I have been asked this question a lot recently and my answer has been always concordant – “When you can”. Perhaps my answer appears to be rather precarious but in fact it is most pertinent, whether you may realize or not. Why? allow me to explain.
Assuming that you have found my answer is intriguing, you must understand one important element that determines the “when” – that is money, and without it the chance of buying an investment property has gone beyond recall or desire.
I usually continue the conversation only if the subject understands the substance of my answer as above. In other words, my counter-question for “When would be a good time to buy an investment property” would be “Do you have sufficient funds to buy an investment property now?” As you appreciate I have deliberately and purposefully selected more diplomatic answer “When you can” based on euphemism in order to suppress the possibility of offending those who have less financial freedom. Talking about buying an investment property when your cash holding is significantly inadequate is like trying to build a house on sand.
I used to live in fear for not buying an investment property when my friends already have at least one or two. The mixture of greed and envy drove me to waste my time to look for properties which I wasn’t able to afford. I used to live in the world of ‘what-if’ and the agony of waking up from the foolish dream forced me to focus on ‘the one thing’ – saving cash as much as I can and as quickly as I can for the deposit.
Did I succeed? Yes, I did. I bought my first investment property in Brisbane CBD at the age of 29, and subsequently bought two more investment properties in the following year. What is the lesson to be learned from here? Cash is the king and that is indisputable. Focus on how to improve your cash holding and save as much as you can and as quickly as you can must come first before anything else. Because it will widen up the ranges of buying options later on. I must it is far more pleasant experience of having ‘too many choices’ than ‘not many choices’, especially when the moment of buying your very first investment property.