Wholesale for startup cash, or loan?

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I have been interested in doing real estate for years. I have lived overseas for most of my adult life and just moved back to Texas. I own a property in Panama that I have rented out (not much rental money in Panama), and would like to flip houses here Stateside. Because I’ve been in the non-profit world from right out of high school, I have no start up money whatsoever. My question is this. If my end goal is to fix and flip houses, is it better to start wholesaling houses to earn the startup money, or find a house for a wholesale price, get a loan and buy it/fix it, and sell it? The loan is riskier of course, but the payoff is bigger, but it seems like wholesaling could potentially provide a payoff quicker with the right marketing. I’m just not sure how viable wholesaling actually is. All the gurus make it sound easy, but the people I have written in these forums asking about it have all said something like, “I’m working hard, and one day I’ll get that deal!” But it’s been months and no dice. So is it worth even trying to get into wholesaling in the first place?

Most successful wholesalers will tell you that doing it right requires substantial up-front marketing costs. You might be able to drive for dollars and work the phones enough to turn up a few deals, but if you need substantial volume to generate startup cash, you're probably going to have to pay for direct mail or other marketing techniques. Many wholesalers spend hundred or thousands of dollars a month on marketing. Without that, prepare to spend a very significant amount of time chasing deals.

If you have no startup cash at all, you're probably better off looking for a local partner to work with for a cut of the profit. Or, if you find a good enough deal, use hard money for the first few.

the only people who tell you that you can make thousands wholesaling with no $$ are trying to sell you something. as was mentioned above... getting those leads costs big $. mailers, web ads, yellow pages, signs... how are you going to FIND deals...? Do you have time to visit that widow 5x to chit chat and try to close it... if you can get hands on $ from your primary, use a HELOC. Find a lender and get their package of costs, points fees, and find a deal that makes $ with that in the mix, and flip a house...