Chapter 25 – Lynn Woods
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am a co-owner of a Keller Williams realty franchise on Maui. My husband is the other owner. We have lived here 28 years. We started in real estate when we first moved here. I took an 11-year hiatus to run the Maui Chamber of Commerce.
Can you tell me what brought you to Kula?
Kula is at a 1,300-foot elevation on the mountain of Haleakala. It’s very rural. So we chose to live in upcountry because we were also raising parrots and we needed to be in a rural zone. It’s very private. We live on a private road. There are larger lot sizes the further up the mountain you go.
How did you go about choosing where to live?
We had visited here a number of times, and when we decided to come we already knew the area we wanted to live in. Maui is quite rural, and even the major centers of population on Maui are pretty small. Kula is famous for soil and farming. It has seasons where down at sea level you only change 4 degrees a year. Up the mountain you get colder temperatures in winter and so you get seasonal changes and seasonal flowers.
What other areas were you drawn to?
I always knew I wanted Kula, but I think as people move here the choices are two-fold. Lots of people are attracted to the ocean and want to live closer to beaches and water activities. And usually that’s their first choice. After a year or so they begin to move away from those areas and into the residential areas. After a while you tend to move away from visitors.
What do you like about living in Kula that was a surprise to you?
I think the consistency of the weather. It’s just pretty much always the same. It’s warm all the time. I never have to think about snow; I never have to buy snow tires. I don’t have to wear boots. It’s gentle on your soul. You don’t have to worry about extremes unless you have a tsunami.
What sort of people would like living in your neighborhood?
I think it’s best for people who don’t mind commuting a long way. It’s great for people really looking for privacy. I’m 30 minutes away from most things. As you go up into the rural area, it’s more private.
What is your favorite way to spend a weekend here?
I think, I would say when I first moved here my favorite activities were diving and hiking. We have incredible hiking on the island. We have a lot of Hawaiian cultural events, which are wonderful to partake in and are important to develop an ear and taste for local culture. I really enjoy and appreciate the Hawaiian culture.
What sort of cultural activities are available to you?
We have quite a mix of cultures here. We have a very strong and large Japanese and Chinese population. There is also quite a large Filipino pop. Because of that there are tons of Japanese festivals and Filipino celebrations.
How is the commute? Is there much traffic?
We just started getting 4 lane highways. We don’t have freeways. If we do have an accident, it can tie traffic up for a long time. Our roads don’t go straight from one place to another. It’s 45 minutes to my office even though I can see it from my home. The original roads that were built aren’t a straight line. It’s a slower way to travel here.
If you could, what would you change about Kula?
I don’t think I’d change anything. Maui has been really, really good to me. In Maui it is all about community. We live on an island in the middle of the Pacific; we have to look after each other, and I think we do a good job of that.
What advice would you give someone considering a move to the Maui area?
79% of people who move to Maui are gone within 16 months. It’s very expensive to live here, and that includes taxation. The state of Hawaii taxes everything it can get its fingers on. So we have a general excise tax on everything—medicine, food, commissions,; and there is a state personal income tax. To buy what you need to exist is expensive because it’s almost all brought in. We have a high cost and it shocks people when they move here. The other thing is if you are close to your family, it’s very isolated. Once you get here and if you are raising a family it’s too expensive to get to mainland. People who are close to families get homesick.
Do you visit the other islands often?
I do because I do business on the other islands. It’s always fun to go to another island. Each island is very different. It’s probably close to $100 one way to another island. When you go back and forth for business there are passes you can buy.
What do you do to stay out of the way of the tourists?
Just go home. I live in an area where the tourists have to be more adventurous and want to explore. The visitor industry is our economic engine. I want to see it be successful. We have the Aloha attitude. People are coming here and having a good time and we can all make a living because of that.
How are the business opportunities? Would you recommend moving here without finding work first?
It’d be difficult to find work first. People wouldn’t hire you from the mainland. Typically it’s a case of people moving here, and sometimes their career exists here and sometimes it doesn’t. Moving here requires that people have savings to live off of for a while. Many jobs in the service industry are not high paying. The best success in Maui is entrepreneurism.
What’s your favorite local event?
I love whale season. We are where the humpback whales breed and calf. They are remarkable, and there are many opportunities to go on whale watches. We are a whale sanctuary. I go out every year to see them. They are here during winter, which is our high season. They’ll be here until May. There are hundreds and you can just stand on side of the road and watch them breach.
Are there activities for children and families near you?
Where I live I find a lot of people with children try to get closer to activities down the hill. Up where I am is more populated by senior citizens or farmers.
How is the cost of living, compared with other areas you have lived?
I think the cost of living was similar from Toronto to here. We are probably about 25% higher than mainland. It costs a lot to live here. We are about as expensive as the Bay Area.
I think something I’d like to talk about is in terms of how you move here. There are three ways: You sell everything you own and you come; you store everything and come; or you bring everything and you come. Selling everything is the burn the bridge approach. You stay longer because you didn’t leave anything behind to influence you.
If you store everything you have the pull back. If you have that attitude, you don’t tend to be as committed to making it work. Because you still have everything packed away If you bring everything, it costs you so much money you’ll sell it all before you leave. A lot of people here furnish from huge garage sales that happen every weekend. We have such turnover there are always people selling stuff.
“HANDS DOWN! Team Lally is the best in Hawaii! My experience with Team Lally was amazing! They’ve went beyond my expectations for any realtor. My first visit with Team Lally, they gave me “The Red Carpet Treatment”, they immediately treated me like family and was very supportive every minute I was with them. When Team Lally list your home, they’ll start with being super flexible with your schedule, they’ll recommend on what to do on getting the most out of your home. They then will install their awesome sign in front of your home! After, they’ll have their professional photographer come by to take pictures, who is SUPER NICE and he understands everything you’re going through. Not only does he take pictures, but he takes a VIRTUAL TOUR of your HOME, a luxury feature NO OTHER REALTOR I’VE SEEN PROVIDE!!! They will also keep you in loop by updating you every week once your homes on the market! Like I said Team Lally is the best in Hawaii! I highly recommend all my friends to Team Lally! Thank you!”
“When my husband and I began working with Team Lally, we thought we were in an impossible situation. We had been working with our then current realtor for more than a year and to no avail. The short sale on our condo proved to be too much for her. Three failed contracts later, we were finally referred to Team Lally. At this point in the process, we were very disappointed and a skeptical.To our surprise we were greeted with smiling faces and reassuring words by Adrienne Lally and Attilio Leonardi, however, I still remained skeptical. Then we were introduced to Howard, an Agent with Team Lally. From the start he was professional and extremely efficient and patient. He worked day and night and made me feel we were Team Lally’s only clients. I would honestly have so much anxiety with our short sale and yet every time I spoke with Howard I was put at ease. It took six months to close, but it was to no fault of our Realtors but due to our Mortgage Company (GreenTree) dragging their feet and playing hardball. The entire process was made easy with Team Lally steering us. Howard’s communication and explanations in all of this is what made it straightforward. Whether via email or telephone, I felt informed of the whole process. Again, I honestly at one point thought we were his only clients. Thank you Howard. Team Lally is EXCELLENT! They used every avenue to promote our property, from the internet like Zillow and Trulia to mailings to magazines. They took a disappointing …
“Adrienne and her team is one of a kind . They have advocated well for me and helped me navigate the scary world of short selling. It was an uncharted territory for me but they”re so keen of putting me at ease by answering all my questions. (redundunt may it seems)with remakable patience. During the whole process I felt confident that somebody in Hawaii is looking out and working hard for my best interest. Now that its over I can truly say that I can enjoy the holiday with peace of mind. More power to you guys…God Bless.. Thank you so much again….”
“Adrienne was extremely helpful!! We were first-time homebuyers and purchased a short sale on top of that. Adrienne helped us understand every step and the entire process was smooth from start to finish. We highly recommend her and her team!”
“Dealing with team Lally has been a great experience. All of the agents which I encountered were very knowledgeable and courteous. The office which they conducted their business was neat and tidy. The atmosphere was very conducive.”
“Adrienne and Atillio knew the urgency in selling our home and worked so quick that at times I was overwhelmed. When they got a buyer, their team Member Howard Nett was so helpful in keeping us informed and updated as to how things were progressing and things we needed to do, that it made this whole process comfortable for us. We are VERY satisfied with their services. We recommend Team Lally when you are looking to sell your home.”
“As first-time home buyers, I couldn’t have asked for a better realty than Team-Lally!Three months prior to moving to Hawaii from the mainland, we began our search online by looking at pictures and viewing videos of current listings in Kaneohe and Kailua. We were so fortunate to have Team Lally as our agent. Team Lally was knowledgeable, patient, and honest; they even went out of their way to record videos of a few homes. Via e-mail and over the phone, they addressed all my questions and concerns. By the time we arrived, we were so well prepared and closed on the house we wanted in no time! If we buy or sell again, we are definitely calling Team Lally”
“We interviewed three different Realtors and we Team Lally were incredibly organized and impressive. We hired them to help us find a home in Hawaii. They had such great local knowledge and incredibly responsive. True Professionals!! Unfortunately, my job situation changed and we ended up not buying a home, but if we are coming back we know who we would work with. Team Lally is #1 in our book!”
“When my husband and I got transferred here with the Coast Guard we were interested in purchasing our first home. We found Adrianne through other military members that she had helped. Adrianne and her team went above and beyond to help us find our first home. She took out all the stress and helped us every step of the way, from finding a home to finding a lender to get a loan. We found a short sell and she helped us get into our house and close within a month! Adrianne and her team has made us feel like family the way they take the time to call and check on us throughout the years and through their client appreciation events. Thanks again Adrianne and Team Lally!”
“My husband used to work with one of the agents and we were put on their mailing list. We have really enjoyed all the information that we receive. “