Screening Tenant: Buyers Should Perform a Background Check It's very important to know who the seller-financer is if you're going to become involved financially. Casual acquaintance knowledge isn't enough. The seller might "look" good and may be the nicest person in the world, but it's what's under the surface that's important. What you don't see is what can ruin you. So you want to look for a solid citizen. One way to get information about the seller-financer is to ask for and check out references. Also, request a credit report. If the seller has a questionable credit file, and what I mean is collections, judgments, and a slow-paying record, you want to stay clear. Don't get involved; people who abuse credit also abuse people. Sounds good? Nothing down and a simple and easy transaction and I own the property. On the surface it looked like a no-lose situation but without screening tenant for red flags. Remember, I was pretty smart about this business and could not go wrong. Well, I did go wrong. The deal was nowhere near as easy and simple as I had been led to believe. By the time the title was cleared, the abstract brought up to date, documents filed, and deed taxes and fees paid, I had to come up with about $1,000. And that's before one payment was made. That wasn't the end of it. The next thing I discovered was that the furnace was out of commission, the bathroom and kitchen needed repairs, and there was a load of garbage and junk that had to be hauled away. By the time this work was completed, 1 had to spend another $5,000. How did I come out on the deal? Well, as you can see, it was by no means a nothing-down deal. However, with time, that great and wonderful ally of the real estate business, I was able to wait it out. The rents made the payments so I gained some equity and covered some inflation For the most part; I was able to recover my financial investment. The point of this story is to let you know what 1 found out, and th.il is: There's no such thing as something for nothing. From this experience I was able to learn that the nothingdown deals are more of a myth than reality. I also learned that I wasn't as smart as I thought; I didn't know it all, and I had a lot to learn. Because I'm writing this article to help you the best I can, I'd like to make it as easy as possible to buy investment real estate. However, from my years of investing experience and encountering many screening tenant situations, I've learned that "slick" deals just don't work. There's no doubt that there are some good real estate deals out there. I'm sure that most of the sellers will negotiate all the terms, including the down payment. However, there's going to be some money involved. I know this business, and when sellers sell property, they're not going to pay money out of their pocket to sell it.