Mortgages & Creative Financing

2 Ways to Buy a House With Little or No Money

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Flipping Houses, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing
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man against gray brick background looking down into empty wallet

Let’s talk about how to buy a house with no money at all.

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For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know that I do not like or believe in creative B.S.-type investing and buying houses without having any money of your own. I’m a big believer in going out, working hard, and saving $50,000 to $100,000 in cold hard cash.

Prove it to yourself before you start investing that you can do that, and then start your real estate investment journey. But due to numerous requests from a lot of investors, I said screw it, let me give you some of my advice on how you can go into the market and potentially pick up a property without having a single dime.

How to Buy a House If You Don’t Have Any Money

Look, how you can buy a property without having any money at all is by approaching a distressed seller that has had a property on the market for a while. I think that Craigslist is going to be your best bet here. You’re also going to have to convince this person that you are an expert at what you do and that you’ve done this many times before.

So it’s kind of cliche, for all of you that are beginners, because I don’t like these kinds of lies. I’ve always believed that honesty is the best policy—but to each their own. Do whatever you think is right. (I personally wouldn’t do it.)

Again, you would have to approach a distressed seller who is having a hard time selling their property. You’re going to have to approach them with a spiel and speak with conviction that you can aid them with the sale of their property. How would it work?

Related: Young, No Money, No Credit? Work for Experience

Most likely you would enter into a joint venture agreement with this person, have them sign over the property while you fix it up, and then sell the property and split the profits. Alternatively, you can negotiate different terms, or they can give you the property via owner-financing terms. Owner-financing is when you don’t put any money down, and you pay them out over the next five, seven, or 10 years.

Now, when it comes to the rehab costs, I’m not really sure how you can go about that. You’re still going to have to buy supplies from Home Depot, Menards, or Lowe’s, but maybe you can go there and ask for charity. I’m sorry, I don’t have a solution for you there.


Another way not to spend much on labor costs is to do it all yourself. That’s definitely one way of being able to buy a property with no money. Very hard to do, but it is possible.

Another way (which has happened to me many times before) is to have a property basically given to you. The best way of getting deals like this is in the Midwest in tertiary markets like Toledo. And it’s probably going to be in areas that aren’t as desirable.

There are a lot of investors out of state or out of the country who have caught the real estate bug, invested in these markets, and then completely lost their ass. Now they just want out. They don’t want to deal with the city. They don’t want to deal with mowing the lawn. They are burnt out and willing to write off the losses. So, they’ll pretty much give the house away to you.

Related: No Money, No Deals, No Time? Overcoming Real Estate’s “Big Three” with Brandon Turner & David Greene

It’s happened to me around 10 times over the last five years—an investor asked that we take properties off their hands. Believe it or not, some of them were in such bad condition that we didn’t even take them because it was more hassle than worth.

But the fact is there are instances when you can get properties for free. Or you’re going to have to sell someone on your capabilities to sell that property with no money down.

I don’t believe in these approaches. I believe in putting your money where your mouth is and having cash before you start your investment journey. Anyway, that’s my tip for you on how to invest without any money at all.


What are your thoughts?

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section. 

Engelo Rumora, a.k.a."the Real Estate Dingo," quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at the age of 18. From there, he began to invest in real estate. He now owns real estate al...
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    Rob Cook from Powell, WY
    Replied 12 months ago
    Hey Engelo. You neglected, probably intentionally? to describe or mention the no-money-down method of using borrowed funds as the downpayment on a purchase. Such as a credit line source. I do this often. It works great, although you do have more debt, of course, at 100% Loan to value (LTV) essentially in composite, on the purchase. So the deal has to be a great purchase and deal, but that is the ONLY type I make anyway. Cheers.
    Jay Kaulitzke from Colorado Spgs, Colorado
    Replied 12 months ago
    After reading "Rich Dad's Cash Flow Quadrant" what you are describing is the method I want to focus on. When you save and use your own money for the down payment then it can take years to earn back your initial investment. But if you buy with no-money-down then even if you are getting less cash flow month after month you are still seeing an infinite return because you have none of your own money in the deal. You are literally creating money from nothing.
    Roy Johnson Property Inspector - Commercial
    Replied 12 months ago
    Infinite. That is correct. What about title search, inspections, are those neglegted
    Jeremy Mauldin
    Replied 12 months ago
    I like your thinking!!! To be honest, having to much leverage on a property is very concerning for me. Also, some creative deals such as sandwich lease options have to many moving parts and what if, or maybe I'm just not as educated as I should be on them.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied 11 months ago
    Thanks Jeremy, Nothing beats buying with cash. Cash gives you power and it also allows you to make mistakes. Much success
    Jordan Stewart from Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    Replied 12 months ago
    Hey Engelo! Good tips! When you mentioned the renovation costs, it made me think of what I did on my first BRRR property which just wrapped up in June. I used a credit card promotion that gave no interest in the first 12 months and used that for all of my renovation costs. Once I refinanced (6 months after purchase), I paid back the hard money lender and paid off the credit card. Truly didn't spend a dime on this one! It worked perfectly in this instance since I was confident in the appraisal value vs the purchase price and renovation costs. However, I can see how this may be considered risky on certain projects.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied 11 months ago
    Well done on getting super creative mate. I'm happy for your success. Keep the dream alive and never forget that nothing beats cash :)
    Jerome Kaidor Investor from Hayward, California
    Replied 12 months ago
    Credit card! I bought my house ( that I live in ) during the crash. It was a foreclosure. I paid cash. Fastest RE transaction I ever had, we were on record in just a couple of days. To buy it, I emptied my bank accounts - everything but the operating account for the business. The last smidge of cash came from a credit card that sends me an offer every few months for an interest free loan ( well, there is a 4% transaction charge ). Just sign the enclosed check... Here's the fun part: I bought the house from Bank of America. And the Credit card was from......Bank of America! Then I sold my old house, and refilled all the accounts. And another useful tidbit: Some of the money came from my IRA. They have a rule that you can take money out of your IRA for whatever purpose, put it back within 60 days, and there is no tax consequence. It's as if you never took it out at all. But you can only do it once a year.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied 11 months ago
    haha Very creative indeed mate. Well done Thanks for sharing
    Account Closed
    Replied 12 months ago
    I need some advice on Phil Pustejovsky please, and his program with mentoring
    Bill Crider Lender from Georgetown, TX
    Replied 12 months ago
    Never lie to anyone in business nor represent your experience level as more than it really is. You will be found out and then never be able to build any credibility. Instead, be honest and tell them "I am new to this, but I have studied it and think I can do it." Honesty and self confidence will go far. You left out many, many methods of buying houses with little or no money. I think it would be most honest to say 'very little money' because you will always have at least some recording costs and other miscellaneous expenses. My lowest cost out of pocket ever was about $35 to buy a 3-bedroom 2-bath rental. I have bought many for less than $1000 out of pocket. Most people can come up with that much if they really try. But the problem is, if you don't have any money how are you going to rehab the house? What about operating expenses (utilities, insurance, advertising, etc). So realistically it is nearly impossible to buy real estate if you are dead broke. But if you have a job and a little income, you can start investing in real estate very cheaply. Keep your day job and build your wealth safely, sanely and steadily and in a few years it will amaze you.
    Becky Kromminga from Katy, TX
    Replied 12 months ago
    Another way to buy a house with no money is to find an equity partner - someone with money who is looking for a passive investment. You find the property and oversee the rehab, your partner puts up all of the money and you split the profits 50-50.
    Engelo Rumora Specialist from Toledo, OH
    Replied 11 months ago
    It's tough finding good partners. Never have 2 cooks in the kitchen lol If someone is willing to pony up the money and stay out of your business, then that might work. Thanks
    Gregory Jones
    Replied 9 months ago