Creating The Buffer Zone
All start-up businesses are plagued by the same problem: a lack of sufficient capital to get through the initial rough period where cash flow is crucial, and tends to be almost non-existent until the business hits a critical mass of revenue. The same applies for any beginning foray into the property investing field. The best advice I can impart is that you set aside an adequate amount for reserves to get you through your first couple of years of operation. This means, you’ll need self-restraint in order to not want to tie up all your available capital in the most expensive, or the biggest projected money-making endeavor. If you leave 15%, 20% or a bit more in adequate cash reserves, you will be able to deal much better with the obstacles that are sure to befall you as any beginning property investor would encounter.
Sure, you’ll want to use up your full capital reserves to maximize your return. But don’t. Hold back. Keep that extra amount in the bank for the proverbial rainy day. It may appear so attractive to utilize the maximum amount of your investments to gain an even better deal, an even better (or greater) mortgage amount – but don’t do it. Restraint, restraint, restraint. This will ensure you create a safety net for yourself. Until you know how the business will go, and you’ve acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to predict better how each succeeding property acquisition will perform, lay back, and keep that certain rainy day amount in reserves.
When interest rates go up, or the market tanks, or your tenants don’t pay on time, or your taxes skyrocket suddenly, you’ll be able to sleep better knowing you’ve planned for emergencies. The last thing you’ll want to do is go back into the borrowing pool to finance an already-extended property. That’s where things get disastrous fast. Especially when you can’t make your mortgage payment (see financial crisis of 2008 – 2011), and are forced to either go through a short sale , or worse, a foreclosure on your property. Or possibly worse – being forced to place your investment property on the market at a fire sale price in order to unload it quickly. Very, very hazardous, and not for the faint of heart.
Socking cash reserves away
So play it safe. Put those cash reserves away, and know it’s OK to make mistakes. Mistakes that I can guarantee, you will definitely make as a beginner property investor. You’ll certainly be best prepared for entering the property investing arena in this fashion. Finally, always take your time crunching your numbers on each potential property acquisition. The more conservative the numbers for rent and expense items you plug in, the better equipped you’ll be to handle any market downturns and surprises that will hit you financially.
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