Personal Finance

4 Differences Between the Way Women & Men Invest in Real Estate

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Investing Basics
43 Articles Written
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Before I got into real estate, I went to graduate school for marketing. My final thesis was about all the annoying ways women are marketed to. Here are some insulting examples: the color pink, the word “fierce,” being told constantly women own/run/make the world.

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Implying to me that I can be convinced that cheaply is definitely NOT a celebration of women! 

Let’s talk about gender in terms of investing. Here are some basics on how women are the same as men when they purchase an investment. We like money. We like when our money makes us more money. We like doing very little for that money and then obsessively watching it build up our bank accounts. 

Annnnd, we are different. I know, I know. No one likes hearing this, but if you don’t believe me, ask yourself the following questions: Who pays for prostitutes? Who buys makeup? 

Young Asian businesswoman frowning with concern as she tries to understand something she is reading on her laptop computer scratching her head with her pencil in perplexity

4 Ways Women Differ From Men When Investing

Now that we’ve established there are some general differences between the sexes, here are some ways women are different than men when it comes to buying properties.

  1. If we’re married, we have much more buying power than our husbands. In fact, studies show we make 80 percent of all consumer decisions. (1)
  2. Women tend to buy cyclically, and men tend to buy in a linear pattern. (2) Women like to get the same information from several sources over time before buying something. So, this exposure would look more like books, podcasts, social media, and friends and then waiting and revisiting the idea.
    For men, an investment looks more like this. Someone they know has investments/tells them they should invest; they get on BiggerPockets; they buy and read a book; they look at properties; and then they buy a property.
  3. Women are driven by emotions and men are driven by features. (3) This one pissed me off, too, but hear me out. A guy might be motivated to buy an Airbnb property because it has a walkout basement, which is a feature he’s read you should look for in a short-term rental. And a woman might say, “Yeah, it has that, but it’s also really ugly and I’d never book this, which makes me think other people would never book it.”
    This is a somewhat weird feature of females: they need more info and education before buying, but they are also more sensitive to their feelings.
  4. Women are less driven by conquering messages and more driven by everyone winning. (4) That said, if communicating to a man, you might say, “You’re going to cash flow $800/month, which is way better than the average investor.” 
    And to a female you might say, “You’re going to cash flow $800/month, which is better than the average investor. Added to that, the proximity of this property to the hospital will keep it rented out but might also help support families who need to be near sick loved ones.”
    Note on this: Women are businesspeople. The thrust here isn’t helping others; the thrust is making money with the added benefit of helping others. 

Related: Investing With Your Spouse? STOP and Read These 4 Survival Tips!

Young black couple using laptop at home look at each other

Married men who want to close a deal need to involve their wives early and often. To begin with, the male investor may have found me on BiggerPockets or Google, while his wife is more inclined to use a referral from her best friend. (I definitely need to know this.) 

Also, you might have different motivations that you think you’ve worked out, but you haven’t. (Case in point: We just had a husband hire us specifically because of our expertise in getting income-generating, Airbnb properties—aka a basement—and when we met his extremely pregnant wife, she never once said “Airbnb” or “income-generating.”) 

Finally, our success rate (and therefore, your success rate) is much higher when a spouse is onboarded. If it’s a good idea and the property makes sense financially, your spouse will get on board—they might just need to come to that decision in a different way than you do.  

Related: Women Influence 91% of Home-Buying Purchases. So Why Aren’t More Investing?

Resources

  1. http://www.genderleadershipgroup.com/the-inclusionary-leadership-blog/210
  2. Hanson, Sarah. 2009. Beyond pink. Director Magazine (January). http://www.director.co.uk/magazine/2009/1%20Jan/marketing_women_62_6.html [accessed May 19, 2013].
  3. Edwards, Chris. 2012. What women don’t want. Engineering & Technology, (January). 
  4. Brennan, Bridget. 2009. Why she buys. New York: Crown Business.

Do you agree or disagree with the above? What other differences have you noticed between the way men and women invest? 

Comment below!

 

Erin Spradlin co-owns James Carlson Real Estate. She loves working with first-time home buyers or sellers because it is fun to help people realize their dreams and loves working with investors because she's a fellow spreadsheet nerd. In addition to working with clients on buying and selling real estate, Erin Spradlin also runs Denver Women Invest, a monthly female investing group (email her if you want in!) and educational classes on Airbnb investing and buying or selling your first home. In keeping with many successful real estate investors, James Carlson Real Estate believes strongly in giving back to the community. For that reason, Erin and James donate a portion of their commission to a charity of their client's choosing on every single transaction.

    Radsford Felix Real Estate Agent from Hawai'i
    Replied 6 months ago
    I agree that my wife is involved in all of our decision making across the board but she would balk at getting in the way of anything I feel strongly enough about. Even if she thinks it’ll fall short of expectations she’ll stand with me because she trusts me. She’s learned to temper her emotions because we need to be passionately dispassionate about inanimate objects such as houses. Great article! I always say women are more cerebral which sometimes gets in the way because the market can run at a sprinters pace! Being able to pull the trigger might be the only difference between a closed deal and a near miss.
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied 5 months ago
    I think women are tied in more closely with the consequences of a bad financial decision, and therefor are more reticent. Just like the job market where you see men applying and assuming they can do jobs that their resumes don’t necessarily support (and/or don’t support 100%), whereas women are less hesitant to apply unless they know for sure they are qualified. I think we see the same assumption/risk pattern in investing as well.
    Eric Carr Real Estate Broker from Los Angeles, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    I’m not married, but I have heard the phrase, “happy wife, happy life” so it seems they are the final approvers 80% of the time Fun fact about me, never paid for prositutes, have bought my own make up!
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied 5 months ago
    Not going to lie, that final line made me laugh. I assume most have not, but I also assume when someone does pay for a prostitute 98% of the time, that person is a male.
    Dalia D. from Bellingham, WA
    Replied 5 months ago
    Thanks Eric for noting the prejudices and stereotypes…I never paid for prostitutes and never bought/wore make-up!
    Erin Spradlin Real Estate Agent from Denver, CO
    Replied 5 months ago
    You know, saying women are more apt to buy makeup and men are more apt to pay for prostitutes is a stereotype… but it is one backed up be a lot of data. And if you don’t like data, buying an investment presents an issue. Believe me when I say I want to be sensitive to some of the assumptions thrown around. I don’t appreciate them either. But we also need to be realistic about truths and it is not subjective to say: women buy makeup more than men and men pay for prostitutes more than women. Those are truths. And, again, we need to be clear on numbers, patterns, trends and data when purchasing properties.
    Vaughn K. from Seattle, WA
    Replied 5 months ago
    The trick is that one can simultaneous accept two points: 1. There is such a thing as an AVERAGE behavior/outcome, or a LIKELY behavior/outcome. 2. There are also exceptions to the rule. You don’t have to believe that something is either true 100% of the time or 0% of the time! There’s LOTS of room for grey in the real world. The reality is that many stereotypes exist for a reason. Some are totally bunk, but many are backed up by tons of data, and just obvious in your face life experience. I hate people who deny these things, because many of them are so painfully obvious that one must be mentally defective to not believe them. Women own way more pairs of shoes than men… Men own way more tools than women! Both of those are true, yet for both of those things there are exceptions to those rules. Men are taller than women, and women are more flexible. One could go on for eternity with these things. I don’t see why people get so upset about “averages” for certain things. No person is an “average,” they’re a person that may or may not fit whatever mold they’re supposed to fit into. IMO accepted the differences that clearly exist is the best way to do things… That way you’re working WITH reality instead of against it. Men ARE more aggressive and more prone to making snap decisions… Women tend to be more cautious and emotional when deciding a lot of things. If you’re a man, and accept this, you can temper your natural instincts and potentially save yourself from being too aggressive or impulsive, and if you’re a woman you can realize sometimes maybe you need to be MORE aggressive and ignore some emotional signals you may be getting in some situations. That sounds like win-win to me! You don’t always have to ignore your gut or your emotions, but you should be aware of the innate biases you may have. Know thy self!
    Traci Marin
    Replied 4 months ago
    My husband and I are actually opposite to this... Also, I am the big risk-taker, and he is the one concerned with security (money under the mattress). He has a more emotional take on investing; whereas, I am more about the numbers. Although we both work equally hard, I got lucky enough to earn more income. This does play a part in the "risk-taker" vs "security net" thinking. I do buy more makeup than he does, so I guess we do match that stereotype :)