1) Get pre-qualified. Go to your favorite bank or mortgage broker and start talking. This can be an informal meeting at first but you need to know what you can afford before you start looking. Be honest with your lender so they can qualify you properly. You'll need to show documentation at some point. Also make sure to ask them for a ball park figure of what your monthly mortgage payment will be so you can get excited. My recommendation is to use a Hawaii lender. With Kauai's CPR's taking up a majority of properties for sale out there, you're likely to find a property you love that is a CPR and mainland lenders won't finance them. If you don't know what a CPR is see my CPR blog or just call me.
Recommended lenders for Hawaii:
- First Hawaiian Bank: Tom Canute, Lihue 808-632-2932, Kevin Murphy, Kukui Grove (808) 632-
- Bank of Hawaii, Ian Emberson 808-855-2702
- Wells Fargo, Lisa Ledesma 808-246-8877
- Innerwork Mortgage, Brady or Albert 808-241-7711
- Island Pacific Mortgage Ann Alo or Sharon Gerber 808-246-2500
- Veterans United (out of Honolulu), Tony Dias 808-306-9117...this company is FABULOUS to work with.
2) Find an agent you like. Tell your agent what you want (location, view, house size, etc.) and ask that they keep you informed of all new listings that might fit these parameters. You should also start informally looking for properties online and contact your agent the moment you see something you like. Two heads are better than one. Plus this shows your agent that you're engaged and a interested in making a purchase and you will probably get a higher level of customer service.
3) Get out there and start previewing properties. You can always start with a drive by to see if you like the location, neighboring properties, etc. Then call your agent to make an appointment to see inside together and get further details. Ask me to write an offer, sail through escrow (45 days or so), move in. Celebrate.