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April 8, 2015

Residents Learn About Homebuying on Lanai

Photo of Lanai bank representative sitting down at desk meeting with person at homebuyers fair.

More than 150 residents attended a series of Lanai Community Homebuyers Fairs held throughout March that were designed to educate the community about future homebuying opportunities and how to get a jumpstart on homeownership.

The purpose of the fairs was to encourage interested homebuyers to get preapproved for a home loan to help Maui County determine what type of housing development it will design on a parcel of land adjacent to Fifth Street.

Pre-approval by April 30 facilitates community planning

The number of residents who are preapproved and the amount for which they qualify by April 30 will determine the number of single-family versus multi-family units that are built, and at what price range.

First Hawaiian Bank branch manager Aaron Fernandez and Jerrilyn Yumol, branch manager of Bank of Hawaii, were on hand at the fair to help attendees get prequalified for a loan and advise them on what types of documents are needed to begin the process.

Other representatives from Hawaii Homeownership Center were available to advise and help create a plan for those who are motivated, but might not qualify for a home loan at this time.

To ensure that everyone was provided access to this important homebuying information and call to action, which will shape the design of the county’s project, a special meeting was held for the Micronesian community, and was translated in Kosraean, the language spoken by most of the Micronesian population on Lanai. Another session will be held for the Filipino-speaking community.

Key dates and project timeline

The following chart illustrates key dates, as well as a tentative schedule for when the planning, design and construction activities would likely occur over the next two years.

How to get on the homebuying path

For those individuals or families who are interested in purchasing a home, but need help getting financially ready, Reina Miyamoto from Hawaii Homeownership Center said the hard work of saving and planning must begin now. She offered four tips to prepare for homeownership:

  1. Track your expenses and tally them up at the end of each week. By reviewing what you’re spending on, you can make better choices to ensure you reach your goal (i.e., saving, paying off debt). At the end of the month, you can create a budget to follow the next month.
  2. If your rent is less than what you think you can afford in a monthly mortgage payment, you should be saving the difference between your rent and that projected mortgage.
  3. Make sure your credit report doesn’t have errors. You can get a free copy at www.annualcreditreport.com (without credit scores). Learn about credit before you close any accounts.
  4. Keep your credit card balances low and pay your bills on time.

To find out whether you qualify to purchase a home, check in with the Hawaii Homeownership Center or any of the banks. They can help you get on the track to homeownership.

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