What the 2013 Red Sox Can Teach Us About House Flipping

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series on Wednesday night.

It was an absolutely amazing, unlikely run into history, finishing 2012 at the bottom of the Major Leagues in a disaster-filled year which came on the heels of one of the most epic Fall collapses in sports history in 2011.

Add in the whole Boston Marathon bombing rally cry to go along with it, this Boston team helped to uplift and entire city and region in their historic run from April until this past Wednesday night.

As I was watching the World Series this week – obviously rooting on my hometown Sox (if you haven’t guessed from my videos on YouTube where “R’s” are correctly pronounced as “Aaaaahs”), there were amazing similarities between this Sox team and house flipping.

So in that spirit…here AHHH 🙂 seven lessons the 2013 Red Sox can teach us all about house flipping.

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1. Mindset is Everything

As is the case in flipping houses, if you think you can succeed, you will succeed. As the figure-head and spiritual leader of the Red Sox in 2013, outfielder Jonny Gomes is the epitome of the Napoleon Hill adage:

“Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve”

When Ryan Dempster (and subsequently Jake Peavy) first arrived in the Sox clubhouse in early 2013, one of the first people to greet these new arrival was inimitable Gomes. When Dempster asked Gomes how we was doing, Gomes replied:

“Just one day closer to the parade, dude”

Now THAT is positive self-expectancy. Napoleon Hill would be proud.

2. Pick Yourself Up After Losses

The Sox didn’t win the World Series in a single game, for that series it took them 6 games. But in actuality it took them 178 total games and 108 wins to finally win it all.

They also lost 71 times.

Of course as the expression in baseball goes:

“If you fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate, you’re likely a Hall of Famer”

Like your house flipping career, you’re not always going to win every game, but its picking yourself up after each small loss to get the eventual big win is the most important thing. I’ve certainly had my fair share of losses and they are the lessons I’ve learned the most from.

If you can learn and not repeat your losses and or mistakes and move towards the next victory, you’ll have a long and prosperous house flipping career.

3. One Step at a Time

The baseball season is a grueling 162 regular season games, followed by post-season play and winning the Series is the culmination of a long, tough season. A house flip has many steps as well – formulating your team, acquiring the property, analyzing the property, making offers, doing the renovation, selling the property and multiple exit strategies at the end.

In a 162 game season,  keeping the goal in mind is vitally important to the eventual outcome. Like Gomes said, “one day closer to the parade”.

In house flipping, take one step at a time and keep the end goal in mind.

The process may take as long as a 162 game season (six months in some cases depending on your rehab), so take one step at time and complete each step to the best of your ability with the highest quality work possible.

4. Dont Listen to the Naysayers

Guess who had the worst team in 2012 with 93 losses?

Who was picked to finish dead last in the American League East this year by Sport Illustrated and just about every other major sport publication?

You probably already guessed the Red Sox…

With house flipping, don’t listen to all the people who may be in your life who say that its “too risky” and “what are doing this for, why don’t you just focus on your job” or “house flippers are just a bunch of scammers, why would you do that?”.

Don’t listen to ANY of it.

Just the fact that you’re on this site right now reading these words means you are dead serious about doing something and are learning and enriching your mind to adopt the positive mindset surrounded by other like-minded individuals.

Don’t listen to negative people – the Red Sox didn’t. They didn’t care. They only listened to themselves.

The guys in the clubhouse listened to each other and supported each other and ignored the naysayers to become one of the most improbable World Series champions in Major League Baseball history.

5. It Takes a Team…and a Solid Leader

Aside from David Ortiz, the Red Sox are pretty much devoid of mega stars. The case could be made for John Lester and Dustin Pedroia and their lights out Japanese closer Koji Uehara, but they were not considered “stars” in the classic sense prior to this year.

It takes a solid team to win a World Series and the Sox were the epitome of “team”. Having cobbled together a bunch of aging and supposedly “past their prime” players like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster, up and coming rookies like Xander Bogaerts and a mix of secondary role players like Daniel Nava, Gomes and Mike Carp.

Doing a successful house flip take a solid team as well. There don’t need to be any big stars – just a bunch of players who work well together to achieve the final goal – from your attorney, accountant, real estate agent, wholesaler, money guy, general contractor and even all your subcontractors.

In that team, think of yourself as the manager of it all. You are John Farrell.

You’re not the one doing the work, but you’re managing it all from afar. You’re not the one on the field, but you’re the one who calls the pays and motivates everyone to perform their role to the best of their ability.

But to do that, just like Farrell, you need a solid team to work with to achieve your goals.

6. Control the Uncontrollables

There are a lot of things in baseball that a team can’t control. Umpires make bad calls (Game 3 Middlebrooks obstruction call anyone?) and you never know about the weather or an opposing pitcher will throw the game of a lifetime and just shut you down.

Flipping houses is no different. There will be things that happen that are out of your control – a rotted wall you never saw in your walk-through, a title issue you never could have predicted in a thousand years, a general contractor that flies off the handle, a buyer who suddenly backs out for no reason – the list of what can happen is virtually endless.

What you can control is how you respond to the situation.

You can have contingency plans in place and exit strategies should things go wrong. And when you flip houses, you need to have those in place EXPECTING things beyond your control to go wrong. That way, even though you never predicted the unpredictable, you are in fact prepared.

7. It’s Simple, but Not Easy

About a month ago, I wrote a Kindle book on Amazon called “How to Flip a House in 7 Simple Steps” as a follow-up to an earlier eBook I had written. Although the reviews so far on Amazon are extremely positive, I did get an email from a reader who asked me:

“How can you say that house flipping is simple? That’s just plain irresponsible”.

The book states that the steps themselves are “simple”, yes. But never does is say they are “easy” by any stretch. The steps are simple but the process itself is actually quite complicated when you first do it. It gets easier s time goes on, but at first it’s neither easy nor simple.

Baseball is not complicated: hit, throw and catch the ball – that pretty much sums it up. You need to do all three well. and if you do, you’d probably be a pretty good baseball player.

But just because something is simple, however, doesn’t make it easy.

To get really good at house flipping, it takes practice…and lots of it. To perfect anything, studies show it takes 10,000 hours to reach perfection at any one thing. I’m not so sure that it takes that long with house flipping, but the more you do it, the better you do in fact get.

The steps are simple, but the process itself takes time to perfect. And the best thing you can do to start that process is to just get out there and start doing it.

Because if you never start, you can never perfect it. And as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Go Sox in 2014….

If you’ve made it this far, what do you think? I’d love to hear what you think – whether you’re a Sox fan, Rays fan, Tigers fan, Cards fan – or even any of you Yankee fans :-), please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Photo: bdamon

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".

28 Comments

    • For sure Mark. Here is a quote I came across which relates directly to building your team.
      President Woodrow Wilson said “We should not only use
      all the brains we have – but all that we can borrow.” Why stop with just
      their brains? Enlist people’s hands and hearts too.

  1. Ryan – lifelong Sox fan here but my son is the biggest Yankee fan (how’d that happen??). Even he was rooting for the Sox this year – as I (can’t believe I’m admitting this in public) rooted for the Bombers in 2009! Amazing year for baseball.

  2. As a life-time Yankees fan it’s hard to say this, but I’m happy for the Red Sox..I can’t believe I just admitted that! It’s always great to see a Cinderella story though, even if they happen to be a nemesis. I really think Gomes is right. If you can see it, you can do it, and working through naysayers and tough losses will only make you stronger in the long run. I think my new line is going to be “I’m just one day closer to retirement.”
    Great Article!

    • Thanks Landon – Whatever the minds conceives and believes will achieve. That is great to hear from a Yankee Fan and if you don’t mind I would like to save this comment and show it to my neighbor who would never say that. LOL.
      I do have to tell you though you have one of the most respected players this game has ever seen with Derek Jeter. A class act for sure. You doing any investing in NY? or elsewhere? Love to hear how other markets are doing.

  3. I LOVE that line. You’re the real estate Investing Jonny Gomes!

    Wow, a lot of soul baring here on Bigger Pockets between Sox and Yankee fans. Kinda like a big group therapy session. Lol

    Glad to see Jeters coming back for another year too…

  4. Great job relating all of the admirable qualities the Sox showed to what we all should be doing in our businesses. Their run was impressive to say the least and it would be hard to go wrong if you emulated those qualities.
    And the beards 🙂
    (Well not Buchholz. Jeez no kidding he had a dead arm, guy looked like an extra in a low budget Zombie movie!)

      • Hey Mike
        Unfortunately I won’t be there tomorrow.
        To bad since I’ve heard good things about the speaker. 🙂

        BTW heard the webinar last night was really good.
        Wanted to see it but it was during Black Diamond.

        • Yes I know. We didn’t realize because of the change in their normal schedule. Funny because I actually had their meeting in my schedule and not my own Webinar.

          Ok hope to see you soon buddy

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