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Becoming a landlord is challenging, especially in today’s housing market. The high demand and lack of supply push prices up and make you compete with buyers with hefty funds. Without resources for the down payment and upfront fees, it’ll be extremely difficult to buy a home. 

But what if we tell you it’s possible to become a real estate investor even if you have no ready cash to secure your first investment? All it takes is patience, some creative thinking, a few people willing to cooperate with you, and a competent real estate attorney to draw up your deals. 

Let’s learn how to map your real estate investing journey even with zero cash.

Related: How Millennials Can Get Into Real Estate Investing


Seller Financing

Working conventionally, you’d have a ready source of cash to make the down payment on your first investment property. However, if you don’t have cash on hand, you can always present an offer on a property wherein the seller finances the transaction. 

In exchange, you can offer several concessions, such as larger monthly payments for a certain period of time to help the seller recoup the down payment they’d forego. 

Then, after appreciation has allowed you to build equity in the property, you can refinance it traditionally and buy the seller out. Just make sure the deal you craft enables you to rent the property out and generate positive cash flow in the interim.


Lease with the Option to Buy

In this situation, you can work out a deal with the seller to lease the property at a certain rate, for a certain period, with the option of purchasing it at the end of the term. This way, a portion of your monthly lease payments would be credited toward the purchase price. 

Or, you could work out a deal where a portion of your monthly lease payment is credited toward the eventual down payment. Once you hit that number, you can then apply for a conventional loan, with your lease equity serving as your down payment. Just make sure you settle upon a purchase price upfront, have permission to sublet, and your lease payment leaves you room to generate positive cash flow.


Assume an Existing Mortgage

If the seller’s mortgage permits, this is an easy way to get into a property with minimal cash outlay. Keep in mind your credit rating will need to be very strong to pull this off. The financial institution will scrutinize you just as thoroughly as they would if you were coming to them for a home loan on your own. The only difference is the seller will serve as something of a co-signer with you. If you default, the property and the mortgage will revert to the seller.


Take on a Boarder

If you already own a home and would like to get into real estate investing, but don’t have the liquid cash to make a down payment, rent out one of the rooms in your home. You can then use the cash you accrue to serve as an eventual down payment on a full-fledged rental property.


Partner with Family and Friends

If you have a knack for getting along well with people and you’re good at fixing little things that go wrong around the house, consider assembling a consortium of family and friends who together have enough cash to make a down payment. 

Offer to manage the property for them as compensation for allowing you a share in the investment. You’ll find the property and handle all of the physical activities of being a landlord, while your investors serve as silent partners.


Take Advantage of Poplar StreetCred

If you’re renting with Poplar Homes, you can earn credits that you can use to buy a home. With Poplar StreetCred, we give you 20% back of your rental fee. This means the longer you rent with us, the more credits you accumulate. This is an excellent way to make your money work for you.



These are just five ways that you can become a landlord with no money. Yes, things are much simpler when you have the cash at hand. But even if you don’t, there are many ways you can start your real estate investing journey if you’re determined enough. Try one of these approaches today.


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