You’re missing the point. What you’ve been doing for all these years is READING. You really haven’t learned anything. How can I say that? Because from your posts, it’s clear that you don’t understand the process yet. And until that little light goes off in your head on that process, you’ll never ever really learn how to do this.
You never say to a seller that the money will come from somewhere else. Here’s a lesson, the money ALWAYS comes from somewhere else. Even if you pulled $100K out of your pocket, it had to come from somewhere else.
Also, No Money Down (NMD) isn’t that hard. If you qualify for a conventional 100% financed loan, then that’s a no money down deal. You personally did not have to come up with a dime of your personal/business funds to buy the property.
If you get a partner that qualifies for 100% conventional financing, and you set it up to split the profits, again, that’s a no money down deal. NO MONEY OUT OF YOUR POCKET is what no money down means.
If you’re still saying “is RE realistic? Can this really be done today?” then again, you haven’t learned anything yet. Real estate investing has made millionaires out of more individuals than any other single strategy in the world. You routinely speak to several right here on this board. If you’re a member of a REIA group, you’ve probably sit next to a couple and didn’t know it. If you’ve ever been to a RE convention, you’ve been surrounded by them.
You haven’t learned, because as Alaska said above, marketing is the key.
Finally, though it may sound a little harsh, the real truth is that real estate investing is NOT for everyone. Some people simply DON’T get it, don’t understand it, and won’t be able to do it. Hey, I’ve been doing this for years, have made more money in it than anything else I’ve ever done (including managing multi-million dollar companies), and until just recently, my mother was still cutting out jobs in the want ads and sending them to me. Why? Because she doesn’t get it.