More than 60 percent of real estate agents are female. So you might think that women would be equally represented among the ranks of real estate investors (REIs). Nope. Only 30 percent of REIs today are women. But that number may soon be changing as more women discover that they have some built-in advantages when it comes to fixing and flipping properties for a nice profit.
Females Who Flip
Although there are several popular female house-flippers on HGTV, many people still think of the nuts and bolts of real estate investing as a guy thing. Women who are interested in house flipping should check out HGTV's "DC Flippers," which showcases yet another successful female REI, Ati Williams. And it's not surprising that HGTV chose DC for the site of this show. The nation's capital is still a hot market for flipping. For one thing, DC's population, according to U.S. News & World Report, is growing by about 1,000 a month. So savvy investors are snapping up houses near metro stops, which are popular with millennials, as well as older row houses, which they can then convert into several condo units. The latter can be especially profitable since a single row house purchased for $500,000, can reward a smart flipper with several units worth between $600,000 to $900,000 apiece. So why do women still make up a small part of the total real estate investors, and what does it really take to be successful?
Becoming a Real Estate Investor
Real estate investors often start out as contractors, home inspectors or appraisers, all of which tend to be more male-dominated fields. But those aren't the only paths to become a REI. Realtors are also great candidates to be real estate investors with their in-depth knowledge of local markets, sales cycles and pricing. As are those entrepreneurial types who may have taken a career break to care of kids and now want to restart a career. So what does it take to become a successful female real estate investor? Knowledge and confidence are critical. As is an in-depth understanding of the market and of the numbers involved in order to turn a profit. Successful female REIs counsel that you should not rely on your intuition or guess when purchasing properties. Instead, you'll need to educate yourself on what costs will be involved, and set up a system for analyzing property using the numbers. Persistence is also important. Follow every lead and be the last to give up on a good deal. Find and build relationships with good resources -- such as a real estate agents or hard money lender -- you can turn to when you need to find that great deal or get cash for your project quickly. Veteran female REIs suggest that you should also, if possible, shadow another investor working on a renovation before branching out on your own. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Every REI out there was a beginner at one point.
The Female Advantage(s)
Regarding the positives vs negatives of being a woman in the industry, BiggerPockets.com interviewed several successful female REIs about this subject. They all said that they had very few problems with being treated poorly because of their sex. In fact, the women said that being a female REI had many more advantages than disadvantages. Women tend to be naturally very good at the skills that are required for REI success. For example, one successful female REI noted that women generally are very good at building relationships and finding solutions to problems. Another said that women have the natural ability to gain trust and network, skills that are well suited to REI investing. And support from family is key. One married flipper stated that having a working spouse with a steady income allowed her to concentrate her attentions on her investment properties and allowed her to take a few more risks along the way.
Finding Support for Your Dream
So are you a woman who is interested in becoming a real estate investor, but would like to first meet with others to pick their brains or exchange ideas? Or are you already a female real estate investor and are just looking for ways to network? Then consider joining one of the following groups.
- Check out Meetups for groups that cater to women REIs. For example, in the DC area, there is the Young District Women's Real Estate Wealth Club.
- W.I.R.E. - Women Investors of Real Estate. There is a W.I.R.E group in Maryland that bills itself as the "premier real estate educational and networking resource for women." It is dedicated to helping women understand how to invest in both commercial and residential real estate.
For Everyone in the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia):
- DC-REIA - Real Estate Investor Association. This group was recently named by the National REIA as the DMV's number-one local real estate investor group.
- Traction REIA - A local REI group that provides training, resources and networking opportunities, Traction "helps real estate investors get more deals, more profits and more freedom."