How to wholesale houses and apartments

The real estate market is very strong again! And today’s market can be good news for wholesalers who learn to capitalize on these opportunities.


One of the primary reasons prices are escalating fast is because of the reduced bottom-feeder inventory of cheap houses, as a result of the drastically declining inventory of foreclosures. The very best foreclosure deals are routinely receiving a bidding war and only the highest bidder gets to buy the house.


Investors are tired of hearing from their Realtor:

  • “We have multiple offers”
  • “Send us your highest and best”
  • “We have gone with another offer”

A myth about wholesaling real estate is that it only works on single-family “junker” houses. Wholesaling works with all asset classes of real estate including single family, duplex, multi-family, mobile homes, commercial, land, etc.  I have wholesaled hundreds of properties and one of my favorite was a 32 unit apartment complex.  I have also wholesaled a laundromat, office buildings and mobile homes.

Here’s a case study of the actual  real estate deal I completed on an apartment complex.

Step 1:  Find a Motivated Seller

I like to use a team of bird dogs to help me find deals. The up-front marketing expense with bird dogs does not cost a penny. One of my bird dogs, named Tameka, contacted me with information on a motivated seller. She told me the seller has two duplexes, a multi-family property, and a single family home to sell.

I spoke to the seller over the phone, screened his desire to sell, and knew he had non-performing assets (property sitting vacant with deferred maintenance). I met the seller, Wayne, at his towing business. We discussed his situation and why he was selling.

The multi-family property was his biggest point of pain as it was 32 units and had just 6 tenants occupying units. It also had plenty of deferred maintenance and was only about 50% occupied, which is why he could not rent all the units.  Tip #1 is to listen for pain points when negotiating.  If you have trouble getting to that core problem I recommend you try the “Mirroring” technique to get your seller to open up candidly about the real issues turning them into a motivated seller.

Step 2:  Control Without Ownership

We began negotiating on his 32-unit apartment complex. Wayne wanted no less then $545,000.  After a lot of back and forth discussions, we settled at a price of $500,000. We then signed an option contract that would allow me to control the real estate, gain equitable interest, and allow me to wholesale the apartment complex. The consideration deposit to ratify the contract was $50, and we arranged to gain access to the vacant apartments using my lock box.

cash flow ideaStep 3:  Find a Buyer

I packaged the property with photos and relevant information on comps, repairs, etc. and began to market the opportunity to my buyers list community. I decided to sell the apartment complex for $575,000, which would allow me to enjoy a $75,000 gross profit.

Within a few days, I had two buyers who wanted to see the apartment complex.  I met them both, but my buyer John was absolutely ready to buy his second apartment complex, and this one was the perfect opportunity for John.  So I signed a contract with him to sell him the apartment complex for full price of $575,000, “as is” and without contingencies.



 Step 4:  Collect your cash

I took my option contract with my motivated seller (Wayne) and my sales contract with my buyer (John) and opened escrow at my local title company.  The transaction:

Buying the apartment complex from Wayne for:  $500,000

Selling the apartment complex to John for : $575,000

I instructed my title company to do this transaction as a “simultaneous closing.”  As a simultaneous closing, I would not be required to bring any of my own funds to closing. The funds from my buyer John would be used for the entire transaction, and I walk away from closing with the difference between my buy contract and my sell contract which totaled approximately $72,000.

I paid my bird dog, Tameka, $500 for finding this deal, and she made an additional $1,500 when I wholesaled the other three properties from the same motivated seller.

This is a wholesale deal case study with a lot of teaching points, including finding motivated sellers, controlling real estate, building your buyers list, and structuring simultaneous closings that allow you to profit without cash or credit to invest.











This is a great market to build a real estate wholesaling business. The days of lazy investors buying directly off the MLS are coming to a close. It’s becoming hard to find great deals again, and that is great news for wholesalers who can structure deals directly with motivated sellers.

Want to learn more about how you can wholesale?   Read more at:
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  1. Be prepared to spend time!
    I love Jim and think he is one of the most honest people in the business. I have decades of experience in real estate and thought wholesaling would be easy. It takes time to build the buyers list if you’re not doing this full time. There is marketing – both finding the homes, even if you use bird dogs, and in selling the properties. Once you have been actively doing just these types of things for a year or so, putting deals together can be easy. But do not think you will walk in and all of a sudden be a wholesaler. At the very least, you will be attending Investor clubs, using automated system to control your bird dogs (there are several), putting together a credibility package with proof of funds ( again several sources), and using someone’s system to get credible buyer leads (again there are several). Now, you have to organize it all. Despite my experience, I could never make this work with 10 hours a week. Many people do, I guess, but by far the vast majority do not. Just go to any three-day seminar and you will meet one successful wholesaler for every hundred people who are spending 10 hours a week. Now, if you are willing to spend 30- 40 hours a week, then you can do very well. If I didn’t have a family to support, I wouldn’t be doing real estate one or two buildings at a time, but I am, and it takes everything I’ve got.
    Now, anybody out there do 80% LTV apartment refinances on stabilized properties with increasing rents? it’s easy money! (There are a slew of banks, but I’d prefer to work with a private lender)

  2. Thanks for the helpful article. Do you need a different sales contract for apartment buildings than single family homes?

  3. Hi,

    Do you ever run across these types of deals?

    We are looking for 40 units and up with value add….low crime areas.

    I have a large player in the space…so they can take down very large project if you run across anything.

    Please let me know if they are interested in speaking further about this.

    Stuart Weihler

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