Kapos: Chicago’s celebrity house-flipper

Chicago Suntimes
March 13th, 2017
By: Shia Kapos

 

Sean Conlon

Chicago real estate investor Sean Conlon works with homebuyers from Roscoe Village to the South Side in CNBC’s “The Deed: Chicago.” The show debuts at 9 p.m. March 29.

“There’s a lot of real estate porn out there, but this is real,” Conlon told me the other day after filming. “I have new respect for the people who do this. It’s exhausting. It takes a lot of work.”

Conlon follows another Chicago executive in bringing real-life business experiences to TV audiences. Marcus Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Camping World Holdings, stars in “The Profit” on CNBC.

About six years ago, filmmaker friend Bob Teitel of “Barbershop” fame asked Conlon for some advice on pitching a real estate-related TV show. Conlon joined him in a meeting with CNBC brass. They didn’t bite on that idea, but they liked Conlon’s style, he says.

Anyone who’s worked with him in Chicago knows Conlon for his quick wit, easy smile and an Irish accent that makes you want to listen.

Conlon has just wrapped four episodes. One episode reveals investors who bought the wrong home in Calumet Heights. Conlon helps them deal with the fallout. In another episode, he says he helps a Roscoe Village homebuyer on a $1.7 million deal in which the contractor made off with her money.

“It’s really diverse,” he says of the neighborhoods and price points of the properties. “It’s relatable, educational and aspirational. I’ve made some of these mistakes myself over the years.”

Conlon immigrated to the United States from Ireland as a young adult and started working at a residential brokerage in Chicago before saving enough to start his own firm in 2000, building it to a billion-dollar brokerage before he sold it. Conlon went on to invest in commercial and residential properties. He now heads CONLON/Christie’s International Real Estate, Conlon & Co., and CONLON Commercial and Conlon Capital.

He also has an interest in the Talbot Hotel and Rainforest Cafe in Chicago and properties in California, North Carolina and Palm Beach, Florida.

“I’ve been doing this 25 years. I’m always teaching people,” he says, listing names of top brokers in Chicago who he’s trained along the way. “Now, I’m just doing it for a wider audience with lots still to learn.”

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