4. Assume a seller's mortgage
Another option for buying an investment property using little money down is by assuming the seller's current mortgage, also called buying "subject to." In a subject-to deal, you buy a rental property subject to the terms of the owner's current mortgage. This option generally requires a small down payment. But, depending on the seller's needs, it may be possible to assume a loan for no money down.
For example, if the property is worth $100,000 and the current mortgage balance is $80,000 with 12 years remaining, you pay the seller $20,000 to sell the property, taking over their $80,000 mortgage, paying the monthly principal and interest payment to the bank. The investor avoids having to find alternative financing from another lending source and gets to benefit from paying down a loan further in the appreciation schedule.
Buying subject to is a super creative way to buy distressed properties, but it isn't always an option. Depending on the lender, the loan may not be assumable. Some lenders include a "due on sale" clause, which means the entire loan balance is due if the property is transferred or sold. While rare, some lenders will allow this.
5. Get a hard money loan
Hard money loans are an alternative financing option commonly used to finance properties that won't be approved for traditional financing, like a fix and flip. Investors can secure financing for a property up to a certain percentage of the property's current or future value (after repair value) and will include the cost to renovate or repair the property into the loan.
This means if you negotiate a great deal with a super low purchase price, and you are within the hard money lender's loan-to-value requirements, you could possibly purchase the property with no money or very little money down.
Hard money loans are normally short term, lasting anywhere from 6 to 18 months, with very high interest rates, around 5% to 10% higher than a traditional mortgage. So this method of buying a rental property with no money down is typically best if you have good credit and plan to do a cash-out refinance after the property is repaired and rented.
6. Partner on an investment
One of the most common methods of investing in real estate with no money down is to buy an investment property using other people's money (OPM). You can find a private lender or funding partner willing to partner on the investment, giving you the funds needed to purchase the property. This could be the down payment alone or the entire purchase price in cash in exchange for a return on their investment.
Partners could be family members, friends, or colleagues, and there are a variety of ways to structure their return, like:
- A joint venture (JV), where ownership of the property or company is shared in respective percentages. Rental income, equity, and appreciation are typically shared with the partners respectively.
- A lending agreement, where the investor receives a preferred return on their initial investment
- A private loan, where the partner is repaid with a monthly payment, which could be interest-only with a balloon, or a principal and interest payment.
- A combination of the above.
Most successful real estate investors will use a variety of the methods above to structure an offer to a prospective seller. It's likely you'll experience a lot of noes in response, but it's also not a rarity to buy a property with very little to no money down. During my first few years of real estate investing, I purchased all of my investment properties with no money down. Even now, only about 15% of the real estate I own has been purchased with my own money.
In some deals, it will make sense to put more money down in exchange for a lower monthly payment and often a better interest rate. Analyze each investment opportunity to see if these creative strategies make sense for the purchase of the real estate property you're looking at. Buying rental property with no money down is not the easiest method of buying real estate, but it can be worth it -- and it is possible.