Client Testimonials

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 clients are saying about us!

From Laura and Jim:

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-distant, 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 and Jim

From Igor, Arlington, VA:

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!

From Suzann, Blue Jay, CA:

Since I wasn’t sure who to write about my experience as a client of Laure McElwee, I used Laure’s e-mail. I feel it is important to write about Laure’s client service because it was so exceptional.

Part of my business is investing and managing real estate. Consequently, I have encountered many real estate agents, mostly in California. I can unequivocally say that I have never, yes, never had an agent with the honesty, forthrightness and sensitivity that Laure has shown. When I listed my house with her, she was prompt in getting all of the steps completed to promote my house. There were two escrows opened. The first one looked promising, but very soon Laure warned me the buyer may be a “reluctant” one. Sure enough, about a week later, the buyer backed out. However, Laure had two back ups waiting. The successful buyer was moved seamlessly through escrow with Laure volunteering information to me along the way to ensure I was clear on the progress in the title company. When I asked questions, she responded within the hour. And, Laure was on good terms with the buyer’s agent and the buyer. It was a good experience for both the buyer and myself. A feeling of win/win. I would definitely recommend Laure to any family member or friend. Laure is very professional, yet she is sincerely interested and tuned into people.

Suzann Foster

From Denise, Gilbert, AZ:

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.

From Genny, Santa Barbara, CA:


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,


From Isabelle, Pleasanton, CA:

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,


From John and Kirk, New York, NY:

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 and Kirk