Flipping for Success
Serial Flipper Kymberly Dryden has been flipping houses for as long as she can remember—literally. Her family-run real estate business, has been renovating properties since she was a little girl. While her schoolmates spent their afternoons selling Girl Scout cookies, some of Kymberly’s earliest memories involve going door-to-door with fliers for the family business, saying, “If ever you want to sell your house, here’s our phone number.” You could say that she was born with real estate in her blood. Today, Kymberly flips around 20 homes a year in Southern Caifornia alone, and her family business is more successful than ever. We sat down with her to unearth five top factors in her success.
Q: You’ve been involved in your family’s real estate business since you were a child. Did you still have to grapple with fear when you started your company’s San Diego branch?
A: Yes, no question about it. Honest to God, when I started out, the fear was paralyzing. I thought, “There’s no way I can do this. I’m a lone woman down here running my own show. I don’t have an office to hide in; it’s just me.” It’s a challenge, and I empathize with that. Just talking about it right now, my hands are sweaty. But the hard truth is that terror and the uncertainty won’t dissipate until you go out and do it. In those days, I would just tell myself, “I’m going to sit with this fear for thirty seconds. Then it will pass, and I’ll either get the nerve to go up and talk to those investors or I won’t. If I don’t, I’ll just start over.” It sounds easier than it is, for sure. But you have to remember that every single person has those fears innately. I don’t care how successful you are. We all have our insecurities. So the playing field probably isn’t as uneven as you think.
Q: What is the single greatest thing a woman who is looking to get started in real estate can do to conquer her fear when it comes to taking that first step?
A: Educate yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough. Education, education, education. Put yourself out there, take classes, take seminars, and then retake them. Before long, you’ll start to see familiar faces. From there you’ll start to build camaraderie and a sense of community, and opportunity will come to you. When it does, you’ll be in a much better spot to take advantage of it than if you were just diving in cold turkey, without any idea of how anything works.
Q: What’s one specific tool that has helped you to conquer your fear more than anything else?
A: Writing things down. No contest. Once you put pen to paper, you can visualize what it is that you want to create, and you can see the steps you need to take to get there. I started by making my list. I would put down on a piece of paper what the top ten things were that I wanted to achieve. So I would write down a goal to introduce myself to as many REO agents in such-and-such city as I possibly could. And then I would come up with ways to make that happen. Say, I’m going to pop into their office, offer to buy a coffee, and then just sit and listen to them talk about their listings. Or I’m going to show up at their open houses, because that way I’ll become friendly with and learn about the top players in my market. I find that if I set a goal and I map out quarterly exactly what I need to do to get there, I don’t just achieve my goal – I exceed it. Really. It happens every time.
Q: As a woman, what part of your job serves up an ongoing challenge to your confidence?
A: As a woman, definitely dealing with contractors. That’s where you really have to have your confidence shine through. The house-flipping industry is predominantly male, and that’s especially true of the construction end of things. A lot of times you run into this unspoken “I’m going to try to take advantage of things” situation. Again, it comes back to education – you have to know what you’re talking about. It can be extremely intimidating when you’re standing in a house with predominantly males and they’re telling you one thing, and you have to disprove it. Negotiating isn’t a strong suit of mine. But I’ve had to do it a number of times by now, and it does get easier each time.
Q: What closing thought would you leave with a woman whose fear is stopping her from getting started in this industry?
A: I really have to go back to education. Educate yourself. It is extremely competitive out there, and you’re not exactly dealing with pocket change. I would strongly encourage any woman to invest in a seminar, if possible—a multiple-day one on buying and flipping properties. And yes, it can be pricey, but it is so worth every penny you’ll spend on it. Between the information that you get and the books that you get to take home with you, I mean you can constantly reference those. Plus, oftentimes these seminars have hotline numbers that you can call after the fact. Then take the next step, and put your new knowledge to good use. Take action. Even if it’s scary, just bite the bullet and do it. Find a good investing club and start attending the meetings. If you need to be a wallflower for the first couple of meetings, then fine. But go anyway. Have a really simple business card made up with your name and your contact information that says on the back, “I buy houses” or “I’m looking for funding” or whatever it is you need. Put your wants and needs out there. People really will listen.