The real estate market is still brisk in Hawaii, offering many opportunities for buyers and sellers, but for one group of buyers, it can be a daunting and somewhat intimidating experience. In my day-to-day encounters with people who have never purchased a home, especially Kama’aina, I’ve found that many of them are not sure of the process and are completely lost on how to approach the idea. In fact, some residents resign themselves to “having to rent for a long time” because they feel they don’t qualify or won’t have the means to purchase a home.
The Esperanza family, first-time homebuyers on Oahu
True, our real estate prices are one of the highest in the nation, with the median single family home in January 2017 running at $730,000 and condominiums at $380,000. Add to that, many Hawaii residents feel they can’t afford or make the 10 to 20% down payment that typically is required to make that home purchase a possibility.
An Introduction to the Hawaii Homeownership Center
In my desire to help these prospective first-time homebuyers, a few years ago I was excited to be introduced to Hawaii Homeownership Center. Ever since then, I’ve tried to give this important source of information about this amazing organization to every person I come across that expresses the desire to own a home and has not had the opportunity to do so.
Hawaii Homeownership Center (HHOC) is a non-profit organization that is making the dream of homeownership a reality for many Hawaii families. HHOC helps first-time homebuyers by primarily educating them on the process and taking them step by step, helping them to formulate a real plan of action on buying their first home and providing practical resources to help them over the financial hurdle. With education and coaching in financial literacy, HHOC takes the mystery out of the home buying and financing process.
They start by helping people understand the basics, like fixed versus adjustable rate mortgages, and what it means to be pre-approved for a loan, as well as how to calculate monthly payments. After that the buyer is connected with resources, some made available by state, city, and federal programs, as well as guiding them through the post-purchase process. HHOC is with them every step of the entire process.
Dennis Oshiro, Executive Director, recently stated, “We recently passed a major milestone by helping more than 1,500 first-time homebuyers successfully navigate the home buying process. Barriers to even entering the market can be complicated and overwhelming, but our staff is well equipped to help people from all economic backgrounds chart a path to reach their goal. We strongly believe that giving families the pride of owning their home will only make the fabric of our community even stronger.”
Need Help Getting Started?
For more information on navigating the process and tapping into the supportive resources of Hawaii Homeownership Center, visit their website, or call 808.523.8116 or 877.523.9503.
I enjoy helping buyers and sellers from every background, and one of my passions is helping first-time homebuyers reach their dream of owning a home! For help getting started, or if you have questions about the real estate market on Oahu, feel free to contact me at 808.497.7673 or RoseMKemna@HawaiiLife.com.