— Last week I received two inquiries from individuals moving to Hawaii for new job opportunities. Both were excited and searching for answers on how to solve their immediate rental housing need. Perhaps you too are moving to Hawaii, looking to rent because you are not ready to buy. Here is how you do it:
1) How to find the best deals on airline tickets
If you have not booked your flight yet, I recommend using Google’s Flights comparison tool. You can check for the most affordable options and sign up for price tracker. Hopefully, you will save some money.
2) Book a budget hotel for 3 to 7 days
Unless you have relatives or friends in Hawaii that allow you to crash on their couch, you should plan before your arrival. I recommend booking an affordable hotel through TripAdvisor or another booking channel for your initial 3-7 days. You can also check Aqua Resorts, the most prominent hotel operator in Waikiki. Another option is to book a unit at the Ilikai through WaikikiBeachRentals.comb . Or, you may book an Airbnb rental from a reputable host with a sizable number of positive reviews. Airbnb rentals are available in all different sizes in many neighborhoods on all islands. Utilize your initial 3-7 days short-term booking for the single purpose of securing your long-term rental and getting familiar with traffic patterns and commute. There will be plenty opportunities to go to the beach once you signed a long-term lease.
3) Search for a 6-months long-term rental on Craigslist
I don’t recommend rushing into a purchase unless you know precisely what you want and where you like to live. Some of my clients are ready to buy within the first week, but only because they have been here before. They have gone through the learning curve of what they can expect in their price range matching their needs and wants. If you are quick, decisive, and ready to buy you could eliminate moving twice by skipping the rental. But for most, I strongly recommend to first secure a 6-months rental and test drive the neighborhood, especially if you are new to the islands. If you have kids, you would want to check our complete Oahu school guide and learn about Oahu’s school districts and private schools.
Search for your 6-months rental on Craigslist.org. It is the most comprehensive source for rental listings. Filter your search results by desired neighborhood, price range, and size. The site is constantly updating. Check at least twice a day for the latest additions. Set up showing appointments a few days before your arrival and schedule to see at least 6 to 8 rentals during the first few days while staying at your hotel. Rental listings come and go quickly. There is little sense in trying to schedule showings more than a few days in advance, as they most likely will be rented by the time you arrive.
Organize your list of potential rentals and keep track of who you called and the scheduled showing times. Oahu’s rental market is tight. Attractive rentals go quickly often with multiple applicants during the first showing. This can be frustrating, and you might miss out on a few rentals before you can sense the supply and demand dynamics. If a rental looks good and fits your needs, secure it before it is gone. Be ready and decisive.
Warning: Do not sign any rental agreements and don’t send money without first meeting the landlord and seeing the rental with your own eyes. There are scam ads on Craigslist that will take your money and leave you stranded. Don’t fall for it.
Once you know your new semi-permanent rental address, apply for a local State ID. This will get you discounted kamaaina rates in some restaurants and tourist attractions.
I recommend keeping your move simple and limited to the most basic items you need. Don’t ship big-ticket items like furniture to Hawaii. Some haul their used washer and dryer across the country and the ocean. For what? Most homes in Hawaii come with a washer/dryer installed. Some move their entire living and dining room furniture set into storage because they can’t fit them into their new Hawaii home. Unless you have a big budget, your new Hawaii home might end up being smaller than the home you used to occupy. The islands are your living room. Hopefully, you embrace Hawaii’s quality of life and enjoy more of the outdoors. That’s what makes Hawaii living unique.
Hawaii has strict requirements regarding importing pets. Bringing your pet to Hawaii requires rabies shots before arrival and quarantine at time of entry. Check our Guide to Pet-Friendly Condos. Also, check our complete Moving to Hawaii Guide.
If your goal is to stay in Hawaii permanently for a minimum of 3 to 5 years, then consider keeping your rental expenses low. Save your cash for your permanent place that you might buy soon.
4) Finding your permanent dream home
Once you are committed to staying in Hawaii for at least 3 to 5 years, then you should consider buying your home instead of renting. This is a lifestyle choice and a huge financial decision.
Renting offers flexibility. You may move out on short notice with minimal expense. Buying offers stability. You may stay as long as you like and nobody can raise your rent or give you notice to vacate. When you rent – you are enriching your landlord with paying for their home. When you buy – you are enriching yourself with investing in your own home.
When you are ready to buy, check our Top 5 Tips to find your Dream Home. If you already own a home, check our post best strategy for a sideways move in real estate.
All Oahu homes for sale.
All Oahu condos for sale.
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~Mahalo & Aloha