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Finding Your Dream Home Can Still Be Affordable in Hawaii

The state of Hawaii hit a record high median price for single-family homes in August. At $810,000, this number could seem discouraging to many people looking to purchase a home, but a little further insight into the market and arming yourself with the right tools could make that dream an attainable reality.

To begin, the median price of $810,000 is for the entire island of Oahu. Median is defined as the mid-point of all sales. Therefore, simply stated, there are an equal number of homes sold below $810,000 as there are above.

As the saying goes, it’s all about location, location, location! In order to focus on homes below the median price, we’re looking at the west side of the island and some of the windward areas closer to Kaneohe. While these areas may not be the first that come to mind in your search for a home, remember that typically, your first house is not your last. If your search is price driven than you need to go where the opportunity is the greatest.

Technology should be your friend in searching for a home. Case and point: sites like allows you to see a real time report of listings that will be open, and being able to filter through those in a variety of ways including location and price makes planning your open house visits that much easier.

Progressive brokerages like BHHS Hawaii Realty have a mobile app that is geo coded. This means it will tell you prices and availability of the homes in any neighborhood you are currently in. It will also tell you what’s new to the market, price changes, and show photos so you can get a glimpse of the interior of the home before even stepping out of your car.

A BHHS agent can set you up with email notices of homes that come up in your price range and in your desired neighborhood. This service is updated within minutes of the listing appearing on the market and it makes sure you do not miss an opportunity.

Home prices are in a rapid state of flux because of the limited supply and increasing demand. This is especially true for price ranges under $810,000. In order to be competitive there are some simple steps to take to be in the best position to secure your desired property.

Decide with the help of a loan officer as to what you can afford and what programs are best for you. For example if you are a veteran, VA financing has an excellent mortgage value. If down payment is an issue but you are not a veteran USDA loans offer 100 percent financing, but only for specific areas of the island, which includes parts of west Oahu. If you are a first time homebuyer there are down payments and specific programs that make home buying easier, but you need to see a loan officer.

Get an Underwritten Pre-approval which means your loan officer has reviewed your tax returns, bank accounts, employment as well as pulling your credit. This has more standing than just a pre-qualification and allows the Seller to know you are qualified for the purchase.

Decide what is important to you from a housing perspective – remember you can always change the paint, carpet and physical improvements in the home but you cannot change the location. So think about the schools, proximity to shopping, markets and entertainment.

Working with a BHHS agent who knows the neighborhoods and price ranges can help you make good decisions as to where you might want to purchase.

Buying a home is a decision you should not undertake alone. Seek the help of a BHHS agent who is knowledgeable about the neighborhoods, pricing, financing and can help you negotiate the best transaction possible!

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