Looking to buy a property in Oahu to house hack

15 Replies

Hey everyone! I'm new to BP and found this site while looking for more information on real estate investing after reading "Rich Dad Poor Dad". I live in the beautiful island of Oahu and am looking to invest in my first property. I want to house hack to hopefully live for free and build some appreciation on the property. But I don't really know where to start.

For a first time buyer looking to invest in a high cost location like Hawaii, what would you recommend? Continue to rent and try and do an out of state rental? Or invest in my first property on island to house hack?

Thank you in advance!

@Rob King

Thank you! Any advice for house hacking out here? What were some things that you did that made you successful? It’s awesome to hear from someone from the island who has made some success! I’m all ears man, I’m like a sponge!

Hey @David Valladares

I would recommend purchasing your own home before investing. House hack, live in flip, etc. If done right, it can be the single greatest investment you make. Especially in Hawaii, where appreciation will either make you or break you. The median home price is currently 10+ times greater than the median income. This multiplier is only going to get higher, making it harder to afford to purchase a home. Or if you already own a home, it will set up you and your family very well for the future. A couple live in flips can make a world of difference in your financial position.

I noticed you're in Kapolei.  If you're flexible in living on the West side, you can get ahead extremely fast by house hacking and doing live in flips there.  I'm happy to discuss more if you're interested.

@Isi Nau I agree, there is real growth potential in the west side esp with the push towards greater infrastructure spending to make Kapolei a true second city.

I invest in town because I know town and I identified the market I feel confident in operating in but wherever you feel you can identify a market that is aligned with your goals do as Isi says and looks towards purchasing sooner than later.

Hey @Isi Nau !

Thank you so much for the reply and the advice. I love it here on the west side, especially Kapolei and Makakilo. That’s what I was thinking also, they are doing so much building and expansion already I know this part of the island will be getting busier and busier. I would love to discuss more. The more information the better!

@David Valladares I agree that house-hacking is the way to go, to build wealth faster, particularly because you would be decreasing your own housing expenses.

Hello sir @Duc Ong !

As a well versed agent in Oahu, have you seen house hacking as a possibility for properties under ~$800K? Everything I've seen on island with the potential to have a mother-in-law/back cottage/separate rental property seems to be the million dollar properties, at least east of Waipahu. Would love some insight! Thank you so much for the time.

Hi @David Valladares  -- agreed, house hacking is a good way to get rolling, especially on the west side. Lots of people partition up homes, even if they're not actually multi-family. You'd be surprised (or not) of how creative people can be to get another 'unit' out of a property.

Jumping on here as there's a possibility I'll be stationed in Oahu within the next year. Is it possible to house hack with a "cheaper" house in Hawaii? My wife and I don't have a TON of cash right now for a down payment. We do have the VA loan though. By the time it comes around we'll probably have around $20K including our emergency fund.

@Lake Lutes Yes, I think there are some options on island under 800k that could work for a house hack. The biggest obstacle is usually your ability to qualify for the loan, which is a function of DTI. The other factor to consider is the configuration of the units. Shoot me a PM and we can chat more about it!

@David Valladares

One of the simplest things you can do when looking at listings is take a look at the pics assuming they are provided.

A lot of homes are "SFH," but the pics will reveal a full kitchen and another area with a sink and a fridge or a sink and a stove. A lot of places are already setup, and some are 90% there.

Be positive and prepared to rough it for a bit to slingshot your future. My wife and I lived in a 480sq ft 1/1 with our daughter for 2 years while renting out the much larger 3/1. We ended having to fix the foundation after a year of ownership :( had we not had the rental I don’t think we could have weathered that hit. The 1/1 we lived in had a kitchen that couldn’t fit two people, the oven didn’t work, and the rear burners we couldn’t use since space was so sparse we had the spices right there. (What I’m saying here is we wanted it, badly....so we sucked it up and made it work. Lol).

The hard part on all of this is qualifying given the prices.

Good luck! I also agree about the west side. That place has changed quite a bit in the last decade.

I agree with @Allyn Wijnveldt . By combing through the pictures, you can see if there is a wet bar, and potentially the layout. It just depends on the listing.