Navigating Land Utilization in the Hawaii Real Estate Exam

Understanding land utilization and the associated regulations is essential for aspiring real estate professionals in Hawaii. The land utilization section of the Hawaii real estate exam covers topics such as planning, land use, zoning, county building and planning, restrictive covenants, state land use classification, and special management areas. In this blog post, we will explore these key aspects to help you prepare for success in this section of the exam.

1. Planning, Land Use, and Zoning (County Ordinance):

Study the fundamentals of land planning, including the processes and principles involved in zoning and land use regulations. Familiarize yourself with the county ordinances that govern land use within specific jurisdictions. Understand the purposes of zoning and its impact on property development, such as residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural zones. Learn about the procedures for rezoning, variances, and conditional use permits. Knowledge of the county ordinances will enable you to navigate land use regulations and advise clients accordingly.

a. County Building and Planning:

Gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of county building and planning departments. Study the permit application process, building codes, inspections, and compliance requirements. Familiarize yourself with the procedures and documentation necessary for obtaining permits for new construction, renovations, and other property improvements. Be aware of the importance of adhering to building and safety regulations to ensure the legality and quality of property development.

2. Restrictive Covenants:

Explore the concept of restrictive covenants, which are legal agreements that impose specific limitations or conditions on property use. Study the elements of restrictive covenants, including their creation, enforcement, and potential impact on property owners. Understand the importance of reviewing and disclosing restrictive covenants to potential buyers, as they can influence property values and usage.

3. State Land Use Classification:

Become familiar with the state land use classification system, which categorizes land into different classes based on its intended use and resource protection. Study the various classifications, such as urban, rural, conservation, and agricultural, and understand the permitted uses and restrictions associated with each class. Gain an understanding of the procedures and criteria for reclassifying land and the potential implications for property owners.

4. Special Management Areas:

In Hawaii, special management areas are designated coastal zones that require additional scrutiny and regulation due to their environmental and cultural significance. Study the rules and regulations pertaining to special management areas, including the permitting process for development activities within these zones. Understand the importance of preserving and protecting coastal resources while adhering to specific guidelines and requirements.


Understanding land utilization, including zoning, county ordinances, restrictive covenants, state land use classification, and special management areas, is crucial for success in the Hawaii real estate exam. Thoroughly study the specific regulations, building and planning processes, and compliance considerations. We have multiple practice quizzes on this topic in our plans, click here to learn more.