Even in “female-dominated” industries like healthcare, education and real estate, around one-third of women attest that a “glass ceiling” remains in place, and

What’s the best way to start investing in real estate with little or no cash?

I got my start with an owner-occupied duplex in Sacramento, CA with an FHA loan.  FHA requires 3.5% down but coupled with local down payment assistance loans and grants this down payment cost can be nearly zero or even below zero.  If you’re really aggressive you can prospect for investment properties that the owner may want to sell but does not have listed on the market.

Ideal situation:

  1. Decent neighborhood.  Usually means better tenants who will be more likely to qualify to rent, pay their rents and not damage the property.
  2. Mix of multi family and single family homes.  Usually results in better tenants and higher equity growth over time.
  3. 2-4 units.  More units usually means better ROI and less susceptibility to loss of income from vacancy.  5+ units require commercial financing and greater housing regulation.
  4. Capitalization Rate.  The “Cap Rate” is used to describe the return on investment on a property.  Annual net operating income divided by cost (or value).

Things to look out for:

  1. Bad capitalization rate.  This is a business purchase so don’t let your emotions get in the way.  If the numbers don’t work out, move on.   Don’t accept a Cap Rate lower than 7%.
  2. Money pit. make sure to use an agent who is able to point out potential problems.  Get a home inspection and don’t buy a property that requires extensive repair.  Especially on your first one and when you don’t have a ton of disposable income.
  3. Vultures.  There are lots of predators in the residential investment real estate market who use REITs to finance their purchases while risking members’ money and offering usually a paltry return.  REITs are best left to people who are quite well off and who have a lot of money to risk if things go sour.