Mortgages & Creative Financing

Creative Financing: 5 Outside-the-Box Tools Savvy Investors Use to Build Wealth

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Business Management, Personal Finance
46 Articles Written
white main behind window sitting at table with phone and tablet and inquisitive expression

I did not choose my creative financing toolbox. My creative financing toolbox chose me.

My business partner and I began full-time real estate investing right out of college with no assets, no regular job, and little consistent income. But we still wanted to buy, sell, and eventually keep properties.  

So, we were forced to look beyond the traditional path of walking into a bank and applying for a loan. We learned to use creative tools, such as seller financing, private loans, self-directed IRA loans, lease options, and more.  

Ironically, after almost 14 years of investing in real estate, we still choose to use creative financing to purchase real estate. Just this year we’ve used seller financing, private loans, and self-directed IRA loans to make several purchases.

We can get bank loans now, and occasionally, we do when it makes sense. But creative financing is still our preferred source to finance investment real estate.  

In this article, I’ll tell you why we prefer creative financing, and I’ll open our toolbox to share five of our favorite creative financing tools (aka the power tools).  My hope is that you’ll add some of them to your own creative financing toolbox so that you can build more wealth and create more passive income for yourself.


Why You Need a Creative Financing Toolbox

Building your real estate investing portfolio is like crafting a custom home. You need a set of reliable and flexible tools in order to build a solid structure.

Like a hammer, traditional bank financing is a common tool that everyone knows how to use. And there’s nothing wrong with a hammer. If you have a nail, it sure is handy.

But I’m here to tell you that depending only upon bank financing for real estate investing is a handicap. It’s like building a house with one tool. It will limit your business over the long run.  

Other investors with a larger toolbox that also includes creative financing will have a natural advantage against you. They will build their real estate portfolio faster, more consistently, and with a better long-term result.

Related: How to Use Owner Financing to Create Wealth And Grow Your Portfolio

There are multiple reasons why this is true. I’ll explain just a few here.

Real Estate Cycles

Real estate markets go up and down, often in seven- to 10-year cycles. The best real estate deals are found during the down cycles. Think about 2008 to 2009 when blood was in the streets and good real estate deals were plentiful.

But guess what? Down cycles are when banks lend the least money. Even if you recognize good deals, your ability to buy them will be limited if you can’t borrow money. On the other hand, creative financing smooths out the curves of these cycles and works during up and down times.

For example, in the downturn of 2009, we were able to obtain plentiful private financing from individuals who were scared of the stock market and sick of tiny bank CD rates. At this time, when banks would not loan money against investment real estate, our private lenders felt very secure with tangible real estate that produced rent far in excess of their interest payment.

At the same time, many sellers couldn’t get rid of their properties. They were much more open to seller financing during the down cycle than they would have been before. So, rather than working against us, the down real estate cycle actually improved our ability to finance deals creatively.

Increased Risk

Do you know how you can tell that a bank is in control of your lending relationship? Because their army of attorneys wrote the enormous book of papers you sign at a loan closing. You get the privilege of signing the papers as-is, or you can take a hike!

That big stack of papers is all about transferring risk. The attorneys working for the bank essentially transfer as much risk as possible from the bank to you. The risk equation may be out of balance in the bank’s favor, but the terms are not negotiable.

On the other hand, everything is negotiable with creative financing. It’s possible to find win-win agreements with sellers, private individuals, or small businesses who are willing to finance to you. These agreements can reduce your personal risk and still satisfy the needs of the other party.

Lack of Control

Success in real estate investing depends upon consistently being able to acquire funding for new deals. But the application and approval process for bank financing is largely outside of your control. Today you may be able to get seven loans, but tomorrow the policy may change to five. And the changes do not always make sense.

On the other hand, creative financing is limited only by your ability to find good deals and to prove yourself to the individuals providing the financing. With your hustle and intelligence unleashed by creative financing, the potential upside of your investing business is virtually unlimited.

Lack of Speed

Ignoring all of the other problems above, bank loans are just too slow. For the best investment acquisitions, you must move very quickly. But bank loans require drawn out application processes, appraisals, and multiple layers of approval.

By the time you finish the first step of your traditional bank application, I will have already used creative financing to close the deal. For example, we recently closed a deal in three days. We would have been lucky to get a return call from the bank by the time we already bought the property!

The Basics of Creative Financing

Luckily, adding creative financing tools to your toolbox is not rocket science. You probably already know the basics. If you have used a promissory note, a mortgage, a deed of trust, or a lease, you understand the fundamentals of how creative financing works.

But there is still a learning curve to understand the nuances and the unique applications of these tools. Almost daily in the BiggerPockets Forums, a newbie investor complains that a local closing attorney or title company refuses to close their creative financing deal or says that what they’re doing is illegal.

While I can empathize with the situation, my hunch is that most new investors really don’t understand the tool themselves. It’s like this closing attorney sees a small child climbing up to turn on a power saw. The attorney may not know how to use the power saw either, but he knows enough to scream, “Stop!” before the child cuts off his finger!

So, the goal of my explanations below is to make you more familiar with five of the most common and useful creative financing tools. I will share diagrams and examples that will explain how the tools are used. Once you get the basics, you can then study them more in-depth from sources like Brandon Turner’s No Money Down book, the creative financing forum here on BiggerPockets, or my favorite teachers like John Schaub.

I’ll begin to unpack these creative financing tools by explaining the tool you’re probably all familiar with: traditional bank financing.

A Picture of a Traditionally Financed Closing


If you’re going to be able to understand creative financing and explain it to a skeptical attorney, real estate agent, or seller, you need to first understand each piece of a typical transaction.

The diagram above shows the relationship between all of the parties of a typical closing. There are four primary entities involved:

  1. The Seller
  2. The Buyer (you, if purchasing an investment)
  3. The Bank (lender)
  4. The Closing Agent (an attorney or title company)

In this example, a purchase and sale agreement was signed at some point before closing between the buyer and seller. The price was $50,000. Also before closing, a loan commitment agreement was made between the buyer and the bank. The loan was $40,000, and the buyer provided $10,000 or 20 percent as a down payment.

The closing attorney or title company uses these pre-closing agreements to oversee the closing transaction (aka escrow) to ensure the other three parties are treated fairly per the terms of their contracts. The items actually exchanged between the parties include:

  1. Money — from the bank to the buyer (a loan)
  2. Two contracts, a promissory note, and a mortgage (or deed of trust in some states) — from the buyer to the bank
  3. A deed — from the seller to the buyer
  4. Money — from the buyer to the seller

For those of you already investing, this may seem basic. But it’s important to start here before doing transactions that are a little more creative, because these creative tools use the same basic format.

Now I’ll unpack my five favorite creative financing power tools from my toolbox.

Power Tool #1: Seller Financing


In the picture above, did you notice the main difference between a seller financing transaction and a transaction with a bank loan? Obvious, right? There is no bank!

Related: How to Use Owner Financing to Create Wealth And Grow Your Portfolio

In fact, technically, there is not even a loan. As you can see, the seller never gives the buyer any money like a bank would. Instead, the seller just agrees to let the buyer pay the purchase price over time with monthly installments (i.e., an installment sale).  

In exchange for this financing arrangement, the seller (not a bank) receives the promissory note and mortgage as security.  

The beauty of this arrangement is that there are only two parties—the buyer and the seller. The seller does not have loan committees, underwriters, or Fannie Mae-conforming rules. You make an offer to the seller, the two of you negotiate, and if it makes sense for both parties, you move forward.

But how common is seller financing, really? Well, Ben Leybovich, a well-known creative financing writer here on BP who I respect, once wrote that seller financing is rare and usually only used on ugly pig properties. While I normally nod my head at Ben’s articles, I shook my head and chuckled at this one. Maybe Ben has been looking under the wrong rocks.

It’s true that seller financing is not as common or as easy to obtain as more traditional tools. It’s also true that seller financing does not make a bad deal magically turn into gold. But don’t let its difficulty dissuade you from its ultimate value.

Seller financing is an incredible tool that is well worth the effort. And it is one of the clearest win-win transactions in the entire real estate business.

For example, my business recently bought an income property using seller financing with a 10 percent down payment (yes, in a hot market, and yes, in a desirable location). Once stabilized and rented, this property will likely make us over $1,000 per month in net income for decades to come. And that does not include the benefits of future capital gains.

What’s more? The seller and I are pals. He is happy as a clam in water because he loves monthly checks without the hassles of being a landlord. I have saved him the trouble of putting a big chunk of his money into investments like stocks or bank CDs that he doesn’t like or understand. And he receives a much larger income than he would with most traditional investments.

Who is the only party not happy with the transaction? I guess it’s the bank, who didn’t get my seller’s money in a CD, so that they could loan it to me at a higher interest rate!

Power Tool #2: Private Loan From a Self-Directed IRA


As you see above, this creative financing tool is structurally very similar to a closing with a bank loan. The only difference is that the lender is a self-directed IRA (individual retirement account) and not a bank.

Most retirement accounts invest in traditional assets like mutual funds or bonds. But a self-directed IRA is a way to use retirement savings to invest in alternative assets like real estate, notes, tax liens, and more. Specialized custodians who allow self-direction hold the assets and process transactions and keep records for the IRS.

The point of this tool is to borrow the IRA funds from other individuals, not from your own IRA. You must be very careful not to engage in IRS-prohibited transactions. Loaning money to yourself or to your business is clearly off limits.

But as long as you follow the rules, you have enormous opportunities to find sources of funds for your real estate deals. Even a few years ago in 2012, total IRA accounts in the United States totaled over 5.68 TRILLION dollars!  

Chances are that someone you know in your local network has funds available and would be willing to loan them to you. Some of the best candidates are other real estate investors who can’t loan that money to themselves. Your deals give them the perfect opportunity to invest in local assets that they know and understand.

This has been the tool that I use the most often from my creative financing toolbox. Like seller financing, it is a win-win arrangement. It gets you the funds you need, and your IRA lender receives a solid return and good collateral.

Related: Confessions of an Ex-Banker: How to Get Your Next Loan Approved, Guaranteed.

Power Tool #3: Private Loans (Outside of an IRA)

I didn’t include a diagram here because it is the exact same process as the previous tool. The only difference is that the private lender uses funds outside of an IRA.  

Who would have that kind of money? More people than you think.

The most likely candidate is an individual with a large net worth. And if you understand the principle of books like The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, this person WON’T be the one driving the expensive car or wearing fancy clothes. So, don’t underestimate anyone you meet!

My favorite way to find these individuals is at real estate networking events like BiggerPockets meetups or your local real estate club. Attend these events and get to know people. Find the experienced old guys and gals in the back of the room. Ask questions. Make friends. Once you get to know people, they may be willing to loan money to you.

I love that borrowing from high net worth individuals also brings more benefits than just getting the money. In addition to borrowing money, you also borrow their expertise and experience!

A couple of my own private lenders became mentors and close advisors. While they may have been interested anyway, the fact that I had their money made them VERY interested in my success. Their tips, feedback, encouragement, and friendship over the years have been an essential part of my own success on their deals and on others.

While I personally have never used hard money loans, I would also lump hard money lending into this same creative financing tool. Hard money, or asset-backed loans, are an alternative to traditional bank financing. And while the cost is generally higher than normal, the availability and speed of funds make them very helpful to many investors.

Power Tool #4: Master Lease With Option to Buy


The tool of master leasing is where we begin to think outside the box even more. So, stay with me.

In the illustration above, a burned out landlord named Jane owns a quadruplex building. Jane has let the building run down, and she has not even filled two vacancies from bad tenants who recently moved out. She’s just too tired.

Jane then gets a letter from an energetic entrepreneur named Chris, who offers a creative solution to her problem. Chris offers to lease her building for five years for the same amount she currently receives in rent from two tenants ($1,000 per month). He also offers to perform immediate cosmetic repairs like painting and carpeting that will cost him $5,000.

Jane will continue to pay for taxes and insurance and handle any major capital expenses (roof, heat and air systems, structural issues). Chris will be responsible for all vacancy costs, turnover costs, maintenance costs, etc.  

Because Chris’s lease gives him the right to sublease all four units to sub-tenants, his gross rent collected in this case is $2,000. As you can see in the picture below, if his vacancy and maintenance expenses are $400 per month, he receives positive cash flow of $600 per month—or $36,000 over the next five years!


Stacking up a few deals like this could make for very lucrative side income for Chris, or he could really ramp it up with more deals to completely replace his income from a job.

But why stop there? Let’s see if Chris can make it even better using another tool: the option to buy.


If Jane, the burned out quadruplex landlord, was willing to give Chris, the entrepreneur, a master lease, might she also be willing to give him an option to buy the property? There’s a good chance. 

An option would essentially give Chris the right (but not the obligation) to purchase the property for a set price for a certain period of time. In exchange, Jane receives consideration for selling him the option.  

In this case, Chris’s consideration is the $5,000 he spends to spruce up the cosmetics of the property. Jane will give him a credit in the amount of $5,000 when he finally executes his option.  

Chris’s option strike price is $120,000. Once he gets the building rented and looking good, he then will have the chance to make money from the option any time during his five-year option window.

Multiple Exit Strategies With Options

A well-crafted option gives Chris at least three profitable exit strategies:

  • First, Chris could patiently save a down payment and look for permanent financing and/or partners. This will allow him to buy the building and keep it as a long-term hold investment. Because he has five years to accomplish this, he can shop around until he finds the best terms.
  • Second, Chris could use this as the replacement property in a 1031 exchange. This would allow him to sell another rental property he owns, exchange into this property, and defer his taxes on the gain of the sale. Given that many investors don’t have the perfect property picked out when they execute a 1031 exchange, this can be a BIG benefit.
  • Third, Chris could sell his option to another investor. Let’s say he finds a landlord investor, who is willing to buy this property for $160,000. He could simply assign his option contract to him (yes, contracts can be sold), and his fee for the assignment would be the difference between $160,000 and his strike price of $120,000—or $40,000.

So, in addition to the $36,000 Chris earns from operating the rental over five years, he also receives a profit of $35,000 ($40,000 minus the $5,000 initial investment) from assigning his contract.

That’s a total of $71,000! Not a bad payday considering he invested only $5,000, some hard work, and a little creativity.

And perhaps even more exciting than the $71,000 profit, the lease option allowed Chris to use enormous leverage without the typically enormous risk of traditional bank financing.

Remember the bank’s army of attorneys I wrote about earlier? If things go badly with Chris’s lease option, he has only risked his $5,000 initial investment, his time and energy, and any potential negative cash flow during the five years of his lease. After that, he could legally just walk away.

Related: The Lease Option: How I Creatively Structured a Deal With Very Little Down

Try that with a bank loan!

Power Tool #5: Master Lease + Option (With a Credit Partner)


If you liked master leases and options with sellers, this next tool will give you a different way to use the same technique. Instead of lease optioning the property from a seller, you lease option it from a credit partner.

Let me explain.

Let’s say an entrepreneur named Karla finds a great rental property deal worth $150,000 that can be bought for $100,000. The only problem is that she doesn’t have the money to close. She knows a private lender named Jim with $20,000 cash, but obviously that’s not enough.

After further questioning, Karla learns that Jim does have excellent credit and can get a mortgage loan. So, the two of them agree to the following:

  1. Karla, the entrepreneur, assigns the purchase contract to Jim, the credit partner.
  2. Jim applies for a traditional bank loan and purchases the property for $100,000.
  3. Karla immediately master leases the property for 5 years at $525 per month net-net-net rent (i.e., she pays all expenses).
  4. She also retains an option to repurchase at a higher price ($110,000).
  5. She manages the rental until future exit strategies are available.

Karla then proceeds to rent to a sub-tenant for $1,200 per month. Her net income looks something like this:

$1,200 – $500 (operating expenses) – $525 (rent) = $175 per month net income

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While $175 seems like a nice cash flow, Karla will be wise to set aside a good portion of her cash in reserve for capital expenses and vacancies.

Meanwhile, Jim uses the $525 rent from Karla to pay his $425 mortgage payment, and he still has $100 left over to put in his pocket.

Another Option, Another Profitable Exit Strategy

Just like the lease option example with the seller, Karla has multiple options for exit strategies, including refinancing, 1031 exchanging, or assigning. The choice she makes will depend on the circumstances and resources available to her at the time.

But what if this property has great long-term prospects? What if Karla can’t obtain long-term financing? What if both parties want to stay in the deal together as partners?  

To accomplish this, they could make a slightly different credit partner arrangement.

Jim could give Karla an option for 20 years instead of five. But instead of an option for 100 percent of the property, Karla retains an option to purchase a 50 percent interest in the property at 50 percent of the original purchase price.

In this case, Karla would pay $50,000 to Jim whenever the option is executed. Jim would then deed a 50 percent free-and-clear interest in the property to Karla, or he could sell her 50 percent in an LLC if that makes more sense.

Why would either party do this? Because perhaps this location is prime, and 20 years from now, the property could appreciate from $150,000 to $400,000. And during that time, perhaps the rents could increase significantly for Karla, and the loan will certainly keep getting paid down for Jim.

At year 20, Jim has used the rents from Karla to pay down his loan from $80,000 to $40,000. So, his 50 percent portion of the equity in the property is now worth $200,000 minus $40,000, or $160,000.  

Karla, on the other hand, controls $150,000 of equity ($200,000 minus $50,000 option price), but she has yet to put up any capital. As before, she again has multiple exit options.

If Jim wants to, Karla could refinance and buy out Jim’s equity of $200,000. Or Karla could sell her equity to Jim for $150,000 cash. Or if both partners want to cash out, they can just sell the property and divide their winnings.  

In the end, Jim turned $20,000 into $160,000 completely passively, and he also received $1,200 in rental income for 20 years. It’s very likely his income was completely sheltered by the depreciation of the property, meaning he paid very little in taxes until the sale.

For a bonus exercise, do the math on Jim’s internal rate of return (IRR). I’ll give you a clue that it’s better than he’d get historically in the stock market.

Karla invested zero money up front, and she used her creativity and property management skills to accumulate $150,000 of wealth. And along the way, she built a steadily growing stream of positive monthly income.

And because I know how smart and ambitious Karla is, she probably did another nine deals just like this so that after 20 years, she created over $1.5 million in wealth and thousands of dollars in cash flow per month.

Aren’t these power tools fun?!


What Tools Are in YOUR Toolbox?

As I said way back in the very beginning, these are tools my business partner and I have used over the years in our own business. They have served us well. Our toolbox and our tools are well worn now.

But the point of the article is about you. The question is, can you use any of these tools to build wealth and income for yourself?

My advice is not to fill up your toolbox with too many tools at once. It’ll just weigh you down unnecessarily.  

And you don’t need to give up your old tools, even the hammer of traditional financing. If it’s already working for you, keep using it.

Instead, decide on one or two of these tools that you’d like to add to your toolbox. Then commit to mastering that tool.

Learn about it. Practice it. Ask questions. Then, as quickly as possible, start using the tool in your real estate investing.

I think you’ll become a better and wealthier real estate investor as a result. Best of luck!

Which of these tools do you want to add to your toolbox? Have you used any of these tools before? Are there any variations or additional tools you feel belong in the creative financing toolbox?

Let me know your questions and comments below!

Chad Carson is an entrepreneur, writer, and teacher who used real estate investing to reach financial independence before the age of 37. He wrote an Amazon best-selling book Retire Early With Real Estate, and his story has been a featured on Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider,, the BiggerPockets Podcast, How to Money, ChooseFI, and more. Chad and his business partner currently focus on long-term rental properties and private lending in and around the college town of Clemson, South Carolina. Their portfolio of 90+ units includes houses, small multi-unit apartments, and mobile homes. In 2003, Chad and his business partner began real estate investing from scratch. They started by wholesaling and fixing-and-flipping properties. They also learned to rely on non-conventional financing sources like private lending, seller financing, and lease options, which remains their expertise today. After surviving the 2007-2009 real estate downturn (with scars to prove it!), they transitioned to more of a focus on student rentals. You can find more of Chad's writing (as well as podcast episodes) at

    Jonathan Weeks from Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Phenomenal article, as well as great visuals. You should become their main contributor! I really enjoyed learning more about these variety of ways to invest with little money down. As someone who is not quite flush with cash, this has definitely encouraged me to think more outside the box when looking to obtain my first property. It’s time to start building my own little toolbox.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thank you for your kind words and for commenting, Jonathan! Glad the tools were helpful for you at your point in your real estate career. The good thing about the tools is that they can work when you first start and have little down payment available, or later when you do (like where I am now). Good luck!
    Edward B. Investor from Midlothian, Virginia
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I agree. I was wary of reading yet another article on this topic because they tend to over simplify things, but am certainly glad I did. Nothing too new really if you have spent time on bigger pockets, but the presentation and explanations were excellent. Particularly enjoyed the colored chalks.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Yeah, this is a oft-written topic. And “creative financing” is used in so many ways. As I defined it in the article – it’s financing other than walking into a bank and applying for a loan. Yeah, the chalkboards and chalk pictures are a fun part of what I do. I have a lot of videos like that at my Coach Carson YouTube page.
    Steve Vaughan Rental Property Investor from East Wenatchee, WA
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great points, Chad! Thank you for not saying RE can be bought with no money. It is an impossibility and I grow tired of hearing it! It is still best to cut back and save some dang money. So many folks out there driving a car payment in their skinny jeans on their i-phones with their fancy coffees crying about not having any. Gimme a break. I have used a few of your ‘tools’ over the years. On seller financing, I would point out that there are two different types – the type where the asset is NOT in your name while you are paying it off- and the type where it is. Obviously, we want the type where it is. I would never buy on seller financing via a Land Contract or Contract for Deed. Not all seller financing is good! Thanks for a great overview that sparks ideas outside of the box! More tools equals more potential for success. I also liked your graphic art!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Steve, 100% agree more people need to be saving more money. And no matter what the tool is – unless someone gives you a house, there is SOME money used. The question is the source, terms, etc. Good distinction on the seller financing types. Yeah, I have SOLD with contract for deeds often in the past, but I purchasing I too want the deed – as you said. Thanks for commenting!
    Sarah D. from San Diego, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Loved the master lease ideas! I’ve never heard of that before. Thanks for a great article!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Awesome, Sarah! Glad the master lease idea was helpful!
    Andrew K. Rental Property Investor from San Antonio, TX
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Chad, I loved the article. Amazing break down of a number of strategies I’ve been scratching my head on lately. However, I’d like some clarification on a couple of the tools. Which tools require the current owner to own the property free and clear? Can you use seller financing and options if the property has an existing mortgage? If so, how does this change the application of the respective strategies? Again, great article–I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks in advance! -Andrew
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Andrew, Good question. For seller financing the assumption is that the property is free and clear. Stick with that and you’ll keep your life simpler. There are some exceptions to that, called wrap around mortgages and subject-to. Those have some more additional pitfalls and are a little more advanced. Maybe next article?! Lease options can be done with mortgages in place, but you’d want to be very careful and ensure payments were made by the owner. That’s a bigger discussion. Thanks for the comment and good question!
    Joshua D. Investor from Columbus, MT
    Replied about 3 years ago
    OH MY WORD! I love the pictures. It helps a ton to get visuals on these topics.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Ha, ha. Thanks Joshua. Yeah, I am totally visual. So I like the diagrams, colors, lines, etc. Especially with more complex tools and ideas.
    Larry Hill Investor from Kansas City, Missouri
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great article Chad. I do have a question about the Lease Option. If I enter into a LO, can I rent the property to other tenants (sub-lease) for the term of the lease, then exercise my option at end of term? If so, are there any pitfalls I should be aware of? Thanks so much for sharing your experience and insight.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks Larry! With a lease option, you can rent to a sub-tenant for the entire term of the lease and then wait to buy it at the very end if that makes sense. An option gives you a window with a start and end date, and you just have to execute the option before the end. With that said, one of the pitfalls of options are, well, you don’t own it! What if owner goes into bankruptcy? Dies? Decides not to sell? You do have a contract and recourse, but you don’t generally make money going to court. There are some ways to combat those issues (like recording your contract, holding title in escrow, etc), but I still like to avoid spending large amounts of money on a property until I own it with good title. And second I want to avoid promising to sell to someone else, like on a sandwich lease option, because of the potential trouble you could get into not being able to give them a good title. Hope that helps!
    Wilma E. Real Estate Agent from Scarborough, Maine
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Amazing article, Chad! Well done…you distilled some complex concepts for RE investing newbies into simpler, more digestible ideas. Thank you!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You’re very kind, Wilma! Thank you! Simple, digestible chunks that are easier to learn is always my goal.
    Jennifer C. Investor from Dallas, Texas
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Hi Chad, I am a little confused on the 2nd tool – loan from self-directed IRA. I thought I could use my own IRA/ or Roth IRA to invest in properties, until i saw you mentioned it’s IRS prohibited transactions … Did I miss anything? Thanks
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks for the question, Jennifer. Edward is right that you CAN buy a property with your IRA, but you just can’t loan money to yourself or your business. The rules are worth studying before getting into IRA investing, but in general you have to avoid deals where you or your business could benefit from the money of your IRA. They need to be kept as two separate, parallel investment operations.
    Jennifer C. Investor from Dallas, Texas
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thank you for the reply, Edward & Chad. Appreciate the inputs!
    Rudy Bello Investor from Vancouver, Washington
    Replied 8 months ago
    Chad, great article. Maybe you can help me or others on a situation. I held a meet and greet group and I met an investor that’s eager to invest, but because his w-2 job requires him to fly 80% of the time he doesn’t have the time to search and analyze deals. So him and I partner up. He will bring the money to the deal and I will find and analyze them. I set him up with my realtors, lenders and property manager so we can get the ball rolling. I never done this, so I’m wondering what will be the proper way of compensation that’s fair for both us. Thanks,
    Edward B. Investor from Midlothian, Virginia
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Jennifer, you can buy the property out right with your IRA, or use your IRA for the down payment with a non recourse loan. What you cannot do is loan yourself money to buy the property. What he is proposing is having a non disqualified person loan you the money to buy the property instead of a bank. It is more complicated than that so get expert advice before doing anything because the consequences can be severe, but that is the gist.
    Jamal Wilson from Compton, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Really great article Chad. That culdnt have been said any better. I have always been interested in these strategies but have never pulled the trigger. I think this articles gives a bit more to consider in terms of research and explaining to potential partners. Thanks a lot!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    That’s great to hear, Jamal! Thanks for the feedback. Talking to partners and explaining it to them is a big deal. Those drawings in the article are exactly how I explain it to people in that scenario. So feel free to borrow away! Good luck!
    Cody Holbrook Investor from Hendersonville, Tennessee
    Replied about 3 years ago
    This was really helpful! I’ve been curious about these creative financing methods. Thank you Chad!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You’re welcome, Cody! Glad it was helpful. Thanks for reading.
    Account Closed Investor from Fountain Valley, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You didn’t mention a self directed 401. Do you think that’s a bad idea.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Joe, Self directed 401ks are probably even better than IRAs from what I’ve heard. I don’t have one myself yet, so it’s not my expertise. But from what I’ve heard they’re a great way to get more money into your self-directed accounts, and you have more flexibility with loaning to yourself, etc. Do you have experience with one? I’m definitely curious to hear of success stories with that. Chad
    Account Closed Investor from Fountain Valley, California
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I don’t have one yet. I think you have to have a business to qualify so If that’s true I will consider getting a property manager license and self managing two properties I’m currently buying. I should let the dust settle on the properties and of course see if other BP members can advise me before I go forward with it. Joe
    Ashley Wilson Rental Property Investor from Radnor, PA
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Excellent article! This hits home right now, as we are trying to expand our business and explore more creative ways to obtain financing! Could not have come at a better time. Thank you so much for these excellent ideas, and examples!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    That’s great to hear, Ashley! Glad it was helpful. Good luck with your business expansion and new financing toolbox. Let me know how I can help!
    Dustin Mellor Investor from Roseburg, OR
    Replied about 3 years ago
    This is very empowering information. I’m just beginning my RE journey and the single largest obstacle seems to be financing thru traditional banks. I can wait to build my RE ‘tool box’!!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Awesome, Dustin! Go build that tool box and let me know how it goes!
    Eric Sztanyo Investor from Fort Thomas, KY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Really creative ideas simplified in digestible pieces. Thanks for working through this. Gets me excited about different tools to put in my tool belt!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You’re welcome, Eric. Glad they were helpful for you. Good luck with your own creative financing toolbelt!
    Gianni Laverde Investor from Corona, NY
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great article Chad. really eye opening as to the many possibilities available when using creativity and market knowledge.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thanks, Gianni! There really are a lot more possibilities than we often think. This is especially true when you start using these tools and applying them with face-to-face negotiations with sellers. Too many negotiations become limited and UNcreative when buyer and seller are separated between agents.
    Antonio Coleman Specialist from Sibley, LA
    Replied about 3 years ago
    2008 wasn’t a big surprise to those who seen the writing on the wall. Most of my REI friends and clients took full advantage of the opportunity. Heck, we always say when the market is down then this is when we make more deals. Mastering the real estate side and the marketing side is what set the best apart from the rest. Antonio Coleman “Signing Off”
    Alex Saleeby Specialist from Beaumont, TX
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Great article. Thanks.
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Thanks for an informative article. I am thinking of using a HELOC to fund my deals. What is a good interest rate at this moment ( for a HELOC) ? Thanks for your help!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Not sure on the interest rates for HELOCS. Just contact a couple of local banks and you’ll get up to speed pretty fast. Good luck!
    Mike Dymski Investor from Greenville, SC
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Chad, this is one of the better articles I have read on BP and, as I have mentioned to you in the past, your 1st podcast is maybe the best podcast I have listened to (and I do not even have the same investing strategy as you). You have a way of taking complex subjects and explaining them in simple terms. Your podcast is humble, practical and real. Brilliant stuff.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thank you very much, Mike! I do my best to make it simple. Maybe it’s because MY brain needs it simple. lol. And thanks for confirmation about creative financing in downturns. It’s something we stumbled upon in 2008, and it was a big aha for us.
    Mike Dymski Investor from Greenville, SC
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Forgot to mention, you are spot on about creative financing and a market downturn. Everyone talks about stockpiling cash for a potential downturn. You don’t need YOUR capital for a downturn, you just need access to capital. REI with access to private investors have a huge advantage during down cycles.
    Robert Polyack Investor from Kingsburg, California
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Awesome article. Thank you.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Rhodesia Dabney Realtor from Mt. Ranier, MD
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Awesome article and very informative to a new investor such as myself. Thanks for creating this post!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Happy to share it. Glad it was helpful!
    Kelly Burdine Investor from Omaha, Nebraska
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Chad, Who usually writes up contracts for these types of financing?
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    A local attorney, but be careful – not all closing attorneys will understand these types of contracts. I would suggest finding an attorney who does commercial real estate work and who has done real estate litigation. You can also start with contracts you find in courses and here on BP, and then take that contract to one of those attorneys and have them mark it up (or perhaps tear it up … lol). The cost is worth the benefit if you plan to use private lenders, seller financing, and other creative financing consistently. Good luck!
    Martyn Lockwood Investor from Sydney, New South Wales
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great read Chad. Does your toolbox…i.e the strategies recommended, apply to foreign nationals? I refer mainly to the seller financing type of lending. I’m guessing that as long as the buyer and seller can come to a mutual agreement, there should be no problem. Your thoughts?
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Hmmmm … I’m not an expert on the rules of foreign nationals buying real estate. But I assume you’ve done homework and that it’s legal. If so, I could see these techniques being a big advantage for anyone who fits outside of the typical institutional lending box (foreign nationals included). Seller financing is not decided by bank rules in a high-rise building somewhere. It’s you and a seller sitting across from one another. If you trust each other and if it benefits you both, you do the deal. Come to think of it – that’s how business has been done for ages! It’s only in the last 50-60 years we’ve started giving money with robot decisions and underwriters in a different state. Best of luck!
    Jeff Rabinowitz Investor/Landlord from Farmington Hills, Michigan
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Well written. I smiled when you wrote of the old guys in the back of the room. I resemble that remark.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thanks Jeff! I meant it with all due respect!:)
    Alina Trukhina
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Chad, I love the creativity and details behind the financing and purchasing options you wrote about in this article! Do you have any creative advise on locating deals in a tight market? That’d be splendid! Thank you! Best!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Thanks Alina! Glad it was helpful. In any market, good deals always begin with a person and their motivation to sell. So, I like going directly to the owners of properties. The simplest way is to walk or drive neighborhoods and talk to people you meet there. Find vacant houses. Call for rent signs. Call for sale by owners. The more you dig around, the more you’ll find little hidden gems. I also do a lot of networking and some direct mail. You can also listen to a podcast interview I did with Brandon and Josh about finding good deals:
    Ewa Wallis
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great article Chad and some very creative thinking. Creative financing can be a fantastic way of spending things up however I would urge anyone looking into any type of not traditional finance to do their homework and ensure they know exactly what they are getting into.
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Definitely agree. Like anything in real estate you can’t use a tool if you’re not knowledgeable about it (and/or have knowledgeable team members like a local attorney). I hope this article helped give people the knowledge to begin having those conversations.
    Bradley Calvin Investor from Itasca, Illinois
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Hey Chad, thanks for this great article. Creative financing is something I’ve always been interested in but has been difficult to wrap my mind around as abstract concepts. What I love about your article is that it brings the concepts from the abstract to the concrete. Diagrams are very helpful too. Definitely bookmarking this one for future reference.
    Calvin Lipscomb from Brooklyn, New York
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thanks for the post. Even today in 2018 it was beneficial.
    Kyle Jones Flipper/Rehabber from Douglasville, GA
    Replied over 1 year ago
    This article gave me life. It was completely comprehensive and understandable. Excellent job! I’ll definitely looking into how I can apply some of these tools in the near future. Thank you!
    Chad Carson Investor from Clemson, SC
    Replied about 1 month ago
    Great to hear! Thanks so much for reading and for leaving a comment. Best of luck!
    Mike Justice Rental Property Investor from Location Kentucky and USA
    Replied 5 days ago
    Thank You so much, I love creative financing methods to buy and sell or hold real estate!
    Jerome Patrick Jr
    Replied 2 days ago
    Very informative! Very interested in conducting the master lease and/or option to buy. Where can I locate lease to offer contract templates for use?