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How to Invest In Real Estate With No Money

Gavin Finch
Written by Gavin Finch 

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Do you ever look at all the real estate entrepreneurs passively making thousands of dollars every month and think, “If I had some money to invest, I know I could do that?” If it’s a lack of capital that’s keeping you on the sidelines, you might be surprised to learn that you don’t need any money at all to invest in real estate. 

All you need is an eye for potential, the courage to sign real estate contracts on properties you don’t intend to buy, and the social skills to form good relationships with people who do have money. It’s called wholesaling, and in this blog, we’ll show you how to invest in real estate with no money.

Real estate wholesaling

The world of real estate is renowned for giving people with money the chance to make more of it. What many people don’t realize is that the investors who have money often don’t have time to find the best deals. They’re either busy managing their investments or they want to invest passively. They’re interested in deals that come to them, not the other way around.

This situation presents a golden opportunity for a prospective investor with no money. If they can find a worthwhile single-family investment and secure it at a discounted purchase price, they can sell the contract to another investor for a profit. 

This process is called wholesaling real estate, and it’s one of the most popular ways to start a career in real estate. It’s also surprisingly simple. But it raises a key question: why would someone want to sell their house at a discount?

It’s true that most people sell their homes for as much as possible. However, some people need to move or pay off debt by a strict deadline. They don’t have time to list on the MLS with an agent, entertain multiple offers, and wait through a lengthy closing period. These people are known as motivated sellers and their only option is an off-market cash sale. 

Unfortunately, these property owners aren’t in the position to prepare their properties for a full-value sale either. For instance, someone who’s fallen behind on their mortgage payments and entered pre-foreclosure doesn’t have the time to repaint their walls or install new cabinets. This leaves most motivated sellers with properties they can’t sell at their full market value. 

However, as a wholesaler you can help these property owners out of their situations by offering them the convenience of a quick, cash sale. In exchange, you’ll get the property under contract at below-market value and find a cash buyer who wants to buy the house. In exchange for the right to buy the property, they’ll pay you an assignment fee. 

The wholesale real estate process

Now that you understand the concept behind wholesale real estate, you’re ready to start investing. There are several key steps involved in the process, but each of them is simple as long as you’re willing to put in some hours, especially early in the process.

Lead generation

The first step to wholesaling is generating quality leads. As we’ve established, quality wholesale leads are properties that people need to sell within a set time frame. There are several ways to find these properties, but the two most efficient methods are lead generation software and driving for dollars.

Real estate lead generation software aggregates property data from public records and a number of other data sources to help investors identify motivated sellers. With the right platform, you can search for properties that are facing financial distress factors, properties with specific features and amenities, and even owners with certain demographic characteristics.

Driving for dollars is one of the original ways to find wholesale real estate leads, but it’s still around for a reason. Many investors have found the best deals of their careers with this strategy. When you drive for dollars, you’ll pick a neighborhood and drive through it, looking for damaged or neglected properties, which are also known as distressed properties. Once you find something promising, you’ll either knock on the door or skip trace the property and call the owner.

Both of these lead generation strategies are great, and you should implement them both in your business. However, each will give you a different type of lead. When you want to quickly find properties that fit a certain description or have a financial distress factor, you’ll use a lead generation platform. When you’re looking for distressed properties or true fixer-uppers, you’ll drive for dollars. 

Of course, if you’re truly investing without any money, driving for dollars is the best way to start. The only money you’ll spend is on gas. As long as you pick the right neighborhoods, you’ll eventually make enough money to invest in a lead generation platform so you can speed up your wholesaling process. 


Once you’ve generated a lead list, you’re ready to start marketing. In wholesaling, marketing is the process of letting property owners know that you’re interested in buying houses, including theirs. There are several popular ways to do this.

One of the most effective low-cost tactics is to place bandit signs in high-traffic areas. Bandit signs are yard signs that tell people you’re buying houses for cash in the area. This strategy won’t use your lead list, but it is an effective, affordable way to generate leads and land deals.

Bandit signs are popular and effective, but by far the most popular marketing strategy among wholesalers is cold calling. Cold calling is the practice of calling motivated sellers to set appointments to visit their properties. It’s fast, direct, and relatively inexpensive. Talking to people is also at the heart of wholesaling, so while it may seem intimidating, cold calling is a skill every investor needs to develop.

If you want to take your marketing campaigns up a notch and you have a sizable budget to invest, you can launch direct mail marketing campaigns. These campaigns involve sending postcards or letters to motivated sellers informing them that you’re interested in buying their property. In practice, it works much like cold calling, except it invites your prospects to call you.

The benefit of direct mail marketing is that it gives prospects a physical item to hold on to. Unlike cold calling, which asks for an immediate response, direct mail can be effective long after you send a mailer. If a seller is interested in selling but not ready to make a decision yet, they can save your postcard and call you when they’re ready to act. They may also stumble upon your mailer months later by accident and reach out to you at that time.

These possibilities may seem far-fetched, but many wholesalers have secured deals because their mailers had a lasting impact. For this reason alone, direct mail is a highly effective marketing strategy. However, it’s a more expensive strategy, so we recommend sticking with cold calling and bandit signs until you’re turning enough deals to budget for direct mail.

Landing deals and working with cash buyers

You’ll know your marketing campaigns have paid off when someone tells you they’re interested in selling. Once you hear this, you’re one step away from making an offer. But before you do that, you need to understand what the property is worth.

Once you have this number, you’re ready to make an offer. If you haven’t cultivated your sales skillIs before you get to this point, don’t worry. In most cases, making offers is a straightforward process, especially if the owner is motivated to sell. In other cases, you’ll learn with experience. 

There are also several tactics you can leverage, such as offering to pay closing costs or a portion of moving expenses, so don’t worry about your lack of experience. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the owner needs to pay off their mortgage. As long as you offer enough for them to pay off their remaining debt and walk with some cash, you can probably make the deal work. 

Once you and the seller agree to a price, you’re one step away from completing your first real estate deal and collecting your paycheck. You simply need to find a cash buyer who will purchase the contract from you. Once you find the right person and agree on an assignment fee, you’ll both sign an assignment contract, which will remove you from the real estate purchase. 

You’ll typically receive a deposit from the buyer at this point and then receive the full assignment fee when they close on the house. Once you receive your check, you’ve successfully figured out how to invest in real estate with no money. Now you can build a business by repeating this process, and eventually you’ll have enough money to make a real estate purchase of your own!


At first, investing without any money seems impossible, but countless real estate investors have launched lucrative careers that started with wholesaling. And while there are several beginner-friendly real estate investing strategies out there, ranging from house hacking, real estate investment trusts, and leveraging seller financing, wholesaling is by far the simplest and lowest risk option.

The best part is that you can start today, regardless of your experience level. You don’t even need a high credit score, because you won’t need a loan. All you need is the willingness to invest your time into finding houses that cash buyers want to purchase. If you do that, nothing will stop you from investing in real estate with little to no money.

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