Looking to Buy Your First Home? This Local Nonprofit Can Help

Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center is a nonprofit focused on helping Hawai‘i residents buy homes.
Watch Terry Visperas surprise his son, Nainoa, with their new home.


Terry Visperas and his son, Nainoa, did what many do after falling on hard times. They moved in with family. In their case, the Makakilo family home was a two-hour commute (each way!) to get Nainoa to Kamehameha Schools. A colleague of Visperas at the Hawai‘i state agency where he works downtown was in the process of buying a home, and he overheard her talking about the Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center. He watched the process unfold for his colleague, who successfully purchased her first home.


“Until then, I never thought I qualified to own a home,” says Visperas. “When I saw my colleague’s success, I decided to reach out to Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center myself. Everything just fell into place. They broke the process down into steps that allowed me to see how I, too, could own a home.”



The Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center’s nonprofit mission is to support and create successful first-time homeowners in Hawai‘i by addressing barriers and increasing rates of home ownership.


How does it work? Attend an hourlong orientation for free. When you’re ready, join for one-time $60 fee that makes you a lifetime member. For that, you’ll receive one-on-one coaching, classes and connection with a mortgage broker.


Ten months after initially attending the program’s orientation session, Visperas closed on a 738-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium, just a five-minute drive from his son’s school. The place needed some work, so, with the help of friends and family, they remodeled it, working on weekends for three months. All without mentioning a thing to Nainoa. And when they were done, they surprised him.



Many people feel like they’ll be renting forever because of limited income or lack of a down payment. But Visperas says the staff and volunteers provide the tools to become a homeowner, something he wants to share with everyone in Hawai‘i. In fact, after Visperas moved into his new home, he decided to help pay it forward by volunteering his time and experience to help other families use Hawai‘i HomeOwnership’s services to fulfill their dreams. So much so that he’s now a community representative on the board of the nonprofit.


For more on the Hawai‘i HomeOwnership Center, click here.