See Frequently Asked Questions
about Hawaii Real Estate.
Inquiry Regarding Purchase
In order to purchase a property in Hawaii, what is the first step to take?
The first step in purchasing your dream home in Hawaii is to find a knowledgeable, trustworthy real estate agent. Since property information (such as prices) can be accessed by any single agent in Hawaii, it is important to find an agent that understands the market thoroughly and is a great negotiator. You also want to look for qualities such as accountability, and what kind of services he or she provides for you. Once you have decided on an agent to work with, you can discuss your needs and wants.
How do we find information on properties?
You can find property information here. All information displayed here is linked to MLS (Multiple Listing Service).
Is it possible to view a property?
Of course!We can discuss your wants and needs, thoroughly considering deciding factors such as neighborhood, number of rooms, budget, etc., and choose properties to view. Please inform us of the date and time you would like to view properties at least two days in advance, for we would have to make arrangements. We also provide consultation on real estate in general, Hawaii’s market, lifestyle, and so on.Please feel free to contact us - we are happy to be of your service.
How long does it take to view a property?
It varies according to the number of properties and the area, however, on average about two to three hours. We recommend shoes that can be easily put on and taken off.
Do you have to be present in Hawaii in order to purchase a property?
Not necessarily. We can go forth with purchase transactions via mail, email, fax, etc., however, we recommend you view actual properties before considering purchase. The only time you need to be present is when signing certain closing documents, which should be signed at an American Embassy in the presence of a Notary Public.
How do you determine the offer price?
All property prices currently in the market can be viewed through MLS (Multiple Listing Service), therefore, offer prices are determined comparably with market prices.
How much are deposits?
In all real estate transactions there is what we call an initial and additional deposit. The initial deposit is usually a standard of $1000, and the additional deposit - paid as soon as certain terms have been met - varies according to contract.
What are the fees involved in purchasing a property?
A rough estimate of 1% of the entire listing price should be considered as the sum for expenses/fees involved in a property purchase, including but not limited to escrow fees, insurance, registration, etc. In the case of a purchase, however, there are no commission fees to the agents’ Brokerage Firms, and also no tax related payments (except for property taxes that owners pay semiannually. Please see bottom of the page under “Post-Close Obligations.”
Expenses/fees involved in a purchase include but are not limited to:
- Preliminary Title Report preparation fees
- Title Report Insurance Premium
- Closing documents preparation fees
- Notary Public fees
- Ownership transfer fees to management company
- Prorated maintenance fees and property taxes
- 1-2 months worth of maintenance fees to be held in escrow after closing
- Escrow fees
- Home inspection fees
- Mailing fees
- In the case of a loan, appraisal fees and/or other fees
- Repairs, cleaning fees
How to pay maintenance fees:
Mail check to management company monthly OR
Set up an automatic payment method. In order to avoid delinquent fees we recommend setting up an automatic payment account. In order to do this you must fill out a form that the management company will send out after closing, attach a void check with this form, and simply send it back.
How long does it take to close a property from the day of acceptance?
Usually, a purchase transaction will take one to two months until closing.
Inquiry Regarding Sales
How do you determine a sales price?
In order to determine the best price in which to sell your property, we will first inspect the property, examine the condition, and then carefully consider comparable market prices, so that the property will not be over or under priced.
Do you have to be present in order to purchase a property?
Not necessarily. We can go forth with sales transactions via mail, email, fax, etc. The only time you need to be present is when signing conveyance documents, which should be signed at an American Embassy in the presence of a Notary Public.
How long does it take to find a buyer?
Finding a buyer will depend on various factors such as the price, the interior’ s impression, and the condition of the market when the property is listed. If the property does not see much interaction from the market within a month of it being listed, we recommend solutions such as reconsidering the price.
Can we sell a property while we still live there?
Of course! When we have interested buyers that would like to look at the property we will inform you in advance to make arrangements. We recommend keeping the property clean for such occasions.
What are the fees involved in selling a property?
In sales, there is a six percent commission fee that must be paid to the Brokerage Firm. 3% will be given to the Brokerage Firm of the buyer agent. Other fees include escrow fees, title search fees, conveyance document fees, termite inspection, and other registration fees. It is safe to consider 1% of the entire sales price for fees.
What kind of taxations are involved?
For sales, there are various taxations that could be involved, some of which involve conveyance taxation, and taxation on capital gains. In the case that the seller is a foreign person, the Hawaii State Government requires a 5% taxation, and the Federal Government a 10% taxation of the property (eligible for tax returns).
How long does it take for a property to be sold or “closed” from the day of acceptance?
It will usually take about a month to two months.
When do you receive the proceeds from the sale?
The proceeds are disbursed by escrow upon closing.
What is an escrow?
An escrow is an independent, neutral intermediary that manages the exchange of money for real property. Whether you are the buyer, seller, lender, or borrower, you want the comfort of knowing that no funds or property will change hands until all of the instructions in the transaction have been followed and conditions met. The escrow holder, while maintaining the privacy of the consumer, must safeguard the funds and documents while they are in the possession of the escrow holder. When all conditions of the escrow transaction have been met and the parties agree, the escrow holder will disburse funds and record the documents conveying the title.
If you are a foreign person, can you apply for a loan in Hawaii?
Yes you can. You will need to provide your statement of earnings or your personal tax files for the last two years, your income details for the last 2 months, your bank activity details or credit card payments for the last two months, your passport, and verification of cash funds for the down payment. Those that own independent businesses also need their company tax files and statements for the last two years. Down payments are usually thirty to forty percent of the sales price.
I am looking for commercial property.
The nature of residential and commercial real estate transactions differ, therefore, we are happy to introduce you to a trustworthy commercial real estate professional.
Can we open a Hawaiian bank account from Japan?
Yes you can. You will need to take your passport and a minimum balance of $100 to the bank in person to open an account.