Phyllis runs the Real Estate Book of Hawaii and Oahu, www.treb.com.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your community.
Hawaii Kai is in the city of Honolulu, on the eastern side of the island of Oahu. I have a business here selling advertising to realtors.
Where are you from?
I’m from Colorado, my husband is from Minnesota. WE met in Iowa. WE lived in Iowa, Minnesota and Oregon. WE moved to Hawaii Kai because WE wanted to. Before WE moved to Hawaii Kai, WE lived in Kaneohe, where it rains a lot.
How did you come to Hawaii Kai?
WE had an opportunity to start a business here. WE didn’t need to. WE were living in Oregon. WE weren’t really retired. The house was paid for and WE watched the traffic go by. Here, WE had this opportunity and WE decided to become part of the traffic (laughter). Now WE are the traffic. We’re not watching it anymore.
I worked in Hawaii in the 90s and really loved the people here. Everybody talks about the weather, but that’s not the deal for me. It’s the people. People are wonderful.
Describe the people.
They’re very embracing and allowing. Not judgmental people in any way. Very accepting of everyone and interested and they embrace you and include you as a part of their ohana (family). The spirit of aloha is what the deal is. People are nice to each other. People drive very differently here than on the mainland. If people are trying to merge into traffic everybody stops and waves them on. If there’s a four-way stop it’s like it’s a giant contest about who can wave the other person on the most. It’s aloha. They’re very respectful. It’s very nice.
What do you like most about Hawaii Kai?
I like the people the most. And I love the weather. I like our community. WE live on the marina with our kayak. I never thought I could live here. When I worked here in the 90s I thought it was only rich people who lived here. But here I am (laughter).
Hawaii Kai is very private, quiet and on the dry side of the island. WE have trade winds here in Hawaii that cause a lot of rain on the windward side of the island and on this side WE get just enough rain.
What do you like dislike about Hawaii Kai?
(After a long pause). There’s only one road in and one road out. If there’s a car accident on the road it’s a long time getting home. But WE have great shopping, great restaurants, and great weather.
Have there been major changes since you’ve moved there?
We’ve only been here since 2006, so there have not been many major changes. WE live on the marina. There are many mountain valleys that that extend up from the marina into the mountains. There are a lot of houses up there. So there are mountain people and water people. We’ve got Costco, Safeway, Ross.
WE have lots of ocean sports. Kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, water skiing in the marina, fishing, surfing, body boarding, and snorkeling. There’s a famous snorkeling place about five minutes from my house and is called Hanauma Bay, the beautiful bay that’s the marine preserve. It’s maintained by the state and has lots of beautiful fish. This is where Obama was body surfing when he was a candidate. (Can’t do it while he’s president). Surfing, body surfing and hang gliding. There are mountains and wide open areas to land your kite off a cliff. Why would someone do that? They do.
Are there many non-Hawaiians?
Yes. There are a lot of stories about Hawaii Kai and why Hawaiians have lost their land and have been marginalized from their land. But there’s no ethnic majority in Hawaii Kai, no majority group. There are a bunch of minorities. Roughly, Caucasians are about 30%, Japanese are about 39%, and Chinese are probably about 27%. There are revolving bunch of ethnicities who import here for about one or two decades. Many people are now coming from Brazil. Asians probably dominate in numbers. There are lots of military people on Oahu. However, African Americans are not heavily represented.
What’s the family makeup?
Total households are about 10, 700. There are 8,400 family households. There are 3,400 households with children. There are more people like me, just me and my husband live here. More older people. Lots of retirees.
Is the cost of living high?
Yes. Very high. A townhome with about 1,350 square feet on the marina costs about $700k. It costs less to live in the marina in Hawaii Kai than on the ocean anywhere else, where homes can cost over $1 million. The only downside is that it’s expensive to live in Hawaii. To live on the ocean in Kaneohe would cost over $1 million.
“I purchased my first home with Team Lally. Cathy was an absolutely fantastic agent and I would recommend her to anyone! We had very specific needs for our home, and Cathy helped us meet every single one of them. We also were in the need of moving in within 45 days of moving to the island. Cathy made that happen! Team Lally is fantastic. Buy a house!”
“Team Lally helped me with the shortsale of an underwater, upsidedown mortgage. I am so glad I found them. Thanks.”
“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 …
“I purchased my home as a single woman nearly 10 years ago in what I call a “big girl moment”. I improved it over the years, and then decided to move home to the mainland to be closer to my family. I was referred to Team Lally, and much differently than other agents I was referred to, they called me immediately, providing a full scope of their services, which is impressive. I liked the fact that they had me meet them in their office, outside the potentially emotional environment of my home. This is business, after all! My home was first shown on June 10 and closed at a handsome price on August 30. Wow. These guys communicate regularly by phone, provide excellent service via email and while closing the sale I experienced the best possible service. Were I to contemplate moving back to Hawaii, Team Lally would be my first call!”
“Aloha, My name is Bryon Tucker. My wife and I sold our home via Short Sale with Remax Team Lally. We are very pleased with the sale! I have had the pleasure of working with Adrienne & Attilio for the past several years. They work hard and educate themselves. There is nobody in this business that works harder, studies more, and has the experience to sell your home.! And their marketing systems is second to none!! They make it easy….they handle the banks for you…so you don’t have to! When it comes to selling your home in distress, do what I did! Sell your home with Remax Team Lally! Yay!!!!”
“Aloha! Calen at Team Lally has worked with my husband and I since day 1 of our search for our home. She was always so prompt with emails, house listings and also giving us an unbiased and honest opinion. She’s extremely knowledgeable about real estate and was constantly patient if we had any questions. She would always make sure that we could get the most bout of our money and would constantly be negotiating for us with our best interests at heart. She was on top of things and I didn’t have to go hunting for her or feel alone in this process. Our experience with working with Calen at Team Lally has been such a pleasant and personal experience that anyone should be blessed with! Elizabeth and Justin Munson”
“Loved working with them! They completely understood the Military lifestyle and our needs and concerns! They were there to answer every question and help us work out any issues that came up resulting in an Excellent Sales Experience!”
“Team Lally is really quite exceptional. Each time we have been to the office we have had a personable and helpful experience. The connections they have with other businesses are also extraordinary. Team Lally doesn’t settle for less and they will work hard on your behalf.”
“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.”
“Adrienne was very helpful in selling our house. It took us a year and a half to decide to list and never did we feel pressured to do so before we were ready. We always received good information and all of our questions were answered in a timely fashion. Adrienne and her team were able to work with the buyers agent and our lenders to close our short sale in a timely fashion. I would not hesitate to refer friends to Adrienne when selling or buying a home.”