IMO "real" tangible assets like gold, silver, land, and cash flow real estate are something you should be buying all the time. Now that's not to say that you should buy at any price, but if you want say 25% of your net worth to be in real estate, then find the best real estate deal you can that fits your criteria/goals and buy it. Then do it again until you reach your desired allocation. Then wait. Add more if your allocation shrinks below your desired level or if there is a correction and lower prices tell you it's time to be overweight real estate beyond your initial goal.
Don't think about real estate the same way as stocks or ETFs or other "paper" assets that you can buy and sell multiple times per day. Real estate is a true diversifier, so don't worry as much about catching the bottom. The whole reason you like cash flow real estate is because the tenant pays your mortgage for you and that'll continue to happen whether the sticker price of the building goes up or down 10% in a year.
If you like the investment thesis for cash flow real estate and really want to "buy and hold for the long term" then it won't matter whether you buy at today's price or next month at 98 cents on the dollar or next year at 110% of today's price or 2 years from now at 75 cents on the dollar. Ideally, buy one every year and you'll average into the market.
Now if you're going to flip the property or something more short-term then your thought process should be much different.
Strictly opinion here, I am not a financial adviser or fiduciary or anything of the sort, but when I look at the current set-up for inflation over the next say 10-20 years, I think there might not be a better time to be buying cash flow real estate on fixed-rate debt than right now. Obviously don't over-leverage yourself and every local market is different (jobs, population growth, rental prices, etc.), so do your due diligence on the near and mid-term prospects for every market, but in 30 years I think you'll be jumping for joy that you let rapidly inflating rents pay down your properties over time and protected your purchasing power.
I don't know of any successful investor who's fundamental strategy was market timing. The price correction only matters if you are selling.
RULE 1: Don't sell in a downturn. Simple :-)
RULE 2: Don't be forced to sell in a downturn by bad financing (it is your early properties so get fixed rate, 30 year debt)
RULE 3: See rule 2.
@Hani Alomar there's a bp podcast that talks about buying at any point in the market cycle but just knowing where to buy and what strategy to use. I would absolutely wait if you're dead set on moving in a market that appreciates much. When the correction happens, you could be in a bad place. However, in Oklahoma (and i'm sure many other surrounding states) we only saw 7.5% drops in the last downturn and in B and C class properties our rent rates stayed stable! Sure you could likely buy the same properties in OK in the downturn for slightly less, but then you waited 3+ years for a recession and in all of that time your money was doing nothing for you! Why not cash flow for 3 years?
@Hani Alomar looking for any properties in Missouri? I live in a college town with tons of potential rental properties.
@Wes Smith - I also live in a college town. We are on opposite ends of the state. I'd love to hear what REI looks like down in your area and compare notes!
@Hani Alomar anyone telling you to wait for the perfect time simply has no idea what they are doing and most likely has never done a deal. Who cares if you pay up or down 10 -15% , its meaningless when buying a 60 75k props. Its all about cash flow, you still get your 950- 1200 in rent, so again who cares if you pay 60k and a year from now its worth 50k,,, it always comes back..... However if you have the right team you will pay under the appraised value anyway .