When it comes to property you should “Hurry Up and Wait”

There is an old army expression that cautions us to “Hurry up and Wait”, meaning be prepared to leap into action at the drop of a hat, whilst exercising patience just sitting around and waiting for that moment to come.

Only to do the same thing all over again as the cycle of waiting, then proceeding very quickly, then waiting some more continues.sleep

This expression is very apt for for those who want to achieve long term wealth through real estate or in fact any other asset class.

While it is necessary to be pro-active as to the strategy you take onto the bricks and mortar battleground, there are many times when the best thing to do is nothing at all and simply wait for the right time or for the power of leverage and compounding to work its magic.

And yes, you guessed it, this too will follow a cycle of intensive moments of action and activity followed by a hibernation period, where you wait for the value of the property you bought to grow in order to fund the next investment.

The property cycle

If you’ve been involved in property for a while you’d know the market moves in cycles. After each period of strong property growth, prices stagnate or perhaps drop a little and then flatten out and once again begin to rise.

Just another instance of “Hurry up and Wait” isn’t it?

cycleStrategic property investors know how to use this cycle to their advantage.

Rather than waiting for the times when all the good news has already happened and is then being reported in the media, they “hurry up” and buy their investments counter cyclically at the bottom of the cycle taking advantage of the times when everyone else is waiting.

They then recognise the right thing to do is wait until they have built up enough capital to refinance and use the equity in their investment to make the next purchase…and so on.

The power of this is that if you buy the right type of property, one that will be in continuous strong demand by a wide range of owner occupiers, regardless of the housing cycle’s ups and downs the value of your property is likely to double every eight to ten years.

Of course you can speed this up by buying well, purchasing a property in an area that outperforms the averages, by choosing a special property with unique features that will give it a scarcity factor and by “manufacturing” capital growth through renovations or redevelopment.

This minimises your risks and maximises your upside. Each strand represents a way of making money from property and combining all four is a powerful way of putting the odds in your favour.

Patience equals profits

The trick to getting the cycle working to your advantage as you build a long term, wealth generating residential property portfolio, is to be patient.

Warren Buffet famously said that, “Wealth is the transfer of money from the impatient to the patient,” and this is very true in property.

I’ve seen so many investors so keen to do something, in fact so keen to do anything, that they make mistakes that they then regret for years.

buyer agent

Some buy cheap properties because they can’t afford to buy good properties.

They buy in secondary locations or in new estates where capital growth languishes or in small regional towns and then find they’ve bought a lemon.

Others don’t wait to save enough of a deposit so they speculate and buy off the plan lured by the developer’s flashy promise of profits before they settle their purchase.

Unfortunately many find that on completion the value of their property falls short of their contract price and rather than making a profit they’ve lost out.

Then there are the inexperienced investors who attend a seminar and walk away with unrealistic dreams of putting down a dollar (or less) and getting their foot in the property door and walking away rich in just a few years.

Yet others look for excitement in their property ventures and get involved in speculative endeavours or property development before they’ve cut their teeth on traditional investments.

Instead I suggest they should look for their excitement elsewhere….

planeGo bungy jumping! Go trail bike riding!

Your property investments should be boring so the rest of your life can be exciting.

Sometimes, as boring as it might seem, the best thing you can do is to wait and do nothing!

In fact over the years I’ve made more money by saying “no” to deals than “yes” to so-called opportunities.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is to wait for the time to be right

Wait until you have enough deposit or sufficient serviceability for a loan to buy the right property in the right location.property hotspot

Or wait until that right property comes along and then wait out the negotiation process to get the best possible deal.

The take home lesson is that just like being in the military, investing in property is not a fast paced world of non-stop, go-go-go action.

In order to prosper in property, you must be content to sit and do nothing for long periods of time, often years, while you allow the market to do the work for you.

It might not be exciting in the beginning, but when you see the fruits of your initial labours and the periods of hibernation starting to build, you’ll think patience is indeed a very valuable virtue!

But now is not the right time to wait!

Of course…if you want to grow your property portfolio in a more difficult environment next year you’ll need to buy the right type of property.

One that has a level of scarcity, meaning they will be in continuous strong demand by owner occupiers (to keep pushing up the value) and tenants (to help subsidise your mortgage); in the right location (one that has outperformed the long term averages), at the right time in the property cycle (that would be now in many states) and for the right price.

To become a successful investor you will need to surround yourself with a team of independent and unbiased professional advisors (not sales people) – a team of people who are known, proven and trusted, so it is probably appropriate to remind you that in changing times like we are experiencing, no one can help you quite like the independent property investment strategists at Metropole.

Remember the multi award winning team at Metropole have no properties to sell, so their advice is independent and unbiased.

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If you’re looking for independent property investment advice to help you become financially independent, including how to get he banks to say yes more often to you, no one can help you quite like the independent property investment strategists at Metropole.

Remember the multi award winning team of property investment strategists at Metropole have no properties on the market to sell, so their advice is unbiased.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned property investor, we would love to help you formulate an investment strategy or do a review of your existing portfolio, and help you take your property investment to the next level.

Please click here to organise a time for a chat. Or call us on 1300 20 30 30.

When you attend our offices in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane you will receive a free copy of my latest 2 x DVD program Building Wealth through Property Investment in the new Economy valued at $49.


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit Metropole.com.au

'When it comes to property you should “Hurry Up and Wait”' have 4 comments

  1. September 20, 2013 @ 3:21 pm Bill

    Hello Michael,
    I’ve been getting your postings on Facebook for some time now. I guess you love the property game. I’ve noted that you have not yet bought into the “property bubble story” as some have. If you have a minute would you say what your thought on that might be? You see, I’m in the middle of a deal in Northern QLD.


  2. January 19, 2015 @ 3:19 pm Ben Loveday

    “Hibernation” is probably the wrong word to use- because it suggests one is asleep and doing nothing. These are the times that should be used for tracking and assessing markets, improvement of business strategies and improving future processes, networking, land banking etc so that one is ready to leap when conditions are favourable to investment and property development. Australia is also a place with diverse markets that are, at any particular moment, at differing stages of the property cycle: eg: Adelaide: just coming out of the recessionary phase, Melbourne: development glut, Perth: coming off the mining boom but housing beginning to re-surge. Given this it is possible to find a location, at any particular time where immediate investment and action is warranted. Thirdly a lot of property developers make the mistake of “following” the market, rather than “leading it”: in short they end up buying high and being forced to sell low, rather than the other way around as described in a previous article: it is only by tracking markets that a developer can identify the end of a downturn, immediately before the upswing, that is the best time to buy..


    • January 19, 2015 @ 9:07 pm Michael Yardney

      Of course you’re right Ben
      While the point I was trying to make was sometimes the right thing to do is not take action, property investors should always keep educating themselves


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