The above just may be the question I get asked the most closely followed only by “where is the best place to buy?” The answer I always give might seem like a cliché, but it is the truth. There is no bad time to buy good quality property, but it is really much more than that. The hard thing about buying property that is of good quality is that there is not a lot of it that comes up for sale, because the very fact it is good quality, people choose to hold it long term.
Therefore, the majority of property that is listed on the market at any one time is generally of poor to fair quality. It is those diamonds in the rough (good quality ones), that seldom come to market that are hotly contested when they do. So my point is, you never really know when these types of properties are going to come to market, it may be at the bottom of a cycle, in a rising market or at the peak. The trick is to know how to identify them and secure them for a fair value when they come up. In essence, don’t try and pick the bottom of the market, focus on selecting and securing those high quality properties.
The question of when to buy can then be easily summarised as the triple requirement to achieving any objective. It is about having the means, method and motivation to buy a property, this is the key to open your wealth creation journey. As I have described it before, it’s a case of get rich slowly.
Firstly, having the ability to afford to buy is essential, this requires being pre-approved by your bank or broker which allows you to act quickly when the right property does come up. It is important to know how much you can borrow and then take a conservative approach to how much you spend (your budget), so you do not over extend yourself. The comfort of knowing that you can buy when you want to and hold the property should the market turn or interest rates rise is a must to creating your wealth long term. The bank will tell any individual or purchasing entity whether, and how much, they can borrow. Unless you are successfully assessed to have the ‘means’ to buy a property, you will not be able to move forward until you do.
Upon establishing your ‘means’ and setting your budget, planning the method you are going to use to select and secure a quality property is your second requirement. This will require careful planning of criteria as to what type of product you want to buy, the selection of the location/suburb to start looking and the sources you use to come up with properties to consider. Making contacts with agents in the location you are searching in is essential, as generally a select few will control 80% of the listings. If these agents know you are a serious buyer with the means to make a quick decision to buy, they are more than likely going to call you first when they have a new listing.
The major part of your ‘method’ requirement should be research, this will take time to study the market, know what is selling for what price and how that compares with what you are considering buying at the time. This part of the process is often underestimated by many buyers as they either do not do enough research or they let emotions get in the way of due consideration of the research. The failure to accurately and confidently execute this requirement will lead to an inability to complete the final piece.
The motivation to buy a property can really only be fulfilled once you have both the ability to afford to buy and are ultimately confident that the decision to buy your chosen property is the right one. This final hurdle is often the one that stops many people from making the commitment to buy and actually signing a contract. Unless you deal in the buying and/or selling of property fulltime, it is impossible to achieve an up to date and accurate read of the property market at any one time.
Generally, buyers will be in the market for a relatively short period, maybe six to twelve months. Depending on what type of buyer you are and what type of property you want, any longer and they move further and further away from achieving their objective of buying because their motivation wains. The buyers that are in the market for a relatively short period really only get part of the picture, as their research is limited to that time. They will never achieve a ‘big picture’ view unless they extensively research market history and understand market sentiment. Possessing this knowledge will equip you with the motivation to act decisively and secure that good quality property once you have identified it.
We constantly speak to people that have the means but not the clarity in their method, which in turn leads to poor motivation due to a lack of confidence. Consequently they delay buying or worse still never buy, ultimately missing many good opportunities.