There are various ways to acquire property even if you have no money.
1. Partner with People
Find people who have what you don’t have—a lot of money and a lot of
credit and very large cushions. Draw up a business plan that says, for
example, together we’re going to buy 100 houses over the next five
years. You have the energy and the expertise to find good deals and
manage them, and your partner might be a busy doctor, a lawyer, an
accountant, or a retired executive who has a lot of money but is making
only 3 to 5 percent return in decent years on his or her investments.
These professionals would like to make 11 or 12 percent and reap
some tax advantages and appreciation to bring their actual return to
15, 20, or 30 percent. However, don’t tell them that because it could
scare them. When you start promising people returns of more than 15
percent, they get nervous.
Draw up a plan to buy a house that’s worth $200,000, which you can
get for $180,000. Your partner goes down to the bank and signs a few
papers. The bank loves to lend money to people with good credit who
have secure jobs and a financial cushion—unlike a lot of self-employed
people like us. So have your partner borrow the funds to purchase the
house. Whose name is on the title of the house? Your partner’s name or
the name of your corporation or trust. Together, you determine what
percentage of the house you each own: 50-50, 70-30, or whatever you
agree on. Agree that you make all the decisions about renting and managing
and making repairs, while your partner’s name is on the loan
Your partner would get some tax advantages for being in rental real
estate—up to $25,000 a year write-off for the depreciation against regular
income. (Do consult with your accountant and your partner’s
accountant to find out all of the advantages.) As the managing partner,
you get all the control.
Five years down the road, if a house needs major repairs, your financially
strong, deep-pocketed partner borrows another $10,000 (or takes
another $10,000 out of a bank account or retirement or savings) to fix
up the house. Then, another 10 years down the road, properties that
were worth $20 million are now worth $28 million because property
value has gone up and the debt has gone down—from $18 million to
$15 million. You sell the houses you bought together and split the profits
according to the percentage arrangement you made earlier. All the
debt is paid off and your financial partner does well. You’re both happy
and you’re both better off. Your partner has the money, and you have
the expertise, time, and energy.
I know of at least 20 investors in the United States who own more than
200 properties, and their names are not on one bank loan or deed. They
have zero liability for lawsuits because they have zero liability on the
debt. They have recruited strong, informed partners who have clear
written agreements and who understand that there might be a bad
SECRETS OF BUYING AND SELLING REAL ESTATE
month or two. Partnering is one of the best ways to buy property, so
find a good financial partner.