7 Sure-Fire Tactics to Crush Your House Flipping Fears

by | BiggerPockets.com

Fear. No matter what phase of my house flipping or real estate investing career I’m in, it just keeps rearing its ugly head.

No matter how many years you’ve been in the real estate investing business, or if you’ve done nothing as of yet, fear is there every time you do something out of your comfort zone.

I still go through this even now. In fact, every time I advance myself in my career or I go to the next level, I go through these same fears all over again in a sense. I figured that at some point in my real estate investing career, fear would just melt away. I’m still waiting for that day to come.

Let me give you an example.

Just nine months ago, we were flipping on average a deal a month. At the time, I thought that was pretty good, but I knew the market was changing and I decided I needed to change my approach.

So I made the conscious decision to double if not triple my business by adding an acquisition manager to my house flipping team. Although I thought that I had pretty much overcome most of my fears in house flipping, as soon as I decided to do this, all the same fears came rushing back.

About at the same time, I then decided to step outside of my comfort zone even further so I decided to start buying rental properties in other states.

More fears once again…

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Fear, House Flipping and The New Investor

All the same fears you have now as a new real estate investor are the exact same kinds of emotions I have and continue to have as I grow my business. I’ve experienced both – and they’re pretty much the same thing. Both are fears fuled by negative self-talk…but it’s not the fear that’s the real crushing part, instead its how you deal with those fears that really impacts you.

Then like now, I still have many nights I lie awake thinking to myself: “What if it doesn’t work?”

What brings me back to reality are a few fear-busting tactics I learned very early on and have since relied on it ever since I learned them. In due time, I may add more to the list but these are the ones I’m using now.

1. Think the Exact Opposite

When you have extreme fears, the first thing you should do is to do the exact opposite and reverse that thinking immediately. Instead of thinking how things will turn out badly, think about what will happen when things go right. Thinking the opposite immediately stops you from thinking about how it will work and instead purposely start thinking about how it is going to work.

This doesn’t mean you just wish for the best and not care – far from it. You have to put systems in place to protect yourself from things going wrong.

2. Re-check Your Data

There is a reason why you’re dong what you’re doing or doing what you’re about to do.  Assuming you follow the house flipping rules, re-check them to see if you missed anything. Also re-check them to reassure yourself you’re making the right decision.

If you can conclude with: “What am I thinking, we’re going to succeed. The projections look really good”, you’re in the right spot.

I might look back at some of my projections and analysis and reaffirms myself that I’m making the right decision, I may even look back at similar projects and compare the two.

3. Talk It Out

Another technique I tend to use more and more these days to use is to talk with people that matter to me.  Educate them and let them know what you’re going through – and this is especially helpful when you talk to other investors. I do this all the time with my acquisitions manager Bill.

This is one of the reasons why the Bigger Pockets forum here is so helpful. Don’t be afraid to tell people about your goals in real estate investing, talk it out and let them help you.

4. Hire a Coach

Change isn’t always easy. It wasn’t easy for me when I first started investing in real estate – primarily because I didn’t really have a someone to tell me what to do. Instead, I figured it all on my own and it most likely took twice as long as it should have.

I had people I could call and ask questions, but nobody really to bounce ideas off of and help me along my quest.  Now, I seek help.

I believe in this so much, I hired a personal business coach. And at $300/hour, I feel the pressure to make his advice work!

I even took this coaching thing a step further and decided to go on a weekend retreat with other business owners like me whose sole goal is to further advance their business. It’s a high priced mastermind coaching group, but regardless of the price, I can’t wait to go. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s at a beautiful gold resort in Scottsdale Arizona!

As much as writing those big checks are tough to take, good coaching advice has helped me enormously to take my career to the next level. Good coaching is definitely worth the investment.

As I tell my kids: “Even Tiger Woods has a swing coach”.

I’m no Tiger Woods, but if he has a coach, I figured I should too.

5. What You Thank About, You Bring About

If you stop and think about it for a second or two, we all have things in our life that we can be thankful for. I am sure there is something you can be thankful for in your life, right? To crush fears and get into a positive mindset, close your eyes and think about those things you have to be thankful for.

It doesn’t really matter what you thank about, its that you do it. All that matters is that you think of something and be thankful for it and when you do, this will immediately put you in a positive frame of mind and your fears will start to melt away.

Things might suddenly go awry on a particular project or I might work on something for two or three months and it might fall through. Maybe things aren’t going as well as I want them to that very moment – but if I think how far I’ve come in all the things I’m grateful for, my fears start to fall away and my state changes nearly immediately.

6. Mope, Then Decide

For me, I can go weeks and weeks with a good positive mindset, things are going well all of a sudden out of the blue, s*&t happens unexpectedly and I feel the fear and pressure all of a sudden crushing down on me.

In one of my meetings just yesterday with two members of my house flipping team, we had a major setback. We bitched about it for about a minute and a half and then universally we all said to each other “enough with all this negative crap, let’s focus on how to fix it and move forward”.

Move forward we did and we started working on how to fix the problem and our plans for the future. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

7. Re-read or Just READ Think and Grow Rich

If you are truly serious about your real estate investing career, there are certain books I highly recommend reading. Most of these are non-real estate related and have nothing to do with the “how to’s” of real estate investing.

One of the best books that I’ve read and has been instrumental in helping me with really advancing my career, overcoming my fears and getting things going is a book by Napoleon Hill called Think and Grow Rich.

What I like about Think and Grow Rich is, is although today is considered a simple if not simplistic book on personal development, it’s still one of the best because the whole book is all about the basics. With Think and Grow Rich it’s not just about thinking about something positive happening or creating those positive affirmations – which are nice, but the book reinforces the fact that you also have to take action. Positive thoughts how are you but action gets you to where you want to be.

I highly recommend that you pick up that book and you start reading it.

Crushing Fears Conclusion

My point in all of this is simple:

You have complete control over how you feel.

You can change your state and emotions from a negative fearful state to a positive strong state by making a decision to do it. So as Nike says, just do it…

When we talk about fear, it’s really about replacing negative thoughts or failure and fear with positive and healthy thoughts instead.  Whether they’re personal, business or whatever it is, you’re replacing that fear with confidence, excitement and enthusiasm.

But you’re doing it on purpose.

At the end of the day, you have two choices:

1. You can complain and look at the bad side of things

2. You can be proactive and be thankful for the good things in your life.

Happiness and positive thinking really is a choice you can make. The problem is that most people try not to even control their emotions. Instead, they let their emotions control them.

As Tony Robbins says: When you face your fears, you control fear. When you avoid your fears, fear controls you.

Which are you going to choose?

If you’ve made it this far, please leave a comment below! What tactics do YOU use to control fear?

Please leave a comment on fear, flipping, real estate investing, Napoleon Hill, whatever you want below and let me know!



About Author

Mike LaCava

Michael LaCava is a full time real estate investor, house flipping coach and the President of Hold Em Realty located in Wareham, MA. He runs the website House Flipping School to teach new real estate investors how to flip houses and is the author of "How to Flip a House in 5 Simple Steps".


  1. Another great article Michael! I recently bought out my parents real estate and flipping business. I now control our 8 person RE team plus the flipping business. I know it is the right thing to do, but I still question myself once in a while. We put three flips under contract this month and a rental and I think “am I missing something?” Why aren’t other people buying them, then I remind myself I am better at my job than the 99% of people or there and that makes me feel better. I think that is he mentality you have to have, even if it may not be true yet.

    • Great point Mark. I recently received a lead from a lender of mine who said the same thing. MIke I almost didn’t give you this lead because if it was such a good deal why didn’t some one else buy it? He then said to himself if anyone can make it work it would be Mike LaCava. I don’t consider myself to be the greatest investor around but I do feel I am creative enough to put together a deal differently that other’s don’t always think of. Its my USP. You are right on Mark you are better than most in this business that is why you buying what most won’t. If that wasn’t the case it would be tough for us to be in this business, Congratulations on the buy out. That is awesome and I wish you all the best in this latest move.

  2. What helps me with my fears, is to go to the very bottom of it. It may not be the right tactic for everyone, but it works for me. I figure out what realistically I would loose, if it falls through. I know, that in theory we can loose everything, but that would rarely happen. So, I come up with a realistic number, lets say 10000$ (I try to figure my time in monetary numbers too). So now I know that this is a realistic number that I can possibly loose, it’s usually hard to estimate if it’s something new that I have never done before. But then on the other side I put everything I am going to gain, including my experience and confidence that I would have if it works or even if it doesn’t work (which is priceless).

    After I’ve done this, I feel better about the whole situation and less fearful. I would only loose 10000$ (example only), but I could possibly gain (fill in everything you can gain, including your experience and confidence and the ability to make everything more cost efficient next time).

    • Thats a great point Gala especially when starting something new. I remember when I was fearful of changing careers I would say what is the worse that can happen if I fail at this real estate thing. Well I said i can always go back into the flooring business. If you can accept the worse that can happen then it makes the move easier for sure.

      Have you done your first real estate deal. Would love to hear about it. I like your approach.

  3. Great post!

    Remember fear can also work in your favor if you use it correctly. Fear is a great motivator and if you fear something someone else may as well. Some of the best inventions have been brought out from fear. But hit it on the head “action will get your head back in the game”
    Great post again. Thanks

    • That is so true Tom. I wouldn’t say I enjoy using fear as a motivator but being in difficult situations fear helps you to take action quickly to prevent things from getting worse or never becoming a problem. I never looked at that way as it just happens as I react to it.
      Thanks for sharing this.

  4. La Nae Duchesneau on

    I really liked your article. And you are absolutely right, you have got to pull yourself up by your boot straps and trudge on. There is no sense in moping. You may mope a little bit, that is life, but move on as fast as you can.

  5. I am like you on this one Michael. I’ve been on the edges of real estate for awhile now, but in the last two years I have actively been getting into the pool. Restructured my work life to working part time so I could dedicate more to working the business. As of April of this year, I started working it full time. It’s very scary! But has been exciting, challenging and all the other stuff too! I’m fortunate to have a great wife/partner and some very good friends who are part of my REI circle. I’ve definitely had nights I couldn’t sleep because of worrying but I’m starting to put that behind me. In doing this business here, I’ve learned to think outside the box for two reasons, the first, I didn’t have a mentor, and like you, took longer to do everything. Two, so many things seem structured to keep you from getting traction to get started, but to eliminate the competition factor we work with people in a different way then most involved in real estate locally. Thank you for writing about your fears! It’s hard to put out there for people sometimes.

  6. These are all good points that can take you far in not only real estate investing, but in life as a whole. I have the “Think and Grow Rich” ebook but haven’t sat down and read it yet. Someone mentioned it to me just like the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” which is what I got around to reading, in which it has some similar facets you included in your article. I guess me reading your article is a sign to take action and read up on “Think and Grow Rich”. Thanks

  7. Good stuff Mike.
    I was recently reading people saying to be a successful investor you have to be fearless.
    That is a load of bull crap!
    If you are fearless you ignorant and unprepared and will not see issues until they totally blow up.

    Fear is healthy and necessary. What is NOT good is to let your fears hold you back. You need to face your fears and overcome them. You respect them by acknowledging them and working on ways to mitigate the causes.
    This is an awesome article because you aren’t saying be fearless you are saying stand up to your fears and CRUSH them!

        • I do want to try to make it down for that sometime.
          As you know since it is basically your opposite commute to the BD meeting it is a long haul.

          I honestly think I’d have to get Megan to leave work at like 3 to get home early enough for me to get there on time after she relieves me of kiddo duty. 🙂

          I always say DSS doesn’t look fondly on leaving the preschooler alone with some newspapers on the floor and a bowl of water. 🙂

        • No problem Shaun. Be great if you work it out but i certainly understand. If you ever get to the cape area we can always hook up in the new office and get some Chowdaaaa. .

  8. Micki M.

    I’m late to this post, but just discovered it when searching for info on business coaches. I love how you summarized, and I love #1. I always tell my clients if they’re going to “what if” the bad, they have to match it with the good. I’d love to know how you found your business coach.

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