The times have changed: the real estate market is no longer a man’s world.
Not just helpers: women are moving up as real estate professionals.
For the better part of a century, the real estate market has boomed, and many professionals have found their personal success in the industry. However, until the last few decades, the housing market was primarily seen as a domain of men. The early inception of real estate as a legitimate establishment rarely saw the involvement of women, and even then, women tended to gravitate toward “helper” positions to their male bosses.
However, it is now 2016, and the tides have turned. Women have stepped out from behind clerical desks and said goodbye to those administrative positions. Wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters are now placing themselves proudly in the professional world of real estate as brokers, even as investors, and they are winning.
What's the difference between Venus and Mars? Look at the data, not just the stars.
For many women, rehabbing and renting investment properties is earning much-needed income to put their kids through school, afford extra expenses, or grant financial security. However, retirement funds are often given the most crucial boost from investments, and many women use their property investments as means to save for a comfortable retirement. With longer life expectancy, smaller paychecks, and fewer years in the workforce than our male counterparts, stringent saving and wise investing is perhaps one of the best financial moves you can make.
When it comes to saving, a personal investment study showed that females typically saved 8.3% of their income, while men only save 7.9%. Likewise, when it comes to investing their savings, data produced by Berkeley's Haas School of Business showed males spent 45% more of this savings than females. Some researchers have even been so bold to suggest this difference is simply due to overconfidence, but interestingly enough, even after a higher frequency of investing, men still earned a whole percentage point less return than women. The reason? Women just seem to save more, and invest their money sparingly. It’s no surprise their caution is earning more in the long run.
Women real estate investors are in it for the long-haul.
With such an ability to strictly save and invest sparingly, lady investors are reporting profitable returns that are worth a commitment. A successful strategy for many women investors is to use the lingering unease of market buyers in their favor. The housing crisis of 2008 continues to strike fear in the heart of many homeowners, and many tenants would prefer rent a home instead of buying one. Investment homes are then rehabbed by hiring a contractor and rented to tenants for extended periods of time. Sounds worth your time, right?
When it comes to whether or not the numbers add up for your investment, keep in mind that your properties don’t have to be extravagant or costly. Even a portfolio of varying price tags, whether the value is $35,000 or $120,000, can generate substantial income. Just consider: if you have paid off your property and no longer have a mortgage, renting the property to tenants will bring in more money than is being spent. Of course, there’s tremendous potential for profit with all that rent going straight into your pocket!
Even though numbers are encouraging, it is still crucial to listen when veteran investors of both genders heed their warnings. Surprise situations such as hidden costs and unexpected spending are notorious for popping up when rehabbing an investment property. When you prepare a significant cash reserve outside of your budget, you can sidestep any unexpected expenditures that, otherwise, financially could have devastated you. There may come a time when repairs need to be made, fees need to be paid, or there may even be an eviction. No matter the circumstance, you are unfortunately left to pick up the bill.
Stay strong, women investors still have it tough.
Today, there exist only a few industries that have not experienced a shift in gender equality; however women professionals still suffer restraints of underestimation and sexism. Even though women are making giant strides in the professional world, there are hurdles that we face every day simply because of our gender. Despite tireless efforts made on the part of women to break down the barriers of gender inequality, sadly it’s still no surprise we find ourselves hopefully knocking on that glass ceiling.
Amongst the happy-endings and success stories of some of the most accomplished women investors, a familiar narrative is still heard: women in the industry are treated differently than men. Perhaps, when it comes time to sell your investment property you might find that male brokers will not take you seriously. Some women have told stories of contractors attempting to take advantage of them by charging more for labor and materials, assuming that a woman wouldn’t know the difference. There may be instances of your renters’ giving sob excuses, trying to play a sympathy card to get a discount on their rent, an extension, or not at all. Sometimes, potential buyers simply will not trust the workmanship or experience of a woman, and will not work with you for that reason. This must not deter you.
The world of real estate investment is no different. There is a gender gap, but when it disappears, a whole world of opportunity will come, not just for the industry as a whole, but for professional women everywhere. The potential to build a retirement fund, savings, or outstanding portfolio is at our doorstep. If men can do it, why can’t we? We know that when it comes to taking charge of their destiny, there is no one better than a savvy, confident and prepared woman. Ladies, you know the return is great, and the reward can be greater. Make strides today and get started on your tomorrow.