Well, I took the first step a long time ago and my only "excuse" was along the lines of "well, I'm only one year out of college, why buy a home?" Then I started to say, "Why not?"
However, I wouldn't bag on "excuses" of people who choose not to invest. It's not for everyone. I see more people investing who don't have the skills or desire to really make it work, than I see people making excuses who should really be in the business. Many people think "hey, a great way to get rich" but they don't really know beans about what they're getting themselves into.
In my area of upstate ny (Albany) the housing market is out of control prices are way to high for home ownership or investment property at this time. We will use a 2 family house I looked at a few weeks ago as an example, home price 139,000.00 2 family ok condition still needs roughly 20,000.00 in repairs painting,siding, carpets, windows, etc... Motrgage on 159,000.00 roughly 1,300.00 per month yearly school and property tax 2,900.00 per year, insurance 800.00 per year, water bill 300.00 per year. Estimated monthly payment 1500.00 per month not including maint. costs. Average tenant rental market for 3 bed apt 650.00 per month x 2 = 1300.00 negative 200.00 monthly cashflow providing no maint. expenses for 30 years. I'm not saying there are not deals out there but they are hard to find. I think alot of so called realestate investors will be belly up in this area. Wait it out and the deals will come.
general lack of knowledge was a big excuse for a while. Thankfully with resources like this page, I have gained confidence to give it a try a few times. I don't know if it's something I'll do forever, but it's fun for a while.
I used the lack of knowledge excuse for a while as well, but I came to realize that is a cop out. I could do anything I wanted to do, I just needed to do the proper due diligence and research and learn what I was getting into.
I found that networking with other property owners gives you indespensable knowledge and also helps you gain confidence because you realize that it truly can be done. You meet walking success stories.