They're sold on late-night TV, hawked at seminars, they sell in books, and, admit it, you've wondered about them--those programs that tell you that you can make a fortune investing in real estate with no money down. Is it true? The answer is, yes, but....
If you can find an undervalued property, use somebody else's money, or do a sub2 deal (check your glossary at the website if you're unsure about that term), it's relatively easy. Undervalued properties are somewhat hard to come by in these overvalued days in most areas, unless you're ready to do some serious rehab work or have a keen insight into market trends in a specific area.
And, most lenders want you vested in the deal with some significant cash--understandably. Why should they take all the risk? At the very least, they'll want you to be able to show that you can maintain the property until it turns around or that you can turn it over quickly and profitably (which usually means selling it to somebody willing to pay a premium because of less-than-great credit).
BUT, don't let this discourage you. Instead, let it sharpen your insight as to what makes for a good deal, understand how lenders view them, and think creatively about financing so that a good deal can be had by all. Here's one way.
Find a motivated seller, and line up a partner who's seeking a good return. Form an LLC with the buyer. Have the LLC buy the property at a discount from the market rate in your partner's (the buyer's) name--it's his money, after all. Next, run a "for sale by owner" ad, stating that "poor or no credit is okay." Your phone will ring. They'll pay more to get in, but they'll have to be able to pull together a decent (10% or more) down payment and have a solid job. Your investor partner gets that cash to get his investment back. Then, sell the property to the new buyer and split the monthly cash flow with your partner.
You can repeat this process a few times and have a significant monthly cash flow, all with no cash from your pocket. Your contribution will have been putting the deals together. So, yes, "no money down" can still work, if the right people are in the picture. Keep your eyes open for possibilities, your contact list current, and your ambition level high, and you can do it.
Future articles will cover a couple of additional strategies.
About the Author: Lynn Stonebraker has been profiting from real estate since 1987. Get free weekly training in her newsletter, available at http://www.realestateinvestinginformation.com