What do you need to know when planning your move to Hawaii? Moving anywhere is a big deal but packing up and moving across the ocean forces you to really think about what to bring and how you are going to do it. My wife and I made several of trips to Hawaii over the span of about 5 years and always knew we wanted to break free of the cold Montana winters permanently one day. On our last trip over, she literally said she wasn’t going to get on the plane and fly back. I laughed. She didn’t get on the plane. We bought an older car and rented a small place and I flew back to Montana to gather our things. Looking back, we have no regrets, but it obviously isn’t practical for everyone to do what we did. Here is a layout of things to think about while planning your move to Hawaii.
I hear people tell me of their dreams to move to Hawaii daily. It is one of the best parts of my job as a Realtor. Few things are more exciting than when a client calls me and says the plans have been made, we are buying a home and making our Hawaii dream come true. Our move to Hawaii could have been smoother if we had a simple checklist of things to think about and had an idea of what to expect. We learned a lot the hard way, and I can help you avoid the most common hurdles when you begin planning your move to Hawaii.
First things first… your pets.
Hawaii has no rabies and plans on keeping it that way. Your pet must go through the quarantine process and that takes at least 4 months and should be started immediately upon reaching the conclusion that you want to make the move. The quarantine no longer has to be on Island and can be done in your home. It consists of several vet trips, a blood draw, and placing a chip in your pet. Your vet should be able to find the information needed and help you through the entire process. Here is a link to the Hawaii State website so you can read up on what will need to happen and in what order.
Another helpful link is the FAQ section for the 5 day or less program.
Preparing your pets for your big move to Hawaii isn’t hard, it just takes time. Get started right away so you don’t have to wait when you find your perfect home.
Finding a Home
All of the rest of the steps are fairly easy and take less time. Once you have the date that your pet can arrive, you can begin work on purchasing your home. There is an escrow period when purchasing a home in Hawaii that commonly runs 30-60 days. A cash sale is usually 30 days and conventional loans usually take about 45 days. VA loans and USDA loans tend to take a bit extra time and usually run about 60 days. If you plan on moving as soon as your pet is eligible, you should be finding your home at least 2 months before moving.
Now that you have a tentative date on moving to Hawaii, find a Realtor that works for you. Realtors rarely charge money for their service and only get paid at the end of a successful home sale. They are still willing to help you through the process and try hard to keep things simple for you by sharing knowledge. Find one you like and stick with them. Ask them for advice on a lender in the area. Call the lender and take a few minutes to get pre-qualified for your loan. It is an easy process and consists of a couple of years of tax info, and an idea of what you are currently making and what you are currently spending. Your lender will give you a number that they think you will be able to get the loan on as long as everything you told them was accurate. This number is usually higher than you really want to spend but it is good to know where to cap your budget and having the prequal letter will make things easy when it comes to setting up showings to find your new home.
The legwork is done. You have begun the process of getting your pet ready for the move to Hawaii. You have a great Realtor who is knowledgeable and willing to share their expertise on the area you want to live. Your lender has given you a number that you can use to find a home you can afford. You have been finding homes on your favorite home sales website and are ready to start looking in person. In Hawaii, we are required to give 2 days notice prior to showing the home if there are tenants. We need to give them an hour window when we think we will be stopping by. This allows the tenant to clean up their things and vacate the home. You won’t want to look at too many homes in one day. Ask your Realtor to help set up the showings. Tell them what you want and be specific. They may know of a couple places that you will love.
Once you find your home, it is time to put in an offer. Everyone wants a deal, but I have found that if you love the home, come in with a strong offer and take it. It is always hard to see someone lose their perfect home over a couple of thousand dollars which literally would equal an extra $15-20 out of pocket each month.
After you have your accepted offer, you will enter escrow and after your loan is approved and the inspections completed, you can move in and begin your Hawaii adventure. Several steps led up to this moment, but if you know what they are and take them step by step, you will be living in Hawaii in no time. Start early with lining up your pets, move on to finding a Realtor and Lender, set up showings and get out there and find your new home. Aloha!