experts: real estate column Thursday, May 15, 2003

Only time to invest is now

In real estate investment - the only time to act is NOW. Always. There are no perfect markets, no perfect situations, and no 167 secrets to make that great buy.

By Ozzie Jurock

This article appeared in The Vancouver Sun on May 10, 2003

Most of the questions I get these days have to do with: "Is this a good market?", “Should I wait?", "Is the boom over?" or "Can I write a low offer in today's market?" And so on. In 30 years 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 low ball 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 wait, let life, ideas, pundits, gurus, worries, stress storm in on us ... and to defer our actions to a better day.

In real estate investment - the only time to act is NOW. Always. There are no perfect markets, no perfect situations, and no 167 secrets to make that great buy.

There are only the actions that you take:

  • Identify your goals ... want to resell at a profit ... want to create unearned stream of income
  • Identify the kind of property you 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 owners’
  • ...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 created. In fact, they are plenty of properties in the low price ranges, where the combination of today’s tight tenant market, the lowest interest rates in 44 years creates a ratio of price to rental income that has rarely been better.

If, as investors we look for cash - flowing properties, low down payments, good 'employment' areas, good base of tenants, certainty of return and low, low risk we need realistically to find properties that are priced under $120,000. And yes, Martha, these deals are still everywhere.

Of course, we assume that there are hundreds of such properties in Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford Mission, Cloverdale, and Maple Ridge. ... and they are. In the Fraser Valley there are currently over 600 listings under $120,000 over 397 under $100,000.

But did you know that there are plenty also in Vancouver?

Vancouver East Side: 153 Properties under $120,000 47 under $100,000
Vancouver West: 42 properties under $120,000. 12 under $100,000.
Burnaby: 65 properties under $120,000. 26 under $100,000
New Westminster: 81 properties under 120,000 (4 under $50,000), 43 under $90,000. Look them up at Worldwide Referrals.

With that many properties under $120,000 (453) there just HAS to be a ‘PEARL’ in here.

Going into the Interior, there are dozens and dozens of condominiums in high tourist areas as well as small homes under the $120,000 range galore.

North Okanagan
From Kelowna to Vernon - smaller older homes or a vast array of condos for sale under $120,000

South Okanagan
Osoyoos - New waterfront condos from $99,000
Penticton - We found a dozen 2 bedroom plus den condos, downtown, 1030 sq ft. Price: $77,900.
Kaledon, Okanagan Falls, Naramata, Summerland - great sleeper areas - tons of properties under the $120,000 magic price ranges.

Further North? In Prince George - 124 properties under $60,000. We saw 3 bedroom townhouses at $45,000 that rent for $550. Or buy a riverfront lot in Quesnel under $20,000 and build to suit.

Or go to the islands and find ‘pearls’ galore.

Pender Island features small cottages - average price first quarter - $101,900 (on 5 sales)

Nanaimo - 280 properties under $120,000, 67 under $100,000 (saw one listed at $119,000 with an $111,000 assumable mortgage, with a $1,100 rental income this week).

Of course, what investing in real estate really need is - the only real secret - work! It takes work to find the deals, work to find what represents value and work to your professionals, your Realtors, your mortgage brokers, your bankers, your home inspectors lined up. But do it ... act ... talk to them, see them, work with them and make offers. All good deals are created and negotiated. So, storm the net, hit hard, and keep shooting on the net. Don't ice that puck.




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