You’re planning your life in the paradise of Hawaii, and it’s time to take the next step. It’s time to find your forever home.

But, should you buy or build a home in Hawaii in 2020?

It’s a difficult choice and you may not be sure which way to turn.

The right answer depends on you and what you are looking for.

Below we will go through some options to help make your decision easier.

Buying a Home

Buying a home in Hawaii can be the easiest.

You find a home in an area that you like with the view you’ve always wanted, and you can move in much faster than if you build.

But there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • You don’t always get what you want – When you build you design the house from the top-down, so you will get exactly what you want. However, when you buy there will be aspects of your house that don’t fit that description.
  • Houses in Hawaii don’t age well – Many houses in Hawaii are fairly old and it’s very common that you will find you have renovate. As we will discuss, many people purchase a house in Hawaii with a plan to either renovate or demolish and re-build.

Purchasing a home in Hawaii can be a great way to go, but given all the potential obstacles, just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Buying a Condo

Depending on what you are looking for, a condo could be a great option for you. They are typically newer, in good shape, and in a city so everything you need is close by.

So if that lifestyle is for you, you could consider this an option.

But, if you are looking into purchasing a condo, there are a few things to know:

  • Condos will typically have no yard or outdoor area, other than possibly a small lanai. So if you would like some outdoor space, a condo may not be for you.
  • Interior room can be much more limited than in a house.
  • Because of location and other factors, cost is high for how little you get, so it may be a factor you have to keep in mind.

All of that being said, I know many people that live in condos and love it. So if it’s for you, go for it!

Building a House

If you are planning to build, the first goal is to find empty land in an area you would like to live.

Although it’s not always that easy. Some areas in Hawaii are densely populated, which makes finding unused land difficult. And even when you do, it can be very expensive or you may find that it’s not buildable land.

And with Hawaii being so mountainous, you may find that building on a certain chunk of land can be much more expensive than you thought.

But there is land available (for a price) all over Hawaii.

Just make sure you take into account the budget that you will need to build..

So, How Much Does it Cost to Build a Home in Hawaii?

Average median cost to build can cost between $300-$400 / sq. ft. However, that price is up to you. If you are frugal and plan out very well, you can keep costs down, but if you aren’t careful, costs can balloon quick.

Buying and Renovating

If you are looking to buy a home in Hawaii, a renovation project may be in your near future.

Because of the constant sunshine and nearby ocean, houses have not aged too well in the Aloha state. And while technology and new construction tactics are changing this, many of the houses that are for sale have been weathering for decades already.

That being said, this can be a great middle-ground. You may not get exactly what you want, but with a renovation, you save the money of a complete rebuild and you can add personal touches and preferred aspects to your home (and value).

But as with building, renovation costs can inflate quickly, and depending on the condition of the home, we wouldn’t always suggest doing this.

We would recommend talking to a good general contractor in the area if you are thinking of going this route. If you are in the Honolulu area, reach out to H-1 Construction.

Buying and Rebuilding

A more aggressive decision than buying and renovating, buying and rebuilding entails purchasing a house and planning to demo the house to start over on that plot of land.

It may sound a bit ‘out there’, but it is common in Hawaii – much of the sought after land has old and unlivable housing.

Sometimes, given the circumstances, this option just makes more sense.

Again, if this is your plan, or even if it’s not but you are purchasing an old or run-down house on a plot of land you like, it may be worth consulting with a good general contractor.

So…Should You Buy or Build a Home in Hawaii?

Any way you look at it this is an expensive decision, and it can also be stressful and overwhelming.

But if you do it right, you are also living in paradise in what could be your dream home.

The answer depends on you and your future plans. Answer the questions above and research based on those answers. That should have you pointed in the right direction.

The best option is to find a good contractor and good architect and be honest and up-front about your budget and goals. It’s the easiest way to save heartache and headache as you move forward, and at the end of it you will have the forever home you’ve always wanted in the Aloha State.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. But we understand that it is a difficult decision with many variables. If you would like more information or would like a free consultation, reach out to us at or visit our website at


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