I am a woman in real estate and I know there are thousands of real estate agents in this industry. However when I go to real estate investment groups and investor's events, women are non existent. My big question is, why are women under represented in this space and how can we address this issue?
Why so few?? My personal theory:
1. Women are by nature very risk averse. This is something you can observe even when women are buying their own home. Women will have lots of fears about what if this goes wrong...?? This is something not common among men. We tend to want to make sure we have taken care of every risk. This is not helpful as an investor. Investing is by nature a risky business but the high risk aversion hurts women. I also suspect that women over estimate the risks in real estate investing.
2. Perception that they lack knowledge and skills. Women believe they do not have the skills or the knowledge to be investors. Although this might be true, its not the complete picture. I think its the lack of confidence that makes women feel they are not capable of handling investing. The "this is too complicated for me, I can never do that" syndrome. The flip side is that men will invest even through the lack of knowledge. Women tend to undervalue both their skills and strengths. Industry experts have noted that women make better investors because they are careful market researchers and they look for properties with low risks.
3. Lack of time. This of course is true. Women are saddled with household chores, childcare and multiple things they have to do in their everyday lives. So it is true that sometimes women do not have the time to spend learning or involved with projects that will enable them to learn.
I certainly think women ought to be in real estate investing. We now have more independent women who make more money but they have not even considered real estate investment. We are also seeing a trend among single women who are leading the charge buying homes at a greater pace than single men. If we provide women investors with current information, tools, resources and encouragement that will help them build a solid foundation in real estate investing- they can make excellent investors. I think women can cultivate skills that lend themselves well to investing, as well as learn how to assess risk, and get comfortable with some level of risk.
Women who want to start as real estate investors should:
Start by learning about real estate with their local market, their neighborhoods and towns.
Join investment groups, find other people so you are not alone.
Find a partner and partner with other professionals who can help through real estate investing.
I think real estate investing is and should be a space women occupy. After all the first person to build a shelter is most likely a ... woman(I think). Share your thoughts??