At times, real estate investing can seem like a male-dominated field. We’re often asked at BiggerPockets why there aren’t more women who are doing this.
What It’s Like to Be a Female Real Estate Investor
I asked Ashley how she’s navigated the industry and what advice she has for other women who want to get started. Here’s what she said.
I actually have a good story for that. When I had driven by this commercial property one time, there was just a commercial sign out front for it: “For Sale.” I called. It looked like residential units upstairs.
It was a Realtor, and he said that his father owned the property and actually had more properties for sale. If I’d be interested meeting him in the area, he’d show me all the properties.
That right there was great; I was really excited.
So, I get to the property, and I get out of the car. He’s standing there, and we shake hands and stuff. And he’s just standing there, and I’m like, “OK, can we go in?”
He’s like, “Well, is your husband getting out of the car?”
He just assumed this is my husband’s deal and he was a part of it.
I was like, “No, it’s just me. I’m the one interested in buying it.”
I’ve actually ended up buying about 12 units from his dad from that deal, so we’ve become good friends because of it. And the six I have under contract now are from the same guy! But it’s just really funny that he assumed that my husband would be a part of it.
Ashley went on to describe why investing in real estate shouldn’t be intimidating—for anyone.
I think it’s very easy to do because you don’t need to do the maintenance. There are people out there that will do the maintenance for you. And I feel like that’s why a lot of people don’t want to do it. They’re like, “I don’t know anything about the construction of a house. I don’t know how to repair things well.”
But I have no idea either. My 21-year-old sister did a better job doing her home maintenance and updating her property than I ever could. But I can hire all that stuff out. And as long as your numbers are good, you can make that work.
I probably have had my husband go to a property one time in the last five years to do a repair for me. He is very hands-off from it. I don’t recommend NOT having your husband on board and doing it—my husband’s very supportive and loves talking to me about it—but I honestly don’t think he knows where any of my properties even are.
So, it’s just an interesting perspective. You don’t need to have a man to do that maintenance.
Next, I asked Ashley about the advantages that a woman might have in the industry that may be overlooked.
Well, sometimes I can use the excuse, “Oh, you know what, I need to talk to my husband.”
If I don’t feel comfortable giving an answer right then and there, it’s a perfectly believable excuse. Anyone is just like, “Oh, yeah definitely. OK, you don’t need to answer now.”
I told Ashley that Brandon and I use an imaginary partner in the same way: “Oh, I gotta go run this by my ‘partner.'”
Brandon chimed in next, asking Ashley, “What’s been your biggest challenge so far in real estate investing?”
I think a lot of it was at first money—that is until I got that mortgage line of credit. But then after that, I’d say tenant relations. If you’re going to manage your own property, you really need to be understanding and you need to learn how to deal with your tenants, because it can break you. And that honestly has been the hardest thing for me.
Even at my job [as a property manager], I’ve grown so much from the day I started to now with handling tenants. You know, just knowing what they expect, what I expect, and how to draw a fine line between us and not give into anything and still be compassionate about their situation.
Ashley started investing in 2014. Reflecting on the past five years, we asked her to share a memory related to investing that still makes her smile today.
I paid off my husband’s truck with my rental property income—and I just loved that, the day I clicked that button and submitted that final payment. Because he has always supported me forever, and it was just so nice to be able to do one thing for him.
I work so hard, and I’m gone a lot. I’ve been traveling to conferences lately. So, it was about a year ago that I was able to do that for him. And since then, I’ve actually paid off his farm equipment. I have one more—a skid-steer—to pay off for him.
But it’s just great showing that all this time I’ve wasted on real estate actually hasn’t been a waste. I’ve been able to provide for our family and get his farm paid off, so that really has been worth all of it.
The entire episode of the BiggerPockets Podcast featuring Ashley Kehr is available at BiggerPockets.com/show348.
Do you agree with Ashley’s advice about why real estate investing shouldn’t be intimidating for anyone—male or female?
Weigh in with a comment below.