VA Loans & Hawaii Military Relocations: This Realtors® Process

Active Duty or Veterans of the Armed Forces have VA Home Loan benefits for their home purchase that have proven beneficial for when it comes to little or no money down loan program. (provided their credit is satisfactory) VA guarantees the Local Lender that they will reimburse the lender a percentage should the veteran default on their loan. The following brochure What VA Does For the Home Buying Veteran should be very useful guidelines and loads of information.

*Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii* has loads of information for your Military Relocation to Hawaii so you will have pertinent information on what to expect in your relocation to our island paradise.

Currently, I have one VA Loan client in contract and the other one has already been prequalified and coming to Honolulu Hawaii next month specifically to put in an offer during their 5 day house hunting trip so they can return back to the mainland and pack for their Hawaii Relocation in February. VA Loans are abundant here due to our high volume of military personnel and presence on Oahu, Hawaii.

The following steps are what this Real Estate Professional does in order to make your Relocation to Hawaii as smooth as possible concerning your real estate transaction and VA Loan Process.

Speak to a Local Hawaii Lender (if you do not have one I can refer you to a few who are well qualified in the State of Hawaii) to submit your information and get prequalified.

  • While talking to the Loan Officer make sure and let him/her know what you are comfortable with for monthly mortgage payments. After getting prequalified your Realtor® will now know in what price range to search for properties for you.
  • Let your agent know what other criteria you are looking for as far as # bedrooms/ # of baths, sq. ft. interior/land, parking, single family or condo/townhouse. Just remember to go over the *Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii* because this gives pertinent information on what to expect in your Hawaii Relocation.
  • Get all your financial paperwork together so you will have it with you when you arrive.(Do not pack your bank statements, W-2’s, LES’s and important documents you will need to submit for your loan!)
  • If you have a couple of months to spare you may order your Certificate of Eligibility from the Veterans of Affairs office. It is not necessary to do so though, because our lenders order them online once you start your loan process and if anything is held up we have a VA office centrally located on Oahu for your convenience and it takes just minutes.
  • Start your loan process before you get here so you will have everything in place when you submit an offer for a loan. The loan process is the lengthy and of course an important part of the transaction so it is better to be proactive in your process. Your closing costs can be included with your loan so you will have minimal costs to come in with and to close with.
  • Appointments are made and off we go in search of your new home! When you decide that you would like to put in an offer we will go through the whole 12 page (plus addendum’s) contract and submit it to the sellers agent to present to the seller.
  • After the offer is accepted the loan process begins. You will meet with your Loan Officer to submit your complete application and submit all documentation needed for your VA Loan process packet. Then it goes to Underwriting to process the initial packet and order the appraisal with their VA approved appraisers.
  • The Condominium and/or Subdivision Association Documents should be ordered immediately after acceptance of the offer and in the buyer’s hands within 10-14 days after acceptance. This agent will make copies of the Budget, last three Association minutes and the Property Information form (RR105C) and submit it to the lender. They need this for the VA Loan Guidelines and process for your loan. (these documents will show how the Association budgets their money in reserve. % of owner occupants, any pending concerns or litigation going on and so forth.
  • Provided your loan process goes smoothly you should have a Conditional Loan Commitment Letter within the first three weeks in contract. This is an approval of your loan with Conditions. Maybe you need to submit a couple of more documents or the appraisal is not in yet or the survey and termite inspection are not done yet. These are the types of conditions that will be listed on this letter.
  • Within two weeks after the Conditional Loan Commitment letter is issued all the conditions should be complete for signing documents with escrow and the loan officer. Not to worry! I attend all signings with you.
  • In Hawaii, we do not sign at the same time as the Seller due to conflict of interest and we sign approximately four days before recording. After the signing, the loan officer takes the notarized and signed documents to go through processing and within 2.5 days the Lender should have funded the money for your loan to the escrow company. When escrow receives all monies then they will take the documents to the Bureau of Conveyances in Honolulu to record. By the next business day it will record and we usually get word between 8-10am. At that time, the home is legally yours and I will have already made arrangements and have your keys in hand to open the doors to your new home.


    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®!

    Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!

    Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
    Century 21 Liberty Homes
    95-221 Kipapa Drive, Mililani, HI * (808) 375-1404

    What’s In Your Real Estate Agenda?

    First of all, let me give you an idea of the number of Realtors® that are licensed in the state of Hawaii, and more specifically on our island of Oahu. Then I’ll be able to give you my opinion of what my agenda is like as a Realtor -Associate in Honolulu County that just may be helpful in your Honolulu Hawaii Relocation.

    There are approximately 15,400 real estate licensees in Hawaii and the breakdown for just my island (Oahu: Honolulu County) are following the whole State of Hawaii stats:

    • 9,600 active real estate licensees (statewide)
    • 5,800 are inactive
    • 3,150 brokers
    • 9,800 salespersons
    • 1,200 corporations, partnerships, LLC’s, and LLP’s
    • 1,150 sole proprietors
    • 100 branch offices.

    On our island of Oahu in Honolulu County there are about 12,000 licensees and of those licensees about 9,000 are now active and approximately 3 thousand that are not. That’s 9,000 Oahu Real Estate Licensees to help you in your search for real property. So, what sets one Realtor® apart from others?

    All I can tell you is what is on my agenda:

    • If you are Relocating to Hawaii you need a local island Realtor ® to represent your best interests in your next purchase of real property.
    • Licensed in the State of Hawaii and a MEMBER of the National Association of Realtors®, Honolulu Board of Realtors, and the Hawaii Association of Realtors.
    • Access to the Multiple Listing Service (and a given if a member of the above)
    • An agent you definitely feel comfortable with! Sometimes personalities don’t quite fit and that’s understandable.
    • Someone who will pay great attention to detail and walk you through every step of the transaction and answer all questions.
    • Won’t leave you in the dark and expect you to understand their Real Estate lingo. They’ll explain!
    • Experience in the Real Estate Industry and can either answer your questions or direct you to a professional who can.
    • Follows all Code of Ethics, Hawaii Real Estate laws and goes above and beyond the call of duty.
    • Knows the local areas and neighborhoods!

    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®!

    More Info:

    Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!

    Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
    Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI *
    (808) 375-1404

    Oahu and Surrounding Neighborhood Search: Relocations Hawaii

    If you are planning a Relocation to Hawaii the first step for you is most likely searching the internet for listings, a good Realtor® to advise you on your first step to getting started, and a local lender to help you with your financing needs and who knows our local real estate laws and contract. This local island Oahu Realtor-Associate® will first suggest that you contact a local lender to get pre qualified so we will have a price range to start out with our search. If you are unfamiliar with the process then I will refer you to a few I have worked with over the past few years.

    This local island Realtor-Associate® will set you up with an automatic email notification of listings according to the criteria you are interested in. Our Multiple Listing Service system gives the prospective client a personal webpage and it will notify you automatically with listings and an email that says “ON behalf of Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman: Client Gateway” and will look somewhat like the page below.

    In the first initial setup of the site I’ll need the additional following information for your criteria:
    Condo/townhouse/single family?

    • # bedrooms, # baths, # parking?
    • Sq/ft interior; sq/ft land interested in?
    • Land tenure; neighborhood, city interested in?
    • Price Range? (make sure your local lender has qualified you according to the monthly payments you are comfortable with!)

    With this webpage you will be able to save listings to your favorites, your possibilities, make notes and ask questions so I’ll see them and give you a prompt response. You may also save properties in the reject folder for the ones that are not appealing to you at all. This structure will give me a better idea of what you are interested in and we will be able to fine tune your criteria as we go along.

    Here we go!

    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®!

    Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!

    Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
    Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI *
    (808) 375-1404

    The Cost of Living Factor in Considering A Hawaii Relocation

    If you are considering relocating to Oahu, Hawaii or you are Relocating to Hawaii with the Military then you need to consider quite a few things. With the military your BAH covers housing expenses and your commissary priveleges allow you to buy food with only a smaller percentage higher than the mainland.

    What about civilians who are relocating to our Hawaiian islands? Consider this: The main reason that everything costs a little more here than on the mainland is that just about everything is transported to Hawaii….from food to lumber for building to just about everything needed to sustain the majority of necessities as well as luxury items. Shipping costs, fuel and oil costs all have risen drastically therefore pushing up our prices even further.
    90% if our food is imported so automatically presume that our cost of food is at least 30-50% higher than the mainland. We drink a lot of milk and it’s not too bad at 2 gallons for $7.50. My favorite places to shop for food are Costco and Sam’s Club.
    Rental Housing Market: Central Oahu: 2 bd/ 1 ba / 2 parking can run anywhere from $1200 to $2000 per month. A condo in Downtown Honolulu can run from $1500 to $3000 for a two bedroom. A significant increase in the last four years due to the increase in real property for sale.
    Real Estate Market: Again, depending on the neighborhood the single family median sales price for a 3 bdrm/2 ba home is around $625,000. A 2/2/2 townhouse are still selling for $300,000 to $325,000. Condos 2/1/2 run between $225,000 to $255,000.
    Utilities: My electric bill is about $125.00 to $140.00 per month for my small one bedroom. Of course I have the A/C on energy saver for the dog during the day when my house is locked up. Otherwise, others in my neighborhood (who don’t use their A/C) probably utilize about $50 to $75.00 worth of electricity. I have a gas water heater so that runs about $30.00 per month.
    Gasoline: Currently at $3.35 per gallon at Costco.
    Ahhhh. But where else can you live in a paradise with tropical island weather year round and our breathtaking scenery of the ocean, the mountains, the valleys, the flora and fauna. These are the reasons for my remaining in this land I call home….and the reasons that many flock here for their relocation.
    Weigh out all your options in your Hawaii Relocation because no matter what, Hawaii is like no other place in the world. We thrive and strive from our strength of diversity and our wide range of international and ethnic cultures and food.
    * Keep in mind that the outer islands such as Maui, Kauai, Hawaii (the Big Island), Lanai and Molokai are even higher in costs because again….the shipping and transporting costs.

    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
    *Across the Ocean to Paradise: Military Relocations Hawaii*

    Call me for a Relocation Packet and more info!
    Celeste “Sally” Cheeseman, Realtor Associate ®
    Century 21 Liberty Homes, Mililani, HI * (808) 375-1404