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Move to The Big Island
02-07-2010, 11:21 AM (This post was last modified: 02-07-2010 11:42 AM by kaniamea.)
Post: #1
Move to The Big Island
My family are looking to move to the Big Island in the next 12 to 24 months. We are putting out house on the market now. Everything is contingent on selling the house. My wife is a nurse and I have work 20+ years in the retail business.
What is the best way to look for a job on the Big Island? Should we look and get a job first, or should we move then look?
We talked about taking another vacation to just look for a job, but didn't know if this was a smart thing to do as we need to sell the house first.
Kids are in school now, so we need, or would like to move during the summer either in 2010 or 2011.
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02-07-2010, 11:42 AM (This post was last modified: 02-07-2010 11:43 AM by kaniamea.)
Post: #2
RE: Move to The Big Island
I assume that you're a U.S. citizen and are therefore allowed to work in the U.S. Otherwise, you would first need a work permit.

The salaries are generally lower in Hawaii than on the continental U.S. in many sectors. At the moment, jobs are also harder to find because of the economic downturn and because many people want to move to Hawaii and the economy can't catch up with generating jobs.

For example, I have noticed that the Sunday classified ad section, where the jobs are listed, has become much thinner in recent months. About 2 years ago, the Sunday job section was between 6-8 pages long, but nowadays it's about 3 pages only. Most jobs that are listed are in healthcare (which is good for your wife) and in the restaurant/tourism industry (however, these are quite low pay). Also, most of the jobs are on Oahu, not the Big Island or the other islands.

I think it's better to look for a job when you're already here as most employers don't hire people they haven't met. It would maybe also help to contact a local employment agency, such as Altres or Adecco.

Are you aware of the cost of housing in Hawaii? It is much higher than in many other places. The same goes for the living expenses. When it comes to purchasing a house, the Big Island is still the most affordable option. However, jobs are limited there. So the best would be to contact a local job agency and maybe also contact hospitals and retail businesses directly to see if they have openings.
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02-07-2010, 11:17 PM (This post was last modified: 02-08-2010 05:46 PM by kaniamea.)
Post: #3
RE: Move to The Big Island
Thank you. Yes we are both US citizen. We've seen the housing market through Aloha Living and have talked to real estate agents and to a few hospitals. The job market is tight as we have found our. We see that a gallon of milk is $3.99 at the local Safeway. I've been watching these ads for about a month. Here a gallon of milk is about $2.00. Gas for the cars is about 60 cents more per gallon.

These agencies you mentioned, are they like monster? Please send more information on job hunting on the big island if you can.

I see that is cost a great deal of money to ship a car over to the island so we are planning on selling everything except for clothing needed in the warmer climate at an estate sale/auction.

I think we will visit again and actually look at some of the houses that we see on Aloha living and visit and actively look for a job while we are there. Is there a better time of year to search for a job or is it about the same at any time? Is there more temporary/seasonal help than permanent full time positions?
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02-08-2010, 05:46 PM
Post: #4
RE: Move to The Big Island
The agencies are not like monster. They are employment agencies that basically are there to help you find a job. Altres even has a medical category on their website, see here:

On this website you can search jobs by island. You can also submit your resume.

Maybe you can also do a Google search for Big Island jobs, Big Island employment agency, etc.

Besides that, you can also check, and Other than that, you can do job hunting in person. Go to a local hospital/retail store and ask directly there if they are hiring and if you can fill out an application (or to whom you can submit your resume).

Yes, it is best to move to Hawaii without your car and without furniture. You can buy everything here. But yes, it's all more expensive in Hawaii than on the mainland. You need to earn more money here to enjoy the same standard of living that you're used to on the mainland. Otherwise, you'll just have to make do with less. That's why many people share apartments or houses here or have more than one job.

It's a good idea to have another vacation here first and in this time look around. I'm not aware of any particular time of year when the job search would be best. Anytime is fine. I'm also not sure if there are more temporary/seasonal positions vs. full-time. I have only read that because of the current economic downturn, the neighbor islands have suffered more. Oahu has the strongest economy. But that doesn't mean that you can't try finding a job on the Big Island. If you have good qualifications, you may be able to find a good job.
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12-23-2010, 06:13 PM
Post: #5
RE: Move to The Big Island
To Hawaiibound,
You pose some good questions and I would like to help you out since I've been in your shoes and made the move to Hawaii.
Your first mistake is thinking that you HAVE to sell your house. That is not true, you can rent it and still move to Hawaii and then sell it later after the market improves and you will get tons of more $$$ for it later. This rental income will be such a blessing in the long run.
In the meantime, you will get yourself established and informed as to your surroundings,the housing market,schools and most importantly,jobs. If you sold your house today,where would you buy tomorrow? There is nothing wrong with renting out a place to get your bearings. There are things that websites just can't show you yet that would be very important in front of your own eyes. Websites just can't tell about your neighbors and the schools or how far you have to drive to work or even the supermarket.
I will tell you this much, there are more jobs in Hawaii than there are people willing to work. We have one of the lowest unemployment levels in the US. Also, every employer is required by law to provide health insurance once you're employed. We also have more Gov't jobs here than you can shake a stick at if you pass a stiff background check. The FBI doesn't fool around these days on their background checks and also your credit checks either,so keep that in mind too.
Everyone talks about the gas prices here,60 cents more in your last post,but not anymore. The big difference now is that I save between $300-$500 a month in fuel costs because everything is only a short drive if you drive at all. Unless your vehicle is brand new and you're still making payments on it,sell it! It has no value because people don't put very many miles on their vehicles here and your mileage from the mainland will stand out like a sore thumb. People here goes through vehicles like people goes through Bic lighters. Cars are cheap here and you certainly don't need an 8 banger here. Any cheap running car will work for here and there are plenty of those here.
Let's talk car insurance,more savings to boot on that one too. We were paying $1000 for full coverage on one vehicle and one way on the other every six months. Now, we pay $300 every six for full coverage on two vehicles. A savings of $1400 dollars a year and wow!
Vehicle Registration here is a different story over here though. It's based on weight instead of Blue Book values. So sell your SUV's and trade them in for Porsches,lol.
Let's talk about prices at the supermarket. Yes,in some cases,prices are higher than the mainland but only for the first couple of months after you first arrive here,that you will soon buy everything in quanity and only when it's on sale. Next thing you know,you have changed your diet and not wanting to cook as much as before. You will eat less fried foods and eat a lot more healthier too. I am more than happy to answer your questions and good luck on the move.
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12-30-2010, 02:56 AM
Post: #6
RE: Move to The Big Island
Its been a long time since I have been on the Big Island. I think I need to set up another trip to Hawaii!!!Big Grin
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12-30-2010, 04:24 AM
Post: #7
RE: Move to The Big Island
You know Dude, I love the Big Island in some many ways than Oahu. I want to one day form a team for the Billfish Tournment in Kona that is held every July.
I also want to try staying a week in Hilo instead of Kona. I think Hilo is more beautiful than Kona in many ways. You have Rainbow Falls there and Volcanoes National Park. I would like to take the kids camping in the park someday.
It's a great island to visit or live at if you don't mind the layed back lifestyle. If you don't like fishing,that will change after a year of living there,lol.

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01-23-2011, 03:51 PM
Post: #8
RE: Move to The Big Island
Hi WonderinginWaikiki, I came across this forum just today and I was pleasantly suprised to see that its not all doom and gloom in paradise like I've been reading. I was reading hawaiibound's post and I have a lot of the same questions and u answered most of them. I do have 1 more, I was wondering if you are talking about the big island or O'ahu? We are hoping to move to the big island too in about 2 1/2 years and if you would have any other info or advice that would be great, thanks.
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01-23-2011, 04:11 PM (This post was last modified: 01-23-2011 04:52 PM by kaniamea.)
Post: #9
RE: Move to The Big Island
Hi hawaiibound2,
welcome to our forum! Feel free to ask as many questions about Hawaii as you would like. We'll be happy to help as much as we can. WonderinginWaikiki has some good insights, so I'm sure he'll reply to you soon too. For now let me share some insights from my perspective. Yes, it's true that Hawaii's economy is in better shape compared to many places on the mainland or worldwide. Hawaii is lucky because it has many tourists who are still interested in traveling here. It's a beautiful place.

What is your profession? When it comes to jobs, the island of Oahu is the best place to be because most jobs are located here. If you work for the government or would like to start your own business, any place in Hawaii will be fine. I have heard of many people who move from the mainland to the Big Island because they are looking for a more relaxed life and even start from scratch with an own business. Some purchase a small coffee farm, others become tour guides or work in nature.

When it comes to the cost of housing, from my own research I have found that housing is most affordable on the Big Island. The reason is probably because it has the most land Smile The cheapest area on the Big Island is in the Puna and Ka'u districts. But there is a reason why it's cheap. Ka'u gets a lot of vog (volcanic smog) and Puna lives with the constant threat of lava flows. Just last week another house in Kalapana was swallowed up by a lava flow. A friend of mine told me that if you want to buy a house in this area, it's tricky to get it insured because it's in a high hazard area. For sure you pay higher premiums there. This entire southeastern part of the Big Island is brand new in earth history, so it's still unstable and unpredictable. The Kona area also gets its fair share of vog, but at least if you're there you can be more sure that your house will still stand after you come home from the beach Smile This area is a bit more expensive, but again, not as much as on the other islands. One other reason why generally the Big Island is still more affordable is because there aren't many high-paying jobs there.

Oahu is more hectic and crowded, but most people move here because there are more job opportunities and also jobs that generally pay higher than for example on the Big Island. If you're looking for employment on the Big Island, the best area is around Kona. There are many hotels and resorts there and therefore more job opportunities. But of course, it all depends on your profession and what you would like to do and also, if you even need to work Smile If you're looking for a job, you could already browse careerbuilder and craigslist, just to get an idea of things. But in Hawaii, as well as many other places, it's best to have connections when it comes to finding a good job.

Again, welcome to our forum. And feel free to ask other questions.
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01-23-2011, 05:33 PM
Post: #10
RE: Move to The Big Island
It's good that by the time you graduate, you still have plenty of time right now to research the Islands. Have you been to Hawaii before? Maybe it would even be a good idea (if finances allow it) to visit for 2-3 weeks and explore different areas to see where you could imagine to live. If that's not possible, then use your best judgment based on the info you gather. If your heart is set on the Big Island, then I would check out the Kona area first because the economy is best there. This is where most businesses are located. When it comes to schools, I can't say much. There are public as well as private schools on the Big Island. But I can't recommend any schools there because I'm not familiar with any. It's true that Hawaii public schools are not among the highest ranking in the U.S., but I agree with you that a child's education also depends on the parents.

Another town that's near Kona where a lot of new development is happening is Waikoloa. You may also want to have a look there. If you like cooler temperatures and upcountry living, then Kamuela (also called Waimea) is a nice town too. But it's a bit more provincial compared to Kona. In Kona, it's very lively because most tourists go to this area and there are also the most entertainment options. In other words, there are some things going on there when it comes to entertainment, but it's not a big city like Honolulu.

While you were posting my reply, I also updated my post above where I included more info that I thought could be useful for you.
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