What would you do with $100,000??

28 Replies

Thanks to everyone in advance for your responses.

Here is my situation:

-I have approximately $100,000 to invest in real estate and I want to get as much cash flow as possible.

-My credit score is about 650

-I currently own 5 houses. 2 houses are on the West side of Cleveland "war zones" cash flows about $500 total), 2 are in nice neighborhoods in Maryland (1 generating $500 cash flow, the other, $0) and 1 is in West Virginia $400 cash flow).

-I'm trying to figure out where to invest and how to buy. Maryland is a really good market but the house prices are HIGH in good areas. Cleveland has decent cash flow but in a "war zone". West Virginia is no good..

-Would you buy a few "war zone" houses, try to get a loan for something in Maryland that has a chance of appreciation, duplex somewhere?

Not sure what I should do. This is an extraordinary amount of money to me and I need to invest it wisely.

Please help!




John, in my opinion, it depends on what you are trying to do. Are you looking for cashflow, ie return on that 100K, with the minimum involvement possible?

I am in Cleveland, so I know the area well. I would never invest in one of the war zones here, because I know how bad they are. But that doesn't mean many other suburbs don't cashflow well, without the risk and deterioration of property that comes with the warzones.

I have no experience with the other markets that you are interested in.

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I would first figure out what your end goal is, maybe five years down the road or more. Figure out how much cashflow you would like and equity you want to build.

Once you have an answer to this it may become much easier to figure out if the plan of action for this money is going in the right direction.

Your answer may be something like what Brandon is suggesting, buying on CFD, Lease Options, no money down etc. Or maybe you want to buy one larger multi family for steady cash flow that reaches your goal and then something like location becomes much more important because in this long term plan you will hold this property for some time.

Hi Brandon. I actually live in Indianapolis! I would love to not spend the money if I dont have to but my credit isn't very good (650 or so) and I have read a punch on creative financing but cant figure out how to do it.. Any advice?

Ryan. Yea, I'm very reluctant to purchase anything additional in Cleveland. I'm currently off of West 65. I have recently started to look in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. What do you think of those areas? My aunt lives in Brunswick which doesnt seem bad either. Would you purchase cash, put money down, buy a single or mulit?

Thanks for everything!


I have only researched a 90 minute radius from Cleveland, so my answer would be localized, whereas you might be better suited with an opinion from someone who has looked at different states.

@John Stover ,

What great opportunities you have to consider.

My first thought, eliminate the word or even consideration of appreciation from your thoughts and vocabulary. Make each investment survive on its own without any possibility of the what ifs.

Published August 15, 2013:

States like Maryland, Oregon, and New Jersey, which maintained relatively stable markets after the housing bubble popped, saw new foreclosure filings climb by double- and triple-digit percentages in July, according to RealtyTrac.

Then, you may be in an excellent position to help others in the investment world. Be their finance and experienced partner. You fund the projects and they do the work. Your workload is reduced, your financial obligation is reduced, and you have more time to find other investments to increase your cash flow.

This is just a consideration. In reality, the possibilities are almost endless.

Have fun no matter what your decision.

Hey @John Stover - one word:

VEGAS! (with @Joshua Dorkin and me, of course! And maybe we'll bring along @Ben Leybovich as well)

But seriously - this is what I would do:
How to Make a Million Dollars from Real Estate: A Step By Step Path - just multiply the original amount times three. That strategy discusses starting with $20k - but if I had $100k - I would use $60k of it for 20% down payments on cash flow crazy properties and keep $40k in reserves.

Let me know what you think of the article!

@John Stover

Adding to what @Trenton Parks said, a clearly written business business plan with 1, 3, and 5 year goals should be defined before jumping in. First though, determine your end goal (E-Myth Revisited, highly recommended book). It seems to be cash flow related, but I'd put specifics to it.

With those things being defined and written then you can focus on strategy and production. Putting down 20-25% and using conventional financing is one way to do it, but its the biggest draw on your cash. If it were me, I'd go the creative route. You can do a lot more deals with creative financing than using your hard cash.

There are a lot of articles on creative financing on BP, but one easy way is to find a private or reputable hard money lender. Many will loan 100% of the purchase price up to 70% ARV minus repairs. If you buy your property 70% minus repairs (or cheaper!) then your out of pocket expenses are very minimal. Your cash can stay in the bank as reserves just in case things don't go as planned.

Cool discussion, its funny how once you know what the target is you are aiming for you suddenly hit it quicker than you will ever expect.

I am a huge fan of taking a personal inventory of what you have to use at your disposal that would be to your advantage. Since we all have different situations, goals, lifestyles etc... Then once you have that list, sit and mastermind on what would work best to allow you to leverage it as best towards your goals.

For example, I had about the same amount of cash saved great credit and no homes. I knew leveraging an FHA loan for a multi unit would be best, and then use the remaining of my financing available to buy a house in an area where I wanted to eventually live and saw insane appreciation approaching. Once I decided that it was like the deals just appeared before me and it happened faster than I expected.

My situation is unique to me just as yours is to you, but think hard about your advantages that you have and use them to your advantage. Sorry I didn't tell you what to do, I never listen when people tell me what to do so I try not to tell others. I think being here is great and asking questions is the right thing to do. I'm sure you will find what you are looking for soon, can't wait to hear an update.

Without going too deep here, if I had that money there is no way I'd pay cash for anything! Use the power of leverage to turn your $100k into $300-$400k worth of real estate that your tenants will pay for! The absolute hardest thing about growing in real estate is getting the cash for your acquisition cost. Once you acquire a property (the hardest part), you can wait 6 months and refinance it to get your cash out or use your cash flow to make extra payments and get it paid off quickly. Put the least amount of cash down that you possibly can and still have decent margins with your cash flow.

You said you wanted to as much cash flow as possible, so to get that you need as many units as possible. I'd stick to multi-unit buildings (typically more income than a single family home will rent for) and get as many as you can. How you manage your cash flow from that point on will ultimatly determine how successful you are.

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Wow! Thanks for everyone's advice. I have written out what I thought was a pretty detailed business plan (until now). Here is a little bit of it so maybe you could let me know if I'm on the right track. I still have no idea where to buy the multifamily house. I have a couple of states in mind but not sure..

Objective – Long Term

Increase my CASHFLOW and have enough real estate investments to earn over $10,000 a month in passive income in 10 years, over $120,000 a year, and to have over a $1,000,000 net worth

Objective – Short Term

Acquire 1 “multifamily” Income producing property and 1 primary residence. Increase net worth by $60,000 and monthly net income by $800-$1000!

Mission Statement

My mission is to be incredibly successful.I will accomplish this by dedicating 10 hours a day (7-5pm) to my success formula, 6 days a week.100% of my time will be given to help myself achieve my goals to have a happy, secure, fun and healthy life.My plan of action will include time at the gym, 1 hour dedicated to study, the completion of 6 daily work goals I create nightly, 30 minutes dedicated to meditation and self-awareness and fun time with the family.When I’m at home I will dedicate my time to my kids and will have no thoughts of work.My goal is to be successful, stress free and happy......

Some of it's a little corny, I know...

Thanks again,


@John Stover

That's a good start! I'd expand on it, but good start. E-Myth Revisited helped me tremendously on how to think about business planning. I can't recommend it enough.

I offer some caution on MF properties though, at least 5+ unit buildings. I bought my first one in April. They are appealing, but if you're trying to rehab a distressed MF property it will require a lot more precision. Your experience, team, and systems are vital with MF to take on the additional risks that accompany the potentially huge equity & cash flow returns. There was a big learning curve coming from SF home investing. Don't let this scare you though. It's just something to consider. Of course, buying a preforming property with a good management team in place is another option. It will cost more and usually have a lower yield, but the risks should be lower too.

There are 3 possibilities:

1. You can invest in turnkey SFR properties. I know a guy in Cincinnati OH who has houses you can buy for $30K each that can be rented out for $600-700/month. You can get 3 properties for $90K and get $1800 to $2100 a month cashflow. Using the 50% rule, you will NET about $1,000 a month. That's a 12% Cash-on-cash return.

2. You can also invest in tax lien certificates in Illinois. My partner's return is about 20% per year. Redemption period is 2 years. You don't necessarily get properties but the cashflow is awesome.

3. You can invest in apartment buildings and get 12% CCR and about 20% ROI.

100k on black and let it ride!!!!! No, but seriously you have tons of good advice here. It all comes down to what you feel most comfortable with and what your market allows. Best of luck and if you put 100k on black, make sure you youtube it!

The absolute best investment anyone can make is education. I am not saying "college" type stuff here, because I feel that college overall is a poor investment. But more invest in your own personal knowledge and financial education. If you take 5-10K and invest in that, it will return way more than any one RE deal, be it flips, rentals or liens.

Hi @John Stover ,

Welcome to BiggerPockets!

You have a very good "problem" to solve there. (BTW - you shouldn't post how much cash you have to invest in the forums. Could be a bad move.)

Anyway, to address your questions and concerns above:

  • I completely agree with you that you need to invest it wisely.
  • I don't think buying more properties in Cleveland is a good idea, especially if you're looking at "war zones". Stick to solid areas for long term stability.
  • Your credit score is on the "low" side so I don't think you'll have too many options for financing, thereby forcing you to possibly buy using all cash. You can probably do a cash-out refinance once your credit has improved.
  • Don't limit your prospective markets. There are great opportunities if you know where to look.
  • If you live in Indianapolis, why not buy a duplex there? We've been selling duplexes with good double-digit cap rates for over a year in Indy.
  • If you're considering other markets, then take a look at our "2013 Housing Market Forecast" for some ideas. This is not an exclusive list of market options, but it can stimulate some new ideas.
  • Find markets that have good rent-to-value rations (i.e. 1.0% or more).
  • Last but not least, if you primary goal is cash-flow but you'd like some appreciation potential, then focus on growth or emerging markets.
  • Again, I will stress to avoid "war zones".

Feel free to post any other questions.

Continued success!

I'm never a fan of war zones just because the numbers often don't hold up and I hate headaches. There are a lot of markets though where you can get middle of the road- not full out war zones but still with decent cash flow. There is really a variation of every sort- all cash flow, no appreciation potential, war zone -or- really nice area, appreciation potential, minimal cash flow -or- middle areas, middle cash flow, middle appreciation potential -or- every combination in between. Just depends on which combo you like best!

@John Stover you already have some great advice, but let me add my 2 cents. If you currently live in Indianapolis, that is a great market, you might consider investing there it will be the cheapest to learn and network in. Next do NOT build your life plan around the $100,000, build your life plan then see how you can use the money to help you reach your goals. You must have some source of income now, and you clearly have some assets, include doing things to fix your credit score, paying off credit cards, old bills etc. from your current income streams. You may want to consider acquiring an income property before a primary residence to help avoid overspending on your residence. You might consider having your new house be a flip or future rental that you can work on to improve as a new income stream. If you hold it long enough (and they dont change the tax code) you might get all of the profit tax free as the sale of your primary home. You can use that to gradually get a better and better home. The money wont change who you are it just gives a new tool to fulfill your life sooner than you originally planned.

Great advice and great topic. I was faced with a similar question and I ended up using some of the money for real estate, some for myself and some for my wife. I did all this before I knew the power of OPM and buying using OPM to where I get paid when I buy and when I sell. I'd leave your 100k in the bank or loan it out on other properties to other people as a hard money lender, imagine earning 12-14% on your money and 3-4 points for short term money, tied to a hard asset?

Cleveland has great locations, great houses in some areas. Look at the stats of the local MLS and find out where homes are selling and see if you can use OPM to buy a home there and either flip it for more cash or hold onto it. I like to keep my money close to me, unless there are no other deals in my area or I am the only money source (haha - good luck with that one). When you are seperated from your money and property, well, its harder to see where and how it is being used.

I had multifamily once, and only once. I did not like the tenant issue, but I did have a partner which helped minimize the issues. I've heard the horror stories of finding skate boards in 6" pipes, sweatshirts stuffed down the pipes, it is not for me. I like Buy/Flip, it is what I do and what I know, I also like Lease Option with 20% down and cash out in 12 months. I know these by my gut, so work with what you know by your gut too. You will sleep better at night!


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