When I was a little girl growing up in Honolulu, I used to draw pictures of the houses I wanted to live in when I grew up. They were always spacious with lots of rooms and more than one story high. Growing up in East Oahu, most of the kids' families were pretty well off and building financially towards the future. I could see that from as far back as the fourth grade, and knew that owning a home was part of the overall package of economic well being and security.
The Decision to Become a Property Owner
After I graduated from college and started working, I started saving my money. I knew that I wanted to become a homeowner someday and worked towards making it happen. I am both a combination of someone who looooves to shop and can be very cheap, so I had to focus towards saving and putting money away and resisting all those things that people tend to buy.
Keep in mind that this was back in 1998, so there was no such thing as browsing websites on the internet to sort through the inventory of available properties. As a result I took it upon myself to get familiar with the neighborhoods I was most interested in by driving around them and going to any open house I came across--it became my Sunday job! Sometimes it was tiring, but most times it was fun, and the thought of moving out of the small two-bedroom apartment we were renting and starting to build financial stability through real estate was enticing and kept me motivated.
Found the Perfect Home! Scary at First.....
After months of searching, we ended up finding a perfect 3-bedroom, 2-bath house in Hawaii Kai. It was priced at $500K, which seemed like a good price, but interest rates back then were around 7.9%. When I penciled out the cost of owning the house, I became so afraid that we couldn't swing it financially because of how much interest we would be paying every month, that I had to be pried out of the car when we pulled up in front of what would become my first home! But it was meant to be. We were able to secure a loan and closed the sale a few weeks later.
My First Home! It's not mine anymore, but here is a Google Street View of the front.
By 2005, the market value of that house was in the $850-900k range. The increase in prices, in addition to the fact that we were making mortgage payments every month instead of paying our old landlord, allowed us to establish a significant amount of equity in the house, which provided us with much more financial freedom than we had ever had in the past. Did we ever look back and regret the sacrifices that we made while saving up to buy the place? Not a chance. We wish we had bought more houses!
Best Decision I Ever Made.
I hope my story strikes a chord with some of you out there. It may take some focus and effort, but the opportunities that come out of homeownership are amazing and can benefit your financial future for years to come. To me, the idea of a person renting even though they could potentially own their own place is crazy! It's a risk for sure. But life is a risk, right? Jump in. Interest rates are under 4% these days which really reduces your monthly payment, and the market is still down over all as compared to where it was just a few short years ago. There are great opportunities out there for those who are willing to take the step forward to find out what it takes to become a property owner. It may be a bit of a process, but a good REALTOR can help you through the steps and help you to make homeownership a reality. Once you move in, paint the walls that nice shade of lavender you always liked, and have friends over to show off your new digs, you'll know that you made the right move!!
Contact me today, I would love to share my experience in Hawaii real estate with you, and assist you to find your perfect home!