Real Estate Investing Basics

4 Options to Help You Finance Your First Rental Property

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Finance, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Marketing, Mortgages & Creative Financing
103 Articles Written
taxes, rental property, real estate investor, rental income

For years, you’ve been diligently paying off your personal debt. You’ve finally got a healthy savings account. You’re funding your 401(k).

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Everything is going well, but one thing is still missing: You'd really like to give real estate investing a try. The biggest obstacle that's tripping you up is the financing process.

4 Options for Buying a Rental Property

Financing a rental property is rarely as straightforward as we’d like it to be. There are always a few wrinkles to be ironed out. But if you’re considering the purchase of property, sort through your various options and be sure to include the following.

1. Try an online lender.

Plenty of investors continue to use local banks and credit unions to finance real estate investments, but those are no longer the only options. Some experts even argue they’re no longer the easiest ones.

Instead, the honor of most convenient lending solution has gone to online loan marketplaces like LendingTree, LoanDepot, Quicken Loans, and Rocket Mortgage.

Related: 5 Steps You Can Take TODAY to Become More Financially Secure

With an online loan marketplace, you don’t have to waste time driving from one bank to another and sitting in on lots of boring meetings, only to hear the same old spiel again. You simply fill out some information, compare loan options, and get set up with the best partner for your plans.


2. Put down a large down payment.

Are you having trouble qualifying for a mortgage? Or perhaps the interest rate you're offered just isn't feasible given your numbers?

One option is to hold off for a few more months and stash away more cash. If you can put 25 percent down or more, you can save considerably on the interest. If you can furnish more than 50 percent, you might even be able to attract a hard money lender on far more favorable terms.

3. Ask about seller financing.

Seller financing is a clever option that often works when an investor can’t get a loan from a bank or other traditional lending source. In this case, the seller of the property—which is almost always owned free and clear—essentially becomes the bank.

You take ownership of the property, but then cut monthly "mortgage" payments to the previous owner. Should you default, the seller has recourse to take the property back.

If you try to pursue seller financing, you have to get together a smart game plan. Approaching a seller without any details isn’t going to inspire his or her confidence. You need to have specific terms written out and ready to be executed.

4. Gather a group of investors.

There's something to be said for owning a piece of real estate free and clear. This avoids the potential of a foreclosure and gives you more room for your numbers to work out.

You probably aren’t in a position where you’re able to buy a property with cash on your own obviously. But thankfully, you don’t have to. You have the option to gather a group of investors and go in together.

Related: 5 Achievable Tasks for Real Estate Newbies Feeling Lost & Overwhelmed

Let’s say you’re interested in buying a $200,000 rental property, for example. If you find three other people who are willing to put in $50,000, you can collectively own the property and start a cash flow on it much sooner.

This is a great way to get your feet wet while spreading out the risk.


Patience is Paramount

You never want to rush into buying a property. It doesn’t matter whether it’s going to be your personal residence or a rental. Nothing good ever happens in real estate investing when the trigger is pulled prematurely.

There will always be another property, and few deals are ever the “certain thing” you may be tempted to to believe in the heat of the moment. Be patient and wait until your financing falls firmly into place.

Any other options you’d add to this list?

Leave your comments below!

Larry is an independent, full-time writer and consultant. His writing covers a broad range of topics including business, investment and technology. His contributions include
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    Jeremy Boreing
    Replied about 3 years ago
    helpful. thanks larry!
    Ash Lynn Flipper from Mobile, AL
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great article!
    Jessie Huffey from Sandpoint, Idaho
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Good Article- One financing method left out is that of a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) being used to finance a rental property. This can be a good financing method on homes sold “AS IS” that traditional lenders wont touch. Also, If you used a home equity line of credit secured by a personal residence to provide money for your investment activities, you have a choice. You can, if you want, deduct up to $100,000 of the interest on the HELOC as a personal itemized deduction under the IRS provision that lets you deduct up to $100,000 home equity debt in addition to the $1,000,000 in home purchase debt. Alternately, you could allocate the interest on the investment property to your Schedule E, write it off there and not write it off on your Schedule A.
    Renande Emile from Lake Worth, FL
    Replied about 3 years ago
    very helpful!!!!
    Fernando Esteves Contractor from New Port Richey, Florida
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thank You!
    Mariano Gomes
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thank you for share your thoughts. These are excellent tips to new starters in Real Estate as me. I am yet to buy my first property and your article is very helpful.
    Doug Rodriguez from Bossier City, Louisiana
    Replied about 3 years ago
    This is great information. It only solidifies what I’ve read about and kind of knew: Be patient and have some sort of financing at the ready. It is also great to know about online lenders.
    Account Closed
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Great article, Larry ! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m contemplating free-lance work, and this will be helpful.
    Jodi Blankenship from Warren, Michigan
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Thank you for the information Larry. I haven’t yet explored the idea of seller financing. I appreciate the tip!
    Madelaine Au from Eugene, OR
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Thank you for the additional resources! Do you recommend securing financing first before finding a deal or finding the deal and then bringing it to lenders to secure financing? I’m new to all this, but trying to be patient and lay a strong foundation for myself.