Real Estate Investing - FSBOs vs. Agent Listings?

Friday, 31 January 2014

Many would-be real estate investing professionals face discouragement because of the assumption that acquisitions require deep-pockets. Some even believe the myth that nothing-down purchases are impossible.

The early 1980s era in real estate investing known as the Zero Down Real Estate Movement was initiated by Robert Allen with his best-seller, "Nothing Down." After observing how commercial properties were acquired with no money down, Allen applied 50 techniques from the commercial real estate industry to the residential property marketplace. He was reportedly paid $1 million advance royalties for his publication, and began holding real estate investing conventions across the country.

The Nothing Down era was a startling eye-opener to the public. Very few were aware of Allen's predecessors, like Nick Nickerson, Al Lowry and Mark Haroldsen who wrote books on real estate investing requiring no money. Allen popularized the notion, and it was a strong public draw for his real estate investing seminars.

However, some of Allen's convention speakers were ultimately revealed as "con men," and some bellied up. Robert Allen himself went bankrupt in 1996. The public generally concluded that Allen was probably a fraud, and that real estate investing was impossible without deep-pockets.

The Wall St.Journal got wind of the Nothing Down Real Estate Investing Movement, and interviewed many investors who were using "Zero Money Down" techniques. The business editor of the Wall St.Journal interviewed me repeatedly (and others who knew of my real estate investing), and featured me in an editorial as one of the most successful investors in the nation who had purchased millions of dollars in rental property without any money.

These previous unfolding events are pertinent to the conclusion of how to buy real estate properties with limited funds.

I proved that properties could be acquired without cash (or credit) to the tune of $10 million in real estate investments during my first 4 years. I used a $10 bill in the acquisition of many of my properties.

Purchases from FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) were possible through negotiations with motivated sellers. I bought millions of dollars in real estate properties without cash or credit by learning acquisition skills that required no money down.

On the other hand, real estate properties listed by real estate agents minimally require a down payment that covers the agent's listing fee. These listed properties were no more valuable than the FSBO properties, but the agent fees demanded cash upon acquisition. In the intervening years since the 1980s, I have purchased some agent-listed properties, but my target acquisition continues to be FSBO real estate property from a motivated seller.