Interview With Brian Setencich, Architect & Creative Mind
1- Hello Brian, Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Brian Setencich and I’m an architect primarily working out of Chicago. I grew up in Florida and those influences are present in a good deal of my work. In my free time, I love to travel and I’ve been known to surf, raft, kayak, and many other watersports wherever I go. If I had to choose, I’d visit Australia any time I had the opportunity.
2- What pushes you to work in the Architectural field?
I’ve always had a keen eye for the finer points of what makes houses and larger scale buildings marketable. I think this perspective has been able to give me a keen edge, and I’m able to use this to my advantage. This also puts me in a great position to give back, so I regularly work on properties that are in underserved and underprivileged neighborhoods to help improve their quality of life.
3-How do you describe your work in a few words?
I take what’s old and rundown and turn it into something new that the community can be proud of.
4- How do you think new technologies like IoT is changing the future of homes?
Well, I’m sure IoT has applications, but I don’t use it often in my own endeavors. Surely applications, like pinpointing problem areas for development or sourcing the best materials, is on the horizon. What I do use in my day to day is an application that renders a 3D model of a building so I can freely add and remove on the model before taking a hammer to a wall and discovering an issue. This saves us a lot of time and money.
5- What advice would you like to give to those just starting in the real estate business?
Do your research and learn from your mistakes. This is an industry that takes no prisoners and unfortunately, the mistakes are quite costly. Be prepared to potentially lose a good deal of money on any given project, and do the appropriate research to help minimize that risk. Look into the area, the historic selling price of surrounding neighborhoods, weather patterns and floodplains, and anything else that may bring on unexpected costs.
6- Some big development firms still can’t make a decision about the importance of the new trends, what do you say about that?
I think when you grow large enough to be one of the “big firms” you run into problems with scale. It’s much easier for someone in my position with a handful of employees to implement a new processor technology than it is for a company employing countless crews on different job sites. That said, I think new trends in tools and technology can go a long way toward making a business more profitable, so it’s important to stay abreast of the latest developments.
7- In the era of the internet, what is the real value digital marketing presence for real estate flipper, while other Marketing techniques can’t?
Well, I think just existing in a digital space is really a crucial advancement in the industry. We can list our houses online with services like Zillow or Realtor.com which dramatically extends our reach while also giving us a chance to overcome the old issues with “curb appeal.” Now prospective buyers can browse a house entirely from the comfort of their couch.
8- What is the “one-word” advice you will give to our readers when it comes to succeeding at flipping homes?
Persistence. This industry is all about scale. You have to be prepared to take a loss on 1 property in the process of making a profit on 5 others. That’s just the way the business goes. There are a lot of unforeseen complications once you start digging into the bones of a house to make a renovation.
9- Do you find as an expert, that you enjoy the challenge of an industry being complex and the game rules are always changing?
Absolutely, I love looking at things from a broad view and tackling complex problems one step at a time. I think that’s why I got into this industry in the first place. A renovation is rarely as simple as replacing some carpet. It usually involves fully remodeling major aspects of a house and fully updating all the fixtures.
10- The last word or final thoughts?
Do your research, and be persistent. This applies to everyone just starting out or even those winding down their careers. It doesn’t matter what field you’re involved with, you need to be proactive and keep at it. Don’t take a loss as a failure but rather a learning opportunity. You can do it!