Business Management

I Did My First Deal in Less Than 45 Days for Under $2,500—Here’s How

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Are you looking to break into real estate investing but don’t know where to start? How do you get leads? How do you walk a property? What about making an offer?

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These are just some of the questions that frighten new investors away from ever getting started. But you don’t have to worry anymore. This article will answer those basic questions, readying you to get your investing career underway.

The best thing about this strategy is that you don’t need a whole bunch of money to get started. I know because I started out with just $2,500. I got my first deal with $1,500, and I’m on the way to doing another two with the rest of that $2,500.

What you do with these deals will depend on the capital you have and the type of investing that you want to do. I have chosen to fix and flip my first property and wholesale (or wholetail) the other two. This will give me more capital moving forward to double my advertising efforts and get more homes under contract.

With that, here I lay, the pathway forward!

Before we continue with the path toward your first deal, I would like to preface everything with this: This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. As you will find in the next section, we are trying to build a business here—one that is going to last us a lifetime.

The first deal you get is not going to make you rich, nor will it allow you to quit your job. It is going to set us up for making more deals in the short-term and creating a flow of leads that will ultimately allow us to become full-time investors (if that is what we desire).

The Way Forward

It’s a Business—Treat It Like One

First things first, investing in real estate is not to be entered into lightly. There is much money to be made, but if you aren’t taking it seriously and really treating it like a business, there is a lot of money—and time—that can be lost.

You don’t have to be a full-time investor to treat your investing like a business though. Most of us who invest are working other jobs to bring in the income that we need to survive every day (at least to start).

There is a mindset shift that needs to happen in order for us to truly think of our investing as a business. We need to realize that there are a lot of things that are not worth our time and effort. This is where we are going to use some of that $2,500 to hire out menial tasks that would either be too time-consuming or require professional experience. These things range from designing a logo to creating a landing page for the advertising we are going to run.

Related: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing

Start Building Your Brand

This process should take no more than two weeks if you are diligent and focused on completing the necessary steps, which are laid out below. These are the first 15 days of your 45 days to purchasing your first investment home.

Name It!

The first step in this may not be necessary, but I feel like it is an important step when getting in the mindset of running a business. Choose a name for your home-buying company. You really have a lot of leeway here, but it is best to come up with a name that is not already taken (this may seem obvious to some).

The name should also explicitly state that you are a homebuyer. Ultimately, you’re going to want to build a simple website, so I recommend coming up with a name that’s also available as a domain. For example, don’t choose We Buy Ugly Houses when www.WeBuyUglyHouses.com is taken.

Purchase your domain once you have come up with a business name. They are usually less than $20 when you buy from a hosting source like GoDaddy or Bluehost.

Create a Look

At this point, hire someone to design a logo for the home-buying company. This logo can be used for things like t-shirts, your website, and business cards.

There are many places online where you can hire a freelance artist to do this. Fiverr and Upwork are a couple, but there are many, many more. Plan to spend around $50 to get a quality logo made.

Separate Personal From the Business

The logo design will likely take about a week, so make some other business decisions that will separate your personal life from your business life in the meantime. Set up a G Suite account with Google. Create email addresses that have the business name after the @ instead of google.com or yahoo.com.

This will make each email sent to potential sellers a lot more credible, and the account will be a one-stop place for all investing emails to be contained. I would suggest a minimum of one with [email protected] and one with [email protected] or [email protected] These will run about $20 per month.

The last piece before you begin to seriously start marketing is buying a business cell phone. Don’t fret! We are talking about a very cheap phone with a very basic monthly plan.

The phone itself can be purchased for less than $25 and the plan runs about the same. All you need here is call and text capability with a small amount of data. You’ll be using this phone strictly for talking to sellers and emailing.  Don’t waste your time and business money scrolling through social media; use this line for business only.

Google Ads logo on the display iPhone closeup on keyboard background. Google is the biggest Internet search engine in the world

Start Advertising

Now it is time to start generating some leads. For this, I recommend the all-powerful Google Ads (formerly called Adwords). For me, I decided to find someone who knew what they were doing in the space and hire them. It just so happens that this person gave me the first month of service free—but I feel like that is an important component. The first month of advertising on Google, you’ll get leads, but you are learning exactly what people in your area are searching for and clicking on. That is why a professional will offer the first month free. They want you to get solid leads in and come back for more the next month.

The following months will end up costing around $1,000 each. Take this into account for your future marketing budget. The idea here is to start getting leads coming through and to close on a sale. Then, use the proceeds of this sale to fund the next advertising campaign at double the effort.

Remember, this is a long road you’re traveling down. You’re not going out and buying a brand new car with this first deal.

Related: How to Drastically Increase Real Estate Lead Generation (From the Comfort of Your Desk Chair!)

Sign a Contract

So, you have made or received some calls, seen some houses, and put in some offers. Now it is time to get that contact signed. You want the seller to sign the contract as soon as it is presented to them. You should already have gotten a verbal confirmation that the seller would accept the offer that is going to be written on the contract, so the hardest part here is getting them to take the five minutes to sign it.

It is highly recommended to do this part in person so you can go over the details of your contract face to face with the seller. But if that is not an option then you should be on the phone with them, explaining exactly how your contract works. You can get a contract online for free—or even write it yourself.

There are a few details that you want to make sure are in the contract though. Some might be very obvious:

  • Buyer and seller names (all who are on the title)
  • Purchase price
  • Date you want to close (I like 10 days from signing contract)
  • That the contract is assignable (meaning that you can sell it to someone else aka wholesaling)
  • The right to terminate the contract based on an unfavorable inspection (mine says “buyer can back out of contract” on the bottom)

Once you have gone over the contract with the seller, get it to them and make sure they know time is of the utmost importance. You cannot start the process of purchasing their home until you have the contract signed.

You will then sign it and provide them a copy with all signatures on it. And then the fun begins!

Disclaimer: By no means can I guarantee that if you follow these guidelines, you are going to get your first house within 45 days. But I strongly believe that you will. I have had excellent results thus far and will continue to modify and adjust as demand grows and shifts.

Where are you on your investing journey? Are you stuck? Can I help you get un-stuck? 

Let’s talk in the comment section below. 

Nathaniel is an active real estate investor and entrepreneur. He served in the Marines from 2003 to 2007 and got his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Cal State Long Beach in 2016. It was shortly after graduating that he began his journey in real estate in 2016. In September 2019, he became fully invested when he started The Expert Home Buyers. Nathaniel wants to share his experience investing in real estate with anyone who has the desire to learn, grow, and become financially free. He does his best to stay active, exercising outside as much as possible with his wife and dog.

    Frank Davis
    Replied 27 days ago
    What state ?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 26 days ago
    Hey Frank, We are located on the South Carolina/Georgia border
    Charlotte Dench
    Replied 26 days ago
    Hi Nathaniel - Great Article! How did you fund this first project? Was the 1500 your down payment? Did you end up getting the lead from Google Ads?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 26 days ago
    I actually got multiple leads from Google ads. I should be getting another contract signed before of next week, and am working my other leads still. I funded with my own cash, but had multiple private money options that were interested. Just decided to save on the interest payments and go it myself
    Devaun Thompson
    Replied 24 days ago
    Hi Nathaniel, around how much of you did you fund on your own?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 24 days ago
    I funded the whole purchase on my own. I had some money I have been saving up since we sold our home in California when we moved to Oklahoma, and I sold a bunch of my stocks that have done very well over the last few years. I was going to use private money, but decided to save on the interest payments.
    Angela Payne Rental Property Investor from Laurel, MD
    Replied 24 days ago
    Newbie here. I'm confused. I thought that title says you did your first deal for under $2500.
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 23 days ago
    Oh I apologize, I can see how that is confusing. I got the deal for under $2500 in startup and ad costs.
    Anthony Ewers
    Replied 26 days ago
    You didn't say what it is you are doing here.
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 26 days ago
    Can you explain what you mean by that statement Anthony?
    Victor Wasson
    Replied 24 days ago
    Your title say Here's How. AlI got out of it was pick a name , buy a phone, use Google Ad, and sign a contract. Some detail on the actual deal seems like it would have been relevant. Did you do owner financing and give the seller a small amount down?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 23 days ago
    I didn't want to go into too much detail and have the article end up being a novel. I offered them cash for the house. They just wanted to be done with the property and I don't think owner financing would have gone over with them. I can write an article with some more details if you would be interested. Is there anything specific you would like to hear more about?
    Laurence Tangco
    Replied 26 days ago
    Hi , when u make the seller agree to sign to the contract how long is the validity of the contract and how much you offer to the seller for the exclusive right to buy or to assign the house to cash buyer
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 24 days ago
    I try not to MAKE the seller sign. My offer is based off of the ARV of the home, minus repairs, selling or holding costs and profit. When they factor in the time it would take to try to sell via MLS and then the closing costs they would pay, my offer comes very close to what they would ultimately make anyway. The seller then WANTS to sign the contract. I am looking to close within 10 days of signing the contract. This gives me enough time to do any due diligence I need, and get title work in order. From what I have experienced so far, these sellers want to get out of their house fast, so offering them a 10 day closing is great for them. I have ran into a couple sellers so far that are looking to move at some point in the future and just want the security of knowing their home is sold when the time comes. In that case, I literally write TBD in the contract. Once the contract is signed, it is my right to purchase it at that agreed upon price, but I can always go look at the home again down the road and back out. Did that help Laurence?
    Ryler Kubojiri
    Replied 25 days ago
    Is it really necessary to make your own company? Couldn't you just buy a bunch of real estate w/out needing a company. It just seems like a lot of unnecessary work. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 24 days ago
    You are absolutely right! I could probably argue that almost nothing that I have done over the past 2 months has been necessary to buying my first true real estate property (if you wanna understand what I mean by true real estate property, you'll have to check out my personal blog). I am trying to create a mindset for running an investment business here though, and this is what has helped me really turn the corner and get it done. I have been an "investor" for over a year now, but only just bought my first property 2 weeks ago. In addition to mindset, I am trying to build up an online footprint to where I don't have to use PPC down the road and can just rely on my website, so in that regard it is kind of necessary to build my brand.
    Jason Quero Real Estate Broker from Delray Beach
    Replied 24 days ago
    Great read Nathaniel....I think I might know the answer but wanted your take...you think that you'd still start out doing Google Ad words first versus DMM to get your leads going? Also...are you doing any other forms of marketing to generate leads? Such as bandit signs, door knocking, driving for dollars? Working with a small budget and know it takes 2.3.4 months before you can get some momentum for leads. Thoughts?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 23 days ago
    I would absolutely go with PPC over DMM. The main reason is that PPC is getting leads that have shown intent by searching for terms that you are advertising to. DMM is just a shotgun blast to any owner that meets some criteria that you determine. Most of the time, and I mean MOST, these people aren't interested in selling their home. Currently I am not doing any other marketing outside of just talking to everyone that I meet and handing out business cards. I haven't had anything come from this yet, but everyone I talk to I offer $500 if they can get me a lead that I can close a deal on. I can't say for certain, but am fairly confident that if you were to follow the PPC you would get enough leads in that first month that you could close a deal within 3. I am still working my leads currently that I got from month one and am pretty sure at least one more deal is going to come from it.
    Matt O'Brien Rental Property Investor from Plano, Tx
    Replied 24 days ago
    Hi Nathaniel, where did you get your contracts? did you have an attorney draw them up? I can't imagine writing my own, at least not without a template. THEN having my attorney make sure it will be valid in my state (Texas).
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 23 days ago
    You can find one online that would suit your needs. Just type in texas real estate contracts and I am sure that you can find some for free. There is probably a real estate board in texas that has some that are already reviewed by attorneys. From what I understand though, as long as both parties agree to whatever is written in the paper, it is totally legal. We overthink all the little details even though if we just keep it simple it is much easier. My contract is a page and a half. Have you gone to any REIA events near you?
    Danni Catambay
    Replied 23 days ago
    I feel taken for a ride with this article, and a little deceived. You clickbait with "first deal....$2500" but you don't tell us what you got or how that money was spent. Then you talk a lot about marketing and gloss over the important part about analysis and financing. How do we know if your advice applies to us with zippo details? I think, at the very least, instead of opening with all the very real, daunting steps that hold beginners back, you should start with an assumption of where we beginners ought to be in the process. Should we already have our strategy? Should we already have financing? How comfortable should we be walking a property and analyzing deals? I think if you really wanted to help beginners perhaps you should just be honest and call your article "A Quick and Dirty Guide to Online Real Estate Marketing for Beginners"
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 22 days ago
    I see where you are coming from Danni. I am sorry that you feel deceived by the article. It wasn't meant to be clickbait. It is literally the steps that I took to close my first deal. I may have to consider the title more carefully in the future. Would you be interested in a follow on article diving into the details about the deal itself?
    Janeile Cudjoe-Myers from Toledo, OH
    Replied 23 days ago
    Agree with Danni. I clicked on the link thinking I'd get a story specifically about this first deal. Why even name it that if you didn't want to talk about it in the article?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 22 days ago
    I apologize Janeile. I didn't think that the specifics of the detail were necessary for the article, just how the deal was found. I also didn't want the article to end up being a 15 minute read. Lol. Would you be interested in a follow on article going into the specifics of the deal?
    David McQueen
    Replied 22 days ago
    I found the title of this article very misleading too - it sounded as if you put only $2,500 into your first deal, so I was fascinated to know exactly how this deal worked. Instead the article was about how you FOUND your fist deal. That was interesting too, but I could definitely do with hearing the details of the deal itself.
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 22 days ago
    Check out my next article that should be out within the next couple of days titled example of a deal analysis that wouldn't work as a good rental property. That has a lot of the details in it about the specific house mentioned in this article. I obviously need to be more careful with my title choice down the road. I appreciate the input!
    Audrey Rozier from Baltimore, MD
    Replied 22 days ago
    Where did you find the google ad professional?
    Nathaniel Hovsepian Rental Property Investor from North Augusta, SC
    Replied 21 days ago
    I found my specific one through another investor that I am friends with through facebook groups. You can do a search on google and find a lot though. I would look for real estate investor friendly ones. I would guess that there are other people on here that have some they would recommend. I can ask mine if he is available to take on new clients at the moment if you would like?