Why would I want to move to Hawaii?
There are so many reasons why you might consider this, but it really depends on your own particular goals in life and your daily lifestyle preferences. People love it here because of the beautiful tropical weather, the lush rainforests and warm ocean, the expansive ocean views, and the climate that is warm year-round. As far as lifestyles go, the overall pace of life here is much slower than in the big cities and that definitely draws a lot of people here. The above combined with a relatively low cost to buy a home or property does make a strong argument to make the move.
How much does the weather change throughout the year?
Hawaii’s great tropical climate does not change much year-round. That said, there are some areas of the Island that DO change substantially, by as much as 10 or 15 degrees seasonally! But this is not the norm. It is still more likely that you could come here in the Summer or in the Winter and still see the same weather and temperatures overall. One could say that the Winter and Spring months tend to have more rain, but it is really hard to make generalizations like this, the weather is ALWAYS changing! One of the most amazing things about Hawaii is that if you find yourself surrounded by grey clouds and rain, it is a safe bet that you can drive less than 1 hour to a part of the island that is warm and sunny! The same goes if you want to escape the heat from the dry side of the Island, take a short drive to the other side and you’ll most likely find a cool trade-wind breeze blowing.
Is it difficult to move all of our personal belongings over, how do we do it?
We would suggest a couple different options. You could use a full-service shipping company, or you can pack and load a container yourself and then just have the shipping company haul it away. If you are a regular do-it-yourself type of person/family, you can use a shipping company like Matson or Pasha to ship a full container (20-48 feet in length) from the Mainland US to your Hawaii Island destination. If you’d prefer to leave the details to the expert moving company, they can handle it all in a door-to-door move.
How can we bring our beloved pets to Hawaii, are there any rules or regulations?
Because Hawaii is a remote island chain, we must be sensitive and cautious of any foreign pests or diseases. As a result, Hawaii has a strict animal quarantine process that must be followed. If you do your homework it is not difficult by any means, it just takes some planning. More information can be found on the following Hawaii Animal Quarantine Resource Page.
How much more is the cost of living in Hawaii?
The overall cost of living in Hawaii is hard to gauge. In a general sense it might be roughly 30% more than the national average, but please don’t quote us on that. There are many factors that come into play such as where you shop and what your particular tastes are, so it is hard to come up with exact numbers. If you shop at Costco, Home Depot, and Walmart, you may find the prices are about the same. But if you go to a local convenience store or regular supermarket you may find the prices are substantially higher. Remember, the majority of all products you find here in Hawaii are shipped in!
What is the best part of the island to live?
This really all depends on your personal taste. The Big Island of Hawaii is quite large and is home to so many climatic zones, meaning that we have an incredibly diverse climate and you only have to drive a short while to go from one to the next. If you like dry arid climate that is warm every day then the Kona side is probably your best bet. If you prefer lush rainforest and warm tropical rain, then the East side of the island is beautiful too. If you like a temperate climate and enjoy being cool at night snuggling up to a fireplace, then Waimea or Mountain View could be good choices. We have broken down the Big Island of Hawaii into regions based on the climate on our Hawaii Climate Zone Page.
What is “Island Fever” and do I really need to worry about it?
Some people move to Hawaii and just don’t find what they expect and have a hard time enjoying themselves. Maybe they expect a Miami Beach atmosphere but move to a rural East Hawaii location or maybe they just didn’t think about how it would be to live thousands of miles away from their friends and family. So they feel the pull to move back “home,” wherever that may be. Some call this “Island Fever”. Living in a small state with small towns, a rural atmosphere and a tropical climate is not for everyone. We recommend that you make a point to visit the Islands a few times and explore the different areas to see which location you want to call home.
Leasehold or Fee Simple Purchase?
In Hawaii, a large portion of the land is still owned by a few large trusts that remain from the days what Hawaii was a monarchy. As a result, you may choose to purchase a leasehold on some land. It may be difficult to find land that is for sale if you are on a budget. Most lease-holds vary in length and may require renegotiation. Financing is available for lease holds as well as purchases, but lease hold financing has different requirements (see your loan officer for details).
Tell me about the East Hawaii Real Estate Market?
It has lots of opportunity, but prices have been slowly increasing as buyers invest in our local market. Hawaii County has been consistently adding new infrastructure such as a roundabout in Pahoa, and some subdivisions continue to make stunning improvements.
What is going on with the lava flow?
In 2014, a lava stream flowed in the direction of Pahoa town. An abandoned house and part of an old cemetery were lost, and there was a real concern if the lava would cross Highway 130 which is a major access point for Hilo commuters. The County took quick preventative measures by constructing three road detours, should they be needed, as well as hosted information meetings to keep residents informed. Although there was a fair amount of “imminent all-out disaster” speculation spread on the internet, the Hawaii County Civil Defense regularly advised that there was “no immediate threat to local residents.” After a few weeks, the lava stream spontaneously stopped. The doom-and-gloom rumors, however, continue to be found online. We encourage you to stay abreast of happenings by visiting the Hawaii County Civil Defense USGS Volcano Information
The danger associated with living near an active volcano is a matter of perspective. No matter where you live there is risk of some kind of natural disaster: Earthquake, Tornado, Hurricane, Blizzard, Flood, Landslides, terrible neighbors, roaming dogs. It’s a matter of which risks you are willing to live with and your unique disposition. Our volcanoes are shield volcanoes which means they ooze out a stream of lava and not explode like you see on Hollywood movies. When the lava is flowing, we get thousands of people who want to come see the flows and visit our national park.
It is true that Hawaii Volcanic Lava Zones 1 and 2 can be more difficult to get mortgage loans on homes, while most permitted homes can get insurance through the HPIA program (Hawaii Property Insurance Association) or Lloyds of London. Many residents love these areas in Puna, Kau, and South Kona because of the weather and scenic beauty. If “being as far away from the lava as possible” is an issue to you, then we have areas in our North Hilo, Hamakua, and Kohala districts to search for property, which is, in fact my specialty area. See for yourself by visiting Big Island lava zones.
Vog is more common to our Kona side of the Island, and on occasions affects the Hilo and Puna districts of the Island. Vog generally is carried towards the southwest of the Island by the trade winds from the volcanic vents in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It can sometimes even affect our neighbor islands. A “Voggy” day looks like a smoggy day, and creates colorful sunsets. People with respiratory ailments are more prone to the adverse effects of Vog, which can include headaches, breathing difficulties, watery eyes, and sore throat. If Vog is a concern, we can focus your real estate search for properties on the east and north sides of the Big Island. See Big Island Vog Conditions
Rainwater Catchment Systems? What?
Catchment Water is common in parts of rural Big Island, where piped county or well water is limited. Typically you have a metal roof on your house, and use the rain gutters to catch the water where it goes into a large steel or plastic water tank. There is a filter system and water pump to bring the water into the house.
What is SSPP?
Special Subdivision Project Provision. This is a cost share between HELCO (Hawaiian Electric Light Company) and land owners to bring electricity to some of the rural subdivisions. When you hook up to the electric lines you pay a share of the cost of the power poles. I’ve seen SSPP range from about $500 to over $5000. Depending on the amount, you may be able to qualify for a payment plan with Helco. For specific details you will need a tax map key number of a particular property, then contact HELCO Engineering (808) 969-0311
What is a Cesspool?
A cesspool is just a well in the ground. It differs from a Septic System in that there is no tank that needs to be pumped every so often.
Should I ship my vehicle?
Generally, it is recommended that you ship your own vehicle, particularly over if it has equity, is a reliable and late model vehicle. Hawaii county has a bus system but is by no means a staple way to get back and forth. We recommend getting any outstanding recalls taken care of before you relocate to our island, as the inconvenience and cost of servicing some brands of vehicles may be surprising. Vehicles generally run 30-35% higher in retail cost than the mainland or even Oahu. This is because they are a much needed commodity on Hawaii Island and as an effect causes the resale values tend to be higher. Many residents drive trucks and have 4×4’s. While some driveways and attractions are steep or difficult to access, often Big Island residents prefer these vehicles for recreational purposes. Everybody at some point fantasizes of using their 4×4 to access a hidden beach and yes, this is possible. Check out Beaches on the Big Island