Marek Sepek is a real estate professional with a focus on house flipping based in Ontario, Canada. He moved to Canada from Europe in 1989 and worked in several fields while trying to find his calling. Initially, he opened a hair salon that eventually grew to a successful chain. His work renovating the salons was noticed and he began flipping homes for friends.
Marek found a real talent in renovating spaces and he decided to put his energy into that field. He sold his salons and began purchasing homes to improve and sell. His talent and demand for quality helped to grow his business into what he has today.
How did you get started in this business and what inspired you?
I was always interested in real estate. When I was younger, I would walk into a home and immediately I would start to envision how it could be changed. I could almost see it myself. A lot of my friends were in construction, all different areas. I took a risk when I bought that first home, but I already had a great network in the business. I had confidence that we could improve the house and make a profit. That started me in the field. It was genuinely just what drew my attention from a young age.
How do you make money?
I purchase a house that may need some improvements and I take care of anything that needs to be done. I make sure that we are following current trends and including things that people are looking for in a new home. I make money by selling the property when all of the improvements have been completed.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
This is an industry where you don’t have to wait too long to see your profit. It does take a fair amount of money up front, but as long as you are cautious in your investments, you will see that return almost instantly. When I purchase a home, it is usually in distress, so it costs less. Once we have completed the work, it can be sold at a fair market value. The difference is where the profit lies, and I was successful in my first purchase.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I really never had any doubt that this would work. I have confidence in my ability to choose the right properties and to follow a successful plan. I just have always had that confidence in myself, even before I started in real estate. I owned several salons in this area for some time and I never doubted their success either. If you are doing something that you love, that interests you and you can learn from, you are going to put your heart into it wholly. There really wasn’t a point where I thought it wasn’t going to work out. I just knew that it would.
How did you get your first customer?
After I was done with the first renovation, I held an open house and I advertised the property for sale. My first customer came to see the house and really liked it, so they bought it. Advertising is a huge part of real estate. It’s imperative to get your name out there so when people are looking to buy, they think of you first. You also have to produce quality homes that people will love.
What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that works really well to generate new business?
I have a very basic ideology that if you do good work, you will always meet success. I keep up with the market and with trends. Of course, I advertise, and I promote myself through signs and online marketing. What sets me apart is that I can see the end result while we are still working. It’s a talent I have always had, and I think it has helped me with my success. Really, though, it doesn’t matter how much you advertise, if you don’t produce quality work, you will not be successful in any business that you run.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I am grateful that I really don’t have too many decisions that are difficult for me in regard to my business. Everything runs really smoothly from the initial purchase, through the renovations and through the sale. I don’t stress over things because I know that my team and I have the ability to create a home someone will love. Many of my properties end up in bidding wars because so many people want them. I keep up with what buyers are looking for and make sure that we are giving them what they want.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
The confidence I have in what I do and the knowledge that I am really good at it has helped me tremendously. You don’t start a business in something that doesn’t hold your interest or that you don’t think will work for you. I noticed my talent in real estate when I was still young, and I learned how to watch the market and watch the trends. I’m not afraid to take risks, but I will take the time to weigh things out before moving forward with a project. I want to ensure the choices I make will be profitable and provide what homebuyers are looking for.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I have so many moments in my career. Any time you make a sale, it’s a great moment. Many of my properties sell in less than a week. That shows me how well I have done on the renovations. It’s a great feeling knowing that I have given someone their dream home. It’s seeing the look on the faces of people who come to view something I have designed. Those are the moments that make all the hard work worth it.
What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?
I am very happy with what I do. I am going to keep doing what I am doing, buying properties, renovating, and selling them. There is a high demand for my work in the area because I am known for producing quality work. I’m excited to see more of the same.
What business books have inspired you?
I don’t read many business books. I started in the business based on a love that I had for it and I have been pretty much just hands-on with my learning.