It’s a dream for many to have their very own waterfront property in Hawaii. And with a total coastline length of approximately 750 miles, one can only imagine the number of options when it comes to oceanfront homes in this tropical state. These residential developments range from upscale gated communities and luxury condos to secluded abodes in faraway spots.
Together, let’s take a look at how you can successfully purchase the oceanfront home of your dreams in the Hawaiian archipelago.
Things to consider when buying oceanfront property in Hawaii
Hawaii has a set of rules and procedures, as well as zoning regulations, in place in regards to oceanfront properties to protect you and the environment. Here are some important considerations.
State and county rules, zoning regulations, etc.
If building new structures or renovating the whole property is part of your plan, it’s best to check with state and county controls before you proceed. Oceanfront land typically falls under the “conservation” category in Hawaii, requiring special attention and care. Additionally, each county also has a set of zoning and planning rules.
For instance, oceanfront properties in Hawaii commonly have a “special management area,” mandated by the state to protect the shoreline. In order to build anything on that area, whether it’s a simple landscaping job or a new structure, you’ll need to secure a special permit and, if requested, get an environmental impact assessment done.
Another situation that may arise is if you buy an older property that doesn’t mean today’s current standards. Oftentimes, this kind of situation is labeled as “legal nonconforming.” Upon purchase of the property, you will be required by the county to renovate the property to meet the current requirements. If you think this will be a hassle, it may be best to buy an oceanfront property that’s newer or recently renovated to meet land requirements.
There are no “private” beaches in Hawaii
Contrary to what marketing materials might say about an oceanfront property having a private beach, there are actually no private beaches in Hawaii. It all boils down to shoreline public access rights in the archipelago. This allows everyone to use a beach, regardless if it’s located in a high-end resort or an exclusive luxury community.
Aside from recreational use, beaches and shorelines, in general, are often fishing grounds. Some shoreline areas are also culturally significant. Additionally, some old trails extend to parts of a shoreline, and that trail might be managed by an agency or governmental body such as the National Park Service.
Restricting access to beaches is therefore not allowed. Before you purchase an oceanfront property, ask the seller (or his agent) about the beach in front of the property and what it’s usually used for. Because although all beaches in Hawaii are for public use, some beaches are more secluded than others.
Rules and regulations aside, living on the oceanfront is a beautiful experience. Just exercise due diligence when you’re buying oceanfront property and work with a real estate agent who specializes in this type of home.
Work with me!
Let me take you on a tour of the Hawaiian shoreline and show you some of the most beautiful Maui oceanfront rental homes and oceanfront condos in Wailea. Get in touch with me today at 808-214-0302 or greg@IsleLuxury.com.