PLEASE help me determine the best WAY to buy my first property!

9 Replies

Hello BP,

     First off, thanks for taking the time to read this. I will be buying my first primary residence in Central New Jersey here in the next few months. I obviously will only buy if it’s a deal that needs some work, nothing too extensive though. I ultimately want to re-hab while I live in it, then within a year or two, sell to get my feet wet in rehabbing or hold onto it for a long term rental.

I am pretty handy, and do HVAC for a living. I have three great friends who do plumbing and electrical for a living so that will be a big help.

My main question is this. What’s the best way to buy my first home with very little cash, while still getting a great deal? Before anyone say’s it, yes, I know I should just save until I have required rehab & acquisition costs, but please humor me, thanks!

  • 1-I am ex- Navy so I will be using my VA benefits for 100% financing. To my knowledge, and please correct me if I'm wrong, all of the systems in the home must be operational and the home can't be in horrible condition to get any financing, especially a VA backed loan. So it can't be a dirt cheap home that needs a full gut rehab.
  • 2-I could buy a home off the MLS, but most if not all great deals are off the MLS within hours because they are pocket listings and are paid for in cash. I am sure I can get a decent deal that needs some work if I go that route.
  • 3-I look at Homepath and Homesteps all the time, and in doing comps they don’t seem to be good deals, even the “First Look” properties that are only for homebuyers.
  • 4-I am a struggling wholesaler and in sending out letters to absentee owned properties I’ve received many phone calls. Most are typical unrealistic home owners, but even the one’s who have some equity and motivation just flat out rejected my offers. If I was more knowledgeable I am confident I could do go the sub 2, lease option routes but I am just getting my feet wet.

I think my best way to do this is to find an off market absentee owned property using my letter campaign in an area with low crime, above average to good schools, that needs some work for around 70% of FMV. I will use my VA loan to get 100% financing.

Please let me know your thoughts on how I can do this. I really appreciate it!


@Rich Harris  

Semper Fi, USMC 1978 - 19812

Here are your steps:

1. Find the best neighborhoods and schools, I use and

2. Once you have those streets - neighborhoods, look for a) expired listings and b) high Days on the Market (DOM) listings IN THAT AREA from the MLS.

You now have a motivated seller.

3. Offer to do a terms deal.  See

Chances are if they are motivated, they will be open to terms instead of cash.

Pay for a home inspection if you can come to terms.

RE Prospecting, I knock on the door, I don't mail, I don't call.


         Thanks so much for the info, and quick response. You know it's funny, I spent 6 years in the Navy, and all my best friends were Marines! I will re-read that entire thread you sent me regarding terms deals. I am sure I have will to contact you for the questions that will come up. Thanks again my man!

@Rich Harris  

Always great meeting more central jersey investors.  Thank you for your service.  

@Brian Gibbons  advice is very important to start.   Especially if you want to live and eventually be a landlord after a few years.

My answers are following:

First look properties don't seem like good deals most of time.  

Are you making the offers on them at the price you want to pay for it?  Are you calling the listing agent t since they have the best knowledge as to what the seller is willing to work with?  I believe if you share your story somebody may be willing to listen and will help you out.  (not a guarantee but what the cost to try)  People forget Real Estate is a lot of "NO"  This is not a quick rich game.  

Last you mention you are a struggling wholesaler.  

Are you going to meetup and or REI groups. Not sure sure where in NJ you are located. I am in Monmouth county there is at least 3 to 4 different REI or Meetup I go to a week all within an hour to hour half driving distance. This is where you will meet local people wholesalers cash buyers, attorneys, title company, brokers, other real estate professionals. These people may have a property for you that does not make sense for somebody else because they are using hard money @14% and 4pts. as opposed to you with the VA loan or for any other reason(you don't carer as long number makes sense). You have to keep turning over those stones and making offers. (Yes it is frustrating)

So keep asking those questions. Good luck in finding that property. 


Thank you for the response and the info, I appreciate it. I live in Sayreville and honestly don't go to as many REIA meetings as I should. I work crazy hours. When I do go, I go to the MREIA in the Woodbridge Hilton.

Your example does make sense to me about how it might not be a deal form someone using HM vs. me using my VA loan benefits.


My suggestions are... "Be patient". You are definitely on the right track just by being here on BP and educating yourself. KUDOS big time to you. Leveraging the Fed gov't to give you 100% financing is awesome.

Correct me please if I am wrong. It seems to me you want to use your skill sets in HVAC and your friends in the other trades to rehab your first purchase to eventually flip and or rent. Is that the jist? 

If so, is it you do not want to or do you believe you cannot get a (what I call a) true fixer upper (heavy rehab not jsut paint and carpet) at a deep discount because you are using a VA loan?

Just trying to clarify before I respond...

All the Best 


Mom was a "WAVE"

Pops was "ARMY Engineers"

Me, I just try to help others that served...

Hey Wally,

                 Thanks for the response...I appreciate  it. Yes, I will use my and my friends skills to save me cash while rehabbing. Also, I've read somewhere that a home must all systems in working order to get financing. 

Hopefully someone else who knowledgable on VA loans could please chime in. is a good resource for details of the VA mortgage program. In general the VA appraisal and inspection looks to have all systems in working order. Unlike REO properties which are generally winterized with utilities off.

Much success in your search. There are good properties in your area.

Thank you for the response and info Denise S., I appreciate it. I am curious as to what makes you say that there are good properties in my area? Besides the obvious lower taxes in central jersey compared to Northern. Thanks!


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