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Hawaii Real Estate: Question of the Week


I own a house in Florida, and I am looking for a second home in Hawaii after traveling extensively to the Islands for work. I’ve seen lots of great properties, but nothing that meets all my criteria. How do I decide between these homes when all of them lack something I want?


Hi Barbara,

Buying a home is the biggest investment most of us make, so it's important to get it right. Your realtor has probably taken you to see a lot of properties that could work for you, so now it is about narrowing down your search.

I spoke with Danielle Scherman, Realtor Associate with Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties and creator of barefootagent.com who offered these tips.

Define your main objectives for purchasing. Before you even start your search, decide if this is going to be your dream home, or somewhere you envision staying for only a few years. Is this a family home or an investment property?

Define Wants vs. Needs. What can you absolutely not live without? What would be nice to have, but you could manage without it? Make a list of the elements you want in a new home, and prioritize by order of importance.

You’re going to view many homes, and, unless you build a custom home, none will have everything you’ve dreamed of. Making a “Must-Haves” list will help you make an educated decision, rather than just an emotional one.

Some things to consider for your deal-breaker list include:

  • Neighborhood and size of house   
  • Nearby schools
  • Security: doorman, fence, gate, etc.
  • Move-in ready property
  • Need for renovations
  • Parking
  • Max Price

Use the Process of Elimination. After you've seen a good number of properties, narrow it down to your top three through the process of elimination. You may have heard that "buying a home is a process of elimination, not of selection,” and this is something that will really help you with your decision.  It's all about narrowing down your options, finding out which ones won't work, until you are inevitably left with the best possible option. Good luck with the search!

The Real Estate Question of the Week is a new feature on the Honolulu Magazine Real Estate blog. Have a question related to buying, renting or selling real estate? Email me!

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