Keeping Hawaiʻi Home


Photo: Logan Freitas

By Logan Freitas

In the Hawaiian community and beyond, April has always been known for the Merrie Monarch Festival honoring our nation’s Merrie Monarch, King David Kalākaua.

As I reflect on who he was and all he stood for, I think of his motto “Hoʻoulu Lāhui,” which means “to increase the nation.” In today’s world, Kānaka across the globe are doing their part to learn and perpetuate our culture in so many ways. It’s so inspiring to see our culture being revived when it so easily could have been lost many years ago.

When I think about how I can be an advocate for our people, I think about my capacity as a realtor. One of the toughest issues I come across often is that more and more Hawaiians cannot afford Hawaiʻi. Our people are being priced out of our own home and moving to the continent just to be able to live comfortably. As a millennial Kānaka realtor, I want to do all I can to “Hoʻoulu Lāhui” – to increase the Hawaiian nation in Hawaiʻi.

It’s difficult to afford Hawaiʻi, but not impossible – and being educated is key! So, here are some tips you need to know right now…

You do not need a 20% down payment to purchase a home! The USDA loan is a 0% down loan that can be used in many areas on all islands. For active or retired service members, the VA loan is another 0% down loan – it is an earned benefit – do not let it go to waste. A standard conventional loan can be had with as little as 5% down.

Credit matters! Credit card debt and a low credit score is the silent killer for want-to-be homeowners. If your credit is low, it may take time to fix, but it is easier than you think. And, of course, living within your means is really important. The smallest sacrifices can make all the difference.

If you can fit into the income brackets for “affordable” housing through one of the major developments (Hoʻopili, Koa Ridge or Gentry Home) do it! Of course there are restrictions, but the rewards outweigh them. Moreover, the homes are brand new, beautiful, and after the live-in requirement, can be sold at market price. Sacrifice some time, and in return you could get a huge equity reward to be used for your dream home.

Start small! Many people want their first home to be their dream home, which is an often unrealistic goal especially in Hawaiʻi. Start small and build up to your dream home. Equity is gained by owning a home and living there over a period of time.

Unless you have a crystal ball, you will never truly be able to time the market. Who knows when it will go up or down? All I know is the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets. Purchasing real estate is not just for you. It is for your keiki and the generations after.

Logan Freitas is a Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce board member and a realtor with Century 21 iProperties Hawaiʻi. He has extensive real estate knowledge in all markets, as well as in the development sector. For real estate advice or information about this article, please call (808) 284-5585 or email, or follow him on Instagram @KeepingHawaiiHome.