I love introducing women to the world of real estate. Since I began my career, the opportunity has been arising more and more often. The fact is, more single women are buying homes today than ever before.
This can be chalked up to several factors. Many younger women are choosing to focus on their careers rather than getting married and starting families in their twenties. Such financially independent women see no reason to postpone home ownership. On the other side of the coin, it’s the unfortunate truth that approximately 50 per cent of marriages lead to divorce, leaving many women to house hunt solo for the first time. Finally, women live seven to ten years longer than men on average, which translates to a significant number of widows finding themselves in the market for a smaller home.
This adds up to a lot of women who are faced with making crucial financial decisions about matters such as mortgages, insurance and investments, for the first time in their lives. Having been raised by a single mother, this is an issue that’s close to my heart. I watched my mom struggle financially and long ago decided that, married or not, I would take control of my personal finances; for me, real estate investment was key. I strongly believe that engaging with the real estate market can be an excellent way to leverage your current funds. Many people give their savings over to financial advisors, acquiring paper assets; but such investments give them little control over their own finances. Property investment, on the other hand, gives the owner complete control: real estate can be leveraged, improved or rented out as you see fit.
Interestingly, 15 per cent more single women are buying homes as compared with single men. This may be connected with a nesting instinct, with a heightened desire for security, or with a preference for investing in something tangible as opposed to paper assets. Whatever the explanation, it’s a trend I’m happy to see. When women overcome their initial apprehensions about investing, they tend to do very well; in fact, studies have shown that all-women investment clubs regularly out-perform all-men investment clubs by as much as 20 per cent.
The reason for this? I believe that, just as women are more willing than men to ask for directions, they’re not afraid to ask questions when it comes to learning something new. They’ll listen to professionals and weigh in all the factors, whereas men are more likely to want to do things their way. Women are also often more moderate risk-takers; having succeeded, they’ll take their money and move on to the next endeavour. Applied to real estate investment, these traits stand women in good stead.
Unlike some career ventures, I believe there is no glass ceiling in the world of real estate investment. Given the motivation and the proper know-how, there’s nothing holding women back from finding significant financial success through property ownership.
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Marnie Bennett is a broker and team leader for Bennett Property Shop Realty, a full premium service real estate brokerage specializing in marketing and selling new and resale homes, condominiums and investment real estate. Marnie is the host of the weekly radio show the Real Estate Hour, a millionaire real estate investor and a wealth management coach. bennettpros.com