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Military Transfer to Hawaii – Should you Buy a Home in Paradise?

Congratulations on your new assignment to Hawaii!! It's an exciting time with lots to think about.

  • Do I ship my car?
  • What about Fido?
  • Will I recognize any of the stores?
  • Is Hawaii as expensive as people tell me it is?
  • Where will my kids go to school?

The questions probably seem endless – but realistically, the biggest question is “Where am I going to live in paradise?”

Do you live on base, rent off base or buy? Depending on how long you've been in the military, you’ve probably heard a lot about Hawaii real estate.  

If you know someone who was in Hawaii in the early 2000s and made $50,000 or $100,000 through owning a home in paradise, they’re saying you have to buy. But on the flipside, you may also know someone who bought in 2005 or 2006, tried to sell when they left in 2008 or 2009, and lost money; they are telling you never to buy real estate in Hawaii…or anywhere…ever!!

So what should you do? Well, that really depends on your medium and long-term plans. If you know for sure that you want to sell your property when you leave Hawaii, then you have to consider carefully whether buying is the right option for you. You need to understand what’s going on in the local real estate market, what the economists are predicting for the timeframe you'll be here, and the associated costs of buying and selling property. Then you need to ask yourself a few questions.

  • How long will you be here?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have a family?
  • Do you have pets?
  • What lifestyle influences are important, such as schools, location or close proximity to work?

After you’ve answered those questions, take the time to talk through the numbers of buying and selling with an experienced real estate professional. They will help you get the information you need to make the decision that is right for you.

Some of the military folks I’ve worked with look at real estate as part of their long-term retirement planning. Their financial plan is to purchase a property at every duty station then let someone else pay the mortgage when they move out and on to their next duty station. When they retire, they’ll have a portfolio of properties providing income to supplement their military retirement pay; making retirement much easier down the road. With Hawaii real estate, chances are your asset will significantly increase in value over time. However, you need to consider carefully the right property to make this plan work. You’re not buying your dream home at each duty station, you’re buying a property that provides a good home while you’re there, but ultimately it needs to be a good rental property when you leave. 

In addition to understanding whether or not homeownership in Hawaii is for you, take the time to speak with your real estate agent about VA Loans and options for military personnel in Hawaii, as they do differ slightly from the mainland. After you have all the facts, you may find that owning a home in paradise is the best option for you and your family.

If you are interested in receiving emails with properties available in your duty station area, please give me a call or send me an email. I’m here to help you understand the benefits of home ownership and help you find that perfect place in paradise.

 

Military bases on Oahu and their surrounding communities.

Schofield Barracks - Central Oahu, but closer to the North Shore.
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area: Mililani Area, Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa Area, Wahiawa Heights, Wahiawa Park, Waialua, Waikele, and Waipio Acres

Wheeler Army Air Field - Central Oahu. 
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area: Mililani AreaMililani MaukaWahiawa AreaWahiawa HeightsWahiawa ParkWaialuaWaikele, and Waipio Acres.  

Lualualei Naval Reservation - Leeward side of Oahu.
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area: Makaha, Waianae, Maili, and Nanakuli.

Barbers Point Naval Air Station - Ewa plain side of Oahu
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area: Ko Olina, Kapolei or all of the Ewa Plain Area

Pearl Harbor Naval Station, Hickam Air Force Base, Camp Smith and Tripler Army Medical Center - Pearl City
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area:  Halawa, Aiea and Pearl City

Fort Shafter - Metro Honolulu
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area:  Halawa, Aiea, Pearl City and Honolulu

Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station - Windward side of Oahu
Click on the community name for homes for sale in that area:  Kaneohe and Kailua

 

   

Tom Presler (R)

Prudential Locations, Diamond Head
614 Kapahulu Avenue, Suite 200
Honolulu  HI   96815
Office: (808) 735-4200
Office Fax: (808) 732-5096
Direct Line: (808) 732-5080
Mobile: (808) 222-4054
Website
Email: tom.presler@pruhawaii.com