Anyone can buy real estate with no money down. All you have to do is offer a high enough price and make sure the seller gets some cash at closing (but not yours). Do that and someone will say yes to your offer. The problem, of course, is that just getting real estate without spending your own cash isn’t all you want. You also want a deal that makes sense.
This tends to be glossed over by many who promote zero-down ways to buy real estate. If you are buying a home for yourself, so what if you get in with nothing down. You also want to be sure that it makes more sense than the alternatives (renting, waiting, lease-option, etc.). If you are investing in real estate, you want a property that will have cash flow or can be sold for a profit. With those criteria in mind, here are a few ways to do it without your own money.
No Money Down – Starting With Land
One of the easiest types of real estate to buy with nothing down is land or small lots. In many areas of the country it is common for sellers to sell these properties with a small down payment or none at all. Of course, one of the reasons they do this is because it is an easy way to get more for the land. I once bought a piece of land for cash and resold it in weeks for 30% more, because a lot of buyers could afford my terms: $250 down and $100 per month. So be sure that you are not paying too much.
“Too much” doesn’t necessarily mean paying a lot over “market value” however. It is determined by what you will do with the property. For example, if you have no other way to buy a small lot, and as a result of the easy terms offered by the seller you pay $12,000 for a lot worth just $9,000, is that too much? Not if you will later put a modular on it and make a $21,000 profit selling the package.
Now you might notice that many of the lots and parcels of land for sale are not offered with no down payment. Most sellers will at least want something at closing, even if it is only $1,000 down on an $8,000 lot. So how do these become “nothing down” deals? By borrowing for the down payment. In the above example, where you eventually make $21,000, what if you borrowed the down payment on a credit card at 18% interest, and it took a year to do the deal? Then you would make $210 less ($30 cash advance fee and $180 interest), or just $20,790 profit.
Land is also a way to get into a home with no money down. When you buy real estate this way, you can pay for the lot over a few years, and then use it as the equity necessary to get a home loan. many banks will loan you the money for a modular or stick-built home if you already own the land free and clear.
If you have a good credit score, you might still be able to get a 100% mortgage loan. They are getting less common now (late 2007), but I still see an occasional advertisement for them. Alternately, you might find a lender who will loan 90% and still let the seller finance the other 10% on a second mortgage, meaning none of your cash is necessary.
If you are investing in real estate, you might get 100% financing from a “hard money” lender. These lenders charge high fees and high interest, but the idea is that you use them for high -profit deals that make it worth it. Other investors may put up the money for the down payment and repair costs on a fixer upper project, if you find the right deals. This can be at a high interest rate, or for a share of the profits.
Buy Real Estate From Motivated Sellers
If you stick to properties that have highly motivated sellers, there is usually a way to buy with no money down. For example, a seller might sell his $90,000 house to you with only $3,000 down if you offer him $95,000 and a good interest rate. You can borrow the $3,000 of course (or even a little more to cover closing costs, if you want nothing at all into the deal).
Sellers have been known to take cars or other pieces of property as a down payment. They may let you buy with two mortgage notes, one for 20% and the other for 80%, one of which they’ll immediately sell to get the cash they want. To buy real estate with no money down, just look for a way to get the seller (and the lender, if necessary) what he needs – without using your cash.