As the resident expert on CNBC’s The Deed: Chicago, Conlon & Co. chairman Sean Conlon lends his finely-tuned real estate mind (and some much-needed funds) to struggling developers. But, as viewers of the four-episode series (which is available to watch online at CNBC.com) can glean, turning a troubled project around is anything but simple. Each flip Conlon helped revive came with its own set of surprises and pratfalls. Ahead, just three of the many memorable moments from the show.
Investors buy the wrong house.
In episode two, Mark Ainsley and Bryan Sonn made a pretty epic error when it came to purchasing the property they would soon flip: The founding partners of GC Realty and Development thought they were buying a single-family home at auction, but they actually purchased a two-flat instead. It was a mistake even Conlon hadn’t seen the likes of—but it didn’t stop him from helping Ainsley and Sonn successfully flip the building. After offering the buyers a $90,000 loan, Conlon helped them work through poor communication practices and a lack of organization to turn it all around. In the end, Ainsley and Sonn made about $25,000 on the flip.
A contractor nearly sinks the ship.
Episode three saw real estate agent Chantill Greer and her husband, Larry, deal with the fall-out of a contractor who was untrustworthy, to say the least. The Greers hired a contractor to take on multiple renovations in the two-flat the couple was deconstructing into a single-family home. But, they didn’t keep a close watch on the progress and it turned out much of the work being done was shoddy and sub-par, creating more issues that the Greers then had to pay to fix. Not only that, but it turned out the contractor was pocketing 90% of the money Chantill paid him, instead of paying the people doing the actual work, and ended up walking off the job. Fortunately for the Greers, Conlon was able to help them out with a $50,000 loan and some much-needed guidance. The Greers managed to finish the job and sell the property for a small profit.
Developers bite off more than they can chew.
Kai Bandele and Bernette Braden have plenty of experience remodeling homes to rent out, but when it comes to flipping, it seems they didn’t quite realize what they’d be getting into. In episode four, the couple tried their hand at a quick, single-family-home flip (with a complete gut rehab), but the project quickly got the best of them. Braden got caught up in the weeds, taking on everything from acting as general contractor, to collecting rent payment on other rentals, to mowing the lawn. All of that took him away from focusing on the bigger picture of the flip and helping keep things apace—which turned out to be a big issue. Bandele and Braden over-promised on delivery, ultimately missing two delivery dates and losing the buyer who was initially under contract at the start of the project. In the end, the couple took 14 weeks to complete what was supposed to be a six-week project, and the home is still on the market.