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Are you dreaming of owning your own piece of paradise in Hawaii? As a foreigner, buying property in Hawaii may seem daunting, but it’s very doable with the right preparation and guidance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully purchase real estate in Hawaii as a non-US citizen.

If you don’t have time to read the full article, here’s the quick answer: Foreigners are allowed to buy property in Hawaii, but you’ll need to do your research ahead of time on financing options, taxation, ownership structures, and permitting requirements based on the type of property you want to purchase.

Hawaii Property Ownership Laws for Foreigners

Hawaii Property

If you’re considering buying property in Hawaii as a foreigner, you’ll be pleased to know that there are no restrictions on foreign buyers.

Unlike some other countries, Hawaii welcomes international investors with open arms.

This means that as a foreigner, you have the same rights and privileges as domestic buyers when it comes to purchasing real estate in Hawaii.

No restrictions on foreign buyers

When it comes to buying property in Hawaii, there are no limitations or restrictions for foreign buyers. You can invest in residential, commercial, or vacant land without any hurdles.

Whether you’re looking for a vacation home, an investment property, or a place to retire, Hawaii offers a wide range of options for foreigners.

Foreign buyers can purchase property in Hawaii outright, without the need for a local partner or co-owner.

You have the freedom to buy, sell, lease, or rent property just like any other property owner in the state. This flexibility makes Hawaii an attractive destination for international buyers.

Permanent residency not required

Another advantage for foreign buyers in Hawaii is that permanent residency is not required to own property.

Unlike some countries that require you to become a permanent resident or obtain a special visa to own real estate, Hawaii allows non-residents to own property without any additional immigration requirements.

This means that you can invest in Hawaii real estate as a foreigner and enjoy the benefits of property ownership without the need to reside in the state permanently.

Whether you plan to use the property as a vacation home or an investment, you have the freedom to come and go as you please.

It’s worth mentioning that while there are no restrictions on foreign ownership in Hawaii, it’s important to consult with a local attorney or real estate professional who is familiar with the specific laws and regulations pertaining to foreign buyers.

They can guide you through the process and ensure that you’re aware of any additional requirements or considerations.

For more information about property ownership laws for foreigners in Hawaii, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs here.

Read more: How To Get Permanent Residency In Hawaii

Financing Options for Foreign Buyers

When it comes to buying property in Hawaii as a foreigner, there are several financing options available to you.

Depending on your financial situation and preferences, you can choose between cash purchase, foreign mortgage, or US bank financing.

Cash Purchase

If you have the means to do so, buying property in Hawaii with cash can be an attractive option.

By purchasing a property outright, you eliminate the need to pay interest on a loan and can avoid the hassle of dealing with financing.

However, it’s important to consider the impact on your liquidity and diversification of investments.

Foreign Mortgage

For those who don’t have the funds for a cash purchase, obtaining a foreign mortgage may be a viable option. Some banks in Hawaii offer mortgages to foreign buyers, although the terms and requirements may vary.

It’s crucial to do thorough research and compare different lenders to find the best mortgage rates and terms that suit your needs.

Keep in mind that you may need to provide additional documentation such as proof of income and a good credit history.

US Bank Financing

Another option for financing property in Hawaii is to secure a loan from a US bank. While this can be more challenging for foreign buyers, it is not impossible.

Some US banks have specific programs designed for international buyers, and they may be willing to finance a portion of the property’s purchase price.

It’s recommended to consult with a mortgage broker or financial advisor who specializes in international transactions to explore this option further.

It’s important to note that each financing option has its own advantages and considerations. You should carefully evaluate your financial situation, long-term plans, and risk tolerance before making a decision.

It’s also advisable to seek professional advice from a real estate attorney or consultant who can guide you through the process and ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

For more information on financing options for foreign buyers, you can visit which provides comprehensive information on this topic.

Taxes on Hawaii Property for Foreign Owners

Taxes on Hawaii Property for Foreign Owners

Buying property in Hawaii as a foreigner can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

However, it is essential to understand the tax implications involved in owning property in this beautiful island state. As a foreign owner, you will be subject to certain taxes imposed by both the federal government and the state of Hawaii.

Federal taxes

When it comes to federal taxes, foreign owners of property in Hawaii are required to pay taxes on any rental income they earn from the property. This includes both residential and commercial rental properties.

The rental income is subject to the same tax rates as U.S. citizens. It is important to keep track of all rental income and expenses to ensure accurate reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

In addition to rental income taxes, foreign owners may also be subject to capital gains taxes when selling their property. Capital gains taxes are imposed on the profit made from the sale of a property.

The tax rates for capital gains vary depending on the individual’s tax bracket and the length of time the property was owned.

State taxes

Foreign owners of property in Hawaii are also required to pay state taxes on their rental income. The state tax rates for rental income are determined by the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

It is important to consult with a tax professional or visit the official Hawaii Department of Taxation website for the most up-to-date information on state tax rates and regulations.

Estate taxes

One aspect of owning property in Hawaii that foreign owners need to consider is estate taxes. In the event of the owner’s passing, estate taxes may be levied on the property.

The estate tax is a tax on the transfer of property after death. The tax rates and exemptions for estate taxes vary, and it is crucial to consult with an estate planning professional to understand the implications and options available.

As a foreign owner of property in Hawaii, it is essential to be aware of the various taxes that may apply to your ownership.

Consulting with a tax professional and staying informed about the current tax laws will help ensure compliance and avoid any potential penalties or legal issues.

Remember, owning property in Hawaii can be a dream come true, and understanding the tax implications will allow you to fully enjoy your investment.

Also read: How To Build Your Dream House In Hawaii’s Big Island

Choosing the Right Ownership Structure

When buying property in Hawaii as a foreigner, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is choosing the right ownership structure. There are several options available, each with its own advantages and considerations.

In this section, we will explore three common ownership structures: individual ownership, corporate ownership, and trust or LLC ownership.

Individual Ownership

Individual ownership is the simplest and most straightforward ownership structure. As an individual owner, you have full control and responsibility for the property.

This means that you can make all decisions regarding the property without the need for approval from others. Individual ownership also allows for greater privacy and flexibility in managing the property.

However, it is important to note that individual owners may be personally liable for any legal issues or liabilities that arise from the property.

Corporate Ownership

Corporate ownership involves purchasing the property through a corporation or limited liability company (LLC). This ownership structure can provide certain advantages, such as limited liability protection and potential tax benefits.

By purchasing the property through a corporation or LLC, you can shield your personal assets from any legal claims or liabilities related to the property.

Additionally, corporate ownership may offer more flexibility in terms of financing options and estate planning.

However, it is essential to consult with legal and tax professionals to understand the specific requirements and implications of corporate ownership.

Trust or LLC Ownership

Trust or LLC ownership provides a combination of the benefits offered by individual and corporate ownership.

By creating a trust or forming an LLC, you can enjoy the advantages of limited liability protection while maintaining control over the property.

Trust or LLC ownership can also offer tax benefits and facilitate estate planning. This ownership structure is particularly appealing to individuals who want to pass on the property to their heirs or maintain privacy.

It is advisable to consult with an attorney specializing in trusts and LLCs to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Ultimately, the choice of ownership structure will depend on your specific needs, goals, and circumstances.

It is crucial to seek professional advice and thoroughly research each option before making a decision. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is a valuable resource for more information on property ownership in Hawaii as a foreigner.

Permitting Requirements for Foreign Buyers

When it comes to buying property in Hawaii as a foreigner, there are certain permitting requirements that you need to be aware of. These requirements differ based on the type of property you are interested in purchasing.

Let’s take a closer look at the permitting requirements for different types of properties.

Single Family Homes

If you are a foreign buyer looking to purchase a single family home in Hawaii, you generally do not need any special permits.

Foreigners are able to buy and own single family homes in the state without any restrictions. This makes it relatively straightforward for foreign investors to enter the housing market in Hawaii.

Also read: Is Hawaii A Good To Raise A Family?


Similarly, foreign buyers can also purchase condos in Hawaii without any special permits. Condos are a popular choice for investors due to their affordability and potential for rental income.

Whether you are looking for a vacation home or an investment property, condos offer a great opportunity for foreign buyers.

Agricultural Land

If you have your sights set on agricultural land in Hawaii, you will need to obtain an Agricultural Land Use Permit (ALUP) from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

This permit ensures that the land is being used for agricultural purposes and helps to protect Hawaii’s valuable agricultural resources.

The ALUP process involves submitting an application and meeting certain criteria set by the department.

Commercial Property

Foreign buyers interested in purchasing commercial property in Hawaii may need to go through additional permitting processes depending on the specific type of business they plan to operate.

It is important to consult with an attorney or a local real estate professional who can guide you through the necessary steps and requirements for acquiring commercial property as a foreigner.

For more detailed information on permitting requirements for foreign buyers, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Also read: Can Non-Hawaiians Own Land In Hawaii?


Buying property in Hawaii as a foreigner is a big decision, but certainly achievable with the right preparation.

The keys are researching ownership and permitting laws, securing financing, understanding tax implications, and choosing the optimal ownership structure for your situation.

With this guide, you now have the knowledge needed to successfully navigate the process and fulfill your Hawaiian dream!

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