Here at First Island Realty, we strive to do our best for you, but don’t take our word for it – here’s what some of our customers are saying about us:
“ Laure was a godsend. She showed us multiple listings and zeroed in on the place that was perfect for us. Having personal insight to island living and the ability to direct us in the direction that fulfilled our needs. A total pro from the first introduction to finalizing of the deal and beyond. Thank you so much!!!”
- Jo S.
“ After the first year working with First Island Realty, I can say out of three management agencies for my Kona Reef condo they have been the most personal and professional. It’s not easy to find a good agency when your living in another state but I found an agency I can trust. In fact Lori McNeel remodel my condo and it looks great. James has been very helpful when I have questions or concern and just recently I needed a new water heater and it ordered and installed in one day. Very happy”
- Sandra C.
Professional & Dynamic
“ Laure is an extremely professional and dynamic realtor who understands the island and the special needs of mainland buyers. From offer to closing she was there to handle everything we could not with utmost efficiency and aloha spirit.”
- David K.
“ Mark was in constant communication with me and was so incredibly quick to answer all of my questions, no matter how silly! The amenities here were awesome and so very much appreciated -- they have everything you could possibly need.. I felt very much at home here.. I loved everything about this house and can’t recommend First Island Realty enough!”
“ Laure has been phenomenal! Highly recommend her services and could not be happier with our experience. Laure is a one stop shop from helping us with our home choice, making the closing simple simple and then managing the property. If there was a rating higher than a 5 I would give that to her. She is experienced and dedicated to making sure that EVERYTHING goes smoothly and seamlessly. Her experience with the island and the areas was awesome. We could not be happier with choosing Laure to be our realtor and over and beyond!”
- Karen W.
“ Laure McElwee is a very professional real estate agent. She is very knowledgeable of the island and works well to help her clients. I highly recommend "lava Laure" for all your real estate needs.”
- Nicole W.
Laure goes above and beyond!
“ My husband and I recently worked with Laure to buy a house in Kona. We had planned to vacation in Kona in April and decided that we would look for a house while we were there. I read many reviews of many realtors on Zillow and Realtor before deciding who I would work with. I was looking for someone who had been a realtor on the island for more than 10 years, had good reviews, worked with clients long-distance, and who had good follow-through. I narrowed my list down to 2 or 3 realtors and decided to contact Laure first. I am very glad that I did. She has been wonderful to deal with. About a week before I was due to arrive, she sent me several listings in my price range. I would email her back my opinions of the property (this one is on too busy of a street, this one has a bigger yard than we want to take care of, etc) and she quickly got a feel for what we wanted. When we arrived on island, she devoted herself to showing us the houses we had selected to view. She was very observant and would pick up on our likes and dislikes. She never made us feel pressured to buy something and was always happy to answer questions and to research something if she did not know the answer. We decided to make an offer on a house that needed a lot of work. Laure volunteered to line up workers to fix the house up before we arrived. When the owners were not willing to accept our offer, we decided to pass on the house. Laure took it all in stride and did not pressure us to pay more for the house than we felt comfortable about. There were 3 houses that we ended up viewing 2 or 3 times each. Again, Laure was happy to show them to us, multiple times. She knew when to give us time to walk through the house on our own so we could talk privately and when to walk with us to offer advice and answer questions. I know she was working with other clients at the time, but she made us feel like we had her undivided attention. After a few back and forth offers on a second house, we were in escrow. Since we were back in California, Laure handled a lot for us. She uses the DocuShare service which allows you to digitally sign all documents. It was so easy to use. She arranged for an inspector to inspect the house for us. She was there with him so she could report his findings to us and answer any questions. When we started to get nervous about a few issues, she calmed our fears. She walked us through every step of the process. Now that we are all moved in, we still call on Laure for recommendations and suggestions and she always responds quickly. She is a wealth of knowledge and a good friend to have. She goes above and beyond. If you are looking to buy or sell property on the west coast of the Big Island, I highly recommend Laure McElwee!”
- Laura & Jim C.
“ I am writing as a condo owner who uses this agency to manage my condo. I've been very pleased with the way this agency has extended their Aloha spirit to guests. Mark will meet guests at the condo, help them get registered, and see that they get settled in. I've known him to be dependable and responsive when a visitor has a question or problem or if any unforeseen circumstance arises. I want the people who rent my condo to have a wonderful visit and I trust First Island Realty to do all they can to make sure visitors have a pleasant experience.”
- Karen K.
Relocating made easy!
“ Moving anywhere can be a difficult challenge. But relocating from the mainland to the Big Island of Hawaii can seem daunting! We were so lucky to have Laure as a referral from our friends! She made the process so easy and even helped me with the documentation for my dogs to move! Laure knows Kona like the back of her hand, she is quick with areas to show you, and responds to all calls and texts immediately. She has made us feel so completely welcomed to the islands, it feels like home already. If you're even thinking about a move to paradise, call Laure for sure!”
- Kris K.
Above and Beyond
“ Laure goes above and beyond expectation. She is extremely professional and caring. She puts her heart into her job to deliver exceptional service and client satisfaction. I will always be grateful to Laure for helping my daughter and I find our perfect home in a distressed and turbulent market, she made it smooth sailing for us!!! Thanks Laure!!!”
- Dr. Aloha
Hardworking, Honest, Knows the Market
“ Laure is hardworking, honest, and knows the market. The idea of buying my first home was very scary at first, but Laure was able to identify any issues before they became a problem and made the buying process smooth and stress free. I would recommend working with Laure because she will work for you and always put your interest before her own.”
- Jose R.
“ Fate (or mechanical issues with our plane) left us without a place for the night. We scrambled to find a place just to rest our heads and ended up in a place that made the delay a wonderful experience. While we were scrambling with airline logistics we made contact with our host and he was more than accommodating and met us within the hour to make sure we had what we needed for our stay. The house was perfect for our gang (5 of us) but would have easily accommodated more. The games, books and decor made everyone feel welcome. The view of the water from the kitchen and balcony the next morning turned a travel nightmare into a great extension of our trip! we all got a great night of sleep after a meal, some games and family time! Highly recommend!”
“ Laure was amazing. Perfectly tempered for picky, indecisive buyers. Super patient, flexible, knowledgeable and dependable. She quickly responded to all of our many, many questions. She advocated for us, the buyers, rather than focusing on her own agenda.”
“ I just hopped over from Maui for the week and stayed in one of their beautiful vacation homes for the second time (by the way I did not want to leave) and boy was I impressed! The condo was sparkling clean and very well appointed. My family stays all over the world and I am very picky about accommodations and they knocked my socks off!! We have already reserved the same condo for the kids in March. Thank you so much First Island Realty for exceeding our expectations!”
- Lori N.
Found the perfect property in Paradise
“ Aloha Laure, I just wanted to thank you again for all your help with finding us the perfect property in Paradise. Being on the mainland, we have had to rely on your opinion and expertise to make a decision. You have been our eyes and knew exactly what we wanted in a 2nd home. We have just spent a wonderful 2 weeks in our new home and had the best vacation. Thank you again for being such a professional and we will be sure to refer you to all our friends and family who are considering investing on the Big Island of Hawaii. Best regards,”
- Isabelle F.
“ Laure was absolutely great to deal with. She always responds quickly to any questions or concerns, and continues to be very helpful whenever we need assistance. She knows the area well and has made our transition to our new home very stress free.”
“ Laure helped me buy my first home and was amazing throughout the whole process. She answered all my questions, walked me through everything step by step, and made for an easy and smooth transaction. I got a great deal and love my new home!”
- Nick W.
“ Very nice house, very uncomplicated check in/check out. Professional cleaning. Great management.”
“ The pictures are very accurate, and the host (First Island Realty) was helpful whenever we needed anything.”
Helped find our perfect home
“ I'm so glad that we had Laure help us find our perfect home on Big Island. Buying our first home was so scary and nerve wracking that we weren't sure we could do it, thankfully for Laure and her team at First Island Realty we made it possible! Laure's outgoing personality helped us come out of our shell and share with her what we wanted for our first home. Laure walked us through every step of the way, and explained anything that we were unsure of. Laure is very knowledgeable and really got to know us and our needs. We really appreciate the whole team and recommend to all my friends and family looking to buy their home in paradise.”
- Yessica B.
“ These folks mean business. I researched and contacted about a dozen other property management companies, First Island was the first to respond, even though it was well past business hours and on the weekend. The second indicator that First Island was going to win my business was speaking with Mark, he had just the right blend of personable and business, plus, he arrived at my condo on time when it came to inspecting the place and going over more of the specifics. Mark made such a great impression in person that I cancelled my other appointments with the other potential companies and signed on the spot. What happened next really blew my away, within just a week or so, First Island had my place up and running. They handled the replacement of the fridge, setup my wireless internet, purchased extra towels, decor, installed light kits in the ceiling fans (didn't even charge me labor) etc... in that short period of time and handled it hassle free from my end, which I like, they know what they're doing, and kept track of ALL receipts. The first folks to rent the place were in there within two weeks and I was floored that it began to get booked immediately. Price wise, these folks are competitive and when you factor in the attention to detail, it is actually quite the bargain. The owner interface they provide is intuitive and the payment system is very straightforward. I am so impressed that I am already looking forward to having them manage my next investment property, in fact, I plan on using them for the purchase as well. Hats off to the team at First Island, Laure , Mark and Krista, I couldn't ask for a more responsive and dedicated pool of talent!”
- Ivan D
Responsive & Helpful!
“ First Island Realty was extremely responsive and helpful throughout the entire booking and staying at the location process. Every question we had was answered quickly and with a friendly Hawaiian welcome.”
Patient and helpful
“ She was very patient and helpful in finding a home within my budget and was willing to show me homes in multiple areas to determine the neighborhood that best suited my needs.”
- Natalie T.
Local knowledge and experience
“ Everything about dealing with Laure was pleasure! She was extremely responsive and accessible. Her local knowledge and experience was great to rely on, and everything was handled promptly and thoroughly. Plus, she was very fun, but professional to look at properties with. It made our hunt for the best property very enjoyable. We closed with no issues and all of our questions answered. We would definitely use her again and would highly recommend her services to anyone.”
- Lisa C
“ Awesome group to work with! From our first contact all throughout our rental transaction was perfect. Everything was handled, appointments met, paperwork was all done and no issues at all! Krista and Nick took great care of us! I couldn’t be happier, they are a terrific group and I highly recommend First Island Realty!!! Thanks to them we are in our dream place!!!”
- Randall G.
“ The team is amazing!! They went out of their way to locate the perfect rental for us and even check in with us after we moved in to see if we needed anything!! I would strongly recommend First Island Realty!!!”
- Judy G.
“ Laure is fantastic! We literally called her two weeks before our visit from California and she had 15 homes ready for viewing! She stack ranked the homes based on our preferences; and sure enough the first was a dream! We closed on a beautiful home 45 days after our arrival to the Big Island! A Big Mahalo to Laure McElwee”
- Andrea R.
“ ALoha, This was our first trip to the Big Island. The property management staff was very professional, gave us all the information necessary prior to our arrival and our stay was absolutely fabulous. We took some of the excursions that they suggested, had a phenomenal time!!!! We had an ocean view from our lanai, and had dinner there, almost every night. We will definitely come back. Thanks guys!!!”
- Isabel A.
“ I just closed a loan for Ally's clients. They were first time home buyers with a growing family. To have a successful transaction communication is the key. She stays on top of updating and making sure all timelines are meet. She is a true professional and you will be taken well care of.”
- Jamaica C.
Highly Attentive and Personable
“ It is our immense pleasure to recommend Lori McNeel as a real estate agent for any individual or family searching for the ideal home for their unique situation. Lori helped us find our investment property and treated us like we were VIPs. Because of her professionalism, we turned to Lori again when searching for our forever home. She is highly talented technologically and made excellent use of the relevant search engines and real estate databases to quickly find us a variety of homes for sale in the areas in which we were interested. She did not waste our time with homes that were out of our price range or not in line with our needs. A master with the contract negotiations, Lori came up with a deal that was good for us and made the seller happy as well, especially in the current market situation. She knows the big island like the back of her hand. There is nothing that escapes Lori’s attention when it comes to property for sale in this area. We found Lori to be a highly attentive agent, almost as if we were her only customers, although we know that was not the case. She returned all phone calls and emails the same day. We never felt neglected or unimportant. She is also highly personable with an engaging personality. We are pleased to recommend Lori McNeel to anyone looking to buy or sell a home. She is hands down the best in the business in our opinion and if we ever need to move again she will be our first choice in real estate agents.”
- Kerry C.
“ Dear Laure, We are so pleased with our new property in Hilo. It took a lot of hard work on your part and we truly appreciate it. You are the “Best” Realtor we have ever dealt with and cannot thank you enough. Take care,”
- John & Kirk
Will book again!
“ I rented property from this agency for my family visiting from California! I was very impressed with their service and professionalism. They made sure my family had access to information on all of the local activities and events. Their rates are the best and we already booked another property for next years visit! Aloha”
- Chris V.
“ We had a great experience renting from First Island. Laure was a joy to work with and I would not hesitate to work with her in the future. She was easy to work with and very fair.”
- Melissa B.
“ Highly recommend. Very easy to work with and she knows the island well. We used lava Laura to buy a house in the Kona area. Always on time and was quick to follow up.”
- Michael R.
Laure is DA THING!
“ Throughout the whole process Laure has been amazing – always there (to begin with!); answering my questions/requests sometimes in the middle of the night (to the point of my starting to wonder when she actually slept…); totally transparent all along the way (as opposed to my previous agent who preferred to keep as many secrets from me as he could); etc. – you name it. Since I had to conduct the whole transaction as a long-distance one from the East coast, she was able to provide for every single detail, recommending me home inspectors, insurance agents, handymen and so on. If you have the good luck to deal with Laure, the most important thing is – in my opinion – that you will be able to trust her and rely on her. Is there a better thing to look for in a real estate agent? Oh, experience, of course… She’s got 11 years of it. In conjunction with another real estate broker, Laure has been able to get me a direct oceanfront property under the asking price (it was a short sale, which is a BIG problem in and of itself; you know this if you’ve ever tried to take part in that process.) I believe I’ve simply been lucky with Laure. You might want to shoot for that to, and so take my advice: Laure is DA THING!”
- Igor L.
Two thumbs up!!
“ I can't say enough about Laure. She knows her stuff like nobody else. If you are looking for a property on the Big Island, she is definitely your go-to person. She guided us to an outstanding and knowledgeable source to aid us in obtaining a USDA Rural Loan. Without the referral she provided, it would have been impossible to make our home purchase a reality. We arrived on island in January to look at the property we eventually purchased and she treated us like we were special buyers...always there to answer questions and chauffeur us all the way down to the "Southernmost City in the United States" (Naalehu) and all the while providing a narrative of Island customs, wildlife and flora. TWO THUMBS UP!!”
- Suzan D.
“ Had an AMAZING experience at the Magic Sands condo! The staff was extremely helpful and even mailed my sunglasses I left in the room back to me when I was home. 5/5 stars, and recommending them to all my friends and family!”
- Austin N.
“ This is the 3rd investment property that we bought with Laure on the Big Island. She is extremely knowledgeable and is always able to give us all necessary info, pictures/video tours, sale comparables so that we can make our real estate financial decisions from California. She is a real pro, especially when it comes to follow up & following through. She is also "perfection" when it comes to handling all our property management needs, we don't know what we would do without her 🙂 Thank you so much, Laure. We really appreciate you!”
- Myriam A.
Saved me from difficult tenants
“ In March of 2018 I was experiencing many problems with difficult Tenants on a property I had been managing myself for over 10 years. None of the property managers I contacted in Kona, and there were many, were willing to help me. No one wanted to “inherit my problems”. The other property managers said to get an attorney, get ‘em out, and call me when they are gone. Then I called Laure, via her Just Listed card marketing a unit she had just listed for sale in my complex. I was looking for a property manager and I explained my situation. She said, “No problem! I can help you!” For me, I was in a nightmare situation with really bad people. But, four months of stress was turned around immediately when I found Laure. The long and short of it is that the Tenants were out in about a month’s time without the assistance of an attorney. I am extremely grateful for Laure’s expertise, confidence, and can do attitude - unlike anyone I have met. What she said she could do - she has done!!! Then, once the tenants were gone, Laure and Mark got right to work. In a very short period of time they had the unit cleaned, prepped, and advertised for the next tenant. In less then two weeks time it was under a new, long-term rental contract with First Island Realty. Amazing! Laure has my vote all day, every day! Thank you Laure! The only thing better than this would be to have known her years ago. Laure would have saved me a lot of money and undue stress all these years, for sure! 5 star service”
- Shelly S.
“ The host responds quickly and shows what Aloha means. They accommodated to our requests and needs. Much mahalo!”
- Lygia C.
Service Above and Beyond the Call
“ We had a great stay at Keauhou Punahele! The location was great--close to the airport and restaurants and literally walking distance to the Keauhou Bay Marina, the Kahaluu Beach Park, and the fabulous luau at the Sheraton. The condo was very spacious and very tastefully decorated. We enjoyed hanging out in the living room and dining room. The bedrooms were comfortable and the bathrooms well appointed. The kitchen was very well equipped and efficiently laid out. The barbecue grill and the fully furnished lanai were much appreciated and frequently used. Plus, beach towels, beach chairs, and a cooler to borrow for our day at the beach! Delivering service above and beyond the call, both Mark and Nick were there when we needed them--very responsive and super helpful. Keauhou Punahele was a perfect place to stay for our four perfect days in Kona.”
Would never use any other realtor
“ Laure showed us several houses in Kukio for our second home and we are so pleased with her knowledge and professionalism. We haven't made an offer YET, with that said we will and would never use any other realtor. If you have a chance to work with Laure McElwee, don't pass it up!”
- Lori E.
“ Last minute booking was made easy by our very responsive host who also was able to go above and beyond to accommodate our group.”
“ Laure and her team have done a first class job managing my family's property in Kona!”
- Bart C.
“ I would just like to give a review of my experience with first island reality. My first contact with this company was three years ago when I decided to move to HAWAII from San Diego California. I spoke with Laure on the phone and we decided to meet when I got there in a couple of weeks. We met and she ended up showing me properties to rent but my decision was to buy a condo instead. She found me a beautiful condo that fit my needs. It was completely redone and fully furnished. I lived there for 6 months when I needed to return to the mainland to take care of my 90 year old mother in Florida. I was very concerned about having to leave and was forced to rent my condo. I have been a landlord before with properties in San Diego and I know how hard it can be to find good tenants. Some tenants can be wonderful, others can be unbelievably disrespectful to your property I was definitely concerned. Laure was very reassuring that she would find me a wonderful tenant. Within days she found me that wonderful tenant. I unfortunately was unable to return to my new home in Hawaii as soon as I wanted to. I needed to stay with my mother and I had to deal with medical issues for myself that have kept me around my doctors in San Diego. Long story short. First Island Realty has been managing my condo for the last three years and has found me several wonderful tenants. I have had no issues and when little things do come up this company is quick to reply and resolve the issue. I was so concerned about having to rely on someone to handle my property when I am so far away but First island Realty has definitely been a positive and I would highly recommend them to manage your property or to find your perfect Hawaiian home.”
- Laurie T.
Laure is Fabulous!
“ Laure: You are a fabulous real estate agent … always responding to our questions and always letting us know what was happening and why. It took a couple of months to find just the right place and you were always there to communicate by email and phone. You are an exceptional Realtor for people living at a distance who need your expertise and timely communication!!! And … I found you while surfing the Internet looking at Hawaii properties last fall … in expectation of our selling our rental here in Santa Barbara. Your logo came up with a pines view house, I emailed you, you responded and this was the first one you showed to Marah … way back … I think it was #180 but can’t remember … anyway it started us thinking about buying in Hawaii instead of reinvesting here in Santa Barbara. Now we have our own great place. Thank you again so much … wishing you all the best … when we finally get to Kona I will definitely look you up and meet you face to face to thank you again,”
- Genny A.
Someone who actually cares
“ If you're looking for Person to put you on a direct path to finding a place to stay that's right for you the I would 100% would recommend this Realtor Agency. Mark was amazing, he was quick, straight forward, and most importantly he did everything he could to make our experience perfect. He took so many extra steps to make us comfortable including finding ad's for utilities we were in search for and setting up our rental to perfection. After looking at so many places and dealing with shady management and having so many application go to waste it was amazing to find someone who actually cared and was reliable.”
- Gage H.
Most Responsive Realtor
“ Laure was the most responsive realtor we found on the island. Others wanted us to meet them at their office and look through ” their” listings. Not Laure, she took us only to places that fit our criteria, making the process efficient for us. Laure kept in touch with us all throughout the process, since we live off island. She went way beyond in helping us with a lot of local contacts to help us to continue to keep our property as a vacation rental, and we had no past experience doing this! Laure has remained in touch with us even after the closing, and is still just as quick to anwer questions now as feuding the sale process, a sign of a real estate agent with true integrity, or Laure just knows what it means to do good business! I would recommend Laure to my family and friends.”
- Denise D.
“ She was very knowledgeable on a more sophisticated transaction and provided a great deal of assistance in helping with our due diligence of a property. Documents were gathered at our request and we were put in touch with local professionals who advised us on our final decision regarding the property.”
- Jane S.
Will definitely stay again!
“ Awesome location - very clean with everything you’ll need for your stay including snorkeling equipment! The view was simply amazing - we will definitely return!”
“ We have never met Laure in person, but we soon found her to be a very trust-worthy person. We purchased a piece of land remotely (from mainland) and she was very responsive and addressed all our concerns. She handled the transaction with expertise and professionalism. She also did her best to minimize our worries. We would definitely recommend her to our friends.”
- Athena G.
“ Yes, contact this professional. Laure understands client needs and responds quickly and with integrity. Most helpful with questions and goes beyond what is necessary to make clients feel comfortable with their choices and hers. She has been a world of knowledge to my family, as we knew very little about Hawaii before moving here. We have been here for 3 months now and I still call her for advise. She has been happy to help me.”
- Pat A.
“ I came from Santa Barbara, California and I was so excited to be on the Big Island. I rented a condo from this company on a shorter notice than usual and it turned out to be better than I could ever imagine. Everything was spotless and the furniture was beautiful. The communication was spot on and very helpful and informative. This vacation was the best I have ever had to the Big Island and I look forward to renting with this company again! Thank you so much for a great vacation.”
- Hana W.
“ Professional, courteous and very knowledgeable. It seemed it is her personal goal to put you in the house best suited for the clients needs and wants, not just to sell a home. Would not deal with anyone else.”
- Larry S.
Approachable, Professional, Knowledgeable
“ When you meet Laure, you will feel like you have known her for years. She is extremely approachable and friendly. I would highly recommend working with Laure. Her professionalism and knowledge on Real Estate is exceptional. Her responsiveness on calls, email and any information you might need she is right on task.”
- Subucni O.