Moving to Hawaii – Now What?

Moving to Hawaii – Now What?

  • Steven Ellison
  • 12/7/22

Interest in Hawaii has always been exceptionally high. As the remotest populated archipelago in the world, the famed 50th state offers a genuinely one-of-a-kind lifestyle. A sublime climate, world-class beaches, enthralling rainforests, and rich, storied history–all have rendered it one of the most alluring places on Earth to not only visit but also to live.

In the wake of the pandemic, real estate in Hawaii has become even more coveted. The hike in remote work, coupled with city dwellers’ desire to vacate large cities and find a more serene place to establish a life, has led to an influx of new residents on the four major islands of Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island. Hawaii’s natural splendors and its rise in award-winning cuisine, nightlife, and arts and culture programs, have turned it into the state to call home.

And yet, moving to Hawaii is not as simple as packing a suitcase and purchasing a plane ticket. Read on for the Elison Group Hawaii’s guide on making the move effortless and enjoyable.

Decide on your island

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All of the four major islands, in addition to Molokai and Lanai (two quieter islands in Maui Nui), have several aspects in common, from breathtaking beaches to second-to-none weather. At the same time, every island is unique–and suitable for different personalities and lifestyles.

Oahu may be the third-largest island in the chain, but it leads the pack in terms of population. As expected, it possesses much more of a city vibe–at least in the state capital of Honolulu, a county that is home to 1.02 million residents (or, to put it into perspective, ten times more people than all of Maui County). The roads may be densely packed, but it also boasts the best shopping, restaurants, and nightlife on the islands, as well as superior job opportunities. This is the perfect island for people who want the best of both worlds: Gorgeous Hawaiian weather but also all of the amenities and advantages metropolises have to offer.

Kauai and the Big Island, meanwhile, tend towards the quieter side. These rural, tranquil places are ideal for people who prefer natural majesties to city highlights–and are eager to obtain a slower, more peaceful pace in life. This chill, idyllic feel is next level on the islands of Molokai and Lanai. The former is largely local; the latter was purchased by Larry Ellison in 2012, and most of the work here is found at the islands’ two uber-upscale resorts.

Maui is the bridge between these identities. It, too, moves to a slower tempo than Oahu but nonetheless has a busier, more thriving feel in some pockets. Between Kihei’s new high school and its schools’ great athletics–to say nothing of its fresh air and spectacular outdoors–it’s frequently deemed one of the top spots to raise a family.

Select your region

Once you have settled on an island–keep in mind that Ni’ihau, as we’re sure your searches have revealed, is prohibited from residents outside of the Robinson family–it’s time to choose your enclave. Each island is generally divided into five distinct districts: South, West, East, Upcountry, and the North Shore–and each district has a radically different personality. If you are moving to Hawaii primarily because of its splendid beaches, it’s best to choose a home on the leeward sides of the island–such as one of the many Kailua Kona homes on the Big Island or Kaanapali condominiums on Maui. Those who wish to explore farming, however, might be more content with the Upcountry. Spend time throughout the island’s unique areas to determine what meets your wishes.

Plan ahead for your pets

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If you are moving to Hawaii with your pets, realize that the state requires quarantine to ensure its delicate ecology isn’t subjected to the threat of rabies. Quarantine requirements depend on the pet; for more information, visit the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division.

Determine what you will do with your vehicle(s)

Unlike the 48 states in the contiguous U.S., Hawaii is, it goes without saying, not the sort of place you can drive to with your belongings strapped to your vehicle’s roof and nestled into your trunk. At the same time, you don’t need to sell your current vehicle to relocate to the islands, either. An enormous number of new residents elect to ship their vehicles to the islands through carriers such as Matson or Pasha Hawaii. Prices start at $970.

Select what you will ship carefully

You may be tempted to move your entire home across the Pacific, but shipping costs can be prohibitive. At the same time, islands outside of Oahu have limited supplies of furniture. Weigh the pros and cons of what you elect to take with you–and keep in mind that some pieces you presently own may not be appropriate for Hawaii’s humid weather.

Adjust your cost of living expenses

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Paradise tax isn’t just a pat phrase: Living in Hawaii comes at a cost. Year after year, it is ranked the most expensive state in which to live in the United States, with a cost of living that is 88% higher than the national average. Why? Although Hawaii is becoming increasingly sustainable, its goods–primarily food–must be shipped to the islands. Indeed, 85 to 90% of Hawaii’s food is imported, and some of the priciest groceries are found not in ever-bustling Honolulu but in rural spots such as Lanai and the Big Island’s Hilo. Gas and electricity are also substantially higher than in the “mainland.” But the return on investment, so to speak, is, many Hawaii residents would argue, well worth it: Hawaii is ranked the happiest state to live in and one of the healthiest in the nation. (Thank the abundance of awesome outdoor activities available.)

Work with a terrific real estate agent

Whether you have decided to purchase Waikoloa real estate on the Big Island’s magnificent west side or want to rent a single-family home in Kapa’a on Kauai, working with a real estate agent when you move to Hawaii is a must. Not only will they steer you in the right direction, but they’ll also clue you in on the lesser-known necessities of living in Hawaii–from always keeping your board shorts or bikini in your car to which spots have the most ono vegan coconut gelato.

The premier Kona real estate agents at Ellison Team Hawaii fulfills these requirements. Specializing in Kailua Kona properties and Waikoloa Beach real estate, they prioritize their client's satisfaction–and help ensure their move to the Aloha State is seamless and exhilarating. Book a consultation with them today to jumpstart your life in this exceptional chain.


*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash



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