Big Island

3 Helpful Tips for Buying a Sight-Unseen Home in Hawaii

Aloha! As a Realtor, my main priority is to be your fiduciary (trusted representative who works in your best interest), and one of the things I offer as a service to my clients is to video preview a property for sale – especially if you are considering buying a home in Hawaii sight-unseen, or without physically walking through the property yourself (a common thing to do when someone sees a home they like and aren’t able to make it to the islands yet).

Below are three helpful tips to help when purchasing a sight-unseen home in Hawaii:

#1. Have a Realtor Video Tour the Property For You

What I like to do is to video record the property preview, so you can see the unedited tour of the property. Because it will be in raw footage form, you will be able to see the actual details of the drive to the property, along with the weather that day, the sounds of the area, and then the detail of the property from a Realtor’s perspective or point-of-view.

Here’s a typical video of a property tour I did for a client who will be here in December, but wanted to check the temperature of the market and the quality of homes for sale; this home for sale (MLS# 244480) is in Tarpley Subdivision, Waimea, Big Island

#2. Have a Realtor Take Pictures of Special Property Features

I also take pictures of the property and special features that may add value, or show you the areas that may need repair or possible replacement. Since most sight-unseen buyers may not walk through the property until after it’s closed, it’s best to have an experienced Realtor who can point out the details and features of a property. The following featured property has a couple of upgrades that need to be done.

1. For example, this spacious sun room shows to be a little dated, though in good shape. A few improvements will need to be made including:

  • the windows will need to be scrubbed of the weather deposits collected
  • new window coverings will need to be custom ordered for this room

Sun Room

It was about 10:30 a.m. and this area of the home was about 90+ degrees…but this heat may also contribute to heating the whole house in the evening, which can get as cool as 60+ degrees at night outside in this particular area of Waimea.

2. The kitchen area also needs to be upgraded. Though there was some nostalgia to the ambiance of the house, for the price, there was much to be re-done. Some properties might update their homes prior to putting it on the market to get the best opportunity at the highest market value. In this case, because it does need updating, we consider taking those upgrade costs off the list price at negotiations.


As you can see in this video, many parts of the home need to be updated. See if you can pick out the areas that need updating in the next video below:

There are lots of beautiful features about this property, especially the fact that it’s nestled on 12+ acres in Waimea, just minutes from town and conveniences

3. The upstairs of this home felt like I was in a “Little House on the Prairie” episode, with some cute features – but upgrades were needed as well.

4. The guest house was cute and cozy, and could be used as a vacation rental or bed & breakfast type situation – but it also needs upgrades. Both homes are made of cedar, so they seemed sturdy, but because of the Waimea weather and the age of this home for sale, a home inspection would be recommended.

5. There are also other buildings on this property along with fencing:

  • Weathered Stable
  • Dog Kennel
  • Fenced area that was used as a helipad for the current owners

Weathered Stable

Features That Add Value

The landscaping near the main house was tropical and very pleasing to the eyes, and does add value and curbside appeal for this home for sale.

#3. Have a Realtor Record the Drive Out of the Property

I will also record the drive out of the property (especially in this case – for properties with long driveways or easements), just so you have an idea of the experience you will have coming home and leaving home.

Sight-Unseen Property Purchases in Hawaii

If there are any other items that you may have seen from the video tours that I can research for you on any property, or if you feel the home requires more due diligence investigations, please let me know and I would be happy to look into it for you! I hope this helps you in your decision-making process and please let me know anytime you see a property that interests you!

Blessings always and I look forward to showing you around…or in this case, video touring homes you may be interested in before you get here! Please keep in touch if I can be of assistance to you~

Claire K. Bajo, RS

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