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6 Ways to Sell Your House in Honolulu Up to 42% Faster Than Average

6 expert tips on how to sell your house fast in Honolulu, Hawaii, up to 42% faster than the local 81-day average. —-

It’s no secret that the tropical utopia we call Honolulu is one of the top destinations in the world. This is great news if you are looking to part ways with your little piece of paradise. But even in such a desirable real estate market, you’ll want to understand the expert tips in this post to ensure your home rises above the competition.

Honolulu is the largest city on the island of Oahu. Being a tropical island, land is precious, highly desirable, and will definitely sell for a premium. Real estate prices went up 23.4% in the third quarter of 2021 alone. Keep reading to learn the six best ways to decrease your days on market to sell your Honolulu home.

Source: (Nick Romero / Unsplash)

1. Choose comparables carefully to price your home

To sell your Honolulu home fast, you need to set the right list price. While this is true in general of selling any home quickly, choosing the right comparable — homes that have recently gone under contract or sold — to determine your list price is especially tricky in Honolulu.

Honolulu belongs to the Oahu Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which consists of 12 regions or districts. And to make matters even more complicated, each of the MLS regions is further divided into multiple neighborhoods. The city of Honolulu is covered by three of the Oahu regions: Honolulu-Metro, Honolulu-Diamond Head, and Honolulu-Kawaii Kai. The neighborhoods within each of these regions vary significantly in terms of average real estate value. For example, the popular neighborhood of Waikiki is situated within the Honolulu-Metro region. If you are selling a home in Waikiki, using other comparables in the Honolulu-Metro region will lead to a skewed listing price and will complicate your sale.

Hire a local real estate agent with deep knowledge of the area

Finding a local Honolulu real estate professional who uses a combination of intuition from years of experience and data from the MLS is a sure way to avoid making this mistake. Experienced agents work hard to get the comparables right. “The better your comparables, the better chance you’re going to have at selling because you can price [your home] right,” says Bryn Kaufman, a top-performing real estate agent who works with over 70% more single family homes than the average agent in Honolulu.

Factor in value for ocean views and beach access

Not only is getting the neighborhood right essential in Honolulu, but other factors regarding location have a huge impact. Whether the home has an ocean view or ocean access dramatically changes its comparable value. According to Kaufman, a comparable home in every other way can vary by as much as $1 million in value due to having ocean views and beach access.

Consider how properties with leaseholds may be worth less

Lastly, how the home is owned has a significant impact on finding the right comparables. Because land is such a premium, Honolulu has a fair amount of leasehold properties. Leaseholds are especially common with condos. According to the Honolulu Board of Realtors, about 12 percent of the condos and less than 2 percent of single-family homes on the market are leaseholds. In layman’s terms, a leasehold is where a real estate owner leases the land or property for a longer period of time (think 30-50 years), after which the property can be returned to the owner. As you may expect, the value of these homes decreases significantly as they near the end of the lease term. Erroneously using any of these properties as comparables is a sure way to get your list price wrong and complicate your sale.

2. Photos are key, especially for out-of-state buyers

The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) found that 97% of homebuyers in 2020 used the internet to find their home. NAR also found that professional photography was the single most desirable feature of a website property listing. Not every professional home photographer provides equal value; there are several tips and tricks that can make your property stand out above the rest.

Kaufman regularly sees the difference that great photography can make in the Honolulu real estate market. One particular feature unique to Honolulu is emphasizing the greenery surrounding the property through the windows. Taking photos on an iPhone can result in window glares that prevent online viewers from experiencing the beautiful view that they would have experienced looking out the windows when touring the home in person. This is especially important in Honolulu due to the large number of out-of-state buyers that maximize online listings before making the trip to the island.

The MLS only allows a certain amount of characters in the description and you can’t have any formatting such as bold headlines or different fonts or anything like that. We include what we call the seller highlights. You don’t have a limit on the text you can type and the formatting to emphasize the unique features and upgrades in the home.

Bryn Kaufman
Real Estate Agent


Bryn Kaufman
Real Estate Agent at

Years of Experience


Average Price Point


3. Show off your Honolulu home with a virtual tour

While having professional photos can entice a buyer to take a look at your listing online, using a virtual tour can get them interested in moving further on the path to making an offer on your home. Your Honolulu home is more than just a structure on a piece of property; it is a coveted piece of an island idyll that can’t be fully experienced through photos alone. A virtual tour gives potential buyers (especially out-of-state buyers) a higher-fidelity taste of all your home has to offer. Some agents report up to a 120 percent increase in online views to listings after adding virtual tours.

But more than the tour itself, using external software has other significant advantages over relying solely on the MLS. The Oahu MLS is very restrictive in its features for describing the home. “The MLS only allows a certain amount of characters in the description and you can’t have any formatting such as bold headlines or different fonts or anything like that,” says Kaufman. “We include what we call the seller highlights. You don’t have a limit on the text you can type and the formatting to emphasize the unique features and upgrades in the home.” This helps potential buyers get a better feel for the unique features of the home and decide to take the next steps toward an offer.

4. Get a pre-listing inspection to sell your Honolulu home without any surprises

Unexpected surprises during the due diligence stage when buyers complete a home inspection are one of the most common causes of delayed transactions. According to NAR, so far in 2021 inspection issues accounted for 11% of all delayed contracts.

Sean O’Dowd, CEO and Founder of an outsourced transaction coordination company called Close Concierge that serves Honolulu, has seen multiple transactions terminated because of issues on the inspection report. The emotional letdown to buyers when finding inspection issues puts your home sale at risk. A common issue that O’Dowd has experienced with Honolulu homes is foundation erosion caused by the abundance of moisture and faulty drainage systems. With these issues, “it almost always … leads to a transaction terminating,” warns O’Dowd.

To help prevent a canceled or drawn-out settlement, get a pre-listing home inspection. By investing a few hundred dollars in a home inspection before listing your home, you can address simple repairs and concerns, and include other potential issues in your listing so that buyers have more confidence that they won’t find additional surprises.

Source: (Cristian Guerrero / Unsplash)

5. Optimize your outdoor living space

If you have a remodeling budget, most experts across the country would advise you to focus on the primary bathroom and kitchen in order to maximize your ROI. However, experts in Honolulu also recommend focusing on improving the outdoor living space of your property. Because Honolulu is temperate year-round, buyers get excited at the prospect of a home that leverages Hawaii’s beautiful weather.

According to Kaufman, there are relatively small features that can make a huge difference to buyers and help your home stand out. For example, he states that adding “sliding windows that disappear completely into the wall all of a sudden make your home feel completely connected to the outside area.” Other outdoor features perfect for Honolulu include cozy, intimate outdoor gathering spaces and sustainable landscaping features, such as pavers and native plant species. You don’t have to completely redesign your property’s landscape to help buyers get excited about your home’s outdoor living space.

6. Go green with electric vehicle charging

One of the newest ways to sell your home fast in Honolulu is by going green (Kermit the Frog would be proud). Gas prices in Hawaii in 2021 were the second-highest of any other location across the nation. Being an island, it’s not uncommon for gas and other products to cost more because of the expense of bringing them to the island.

Likely due to the cost of gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicles are becoming significantly more popular. In September 2021, electric vehicle purchases in Hawaii were 30 percent higher than the same time the previous year. This recent shift creates a huge opportunity for Honolulu home sellers to differentiate their properties from others by installing an electric vehicle charger.

“Honolulu Buyers in 2021 are excited to see green features and are definitely willing to pay more for an electric car charger in the garage,” says O’Dowd. Statistics in 2019 showed that home listings in metro areas with the most EV charging stations were 1.5 times higher than surrounding ZIP codes and 2.6 times higher than the rest of the country. Adding an electric charging station to your home definitely will create a buzz around your Honolulu home to help it sell faster. The cost to add electric vehicle charging is about $1,200 on average, but you may be eligible for a rebate from your Hawaii energy utility company.

Source: (Zane Persaud / Unsplash)

Partner with a top Honolulu real estate expert to sell your home fast

While there are over 3,800 active real estate agents in Honolulu, the 100 top performers move homes off the market 42% faster than the 81-day local average. Top-rated agents have relationships with the most trusted local services, understand the market data, and know what new buyers want in your neighborhood so you can receive the best price for your home. Get matched today with an experienced Honolulu real estate agent so you can sell your Honolulu home quickly.

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Header Image Source: (Zetong Li / Unsplash)

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