- The Playground of Hawaiian Royalty
- Consider a Condo in Waikiki
- The Perks of Condominium Living
- Tips for Searching and Acquiring a Condo Unit in Waikiki
Some people imagine white, sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, the majestic view of mountains inland, and the endless shimmering blue waters of the ocean when they try to picture what a tropical paradise looks like. Others just think of Hawaii – and it definitely ticks all the right boxes.
Even with the most cursory research online, it quickly becomes very evident why Hawaii is considered by many as one of the most beautiful places on Earth – the astonishing view of the ocean surrounding its many islands, its myriad natural wonders that can take anyone’s breath away, and its people’s unique and amazing culture.
But Hawaii offers much more than just picturesque vistas and colorful leis. Paradise has a lot more to offer.
The Playground of Hawaiian Royalty
Located on the southern shore of Hawaii’s capital and largest city, Honolulu, is the world-renowned beach community that is Waikiki. Historically known as the playground of Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki continues to provide the royal treatment to anyone who visits its shores to this day. Not only is it replete with Hawaii’s natural ecological beauty, it is also home to luxurious modern-day structures, world-class day and nighttime attractions, and numerous sophisticated amenities sure to impress even the most seasoned pleasure-seeker around.
Home to some of the world’s best and most famous beaches and with Mount Leahi (Diamond Head) as your backdrop, condos in Waikiki offer that “room with a view” you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. They let you enjoy waking up to the warm Hawaiian sunrise and promise a great day, every day, knowing that there’s a tropical paradise waiting for you just beyond your doorstep.
Bursting with places to explore
Waikiki is world famous for its waters and, with eight distinct beaches around, it is not hard to see why. Whether you’re someone who simply enjoys lounging under the sun or someone who seeks to ride and conquer the ocean waves, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Beyond Waikiki’s shores is a bustling city that will definitely please those seeking metropolitan thrills. Take a quick visit down Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenue and gathering hubs like the:
These places host countless high-end shops, luxurious boutiques, and world-class restaurants.
And don’t forget that there’s still a lot that can be done long after the sun sets. You also get to experience an amazing nightlife scene that only Waikiki can offer.
Being so close to the beach, you might think that life on this side of Oahu is all about mai tais and lazy ukulele music. But Waikiki is bursting with places to explore and things to do other than just laze around its shores.
On top of all the shops and restaurants, Waikiki is filled with places waiting for you to visit. Attractions include:
Another great thing is that Waikiki is within half an hour from other Oahu attractions like:
- Pearl Harbor
- Iolani Palace
- Nuuanu Pali Lookout
- Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
- The massive outdoor shopping center that is Ala Moana Center
- The neighboring Kapahulu neighborhood
All are great places to immerse yourself in nature, history, arts, and culture.
If that’s not enough, well, the rest of Hawaii is easily accessible should you develop an extreme case of wanderlust.
Consider a Condo in Waikiki
If you’re in the market for a property and seriously considering a massive and complete change in scenery to give your life its much-deserved upgrade, a luxurious Hawaiian condominium in the vibrant neighborhood of Waikiki should definitely be on your shortlist.
A condominium unit in Waikiki isn’t great for homebuyers only but also for real estate investors wanting to expand their portfolio as well. A property or two in a popular tourist hotspot like Waikiki can net you huge profits if you play your cards right.
The neighborhood is known for their upscale residential developments, like The Ritz-Carlton Residences. Beyond its elegant ocean-view condominiums, The Ritz-Carlton offers a fitness center, a full-service spa, and five dining establishments.
Other go-to luxury condominiums include Allure Waikiki, a 35-story building built on over two acres featuring 32 square feet of garden space. Units boast floor-to-ceiling glass windows that look out to hypnotic ocean views or the green Koolau mountains, as well as gourmet kitchens, large lanais, and roomier bathtubs. The sixth floor recreation area features an infinity pool surrounded by palm trees, a jacuzzi, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and lounge chairs clustered around a fire pit for nighttime get-togethers.
The imposing 38-story Waikiki Landmark features twin towers connected at the top by a bridge made up of five stories of penthouse units. In addition to its luxurious amenities like three pools, including one that’s Olympic sized, this building is also known for its security features including 24/7 security guards and garage doors for the parking slots of penthouse owners.
Every unit of the 38-floor Trump Tower Waikiki is individually owned and functions as a condotel, with a restaurant on the premises, and a concierge and valet to attend to your needs. Owners are allowed to lease out their units for short-term vacation rentals.
These are just a few desirable developments in the neighborhood; Waikiki has a selection of other residential buildings with condominium units that you can call home.
The Perks of Condominium Living
Owning a condominium has a lot of pros over other types of real estate properties and the majority, if not all, of them benefits you both as a prospective buyer and homeowner.
Cost is one reason why you should opt to get a condo instead of a, say, a house and lot. A prime property in a highly sought-after community like Waikiki will command a decidedly steep asking price that often shocks and drives away potential buyers. Condominium units, on the other hand, may come at a relatively lower price point, depending on the size and amenities you require. While top-end condos can be pricey as well, there are available options that are less eye watering. This makes condos considerably more preferable for those who would rather spend their money on experiences instead of excessive square footage, young professionals and entrepreneurs buying their first property, or those just planning on downsizing but upscaling their lives.
If money is not an issue, there are several ultra-luxurious high-rise developments in the $1 million++ range that rivals most other real estate listings available. It is the kind of price range that is overshadowed by the jaw-dropping views and vistas only a condo unit several hundred feet in the air like this can provide. If you want the best seats on the island and have the money to spare, these decadent spaces have a lot more to offer.
The benefit of purchasing a condo unit also continues after you’ve acquired them. Anyone who’s ever owned a house and lot surely knows how stressful even just maintaining them can get and how horrible things can truly get once repairs are in order. Owning a condominium unit will provide you with a more hassle-free living environment. No yard to maintain, no façades that need repainting, and solutions to most house-related problems are often just a call away. You can now spend less time worrying about trivial things and have more free time to do the things you really love and enjoy doing.
Another great perk of the condo life is the slew of amenities they often offer. From recreational areas such as pools and tennis courts to fitness centers and gyms, condominium dwellers often get a lot more options to live their lives than regular homeowners. More upscale condos even have several restaurants and spas under their roof.
Like most things real estate related, you do get more with the more money you spend on a listing. Still, all things considered, you are still getting a lot more bang for your buck from a condo unit than a single-family home or a similar property.
Tips for Searching and Acquiring a Condo Unit in Waikiki
Looking for a great condo listing in Waikiki may seem like an extraordinarily daunting endeavor especially if you’re a first-time property buyer or investor. And, truth be told, it can be. Remember, you’re not the only one trying to snag a property in Hawaii’s most popular resort district, and it can feel like walking through an intense battlefield if you have absolutely no idea what you’re getting into.
But fortunately, you can take several steps to ensure that your great Hawaiian property hunting adventure is as smooth and stress free as possible.
- Go online
- Set a budget
- Choose the perfect location
- Know the age of the building the condo unit is in
- Learn about the condo’s monthly fees
- Be aware of the rules and restrictions in your condo unit
- Know your buying options
- Leasehold means that you’re merely paying for the right to hold and use properties, but you don’t own the land beneath the properties, and when the lease is up, ownership automatically reverts to the landowner. You also pay a monthly rent for the land, aside from the taxes and homeowner association fees. Leases generally run for a long time, even up to 55 years, and the landowner decides whether to renew the lease. It’s rare that leases don’t get renewed, but nevertheless, renewal is not an absolute certainty.
- Fee simple is the simplest form of property ownership: It means that you own everything – the land, any improvements – and that it belongs to you in perpetuity and you can pass it down to any of your heirs.
- Hire a real estate agent
Checking out what units are available online can help you get a feel of the real estate market in Waikiki. This is tremendously useful to prospective buyers in the mainland United States seriously planning to move to Hawaii. Knowing even just a few listings and their location and prices can help paint a clearer picture of what you’re getting into.
Condominium units in Waikiki usually range from $150,000 for a 200-square-foot studio upwards to $20 million for a penthouse suite in some of its more high-end developments. That’s a rather large spread and that’s where having a definite budget comes in handy.
When you know exactly how much you’re willing to spend on a condo unit, you’ve essentially whittled down the listings to a much more manageable size. Having a more focused and streamlined list will save you a lot of time and further minimize the stress of looking for a property.
Looking for a condo with a great view in Waikiki really isn’t a problem. Peer outside the window of any one of them and you’ll see scenery that can aptly be described as picturesque. So, decide early on whether you want a great view or a better view of the great outdoors when you step out of your door. Just keep in mind that the closer you are to the beaches and ocean, the higher the price of the condo will be.
More importantly, check if the condo you’re eyeing is situated in a place that suits your lifestyle. An easygoing life by the beach might be best for young professionals, but a place closer to schools is better suited for those wanting to start a family. Let your lifestyle dictate where you need to be and have an easier time finding the right condo unit for you.
Most of the condo buildings in Waikiki were built during the construction boom in the 1970s, with only a few built after the year 2000. While almost all of them are well maintained and cared for, older buildings are usually subject to age-related aches and pains than newer ones – pipes and safety systems need repairing, elevators need upgrading, etcetera. While these don’t really pose any serious safety concerns for its tenants, they do drive up the price of maintenance fees for the place quite a bit. Take this into careful consideration so you don’t get alarmed by the possible frequency of special assessments or unexpected expenses on top of your regular condo homeowners’ association (HOA) fees.
Since we’ve touched on the topic of bills, it’s best to know exactly how much the monthly fee is for the general upkeep of the place and other homeowners’ association dues.
Remember, the more amenities the place has, the higher the monthly maintenance fees get. Keep that in mind and factor it in your monthly budget.
Deciding to live in a condo unit is a bit like joining a community. Learning the rules and restrictions of the place is essential in ensuring that you’ll have a problem-free, peaceful, and harmonious relationship with the people around you.
Be sure to ask for a copy of the house rules, read it carefully, and try to understand what you can and can’t do in your condo unit. How easily can you renovate it? Can you conduct business in it? Are there restrictions when using the amenities? How about parking? Can your pets live with you? It may seem like a lot of work, but it’ll save you from a lot of trouble in the long run.
When looking at properties in Hawaii, particularly in Honolulu and more specifically in Waikiki, there are two important terms that you need to know: leasehold and fee simple. Online listings generally don’t make the distinction between leasehold properties and fee simple condos, so you may be excited to jump at the chance to get a lower-priced condo only to find out later that it’s a leasehold.
You may end up encountering various issues with a leasehold condo (Is there a surrender clause? Can you get financing on the property?), so it would be a good idea to get more information from a real estate specialist, who will be able to lay out all relevant matters to help you decide.
Alternatively, you can take a look at short-term vacation rental condos. These are a great option if you live out of state or even out of the country and simply want a piece of property for you to reside in whenever you’re in Waikiki and that will earn you some revenue when you’re not in the area.
Not all residential buildings allow condo units to be rented out. For this purpose, you would need to limit your search to condo hotels, resort hotels, and other buildings which are zoned for rentals. If you’re planning to get a unit in such properties, keep in mind that you’ll need to pay the management 50% of your rental fee, because they will be handling everything from marketing the property to collecting necessary fees, among others.
If you want to completely streamline and simplify all these processes, hiring a reputable real estate agent should be your top priority.
A good agent will help you find the best listing you may not find on your own. Having someone who intimately knows the area and property you are eyeing can give you insights about the place that you’ll never know otherwise.
On top of that, having a real estate agent around can help clarify some of the things you may not fully understand on your property hunting journey. From something as simple as explaining some of the more convoluted passages in your future condo’s rules and restrictions to more complex things like leases, property taxation, and mortgage payment options, having a professional with you means that you know exactly what’s going on every step of the way.
Let me, John Greene, be your guide in your search for the perfect properties throughout Hawaii. Whether you’re looking to buy a new home, invest in a luxurious Honolulu condo, or sell your current piece of real estate, I will bring to every transaction my broad knowledge and expertise in any neighborhood in Honolulu, Oahu, and Maui, and in the Hawaii real estate market in general.
Bank on my 20 years of experience in the area. I take the time to discuss my clients’ requirements and issues in great detail, which allows me to craft a plan and draw up property listings that are most suited to your needs.
Here’s what my clients have to say about working with me:
“John is a very knowledgeable and experienced Realtor who is always responsive to the needs and demands of his clients. He goes above and beyond and is not pushy like a lot of Realtors can be. He is wonderful to work with, and always has a positive attitude! I recommend him highly without any reservation!”
John was outstanding! He helped me buy and sell, giving great service. Every message got a quick response and he did everything necessary to get my condo sold. Thank you!
Feel free to read more about my clients’ experiences working with me.
When you’re ready to begin the process of buying or selling a property or you just have a few questions you’d like answered before we start, I’m ready to hear from you. Get in touch with me at 808.442.2934, or send me an email at jgreenehawaii(at)gmail(dotted)com. I look forward to working with you very soon. Aloha!