When we arrived in Hawaii we were told most newcomers return to the mainland within four years. Yet after four years living in Hawaii, we cannot imagine ever leaving the islands. However, we have met hundreds of people over the past years that regret the house or condo they own in Hawaii and wish they had known more about the climate, laws, and culture before they bought. Instead of the tropical paradise they envisioned, they own a hot, moldy house in a rain forest community they do not resonate with.
The stories of miserable people in Hawaii planning their escape back to the mainland, as well as happy stories from the people who found their paradise in Hawaii, inspired us to write the book, “Your Ideal Hawaii Home: Avoid Disaster when Buying or Building in Hawaii”. The book describes the common misconceptions people from the mainland US, Canada, and Europe have about Hawaii; it provides information and resources to help people dreaming about a Hawaii home find the right place.
Here are a few of the misconceptions about Hawaii that are covered in the book.
Most visitors to Hawaii don’t realize that the resort hotels in Hawaii are located in the few extremely dry climate zones on the islands. The residential areas, however, are mostly in the less pricey, tropical climate zones with average rainfalls of 80 to 300 inches a year. We have met so many people that bought their house after a sunny vacation in Hawaii only to be completely miserable living under a downpour of rain that never lets up.
Hawaii house design
It is easy for people from the northern climates to recognize the lunacy of building a grass shack in a cold climate; you would likely freeze to death in the winter. But the same thinking does not seem to apply when they build their house on a tropical Hawaiian island. Without any research, people spend their life savings on a house with thick insulation, large windows that do not open, short eaves, surrounded by large trees and foliage. In Hawaii, these homes are solar oven hell-houses that retain heat, attract bugs, grow mold, cause heatstroke, and cost a fortune to keep cool and dry.
Hawaii is in the Tropics
The perfectly manicured grounds and air conditioned rooms in a Hawaii hotel hide the fact that the islands are in the tropics. Though this may seem obvious, we have met many newcomers horrified by the size of bugs and sorry they moved to Hawaii just over that. Living in the tropics means big bugs, tropical parasites, and getting overheated while trying to keep up with the fast growth of plants. Tropical flowers and fruits are a beautiful sight to behold, however, maintaining a garden and controlling bugs in the tropical humidity and heat is more work than many realize.
Property laws in Hawaii are a unique combination of historic laws, articles in the Hawaii Constitution, and Hawaii Revised Statutes. Land use laws, historic claims, and permits, implemented by state and county organizations, are restrictive and no title is entirely free of encumbrances.
The book is available in Kindle ($4.99) and paperback ($9.99) versions. You can view the table of contents and read the first chapter free, by clicking on the Amazon link below and selecting “Look Inside”.
Our hope is that the book helps people planning to buy or build in Hawaii find a home on the islands with a climate they love and in a community where they can flourish.
Let us know what you think.