Yay — Summer happened and just in time for the 4th of July! I hope you and your family had a great time despite the impact CV-19 had on our community’s way of celebrating. 

Our long wet Spring has done ZERO to curb the influx of eager buyers flooding our area.  We are seeing shortages of housing in both the residential and rental markets.  As you can guess, this is driving our rents and real estate values even higher!

With it costing so dang much to buy a rental in our area, I wanted to share the top 10 strategies I have used to help acquire properties with little to no down payment.  If any of these are appealing to you, please reach out and I’d be happy to go over more details in depth! 

1) BRRR Method

Use your own cash or borrow short term from a private lender to purchase a fixer with the intent to rehab it, then refi after your rehab is done to get your cash back. We call this the BRRR method: buy it, rehab it, rent it, and refinance. 

2) Owner Occupy

Move into one of the units in up to a 4-plex and use an FHA mortgage with only 3.5% down.

3) Seller Financing

Would the seller of a property be willing to hold a note for the down payment or — better yet — finance the whole transaction?

4) New Primary Residence

Buy a new primary residence and don’t sell your current house!  Your current house can become a rental and you can keep the great owner-occupied loan and terms you already have in place.


Apply for a HELOC and use the equity in your current home as the down payment for your next rental. 

6) Lease Purchase

Doing a Lease Purchase with an option to buy can allow you to control a property without having to fully buy it immediately.

7) O.P.M. (Other Peoples’ Money)

You’d be surprised at the friends and family you already have with cash sitting in a boring bank collecting a near-zero return.  They may LOVE the opportunity to earn a solid return as your lender. I have a great simple script for starting that kind of conversation when the opportunity arises.

8) An Extra Lot

Buy a house on an extra lot and have the extra lot pre-sold so that you can get your down payment back quickly. (This is easier than you may think, especially with every builder in town clamoring for a building lot!)

9) 401k or IRA 

Convert your 401k or IRA to a self-directed vehicle that allows you to buy properties within the plan. Amanda and I have done this many times and the ROI has been incredible. If interested in growing wealth with this vehicle, please reach out and I can save you a TON of time.

10) Joint Venture

You bring the deal and oversee the rehab, and partner with someone who brings the cash (a private lender). This is like a loan, except your lender is on title with you and is paid a predetermined return at closing. 

My wife and I have built a sizable rental portfolio over the past few years using these strategies.  People are always asking how we could possibly have so many units and make a 25% down payment on each home. The truth is we would probably only have a couple of rentals if we only got to count the ones with 25% of my real cash used as the down payment!  

We have built a rental portfolio using lots of hard work, a great agent on our team, and some of all the methods above!  Once you own it, it doesn’t really matter how you acquired it, you are the one collecting the appreciation and rent checks.  With time, your tenants pay your mortgages down and you have the potential of the market continuing to appreciate which allows for greater profit or quicker debt pay down.  As your tenants pay your debt down and the area appreciates, magic happens and you end up with that sweet sweet equity!

If you’d like to chat about any of these options just hit “reply” and let me know which topic might pique your interest.  I love helping investors of any level get started or do more investing!


This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.