The owner of Red Bean Realty realizes the importance of knowing your client and your inventory.
Karen Sepko, founder of Red Bean Realty, understands that each neighborhood in the greater New Orleans area is unique, and, as a result, so is her approach when it comes to selling, leasing and managing real estate properties in those neighborhoods.
“At Red Bean Realty, we specialize in neighborhoods,” says Sepko, who has been in the real estate business in Louisiana and California since the 1990s. “We believe you need a local Realtor who is involved and present in a particular neighborhood to understand property values and how to do business in that community.”
In a city like New Orleans, where home sizes and property values can vary significantly from block to block, this knowledge is invaluable for someone hoping to buy, sell or lease residential and commercial properties. Sepko and her team of eight agents at Red Bean Realty have developed a niche in New Orleans real estate by having specific Realtors who specialize in selling and leasing in the specific neighborhoods where they themselves live and interact on a daily basis. Red Bean Realty has so successfully filled this niche that Sepko’s small but powerful team represents 14.5 percent of the Warehouse District/CBD market share in total transactions (as of August 2015).
Sepko, who lives in the Cotton Mill condominiums, focuses on the Warehouse District/CBD area. Her newest apartment offering is Factors Row, consisting of 49 luxury lofts in the middle of the CBD. She is pre-leasing for spring occupancy. “My specialty is downtown properties,” Sepko says. “I live, work and socialize all in the same place!”
Red Bean Realty’s other agents live in and represent clients in the French Quarter, Irish Channel, Uptown, Garden District, Mid-City, Lakeview and North Shore areas, handling real estate sales, leases, and residential and commercial property management. They are members of neighborhood and civic associations, and they have become truly engrained in their communities. “Civic duties are important because that’s how we find out where improvements need to be made,” Sepko says. “Real estate shouldn’t just be about making a profit. It’s about getting involved in your community. We become the go-to person for getting things done.”
Sepko chose the name Red Bean Realty for her business because it represents two important concepts — being local and working as a team. “I founded the business on the idea that together, we’re better,” Sepko says. “I really believe that and live by that. Our agents make a point to be a part of their communities, and we work with local organizations, government, appraisers and anyone that is curious to know about real estate by sharing the information that we gather about the local market.”
As a strong presence in the CBD, Sepko is particularly excited about the real estate boom coming to metro New Orleans over the next few years. “There are $10 billion worth of projects coming to the metro New Orleans real estate market,” Sepko says. “The CBD is a very dynamic location and is experiencing a lot of growth. This city is a huge destination location for both Millennials and Baby Boomers, which have a lot in common. They enjoy the walkability and lifestyle aspects of downtown living, so I’m expecting the condo market to really explode.”
Prior to becoming a Realtor, Sepko was a chemical engineer with large-scale industrial companies. She continues to have a passion for product development and efficiency, and she is working on ways to lower utility costs and save energy in her residential and commercial properties. “We are launching a company called Bee Green, LLC,” Sepko says. “We’re working with an inventor to create an energy saving sensor system that would be timed to turn off the air conditioner when an exterior window or door is left open and shut down the water heater when there has been no activity inside a space for over eight hours. The system turns everything back on when the space is reoccupied. This system has been tested and shown to save up to 50 percent in electricity usage. It’s unique, and it’s going to minimize waste and save our clients a lot of money at an affordable price point. It’s one of many things we are working on to offer our investor clients in the first quarter.”
Sepko’s business philosophy and approach to real estate keeps customer satisfaction at the center of every transaction, which has provided Red Bean Realty with a loyal customer base and a strong network of referrals. “Our customers really enjoy working with us,” Sepko says. “We try to be more than just a real estate company in all that we offer. We stay invested with our clients, and we are deeply engrained in our communities. We want to be a great resource for our clients and our city. If you want to know what’s going on in a market area, just get in touch with a Realtor!” redbeanrealty.com, energysaversensors.com