Yes guys, this article is about women buying real estate, but there is some great insight for you too.
Why this topic? Well, I am a woman for starters, but also because women purchasing real estate independently is a growing trend. Why is the trend growing? A quick demographic study shows that clearly, unmarried women (whether never married or divorced) are a large player in the market. According to the National Association of Realtors, 20 percent of all home buyers are unmarried women. That is 10 percent higher than unmarried men.
I haven’t been able to find an exact reason for this discrepancy between men and women. Some experts are speculating that women feel a home of their own gives them a sense of belonging. A study done by The Joint Center for Housing Studies (at Harvard) reports three main reasons unmarried women are buying homes: larger space, nesting and security.
As an investor it’s important to understand the demographic trends and the things that attract buyers.
So what are these buyers (unmarried women) looking for in a home? Not huge kitchens, but well designed ones with gourmet features, security systems, spa bathroom features, closet space (which is more important to them than a media center), yards that are accessible but with little or no maintenance. Women are also looking for a good price; they don’t want to be house poor.
Also, something that is interesting is their desire for the house to be rentable. They come from all age groups and phases of life. Some are just out of college and pre-marriage, others are divorced, widowed or never married, and still others have grown kids who’ve left the home. Many of them feel that their circumstances may change so they want to be prepared. Making sure that the home can be rented is important.
If you are a woman who is looking to be an investor you may ask, is there anything that makes investing different for a woman than a man? As an investor and a woman, I think there are some nuances that do make a difference. Here are some things to do and keep in mind as you move forward.
Find an investment club. A good start is a NREIA (National Real Estate Investment Association), with over 40,000 members in its 230 chapters nationwide they are in most major cities. For the last ten years there is a trend of clubs forming as “Women” focused clubs. In fact, I attend and speak at one in Orange County called Invest Club for Women. Now, of course, men are invited but it’s run by women and focuses on how women approach investing. As a new member of a club be aware that there will be guest speakers that are selling educational materials. Most clubs do also have libraries of educational information. I also belong to another great organization called NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), they provide a lot of support from a business owners perspective and networking opportunities. So, the bottom line is, network with “like-minded” women and ones that will teach and mentor you.
Make sure you know your options when it comes to financing. Many times for women, money is the part they have the hardest time with. There are many strategies that can be used to overcome this. Consider forming a small partnership or fund to invest in properties.
Negotiating is an important skill for women. I know for years I had the misconception that to be a good negotiator you had to be “hard.” I found that women naturally have the skills to become a great negotiator. Women are good at establishing relationships; they are good at earning trust. Women also have an advantage when it comes to showing compassion and empathy. Their downfall is setting boundaries – but if boundaries are set from the start it’s easy. There are several good books about becoming a good negotiator, but the main rule is, as cliché as it sounds, find the “Win Win.”
Male or female, having confidence, being coachable and having perseverance are what you need to become a successful investor.