this particular meeting were:

  • The Honolulu Rapid Transit System: Information and surveys for our Rapid Transit System
  • Walmart (Status Update) Contested Case: Status and update on the case and discussion of the reinternment of the iwi (human bones) found at the site when construction started a couple of years ago.
  • Hau’ula Property, Recognition of Lineal/Cultural Descent: SHPD’s (State Historic Preservation Division) recommendation for recognition of the cultural/lineal descendants of five burials on the site. They are determining a burial treatment plan on whether to preserve the location on the site or relocate them.
  • Other new inadvertant discoveries

There are other zoning laws to consider as well. There is just so much buildable land on any of our islands and much is zoned Restricted Preservation, Restricted Conservation, Agricultural, Beachfront, Coastal and Country land and the following reading are all related to our land. Our paradise.

As a Real Estate Professional on the island of Oahu in Hawaii it is my responsibility to gain knowledge on all that may be pertinent to the sale of real property. If you are planning on relocating to Hawaii it’s your responsibility to learn too.

It’s my ‘Kuleana’ …. Knowing my Responsiblity as a Leader in my Industry.

Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman’s Mililani Hawaii Real Estate Blog 2007©
*All pictures and content property of Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman