Buying, selling, and renting real estate in Japan while dealing with language and cultural barriers can pose a formidable challenge for anyone seeking to break into the market. Luckily, for those in the Tokyo area, RE/MAX Amistad can help its clients meet their real estate needs without the obstacles. The agency specializes in helping international clients make their property-related dreams a reality.
The real estate brokerage’s commitment to serving the international community of Tokyo is tied to RE/MAX’s global reach, which extends to more than 100 countries. RE/MAX is a US-based real estate brokerage agency that operates through a franchise system both domestically and internationally. Over the past decade, the multinational association has been chartered in locations all over the world, including Japan—RE/MAX Amistad was launched here the same year. Continuing in RE/MAX’s 45-year tradition of outstanding work in the field, the staff from the Japanese affiliate strive to make the local real estate market accessible to foreign clientele. The company’s mantra—“transparency, trust, and professionalism”—resonates with newcomers to Tokyo and long-term residents alike.
Focused on Clients’ Happiness
The RE/MAX standard is to take a “human-centric” approach in all countries where it operates, which is key to the success of its overseas branches. According to RE/MAX Amistad Managing Director Tsuyoshi Hikichi, this people-first approach to business is the heart of the franchise’s success. “We are really focused on clients’ happiness and satisfaction. For example, if you are having trouble finding an apartment, as long as you are able to inform me of your budget and other criteria that are important to you, I will keep searching until I find what you’re looking for. This is what makes a major difference in how we do business, and it sets us apart from other agencies.”
With more than 18 years’ experience in Japanese real estate, Hikichi is well equipped to navigate the market on clients’ behalf and cites RE/MAX philosophies as a major influence on how his branch does business. “I get most of my ideas from the US, actually,” he said. “We attend a RE/MAX ‘university,’ where we can learn about marketing and how other agents in the States work. We have also attended a yearly RE/MAX convention in Las Vegas, which has been very informative.”
Pillars of Support
Along with Hikichi, the firm is staffed by a group of industry professionals, including Aki Shimizu, who is dedicated to providing excellent client service as a licensed real estate salesperson. Shimizu prides herself in helping clients overcome the traditional hurdles associated with buying, selling, or renting property. She is passionate about being involved in every step of the process, as the satisfaction clients get from finding the right property is a great source of motivation for her.
“It’s often challenging for foreign buyers and sellers to understand the details of sales transactions in Japan but answering every single question they have and being straightforward about the process definitely helps to create trust,” Shimizu explains. “This is one of the reasons I work with many overseas buyers and sellers; even though we have never met in person, I’m always grateful to them for trusting me.”
Shimizu has worked in real estate in New York City at one of the biggest firms in the metropolitan area. In Tokyo, she has been able to further hone her skills and develop her passion for real estate. Addressing her international work experience’s impact on her career development, Shimizu explained: “The agency where I worked in New York was very, very competitive, but I still enjoyed it. At one point I realized that, even though I was a foreigner in New York, I worked with everyone—from locals to people at my agency. And through those interactions I realized that it doesn’t matter where you’re from: as long as you show how much you care about them and communicate sincerely with clients and those around you, you’ve found the key to business success.”
Naomi Fukuda, another experienced agent at RE/MAX, has also benefited greatly from her international experience, both traveling abroad and working closely with Tokyo residents from around the world. “I’ve traveled a lot, and the support I’ve received from locals in the different places I’ve been has inspired me, upon my return to Japan, to support the international community that resides in Japan,” Fukuda said. “It’s a great joy to be a pillar of support to them.” Fukuda worked in the travel and real estate industries for more than 25 years. She integrates her work background, her drive to support clients, and an open ear to their specific needs. “I make sure to talk with my clients a lot and familiarize myself with who they are as people as well as the criteria they are looking for in a property, and use that knowledge to conduct my search, taking into account their feedback along the way until we find the best property for them.”
Above all, RE/MAX Amistad’s people-first approach has not only allowed the franchise to become a leading real estate agency in Tokyo and a significant aid to the city’s international community. With their unwavering commitment to superb customer service, the agency makes every step of navigating the real estate market trouble-free and ensures that clients are satisfied.