Real Estate Investing Basics

5 Things Smart Women (& Men) Do When Starting Out in Real Estate

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I am a wife, mother, W-2 employee, entrepreneur, business partner, marathoner, sister, daughter, friend, Christian, and volunteer. I'm also a woman, who happens to be real estate investor. I think most women are more than just ONE thing. At certain times, on certain days, in certain moments, we identify as certain things.

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From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I work my day job, but before and after that, I’m a mom who is running (usually late) to drop off and pick up her kids at daycare. On the weekend I’m an early morning runner, I’m a handyman turning over a rental, I’m a friend hanging with other friends, or I’m an accountant doing our business books. It just depends on the day.

I think my experience as a woman real estate investor is really just another hat I am lucky enough to wear. Like any new title I've taken on, I've had to learn the basics of that "job" and how to expand on those building blocks to make it my own. I've highlighted the areas of the business that I think are the core of being successful in real estate, and you'll be surprised that some of them aren't even real estate related! I think guys and gals alike can learn from the following list—although some sections are admittedly geared more toward the ladies out there!

5 Basic Building Blocks of Real Estate Success

  1. Know your stuff.

To say I get a TON of questions (and unsolicited comments) about investing is an understatement. If you are a woman investor reading this, nod your head if you have ever heard a similar version of the following:

  • “But, you don’t actually like that house stuff, do you?”
  • “YOU fixed the plumbing? Did you know what you were doing?”
  • “I would never be a slumlord.”
  • “Ew, dealing with tenants/contractors sounds HORRIBLE.”
  • “Yeah, I want to be just like Joanna Gaines, too! I love HGTV!”

I just made you all nod, didn’t I?

You will get questions and comments, so be ready! I’ve found that you can almost always answer any question by knowing four main points about your business: how to speak the real estate lingo, how to analyze deals, what returns you expect, and the core reason of why you invest. When you know the ins and outs of your business, investors and non-investors alike will give you the street cred you deserve!

young smiling african american businesswoman with coffee cup in city

  1. Find your focus.

It’s so easy to listen to podcasts, read some books, or find a blog or two about different topics and successes in real estate. While it’s good to be informed, beware of the “red shiny ball” that will distract you from the business you’re building (or have built). Choose the area that best suits you and what you’re trying to accomplish, and stick with it.

For example, if your strength is flipping homes, maybe you shouldn't try to flip homes AND run short-term rentals at the same time. You'll find the most successful investors—male or female—tend to conquer one business model (at least at first!). Don't stop learning about other types of real estate, but focus on one area that is going to get you ahead.

Related: How I Learned to “Have It All” as a Working Mom (Hint: I Ditched My 9-5)

  1. Learn and love time management.

Time management is admittedly one of my biggest weaknesses. For me, finding time to get things done is a hard balance to strike between my full-time job, my kids, and running our business. While I am always looking for better ways to manage time, here are some things that I find to be helpful:

  • Scheduling/Time Blocking: This has to be the one thing that keeps the lights on for us, literally and figuratively. An example of how I use time blocking is paying our bills. Because we still self-manage our rentals (for now), Sunday evenings in our house are devoted to paying the bills, both personal and business related. If we didn’t schedule this time, we’d be late on payments, miss something in the piles of mail, or always put it off by saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”
  • Priority Lists: Create a priority list at the beginning of the week. There is a reason this methodology, combined with time blocking, works so well. You can learn more about this in the BiggerPockets 90 Days of Intention Journal. The author, Brandon Turner, talks all about setting your weekly “battle plan” by calling out priorities. This journal was a game changer for me and is a MUST for time management and goal setting!
  • Tracking: Track activities and to-dos with your business partner (or even your spouse!). In my case, my business partner IS my spouse, so we like to keep separate calendars and lists for personal and business appointments. Apps we use are iCalendar, Trello, and AnyList. These work well for us. Now tell me what apps you use to organize lists and manage time!

Smiling young girl standing at the kitchen in the morning, reading newspaper, drinking tea

  1. Make time for self-care.

Did you think you would be reading about self-care on a real estate blog? It’s true—I find that taking time to take care of myself makes me not only a more productive person but also a happier one. When I’m happy and productive, I am ready to tackle anything!

I have run two full marathons, a handful of half marathons, and racked up countless miles over the years. I love a good run where I can unplug, zone out, and THINK. Sometimes I run to music, but most times I run to a podcast or audio book. Even if I have something plugged into my ears, I don’t necessarily pay attention to it—especially if I have some type of problem I’ve been thinking about. I usually solve that problem when I’m alone with my thoughts on a long run because it gives me time to mull it over in my mind, uninterrupted.

Sometimes I feel “mom guilt” (or wife guilt or entrepreneur guilt) about going for a long run, but then I think about how I want to raise my kids. I want them to take care of themselves—physically and mentally—and the way they will learn that is by watching me do the same.

Whatever your form of self-care is, do it and do it often. Maybe your “running time” is actually or biking, swimming, or meditating, or hey, getting your nails done! Whatever it may be, figure out what frees your mind, makes you happy, and leaves you feeling refreshed and confident. You’ll find that will spill over onto every “hat” you wear.

Related: 4 Steps to Take the Leap of Faith & Start Investing Now

  1. Connect with other women investors.

There is a reason that the BiggerPockets website exists and thrives: a bunch of people who are interested in real estate like to meet each other and talk about real estate. The same goes with book clubs, sports leagues, and church groups—people naturally gravitate toward other people who share common interests!

I think the missing piece for me was not having “real estate friends” who were women. I have met a few great friends through local real estate groups and meetups, but the audience is always primarily men. While there is nothing wrong with learning from Bob, the single contractor who flips homes, I find that I have more in common with Betty, the owner of 15 units who has three kids and works full-time.

I recently have joined the InvestHER Community led by Liz Faircloth (BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast guest on episodes #88 and #203) and Andresa Guidelli (BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast guest on episode #314). Liz and Andresa have started their own podcast to “empower women to live a financially free and balanced life.”

Check it out! They have the Real Estate InvestHER Podcast, along with their community page on Facebook, and local meetups in your town! This brand is really about supporting women, and I’ve found tremendous value from this group. I’ve even recently started an InvestHER meetup right here in my hometown to connect with other women investors.

Starting a meetup was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I am glad I branched out. I get to meet and learn from amazing women in my city, and I feel empowered to make bigger moves in my own business!

The Bottom Line

I don’t think women investors are vastly different from their male counterparts. We are wives, mothers, W-2 employees, entrepreneurs, business partners, marathoners, sisters, daughters, friends, women of different faiths, and volunteers. I find success in any role I’m in when I break down the basics, find my time and focus, take care of myself, and settle in with my network of peers. Real estate investing is no different.

These are the biggest takeaways I’ve learned over the years. That and the fact that you’ll ALWAYS be asked if you watch HGTV when people find out you’re a woman real estate investor! 🙂

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What do you think? Did I miss anything?

Drop a comment below!

Lacee is a buy and hold investor in Pittsburgh, PA. She works full time as an IT/Compliance professional, but is working on building her investment portfolio alongside her husband and business part...
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    Brittanie Smith from Pella, Iowa
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks, Lacey! That was a very encouraging article! It’s good to know there are other mom’s of toddlers out there who love real estate as much as I do :)
    Lacee Beitler Rental Property Investor from Pittsburgh, PA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks Brittanie! You're not alone... would love to hear how you balance kid time and business time!? It's always a balance!
    Eddy Ogbekhilu
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks Lacee,am not a mom,am Dad.Read your thread and it is very informative, just starting out investing ,buy and hold for the most part.Started out as live in flip that I turned into an assisted living facility. Once again thanks for this article.
    Lacee Beitler Rental Property Investor from Pittsburgh, PA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks, Eddy. Parenting and building a business is tough, on dads too! Thanks for your input, and congrats on getting started!
    Adam Blythe
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Great article Lacee- really helpful especially for a newbie like myself to real estate investing. I'm working on purchasing my first rental property by the end of this year so I need all the advice I can get. Thanks again for your helpful tips.
    Carlota Lopez from New Haven, Connecticut
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks Lacee, I feel 100% reflected. I also do our accountant books with QuickBooks and I'm looking for a training to refresh and improve my accountant skills, in particular in house flipping. Any training you would recommend? Also, is there any website/newsletter you are subscribed to be up to date with latest tax/accountant changes?
    Mary Catherine Walker
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks for all the info. I am a new investor i had a father who built and repair houses, he his sons and brothers. So it's in my blood I am so glad to finally be doing R/E. To God be the Glory.
    Margo Lawrence from Los Angeles, CA
    Replied about 1 year ago
    Thanks Lacee I'm just getting started in wholsaling and this post was encouraging.
    Sonia Macias Rental Property Investor from Omaha, NE
    Replied about 1 year ago
    I felt right at home! I am not the only crazy woman trying to balance it all ;-)