Buyer's Guide

A Step-by-Step First Time Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step first time buyer’s guide created by our team will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

Moving to Hawaii Guide

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Where Will You Live?

There is a myriad of options that you could choose from and each has their own pros and cons. 

Temporary Lodging Allowance

When entering an OCONUS station, you are typically given a maximum of 60 days TLA, and you are given 10 days when leaving one. TLA or temporary lodging allowance is supposed to cover the expenses incurred while you’re moving. You’ll get extra moving allowance for a hotel and also receive BAH entitlements as soon as you arrive. We highly recommend saving the BAH while you’re also receiving TLA. The hotel does have to be approved on the TLA lodging list. If you don’t know where to find this approved list, we have it listed in our PCS Guide that you can download below!


Base Housing

Base Housing is probably the most convenient for work purposes. But it’s very limiting and can be quite a hassle if you want to get any maintenance done for your home. It’s difficult to treat this house fully as your home because of the restrictions with personalizing your home and non-military members can’t easily visit your home. 



Renting is a good option for you if you’re not going to be on the island for more than 2 years because this is considered short- term. However, there are some restrictions with renting which include recurring costs of rent, pet rent, renter’s insurance, utilities, and laundry. You’ll also need some upfront costs which include the security deposit, first month’s rent, and non-refundable deposits. Renting is the simpler option, but financially- owning your home could set you up for building wealth in the long run. However, owning a home doesn’t necessarily work for everyone’s timeline or lifestyle.

The biggest disadvantage with renting is that you’ll give away your free tax-free BAH and you won’t see any of it at the end of your term. Again, with renting you are not able to fully make this house your own, because it’s not actually yours.

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home

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Own Your Home

Owning a home has great benefits including building equity, tax benefits, more freedom, and making investments for yourself. Owning will take some upfront costs such as mortgage origination fees and closing costs. It also takes more time and effort but it’s the most worth it in the long run. If you have the right team in place, they can create a very seamless homebuying experience. We’ve personally helped dozens of family shop for their homes virtually which allows them  to move their belongings straight into the home once they arrive on island. This takes a lot of the stress away—when you don’t have to move them twice! Although virtual home buying is a great option for some, it’s not for everyone and we are always happy to start showing you homes once you arrive in Hawaii.


Moving A Family With Children

It’s going to take some extra planning the more that people are involved with the move. Here are some things to consider when moving with children:

Make it fun for the kids - It’s best to communicate with your children so they have time to process and they don’t feel left out. You can address any questions they might have and help them feel comfortable with the entire situation. You can get them excited about their new home by letting them decide how they’d like to decorate their new room and show them fun places they can visit in their new home. This will totally keep them excited and curious when you incorporate the new adventure to come!

Bonus tips for moving with a large family -  We know that moving and packing can already be stressful, but to make the move more manageable it would be a really good idea to declutter your home and get rid of items you don’t use. Start sooner than later. One thing you should know about Hawaii homes is they are a lot smaller than the rest of the country’s. Think minimalistic when packing. We know this may be difficult, but you may need to get a storage shed or rent a storage unit if it’s hard to part with some items which is also understandable.


After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

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Get assistance in determining current property value, crafting a competitive offer, writing and negotiating a contract, and much more. Contact us today.

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