(Note: If this article looks familiar, it’s because it was originally published in my newsletter. I have since changed the format of my newsletter and have moved all articles previously published under the old format to my blog, where they can be more easily found.)
When you’re ready to buy a home in Hawaii, there are so many real estate websites to choose from to start your search for the perfect property — it can be overwhelming! Below are my favorites, all of which are locally based (as opposed to national sites like Realtor.com or Zillow), so they tend to offer more specific geographic search options and detailed info on Hawaiian properties and locations.
Even though I’m a renter (for the time being, anyway), I still enjoy browsing through these websites in search of my dream home! Whether you’re a casual “window shopper” like me or a serious home-hunter, these sites should serve you well in finding your new home in Hawaii.
I like Prudential Locations because it has some unique search options. Besides the standard “search by island” or “search by price,” you can also search by:
- Elementary, middle, or high school
- Military base
- Condo building name
- Pet-friendly condo buildings
- Views and frontage
- Year built (including new construction)
- And lots more!
Hawaii Life Real Estate Services
Hawaii Life is one of the newer and fastest growing real estate firms in the islands. It has more of an online-based approach, as evidenced by its well-written blog, which is both useful and a pleasure to read. Its extensive collection of blog posts are written by Hawaii Life agents, so if you find any articles that particularly speak to you and your needs, you can contact the author directly and work with them. Blog posts cover topics such as:
- Featured properties for sale
- Deals of the week
- Homebuyer tips
- Current status of Hawaii’s real estate market
- Special events happening throughout the islands
- Local recreational activities
- Regional and neighborhood info
Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties
If you’re looking for a home on Oahu, this site has some great background information on the island’s many neighborhoods (navigate through the different regions using the menu on the right side of the webpage):
- Honolulu: Moanalua/Salt Lake, Downtown/Nuuanu, Ala Moana/Kakaako, Makiki/Manoa, and Waikiki
- East Oahu: Kaimuki, Waialae/Kahala, Hawaii Loa Ridge, and Hawaii Kai/Portlock
- Windward: Kailua and Kaneohe
- North Shore
- Leeward: Aiea/Pearlridge/Pearl City, Waikele, Ewa, City of Kapolei, Villages of Kapolei, Makakilo, and Ko Olina
- Central: Royal Kunia and Mililani
If Oahu is your island of choice, then you should definitely check out OahuRE. It’s the next closest thing to the MLS (multiple listing service) that local Realtors use. The database includes the entire real estate market: not only properties that are available, but also those that are sold, pending, withdrawn, and expired. Color-coded search results, direct links to Google Maps, and a function that lets you search for properties comparable to another are all the more reason to give this site a try.
If you prefer a map-based property search, this site offers an interactive map that allows you to home in on listings that match your criteria. And if you’re still trying to decide where you’d like to live in the islands, Aloha Living is the best real estate site for demographics on Hawaii’s cities and neighborhoods, including:
- Population growth and density
- Percentage of households with kids
- Home sales trends and recent transactions
- School data (public, private, college/university)
- Climate and weather risks
- Crime index
Realtors Association of Maui: Search Maui County Listings
Those looking to buy a home on Maui, Molokai, or Lanai will appreciate this site’s search options, which include searching for properties within certain districts and condo buildings in Maui County. There is also a wealth of info on Maui County’s schools, churches, points of interest, and regional neighborhoods (from the menu on the left side of webpage, click “Maui Information” and then “Maui Overview”), including:
- Central Maui: Kahului, Wailuku, Waikapu, Kahakoloa, Paukukalo, Waiehu, Waihee, and Puunene
- East Maui: Hana, Huelo, Kaupo, Kipahulu, and Nahiku
- South Maui: Makena, Wailea, Kihei, and Maalaea
- Upcountry Maui: Kula, Makawao, Pukalani, Ulupalakua, Olinda, Haliimaile, and Kanaio
- West Maui: Kaanapali, Kahana, Kapalua, Lahaina, Napili, and Olowalu
- Molokai: East End, Hoolehua, Kalae, Kalaupapa, Kaunakakai, Kualapuu, and Maunaloa
Honolulu Land Information System: Interactive Maps
Honolulu’s Department of Planning & Permitting has several nifty interactive maps that hold valuable information for prospective homebuyers on Oahu:
- Parcels & Zoning Info Map: Search by address or TMK (tax map key) number to get a full property report, which includes assessed land and building values, square footage, acreage, school info, zoning and flood info, building permits, sales history, and property tax info.
- Parks Map: Search by park name, type, or feature to get a complete report on a park’s location, size, and amenities. You can also enter an address, point of interest, or cross streets to find the parks closest to that location.
- Public Safety Map: Enter an address, TMK number, or cross streets to see if a property is within or outside of a tsunami evacuation zone, and to locate the nearest tsunami refuge area, hurricane shelter, hospital, fire station, and police station.
USGS Lava Flow Hazard Zones
If you’re looking to buy a home on the Big Island, make sure you check out this map from the U.S. Geological Survey to see which areas of the island are most in danger of future lava flows. If the home you’re thinking of buying is in Zone 1 or 2, you might want to pass on it!
Hawaii Flood Hazard Assessment Tool
Use this interactive map to search by street name or nine-digit Tax Map Key to see if the neighborhood you’re thinking of moving to is in a zone prone to flooding during storms.
Honolulu Magazine: Real Estate
Honolulu Magazine’s real estate blog offers well-written articles on a variety of housing-related topics, including:
- Trends in Hawaii’s real estate market
- Featured properties for sale on Oahu
- Profiles of Oahu’s neighborhoods
- Tips and resources for homebuyers and sellers
You can also view posts by neighborhood, or sign up to receive their real estate newsletter via email.