Mortgages & Creative Financing

How to Invest in Real Estate With No Money (Seriously!)

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Wholesaling, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, AskBP, Real Estate Investing Basics
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Brandon Turner

Years ago, I was trying to buy a piece of real estate. It was a triplex that needed a bit of work done to it, but the numbers were solid and I knew it would make a great deal.

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But I had a problem—I had no money.

So I gave up, thinking it was impossible. Instead I sat on the couch watching reruns of Friends.

Nah, not really. What I did was asked the right questions and was able to find a solution: a partnership. 

Here I’ll explain how to use a partnership to invest in real estate using no money of your own. 

Related: 5 Top Tips for Creating a Mutually Beneficial Real Estate Partnership

How to Use a Partnership to Invest in Real Estate Using No Money of Your Own

Finding a good partner to help fund a deal is one of the best ways to finance a piece of real estate. It’s also one that many investors without a lot of cash begin with.

Partnerships work great because of something we call the “deal delta.”

To put together a real estate deal, three things are required:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Hustle
  3. Money

Playing to Your Strengths

But here’s the thing—all three don’t need to be provided by YOU. Instead, partners can make up the difference for what you lack.

For example, you might bring the hustle and the knowledge, but a partner can bring the money. Now you have all the parts needed for a deal to happen!

So back to my story. This triplex came on the market in my area, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. But I didn’t have any money, and I didn’t even have a W-2 job. In other words, I had no ability to fund the deal.

This is where most people would simply give up. Alternatively, I asked myself the all-important question, “How do I get this deal done?”

The answer I stumbled upon was to bring in a partner.

I spoke with some friends of mine from church—of all places—who I had known for many years and knew shared an interest in real estate. This couple both worked stable, government jobs, had good income, and had excellent credit. What they didn’t have was TIME!

They wanted to get into real estate but lacked the time (or “hustle”) needed to complete the deal delta. So, I proposed a solution. If they could come up with the $35,000 needed for the down payment, I would take care of the rest.

I would bring the knowledge and the hustle; they would bring the cash. We’ve owned this deal now for almost six years, and each year we save up our cash flow until the end of the year, then split everything evenly—50/50.

Man giving fist bump in sun rising nature background. power of teamwork concept. vintage tone

Splitting the Profits

On average, we’ve each earned around $5,000 per year (that’s over $400 per month each) in profit from this deal. In addition, we now have about $100,000 in equity in the property, which someday we’ll split and likely turn into future (larger) deals.

That is the power of a partnership when funding deals. And the cool thing is I did the deal for no money down. None.

When I tell this story, there are two completely opposite responses I get:

  1. Why in the world would this partner agree to losing 50 percent when they are bringing all the money?! Why wouldn’t they just do it themselves and get 100%?
  2. Why would you, Brandon, be so generous to give someone 50 percent just for bringing the money? You found the deal, negotiated it, managed the rehab, and manage the property on a continual basis to make sure it produces a profit. They don’t have to do anything but write a check!

Funny how those two responses are completely opposite from each other, and one’s response is based on their predefined opinions of what “value” is being brought. After all, I could not do the deal without their cash. They could not do the deal without my hustle and knowledge.

To me, that’s a perfect partnership. So we split it 50/50. But it doesn’t have to be 50/50. Your partnership can be whatever you’ve defined it to be, based on how you and your partner view the value each party is bringing.

Finally, keep in mind that a partnership is like a marriage. When it’s good, it’s REALLY good. But when it’s bad, it’s REALLY bad.

So take the time needed to find and vet your potential partner. Don’t jump into bed with the first person who wants to work with you. Find someone who fits with your style, goals, and ambitions.

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Real estate investing can be a powerful way to build wealth and achieve financial freedom. But knowing where to start is challenging. Unlike most real estate books, this one won’t tell you there’s “one secret path” to get there. Instead, it dives into dozens of real-life stories of successful investors. Pick up your copy from the BiggerPockets bookstore today!

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Are you considering a partnership? What value are you bringing to the table? In what area(s) do you need some help?

Let’s talk in the comment section below!

 

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He is a nationally recognized leader in the real estate education space and has tau...
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    Zack Powell Real Estate Agent from Orem, Utah
    Replied 8 months ago
    Awesome quick post. Great insight. Thanks!
    Daniel Somers Rental Property Investor from Tiffin, OH
    Replied 8 months ago
    I like this post. Partners are a great way to jump into real estate and it can work both ways if you have the money but not the time!
    Clyde N Lane
    Replied 8 months ago
    Great information. Exercising this position increases investment opportunities.
    Cheryl Dekoevend from Tucson, AZ
    Replied 8 months ago
    Thank you for posting this Brandon. For years I have been afraid to pull the trigger and dive into real estate investing. You have help me so much see that it is possible to get a deal done with no money down and show to a partner exactly what value you bring.
    Lauren Storie
    Replied 8 months ago
    This is so helpful and encouraging! I’m curious though… How do you apply for the loan? Do you both sign?
    Nate Ginsberg from Leominster, MA
    Replied 8 months ago
    My wife and I are starting out as real investors (we’re under contract on our first duplex now!) and I’m already thinking about how to get our next deal. Partnering seems like a great option, but there aren’t many people I’d feel comfortable asking for tens of thousands of dollars, and even fewer that actually have the money (or desire) to invest. How would you steer a casual conversation about real estate toward a proposed partnership? Any specific resources you used to learn to sell yourself in that way – i.e. build the trust that their money would be well spent?
    John Cummins
    Replied 8 months ago
    Great post. I would like to add something so many miss about buying real estate. You must be a buyer, seems simple but people miss the point, it means you have to get out there and look at property. Even when you have no idea how to put something together. Nothing will ever happen for those that sit around waiting. Go look at everything, if you do, you will come across a deal that you can make work. If you wait for (insert favorite excuse) you will buy nothing and that’s a fact. We wrote a book, now on Amazon called “Landlord, our thirty five years of living off rentals.” In the book we lay out what we did and believe me we didn’t have money at first, we finally quit looking at property simply because we had more than we could manage. Twenty five was too many for us, ten is about right. After we quit looking we quit acquiring, go figure! John and Linda
    Abeauty Mwakajoka
    Replied 7 months ago
    Great idea. A proposal to build a shopping mall on Build , operate and later transfer terms was proposed to me recently. The area is good and looks like the Clientele, (the population which will need the services of a mall is reasonable). I have a background in finance but from your idea i have to find a lot more people to partner with if this is to work. But what would be a reasonable number of partners for a project of this magnitude?.
    Allan Laranang from Winnipeg, MB
    Replied 7 months ago
    What if both of you as partners have the skill and experience but don’t have he money? Many are looking for money partners than working partners. Is it because the risk is greater for the person who place the money than the person who hustle and put all the things together. Is it fair for each partner to come up with 50% Time, Skill + Money.