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    Key takeaways


    • Conventionally, being a landlord requires a lot of cash for upfront payments of properties. But, there are some strategies you can try to become a landlord without the need of hefty money.
    • Partnering with family and friends or leveraging unique programs like Poplar StreetCred can be a powerful way to overcome financial constraints. By pooling resources and sharing responsibilities, you can tap into collective strength and achieve your real estate investment goals faster.
    • Whether you’re negotiating creative financing deals or renting out spare rooms in your home, consistent effort and a long-term perspective are key to success in the competitive world of real estate investment.


    Becoming a landlord in today’s competitive housing market may seem like an insurmountable challenge, especially if you lack the ready cash for a down payment and upfront fees.

    However, with patience, creative thinking, and the right strategies, you can embark on your real estate investment journey without breaking the bank. In this guide, we’ll explore five innovative ways to become a landlord without spending cash upfront.



    Seller financing: Turning negotiation into opportunity


    Traditional real estate transactions often require a hefty down payment. However, if your pockets aren’t overflowing with cash, you can negotiate a seller financing deal. In this arrangement, the seller provides financing for the property purchase. To sweeten the deal for the seller, you can offer larger monthly payments for a set period, compensating for their foregone down payment.

    Once you’ve built equity through property appreciation, you can refinance the property conventionally, buying out the seller. Ensure that your deal allows you to rent out the property to generate positive cash flow while you wait for appreciation to work its magic.



    Lease with the option to buy: Gradual path to ownership


    Consider negotiating a lease with an option-to-buy agreement with the seller. This arrangement allows you to lease the property at a predetermined rate for a specified period, with the option to purchase it at the end of the term. A portion of your monthly lease payments can be credited toward the purchase price or down payment, depending on the agreement.

    This approach offers flexibility and an opportunity to accumulate the necessary funds to secure a conventional loan when the time is right. Make sure to establish the purchase price upfront, obtain subletting permissions, and ensure your lease payments leave room for positive cash flow.



    Assume an existing mortgage: A co-signer’s dream


    Assuming the seller’s existing mortgage can be a low-cash way to enter the real estate market, but it requires a strong credit rating. In this scenario, the seller acts as a co-signer on the mortgage, making them responsible if you default.

    Financial institutions will thoroughly assess your creditworthiness, similar to a traditional mortgage application. If approved, you can take over the existing mortgage with minimal cash outlay, making this a viable option for those with solid credit histories.


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    Home equity line of credit (HELOC): Tapping into home value


    A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows homeowners to borrow against the equity in their property. Landlords can leverage HELOC financing in two ways:

    • Property purchase or refinancing: Use HELOC funds to purchase a property or refinance an existing one. You can then rent out the property and reserve the remaining HELOC money as an emergency fund for repairs or other expenses.
    • Cover ongoing expenses: Use HELOC funds to cover ongoing expenses such as mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and utilities, ensuring smooth cash flow without the need for a second mortgage.

    HELOCs typically offer low interest rates and flexible borrowing options, making them an attractive choice for real estate investors looking to maximize their purchasing power.



    Take on a boarder: Turning your home into an asset


    If you currently own a home, consider renting out spare rooms to generate extra income. The rental income can be a valuable resource for saving toward a down payment on a rental property. This approach allows you to make your home work for you and accelerate your path to becoming a landlord.



    Partner with family and friends: The power of collective investment


    Building a consortium of family and friends can be a win-win for everyone involved. If you have the skills to manage a property effectively, you can leverage their collective cash resources to make a down payment on a rental property. In return, offer to handle property management duties while your investors serve as silent partners.

    This collaborative approach allows you to share the financial burden and responsibilities, making real estate investment accessible to a wider circle of potential landlords.



    Take advantage of Poplar StreetCred: Earning credits for your future


    If you’re renting with Poplar Homes, you can take advantage of Poplar StreetCred, a unique program that rewards renters with credits that can be used to buy a home. By renting with Poplar, you receive 20% of your rental payments back in credits, accumulating more over time. This program offers an excellent opportunity to make your money work for you, gradually building a fund for your future real estate investments.


    Up next: Single-family rental investment strategy



    Concluding thoughts


    Becoming a landlord without spending cash may seem like a daunting challenge. But with determination and creativity, it’s entirely possible. The five strategies outlined above—seller financing, lease with the option to buy, assuming an existing mortgage, utilizing a HELOC, taking on boarders, partnering with family and friends, and exploring innovative programs like Poplar StreetCred—can help you kickstart your real estate investment journey.

    While having cash on hand simplifies the process, these alternative methods offer a path to real estate ownership for those willing to think outside the box. So, take the plunge, explore these options, and begin your exciting journey toward becoming a successful landlord in today’s competitive housing market.




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