Posted 16 days ago How to (actually) buy 8 houses with No Money Down Our Philosophy Playbook Fundamental Principle “He who serves the most reaps the most.” - Robin Sharma Our Story In late spring of 2020 (when we all expected a timely end to the Covid-19 pandemic), a close family friend of Nick’s approached him looking for some guidance. He had a successful portfolio in California and was looking to execute a 1031 exchange to buy more profitable property outside of the state. They were on a bit of a ticking clock to meet the 1031 requirements, and Nick immediately set to work sourcing apartments and portfolios in the right price range. Nick worked with a few local agents and found a few A and B-class listings that met the general criteria - and after a few weeks - was in serious conversations around 17 properties in Avon (an A-class area for those unfamiliar with Indy). The asking price for the 17 homes was $150,000 per home (all identical, in a cute little division) - and we negotiated down to 130,000 before we entered the inspection stage. Transparently - we saw the value closer to $145,000 - but felt comfortable negotiating considering the finance and closing challenges associated with such a large portfolio of single-family homes. The original investor planned on bringing ~1.2 million in cash, and seller-financing the remainder - but after some thought and discussion with his partner - they decided they didn’t want the debt. This was a tough blow - Nick had already spent 30+ hours just to get to this stage - and he didn’t want to see that effort (and such a great investment opportunity) go to waste. We really weren’t in acquisition mode - but after discussing - decided to become the third party in this transaction. Our partner took on 9 homes at the $130,000 price, and we took on 8 fully seller-financed. The seller was originally hesitant in seeing that we weren’t bringing any cash to the table - but we weren’t flexible on this point (we’re in the middle of a massive refinance at the moment). After inspections, we settled on $129,000/home - and initiated closing. It’s been a tricky process due to some title challenges (the original builder has a bankruptcy, and the seller is working to prove the homes aren’t associated with that filing). That said - we’ve been collecting rents while the title issues are in flux - and our first payment isn’t due till December. We’d call that a pretty sweet deal! Looking back - when this all began - the investor approached Nick offering to pay him directly for his time. Nick’s never believed in charging fellow investors for his time - and has always taken a longer-term view of relationship building, and opportunity creation for all. It doesn’t always pay off this quickly, or directly, but it’s certainly an approach that’s served us well in investing - and in life. The Playbook We genuinely aren’t shocked when these sorts of transactions hit our desks - and it’s because we have a playbook we use consistently to increase our exposure to great opportunities. Become an SME Over the last two years, Nick has become well known as an established, and generally successful (hey - we’ve had our bumps) out-of-state (now in-state) real estate investor. He’s taken the time to build deep relationships within the Indiana market - with agents, contractors, and fellow investors. Nick has developed daily practices, including setting aside time for pro-bono coaching with new investors, posting advice on BiggerPockets,, and generally telling anyone interested (and some who aren’t interested) about our business. He’s listened to 10,000+ hours of podcasts and books to make sure his understanding is broader than just our business - but he’s also done the rarer work of putting money on the line, buying houses, and making mistakes. Lead with Service Nick is a firm believer in giving back - and his preferred path is through coaching and real estate. Every week, Nick sets aside time in his calendar and allows people to book time to ask questions and get help building their business. That’s enabled us to grow our network, make new connections, and get exposure to new opportunities and ways of thinking. Practice Tactical Empathy In any transaction, we’re looking to understand everyone’s point of view. We want to know what the seller, agent, contractor, etc. are trying to achieve - and what a win looks like for all. We believe in solving problems - not just looking out for our own interests. In the case of Avon, this meant we understood the seller’s needs (wanting to pay off mortgages and didn’t want to sell the homes one by one), our partner’s needs (wanting to avoid additional debt), and our own needs (we were happy to acquire - but not willing to invest cash). Solve Difficult Problems This portfolio has been on the market for over a year. Selling portfolios is very challenging due to the financing - they’re way harder to finance than a single-family home or apartment complex. We also faced challenges with our partner - 1031’s are challenging - and we had a very short time frame to help our partner identify a deal. Be Adaptable Things change - and that can lead to disaster or opportunity. The outcome is all in how you choose to navigate the situation. In our case, the needs of the buyer evolved over the course of the transaction - and that led to a great opportunity for us to get in on the deal. When title issues arose - we were willing to be flexible on dates - and that meant we pushed out our first payment (and we’re getting multiple months of rent before we’ll ever pay a dime). Take A Long Term View Our advice to be generous with your time and knowledge is not advice to be a doormat, or to allow ungrateful or undeserving investors to monopolize your time. We’re not afraid to let someone know we’re not the right partner or advisor. That said - we both believe in giving our time, knowledge, and energy where we can add value - and believing that things will come full circle in the long-run. It’s always been the right play for us, and we believe it will be for you too! This is our “philosophy playbook” - it’s ever-evolving and certainly doesn’t replace some of the more tactical advice we espouse throughout this blog. That said, these principles underlie every move we make in real estate, and they’ve served us well. We’d love to hear from you - what are some of the guiding principles that have led you to success?