In part 1 and  part 2 of this series, we discussed how to find profitable deals. In part 2, we discussed how to find the right strategies: so what happens next? Now we look at Paying the money and buying the deal. This is where most agents and aspiring investors fail. They know they have the deal and know what needs to be done with it, but they don’t have the funds to buy the property. In today’s article, I’ll share some ideas on how to deal with this problem.

Mindset: Be a Problem Solver

If there is only one attitude that an agent/investor needs to have, it is this: I’m a problem-solver. Entrepreneurs are born this way. Try to find out what the heart of the problem is by sitting with a seller or a buyer. Discover the reason they’re selling/buying the property. The more you know, the better you can solve their problem. You will be surprised at how distant the cause the effect can be at times. 

I once dealt with a seller named Phil, who was trying to sell his waterfront home at a discounted price. I walked the property with him and told him that it was a beautiful home in good condition. Why would he consider selling the property for a lower amount? He didn’t reveal much initially, but as we sat down and discussed other aspects of the property, he started to feel more comfortable with me. 

At one point, the story tumbled out: He was several months behind on his boat payment, and the bank was going to repossess it. He loved his boat so much that the thought of having to part with it made him recoil emotionally. Since he was going to lose the boat, he didn’t want the house anymore because it would remind him of the fun-times he had sailing. 

Solving the Problem

The moment I knew what the problem was, I studied the equity in the home and offered Phil a solution: I could arrange for Phil to get a second mortgage on the house with private money to catch up on the missed payments for the boat. This way, there would be no sense of urgency, and Phil could take a little longer to make an informed decision. He ended up keeping the boat and the house and paid off the second mortgage within a few years.

If you have the mindset of being a problem-solver, you will spot opportunities all around you!

Yin & Yang: Price & Terms

As an agent, you already know the inverse relationship between price & terms. You give one and get the other. If you are buying the house with conventional financing and a host of other contingencies, you are picking ‘terms,’ and hence you will probably have to pay a retail ‘price’ for the property. On the other hand, when you’re buying a distressed property as a flip, you are picking ‘price,’ paying cash for it, and not having the benefit of ‘terms.’

Use Your Savings for the Down-Payment and Use Conventional Financing

The most straightforward way of buying a turnkey rental is by using your savings for a down-payment. If you have the savings to do it, there is no better way to get started. I know several agents who saved their commissions and used it as a down-payment to buy their first rental. This route is tedious and slow, but it is the most enduring.

Use Private Money or Even Hard Money (if it makes sense)

When you’re studying the numbers for a flip, you can explore the realm of private money or even hard money. The usual interest rates are in the range of 10% to 15%. The loan origination fees are usually in the range of 1 to 4 points. Some investors get to look at the high-interest rate and never get started. It limits their options considerably.

Here’s how I suggest you look at it: Would you have a smaller slice of a larger pie or a slice of nothing? It’s better to pay the higher interest rate and take the loan if the numbers make sense. Most private money lenders start by demanding higher interest rates, but as you do more deals with them, they start providing better rates and a higher LTV. The metric that matters the most to investors is ‘Cash on cash return.’ Use this metric when you’re doing the analysis instead of looking at the cost of borrowing. Don’t miss out on the leverage that you can get with private money.

Stitch an Alliance – Creating Joint Ventures

The last leg of your journey is creating joint ventures. Once you know how to create joint ventures, the sky’s the limit. You can form joint ventures with sellers, buyers, lenders, rehabbers, other agents, investors, and sometimes even tenants! The foundation of a joint venture is knowing the problem that the other side is facing. If you can get creative and solve their problem, you’ve got yourself a partner in your joint venture.

Creating joint ventures takes the highest degree of skill. Like anything else, the best way to learn doing JVs is to work with people who are already doing them.

It’s like the 1994 movie, Leon: The Professional starring Jean Reno and Natalie Portman. Jean plays a hitman, and Natalie plays his protégé. Jean tells Natalie about the degrees of skill vs. the weapon of choice: beginners use machine guns, intermediates use revolvers, professionals use a knife. It’s the same with real estate, the more skill you have, the lesser the amount of money you need to bring to the table. In the beginning, you will need money to make money. As your skill increases, you won’t need it anymore.  


Making the journey from agent to an investor is an important milestone. It can provide a sense of security for your family for a lifetime. It’s an exciting opportunity. The best way to learn is to partner up with someone who has done it before and grow together.



Jorge Vazquez is a broker and founder of Graystone Investment Group headquartered in Tampa, Florida. He has been in the business for over 20 years and has participated in more than 2000 transactions. Graystone is one of the first companies in Florida with all divisions under one umbrella: Wholesaling, Brokerage, Private Lending, Rehabbing, and Property Management. You can find Jorge at or and connect with him to either join his brokerage, invest, or just to learn more about real estate.