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Renting in Hawaii

Finding a suitable rental property on Oahu is different from many other parts of the country.  Since the Honolulu Board of Realtors has not set up a compensation system for agents to successfully find a tenant a home, most agents will only show property managed by their own company.  The resulting burden affects people moving to the island much more than people that already live here and are just looking for a new place to live.renting in Hawaii

Due to the island’s unique landscape, the prevailing climate will change dramatically over a relatively short distance.  In general, neighborhoods on the northern portion of the islands and closer to the mountains will be cooler and receive more rain.  Oahu’s microclimates are well documented on various websites.

There are some steps that a person moving to the island should take before signing a lease to improve the chances of finding a home that he and / or she will be happy to live in.  We understand that some of these steps may not apply to all people.

Try to set your expectations appropriately

Oahu is one of the most expensive places to live in the country and you may have to compromise on some of the creature comforts that you have enjoyed in the past.  In general, the spaces tend to be smaller and the property may not offer modern conveniences that some people now take for granted (Central Air Conditioning for example).  You may find that certain amenities have less importance due to the prevailing climate and outdoor activities offered by certain neighborhoods.

Seek advice from your employer

People have different preferences and priorities.  Therefore, try to avoid general questions like “what neighborhoods are the best?”  Instead, ask specific questions like “what neighborhoods have a less than 30 minute commute to the office?”

Seek advice from a property manager

Experienced Property Managers have a tremendous knowledge of the island and can provide invaluable insight if you are unfamiliar with the island.  Additionally, we often will ask questions to better understand your desires before making suggestions.  Speaking to a Property Manager could save you a lot of time and frustration.

Use the internet

Zillow and CraigsList are an excellent source for finding available rentals once you have determined the neighborhoods that you would like to live in.

Do not sign a lease before walking through the property

I have talked to many unhappy tenants who have signed a lease after just looking at pictures of a property on a website and speaking to a landlord.  Even if the pictures represent an accurate representation of a kitchen or living space, it is very difficult to get a feel for how the property flows.  Additionally, a picture won’t convey how a property smells, traffic noise that may be present, or how stuffy a property may feel.  Please remember, that the first goal of an advertisement is to make the phones ring.  Stott Property Management, LLC’s Company policy requires prospective tenants to walk through a property before filling out an application.  On very rare occasions, Stott Property Management, LLC will allow a person to lease a property “sight unseen,” if a friend or relative of the tenant has walked through the property and given his or her approval.  In this case, Stott Property Management requires the prospective tenant to sign a waiver stating that the tenant agrees to sign a binding lease even though he or she has not walked through the property against the recommendation of the landlord.

If you are in the military, then speak to your command or sponsor.  In addition to providing facts that can help in your home search, they may also tell you areas to avoid saving you some time and frustration.

We think that Oahu is a fantastic place to live and it would be a shame if renting the wrong property spoiled your experience.

Current Oahu Homes for Sale
Area # Price Range
Central Oahu 50 $120k - $3.7m
Ewa Plain 47 $325k - $3.0m
Diamond Head 180 $75k - $33.0m
Hawaii Kai 46 $160k - $14.5m
Kailua 60 $398k - $25.0m
Kaneohe 80 $86k - $12.5m
Leeward Coast 91 $95k - $2.5m
Makakilo 17 $144k - $1.7m
Metro Honolulu 1169 $39k - $20.0m
North Shore 86 $249k - $18.5m
Pearl City 79 $70k - $10.0m
Waipahu 28 $191k - $3.5m
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