There is a fine Chinese saying: The best time to invest in real estate was five years ago.
The second best time? Now! That has been true, particularly in Vancouver, for 50 years.
In real estate investment - the only time to act is now. Always.
Most of the questions I get these days are on the following subjects:
"Is this still a good market?"
"Should I wait till it crashes?"
"Is the boom over?"
"Can I write a low offer in today's market?"
In 38 years of experience, I have never seen the "great deal of a lifetime" advertised (or if I did, it turned out it wasn't).
I have never seen a realtor who really liked lowball offers, including myself.
I have never read in the paper that "this is without doubt the best market ever," when it really was. I also have never subscribed to the theory that one should defer actions to a better day.
There are no perfect markets, no perfect situations, and no 167 secrets to make that great buy. You are not buying a market, you are buying a well-researched home for your family or an investment you intend to keep for years.
In fact, often the best deals come in slower markets.
What matters are the actions that you take:
. Identify your goals. Do you want to resell at a profit? Do you want to create a passive stream of income?
. Look at the market cycle - at a high? At a low?
. Understand that timing is more important than location.
. Identify the kind of property you'd like to own.
. Identify a neighbourhood that has those properties in it.
. Look at everything that is for sale there.
. Look at everything that sold there.
. Look at all the price reductions.
. Look at all the 'by owner' sales.
. Get on the ace condo marketers' lists.
. Keep reading and learning.
. Keep doing it till you find a deal.
All the deals are not gone; they are still there waiting to be found, looked over and - most of all - created. As investors, we must look for cash-flowing properties in B.C., low down payments, good 'employment' areas, a good base of tenants. That means that if we want certainty of return and low risk we need to find cash flow properties that are priced under $150,000. And yes, these deals are still every-where in B.C. - from Port Hardy (3 bedroom, 3 baths fixed upper - $55,900), to Kimberley (ski condo $72,900), to Nanaimo (four-plex for $489,000).
Of course, what investing in real estate really needs is - work! It takes work to find the deals, and work to get your investment-oriented realtors, qualified mortgage brokers, bankers and home inspectors lined up.
All good deals are created and negotiated. So, storm the net, hit hard, and keep shooting on the net. Don't ice that puck.
Ozzie Jurock is a senior real estate adviser and the publisher of Jurock's Real Estate Insider. He can be reached by at oz@ jurock.com or www.jurock.com