How to Buy an Apartment With No Money Down

Three Methods:Finding No Money Down Property DealsConsidering Alternative Ways to Buy a PropertyUsing Government Financial Support Schemes

Buying an apartment or any other property often requires a considerable down payment, which can make it very difficult for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder. There are a number of ways to attempt to secure a property with no money down, including negotiating a higher purchase price in exchange for not deposit, and getting a separate loan to make the down payment. Think carefully about the best deal for you, as the overall cost of a no money down deals is often higher than a standard deal.

Method 1
Finding No Money Down Property Deals

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    Negotiate a low down payment. With any property deal, the down payment is part of the negotiations. Your bargaining position will depend on your credit rating and your financial situation, but there is a chance that you will be able to negotiate a lower down payment if you can make a strong argument.
    • You could offer to pay a higher overall price for the property, but pay it only through mortgage payments.
    • You might ask to pay the down payment in instalments over the first year, or as a single payment, but a year into your mortgage.[1]
    • Think carefully about the best deal for you, and be wary of getting tied into a high interest rate in lieu of a down payment.
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    Assume an existing mortgage. You may be able to negotiate to assume an existing mortgage. This will involve taking on responsibilities for all outstanding payments without necessarily making a down payment. This kind of deal is known as a “subject to” contract, and involves the buyer using the seller’s existing financing for the deal.
    • The buyer will receive the title to the property in exchange for taking on the mortgage obligations.
    • You will need to research the existing loan to ensure that there is no due-on-sale clause, which would stop a new buyer from assuming the mortgage.[2]
    • Assuming a mortgage might be a possibility if the seller is unable to make the mortgage payments and wants to avoid foreclosure.[3]
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    Investigate lease-to-own options. A lease-to-own arrangement involves the buyer leasing the property from the seller for a set period of time, before then purchasing the property outright. The purchase price will be agreed as part of the initial negotiations, but you will not have to make a down payment when you move in.[4]
    • These deals enable the buyer to live in the house and build up their credit rating and savings before making the purchase.
    • A lease-option agreement is similar, but only includes an option to buy rather than an obligation.
    • Be aware that these deals often end up having a higher overall cost than a traditional mortgage, and are sometimes associated with predatory lending.[5]
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    Propose seller financing. Seller financing can sometimes be agreed if the seller owns the home outright (has no outstanding mortgage payments). This kind of deal involves the seller becoming the mortgage holder and the buyer becoming the title holder. The buyer makes mortgage payments to the seller, as they have been negotiated.
    • A seller might opt to do this if they have a number of properties.
    • You may be able to negotiate a no money down deal with the seller if they are looking to defer the tax due on a large down payment.
    • The seller may make a better return on interest payments from you than from putting the money in the bank.[6]

Method 2
Considering Alternative Ways to Buy a Property

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    Exchange properties. If you and the seller are interested in exchanging properties you may be able to negotiate a deal with no down payment. It can be rare to find a straight swap for property and you may have to include some cash if the value of the property you are leaving is below that of the property you are buying.[7]
    • A property exchange can be a way to defer certain taxes related to gains from the sale of property.[8]
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    Use non-cash assets. You may be able to agree a deal with the seller to use non-cash assets instead of making a down payment. This will depend entirely on the seller, but there are instances when such a deal could be agreed. You might agree to pass over your car, or some furniture, to cover the equivalent of a down payment.[9]
    • For some people, a cash payment may not be the most valuable offer.
    • If the value of the thing you are exchanging is high, it might work out as a better deal for the seller than putting the cash payment in a bank account with low interest rates.
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    Use private financing. A common way to purchase a property with no money down property is to use private financing. You may be able to borrow the money from a friend or family member, or you may be able to get a separate loan from a financial institution. If you can get a loan to cover the down payment, you can buy a property with no money down, but with more debt to pay off.[10]
    • This can be a good option if you have a secure future income to pay off the debts.
    • Often the interest rates and repayment terms on loan will end up more expensive than saving up and making a down payment.
    • Don’t be tempted into a high interest loan to cover a down payment as you are likely to put yourself in a precarious financial position.

Method 3
Using Government Financial Support Schemes

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    Apply for a VA loan. If are you eligible, you can apply for a loan from the Department of Veteran Affairs. These loans guarantee purchase mortgages and don’t require a down payment from the buyer. The loan comes from a private lender, which is guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. You will have to pay a funding fee, but this is generally placed into the loan and not required upfront. The fee varies, but could be between 2.15% and 3.3%.[11]
    • To qualify you must have suitable credit and income, as well as obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility relating to your military record.
    • To be eligible for a VA loan you must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonourable.
    • The minimum active service requirements vary, but can be viewed here:
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    Consider a Navy Federal Credit Union loan. The Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in terms of assets and membership, and it can provide 100% property loans to members who qualify. Eligibility is limited to members of the military, some civilians who are employed by the military, and those who work for the U.S. Department of Defence.
    • The scheme works in a similar way to the VA loan, but the funding fee is generally lower, at around 1.75%.[12]
    • There is no down payment required, fixed-rate terms are available, and no Private Mortgage Insurance is required.
    • Loans are available up to $1,000,000 depending on the circumstances.[13]
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    Investigate a USDA Rural Development loan. The US Department of Agriculture have a mortgage guarantee program that is very popular. Despite the name, these Rural Development loans are not restricted to farmland, are not all rural, but they are geographically determined.[14] The USDA has eligible areas designated on maps online that you can browse:
    • Search for your area on the maps and see if there are any possibilities.
    • The mortgage comes from a bank but is guaranteed by the USDA.
    • There is a 2% initial guarantee fee, but this can be rolled into the loan.
    • There is an annual guarantee fee of 0.5% of the loan balance.[15]

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Categories: Buying Property