Buy a Home with Bank of Hawaii

REAL Simple Review

With seamless and simple online and in-person borrowing options, first time and seasoned home buyers can relax with the largest Hawaii bank and most utilized local residential lender. Every borrower will have a dedicated loan officer, many who specialize in all the different home buying options on the Hawaiian Islands.

Bank of Hawaii has some of the lowest interest rates in Hawaii for both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages. Not only is Bank of Hawaii the most popular mortgage lender in Hawaii, but it also offers refinancing, home equity, and construction loan products – making it a viable real estate lender for a lifelong relationship. 

Minimum Credit Score

620 for First-Time Homebuyers

Minimum Down Payment

Bank of Hawaii requires a down payment of 20% of the home purchase price unless you qualify for a VA loan – which requires 0% down.

Loan Types and Products

  • 30 year, 15 year, and VA 30 year
  • Conventional, FHA, VA, Jumbo
  • Fixed, Adjustable
  • Rural Housing Programs, Financing options for DHHL Lessees (Department of Hawaiian Home Lands), Refinance, HELOC (home equity line of credit), Construction, Land

Use a Bank of Hawaii home loan…

  • For first time home buyers
  • For seasoned home buyers
  • For VA home loans
  • For jumbo mortgage loans
  • For lower local interest rates 
  • For refinancing and HELOC
  •  For home construction loans 
  • For upcoming housing projects

Pros

  • They have low fixed-rate mortgages.
  • Bank of Hawaii is the largest branch network with locations on the Hawaiian Islands, offering accessible in-person options for assistance with your mortgage.
  • Bank of Hawaii is the most popular lender in the State of Hawaii.
  • The online application through their SimpliFi platform can be completed rather quickly if your financial information is ready.
  • They have highly qualified loan officers specializing in all types of home buying situations, including for DHHL Native Hawaiian lessees.

Cons

  • 20% down is required. Other lenders do not always require 20% down, and many have special lower amounts down for first time home buyers.
  • They are not as competitive on government loan products, like FHA or USDA loans.
  • They have a limited selection of conventional fixed-rate loan products.

REAL Extensive Review

‘#1 Trusted Lender in the State of Hawaii’

Bank of Hawaii was rated one of the World’s Best Banks in 2019 by Forbes Magazine. And they also are first in the total dollars and number of residential loans made by a lender in the State of Hawaii, according to the Hawaii Bureau of Conveyances tax data for 2019.

Bank of Hawaii has a range of loan officers who specialize in serving first time home buyers, seasoned home buyers, and VA loan applicants. Bank of Hawaii knows the competitive and unique Hawaii home market, with loans for rural homes, agriculture land, and even the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) lessees. 

Bank of Hawaii Mortgage Rates and Loan Products

Bank of Hawaii offers both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages for conventional and jumbo loans. They also offer VA home loans.

Fixed-rate mortgages with Bank of Hawaii offer the following advantages:

  • You pay the same amount each month for the entire term of the loan. That could mean your monthly payment amount is the same for 30 years.
  • The interest rate does not fluctuate throughout the term of the loan. If you secure the loan when interest rates are low, you can enjoy that low-interest rate for many years to come.
  • There is no prepayment penalty, so you can pay off your loan early with no financial consequences.
  • Fixed-rate loans can be secured for owner-occupant, second home, and investor purchases.

Adjustable-rate mortgages with Bank of Hawaii offer the following advantages:

  • You have lower monthly payments initially.
  • The rates adjust every year after the third, fifth, seventh, or tenth year, depending on your Adjustable Rate Mortgage loan selection.
  • There is no prepayment penalty, so you can pay off your loan early with no financial consequences.
  • Adjustable-rate loans can be secured for owner-occupant, second home, and investor purchases.

As of June 10, 2020, these are the following fixed rates for Bank of Hawaii’s conventional and VA mortgage products, which are based on a 45-day lock for the purchase transaction. Note that the rates can change without notice.

The maximum amount Bank of Hawaii will lend is $765,600 for the above loan options (as of June 10, 2020). 

They also have jumbo loan options for buyers who need more than $765,600 for a residential loan. Bank of Hawaii jumbo loans have no prepayment penalty and can be used for the purchase, refinance, and on up to 4-unit properties. Here are the fixed loan rates for Bank of Hawaii’s jumbo loans as of June 10, 2020:

Monthly Payment Estimate

If you had a $500,000 offer accepted on a home, then the financial break-down would approximately be the following for a 30-year term Bank of Hawaii conventional non-jumbo loan at a 3.125% interest rate:

You would have 360 monthly payments of $1,921.84 that would break down to the following:

*Note that some Hawaii homes are in flood zones and require additional flood insurance. Most Hawaii homes also require hurricane insurance, adding to the cost of monthly insurance payments. Also, note that loans with a Loan-to-Value of 80% or higher may require mortgage insurance which would increase the monthly payment amount.

Bank of Hawaii Real Estate Loan Process

To get started on applying for a Bank of Hawaii mortgage, typically, you would use their SimpliFi Mortgage application. To assist in the process, Bank of Hawaii has many loan officers on all the major inhabited islands, including Oahu. A borrower is almost always assigned a personal loan officer to assist in your transaction. You can contact them before or after completing their mortgage application.

When completing the mortgage application, you can expect the following steps:

  1. Create an account on SimpliFi Mortgage via the Bank of Hawaii website or a loan officer. 
  2. Login and provide personal financial information.
  3. Choose a loan term and rate.
  4. Apply and wait to hear what you are pre-qualified for. 
  5. Once an offer on a home is accepted and you are in the escrow process, Bank of Hawaii will work with you to secure the loan by gaining your final approval and financing for the mortgage. 

You will need the following when completing the mortgage application with Bank of Hawaii:

  1. Pay stubs for the most recent 30-day period.
  2. W-2s for the last two years.
  3. Tax returns for the last two years.
  4. Bank statements from all banks and retirement accounts for the most recent 2-month period or quarter. Typically all pages of the bank statements are required. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I qualify for a Bank of Hawaii mortgage if I am not a member of the bank?

Yes, Bank of Hawaii will give home loans to people who do not use any of their other services. However, Bank of Hawaii does at times give discounts for borrowers who also use their checking and savings accounts or other products.

It is easy to manage a Bank of Hawaii loan outside of Hawaii?

Bank of Hawaii has online banking and mortgage management platforms, making it fairly easy to manage your Bank of Hawaii mortgage, even if you are not on island. Bank of Hawaii and loan officers can also be reached via email and phone calls. 

However, some steps of the mortgage approval process, like final closing and mortgage funding during escrow, will need to be completed in person. Also one of the benefits of having a Bank of Hawaii home loan is that they have over 60 branch locations across the Hawaiian Islands to facilitate in-person questions and transactions.

Why do I need to get prequalified before even being fully approved for a home loan?

In Hawaii, it is important to have a prequalification letter at the start of the home buying process. Working with a lender like the Bank of Hawaii to become prequalified will give you a clearer understanding of your financial situation, thus saving time and minimizing future frustrations.

Being prequalified at the beginning of your home buying journey has these benefits:

  • Look for homes in the right price range. That prequalification letter will state the exact maximum amount you can spend on a home and can assist in setting realistic expectations.
  • Let sellers know you are serious. Sellers will be more confident in your offer if you can prove that you are prequalified.
  • Compete in the competitive Hawaii housing market. Almost all offers in Hawaii are expected to have a prequalification letter accompany them. If you are not prequalified and put in an offer, there will most likely be another offer with a potential buyer that is prequalified.
  • Understand your finances. Prequalifying for a home loan will educate you on your financial health. Do you need to lower your debt, fix errors on your credit report, or save for a larger down payment? Going through the prequalification process can assist you in tidying your finances to buy a home in Hawaii.

While you can attempt to have an offer accepted on a home and then be approved for a Bank of Hawaii mortgage loan after, it is advisable to first be prequalified before beginning a serious house hunt. Note that most lenders, like the Bank of Hawaii, will need to do a hard check on your credit score to prequalify you.

What is a HELOC and when would I use it?

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is for people who already own a home and might want to improve their property, consolidate high-interest debt, or purchase an investment property. 

A HELOC is a line of credit with your home backing it as collateral. Like a mortgage loan that was initially used to purchase the home, applicants for a HELOC with Bank of Hawaii will need to meet the minimum requirements for a credit score, debt-to-income ratio, home value, and other factors.

If you qualify for a HELOC, you can generally borrow up to 85% of your home’s value, minus the amount you still own on the mortgage loan. This would mean if your Waikiki condo is appraised at $400,000, 85% of the total value would be $340,000. If you still owe $150,000 on the mortgage, you would subtract this amount from $340,000, giving you a maximum HELOC of $190,000.

Bank of Hawaii HELOCs typically has a low introductory promotional interest rate, which generally lasts for one to four years. They function like a credit card, where you can withdraw as many times as you like up to your maximum HELOC amount. There is a draw period, where you can get the money, and a repayment period, where you no longer can withdraw funds and are required to pay the interest and principal.

Bank of Hawaii is offering the following Bankoh Home EquityLine (HELOC) rates until June 15, 2020 – if automatic payments from a Bank of Hawaii personal checking or savings account are set up:

In Summary

For a convenient Hawaii home buying experience, whether you are purchasing a home in Hilo or Honolulu, you can count on Bank of Hawaii. Their low-interest rates and personalized service with loan officers will ensure you have a competitive mortgage loan. However, if you do not have a large amount to put down or a high credit score, or if you want to shop for alternative conventional loan options, Bank of Hawaii's home loans might not always suit your residential borrowing needs.