Why You Don’t Need to Time the Market to Make Money in Real Estate

Why You Don’t Need to Time the Market to Make Money in Real Estate

2 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Experience
Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Education
Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

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You don’t need to be able to time the real estate market to make money.

There is a lot of talk and concern about being able to time real estate moves to invest safely and profitably. It’s really hard to do, unless you control the market. Fortunately, some of the most notable, admired, and successful real estate investors swear that you shouldn’t try to time the market at all.

The Challenges of Trying to Time the Market

Most are driven to try and time the market, to pinpoint the best moment to buy and sell. Still, there are many challenges to timing the market. Just look at the percentage of investors and banks that fell in 2008. Very, very few made it. They failed to time the market.

It’s hard to do for many reasons. First, there are so many factors involved. We can see some of the very visible common-sense signs ourselves, like affordability and overbuilding. Then, there are factors like interest rates, economic policy that impacts jobs, advances in technology, natural disasters, and worldwide pandemics, which are out of our control.

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Related: 4 Things to Understand BEFORE Investing in Markets with Declining Populations

Also, there is the media and statistics, which are now so easily manipulated, lagging behind current trends, or just flawed. You can’t just listen to the news or watch what your favorite investors are doing. By the time it is announced, it’s history. You’ve either missed the best time to buy or sell.

Why You Don’t Need to Time the Market

Ironically, even Warren Buffett says investors shouldn’t try to time the market. That’s a strategy he gleaned from his mentor Benjamin Graham, “The Intelligent Investor.” He believed in consistent investing or “dollar cost averaging”—meaning the best way to invest is just to keep doing it. Invest, invest, invest. Sometimes, you’ll be investing at the bottom or top. Over time, you will still maintain the best results.

What is important is that you keep investing and that you pay attention to the numbers of each individual opportunity. Of course, you aren’t going to try to flip a house if you are buying at the top of the market, and selling is challenging and prices are declining. That’s just financial suicide.

Compare that strategy with acquiring buy and hold income properties with equity, which can provide you cash flow, month in and month out, regardless of national home prices. This makes it unnecessary to try and time the market and will likely deliver the best long-term results.

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Related: 4 Actionable Ways to Find Real Estate Deals, Even in a Red Hot Market

Summary

Oftentimes, the people who decide to “time the market” end up on the sidelines with excuses. There is plenty of opportunity out in the market at this present moment. Still, there are some who have bought properties speculatively over the last few years and may need to think about what they are holding as the market changes.

The point is, if you are buying with equity or safe amounts of leverage and you are acquiring cash flow-producing properties for the long haul, then that mitigates your overall risk.

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Do you look for cues in the market to time your investments most profitably?

Let me know your thoughts with a comment!