Rent or Buy in Hawaii – Not Sure How Long Will Stay

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A note from a visitor to AimforAwesome – and my reply. Hope it helps you decide what to do too!

Hi Vern,

I really loved your articles about Hawaii. There were so many articles available, I plan to visit your site throughout this year till I move to Hawaii.

For me, It’s not about whether to move to Hawaii or not I just have to move in about 8 months for my husbands job. So I would like to prepare myself as much as I can since I will have to start my career from the beginning, it’s somewhat nerve-breaking.

I work for a ___________________, I speak Korean, Japanese and English at a comfortable level. I know that my language skills can become helpful to some extent but the salary expectation for the jobs I can get will have to be adjusted to Hawaii’s job market. And I am wondering whether my husband and I should rent a condo or buy a house.

Since my husbands job in Hawaii may get extend up to 10 years, minimum of 5 years. I am torn between the ideas of renting a place for that long of a time or buying a house in that ridiculous prices(680k was average I saw somewhere?). I hear the real estate market in Hawaii isn’t so bad that for a long term stay like us, its not too bad to buy a house, but is it really worth looking into it? Could I trouble you for your advice on this?

Thank you for your time and all those great articles. Hope I could hear back from you when you get some down time. Thank you!

– Lisa

My reply –

Hi Lisa,

I am a long-term renter. I’ve had two homes and one under contract, and still I always prefer to rent so I have the flexibility to leave anytime. I realize this is not the mindset of a large group of people. And maybe they’re right and I’m wrong, but in your case I would still recommend you rent for a year and see how everything is going to work out.

Hawaii life, the people, the things available to do, the jobs available, the cost of everything – affects people differently. You might like it, you might not. I would strongly advise against buying a home until you realize whether or not you and your husband love it or at least like it enough to stay long-term.

There has been talk of a real estate bubble bursting in Hawaii for years now. I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but to me it’s just another fairly substantial reason to hold off for a year and see if it might be a better time to consider buying something then.

Rentals in Hawaii are expensive. Try hard to downsize and just live in the bare minimum housing unit you can stand until you are sure you want to stay. Even then, I don’t see a reason to buy a $680,000 home, or pay more than $2,500 rent per month for a condo. But, up to you. Some people think they need that.

The fact that you speak English and Japanese well enough – will likely help you get a nice job!

Best of luck to you and your husband!




About the Author:

I’ve lived Hawaii since the mid ‘80s when I moved here at the age of 21. I arrived site-unseen in Honolulu with zero contacts and about $5k in savings. I worked from nearly zero and today Hawaii has given me the greatest gifts in the world in all aspects: spiritually, financially, romantically (married since early ‘90s w/ 2 children), and most important, peace. My goal with this site is to share the magic of this Land of Aloha and help others who are on a similar quest.


  1. NFullner 04/25/2017 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Hey, We are thinking about moving to either Maui or the big Island. My husband is an Elvis tribute artist and I drive a school bus. What are the chances of us finding work, or enough work to live comfortably (modest by Hawaii’s standards)

  2. Ava Bernardini 12/15/2015 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Hi I am an Oncology Nurse looking to relocate can you help me with any information thanks so very much!

    • Vern Lovic 12/22/2015 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Yes, read the website and the book – that’s a massive amount of information. ;P

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