What You Need To Know About Buying A Condo In Hawaii

Are you thinking about buying a home in Hawaii? Hawaii Island has a hot housing market making condos an alternative to single family homes. We have received so many questions about the ins and outs of buying a condo on the island, that we sat down with one of our REALTOR partners, Delania Branham, eXp Realty, and give you the scoop on HOA’s, pros and cons of buying a condo, what you need to know about CC&R’s/House Rules/Insurance and more. This valuable discussion will help you on the road to your decision to buy a condo.


Here is more info that I wrote about condos that you may find helpful beyond the video:

Homeowners Association (HOA) fees are generally looked upon as a financial headache when purchasing a condo or homes within certain neighborhoods in West Hawaii. However, residents and tenants forget that when the pool stays clean, the landscaping stays vibrant and someone is providing security for them, that those fees are paid for by HOA dues. In light of a few comments LUVA Real Estate has heard from would be homebuyers on the mainland wondering why West Hawaii has “expensive” HOA fees, let’s cover a few of the basics.

Here are the expenses that are included in most condo/neighborhood HOA fees:

  • Flood, fire, liability and natural disaster Insurance
  • Landscape Maintenance
  • Pool Maintenance
  • Roof and Exterior Repair/Replacement Substructure
  • Plumbing/electrical
  • Property Management/Security
  • Garbage/Recyling
  • Pest Management
  • Cable (sometimes)

Consider HOA fees as a forced savings account for a rainy day when aging plumbing and roofing has to be fixed or replaced. If you own a home, are you putting money aside each month to pay for the eventual replacement of your roof or taking down a damaged tree or if suddenly, you are plagued with an insect infestation? Here in Hawaii, all of that can happen due to our tropical weather, humidity and life on an island. The HOA dues handle all the maintence issues for you and you can sleep easy knowing it is all being managed and paid for.

Talk to your Realtor and mortgage professional about the true cost of homeownership and look ahead financially. When considering a property, ask questions and do your homework. Check the Board minutes and financial reports of any HOA that you may be considering joining. Are they in the red or black? How have they handled the major repairs, are there special assessments and how frequent do they happen? Checking the financials will give you a VERY good lens into the health of an HOA and provide possible warning signs, as well. You should also find out how often fees have increased over time, and by how much.

If you can, obtain a printed history of HOA dues by year for the past 10 years. Fees for an HOA are typically increased no more than annually. HOA increases are customarily mapped out three to five years in advance, using estimates of the future costs of utilities, labor, maintenance, and more. Examine these projections if they’re available. Since they’re only estimates, you may also wish to check the amount by which fees are permitted to increase every year under the HOA’s bylaws.

For further help in taking the next step, contact us directly at Eric@Ziemelis.com and join our 365Ohana, where we offer resource guides, Facebook groups for buying and making connections and community before you arrive and more! You can also check out the resources page on www.MovetoHawaii365.com Subscribe to our real estate channel on YouTube for more in depth and insightful information about home buying in Hawaii!

Aerial view of Keauhou condo complexes along Alii Drive in Kailua Kona
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