You need to focus on deals where you can get in and out of, with a quick profit where you have no further obligations or liability in the deal. Then you can use the profit you make and spend it on whatever you choose. You wont have to worry about getting caught up in a mess that you cannot financially afford to be in. So what type of deals can you do that will allow you to do this? Well, the answer is pretty much any type of deal if you know how. So let's look at some of the ways you can accomplish this using different types of deals.
The most common deal that everyone hears about getting started with is flipping properties. The first thing that comes to mind when hearing the term, "flipping properties", is doing wholesale flips, where you find a run down property, get it under contract, and flip it to another investor, leaving the other investor with the lion share of the profit and making a quick profit for yourself. The truth of the matter is there is more ways to do flips than just looking for run down properties. You can flip just about any type of deal, whether it be a wholesale flip, a retail flip, whether it be making a cash offer, doing a L/O, or even a "subject to" deal.
This is where having the knowledge comes into play. The more knowledge you have, the more ways you will know how to structure the different types of deals and be able to make a fast profit without having to take on the risk by staying in the deal.
If you have done your research then you should already know by now that the deals to be had are from sellers that are motivated. You also know that the best way to find these motivated sellers is by making it easy for them to find you. You know that the way you make it easy for them to find you is by marketing yourself and letting the world know that you buy property.
Once you are set up with marketing yourself, this means you are going to run into many different types of sellers, with different types of properties, with different types of problems that you are going to need to know how to structure the deal in order to make it work. Not every deal is going to work by just trying to do a L/O on it. Not every deal is going to work by being able to just get the deed by doing a "subject to" deal. Not every deal is going to be a Junker, where you can do a wholesale flip. In order to take advantage of anything that comes your way, you're going to have to know about as many ways as possible to do a deal in order to prevent from missing out on the opportunity of making a nice profit, just because you only knew about one way of doing things.
Based on my experience and knowing what I know now, if I were just starting out and I was cash poor, or had little cash to start with and I needed to make some money to pay other obligations first, these are some of the ways I would focus on putting fast cash in my pocket, without having to take on the risk of staying in the middle of a deal.
One way, would be the wholesale flip. If a ran into a property that was in need of a lot of repair I would get it under contract and flip it to another investor that was into doing rehabs. Depending on the amount of profit I was able to pencil in for myself would depend on how I would handle doing the flip with my Buyer. If I were just making a smaller profit, between $2k - $5k, I would just assign my contract over to my Buyer and be done with the deal. If I were to stand to make a larger profit on the deal, where I didn't want my Buyer to know what I was making to prevent from losing that Buyer, I would set up a simultaneous closing and close the deal at a title company or at an attorney's office if attorney's were the ones that handled closings in my state, rather than title companies.
Whichever way I handle closing the deal, once it's closed, I'm out of the deal with a quick profit in my pocket and I don't have any further obligations or liability in the deal. I can use the profit for anything I choose without having to be concerned about something going wrong with the deal later since I'm not involved with it after that.
I might have a seller that calls with a nice property they need to get rid of. It could be a deal that might be had by getting it way below market value if it had a lot of equity in it. This may require a cash offer in order to get it tied up under contract. Once I have it under contract, I can then market it at a good price below market value in order to get a fast sale, and either assign my contract over to my Buyer, or set up a simultaneous closing between the Seller, myself and my Buyer. This is pretty much the same as flipping a wholesale property in need of a lot of repairs, only in this case, I'll be marketing it for a retail Buyer instead of a wholesale Buyer. Just like the wholesale flip, once I close the deal with my Buyer I'm out of the deal with a fast profit in my pocket. Now I can use that profit towards anything I want without having to worry about any unforeseen circumstances that could arise since I'm no longer tied to the deal.
I might have a Seller that calls with a nice property to get rid of, but they have little to no equity. Well, we know trying to make some kind of a cash offer isn't going to work because the Seller owes too much on it. So in order to make a deal out of this I'm going to have to be able to buy this one on some type of terms. If I can buy it with favorable terms then I can structure the deal in such a way that would allow me to use forced appreciation. I can do this by reselling the property and offering some type of terms to my Buyer. The problem is, I don't want to have to remain in the middle of this deal because any cash I need I have to use for something else. Since I'm cash poor, and I don't have an adequate reserve fund set aside, and I won't be able to put any cash I get up front from this deal into a reserve fund, I'm going to have to do this deal in such a way that will allow me to get in and out of it, with no further liability on my part.
So what if I were to get this under a L/O arrangement? Usually under a L/O deal I would get a Tenant/Buyer to put into the property where I would make some up front cash from the option consideration my Tenant/Buyer pays me, plus some monthly cash flow while they lease the property from me, and some additional profit on the back end when they go to exercise their option, since their option price would be higher than my option price I have with the Seller. Since I'm going to be using any cash I get up front on this deal for other obligations I can't afford to take any risk by staying in the middle of this deal.
What happens if my Tenant/Buyer turns out to be a deadbeat and stops paying? Or what if they lost their job and couldn't pay? What if they refused to peacefully vacate the property and I had to hire an attorney to have them evicted? What if I got the property back and I had to go in and make $2k - $5k in repairs just to get the thing ready for another Tenant/Buyer?
Remember that I'm cash poor and I had to use any option money I got up front from the Tenant/Buyer to pay other obligations. I only made a couple hundred bucks per month while they lived in the property that they did pay on. I probably used that extra cash for other things also. So where do I get the money from to take care of this problem? I'm cash poor and I have no credit where I can borrow from anywhere.
So now what?
Let me tell you what.
OK, so how can I avoid that from ever becoming a problem? Easy! Don't stay in the middle of the deal! Rather than getting all wrapped up in becoming greedy with wanting to risk everything just to get that extra monthly cash flow, and any back end profit, IF the Tenant/Buyer was to exercise their option, just get as much as you can up front and ASSIGN your contract over to your Tenant/Buyer. Just use that money they would normally pay you as the option consideration and take it as your assignment fee to let them just step into your position. Your Tenant/Buyer actually ends up with a much better contract because they will have more than one year to exercise their option that you would have given them under a new L/O contract with you. They will get your contract, which will be a lower monthly payment than what a new contract with you would have been. They end up with a much better deal by being able to take over your original contract you have with the Seller. ALWAYS make sure you get a signed release of liability from the Seller when you assign your contract over to someone else. That way if your Buyer should ever screw up; the Seller can't come back to you and hold you liable for the contract.
All you need to do is continue to do deals like this until you have made enough money to take care of your other financial obligations that you needed the cash for. Once you have taken care of that you are ready to move on to the next step. The next step will be building your cash reserves. I would want a minimum of $25k in cash reserves built up before feeling safe enough to protect myself before using any of the profits from the deals I do, that I will remain involved with.
If you are already in a position to where you don't need to make some fast cash to use towards other obligations, then you can start with this next step, which is building up your cash.
Now that you are ready to start building up your cash you can either continue to do deals, where you flip them to an end Buyer or assign your contracts over to them. You can then take the cash you make and put that away in your reserve fund until you get enough saved up before venturing into other things. Or you can jump-start your investing by doing more deals where you can take advantage of building up monthly cash flow and equity that will provide you with some nice paydays on the back end when you're Buyers eventually cash you out. Your main goal here should be focused on getting your reserve fund built up before you touch any of the up front profits you make from your Buyers down payment money or option consideration money. Put all of that into your reserve fund until you have at least $25k in reserves. If you average $5k per deal in up front cash then you will only need to do 5 deals to get your reserves up to $25k.
Once you have built up your reserves you will have the cash on hand to deal with any unforeseen problems that may arise. Basically, you will be using your Buyer's cash to cover any expenses you incur should one of them default on their agreement. Then when you get another Buyer to put into the property again you can replace the reserves you used with the cash you get up front from them. Meanwhile you can use any of the monthly cash flows coming in for other things, like replacing your income to live off of.
Once you've reach your minimum goal of getting $25k in reserves you can then start using some of the up front cash you get on future deals towards other things. Even though you have some reserves built up you should continue to take some of the up front cash you get on future deals and put that away towards building cash that will allow you to do other deals you normally couldn't do without having cash on hand to invest. As your portfolio of properties continues to grow you should add a little more towards your reserve fund to allow you enough cash to carry you over, should you ever run into a problem where you end up with a handful of vacant properties at once. If the economy or something were to take a dive you will have enough cash to carry you over until things turn around again, hopefully!
As you continue to do deals and get more experience your knowledge base will grow with it. Then you can start looking into other things if that is something you choose to do and diversify your investments.
So if I were starting out today I would start with flipping property, L/O's and doing "subject to" deals. With having a good understanding in each of these types of avenues of real estate investing, I could have more than enough to keep me busy with doing a lot of deals. The key is to educate yourself in everything you can that pertains to these types of deals and you should be way ahead of the game if you implement a good solid plan and take action!
If you could afford to, I would buy at least 3 courses. One on flipping properties, one on doing L/O's and one on doing "subject to" deals. If you can't afford to get all 3 right away then pick one on L/O's or flipping properties and start with one of those. Then take action and get out there and just do it! Get that first deal under your belt by flipping or assigning it over to another Buyer and cash out with a quick profit. Take $300 - $400 of that profit and buy the next course. Then go out and do another deal and take enough out to buy yourself the 3rd course. Then crank out the marketing and get those Motivated Sellers finding you! Then close some deals and begin building your way to financial freedom!
The important thing is to implement a good plan and stick to it until you reach your minimum goals in order to give yourself a solid foundation to where you don't get yourself into trouble and end up living in a financial nightmare!
I can get into a lot more detail on this but it would require writing an entire course on the subject and this is already getting way to long. These are just some basic ideas to help you with finding some direction on where to start after you have done your research and educated yourself with the basics.