Real Estate One-stop Shop

By Dass Ramadass
Wednesday - March 12, 2008
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The Hawaiian Properties team
The Hawaiian Properties team (front, from left) Francine Martinez, Dass Ramadass, Lily Narusawa, Bill Spotts. (back) Gavin Lai, Frank Tokioka II, Kevin Agena, Donald Garwood, Richard Char, John Popovich

By Dass Ramadass
President of Hawaiian Properties Ltd.

So you’re an intern. You’re spending time in-between semesters to find out how the real world works. You’re the go-fer. You do what other people tell you to do. You learn a lot, but do you think you’ll be president of the company one day? It might look like a long shot. But I want to tell you that you can do it.

I did.

I started my career at Hawaiian Properties as an intern. I’d come to Hawaii from my home-town, Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia. I thought I’d spend the summer studying at Hawaii Pacific University before going to London to study law. Before I knew it, the summer had turned into semesters and the semesters into years.

Today, 21 years later, I’m still at Hawaiian Properties. Our real estate and property management company has grown from managing 1,000 units in 1986 to 16,000 properties. It’s now the largest locally owned full-service property management firm in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Properties began as National Mortgage and Finance Co., founded in 1929 by Masayuki Tokioka, the first Japanese American to graduate from Harvard Business School. Mr. Tokioka’s first clients were Asian immigrants who had difficulty obtaining conventional financing. National Mortgage trusted them to make good on their loans, and soon the company expanded into insurance.

It didn’t take long before National Mortgage clients became prosperous enough to own property, so Mr. Tokioka went into the property management business to help them. His belief in meeting client needs with hard work, fairness and honesty guides Hawaiian Properties today. So does his approach to earning customer trust through reliable and responsive service at a reasonable cost.

At Hawaiian Properties, we’re always looking for ways to manage condominium fees. For example, we’re now examining ways to use Hawaiian Electric incentives to save energy and lower electricity costs. To ensure the best customer service, we’re focusing on quality training for our property managers. I learned a lot from mentors in the company, and I want to make sure our new employees can benefit from knowledge shared by our more experienced and seasoned staff.

Because we’ve listened to our customers, we’ve been able to expand our services from managing individual residences, condominium associations and commercial buildings to vacation rentals, government housing, and sales and brokerage. Whether you want someone to take good care of your real estate investment or you want to buy or sell, Hawaiian Properties offers a one-stop shop for all your real estate needs in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Properties’ slogan is “Building relationships that last.” I am proud that we have many property owners who have been with us for more than 30 years. Making sure we meet our clients’ needs is our No. 1 priority. That’s how our founder, Masayuki Tokioka, built the business.

Sometimes I think about what could have been if I did go to London and law school. But I’ve realized that helping our owners and building managers solve day-to-day problems is what keeps me challenged ... and happy in this job. This is one of Hawaiian Properties’ relationships that I think will last for a long time.


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