Special offer

Life is an adventure. Don’t fight it. You might be surprised.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Thirty-four years ago, I started an adventure. No, I did float down the Amazon or climb a mountain (though some days seemed like it). I didn’t buy an island or fly on the Space Shuttle, no, I started investing in real estate. OK, too much build up? Hear me out. If you’ve tried something you had never done before you may be a bit like I was, cautious. Maybe a little apprehensive, and probably a little scared. Those of us who have been in real estate forever are likely a little amused by our beginning days. There is a lot to learn and a lot to experience.

When you take on a new adventure, like real estate investing, let me caution you to pick and choose your confidants carefully. As a young investor, I had no money. So, the only way I could invest in real estate was through no money down purchases. During that time, I ran into Robert Allen’s book, No Money Down. I read it, and read it, and read it. Eventually, I was convinced I could do it. It made sense. I was pumped and looking for my first deal.

One day while stopping by a convenience store, I ran into a realtor friend. He asked me how I was doing and what I was doing. I told him I was getting ready to buy houses with no money. He laughed and said, “If people could do that, I’d be doing it.” That was deflating. With one comment, he took the rug right out from under me. It took me a couple years before I went back to the idea. That time, I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t even tell my family.

I interviewed agents to see who had the strength to work with a creative investor with no money. Not many qualified, but I eventually found one. I promised her I would give her every purchase and every sale when the time came to sell. I only asked her not to question everything I was doing. Nothing was dishonest or illegal, but she didn’t understand, and I was just getting started. In that, I had no experience showing her how it worked. She was a rock.

Well, the years were good for her. I ultimately bought 26 houses. Not all were in her area, but everyone in her area was with her as an agent. I taught her the mechanics of buying with no money and eventually I taught her son as well. Of the 26, I only made a down-payment on one. I also bought an 8000 square foot commercial building with no money. I was able to get the seller to finance the down-payment and give me a moratorium on payments for a year so I could remodel the building. I was able to get the bank that financed it to give me a greatly reduced payment for a year. I think my total payment was just under $300 for a nearly million-dollar building.

It was an adventure. It didn’t end with buying property. Because I had so much trouble finding agents to work with, I decided to become that agent and eventually a broker. I work with investors all the time, and I’m never surprised when they come up with a creative way to buy a property. I’m more likely to ask questions to get them to think their idea through before making an offer. My life has gone in a radically different direction than I planned, but what an adventure. It has been way more than I expected, and I have had a lot of fun. I recently had a client ask how I got started in real estate. I told her my story and she said, “Oh, people don’t do that anymore.” I just laughed and I immediately went out and bought two properties with no money, remodeled them both and flipped them at a substantial profit. I laughed all the way through the projects. Life is an adventure. Don’t fight it because it will take you to places you never thought possible. And, be sure to pick your confidants carefully.


Reputable Realty - Apple Valley, CA
...Marketing your home like no one else will.

Dang!  What an adventure!   

Feb 20, 2024 04:31 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

It is not necessarily that it's so easy that anyone can do it, it's more a matter of having the guts to work through it That stress is not for everyone.

Feb 20, 2024 04:56 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - there are those who dream.  And then there are those who dream and do.  

Feb 21, 2024 12:33 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent post! You went on an adventure that has proved quite fruitful. I laughed at this part "I...went out and bought two properties with no money, remodeled them both and flipped them at a substantial profit." Good for you!

Carol Williams - another suggestion for Second Chance Saturday!

Feb 21, 2024 04:57 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

I laughed and smiled through the entire process. 😂

Feb 21, 2024 06:17 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Good for you, Mike. If you're like me, if you're told you can't do something, you are more determined to do it! 

Feb 21, 2024 06:04 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Very much, Carol.

Feb 21, 2024 06:17 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Good for you that you dared and survived the great downturn of 2008 with your no money purchases, many did not. so count your blessings, Endre

Feb 21, 2024 10:12 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Fortunately I had sold a lot of the homes pre-2008. I think I still had six at that time. I sold three and kept three. It all worked out nicely, but it was a bit touch and go mid-2008-2011.

Feb 22, 2024 01:52 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

The journey of life is truly an adventure!  I learn that more each day.

Feb 22, 2024 08:17 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Mike,

I missed your post on your adventure so was glad to see Carol Williams featured your post in her Second Chance Saturday Series! Well done...you took matters in your own hands and made it happen!

Feb 24, 2024 05:53 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

How interesting Mike!  I too read Robert Allen's No Money Down book and knew I wanted to head in that direction while still in college. I read and read and read and asked a lot of questions.  I didn't go full hog like you did but I did get started with an old property being sold at an auction.  Little did I know that was a pretty stupid way to get started but I ended up making some money for college after I rehabbed it, so maybe not. OH....the lessons along the way - priceless.

Feb 24, 2024 09:58 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Cool story, Mike! Sounds like you not only figured out how to do it, but it sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed yourself along the way.

Apr 05, 2024 07:03 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV

Pat , so nice to see you out here. 

Apr 05, 2024 08:07 PM