Flipping Houses

The 3 Habits of a Highly Effective House Flipping Team Leader

Expertise: Flipping Houses, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics, Mortgages & Creative Financing
105 Articles Written

I have a house flipping team that roughly consists of the following professionals:

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  1. Contractors
  2. Insurance Agents
  3. Accountants
  4. Attorneys
  5. Wholesalers
  6. Real Estate Agents

Depending on the job, there may be even more than just those six listed above; in some cases, it may number ten or even twelve people all working together — and all managed by yours  truly.

It’s a lot to manage, no doubt. And it’s a lot of personalities to manage as well — all different and all unique.

So what’s the best way to manage a big team like this when you’re flipping houses?

The Meddling Method vs. the Hands Off Method

Every person on this list specializes in an area of expertise that I know a little bit about, but unlike when I first started flipping houses, I don’t try to do it myself.

Related: The Five Fundamental House Flipping Team Members

What I don’t do is meddle.

Manage and oversee, yes…meddle, no.

I let them do what they do so I can do what I do. If I tried to do their jobs, not only would it not make me any money and run my business into the ground, but they would probably hate me for stepping on their toes and never work with me ever again.

Plus, it would be ridiculous for me to try to do their jobs for them because even though I may know a little about a lot, what would take me hours or even days to figure out can easily be solved by my team members in perhaps a few minutes or less.

What I don’t do is take a totally hands off approach. That would spell disaster.

What I try to do is find the middle ground where I’m overseeing, but not meddling — an approach to team building and leadership I learned using the Dale Carnegie method.

However, I didn’t start that way. 

Team Building Mistakes a New House Flipper Makes

When I first started I didn’t quite understand the concept of team building and what it meant.

It was a little overwhelming to me because when you really start thinking about all the members of your team — real estate attorneys, real estate brokers, CPAs, insurance agents, contractors — it can be a little overwhelming as to how many people are involved in what on the surface seems like a very simple transaction.

The problem was when I first started, I interfered, I meddled, I micro-managed. 

It’s a common trap many new house flippers fall into. Primarily because it’s really scary to do your first house flip — and if you don’t attend to all the little details, you could end up losing your shirt if you’re not careful.

But sometimes, making sure you’re taking care of the details means stepping on other people’s toes and interfering. And you don’t want that.

Build Your Power Team One Step at a Time

You can start planning out your house flipping team (we refer to it as a “power team” because there is a lot of power behind it) when you start to see the players that are involved in helping you with your business.

One of the things you don’t want to do is pick up a phone book and start picking just anybody to do business with.

You have to be selective. Whether it's a referral from your networking group, or whether you are going on CraigsList, or even simply looking up individuals using Google, you still want to do your due diligence.

A referral is a better place to start because if someone is giving you a referral, the first thing I would ask is, “Have you done business with that person yourself? Would you tell me the experience? And who else do you know who did business with them?”

So always do your due diligence, and run your checks and balances of people you might be doing some business with.

Related: The #1 Most Important Lesson in House Flipping

Maybe you have a phone conversation with the person, and if the conversation goes well, you then set up an appointment and meet them for coffee or lunch.

That way, you can start making some educated decisions as to who you want on your team based on the information you gather.

Then, as soon as you build that house flip team, start managing it and curating it using the Dale Carnegie method of leadership.

The Best Way to Lead a House Flipping Team

But how do you attract good, competent people on your house flipping team?

It’s kind of simple…but I find the easiest way to build a house flipping team is by winning them as friends first.

When you can win them as friends, you’ll have influence — and when called upon, they will go the extra mile for you when you need them to.

Not good at making friends?

No worries, you’re not alone.

There are a few things that you can do to instantly make friends and consequently build a house flipping team — all of which I learned from the great book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, a book written nearly on hundred years ago.

Yep, it’s an old book, but even though times have changed, human nature has remained the same. And if you can just apply a few of these tactics in managing your house flipping team, you will do well. I guarantee it.

3 Key Concepts to Being an Effective Leader

1. Be a Leader Who’s Easy to Like

Nobody lie a braggart.

Nobody like someone who incessantly talks about themselves.

Nobody likes a show-off.

Nobody likes someone who constantly “pulls rank.”

Yeah — you may be the boss, but there’s no reason to rub it in people’s faces. This just ends up alienating people and making you less likable, and them less loyal.

Boasting about your accomplishments, ordering people around and talking incessantly about yourself are not the qualities of a true leader.

Do what Carnegie suggests to become a leader:

  1. Encourage people whenever you can
  2. Instead of pinpointing other people’s mistakes, talk about your own
  3. Indirectly call attention to someone’s mistakes
  4. Rather than ordering people around, ask them questions when delegating tasks
  5. Begin your conversations with empathy and praise
  6. If someone makes an improvement, praise them
  7. Give people an elevated reputation they can live up to

2. Lead People to Your Way of Thinking

You cannot win people over by talking a lot…or even worse, by arguing with them.

People are human with human emotions, and to lead and manage them effectively, treat them with respect and dignity.

And make them feel good about themselves.

Sound like a bunch of hooey?

It worked for Dale Carnegie, Charles Schwab, Andrew Carnegie and countless other titans of industry. You may just want to give it a try.

If so, follow these pointers:

  1. Avoid arguing at all costs
  2. Resist the urge to always pinpoint someone’s mistakes
  3. Admit your mistakes and apologize with empathy
  4. Try as much as possible to empathize with other people and see things from their point of view
  5. Make people feel as if they came up with an idea even if it was your idea to begin with

Everyone likes it when they are acknowledged and feel appreciated when someone takes a genuine interest in them.

3. Give Your Team a Reason to Like You

It’s much easier to lead a group of people on your power team who actually like you. It’s far better than working with people who you don’t like.

To get people to like you, all you need to do is just a few simple things, such as:

  1. Smile often (be genuine on this one)
  2. Focus on the other person’s interests — not just yours
  3. Show a genuine interest in people when they are talking
  4. Learn to listen more, and talk less
  5. Make the other person feel important as much as possible
  6. Try as much as possible to remember a person’s first name and use it as often as possible (but don’t overdo it)

Your main goal is to get people to like you so that you both can get the best from each other. Whether it's the real estate agent or the contractor, they all deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.

If they respect you and you respect them, your work relationship will be a whole lot smoother, easier and more profitable.

Over to You

If you can incorporate the above tactics, you’ll build an unstoppable house flipping team that will surely take your career to the next level.

And pick up a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s a great read, and you should check it out if you haven’t already.

How did you build your house flipping team? What other books have you read that have influenced your house flipping career? 

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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".
    Adam Schneider
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Mr. LaCava, That was an outstanding reminder on two topics–how to develop the team and what to do when you have the team. I love DC’s book, and can always use a refresher primer–thanks for sharing.
    Replied over 6 years ago
    NO problem Adam. Happy to help!
    Frankie Woods
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Love the application of Dale Carnegie. It works in all walks of life!
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Thanks Frankie. So true.
    Replied over 6 years ago
    That is a great book and really does give you the right perspective in how to deal with people. It is amazing how much more effective your team can be when you actually respect their talents and just let them do their jobs. Nothing wrong with managing and overseeing like you say. That is smart delegation and not just abdicating the work. However meddling and micro-managing will turn off the professionals right away and will eventually were out the rest of your team as well. I think most new guys will let their attorneys and CPAs do their thing without being to annoying to them the place I see most people diverge is with the contractors. Now there are a lot of crappy contractors out there that will take forever and run up the tab ridiculously if you are not riding them constantly (Hint: Don’t work with those guys) but a great way to get the good ones to not work with you anymore is to automatically treat them like they are one of those guys. Straightaway it just insults them and if you keep riding them it will grind on them and they won’t want to work with you anymore. We expect contractors to work hard and work fast for us all while giving us prices far below what they can charge a retail home owner, so why would they want to do that for us if we treat them like crap and make their job tough?
    Replied over 6 years ago
    So true Shaun & your right with contractors. If you hire the right ones you shouldn’t have to micro manage at all. Great contractors make life so much nicer. It is why we have systems in place to manage. Thanks for your comments.
    billy gee
    Replied about 6 years ago
    A team member that was not mentioned, especially if you are adding real design value to the flip………………..the residential designer or architect. I have been involved with some “flippers” in North Carolina and they have told me that when a potential buyer can see a floor plan and an elevation of what’s to come, it enhances the sales experience and even seals the deal in some instances.
    Mike LaCava Real Estate Investor from Buzzards Bay (Bourne), Massachusetts
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Yes Billy we use both of them and mention that in other posts as well. Architects and designers may not be needed on all rehabs but when they are there is tremendous value having great ones on your team for sure. Thanks for mentioning that.