15 Ways to Start Investing in Real Estate With Little or No Money

We all know that it takes money to make money. Especially in real estate investing, it's commonly believed that you need a large down payment and a hefty amount of cash to get started. However,...

We all know that it takes money to make money. Especially in real estate investing, it's commonly believed that you need a large down payment and a hefty amount of cash to get started. However, conventional wisdom isn't always right.

The truth is that many entrepreneurs start their real estate journey with little money. They rely on their strong dreams and a lot of hustle to get off the ground. And you can do it too.

In this article, we will explore 15 different ways you can start investing in real estate with little or no cash. These strategies will help you take your first steps towards financial independence.

House Hacking

My first house hack 4-plex My first house hack 4-plex (I lived in unit #2)!

House hacking is one of the most popular ways to start investing in real estate with little money. It involves generating rental income from your own home. You can do this by moving into a multi-unit property and renting out the extra units. You can also get creative by renting out extra bedrooms, a basement apartment, or even a space on your lot.

With owner-occupant financing options like FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans, you can get started with little to no money down. These loans offer small down payment requirements, allowing you to begin your real estate journey without a huge upfront investment.

Master Leases and Lease Options

Explanation of a master leasing diagram See explanation of this master leasing diagram in the video linked below

Did you know that you don't have to buy a property to get started with real estate investing? Instead, you can rent a property and sublease the extra space to other tenants. This technique is known as master leasing.

Master leasing allows you to generate income without a large upfront investment. You can negotiate the terms, including an option to purchase the property at a set price within a specific timeframe.

Live-In House Flip

Live-in Flip - Finished Current House

If you've always been fascinated by house flipping, you can turn your own home into a flip. The "Live-In Flip" strategy involves buying a property, living in it for at least 2 out of 5 years, and then selling it for a profit. The best part? You can pay no taxes on the profit, up to $250,000 as an individual or $500,000 as a couple.

Living in the property reduces your risk and allows you to take your time with repairs. You can also take advantage of low-down-payment loan programs for owner-occupants.


The front of my Live-In-Then-Rent house

Similar to house hacking, the Live-In-Then-Rent strategy involves moving into a property, preparing it for rent, and then keeping it as a rental when you move out. This strategy works best with more modest houses that are suitable for rentals.

You can benefit from low-down-payment loans and build a portfolio of rental properties over time.

Real Estate Crowdfunding

Real estate crowdfunding is a relatively new way to invest in real estate with a smaller amount of money. It involves pooling funds with other investors to invest in rental properties or provide loans to other real estate investors.

While this strategy offers an opportunity to invest with little money, it's essential to choose reputable crowdfunding platforms. Make sure to do thorough research and understand the risks involved.

REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are similar to mutual funds, but for real estate. When you invest in a REIT, you own a small portion of multiple income-producing properties. REITs allow for passive investing in real estate, and the shares are relatively liquid.

While REITs are not my personal specialty, they offer a way to diversify your investments and gain exposure to the real estate market.


The living room/kitchen of my new Airbnb experiment

Airbnb provides a low-cost way to enter the real estate investing market. By renting out part of your home or your entire home on a short-term basis, you can generate extra income.

This strategy can be a specialized form of house hacking or be developed into a full-time business. Starting with Airbnb allows you to generate income while leveraging your existing property.


When you don't have the capital to invest in real estate, partnering with someone who does can be a great option. You can form a credit partnership, where your partner provides the down payment and obtains a loan, while you handle day-to-day management and earn the difference between rent collected and rent paid.

By using your expertise and negotiating skills, you can control the income and appreciation of the property with a minimal upfront investment.

Seller Financing

Diagram of a real estate closing with Seller Financing or Owner Financing

Seller financing allows you to purchase real estate by making monthly installments to the seller, bypassing traditional bank loans. This strategy is a favorite among real estate investors because it allows for flexible terms and lower down payments.

You can negotiate lower down payments, and in some cases, trade your labour for a monetary down payment. Seller financing offers a creative way to invest in real estate without a significant upfront cost.

BRRRR Strategy

The BRRRR strategy stands for Buy, Remodel, Rent, Refinance, Repeat. This approach involves finding distressed properties, remodeling them to increase their value, renting them out, refinancing to pull out your investment, and repeating the process.

The BRRRR strategy allows you to grow your rental portfolio rapidly by recycling your initial investment. While it requires careful planning and execution, it can be an effective way to multiply your real estate investments.

Borrow Your Down Payment (CAREFULLY!)

Borrowing your down payment is a strategy that should be approached with caution. While it's possible to borrow the funds needed for a down payment, it's important to pay off the borrowed amount quickly to avoid negative cash flow.

Options such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or borrowing from your 401k can provide the necessary funds. However, it's crucial to have a plan to repay the borrowed amount from savings or income generated by the property.

Become a Real Estate Agent

Becoming a real estate agent allows you to learn about real estate transactions and the market while earning money. While it may not be direct investing, it's a great way to gain valuable knowledge and experience.

To become a real estate agent, you'll need to take classes, pass a comprehensive test, and affiliate with a broker's office. This option requires an initial investment of time and money, but it offers potential for long-term growth.

Become a Bird Dog (Sniff Out Deals For Others)

Becoming a bird dog means finding good real estate deals for experienced investors. This strategy involves locating properties and presenting them to investors for a finder's fee. To legally earn finder's fees, you'll need a real estate license in most cases.

Bird dogging allows you to learn about real estate investing while earning money. You can find investor buyers through local real estate investing associations or platforms like BiggerPockets.


Wholesaling is the art of finding deeply discounted deals and reselling them quickly for a profit. While it requires strong sales skills and making multiple offers, it can be a low-cost way to enter the real estate market.

Wholesaling involves securing properties under contract or buying them before reselling them. It's important to note that wholesaling requires persistence and willingness to handle rejection. If you're good at sales, this strategy can be lucrative.

Find Tenants for Rental Owners (Leasing Agent)

Becoming a leasing agent allows you to match tenants with rental properties and earn a fee. This strategy offers an opportunity to learn about tenant placement while earning money.

Working for a property management company or contacting individual landlords enables you to find leasing agent opportunities. This business model provides valuable skills for future rental owners.

Now that you have learned about these 15 different ways to start investing in real estate with little or no money, it's time to take action. Choose the strategy that resonates with you the most and start your real estate investment journey. Remember, with persistence and a lot of hustle, you can make real estate investing work for you.

Which of these strategies makes the most sense for you? Share your thoughts and plans in the comments below.