The number one rule in investing or business is obtain positive cash flow. Everyone knows that, don't they? But many beginning investors forget a rule that may rank ABOVE that one, especially if you're planning to invest in real estate over the long haul, and that is the importance of maintaining a CASH RESERVE.
Even some of America's largest businesses have forgotten about the importance of having a healthy cash reserve. And most of those businesses are either longer with us or have emerged from bankruptcy after having learned a painful lesson. (The most recent example of the latter took place when the once-venerable retail Goliath K-Mart almost disappeared.)
It goes without saying that no business or individual investor can go on indefinitely with a negative cash flow. But there are times when a particular piece of property only needs some time before the market will catch up to it, and when that happens, an investor will need to feed that property until the circumstances are right for changing that red ink to black - and that means calling on cash reserves.
Not having enough cash reserves also means that an investor can't make the repairs that will be necessary to improve the overall value of the property, both now and in the future. The axiom is simple: if you have the cash reserves to weather the hard times at the beginning, you'll eventually profit from your investment, and if you don't, you won't.
There are times when a property will need to be held for months (or even years, if you buy the wrong property!) before it will finally recoup its initial investment, and if you don't have the cash reserves to ensure that you'll be able to hang on to the piece of property, you'll end up having to sell, or worse yet, having the property foreclosed upon. In either case, all the time, money, effort, and stress you've invested in that property will go up in smoke - all because you didn't begin the venture with enough cash reserves to guarantee your success.
If it's a rental property, having a strong cash reserve can allow you to make the property appealing to a better class of clientele. You can hold out for better qualified tenants, and you can withstand periods of vacancy without having to panic. You also won't have to be held hostage by poor tenants who threaten to vacate, for fear that the property will sit vacant for some time. All those situations can be avoided by maintaining a strong cash reserve.
You ultimately need to make money on your investment, of course, but there will be a variety of situations that will arise from time to time that will make you glad you also followed the other top rule of real estate investment, which is to maintain a CASH RESERVE.
Copyright ï¿½ Jeanette J. Fisher