Relocating to Waikiki

For those unfamiliar with the geography of the Hawaiian Islands, Waikiki can become interchangeable and confused with all the other similar-sounding regions in the area – Maui, Kahului, Kailua, Lanai, etc. The list of unfamiliar words stretches on. However, Waikiki is one of the most well-known and most-visited regions in the state, which gives the area a leg up amongst its competition.

2016-06-12 13.35.43Located on Hawaii’s third-largest island of Oahu, Waikiki is a beach-y area of the capital, Honolulu. In fact, this beachfront neighborhood is highly in demand in the world of real estate, and is a prime spot for luxury hotels, resorts and condos. There are several beaches within Waikiki, but obviously the most popular is Waikiki Beach, which is just steps from shopping, nightlife and excellent dining. Whether you’re a visitor or a native, there’s no denying the appeal Waikiki holds for families, singles, couples and businesspeople alike.

In addition to the typical shore activities associated with a tropical beach getaway, such as all the sunbathing, beach volleyball and sandcastles you could want, Waikiki’s beaches give you an excellent opportunity to explore nearly every popular water sport – surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, paddleboarding, you name it. Since the area is also just steps away from some of the best hiking in Hawaii (Diamond Head, anyone?), you can also find a strenuous workout on land, while still enjoying all the tropical flora and fauna your heart desires.

If you’d rather skip the sweat, Waikiki is also quite close to a variety of luxury shopping, with some of your favorite recognized international brands, from Tiffany to Chanel, and also offers plenty of fine dining. The local cuisine is also not to be missed, and you may find yourself coming away with a new favorite! The locals particularly love their malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery, shave ice and a healthy helping of spam.

For visitors with a taste for the nightlife, there’s plenty of that as well. All of the luxury resorts and hotels in the area have their own version of a trendy and hip bar, lounge or club. Happy hours start early and you’ll find signature cocktails alongside popular drafts and inspired appetizer plates. The area has its own set of gay and lesbian bars, particularly around Queen’s Surf Beach. Regardless of your tastes, you’re sure to find something to satisfy, as this trendy neighborhood is always vying to capture the most attention on the international travel and tourism stage.

Many home buyers, whether searching for a year round home or a vacation home, choose Waikiki for a variety of reasons.  Of course, there’s the obvious. The home shoppers in Hawaii are a mix of relaxed retirees with a hefty budget, and laid back millennials wanting to divert away from the hustle and bustle that comes with living on the American mainland. When you get down to it, however, it’s just a simple fact that many are looking for their own slice of paradise, which just so happens to be readily available in this island state. Waikiki offers just about everything a home buyer could want in an island home – excellent views of the water and Diamond Head; close proximity to the beach, restaurants, shopping and nightlife; easy access to the business side of Honolulu; and just a short drive away from leaving it all for a different kind of paradise, tucked inside the tropical rainforests of the inner island. Add in the perfect weather and a huge variety of homes and condos to choose from, and moving to Waikiki is an easy choice, regardless of your current place in life.

Of course, it’s always helpful to go into the buying process with at least a little bit of an idea of what you want to end up with. Going to your realtor with a blank slate of ideas won’t bode well for either them or you in the long run. Waikiki offers much of the same options you’ll find all over Hawaii, but there are a few things you should consider.

When you purchase a condominium within a condo complex, you’ll also get the association of apartment owners along with it. This can be either a huge help or a pain in your rear. Before purchasing a condo over a stand alone house, give it some thought. Sometimes, association fees are well worth the maintenance, landscaping and special access membership affords you.

Another point worth keeping in mind is the difference between fee simple properties and leasehold properties. With the former, you own your home and the land it’s on. Simple, right? With a leasehold property, you own your home, but not the land it’s on, and you’ll have to pay the owner of that land a sort of rental payment each month. This may not be agreeable to some.

If you’re planning to use your new home as a vacation home rather than a permanent residence, also consider if you’d be open to renting it out to travelers during your absence.

Another option? Owning a condo located within a resort, which comes with its own set of perks.

Overall, regardless of how you choose to do it, buying a condo or stand alone home in Waikiki can be a great option, whether you just want a retreat to get away to or a place to start a family and a life with loved ones. The pros of living in this vibrant, colorful and attractive neighborhood are immense. The recreational opportunities are endless, the location is superb and the amenities come in every shape and form. Whether you’re on a tight budget or a large one, you’re sure to find something to fit your needs and tastes, whether you want something right near the shore, or something close to public transportation and work. While moving to such a coveted and desirable area of the world may seem out of reach for you, you would probably be surprised. Explore your options with a qualified realtor and discover that you, too, can live the Hawaiian life.