Sebastian Guthery is a successful entrepreneur with a number of lucrative business startups to his credit. Since an early age, he was able to identify consumer needs, then create businesses to address those needs. Among his successes are a thriving chain of tanning salons, a tanning products distribution operation, an ethnobotanicals importation and retail company, and a non-profit consumer advocacy organization.
Sebastian is also a well-known real estate investor in his home state of Kansas. Although he splits his time between Kansas and California, it is in Kansas where he has focused his real estate efforts. He recently acquired a former school building in the city of Delano – a historical building that now houses several apartment units. As in his other ventures, he identified a need; in this case, residential sales to those who may not qualify for traditional bank loans. By purchasing and restoring houses and other residential properties, he has helped foster the dream of homeownership for many people who would not have been able to attain that goal otherwise.
Guthery purchased the former Martinson School, built in the 1930s, through a residential real estate firm called Lead Equity. The former owner of the building had converted the schoolhouse into ten apartment units, including three two-bedroom units and seven one-bedroom units. The building is just over 24,000 square feet and fetched a purchase price of $730,000. Some of the school’s original equipment and features were retained, such as chalkboards found in many of the apartment units. Guthery plans to add another building to the property to increase the number of available apartment units but will design the building to look like a school in keeping with the original building. Real estate analysts have suggested that the existing units are undervalued, but Guthery has no plans to raise rents. He believes that tenant satisfaction is far more important than making more money, and his beliefs are already paying off; vacancies in the school building are virtually non-existent, and when a tenant moves out, another is waiting in the wings to take his or her place.
He continues to seek out properties in the area. For him, real estate represents a fairly risk-free investment. He has spent his entire entrepreneurial career taking calculated risks, doing what he needed to ensure business growth through constant action. Real estate investments, done correctly, can mean relatively fast turnarounds and substantial profits, even if his own properties are known for affordable lease terms and/or purchase prices. He works with the Pinnacle Realty Group at Berkshire Hathaway to find new properties and to make the investments needed to flourish.