Most Americans dream of owning a vacation home in Hawaii. If you're considering making this dream a reality by purchasing a home you can use and rent out to other vacationers, you've hit on one of the best ways to finance your dream getaway. 

However, before you run out and buy a house on the islands, here are 5 things to know when looking at vacation homes for sale:

Get a Contact on the Island. It's always been a good idea to hire a permanent management service or real estate company that can serve as a point of contact and act on your behalf when you're not on the island. It may also be mandatory, as Hawaiian rules overseeing short-term rentals require that you register with a Tax ID Number and pay applicable taxes. You should also have an on-island representative to handle these matters. 

Wow Your Guests. If you want to rent the vacation property while you're not using it, think like a renter when choosing a home. While you may not care that much about a lackluster view or long walks to the beach, you'll be competing for guests with properties that have these awesome features. It may behoove you to opt for a different location or a property with different amenities that includes that one "wow" factor that will draw lodgers.

Prepare for Higher Costs. Island life has many perks, but it also costs more to have things shipped from the mainland. Services and utilities are also significantly higher. This means that you should be careful when deciding how much remodeling you're prepared to do on a fixer-upper home. You may also need to readjust your budget to ensure that you can cover expenses if you have few tenants in a month or have to deal with emergencies. 

Plan for the Whole Year. The good news about offering a vacation rental in Hawaii is that there's no real "off-season" in this island paradise. You're more likely to benefit from a full pool of eager vacationers throughout the year, and this is great for your budget. 

Shop Around. There are many vacation home options in Hawaii, ranging from stand-alone houses to cabins to condo complexes. Each one has its pros and cons. Condos, of course, come with more amenities and a built-in beach location. However, you're also going to pay more in association fees and have to live with their rules (both when you use the home and when it's rented). Decide what you're looking for in a vacation house and what you'd like to offer, then start performing a careful search. 

By knowing what makes a Hawaii vacation property valuable and what makes it more complicated, you can look for real estate with confidence and excitement. And then you can start enjoying your paradise home.