Buying a House with an Ohana on the Big Island

House with an OhanaAs you search for a home on the Big Island, are you considering properties that feature an on site ohana? We don't mean a family, as the word can be translated, but a separate dwelling that can be used in a variety of ways. Homes for sale on the Big Island often feature an on site ohana that can add value in multiple ways.

For those looking to embrace the spirit of aloha while accommodating extended family or guests, the concept of an "ohana" becomes particularly appealing. Contact us any time to find your ideal property for sale on the Big Island.

In this post, we explore the allure of purchasing a home on the Big Island with an on-site ohana, including the cultural significance, practical benefits, and some considerations that you may want to keep in mind as you are house hunting.

The Ohana Concept

Derived from the Hawaiian term for "family," an ohana refers to a separate living space or dwelling unit on the same property as the main home. Traditionally, ohana living spaces are designed to accommodate extended family members, providing a sense of unity and togetherness or meeting needs for relatives.

In modern Hawaii, the concept has evolved to include not only family members but also friends or guests. An ohana on your property can create a versatile living arrangement that aligns with the spirit of aloha, allowing you to welcome guests, friends, or family members without sacrificing privacy or personal space. 

Benefits of Buying a Hawaii Home with an Ohana

Multi-generational Living

Multi-generational living in Hawaii is a popular strategy for families who want to live in proximity to one another to share the load of care taking, childcare, home maintenance, and living expenses. 

One of the primary advantages of having an on-site ohana is the ability to embrace multigenerational living. This living arrangement allows multiple generations of a family to coexist harmoniously, fostering stronger family bonds and providing support to each other.


None of us knows exactly how we might need to use our home during the time we own it, so buying a property that has some versatility can be a major benefit. The ohana concept offers flexibility in its use. Whether it's hosting visiting friends, accommodating guests, or providing a space for older family members, the on-site ohana can serve a variety of purposes. It doesn't even have to be a living space, but can be used as a home office, a gym, a playroom, or even just storage. This versatility makes it an attractive feature for those seeking a home that adapts to different living scenarios.

Increased Property Value

Homes with an on-site ohana often have higher market appeal and increased property value. The additional living space adds a layer of functionality and desirability, making the property attractive to a broader range of potential buyers. This can be advantageous for future resale or investment purposes.

Rental Income Potential

With a thriving tourist industry throughout the year and a high cost of living, there is always demand for both short and long term rentals on the Big Island. That means you can profit from leveraging your ohana as a rental property. 

The ohana can serve as a separate rental unit, providing homeowners with an additional income stream. Whether it's a long-term rental or a vacation rental, the on-site ohana offers a means to generate revenue, helping offset the costs of homeownership.

Keep These Considerations in Mind Before Buying an Ohana House

Before purchasing a property with an on-site ohana, it's essential to check local zoning regulations and legal restrictions. Some areas may have specific guidelines regarding the use and size of ohana units, and compliance with these regulations is crucial to avoid potential issues in the future.

Ensure that the property's utilities and infrastructure can support the needs of both the main home and the ohana. This includes water supply, sewage, electricity, and internet connectivity. Assessing these factors beforehand can prevent potential challenges down the line. We can help you ensure that you are buying a property that is legally clear. 

Additionally, take some time to consider whether the added responsibility of this part of the property is going to work for you. Managing a property with an on-site ohana comes with added responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep. Homebuyers should consider the additional costs and time required to maintain both the main residence and the ohana.

Beyond the practical benefits, the inclusion of an on-site ohana adds a layer of cultural richness and community spirit to the homebuying experience on the Big Island, making it a unique and meaningful investment for those seeking to embrace the Hawaiian way of life.

When you are ready to find your home with an ohana, contact us to get started. 

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