Point, Click, Move In! The Internet is a great source for real estate information. In fact, it has become so popular that over 80% of all home buyers shop online for homes, before they contact an agent. Hawaii is no exception, and island home shoppers will find a wealth of available information. Online shopping saves a lot of time; of course it is not a substitute for local knowledge. A buyer sitting at her computer in upstate New York will wonder why a beautiful new home in Kahala is priced at so much more than a similar one in Kapolei.
But once you get oriented, you can browse for homes to rent or buy, learn about neighborhood features, view floor plans, and shop for interest rates. But wait, there's more. You can find out who lives in your prospective Hawaii neighborhood, what the crime statistics are, and whether there are any registered sex offenders living nearby. In fact there is so much information available that it can easily become confusing. How do you sort through them to find the most reliable, up-to-date sources of information? Cyberspace is full of misleading and outdated information, pop-up ads, and scam offers. Which sites are the easiest to use, and which ones should you avoid?
Red Flags Try to avoid any deals or offers that seem too good to be true. Use your instincts; if you get a feeling that something is shady, it probably is. You may also want to avoid logging into sites that require lots of personal data before they give you the information you need, since there are great ones that don't ask for that.
Great Sites Here is a list with some of the web sites that many home shoppers have enjoyed using, arranged by categories of information. Please let me know your favorites so that I can consider putting them on my list, too!
If you feel overwhelmed with information and misinformation, and you need help finding out what it means, just email me at mailto:email@example.com.
Homes For Sale, Anywhere
www.hicentral.com - Direct Honolulu MLS access to the public. No matter what they tell you, this one has the most detailed and current property listings right out of the same system that Realtors use. It is not the most user-friendly format however.
www.realtor.com - More local and national property listings. Realtor.com is the most used of all the real estate web sites, and features properties from all over the country
www.citydata.com - Compare cities and neighborhoods by demographics and area features
www.movingcoach.com - Get competitive estimates on your move from different movers in one request.
To find a Realtor just about anywhere - just email Stephanie listing the name of the city, town, and country, and the approximate date of your move.
General Hawaii Information: on the Roadrunner website:
www.hawaii.rr.com/business/real_estate - This features several local real estate experts including me. As the longest-running real estate columnist on this site, I have over 5 years of original monthly real estate columns ranging from the silly (Secret Real Estate Code, July 08) to the controversial (Don't Come- A Dozen Reasons Not to Move to Hawaii April 08) as well as the useful and the boring (Condo Association Fees Feb. 09). Somebody's got to do it!
Real Estate Company Web sites - these may be the main corporate web site for a large franchise company, or the local office's individual site. My favorites are RE/MAX sites, and I know there must be other great company sites out there, too.
www.remax.com - RE/MAX International site for all RE/MAX offices in 73 countries - Brazil is the newest member of the network. This is not your average real estate company web site. You can search properties internationally, listed by all the companies, and you don't need to sign in with personal information. You can also find out what home values are like in your neighborhood. More unique consumers visit remax.com than any other real estate company web site. - About as many hits as all the others combined.
www.hnl.com - RE/MAX Honolulu web site- information, listings and property searches
http://www.hawaiihomehelp.com - My own web site, which has detailed information on all the areas of Oahu, latest statistics for home sales, and links to many other aspects of buying, selling, and owning a home in Hawaii. Check it out, and let me know what yo think.
2009 Housing Stimulus Deals - Do You Know Which You Qualify For?
These sites are just a few of the thousands of web sites that promise to bring you to the home of your dreams. There is far too much information for anyone to sort through, and some sources are unreliable or even misleading - just like all Internet information.
You still need the help of a professional, or you will get mired down in all the conflicting advice and false leads. That's why over 90% of all home buyers use the services of a Realtor to act as their Buyers Agent. What does that mean? Check out http://www.rebac.net for more about using an Accredited Buyers Representative to save time, money, and aggrivation.
So now that you have all this information, what are you going to do with it? These market conditions won't last forever.
Copyright 2009 Stephanie Gieseler. All rights reserved. Honolulu, Hawaii USA
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also the following sites are very helpful:
www.oahure.com - provides all the data of the mls and more. includes solds, pendings, etc. to give you a true idea of what's going on. Oahu only.
www.cyberhomes.com - a valuation site based on technology developed right here in Hawaii. Provides pretty accurate valuations for single family residences, but weak on condos. Also provides a wealth of other information.
www.zillow.com - a competitor to cyberhomes, good to use in conjunction with cyberhomes to get a second opinion.
I think you're forgetting the best RENTAL real estate site in Hawaii - www.rentalsillustrated.com It is always the #1 option when I'm searching on google (not the paid options either). I think it would be helpful to your readers for you to post this option. As a property owner myself, this is the only venue I ever use. Mahalo! rw