Thinking of buying a home on O'ahu? Make sure you know what to expect—whether you’re a first-time buyer or a real estate aficionado. Here are all the steps you need to know for buying a home.
Step 1: Figure Out What You Can Afford
Determine what you’ll be able to afford in mortgage payments each month, as well as what you can invest initially as a down payment. This handy mortgage calculator can help you estimate your monthly payments.
Keep in mind additional costs like closing costs, fees, homeowners insurance, and taxes will all add to the overall costs. Be sure to check your credit score, and remember that just because you don’t have a traditional 20% down payment, doesn’t mean you can’t buy a home!
Step 2: Shop for a Loan & Get Preapproved
Finding a trustworthy lender and determining what type of loan you’ll qualify for will help you figure out how much home you can actually afford. Get recommendations, check with the Better Business Bureau, and be sure to talk to at least three or four lenders before making a decision.
Need recommendations for lenders in Hawaii? Just ask RE/MAX Honolulu!
Step 3: Determine the Selling Price of Homes in Your Location
If you have a preferred location or neighborhood, find out the actual selling price of homes in that area—not just their listing price—to confirm whether you can actually afford that location.
Have a particular neighborhood in Honolulu or another town on O'ahu you’d like to check? Request your neighborhood sold report here!
Step 4: Find an Agent
You don’t have to work with an agent—but it is extremely recommended unless you are a highly experienced buyer or lawyer. Your agent should be someone you know you can trust, an expert on real estate in your area and neighborhood, and very proficient in working with buyers of your experience.
Step 5: Find Your Home
This is the fun part, where you get to visit open houses, tour homes, make notes, and really hone in on your perfect dream home! Make sure you keep detailed records of the homes you visit, noting things you liked, didn’t like, pros and cons, etc. Taking pictures can also help keep your memory fresh.
Buying a home on O'ahu? Start searching for your dream home today!
Step 6: Make an Offer
When you find that perfect home, work with your agent to determine a competitive but reasonable offering price. You’ll want to choose a number that is comfortably within your price range, but also won’t cause the seller to immediately reject your offer and can compete with any other offers the seller might receive.
Step 7: Get an Inspection
Nothing’s finalized yet, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth! Ask your realtor to recommend a trusted home inspector to walk through the house and check for any potential defects or problems. If necessary, you can request that the seller repair any issues you find.
Step 8: Review Your Contract
Before you sign any paperwork, it’s important that you carefully read over the contract with your agent or lawyer to ensure there are contingencies—that is, if something falls through with your mortgage, you aren’t still obligated to buy the home.
Step 9: Finalize Your Mortgage Approval
Work with your chosen lender to submit your mortgage application, review predicted closing costs, and have your home appraised. Common closing costs include attorney fees, title insurance, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, courier fees, government recording fees, and taxes.
Step 10: Close & Pay
It’s time to close! Meet with your agent, lender, and the seller to finalize the paperwork, sign your contracts, and pay your down payment and closing costs. Finally—the keys to your new home!
Still Have Questions or Ready to Get Started?
If you’re thinking of buying a home on O'ahu, then it’s time to contact RE/MAX Honolulu. We're your local real estate experts, and not only can we answer all your buying questions, we can help connect you with the resources you need to make an informed decision so you’re sure to find your dream home at just the right price.