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most of the undeveloped properties we've bought with no down payment at all. houses have been fixer-upper @ 1000.00 down which we have just saved after signing purchase agreement and before closing. u can usually bull out a closing for 45 days or so if u need time to raise the remainder of the down. we've been known to borrow cash from mom, or use income tax refund. but the days of earned income credit are over for us now, as well as tax shelter from all those thousand-dollar down homes we bought that were so easy to get into because they really weren't worth buying....

seems like whenever we have a good lump sum ( which i define as more than 3000.00 cash-in-hand) we've never used it to buy a place.

i wouldn't get involved in the typical lease-option deals i've seen cuz they've always been contingent upon getting financing by a particular date, and i never feel i can count on that. i much prefer owner-financing: it's not cheap but if u can refinance later sometimes the owner will settle for less than the full balance, for the sake of that ol' lump sum...
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