“Every time I succeed in opening the eyes of someone to Thailand, making them see what I see, feel what I feel towards this country and its people, that’s when I feel that all my trouble is actually worth something,” Christian says.
“Technically, you may say that I am selling them a home, but in my heart what I enjoy most is that if have found some more people, with whom to share my love of Thailand,” he laughs.
Italian family background
Christian and Stefan, his brothers and business partner in Logans Thailand Co Ltd., grew up in Sund-byberg in the greater Stockholm area in the wild seventies. According to Christian, perhaps the only difference between them and their friends was that in their family they stuck more together than most of their friends at the time.
“In our family, we cared for each other almost like you see in Italian movies,” Christian recalls.
“Our father told us also always to stick together. You can form great partnerships in business, but nothing sticks together as family, he told us.”
Since he was twelve, Christian took his fathers advice and started working together with his brother. Stefan had a small repair shop for motorcycles which Christian helped him running, and they also did various odd jobs together like driving forklifts, or repairing ships. “You name it, we’ve done it,” Christian says.
Educational wise, Christian studied construction engineering, but for some reason most of what he did professionally afterwards was within sales, marketing and administration.
Only now does it seem that there was a secret meaning behind it. Today everything he learned from studying and later from working has miraculously come together and seems to form a synthesis.
First visit in 1985
Christian’s first impression of Thailand was when he traveled here as a tourist in 1985 and immediately fell in love.
“Everybody knows Thailand is the land of smiles, but not everybody knows it is maybe even more the land of hearts,” he says.
“When I started learning the Thai language I found out that the Thais in fact have as many words for feelings involving the heart as we in Sweden have words for snow – if not more. A vast number of words are combined with the word ‘jai’ – heart,” Christian explains.
“You find it everywhere – ‘jai-yen’ or cool, jai-ron’ or hot tempered, ‘kraeng-jai’ or embarrassed, ‘sabai-jai’ or relaxed – all these and a lot more words have the word ‘jai’ or heart as part of it. Somehow, I was not surprised at all,” he recalls. “
In the beginning, from the mid 1990’s and until the economic crash in 1997, I worked in Thailand as a business consultant, matching marketing companies back in Sweden with manufacturing companies here in Thailand and vice-versa.”
“As the years went by, I realized that I was always trying hard to open the eyes of the people I was doing business with to understand more about Thailand and the Thais.”
“That is why after the crash, when the economy revived, I started in the property and construction sector where this is so essential. Nobody wants to live in a country they don’t love and among people they don’t admire and respect.”
Christian’s first real estate business idea was a Scandinavian agency, offering real estate as an agent to Scandinavians.
“That was in 2004 and I managed to sell three hundred units in the first year. Then I saw that it was time to realize the bigger dream and build the homes ourselves in the style and quality I then knew our customers were looking for.”
Today, Logans Thailand employs 1000 people in the construction business and in their head office in Bangsaen and offices elsewhere the company or group of companies employ an combined staff of 70 people.
You can still be smart
“If I have a gospel that I preach to our customers it is this: You must always keep in mind that you don’t just buy a home for yourself, you also buy it for someone else. What I mean is that your first priority should of course be to find that perfect house that fits what you want. But your second priority should be to look for what would be the perfect home for the next owner.
Location is a key word there.
“We have spent days, weeks and months deeply scrutinizing and analyzing Thailand and its infrastructure and future infrastructure and identified the best current locations for both needs – the first owner’s needs and the needs of the next guy.”
“We have cut out the currently overdeveloped area and focused on areas like Mae Phim east of Rayong, near the small town Klaeng on the coast opposite to Koh Samet. You would be surprised to find that even the current highways are developed enough to take you to the new airport in less than two hours.” What I can truly say is my strength when advising our customers is my knowledge of Thailand. I used to speak in seminars about Thailand and invited people to afterwards give me questions, anything they would like to know, and so far I have not once been asked something I did not know the answer to.
Before we started in construction, I studied up front all the laws and regulations that apply to this sector. I can truly say, that I know what I talk about. It gives me great confidence when passing advice onto others.
The Svensson’s are coming
“The people who look for a home in Thailand are mostly younger than the typical 55 ++ age group of people looking for a home in Spain. They want to do what their parents did in Spain. They see that it is also an investment. They are mostly couples, families with children.” “In five years it may very well be the Svenssons’ but as it is today, the current customers are mostly the pioneers,” Christian adds.
“They are not necessarily the most wealthy people. We have property going from 2 million baht and up to 50 million baht and not all is in the villa segment. In Mae Phim we are offering seaview apartments from 70 to 140 square meters in a seven story condominium building ranged from 3,5 to 13 million baht.”
“What they mostly have in common is, that they can recognize a good chance for them selves when they see it and also see a good chance to make money on the investment later. Some of our first homes in Bangsaen, which were sold at 4 million Baht is today selling at 6 million Baht.” he adds.
“You don’t have to shut down your brain to love Thailand. You can love Thailand and at the same time appreciate for instance the long term value of building the kind of housing quality we are used to back home.”
You can walk away
“As the years go by, I have seen so many people, so far mostly Swedish people, look into the possibility of buying a home in Thailand, and I have come to realize that for some people Thailand is not their dream come true. It certainly is for many – but of course for some it is not the life they dream of,” Christian admits. “Some simply cannot accept that everything in Thailand is not done the Swedish way. Which it is definitely not. This is Thailand and of course everything is done the Thai way, actually just like we try to explain to the immigrants in Sweden that here we do things the Swedish way.”
“But because I am Swedish and because I have lived here so many years, I can bridge the gap and explain to newcomers how things are done differently and make them not only understand but hopefully also appreciate the way we do things here.”