Property Buying FAQs

  Once you know the specific area(s) you are interested in:

Why should I buy a house/property in Hawaii?

I thought this might be obvious, but an easy response is:  This Is Seventh Heaven !!! I have plenty of other reasons in case that one didn't do it for you, the diverse and very comfortable climate, the warm and welcoming people - not to mention the ocean, beaches, surfing and mountains !  If you are new to the Islands, take a look at some of the "Links" below page to find more information about our wonderful State and Islands and all that they have to offer.

What do Leasehold and Fee Simple mean?

This can be a little confusing at first, so - although you won't find Leasehold property on Kauai or the Big Island very often - but here is the explanation. If you purchase a fee simple property, you own the land and the improvements upon it. This is the standard way of owning a property. However, if you purchase a leasehold property, you are buying a lease for the land and, usually, you own the improvements. A residential leasehold might have been set for 55 years but if the ground lease is 30 years old, there would be 25 years left on the lease. Most banks require a minimum number of years remaining on the lease before they will agree to lend on the property. Some require that the lease be renegotiated with the ground lessor, often a family trust or large landholding estate. This can take more time than you expect and, in fact, lessors are not obliged to extend or renegotiate the lease.

With all this, why would anyone buy a leasehold property? Because it is often less expensive to purchase and the lease is depreciable, which may have some tax advantages for you.

As always, before purchasing any property, you should consult with your tax adviser and your attorney about how to protect your tax position and your estate.

How long will it take to buy a house?

This depends on quite a few things, so it's not a quick and simple answer. If your lender works quickly and the sellers have already accepted your offer you will generally have a much better idea as to how much longer things will take. In general, one could say that escrows are somewhere around 45-60 days, but, realistically, just as your property and your sale are unique, so will be your timeline. We assure you that we will do what we can to expedite the transaction however possible.

Why should I use YOU to help me buy a house or property?

Simple, we do our very best to be kind, courteous, and professional, and worked hard so that we can help you find exactly what you are looking for efficiently.  We also know a great deal of information which can help you avoid many of the pitfalls of purchasing property in Hawaii.  We have more details to help you understand the responsibilities of a real estate agent in Hawaii here.

What are the property tax rates ?

Kauai: 

Hawaii Island:

 
 
Land Use Class
LandBuilding
  Improved residential
8.10
8.10
  Unimproved residential
8.10
8.10
  Apartment
8.10
8.10
  Hotel/resort
9.00
9.00
  Commercial
9.00
9.00
  Industrial
9.00
9.00
  Agricultural
8.35
8.35
  Conservation
8.55
8.55
  Homeowner
5.55
5.55

 

 What are FIRPTA and HARPTA taxes and do they affect me ?

Think of FIRPTA and HARPTA and INSURANCE for the Federal and State Governments. So many people buy and sell property who do not live in Hawaii - or even America. When anyone SELLS property, both governments require the BUYER to deduct, withhold and pay a percentage of the "Amount realized" by the SELLER (in escrow).  They have to pay 5% of gross to the State and 10% to the Federal Government.  When the SELLER proves he is a resident - or pays the ACTUAL TAXES due - he will receive the balance from the 2 Governments.  <

 I've heard that the Big Island has affordable real estate, is this true?

Housingcosts vary greatly from community to community on all of the Islands.  In general, the Big Island has less expensive properties than you would find on Kauai - but that is not a hard and fast rule and depends on the area of the Islands, the neighborhoods and propinquity to a beach, stream, etc. The best way to get an idea of current property costs is to browse through the "Kauai Property Search" - which enables you to explore different locations, prices, etc. as you go. You'll be able to see everything that's presently for sale through the Multiple Listing Service because our site links directly to the MLS database.

The easiest thing to do is contact me and I can help you figure out the areas that might work for you and help you find your dream home or property!