Whether you are acquiring land for the purpose of investment or are doing so to become a private homeowner, it is possible to buy land with no money.
Buying land with no money can be accomplished through a no down payment mortgage, collaborating with real estate investors, trading existing property or other valuable assets - or by inheriting land.
It goes without saying that acquiring land with no money is not going to be as straightforward as signing a blank check and receiving the keys to your new house. This sort of approach takes a bit more strategic consideration, savvy business moves, or simply good luck. With that being said, if you play your cards right, you may just find that having an understanding of real estate markets and trends that exist with certain properties can prove to be the investment opportunity of a lifetime - regardless of whether you are intending to flip properties as a real estate tycoon or set up shop in your new home. Let’s explore some of the ways that you can buy land with no money.
To buy land within the United States, you will need to acquire property through either a real estate agency, a private seller, a land trust, or the federal government. If you opt for a mortgage or loan on your land, make sure you have read and understood all specifications of your contract before committing to the property.
Table of Contents
Buying Land With No Money (Options)
For most people out there, buying land is something that needs to be carefully considered and is often the biggest financial choice anyone will make in their entire lifetime. This is something that everyday citizens work most of their lives to save for to one day achieve.
For that reason, there can be a lot of pressure built up to make such a big decision. At the end of the day, the home you choose to save for and invest your time and money in will be the place you will likely live in for the rest of your life.
Real estate investors, however, approach this sort of situation with a more ambitious and often aggressive mentality and use land properties as a way to generate their income. With real estate properties being one of the safest and most reliable ways to invest money, there is a reason that many strike it rich by doing so.
With that being said, regardless of your intentions for wanting to acquire land, you will be pleased to find that you can do so by spending much. If executed properly, approaching real estate opportunities with this ideology could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run, but it’s important to know what you are doing - so weigh out your decisions carefully. Here are some strategies for buying land with no money.
One of the most common ways to buy land and get a kickstart towards owning a home is to apply for a mortgage. This prospect offers a lot of benefits to aspiring landowners, as it tends to put their long-term goal of owning property right in front of them.
However, this approach has made people weary due to the fact that it sometimes can feel like you are signing your life away, which if you are not dealing with a reliable organization and have not carefully considered all of your finances, could very well be the case. That’s why you want to be fully aware of what terms and conditions you are agreeing to by either having a real estate attorney look over your contract or by reading the fine print yourself.
With that being said, mortgages come in different shapes and forms. Most mortgages tend to have better terms when some money is put down as a downpayment, which can significantly lower interest rates in the long run. While these are the more traditional mortgages that you often see used by banks and other financial institutions, there are much more appealing options for individuals that want to acquire land without the overwhelming conditions of the contract - and without spending money.
It may sound too good to be true to some but in fact, there are some incredible options for mortgages that are not out to take advantage of aspiring real estate owners. Let’s take a look at some of the options you have for mortgages that do not require down payments.
USDA Mortgage Program
A rather surprising organization to be getting involved in the real estate business is the United States Department of Agriculture. This is mainly due to the fact that they have dealt with handling the majority of our nation’s food production and not selling us houses.
Where we have seen the United States Department of Agriculture handle real estate has typically been for establishing farmland or protecting certain territories for environmental impact reasons. This, however, changed about 30 years ago in 1991 when this government department began helping people buy land with some pretty incredible incentives.
No Money Down
To start, this is one of the most straightforward programs within the United States for buying land with no down payment on a mortgage - with very few strings attached when it comes to financial penalties.
No money down can often be misleading with certain financial institutions. When considering a mortgage with this organization, you can rest assured that you are not being conned by a banker.
In addition, the mortgage program from the United States Department of Agriculture comes with interest rates that are even lower than that of a typical mortgage bank or financial institution.
In addition, you will find that this mortgage program has been initiated not only to help purchase homes but even to repair existing ones.
It’s often the case that a person either has an existing home that they own or are paying off a separate mortgage on that is simply in bad condition yet is in a suitable environment. These individuals can particularly benefit from this mortgage program, as it enables them to repair their home and even completely remodel it.
This is an incredible opportunity for so many people that want to save themselves on the costs that come with acquiring physical land and want to instead opt for refurbishing what they already have.
There are so many reasons that make the United States Department of Agriculture mortgage program one of the best ways to buy land without money, but to ensure you know what you are in for, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks that come with the program:
- Single-family housing - Unfortunately, this program is only available for singe-family homes and is not suitable for multiple-family living complexes or apartments.
- Rural living - while most housing developments through this program will not be completely desolate, they are often outside of standard urban centers and may even be in the countryside.
- Low to average income - these home mortgages are not for everyone, as they have been designed to help lower-income individuals acquire land. While this is one of the best ways to buy land without money, it’s not generally a viable investment opportunity for real estate tycoons.
These drawbacks can steer away some individuals that want to buy land with no money and have very specific requirements for their living situation. However, for many people that do not have the best financial means yet still want to live in their home, this is the opportunity of a lifetime.
VA Home Loan Program
If you have served in the United States Military, you will find that our nation has a lot of programs and incentives that are greatly beneficial for service members.
One of the most helpful ways the government is aiming to help our veterans is by ensuring that they have a roof over their heads for their service and sacrifice. They do this through the VA Home Loan Program, which is one of the very few ways to truly a get mortgage on a home with no money down. Let’s take a look at some of the requirements a service member needs to adhere to in order to qualify for enrolment in the program. The individual must have fulfilled one of the following:
- Served 90 days during wartime
- Served 181 days during peacetime
- Served 6 years in the National Guard
- Loss of life of a spouse who died during service or following medical complications
If you were military personnel and have fulfilled one or more of these requirements, you are eligible to be part of the VA Home Loan Program. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits for veterans who buying land with no money through this program.
No Private Mortgage Insurance
Veterans can rest assured that there will be no money down when they want to buy land through the VA, but also they can rejoice in not dealing with a private mortgage insurance company.
The military takes care of its own, which is not the way it would be when dealing with most financial institutions, which is why this is one of the only few legitimate ways to get a mortgage in the country without putting money down first. That means that whether you are getting a loan on a house for $150,000 or $500,000, your downpayment will stay the same at $0.
In addition, the mortgage insurance that is associated with the VA Home Loan Program offers interest rates that are lower than most of the competition.
Unlike most financial institutions that will be wary of individuals that do not meet their strict credit score requirements, the VA Home Loan Program will take care of its veterans by offering very lenient credit requirements.
This is an ethical approach for the loan program, as many of our military personnel have not been in a position to establish a credit during their time in service.
With that being said, the minimum credit is far more flexible but there is a small requirement. In addition, this program assists service members that have had financial hardships in the past, which may cause them to be rejected at traditional mortgage banks and financial institutions.
Relaxed Payment Plans
Any person who has ever been behind on their mortgage payments will tell you how haunting of an experience it is to have banking officials chase you down for money left and right. This is one of the primary reasons that mortgages can be such an intimidating commitment for many people looking to buy land.
The VA Home Loan Program provides veterans with very relaxed payment plans that are flexible to the financial situation of each individual. With that being said, veterans can actually choose when they want to pay off their mortgage and can do so without worrying about being penalized in the process.
In addition, this program allows veterans to have more than one mortgage through the program at once. This means that you can essentially buy multiple properties of land with no money down. There is virtually no other mortgage program that allows this kind of luxury.
Low Down Payment Mortgages
Aside from these two primary options that require zero dollars down for buying land, there are some other ways to acquire real estate with a small down payment.
You will commonly see mortgages that require a downpayment of as much as 20% or even more. This can result in needing substantial savings before even considering a mortgage.
A great alternative for this is to opt for a low money down mortgage, which may only ask for a down payment that is as little as 3.5%. Some of the common mortgage programs you can find that require little money down are:
- FHA Loan
- HomeReady Mortgage
There are a considerable amount of mortgage programs out there that advertise a no-money-down option. However, you should be especially careful with these institutions, as there can often be repercussions and hidden conditions associated with these mortgages such as outrageously high interest rates.
Work With Partners & Investors
An easy misconception to make about real estate investors is that everyone that benefits from such opportunities have a lot of money to spend.
While having money to put down on land will make the process of investing a bit more practical and straightforward, simply having a keen eye for real estate opportunities and being resourceful can prove to be just as important in buying land with no money.
If you find that you are able to track down investors to share real estate prospects with - that are worthy of consideration - you may find that you can come out on top in the process.
In addition, there are also times where investment opportunities are simply conducted for the benefit of helping individuals who need financial support in life - with little to nothing in return.
Real Estate Investment Groups
There are certain organizations that specialize in acquiring properties called Real Estate Investment Groups. These organizations are essentially a coalition of individuals that work together to buy up properties and utilize them for financial profit.
A land investment made by a single party requires a lot of research and money, as well as a substantial amount of risk. These organizations vary across the board, as they are generally working under certain guidelines specific to the group’s interests.
The benefit of becoming an agent that tracks down properties for a Real Estate Investment Group is you can get involved by being a representative that is responsible for hunting down properties, but not necessarily the one who has to physically buy the land. If the property you are assessing is approved by the group, it will fall under the ownership of the organization that you may be a part of.
An important thing to keep in mind when joining a Real Estate Investment Group is to ensure that the organization is carrying out its duties in due diligence to the rest of the members. Some groups have been accused of running pyramid schemes that only benefit the top individuals involved. To ensure you do not become a victim of such an investment group, make sure you carefully read over the conditions associated with your contract.
Another great approach for buying land with no money is to track down worthy investors on your own without being dependant on third-party real estate organizations.
This approach needs to be executed more carefully, as it will require you to be savvy and resourceful to ensure that the people you end up pursuing your land purchase with are reliable investors. In addition, you need to have a clear goal for your land purchase that is financially viable for the investor.
The best way to find private investors is to have good networking skills. Knowing people who practice real estate investment is always going to be the most direct way to find reliable individuals that would be willing to put money down on a parcel of land.
If you don’t know that many people in real estate specifically, you should review your contacts and try to locate any individual you know that may want to get involved in any investment opportunity. At the end of the day, there are plenty of people that are interested in making money through investments that simply don’t have the resources or means to identify such opportunities.
However, you may need to step outside of your inner circle of contacts and pursue finding interested people through other avenues. A good place to start is to reach out to investment organizations that engage in a variety of investments outside of real estate. Be sure to have a clear and professional presentation for the land you are reviewing so that you have credibility in your offer. If you can convince the investor(s) that your land is worthy of their time and money, then you may be able to acquire the land with no money at all.
Family & Friends
It can always feel a bit uncomfortable to ask for help from friends and family but ultimately, if anyone is going to be there to help you out it is going to be them.
The great thing about doing business with friends and family is that you rarely encounter the extreme risks or penalties that come with working with banks and investment groups. That doesn’t mean that you should take borrowing money from your loved ones lightly, but it does likely entail that you will be able to sleep better at night if you are a week or two behind your payments.
The most common reason people buy land with the help of family and friends is that they want to be part of the process of getting you into a home. This generally occurs when the people that care about you can see that the only thing is standing in the way of you becoming a homeowner is your financial situation.
With that being said, your family and friends will likely be able to help you out when you are in a pinch to buy land. However, you may find that they are also interested in pursuing real estate investment opportunities that can benefit them personally.
Much like with locating private investors for real estate, it’s likely that your family and friends will be just as interested in seizing an opportunity to make money by purchasing land, which would help you with your investment by allowing you to put significantly less cash down for the land - or none at all.
Much like with asking for financial assistance from family and friends, you may find that the world is full of kind people, which may be strangers to you but are willing to help you in your time of need. This is achieved through a process called crowdfunding.
In land purchases, crowdfunding is often used by real estate organizations as a method of investing in property through a pool of individuals who all share a much smaller financial risk by working together. While this is a common practice that is mutually beneficial for the real estate organization, it’s also a practice that is carried out for the humble cause of helping others.
The most common platform for this is done on an internet site called Kickstarter.
Platforms like this enable individuals to publish their stories online to show the world that they need help with achieving a certain goal - including buying land.
Kindhearted individuals have gone out of their way to assist people in need by crowdfunding the down payments on homes or offering other ways to financially help them with land purchases.
If you are a good bargainer and have something of value, you may find one of the most effective ways to buy land with no money is to conduct a trade.
This is a rather unorthodox approach to acquiring property, but it may make the most financial sense for many people that can’t afford to purchase land on their own. Let’s take a look at some of the common ways that people approach trades when acquiring land with no money.
- Trading property - whether you are trading a car in combination with other assets you own - or are even trading another piece of real estate in your possession for somebody else’s, this is one of the most practical ways of buying land without any money getting involved.
- Trading skills - if you have some sort of a skillset to offer a real estate owner, you can develop a contracted agreement that involves trading your talents over a discussed course of time for land without the need of using money.
When conducting a trade with someone for land, you should always make sure you know what you are in for; fully understand the conditions of the trade, and have a proper valuation of the property so that you are confident that the exchange will be fair for both parties.
It’s always incredibly sad to have a family member or loved one pass away.
While this is always a difficult and heartbreaking experience for the family and friends of the deceased, it is a common way to acquire land without money.
When a person in your life passes away, regardless of whether they are a friend or family member, it’s likely that they have written a Will that details what will happen with the rest of their belongings.
After a funeral ceremony has taken place, anyone listed within the Will of the deceased shall have the right to the property and belongings that are being passed down to them. One of the largest assets a person leaves behind is the land that they own, which will be left to the designated individual(s) with no money down.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling