I have another fantastic roundup post for you today called “Women and Real Estate Investing; Are they Uniquely Qualified for this Business”? That topic has been discussed for as long as I can remember. I believe that in many cases they do possess certain traits that make women and real estate investing a perfect fit.
That's not intended to minimize the men that have always been a strong force in this particular field. I believe they also have strengths that are unique them.
The Two Questions
I have asked some strong, successful women (who just happen to be real estate investors) to answer these two questions:
#1. Are women uniquely qualified for a career in real estate investing?
#2. What do you think holds women back; what keeps them from jumping into this field?
As you will see when you read their answers, whenever you ask several women the same questions you can get vastly different answers. And the truth is there really is no one “right answer”.
Women and Real Estate Investing
Anyone that has known me for any length of time knows that I am on a mission to get more women to dive into real estate investing. I want every woman to see that real estate is the perfect business for them no matter what stage of their life they’re in. However, when I talk to women there are still a lot of perceived barriers. They believe it will be harder for them just because they are female.
Today I want to get rid of that misconception once and for all. The women in the article today have been kind enough to share their wisdom and experience as it pertains to my two questions. They are also living, breathing examples of success.
Have they had to work a little harder to stand out? I think that is true for some people. In other cases, they just plowed ahead without regard to any “perceived barriers”.
When Is the Perfect Time to Start?
Now! It's always a perfect time for women and real estate investing.
- Do you have small children? It’s the perfect part-time business.
- Maybe you have older children that are still in school. Real estate investing allows you great flexibility, while socking away some money for college.
- Are you single or an empty nester? Perfect. Dive in full time.
- Maybe you want to retire from your “JOB”, but you still want something to do. Once again, real estate investing is perfect.
What My Contributors Have to Say
Meet Kelly Payne
Kelly lives and invests in Tulsa, OK. She is the mother of 3, a licensed agent and an investor. She loves philosophizing, reading, researching, problem-solving and coffee-drinking. You can reach Kelly on her blog FlippingOklahoma.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#1. Generalizations between men and women are tricky: sometimes it lines up – generally – and sometimes it's just bias that feeds the unnecessarily combative tension between the two genders. But in general, I think the experience of women lends itself to certain perspectives that are perfect for the real estate world.
There's no such thing as “business is business”. Everything is personal and close. And everything also deserves objectivity, fairness and a measured amount of self-interest. Women seem most able to fuse those two worlds: partly from our experience as mothers and partly from cultural expectations to be “soft and warm”. We recognize that speaking to the humanity in the situation is just as effective a negotiation strategy as Dwight's aggressive approach that many men feel compelled to use.
Usually though, I don't tend to think that men or women in general are more or less, or even uniquely qualified – I've seen it more often come down to the individual character of the person: their own story and motivation and fear and resources.
#2. From my own experience: Fear. Always fear. And maybe kids. The reality is that it's the women who have the babies, who need to heal and then nurture those babies. It's only a season, but there seems to be an evolutionary trait in women to tend the flock, and that can create tension in our life. Biology does limit our reality, perhaps more than men, but it limits the reality of a good father too.
Every person I know struggles with false beliefs that create a false reality of limits and fears, but may not even realize they have them. Its voice is usually reasonable-sounding but powerful: I will mess up; It won't work; I'm not cut out for that; There's too much going on. But stripped down it's really Fear, and it only leaves when faced and exposed. For women, it takes courage to face the vulnerability of entering a male-dominated industry (despite the reality that real estate has not always been male-dominated nor is inherently so), or owning their desire to be successful and a professional (which many women grow up subtly believing they can't or shouldn't do).
Meet Barbara Grassey
Barbara Grassey is a real estate investor, an author, and the founder of the West Florida REIA. She is also an awesome book coach. If you have book inside you just dying to get out, you can reach her at her website BarbaraGrassey.com.
#1. I don’t think women are “uniquely qualified” for a career in real estate investing. I think they are as qualified as any man if they have the same skills that a man has or the ability to learn them. Everyone likes to write articles saying women are “uniquely qualified” for whatever but the truth is, some people are, some people aren’t. You don’t have to be a genius but you can’t be an idiot and make money. So… I tend to go for the human thing rather than male/female on that score.
#2. Not as many women seem to be motivated to GO BIG in real estate or in most things. I think it’s because they already know that having 1,000 houses may not make them happy. Or they don’t need the ego gratification. Women don’t seem to have the need to prove that they are big shots – it’s good enough to make substantial money without killing themselves to be top dog.
The other issue is that women have been encultured NOT to seek “too much.” We talk about “baby steps” and small bites. Women want life balance. Most men, especially younger men, see no need for that balance. The fact of the matter is that working women really need wives just the same as working men do – someone to make sure everything is running smoothly at home, dinner is on the table, laundry is done, dry cleaning picked up. It’s a lot easier to get ahead in business when you’re not doing all the other stuff. Having a wife gives you the opportunity to focus on what you do best. I need a wife… lol
Meet Susan Lassiter-Lyons
Susan has been a real estate investor since 1994 and is the founder of the award-winning real estate investing blog TheInvestorInsights.com. In the last 20 years, she’s closed over 600 transactions as an investor, broker, lender, syndicator and advisor. You can find Susan at TheInvestorInsights.
#1. I can't speak for all women but I think that our strengths are empathy and what I call a quiet diplomacy. The art of dealing with people, especially distressed sellers and investment partners, in a sensitive and effective way is a major edge that we possess.
#2. I think what holds us back is no different than what holds many men back – lack of confidence and aversion to risk. Most of the questions I get from new investors center around their perceived lack of credibility. That old “Confidence – Competence Loop” manages to trip up many people. Confidence comes from competence and the only way we can gain competence is by DOING IT! The risk will be there in any endeavor but if you are doing what you should to mitigate that risk, then the rewards are definitely worth it!
Meet Rachel Hernandez
Rachel is a busy mom, an author and a mobile home investor. She is the go to expert in her field. Be sure to stop by Rachel’s website Adventures in Mobile Homes. While you’re there, pick up her books for more information on mobile home investing.
#1. Since there are fewer women real estate investors than men in general, I think women set themselves apart in this business. Often times, women are much better communicators than men which make them a great fit for a career in real estate investing.
Real estate is a people business. As women, we are naturally drawn to work and collaborate with others. With over a decade of experience, I meet and talk with many property managers who are usually women. This sets me apart from other real estate investors who are usually men. They are more comfortable with me as a woman (most times!) since I am non-threatening.
As a result, I think women real estate investors are usually more memorable than men when meeting others in the business.
Meet Ali Boone
Ali left her corporate, 9-to-5 job as an Aeronautical Engineer to create lifestyle design and start her own business. Now she goes to school (for fun!), travels and flies airplanes. How does she do this? Ali has found a great way to generate truly passive income by investing in turnkey rentals. Through her company, Hipster Investments, Ali teaches others to do the same.
You can reach out to Ali at her blog Hipster Investments.
#1. I think women have a couple things that really work in their favor in terms of a career in real estate investing, outside of just the general intellectual requirements. 1. Trust is something that has oftentimes lacked when it comes to real estate investing, and a lot of people have been scared out of the industry for not knowing who they can trust or should trust or whatever. Women naturally come across much more trustworthy than men (sorry guys!) and that offers something unique to those working with them. 2. I’m a pilot and I’ve often heard that studies prove women make better pilots than men, and the reason being that they don’t have as much of the ego aspect that men often have and by removing that ego aspect, they are much safer and smarter pilots. I think the same can be said in real estate investing. Ego can often play a big role in that kind of industry, and once you are able to remove that aspect, you can make much more sound and smart decisions. Again, another unique benefit that women typically possess!
#2. Maybe I’m off on this because I’m so used to working around men that I don’t see it being a thing that women would be intimidated by such a male-dominated industry, but my answer veers more towards the thought that I think women probably don’t realize that there are a lot of things in real estate investing that they may really enjoy doing. You hear things like “swinging hammers” and negotiating deals and stomping through nasty foreclosed houses….none of those things probably appeal much to women. When in reality, there are so many options for what you can do with real estate investing that there really are a lot less “gross” and manual labor style things that women may really enjoy. They just don’t hear much about them.
Meet Mindy Jensen
Mindy has flipped numerous homes in the past 10 years, one at a time and doing much of the work with her husband. She lives in Longmont, CO, and is always looking for an ugly duckling to turn into a swan. Mindy is the Community Manager at BiggerPockets.com
I kind of smashed both questions into one, and answered it the questions that way.
I think women and men are equally qualified to invest in real estate. The same qualities that make a good female investor – tenacity, business-sense, understanding and honesty are also found in men. I don't think in terms of gender when I think about what makes someone qualified to invest.
I do, however, know what keeps them from jumping into real estate investing – sexism plain and simple. As an investor who invests with my husband, contractors don't talk to me – they talk to him. They explain everything to him while ignoring me, or treat me as a child, like I couldn't possibly understand what they are talking about. Sigh. “Oh, is your husband around? I can just tell him.” “Um, yeah, you can also just tell me.”
Women are afraid of being taken advantage of, and rightly so. We routinely receive higher quotes and lower quality work. Men talk down to us, and have this infuriating way of making us feel small. Yes, I don't have the arm strength to lift a toilet and put it into place, but that doesn't mean I don't know how to do it. I sure know it doesn't cost $300 to install.
Women don't traditionally work construction, but it certainly doesn't mean we can't work construction. I can swing a hammer just like any man. In fact, you don't even swing hammers anymore, thanks to the invention of the pneumatic nail gun. You simply pull the trigger.
Want to see more women in real estate? Help more women enter real estate. Share with them what you have learned. Welcome them into the field.
What Do You Think?
I want to thank everyone that shared their views for this blog post. This is an awesome group when it comes to successful women and real estate investing. As you can see, women have a lot of opinions (on everything)!
I would love to have YOUR input. Do you think women have any special traits or talents that make them especially well suited for this field?
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