Buying a Home in Hawaii for the First Time

List Sotheby’s International Realty assists a mainland couple with purchasing Island property.
Buying a Home in Hawaii for the First Time List Sotheby's (1)
Photo: Alvis Upitis via Getty Images

Whether relocating for business or a personal lifestyle change, finding the right home in the Islands is a process that requires a lot of thought and diligence. A good Realtor can balance your needs and expectations with insider knowledge on what’s available in the local real estate market.

List Sotheby’s International Realty has assisted many clients abroad with buying homes in Hawaii for the first time. Through FaceTime chats, email listings, video walk-throughs, phone calls and more, agents provide prospective homebuyers with the insights to not only make a purchase, but to do it with peace of mind.

Cheryl Shope, an agent with List Sotheby’s International Realty, went above and beyond for her client, Brian Yorke, a first-time Hawaii homebuyer. Here’s Yorke’s sight-unseen house-hunting success story.

Buying a Home in Hawaii for the First Time List Sotheby's (2)

Photo: Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

Originally from New Hampshire, Yorke is about to retire from the Air Force after 25 years on active duty. He has owned homes in various states during his military career, most recently in Arizona before moving to Hawaii for a new job.

“It was such a big move. Things were happening kind of fast,” Yorke says. So fast, in fact, he had no time to fly out and visit available Island properties in-person with his wife, Cari, and German shepherd, Viktor.

List Sotheby’s International Realty provided options for remote buying through Shope. After discussing what Yorke and his ohana wanted in a home, Shope began looking for residences on Oahu that fit their lifestyle.

“We needed property with some grass so that [Viktor] has some freedom,” shares Yorke. “Cheryl was so helpful in the aspect of ensuring that I was happy with what I had. It was quite a process.”

Yorke explored listings in Kaaawa, for example. With Shope’s guidance, he was able to keep tabs on market availability and offers as they were made. They also discussed whether the commute and additional insurance costs that come with living in the scenic, coastal town could be accommodated.

“Once we started looking at the drive time for me going to work, I think we made a good decision on not living out there,” explains Yorke. “With hurricane insurance, we didn’t realize how expensive it is to live on the beach.”

Yorke also considered a home in Ewa Beach. Shope did a FaceTime chat where Yorke could see the home’s inspection report — ultimately, he decided not to pursue it. Fortunately, on the same day of the chat, Shope found out about a home in Ewa Villages going on the market. Yorke quickly put an offer in for that home, and it is where he and his ohana are residing today.

“The markets have been so crazy, that if you have the opportunity and there’s a home that you like, you have to act fast,” says Yorke. “Cheryl was on it. We showed up on-island May 16 in the afternoon, and we signed for the house May 17 in the early morning. We got the keys on May 19.”

“The home has been great,” he adds. “One of my things was having a single-floor, kind of ranch-style house. We needed at least three bedrooms — one room for an office and one room for a guest bedroom. We didn’t need a massive house, necessarily. They had done some upgrades already, and there’s going to be some more that we’re going to do.”

Yorke credits Shope for her excellent customer service and helping his ohana find their first home in Hawaii. “She made sure we were informed, made sure we got the house that we wanted, which this house fulfilled. She knows the market; she knows who to talk to. She did a really great job.”

Cheryl A. Shope, Realtor-Associate®, HI License RS-68317, (808) 330-2533, Visit her profile here.

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