Self-made real-estate millionaire Barbara Corcoran says the bank of mom and dad can help you break into the housing market: ‘There’s no shame in that’

Recently appearing as a guest on the Chicks in the Office podcast, Barbara Corcoran tells both hosts (two women in their twenties, who say they’re currently renting in New York) that the best thing anyone in their twenties can do is to buy as fast as they can. Renting is a “no-win game,” Corcoran says.

“I have advised more people in their twenties to hit up their parents,” Corcoran tells the podcast’s hosts. “There’s no shame in that. Nobody buys under 40 in New York without the help of their family. You should think about that—no one. Even investment bankers have to come up with a lot of cash to get that fancy Park Avenue apartment.” 

In her interview from last month that’s resurfaced as a clip on TikTok with over 750,000 views and close to 51,000 likes, Corcoran suggests younger people should ask their parents, if they have savings, or their rich uncle, for help—but in a way that makes it enticing for them as well. Ask whoever it may be for half the down payment or even the full down payment, and make them a partner in the investment by telling them you’ll give them half the profit when the home is sold, Corcoran says. 

Long before she became a shark on ABC’s business-focused reality television series, Shark Tank, Corcoran, 74, made a name for herself in the real estate industry—one that she still holds, labeling herself the “NYC Real Estate Queen.” She founded the Corcoran Group, which was then a small real estate company that she famously started with a $1,000 loan, in 1973. After scaling her brokerage and becoming a powerhouse within the industry, she sold her company for $66 million in 2001. On the podcast, Corcoran reminisced, saying it was simply the idea that she was working for herself that fueled her love for real estate, and that was long before she used her skill to make millions. Like many, Corcoran says real estate can be a way to build wealth, and she takes it a step further, claiming that getting into it while young is an even better way to build wealth. 

“You gotta get in the game of real estate,” Corcoran says, adding that she almost bought her first apartment when she was 26, a top-floor walk-up studio in Greenwich Village, but “lost her courage” and forfeited the deposit. It took her another seven years to catch up with the market and buy her first studio, Corcoran says. That’s why it’s important to get in the game sooner rather than later so you can trade in that one-bedroom apartment for a two-bedroom when you’re ready to move up, she says. 

 “You have to be in the game,” Corcoran further stresses. “You have to beg, borrow, or steal, however you get in it.”

As for timing the market, which is a question Corcoran’s often asked, she says, “Forget about the timing. The timing of what you earn on that home has more to do with when you have to move than when you buy in. You’re not in charge of that, your life is.”

Things happen, Corcoran continues, so now is the time to buy, and that’s the same answer she gives anytime someone asks despite what’s happening in the current market—and our current market definitely isn’t normal.


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