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.
“We used Team Lally for BOTH Buying and selling our home, and without a doubt, would use and recommend them time and time again! They made each process easy and enjoyable, and was always there to answer any and all questions or concerns we had. Can’t give a stellar enough review to the excellent Team. Above and beyond, definitely customer service orientated! Thank you guys for all you have done for us!”
“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”
“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!”
“Team-Lally Rocks! It’s great to be considered a part of the Team-Lally family! After 13 years away from Hawaii, and looking for a house on the Ewa plain, we hooked up with a Team Lally realtor who was showing a house that we visited. Throughout the buying process, the knowledgeable staff addressed any problems that we encountered and concerns that we raised. We left the process feeling that our interests were properly represented and protected. This is the very thing that we expect from my realtor and weren’t disappointed. Our relationship didn’t end there. Through customer appreciation events (great food and prizes), newsletters and other resources, we stay connected. Also, if we have a question about market trends or need a contact for everything from a mortgage broker for refinancing or a plumber, we send an email or pick up a phone for a quick response—in practice, this team is really a network of businesses that work well together to meet the many needs of the customer. This is what the relationship between customer and realtor should look like, but seldom does. If we buy or sell again, we know who we’re calling—Team Lally! Joe & Tammy Waligura.”
“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.”
“I walked away from my property three years ago and assumed that it would get foreclosed upon or just disappear….Three years later I was contacted by a tenant that was being rented the condo from a company that was operating illegally and claimed to have ownership of it….I contacted Team Lally and they were able to navigate these very difficult waters: me not having paid my mortgage for three years, a company claiming ownership, the condo association not happy because they were not paid for three years…Team Lally worked through all of this to complete a short sale of the property and I paid virtually nothing…I worked with other real estate companies in the past and Team Lally blows them away, I would highly recommend them for all your real estate needs”
“Adrienne, Attilio, and Howard worked hard and patiently to get my condo sold. Despite working through hours where it was difficult to reach me in Boston. Their phone calls, emails, and use of the docusign system set the stage for the sale in a tough market. Thanks once again for your helpfulness and professionalism.”
“First conversation with Attilio Leonardi was a no pressure sales call. He was patient with all my questions, not hurried, and very knowledgeable about the short sale process. That helped establish trust and confidence in hiring their team. Other members of the team, with special mention to Howard Nett, all contributed to the successful negotiation. The short sale process was all together long and tedious; but as long as you commit to your part as a seller (i.e. providing necessary paperwork in a timely manner), team Lally will make the process as smooth and painless as possible with their professionalism.”
“The Agents at Team Lally are experts in their field. Whether you’re looking to sell your home or buy one, these guys have a great team to take care of you throughout the entire transaction. Even if you looking just to get more information – I’d suggest to give them a ring and they can point you in the right direction.”
“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”