Mainland Buyers: Are You Buying a Home or a Lifestyle?

Mainland Buyers: Are You Buying a Home or a Lifestyle?

  • Amber Lee
  • 05/9/22

Are you moving to Hawaii from the mainland? If so, you have probably done enough research to know a little bit about sticker shock. It’s no surprise to most people that home prices are high. Most would-be buyers who plan to relocate here do enough research to understand the high cost of housing in Hawaii. Most try to steel themselves for the changes that lie ahead and most are prepared to make compromises. But, in my experience, Buyers may still be in for some surprises when they actually land and begin to look at houses.

Searching for a Home in Hawaii

Granted, looking at houses online ahead of time is definitely a huge help. Buyers are now able to view tours, 3-D photography, and enough photos to get a good sense of a property. Throw in Google Earth and they can also check out neighborhoods and the surrounding area. With the help of a knowledgeable Realtor, Buyers are provided details and data about neighborhood demographics, schools, communities, and market stats well in advance of their arrival. Zoom calls, emails, and lots of conversation help to inform buyers of what to expect. But, even with all the preliminary groundwork, nothing quite prepares a Buyer like an actual trip here to physically view properties and to get a lay of the land.

And what happens when those prepared Buyers arrive to actually look at properties? In many cases, they find themselves in shock. Even with all the pre-planning and advanced leg work, it can still be a bit daunting to discover what you get for your money when it comes to Hawaii housing. The size and quality of construction can be discouraging. Hawaii’s standards don’t always match up to mainland standards. Our homes are often older, not as well-built, and frankly, not always as well-manicured or maintained. Don’t get me wrong, we have many beautiful homes. Stunning homes with amazing views. We have great neighborhoods, too. But, if you are trying to compare what you have on the mainland for what your money will buy you here, you are in for a rude awakening. It won’t measure up, at least in most cases.

Buying the Hawaii Lifestyle

So, here’s what I tell my Buyer clients: “You aren’t buying a home, you are buying a lifestyle.” We live differently in Hawaii. Yes, our homes are important. We like nice properties. But, we like our lifestyle more. If our homes are older, smaller, and more expensive, so be it. We still wake up every day to enjoy spectacular sunrises, blue skies, ocean breezes, and the beauty that surrounds us. We spend more time outdoors enjoying all that Hawaii has to offer and we do it virtually all year round. Living in Hawaii is about lifestyle. It’s about a people and a place that  cause us to pause and say, “thanks.” It’s about a unique and colorful, and very special culture that reminds us daily that we are lucky to live here. Blessed to live here.

If you are relocating to Hawaii, you are buying a lifestyle. A change in how you live. There will be compromises and challenges. It isn’t all paradise. But, there is a reason that our prices are so high — because the demand to live here is high. And, it’s not because of the houses. It’s because of this soul-stirring, amazing, and beautiful place we call home. It’s because it’s Hawaii.


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