While working at a real estate developer which he had been a part of since the beginning, Mr. Bando led the company to go public from his position as second in command. Utilizing skills and brimming with vitality as a real estate professional, he pushed the company into a growth stage before he left and became independent. He established Post Lintel Co., Ltd in 2017. The company grew through its business of offering superior-value investment real estate in Japan to Asia’s wealthy class, and is now progressing into a new phase. We asked Mr. Bando for his thoughts about his business as he aims to obtain reliable information from the market and further grow his company.
― Please tell us a bit about your business activities.
We propose investment real estate in Japan to overseas investors such as REIT (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and private placement funds, primarily in Asia. The proposals span a wide range including investment consulting for commercial real estate, real estate management, project consulting focused on the post-development phase, land development, and project management starting from construction. More than 80% of the properties we handle are cross-border transactions involving overseas customers in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
I was in charge of overseas business in my previous job at a real estate company, and engaged with customers from more than 10 countries. I learned two important facts: Japan real estate has an extremely high relative value from a global perspective, and there are few entrepreneurs who are capable of facilitating cross-border transactions. I noticed that while there are major corporations involved with large-scale projects of 10s of billion yen or more, and individual business owners involved with small-scale projects of tens of million yen, there are few businesses dealing in the intermediate range of around 1 to 3 billion yen. I identified the potential for business in that area, and utilized it to achieve growth.
―Have there been any trends or changes in your customer base in recent years?
Previously many of our customers were managers of private placement funds or operating companies, however now the trend is shifting to institutional investors such as insurance companies and REITs. In particular during the past year since the start of the pandemic, these changes have been accelerating.
For example, there are growing numbers of institutional investors with asset sizes of more than 100 billion yen, who are paying attention to Japan real estate as a potential investment and are cooperating with our company. We are seeing increasing inquiries regarding possible properties in the 5 billion yen range by investors who have become attracted by our company's business record with overseas funds and investors in Asia. In part due to these market conditions, our company has seen large growth in sales in recent years, and I think it is fair to say that we are in a full-scale growth phase.
―What are the reasons for this growth?
One reason is the trust which we have earned from that the Japanese real estate companies selling property. This has enabled us to acquire high-quality properties.
When our company was first established, there were a large number of sellers who felt reluctant and did not want to sell to overseas customers even if the financial terms were good. As a result of maintaining careful communication while slowly building relationships of trust with the sellers, customers have told us that as long as Post Lintel is involved they are willing to sell to overseas customers. Becoming able to deal in large-scale, high-quality properties owned by financial group real estate companies is one very large element driving our company’s growth.
―How were you able to obtain this kind of trust?
We did not do anything special. Trust is not something you can buy with money; it can only be built up through conducting each and every transaction carefully and with maximum good faith. We simply handled our business with the customers in such a way that this feeling began to develop gradually, building up trust piece by piece.
At a small company such as ours, our strengths are not in areas such as AI and IT technologies. What is important is relationships of trust between individuals, and the most important point is whether or not the seller can understand your ideals and sincerity. Once customers were willing to entrust us with high-quality properties, the extensive contacts that our company already had with overseas customers became a strength, and we were able to complete transactions that fully satisfied the sellers, further increasing the level of trust.