I have been working in real estate in Hawaii for over 10 years now. One aspect of real estate that I really enjoy is working with buyers and helping them fulfill a dream here. So many people love the quality of life in Hawaii – the warm Hawaiian weather, the beautiful beaches, and the lifestyle. When I can help a client fulfill a dream by finding a new home or vacation property here on Kauai, and my client is happy, then I am happy.
The beautiful beaches are one of the many reasons people love to live or vacation here on Kauai
One of the things I appreciate about working in real estate is getting to spend time with great people. The time I spend with buyers when we are looking at properties is often the most concentrated time we will spend together. Hopefully, it is both productive and enjoyable.
Following are some suggestions for things we can do to help the “looking for a home” process go more smoothly and be more enjoyable and productive for everyone:
#1. Well Begun is Half Done
One thing that helps us to be well prepared is to be as clear as possible about what you are looking for in a property, and especially which details are flexible and which are really requirements.
#2. Prequalify First
If you will be getting a loan, before we start looking at any properties, its always best if you talk to a mortgage broker and go through the prequalification process. This will help you know exactly what kind of programs are available to you, and what you can comfortably afford.
Also, some types of loans will require properties to meet certain qualifications, so we can make sure we are looking at properties that will work for the kind of loan you will be getting.
#3. Wear Sandals
In Hawaii we call these slippers. When we go to look at homes here, we will usually be taking our shoes off before we go inside. This is a typical custom in Hawaii. It will be much easier for you if you are wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
#4. Bring Sturdy Shoes (Just In Case)
If you can, it’s not a bad idea to bring sneakers or other sturdy shoes, just in case we have to walk on some rough terrain. If we will be looking at land, or homes that are on acreage, we will probably want to walk around a little. Also, if we are looking at new construction that is still in progress, we will need to wear closed-toed shoes.
#5. Wear Sunscreen
Even a short time outside in the sun in the middle of the day here can be enough to get a little sunburn. I recommend you wear sunscreen. You can bring a hat too, if you would like.
#6. Bring Snacks
It may not seem like “work,” but looking at homes takes a lot of energy. Usually after a few hours of looking at properties at least one person in the group starts to get tired and irritable. It helps to have snacks. I recommend you bring water and protein bars or trail mix, or whatever works for you. If I am going to be showing property all day, even if we will be stopping for lunch, I try to bring a cooler with water and some kinds of snacks for everyone.
#7. Don’t Talk to the Seller
If the seller (the owner of the property) is present for a showing, I recommend you keep the conversation to a minimum. I don’t mean for you to be rude, or to ignore anyone; it’s fine to say hello and be polite, but the less you talk to the seller the better.
The reason for this is that you may decide to make an offer on a property and you might say something to the seller that could affect the transaction in a way that does not help you.
For example, sometimes a buyer will say something to the seller like, “I love this house, I just have to have it!” At that point, the seller knows the buyer is very motivated, and he or she may be less willing to consider a low offer or negotiate.
It could also be something as innocent as you mentioning that you are bringing your cats, and the seller doesn’t like cats. You just never know. So just be mindful and try not to be too chatty with the seller.
#8. Take Notes
Take a few notes on each property to help jog your memory later. I like to make a sheet for my clients with basic information about each place we will see – with room for notes. You could also just bring a little notebook.
After about five or six homes or condos, it often gets hard for people to remember the specific details about each property. It helps to note something specific to help you remember, like “the house with the blue roof,” or “the house with the beer stein collection” (true story), or the “condo that smelled like an old motel” (also true story).
If there is something you like or don’t like about a property, be sure to let your real estate agent know. If I am your agent, it helps me a lot to know what works for you, so I can help you find just the right fit. I think most real estate agents appreciate that kind of communication.
#10. Be Flexible
Sometimes people think they know exactly what they want, but once we start looking at properties we find something quite different, and that turns out to be perfect. Once I get to know my clients a little, I may suggest we look at a property that is not exactly what they described as their perfect home, and it turns out they love it.
Additional Tip: Take a Break & Get in the Water
The above tips are just a few of the things that I’ve found to be helpful when working with buyers here on Kauai. Here is one more thing I like to do if time allows. While we are out looking at properties, if we have a few extra minutes, I like to stop at a beach along the way and get everyone out of the car for a few minutes, and maybe put our feet in the water.
The photo above is from Anini Beach on the north shore of Kauai. It is a beautiful beach and definitely worth a visit. If you would like to live nearby, there are homes available on Kauai near Anini Beach. There are also properties available just a few minutes away, either in Princeville or Kilauea.
If you need help finding your way to Anini Beach, please see the map below:
Contact a Kauai Buyer’s Agent
If you are considering buying property here on Kauai, and you are looking for a buyer’s agent, I would love the opportunity to work with you. You can reach me at (808) 936-7386 or Monica@HawaiiLife.com.