While it is always intriguing to hear of the recent success of a brand or company, it is through understanding the journey rather than the destination of that success that tells the true story. Having spent many years within the real estate industry, I have always been impressed by the manner in which leaders leveraged their business acumen to provide the best possible homes for the renters everywhere. One such industry pioneer is Josh Welch, Founder and Managing Principal of Three Pillars Capital Group.
Welch was able to build a multi-million dollar valued real estate private equity firm through cultivating a philanthropic approach to business operations, building a strong, trusted network, and creating value to clients through innovative methods. He aims to excel in multiple areas in Three Pillar Capital Group, where his vision and growing knowledge in the multifamily industry has helped in his business soaring to new heights.
Josh’s grand vision of Three Pillars Capital Group is to fundamentally change real estate investment and property management to ultimately add value back to the resident. My rendezvous with him uncovered numerous stories of his journey and plans of his future which truly justifies the success of his company.
Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to establish Three Pillars Capital Group?
I’ve always had a passion for real estate and transforming properties into beautiful living spaces and communities that residents are proud to call home. Even from my early days as an engineer and quantitative analyst on Wall Street, I was always hustling and working around the clock to acquire rental properties that could be transformed through smart and economically efficient strategies.
Not only to bring in more rental revenue but also to better tenants and [increase] valuations when it came time to sell the assets. My ability to analyze and underwrite as well as my experience working in investment banking have helped in speeding up my transition into apartment investing, and the creation of Three Pillars.
Three Pillars was really just an extension of the success I had created and the lessons I learned while investing purely on my own. I learned that focusing on well thought out real estate investments with an emphasis on providing elegant, classy, and affordable living were the keys to providing phenomenal return and wealth creation.
As the Managing Principal of Three Pillars, what are the key areas you focus in terms of business development?
There are many areas that we strive to excel in that make Three Pillars Capital Group a great company. The main focus, however, is the Team. Without great people around you who can grab a hold of the same vision and treat it as their own, our company would be nothing.
We have a very strict recruiting philosophy from director positions all the way down to ground staff to ensure we are getting only the best people who have the same sense of ownership we do and desire for excellence. The other areas of focus are innovation and creative thinking. We are always looking to do things differently than our competitors to give ourselves an edge. Real estate is a very competitive industry and the ability to differentiate yourself is absolutely crucial to success.
As the Founder of a successful company, what are the biggest challenges you faced in your journey so far?
There have been several challenges to getting where we are today. Recently, the challenges of government mandates surrounding eviction moratoriums have been the greatest. Additionally, with the COVID pandemic, trying to scale the business rapidly has been difficult because there is just so much in our path trying to prevent this.
Investors are nervous for a multitude of reasons with investments of any kind, the lending environment has changed dramatically, and people are overall scared. That’s why we remain diligent on delivering great performance in these tough times so that we can prove to our investors by our ability to thrive despite the headwinds. They need to know that we are here to stay and will prevail through anything.
Many entrepreneurs say that every crisis brings opportunities with itself. What positive contributions do you think today’s crisis may create for the real-estate industry?
The current crisis our world is in now is not the first crisis to ever hit real estate. From the Savings and Loan crisis in the late ’80s to early ’90s to the meltdown of real estate prices in the 2008 crisis, the industry has suffered significant blows in recent decades but has always recovered stronger and better. Those who were in tune with what was really going on were able to alter their business plans and survive through those periods.
We see the current crisis as one that will allow those who are well-capitalized and have solid collection strategies with rents to thrive. There will be many small landlords who will be forced to give up their properties because they are not able to collect rents. With so many of these situations happening over the next few months, the government will have to step up and put in better protection for landowners and landlords moving forward so that they are not left holding the bag next time.
This will be a positive development in the future of real estate professionals despite the pain that many are going through now to get there. We also see that there are a lot of attractive opportunities that will come onto the market soon as a result.
We are aware of your customer-centric and philanthropic approach; how do you implement that in your business operations?
We always put the customer first. This is a must in any business. By focusing on providing the best product for the price to our residents, we know we will always be able to perform and do well. The fact we implement luxury class A style finishes in our apartments just proves that we will go above and beyond for our customers. And it doesn’t just end with the quality of our renovations. It also goes all the way down to our top-notch customer service which is implemented through extensive training with our staff.
What would you like the people to know about your company Greenline Apartment Management that communicates your vision for the sustainability of properties?
We want people to know that Greenline Apartment Management treats each property as if it is the only property we manage and that we want to create a class A, top-notch living experience no matter the profile of our residents.
There’s an unfortunate stigma with class B and C apartment communities where most people think they are run down, poorly managed, and provide only basic amenities because that is what the working class expects. We want Greenline to be the company that bucks this trend, erases the stigma and shines as a company that creates beautiful homes for everyone no matter how high or low their income is.
What’s your single most important advice for young companies attempting to establish themselves in real estate?
Find a niche within the industry that you are crazy passionate about. Don’t try to establish yourself in something that doesn’t make you want to work hard every day because that will just lead to burnout and eventual defeat. Realize that you will have to fail many times but if you keep getting back up and remain persistent, you will be able to create something great. Also, network like crazy. Real Estate is a team sport, you will not get very far if you try to do everything on your own.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We have many great projects lined up. Our next goal is to get to $1bn in assets for Three Pillars. Separately, we are starting a new division of Greenline Management called Greenline Luxury Homes. This new division seeks to provide the same level of elegant, classy, and affordable luxurious look in single-family homes.
We realize that we have created a fantastic product in our apartments, so why not make this available to everyday families who cannot afford the exorbitant prices many home remodelers charges? By providing cost-effective and affordable home remodeling, we are furthering our cause of redeveloping working-class communities.
Additionally, we are creating a 501c4 advocacy group called Americans for Growth Coalition to make a difference in the political landscape on issues that affect a majority of real estate owners as well as working-class families on issues such as income and property tax reform, a return to limited government, and free trade.