There are several ways to make money in real estate. You can:
Buy & Hold
...among other creative investing strategies.
When I told people I was investing into real estate, I always got the same look of, "That's great, but isn't that really risky?" It can be, but it depends what exit strategy you're planning on executing, and how well you've been trained.
If you're rehabbing a property, or in other words, fixing and flipping it, you'll either use hard money, private money, or your own money to fund your deals. When you just bought a $150,000 house, and you're putting in $50,000 to fix it up, hoping to sell it for a profit margin, there is always a risk of something not going according to plan:
The market can crash.
There might be significantly more repairs than estimated.
Your contractor might do a crappy job, or even try and cheat you.
If things are behind schedule, your lender might not appreciate late payments for the money you borrowed.
However, there's another way to make money that is SIGNIFICANTLY less risky:
Wholesaling is the process of finding a significantly discounted property, putting it under contract, and handing it over to a end buyer, who will either fix and flip it themselves, or they'll fix and hold it for a rental. You hand them the contract marking up your purchase price. The spread is yours to keep.
In most instances, while wholesaling, the most you could lose is the earnest money deposit you give to your seller (which could be anything between $10 and $1,000, depending on the seller and size of the property).
Wholesaling doesn't require you to take out loans, invest in the repairs of a property, or worry about the market crashing in the span of several weeks.
So you could rehab properties that may take longer, and have higher risks, but payday is HUGE! Or you can wholesale a property, and make some quick cash! You can wholesale properties and make anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000 profit.
So the next time someone gives you that look, it's only because they haven't seen the fat check you just deposited in the bank from your last wholesale deal.