Headshot of Sean Sweeney in a black hoodie

The FORT Podcast: Sean Sweeney

Sean Sweeney is the Co-Founder of Hall Sweeney Properties, a Minnesota-based multi-family development company. On this episode, Sean talks about his journey working as a receptionist in the industry, navigating through the ’08 crisis, and ultimately founding his own firm.

Sean also breaks down the process of a ground-up development including what to look for in sites, bringing on architects and contractors, his passion for design, terms to look for in contracts, property management, and stabilization.

Listen on:
Apple Podcasts

(02:35) – Sean’s Background and Early Career as a Receptionist at Trammel Crowe

(07:52) – What did you do to position yourself as a person to hire for project manager when it was the right time?

(10:19) – Sean’s Movement During the ’08 Crisis 

(17:01) – Sean’s Jump to Starting His Own Organization and Decision to Focus on Class A Urban Infill 

(21:53) – How did you find your partner and what role does he play in the company?

(24:03) – Setting the Stage – Are there any other full-time employees in the company or is it just you and Jeff?

(26:58) – How long do these deals take from walking the site for the first time to where it’s stabilized?

(31:12) – What makes a site ‘great’ for you in a project?

(34:33) – Is most of the land you’re putting under contract un-entitled for multi-family?

(36:16) – How do you find sites?

(39:07) – What does your preliminary underwriting process look like?

(42:12) – How do you pull rent prices?

(42:48) – The LOI Process & 3rd Party Reports

(47:06) – What terms matter in contracts and what does the site need to be when you’re ready to close a year later?

(50:58) – What stages of the contract do you put up hard money?

(52:13) – What city approvals are you typically getting on deals?

(54:05) – At what point are you hiring the architect and does the GC participate with them? How do you come up with a budget that fits your design and that you’re comfortable the GC can deliver?

(57:03) – Are there any big points in a contract with a GC that matter?

(1:00:47) – Who is accountable for the MEP and structural engineers: the architect, the contractor, or you?

(1:01:17) – Where do you get inspiration for design?

(1:03:35) – Do you spend more on projects because you’re so design-forward?

(1:06:03) – Do you get paid premiums in rent because of your design approach?

(1:07:27) – Property Management Needs on 45-unit Property vs. a 100+ Unit

(1:09:01) – Does your architect mock up your interior as well?

(1:09:41) – Who does your common amenity furniture?

(1:09:57) – How do you process draw requests?

(1:11:04) – How do you finance projects and what happens when you stabilize since you are looking for long-term holds?

(1:15:40) – What’s the most popular unit size right now?

(1:16:59) – What amenities matter right now?

(1:18:59) – Are there any repeat issues you’ve seen from design to breaking ground?

(1:20:46) – What are some of the biggest surprises that you weren’t expecting as you look back?

(1:22:42) – How did the civil unrest in MN last year affect your business?

(1:27:25) – What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – Daniel Goldman

(1:29:33) – How can people find you?

Twitter –

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts

Back to Top