IN THE cooler months, many people question whether they should be buying property or waiting for later in the year because spring is seen as the prime time for real estate.
I am a huge fan of doing the opposite rather than following the herd.
Spring is the peak season for people to sell property, so there will always be more choice in what you can buy.
It is also a time where many buyers make emotional decisions.
Auctions are held on lovely spring days when buyers can easily let their emotions take over, pushing up prices.
Just as there are more properties on the market, there are more buyers at this time, which means more competition.
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Throughout spring, the media often highlights stories of properties selling for large amounts over their reserve price, which isn’t good for you as a buyer.
When it comes to the quieter months of autumn, it is likely that there will be fewer properties on the market to choose from, however there will also be less competition from other buyers.
With less demand in the market, property prices are less likely to be pushed over emotional levels at auction.
This ultimately leads to sellers losing confidence, which is good for you as a buyer.
Not only am I happy to buy in the quieter times of the year, I’m also happy to buy during the quieter periods of the economy, because I know there will be less demand and more chance to buy a better property at a cheaper price.
This was certainly the case in the middle of the global financial crisis when I bought half of my property portfolio.
It was difficult on an emotional level as my friends were saying it was a mistake.
But prices still crept upwards and when the market really started to recover I benefited each day, while others took months to react.
Even the experts never time the market. I am fortunate to have interviewed some of the best real estate experts, including economists who analyse what has happened in the past and try to predict the future.
They don’t profess to know everything perfectly. They buy when they’re ready to buy.
One of my best tips is to buy when you can afford to buy and when you can afford to hold on.
Real estate is always a long-term game and you should at least have a five to 10 year horizon in sight.
Buying at the right price is important, but often when you look back it doesn’t have that much significance.
The profit comes from time in the market rather than timing the market.
There’s always a deal to be made in any market. So whether you’re buying when there are thousands of properties available or just a few, if you know what to look for and are prepared to walk away until you find it, you’ll profit in the future.
– Chris Gray is host of Your Property Empire on Sky News Business channel and CEO of buyer’s agency Empire.
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