Real estate developer, lender, and broker Seán Conlon thinks just about anyone can flip a house.
“It is still the fastest route for people to make a potential fortune or really make a wonderful living,” Conlon says. “You and I have probably a better chance of being hit by a meteorite as we are sitting here than becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg, statistically.”
Conlon, who only had $US500 when he first came to the US from Ireland, has worked in real estate for over 20 years. Today, he also stars in CNBC’s “The Deed: Chicago,” which premiers March 29. The show follows Conlon as he assists property investors whose projects are in distress.
“I do think real estate flipping is something that most people can learn,” he says. “It’s not a science and, frankly, it’s not an art. It’s something that you can practically teach and learn. That’s why it will always be a way to potentially get to the next level and live the American dream.”
That doesn’t mean everyone should rush out and buy a house with the intention of flipping it. To be successful, you have to be in the right place. Conlon says these three signs are good indications you can handle a flip:
1. You’re not rushing things
The concept of an overnight success is just a myth, according to Conlon.
“We tend to compare ourselves to the world we live in, where everything’s instant gratification,” he says. “You start an online internet dating company for your pet and you make $US10 billion in a week. That’s not the real world.”
There’s fortunes to be made in real estate, but Conlon says that it’s important to avoid rushing into your first project. Instead, “take a breath” and think things through.
What’s more, Conlon says that you can’t hurry success.
“You shouldn’t expect to retire after your first project,” he says. “You’ll often break even or lose a little money on your first flip, but if you learn a lot from it, it can still be the foundation for your future business.”
That being said, Conlon says it’s easy to get caught in the trap of waiting too long to get started. “Eventually, you have to take the plunge,” he says. “There are a lot of people who overanalyze forever. Eventually you have to take a risk if you want to make it in property flipping.”
2. You’ve got money saved up
It’s a bad idea to try to get into house-flipping without any savings.
“You can’t really get into flipping without having some money saved or the good fortune to have family members or relatives or people you know who are willing to invest in you,” Conlon says. “The best way is to save a little nest egg and take a shot at it.”
3. You’re not a quitter
If you decide to take the plunge and go into real estate, you’re bound to face failure at some point.
You’d better just get used to it, says Conlon. He says he’s seen people who just give up and quit the business because they can’t handle failing.
“Your world can change in a moment for better and for worse,” he says. “My advice for you is you should never ever ever give up. Some of the greatest success stories in the world are based on people who failed numerous times, and they got back up.”
If you’re seriously considering going into real estate, you’ll need to have a good perspective and some thick skin.
“If you’re having the most awful day ever, go home, go to bed, and get up the next day,” Conlon says. “You’ll be surprised how different things look in the morning. Go home. Have a cup of tea. I wouldn’t suggest too much alcohol because it’s very hard to face a crisis with a hangover.”