Two Ways for Real Estate Investors to Acquire Assets

How can a Real Estate Investor Acquire Assets?


Photo by Stuart Miles at
Photo by Stuart Miles at

As one of the instructors at  NoteSchool, I see students who are struggling figuring out where to start or where to reinvent.  In this article I would like to use my insight to cut through the “noise” so that you can get started making money in real estate investments by breaking this industry down to the very simple basics.

Two Ways to Acquire Real Estate

As an investor, you can acquire real property by purchasing the property outright or by purchasing the mortgage-backed security and then acquiring the property. Several things will determine which of these two approaches you use. So let’s take a bird’s eye view of these approaches.

Acquire Real Property by Purchasing the Property Outright

In this approach you are directly acquiring the Deed to the property. The goal here obviously is to acquire the property at a discount, in fact the greater the discount the higher the profit. This requires a motivated seller. This type of acquisition is either through a voluntary sale or a legally enforced sale.


A voluntary sale would be simply purchasing the property from a motivated owner/seller. These owner/sellers include:

  • Individual motivated property owners
  • MLS listed sales
  • Disenchanted landlords
  • Owners of inherited property
  • Property in probate
  • Bank and other lender owned property (REO property)
  • Bank or other lender approved sales (short sales)

The supply of these types of properties has drastically dwindled in the past year. In fact, RealtyTrac reports that Short Sales have dropped in half in just the past 8 months. In that same time period, REO sales have dropped 25%. It should be noted that the price of these types of acquisitions has gone way up to the point where even seasoned individual investors simply can’t afford to buy and make a decent profit.


In today’s economy, most investors acquire the property through a legally enforced sale. This means that the property owner was negligent on some legally required payment and the party who is suffering the delinquency has filed a legal action for restitution. That’s a fancy way of saying “it’s time to pay the piper”.

These owner/sellers include:

  • Auction foreclosure sale for non-payment of IRS taxes
  • Auction foreclosure sale for non-payment property taxes (Tax Deed Sales)
  • Auction foreclosure sale for non-payment of HOA fees
  • Auction foreclosure sale for non-payment of a super lien
  • Auction foreclosure sale for non-payment of 1st mortgage

These types of acquisitions are competitive not only with local investors but large institutional investors such as Blackstone and other hedge funds, private equity firms and real estate investment trusts.

Acquire Real Property by

Purchasing the Mortgage-Backed Security

In this approach you are acquiring the Deed to the property by purchasing the underlying mortgage debt. The goal here, as always, is to acquire the property at a discount. As stated previously; the greater the discount the higher the profit. This type of acquisition is also through a voluntary sale or a legally enforced sale.


A voluntary sale for this acquisition type would be a relief for the property owner. These owners, looking to get out from under the enormous debt load would:

  • Sign a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
  • Loan modification

A Deed in Lieu allows the debtor to simply walk away from the problem. In fact, right now, the Debt Forgiveness Act allows them to walk away with out any federal tax ramifications. A loan modification allows the qualified homeowner to start making payments once again but on an adjusted loan schedule that they can afford and the debtor agrees to.


An involuntary sale for this acquisition type would be done by simply enforcing the legal documents that the property owner has already agreed to. This acquisition means the investor simply:

  • Enforces the Mortgage or Deed of Trust

Owners who simply got tired of waiting for the bank to enforce the mortgage have already vacated many of these properties. The neighbors, city and local county government are happy to see these properties acquired and turned into owner occupied homes once again.

Discount Your Way to Higher Profits

Statistics show that:

  • REO and Short Sale acquisitions are being purchased at about 30% discount
  • Non-performing mortgage-backed notes are being acquired at about 70% discount

This is where the market is today. In fact, Bloomberg just interviewed 8 of the top financial managers in the world. These top investors run companies that have unlimited funds and virtually every investment asset in the entire worldwide spectrum and yet US non-performing mortgage backed notes was a highly recommended favorite for 2014.

In addition, because the cost of entry level is significantly lower for acquiring mortgage backed notes, investors are finding that they don’t have to go into debt with a high interest acquisition loan such as a hard money loan. In fact, over the past few years we trained investors who were able to acquire properties for less than $5000 (five thousand dollars-not a typo!).

~  Joseph Varnadore

Want to learn more?  Be sure to check out the Educator Page for Eddie Speed and NotesSchool where Joe is one of the very experienced investor instructors.  And be sure to save the dates in January when NoteSchool’s founder, Eddie Speed will be in Kansas City as you will not want to miss either event.

Meet Joe Varnadore:

Joe Varnadore invested in his first property at the age of 19, and has since created, brokered, bought, and sold more than 10,000 real estate notes on both residential and commercial properties. As an author, speaker, and trainer for the past 25 years, he believes that there has never been a greater opportunity for real estate investors to use non-performing notes to acquire properties and seller financing to cash out.