Buying a Home on the Big Island
6 Steps to Buying Your Home
From the spectacular oceanfront views of South Kohala Coast to the slower pace of “Old Hawai’i” to the serenity of Hamakua’s rugged coastline, your Hawaiian dream home awaits on the Big Island.
Buying a home on the Big Island is not only an investment—it’s about experiencing the richness of life each and every day. Your new home may be one of your largest assets, appreciating in value over the life of your ownership. But it will also be the haven of the present—the place where you and your family find infinite inspiration, beauty, and calm.
Live on the Big Island partners with you to ensure buying your property is a smooth journey. Take a look at this guide for insight into my capabilities and the perfect homebuying process.
Buying a home on Hawaii’s Big Island starts with the big picture. Let yourself imagine the housing possibilities available to you by shoring up where you stand financially.
+Determine how much to spend
Knowing how much you will spend on your Big Island home is a crucial guidepost throughout the process, giving you a way to organize and assess your options. Regardless of what you are able to qualify for, always leave yourself some breathing room with your mortgage payment.
If you plan to finance your Big Island home purchase, start the mortgage loan process well before buying a home -- even before the bidding process. When searching for loan options, remember that not all lenders are created equal and regulations may vary from state to state.
Live on the Big Island suggests you find a local lender to prequalify you!
Now that you’ve set a price, it’s time to create an action plan for finding your perfect Big Island home.
+Jot down your wants and needs
Make a list of how you envision your new Big Island home and what is important to you and your lifestyle. Start with the basics, such as home features and location. Then consider the flourishes that will make your Hawaiian home extraordinary: A floating garden? Beachfront vista? Hideaway haven along the rugged coast? Now’s the time to dream about all the Big Island possibilities!
+Pinpoint your ideal neighborhood
Life on the Big Island is as diverse as its lush surroundings. In Holualoa, residents are drawn to the lush landscapes, seascapes, and tight-knit communities. On the Kohala Coast, it’s the championship golf courses, private clubhouses, lavish spas, and white sand beaches that residents relish. Explore the nuances of Hawaii’s Mainland and get a feel for Big Island life with my custom Area Guide. This guide lets you search by properties, current events, environment, day-to-day activities, and lifestyles of individual neighborhoods.
Now on to the main event: finding and viewing homes! The majority of homebuyers begin their search online—and my website is designed with your dreams in mind. From property information to lifestyle guides, your streamlined exploration starts here.
Live on the Big Island’s website allows you to…
- Explore details about specific neighborhoods to give you a feel for the lifestyle of the area.
- Focus on the west side of the Big Island. Other Big Island real estate websites focus on all the islands, while Live on the Big Island prefers an in-depth look at our area of expertise.
- Complete access to the Big Island Buyer’s Club
+Begin your search
A hassle-free local search experience begins with this site. Simply create your Big Island Buyer’s Club account, and explore your possibilities!
The Big Island Buyer’s Club is completely free and allows you to save your searches, see instant updates for your home criteria, receive email updates about the newest properties on the market, and share your finds with friends.
Giving you an in-depth view of the homes, Big Island life, neighborhoods, and location, Live on the Big Island delivers an honest, clutter-free place to search for homes. All listings are in real time and up-to-date with the market, and can be viewed in full on your mobile device or tablet.
+Enjoy instant mobile accessibility
Live on the Big Island is the only local real estate site on the Big Island optimized for mobile devices. Try it for yourself, and search for your new Big Island home, no matter where you are!
+Tour the mobile app site
When you visit Live on the Big Island’s website on your phone, it automatically detects what kind of phone you are using and gives you a site specifically designed just for your viewing pleasure. This is not a shrunken version of the main site, but a site that utilizes the features of your phone to give you the best browsing experience.
Live on the Big Island’s website is also optimized to work on all tablets, guaranteeing that no matter which device potential buyers use, they will be able to receive the same streamlined, engaging experience that they would while viewing on a laptop.
+ Try the GPS search
If you are already on the Big Island, this incredible feature allows you to pass through a neighborhood and instantly find out which homes are for sale—all with a click of the button on your mobile device. Explore the different neighborhoods while keeping tabs on available homes for sale at all times.
+Find your home
Once you have a list of homes you are interested in, simply contact me for your property tour—it’s as simple as that.
Now that you’ve found your Big Island dream home, the next step is to make an offer. After that, I’ll help you decide the appropriate earnest money deposit, and then it’s time to sign the purchase contract.
+Make an offer
You’ve found your Big Island dream home, and you’re ready to make it your own. Together, we’ll establish the best offer to make. Sometimes it is okay to make an offer that is lower than the asking price, but if you are in a hurry to buy, your heart is set on a house, or you know there are other offers on the table, you may want to offer the full asking price.
From this point, I will assist you in negotiating with the seller, and once the final offer is accepted, we’ll move into the next phase.
+Decide your earnest money deposit
Once you’ve determined your offering price, you’ll need to decide on the size of deposit to make with your offer. This earnest money deposit should show the seller you are serious. I will help you decide the appropriate amount to offer.
+Acceptance of the offer
After the seller accepts your offer, you will sign a legal and binding obligation to purchase the property if contingencies are met. The contract outlines the details of the transaction, including a description of the property, the selling price, the date of closing, and any applicable contingencies.
During this phase, we’ll square away property inspections, repairs, and finalize the financial side of your purchase. I work with you every step of the way, making sure the process is smooth and stress-free.
After you and the seller agree to terms of a sale, the sale goes into escrow, which can take several weeks (30-45 days) to reach closing. During this period, the escrow agent and the escrow company act as a neutral third party, serving as a custodian for funds and documents, providing a clearing house for payment of demands, and completing clerical details for the closing.
+Secure your loan
You will secure a final loan commitment from your lender, who will work closely with you to get all of the needed documentation. The lender will also have the property appraised to verify that the offer price does not exceed market value.
+Complete your due diligence
Your due diligence period is your time to perform inspections and negotiate repairs.
I will coordinate a home inspection with an experienced inspector who will examine the property from top to bottom and deliver a detailed report with the findings. Based on that report, we will submit a formal repair request to the seller asking that these items be corrected before closing.
+Square away the closing documentation
Before you can close on your new home, you will need some paperwork. This includes a title search to make sure the title is clear, and title insurance to protect you and the lender. You will also need to secure homeowners insurance and possibly other riders such as hurricane, flood or wind policies.
+Review the closing statement
This is a tentative HUD-1, a document that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires to account for all financial aspects surrounding the sale and purchase of a home. It provides a list of the funds that are paid at closing. Both you and the seller will need a copy of this statement at least at least several days prior to closing.
+Know the closing costs
One of the last things to check off your list is to pay the closing costs for the professional services associated with buying the property. Keep in mind that your closing funds should be in the form of a cashier’s check and made payable to the title company or escrow office in the amount requested. A wire transfer is also acceptable. The total amount of closing costs varies, but may include: a loan origination fee, an appraisal fee, the cost of a credit report, a lender’s inspection fee, the cost of title insurance, a mortgage broker fee, taxes, and a fee for document preparation. Your lender is required to give you prior notice of fees associated with your loan.
+Set a signing date
You will sign your escrow instructions and deed. A signing packet will be sent to parties not in Hawaii. The appointment should take only 30 to 45 minutes. You will be informed of the amount you will need to pay for closing payment.
+Prepare for closing time
At least three days prior to closing you will need to do a walk-through to ensure no major systems are broken or have been damaged since the initial inspection. By the time your closing day arrives, we’ve already put all the major pieces in place—it’s just a matter of finishing touches.
+Change your address and utilities
Simply file a change of address form online with the post office, and notify anyone who regularly sends bills of your new address. Next, contact all your utility companies and arrange to have service end in your old home the day after you move out, and begin in your new home on the day of closing.
Time to make everything official and get the keys to your new Big Island home! Typically, title transfers occur at 8:30 a.m. on the day of recordation. This is when you take possession of the property.
You are ready to step through the doors, and raise a toast to your beautiful, new Big Island home!