O’ahu offers many different types neighborhoods that fit the needs of any individual or family relocating here. Research and planning are the key to finding a house and neighborhood that suits your needs. You can do many things ahead of time that can help you during your House Hunting Trip (HHT). The information following provides you with an overview of what you can expect.
Rental properties do not last long on the market and therefore, will most likely not be available when you come on your House Hunting Trip. Accommodations that are competitively priced, well maintained, offering amenities, and desirable in location/design will typically be rented in less than one week.
There is more supply on the Leeward side of the island in Ewa Beach, Makakilo and in Central Oahu in the Mililani area. There is generally a limited supply of desirable rentals on the Windward side of the island but commutes are considerably shorter to Honolulu area bases.
Do not attempt to book home viewings until you arrive on your HHT (unless you are working with an agent and they take care of this for you). Most rental agents, landlords, or owners will not work with an individual until they are physically on the island, although the recommended rental agent will be happy to speak with you prior to your arrival.
Whether you're HHT is being done in-person or virtually, here are a few tips to make sure that you find the right fit for you and your family!
1. Get Informed
Familiarize yourself with the HHT Sections of the CDLS(W) Welcome Book and the local handbooks supplied by the Detachment or by the Officers (Aloha Handbook).
2. Find a Realtor
Work with an experienced realtor that will be willing to do the extra work for you. They know the ins and outs of the local market. Most Canadians have used Angelina Arevalo as their rental agent as she is familiar with our requirements and preferences.
3. Ask Questions
Some pictures and videos may not show you the real deal.
4. Reach Out
Once you have your posting message, MFS Hawaii can add you to the Life in Hawaii Facebook group, a great place to ask questions! Some military members may be moving back to Canada this summer, and their houses may be up for rent. They will share their experiences with the property owners and probably give you a better idea of the house's condition and pros and cons of neighbourhoods.
5. Consider Location
There are many options to choose from. Location of the base where you’ll work, commuting times and rush hour conditions will be considerations as will distance from shopping, beaches, attractions and other Canadians and friends. If you have children, have you thought about schools? If you want to enroll your children in specific programs, try to locate the school first and try to narrow your research to nearby neighborhoods. Check out the Education page under Life in Hawaii.
Tip: Since traffic and commuting time is one of the biggest complaints while living here for some people, try out your anticipated commute from your desired neighbourhood at local rush hour. Are you willing to do this every week-day, both ways?
6. Join the Family Sponsor Program
Family Sponsors are members of the community who help newcomers settle in their new location. They are a friendly point of contact and can help you find information to ease your transition into your new community. This peer-to-peer support program has helped many families feel supported throughout their transition. Email MFS Hawaii for more information or to sign up.
7. Begin your Search
To help you see what is available in rental units around O’ahu, here are some popular websites to browse -
Automated Housing Referral Network
Military by Owner
Returning to Canada?
Please refer to the MFS(US) Returning to Canada resources
Bringing pets to Hawaii?
*Strongly recommended to start the process as early as possible!
The State of Hawaii is a rabies-free environment with strict regulations on the importation of cats and dogs. Pet owners must consult the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division for importation guidelines and begin the process as soon as possible.
Animal Quarantine Information Page
Government of Canada’s Export of Dogs and Cats to the State of Hawaii
Please note that not all airlines will allow pets into the passenger cabin. Alaskan airlines is one that does, at least as of January 2021. There are also restrictions on transporting pets (in the cabin or underneath the cabin) esspecially in hotter months and in general for short-nosed breeds. In addition, many landlords in Hawaii will be reluctant to rent their property to pet owners (regardless of the type of pet) therefore bringing a pet to O'ahu can greatly reduce the available rental accommodations.