Known as the “No Money Down Queen,” Sadhana Sabharwal is a single parent of three children. With no financial support, she ventured on her first real estate deal with no money down. Fast forward a decade, she has bought and sold over 30 different properties. In this episode, Sadhana discusses with Monick Halm why having a mentor is an absolute must. Then you have to go out there and put your knowledge to action. As Sadhana loves to say, “Imperfect action is better than no action.”
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How To Start Investing In Real Estate With No Money Down With Sadhana Sabharwal
On this show, I interview amazing badass real estate investing goddesses, women that are crushing it in the real estate investing space, women who are super inspiring. I am excited to have with us Sadhana Sabharwal who is known as the No Money Down Queen. When you hear her story, you’re going to get more insights about this. A lot of people especially women, don’t get in the game because they think, “I don’t have the money. I can’t do this.” Sadhana is proof positive that you can do it. You don’t have to have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars in the bank to get into real estate.
Over the past decade of investing, she has bought and sold over 30 different properties including single-family homes, duplexes, fourplex, fiveplex, sixplex and an eight-unit building. She’s built her portfolio properties with none or little of her own money. She loves to invest through recycled money and using creative financing strategies including traditional bank financing, lines of credit, financing from private lenders, borrowing from family, credit cards and joint ventures with partners, all sorts of things. She created her No Money Down Academy online course on real estate investing to show others all they need to know to go from beginner to professional real estate investor. I’m super excited to have her with us. Welcome, Sadhana.
Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
Thanks for coming and joining us. How did you get started in real estate investing?You don't need to learn everything before you start because by the time you learn everything, something else would change. Click To Tweet
It’s a long story but I’ll give you the crux of it. When I became a single parent, my ex did not support me financially. I had to figure out ways to bring extra income into the household. I work as a law clerk full-time. One of the clients came into the office and she was renewing a mortgage. Her mortgage payment was lower than my car payment at the time. When she explained to me the concept of positive cashflow, it was like light bulbs went off. Since then, I started learning ad learning. You do with what you have. I didn’t have much because as a single income with having to support three kids going through school and stuff, I needed to figure out how am I going to do this. That’s what I did. I learned how to invest with no money, which I didn’t have of my own or very little money of my own. When I say no money, I didn’t put any money and/or if I did put, “How do I get it out as soon as possible.” That is No Money Down investing.
What was your first deal?
One of the first deal is I did a tax sale. I did a sixplex with a VTB, Vendor Take–Back mortgage. I did a duplex because it was all in such a short span of time. Once your brain starts to work, then it says, “Okay.” One of my first deals was a JV partner deal. I bought a duplex for the lady who brought in the down payment. She qualified for the mortgage and we were able to get the property and split everything 50/50. I didn’t have to come up with anything. I had to be the deal finder in that scenario. That’s one of the first ones I did. I say that is one of the first ones because it started going and going. If I was to say which was the first deal. I’d have to go back and check which one is the first one I bought.
How quickly did you do it in that first year?
Within the first four years, I got to the highest number that I had properties. These were at eighteen properties, which were 46 units. By that time, the kids are getting into university. Now, I still own about 7 or 8, but then I started to sell them off as the kids were going through schools and stuff, “Which one’s needed to be sold, that one or this one?” It’s been a process of where I can get my money out most to do what I need to do to support my children.
What’s your focus now?
I am working on a flip, which is an assignment and flip together. I bought a condo during COVID time. It is possible to buy even during this time. I’m also working on a flip and a development project.
I want to ask you about your biggest mistakes. I ask all of my guests this. I love this question because I find that we learn so much more when things don’t go well than when they do. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
When I started, I wish I had more money so I could have hired amazing mentors right off the beginning because then I know my growth would have been much stronger. Knowing that you have your mentor who’s going to guide you to avoid pitfalls, I would have gotten farther in the amount of time that I didn’t. My goal was only to put my kids through school or put them through university. That’s all I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking of the bigger picture. I wasn’t thinking, “Let’s get to 200 units or 500 units.” That wasn’t the goal. Even having created the No Money Down Academy, I never thought that I would be teaching this stuff because my life is fine. It was fine and it’s still fine.
All I was thinking is to put my kids through university, I need this much money. Therefore, I need to create this much income. Through real estate, I’ve been able to do that. Had I thought about, “Let me get to be a billionaire,” maybe I would have chosen different mentors or I would’ve gotten more mentorship. That’s one thing that I wish I had gotten different mentors right at the beginning. I have spent a lot of money on my education, but now it’s in a different direction. It’s more towards teaching and doing a lot less. I’m not going for quantity anymore. I’m going for quality.
Your biggest mistake was not having a mentor upfront and not thinking bigger. What are you most proud of?
My three babies, two of them are in medicine and my youngest one has done his MBA from Northwestern which is one of the top five management schools. My oldest one is already a doctor. What they have become through me is what I have become. Not to take away the credit from them because they have to work hard. I had my training and somebody asked me what’s my degree or diploma like what have I done? I’m like, “I’ve never gone to university.” All my life I lived in struggled with this thing that because I didn’t go to university, I’m not smart. That is one of the limiting beliefs I had put upon myself. If I had done more at the beginning, even with getting mentors and stuff, that belief would have been out the window instead of that belief coming out now saying, “I can do this.” Even though I did this on my own for a certain purpose, now it’s time to give back on a bigger scale. As I said, thinking bigger. It’s a huge shift.
It’s good that you recognize it. It’s very inspiring for others who go, “I’ve never been to university. I can’t do this.” You don’t have to have a college degree to do this. You can go through it. To what do you attribute your success?
My why because my reason for succeeding was my children. Not every deal works out in its perfect way. My kids became my why. I was like, “I need to do this because I want to make sure my kids don’t come out with huge debt on the other side once they graduate.” We all know how much money it costs to do just one degree to go to university. I have a coworker. She did a doctorate program. She’s graduated for 6 years, 7 years. She’s still paying for those student debts. It breaks my heart because that was my thing. I know how much it costs for a child to go through the education system. When I had three of those going through that process, I’m like, “I need to do this for my kids.” That’s when I realized that no matter what happens, keep your eye on the prize. My prize was my three children going through university and being able to succeed at what they do.
What a gift you gave them to go to school debt-free. Now they can share their gifts with the world and not have to worry about having a mortgage or two on their backs?
They can do their own mortgages.
The value of the degree, which you might have bought a property or two.
There are certain properties I regret selling because I had to come up with the money for tuition and stuff, but it’s okay because everything comes to teach you something. Everything is a process. Even though I sold those properties and they could have been worth a lot more, I always feel God has a better plan. It was meant to be. It taught me what it needed to teach me and you move on. It’s the same question I get asked many times about my ex-husband as well. I remember, and I say this many times, one piece of advice that I got after my divorce was, “Don’t make your life miserable trying to make his life miserable.” I followed that to a tee because I have never wished any ill on him. My journey with him was for a certain amount of time, I got three beautiful kids out of it. He left me with a home and a roof over my head. I’m grateful for that and I thank him for that. Apart from that, everything else is a story. I tell that to myself or anybody else. Therefore, why even bother going down that path?
You can make yourself miserable and focus on, “He shouldn’t have done that.” If he had not done that, you would not have created this amazing thing that you’ve done. You would not be helping other people. It was a gift.
Everything is a gift. You have to look at it that way.
Some gifts come in very ugly packaging.
One of my coaches says, “It’s a gift wrapped in sandpaper.” It hurts from the outside, but there’s a beautiful package inside and that’s where the personal development, growth and all of that comes in. You could choose to focus on the betrayal and focus on, “He left me for somebody else. I don’t feel self-worth.” All of that stuff you could choose to. At the same time, you could start focusing on, “His part in my life was done and I’m grateful for that part. Let’s see what am I left with.” We then start from there.
What advice do you have for a woman who’s starting out in real estate investing?
Get the knowledge. You don’t need to learn everything before you start because by the time you learn everything, something else would change. That’s where you will get stuck in paralysis analysis. One of the slides I have on my presentation is, “Imperfect action is better than no action.” If you learn great, if you make a mistake, you will learn from that mistake, but go and do something. Go out and do something towards your goals. Take even one baby step every single day towards that.
What do you wish you’d known at the beginning that you now know?No matter what happens, keep your eye on the prize. Click To Tweet
As I said, thinking bigger. I wish I had more courage. My oldest one is quite interested in real estate investing. That will give me a little bit more support to say, “Let’s do it. Let’s do this.” Having somebody else wanting to do it together with you makes a huge difference. It’s almost like somebody who’s there to support you. It’s not necessarily that he knows everything or knows anything. He’s still going to look up to me and it’s like, “Let’s do it together.” I miss that.
This is where the development project also comes in. I want him to be a part of it. He’s getting interested. As I teach him, I’m also teaching my students. I don’t know anything about development, but the JV partner that I’ve picked for that has his own construction company. I know he does and I will learn. It’s the same thing with women out there. If you don’t know something, partner up with somebody who does and you will learn in the process. You don’t have to be like, “I don’t know this. What do I do? I’m tongue-tied, feet-tied and toe-tied.” You have every resource that’s available to you.
When I started, I didn’t have anything. I didn’t have the money to get a mentor. I didn’t have a whole lot of things. The only thing I had was my drive and my will to succeed. That was it. When you ask yourself the question, “How do I do something?” Your mind is going to give you answers to that question. If you say something like, “Why can’t I ever get success at this?” Your mind is going to give you the answers to that question. The answer is in the questions you’re asking yourself because those are the answers you’re going to get.
It’s asking yourself the right questions. That’s the path. You might have answered one of my audience’s question here. Somebody asked if your kids are succeeding in real estate too?
My youngest one bought a house in Seattle because that’s where he lives. My oldest one is helping me now with a project that I’m doing for the first time, which is a development project.
Before we get to our famed end of show trinity, which is a brag, a gratitude and a desire, how can people connect with you and find out more about what you do?
I have built an online course it’s called TheNoMoneyDownAcademy.com. If you can’t remember my name, just do SingleMomMillionaire.com. You can reach me through there. I do host free training every so often. We’re trying to figure out a schedule, every 2 to 3 to 4 times a month. You could register for those training through my online course or Facebook and LinkedIn.
It’s time for our Trinity. What are you celebrating now? What’s one brag.
It’s me starting on my first development project. I am so excited about it because I’ve done buy and hold, flips and renovations. Even though it’s good to have learned from all of that, I’m excited about the development project.
What’s one thing you were grateful for?
My life and I’m going to say for my ex-husband leaving so I could start on my soul/sole journey. I mean that both ways, soul and sole, because if he was still in my life, I don’t think I would have been on this journey. I’m grateful for him leaving.
Last but not least, what’s one desire?
To be able to transform lives out there. I want to be able to have a woman look up and say, “If Sadhana Sabharwal as a single mom, as a person who’s still working full-time and doing real estate part-time can succeed, so can I.”
So shall your desire to be or so much better than you can imagine under grace and in perfect ways. Thank you so much for coming and sharing your wisdom with us, Sadhana. You all can connect with Sadhana Sabharwal on Facebook or LinkedIn or go to SingleMomMillionaire.com. Lookup for The No Money Down Academy. To connect with me, go to REIGoddesses.com. We’re also @REIGoddesses on the socials. If you’ve enjoyed this, subscribe and come back next time for another episode.
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About Sadhana Sabharwal
Over the past decade of investing in real estate, I have bought and sold over 30 different properties, including single family homes, duplexes, four-plex, a fiveplex, a sixplex, and an eight-unit building.
I have also been called the “No Money Down Queen”, as I have built my portfolio of properties with none or little of my own money. I love to invest through “recycled” money and also by creative financing strategies, including: traditional bank financing, lines of credit, financing from private lenders, borrowing from family, credit cards, as well as joint venture partners who provide initial funds for down payments.
I created my “No Money Down Academy” online course on real estate investing, to show others all they need to know to go from beginner to professional real estate investor.
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