Kevin Seney, founder and CEO of Bug Realty, built his first spec home at age 18, instantly became a real estate investor and hasn’t looked back.

He bills Bug Realty as a "nontraditional real estate franchise" where frills and hype are left at the curb.

Seney will speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008.

He answered a set of questions posed by Inman News:

What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2008?

The downturn will continue into 2009. A large percentage of sales will be short sales, REOs and foreclosures. Market pressure will continue to force change in the mortgage industry.

Technology will speed change and facilitate more consumer-driven solutions and alternatives for buying and selling homes.

Increased access to information via WiFi and cellular phone will continue to make the old model of the traditional real estate office obsolete, further leveling the playing field. (Think of the record industry and big media.)

What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?

Rethink your approach to the consumer. Seek out technology. Work virtually (lose the office and cubicle). Work efficiently (lose the Lexus). Find new ways to create value to your clients. STOP advertising! Go back to the basics — it works!

What was your first job?

I worked in our family-owned pharmacy.

What made you get into real estate?

I have been involved in real estate since I built my first spec home at age 18 and have been an investor ever since. I was in the mortgage industry for more than 15 years and was known for using unconventional means to market myself instead of advertising.

What sparked the idea to start your company?

I was beginning to see how technology would reshape the industry. Agents no longer need the "big company" and office to provide the infrastructure to do their work. Both agents and consumers are being empowered by technology and access to information.

There is a movement among consumers toward more individualized, grassroots ways of doing business. Working from home is becoming commonplace.

Consumer attitudes are changing. Consumers are also becoming very brand conscious, and traditional brands are being outmoded by trendy, new brands that reflect new consumer orientations.

What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?

Forming a new national franchise system is a long, complex legal process. We were relieved to have completed that process in 2007.

If you had one thing to do over again in your life, what would it be?

Attend college in another country. Learn music and languages. Travel more. Adventure more. Worry less.

What style of home do you live in and when did you buy it?

Traditional Spanish eclectic from 1940s in Coronado, Calif. Bought it in 1997.

What worries keep you awake at night?

Three teenagers and one 10-year-old.

What lesson did you learn in the last year?

Never take your health for granted.

What would your second career choice be?


What kind of music do you listen to?


Who is your hero?

My parents.

Hear Seney speak at Real Estate Connect in San Francisco, July 23-25, 2008. The conference program and registration are available online via the Connect Web site.


What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.

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