Gabe is a branch manager for the mortgage company HomeLoan Financial, www.Hawaiivaloans.com, which specializes in helping first-time homebuyers and veterans get VA loans.
Tell me a bit about your background and how long you’ve lived in Hawaii.
I was born and raised in Honolulu, but I left for a few years and returned 5 1/2 years ago.
What do you like most about living in Honolulu?
The central location. There’s minimal traffic compared to living in areas outside of Honolulu, referred to as ‘town.’ I have an easy commute, although traffic can be really bad for those who work in Honolulu and live on the west side of the island. WE have good access to stores and restaurants. Everything is in about a 5 to 10 mile radius in Honolulu. There are all kinds of groups of people of different nationalities in one location, which is great. Honolulu is the best location for lots of activities.
Can you elaborate on the different cultures?
There are people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Honolulu has a melting pot of different cultures. Locals, along with whites, Chinese, Filipinos and Asians are all here. You experience this diversity in the restaurants, foods and activities.
What types of activities are there in Honolulu?
There are parks. There’s Alamaona Beach Park with its events. The Aloha Tower Market Place, which has a nice shopping area, ship cruises, and lots of events. There’s the Shell with its concert pavilion area. There are lots of concerts. There’s also Kapiolani Park with its soccer games, rugby matches, and joggers. This park is located in Waikiki on the slope of Diamond Head.
What do you like the least about Honolulu?
Traffic is bad. The city is very crowded, especially if you want to be somewhere that’s a little more laid back and relaxing. It’s also very expensive. You pay a premium to live in town. If you buy a house in Mililani, for example, that same house can cost 50 to 100 percent more in town. A new home in Mililani for $600,000 could cost $1million in town. The closer to the beach you are, you’ll find the pricier homes.
What about traffic?
My advice for newcomers would be to work in town and consider the traffic implications if you live outside of town. Double check the traffic to determine how far you live from how far you work.
Where do you like to go eat?
Honolulu has an eclectic mix of cultures. As a result, there are diverse foods, such as Thai, American, Asian, and Filipino. There are lots of different foods that can satisfy just about anyone.
What are some of your favorite restaurants?
One is called Ono. They have great Hawaiian food. It’s a hole in the wall, but serves authentic Hawaiian food. For a party of two, you pay about $15 to $20. There’s also LaBamba. It has great Mexican food. It’s BYOB, so you bring your own booze, beer, or wine and invite your friends. You can have a party there. My favorite meal is steak and tortillas, with Spanish rice, refried beans, lettuce and tomatoes. You make your own burrito. They also have the best guacamole. This is one of the best guacamoles I’ve ever had.
What types of sporting events do you attend?
I don’t attend a lot of sporting events. The University of Hawaii has football games. But I don’t attend a lot of other events.
Are taxes high?
Property taxes are lowest in the country, but you pay more in groceries, housing, and gas. While the property taxes are low, most other expenses cost more in Hawaii. Gas costs about $3.50 to $3.80 per gallon.
How are the schools?
WE have good public schools. Most of the private schools are in Honolulu. There are about 10 to 12 private high schools. For example, Punahou High School, where Obama attended. There’s also Iolani, which ranks high near Punahou. And there’s Kamehameha – a school for children with native Hawaiian blood. There’s also St. Louis, an all-boys Catholic school, where I attended. Most schools have a student/teacher ratio of 1/20 or 25. There is 1 teacher for every 20-25 students.
We’re also experiencing problems with the public schools. WE have Furlough Fridays, which means every other week teachers are furloughed in the public schools. There are no such problems in the private schools.
“Adrienne and her team were immediately responsive to my inquiry about their services and very thorough from the beginning. They applied their expertise through the listing, sale and close of my home at a high level of satisfaction for me. The sale of my home closed in just under 3 months. I moved out of state and felt they did an excellent job of communicating with me as an absentee seller.”
“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!”
“Awesome experience with TEAM LALLY! We sold the home faster than expected with professional service from TEAM LALLY. I’d recommend their services to anyone coming or going to Hawaii! The team concept was what sold us on the service they could provide. It’s nice to know that every aspect of the process is covered by people who specialize in that area. Buying Agents just focus on the buyers, Listing Agents just focus on selling your home and understanding the market at the time, processing agents become your main contact after you are “under contract” for specialized customer service. Howard was very responsive with all our questions, it was as if he never left the office! Thanks TEAM LALLY!”
“We had a friend that asked who could help their move to paradise. It sounds cool however they were stressed. After making a couple of calls, I knew who they needed to call. Team Lally exceeded their expectations and after the first call the stress level went way down. Thanks for your help. We can’t wait to make our visit and give you a hug in person.”
“Team Lally are great. I have not had the chance to buy a house yet but I know that whenever we walk in the office we are considered not only a valued customer but as family. I am lucky to have them on my side.”
“We found Team Lally a credit to us and our Family. They were professional, up to date, honest, helpful and willing to help in anything. They began to help us find a house in 2011. With up to date data and phone calls, emails and appointments, we were able to find our perfect house within a few months. Now we look at Team Lally as Friends. They were not only professional but they took the time out to get to know the family and help us with all they could. Thank you Team Lally again.”
“Adrienne Lally and Attilio Leonardi of Team Lally are great! They take the time to get to know their clients needs, making the buying/selling process that much easier. I would definately refer my family, friends and clients to Team Lally and so should you!”
“We worked with Cathy from Team Lally during the purchase of our new house, and it was great. She was very professional, knowledgeable, responsive and fun to work with. We found a great house that we love and moved in ahead of the estimated closing date. Best of all, we paid less than the asking price, and her recommended offer was right on point with the VA appraisal. Overall, it was a great experience, and I would recommend Cathy and Team Lally to anyone looking for a house.”
“Team Lally embraces the team concept while staying professional. They were totally accessible, day or night, and they supported me through a very stressful process. Communication is key and Team Lally understands this completely.”
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