Home To Metro Honolulu from the mainland
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.
“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 …
“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.”
“Mrs Lally was very aggressive with advertising and putting our home out there. She sold our house 5 days after listing. Wow! We were excited and very impressed with her quick sale. We will definetly use her services again when we sell our next home.”
“Team Lally sold a condo-hotel unit for us in Hawaii. We live in California and did not actually know or observe what was happening with the sale. They took care of the showings, finding buyers (3) and negotiating with the bank. They took care of all of the paperwork – sending us what we needed and arranging for docusign whenever possible. We were kept in the loop as much as possible and as much as we needed to be. It was a very stressful time for us and they (patiently) explained procedures to us, since we often did not know what was necessary or what the next step was. Team Lally was very professional in all dealings with us and we are very grateful for their consideration of us as stressed absentee sellers and for negotiating a great deal for us.”
“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.”
“I am a retired, disabled veteran. In the summer of 2013, I faced significant financial, professional, and personal challenges. At the center of these challenges was the fact that my home was under water and I could not continue making payments. I had previously worked with three other real estate agents on island (two from major companies and one independent) and could not better my situation. Facing the brink of foreclosure and financial ruin, I called Team Lally on a recommendation from a friend. From that moment forward, I was able to take comfort in the belief that these people would achieve the best possible outcomes for my circumstance. While all Team Lally members went above and beyond to help me, I would like to highlight a few.Adrienne Lally, President/Team Lally – Simply the best real estate professional I have ever worked with. Within 36 hours of first contact, she had personally assessed my home and situation, and developed a cogent, strategic plan for presentation, foreclosure avoidance, and best-pricing. Her knowledge of the Hawaii real estate market is beyond reproach and she repeatedly took the time to answer every question and concern that I had. As a veteran herself, she offered unique insight on my circumstance and developed a rapport I found with no other real estate agent. Most importantly, she maintained consistent contact throughout the process via weekly updates, even after I left the islands. I was never just a number to Adrienne Lally. If I am e…
“Last year my wife and I came to Hawaii for a quick to buy a house for our impending move to the islands. Cherrie worked hard and helped us to get under contrsct and then close the deal. Hats off to the Lally Team”
“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!”
“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.”
“Adrienne helped my husband and I purchase our first home and we can’t say enough about how wonderful she is! Being first-time homebuyers, we had a lot of questions and Adrienne was there with us through every step of the way. From beginning to end, her advice and expertise was invaluable and we couldn’t be happier with the results. She absolutely has our recommendation!”