Epcon Builder Stories With EJ Sansone of Reisch Sansone Communities

Builder Stories With EJ Sansone

Meet EJ Sansone, co-owner of Reisch Sansone Communities and an Epcon Franchise Builder in St. Louis, Missouri.

“First and foremost, starting an Epcon franchise and being a home builder gave me an opportunity to have my own business. I don’t work for anyone anymore, I work for myself. So it provided freedom and flexibility in my life, which is what I was looking for.”

Host: EJ, thank you for speaking with me this afternoon. I want to just dive right in to your history and your career and how you came into home building?

EJ Sansone: I’m an attorney by education. I started my career in multifamily development. I worked for an apartment developer for about four years, and then went out on my own and wanted to begin developing.

How I got into home building is there was a site that was near my house, 11 acres. It was zoned commercial and I saw an opportunity to do residential development. Initially, my plan was to get the lot entitled and then sell it to one of the local home builders, but we got about halfway through the entitlement process and discovered Epcon.

There was another Franchise Builder in our county, and we stopped by his development, beautiful homes, and we learned that there was a franchise opportunity with Epcon. After learning about Epcon, we reached out and we had a call with Jad Buckman, and the rest is history.

Host: Let’s expand a little bit on your experience with Epcon. In turning to us at that time, what were some of the challenges you were facing and what problems did Epcon help solve?

EJ: Initially, I didn’t have any real interest in building residential, because I knew nothing about it. I came from apartment development. It’s very different than for-sale home building.

I know there’s a lot of moving pieces to that, but I was familiar with development so that came natural to me. Learning what Epcon provided gave me the confidence to feel as though I could move forward with actually building the homes. We learned about all the resources that Epcon had for sales, which I know is a very complex part of home building, probably the most complex part, establishing the base houses and all of the various options.

Epcon had a number of floor plans that are tried-and-true, so we knew that they would sell. We actually saw them selling in our market, and they were doing quite well. We just knew that the product would sell at our location. After learning about Epcon and the resources that they provided, we decided to move forward with our franchise.

Host: Can you talk a little bit about your current Epcon project and any more that are on the horizon?

EJ: Our current project is 47 lots. We started building, or developing, in probably early 2020. We weathered the COVID pandemic and all the ups and downs and challenges that came with that. Epcon was a great resource for us in working through those woes.

At this time, we are, I believe, over halfway sold, I think 26 or 27 sales. We’ve got about 20 left. We anticipate selling out in the next 12 to 24 months, and we’ve started looking at other opportunities as well and hope to bring another project online.

Host: Tell me a little bit about your experience with home buyers and the Epcon product.

EJ: I love our home buyers. They’re great people. I’ve developed personal relationships with many of them, and they love our product, and it almost sells itself. We don’t have many of the challenges that I think other home builders face in that we don’t typically sell to first-time home buyers.

We don’t have to deal a lot with financing. In fact, many of our buyers have been cash buyers. They have an existing home with tons of equity in it. They’re selling, they’re downsizing and this is probably the last home that they’re going to live in, so they have the cash to do it, and they want what they want, and they’ll buy it.

Host: What’s some advice you would impart to a potential new Franchise Builder considering Epcon?

EJ: I think that Epcon is a great solution for somebody that either doesn’t have a lot of experience in home building, is just getting started or is looking for a different product and a different demographic that they want to shift to as opposed to selling first-time home buyers or one-time, move-up homes. Because like I said, Epcon has a wonderful product that is tried-and-true, and the buyers are great to work with.

They are somewhat recession-proof, in a way, so we don’t get as nervous about the ups and downs in the economy. Many of our buyers don’t mention interest rates at all, and I know that interest rates are a big obstacle for many home buyers right now, and we hear very little of that.

We’ve actually offered interest rate buydowns for instance, and we don’t even have takers for that, because many of them just don’t need that as an incentive to get them to purchase a home.

Host: Transitioning from the development side over to home building, what are the challenges that came along with that or the benefits that you’ve seen from making that transition?

EJ: First and foremost, starting an Epcon franchise and being a home builder gave me an opportunity to have my own business. I don’t work for anyone anymore, I work for myself. So it provided freedom and flexibility in my life, which is what I was looking for, to essentially have financial freedom. I enjoy what I do, and I get to be a part of the home building process working with our buyers and our team. It’s been a really pleasant experience.

Host: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

EJ: I would say that if somebody is considering an Epcon franchise, I would very much encourage you to look into it and hopefully proceed with it. It did absolutely provide us the resources and support that we needed in order to push us over the edge in opening this business and doing it, and we’ve been very successful in doing it. Without Epcon, I don’t think we would have had the confidence to do it.

To learn more about EJ’s story, watch Building Flexibility Into Life.