On the consumer side, there are more single women buying homes than ever before, but the shift is also apparent among the ranks of real estate professionals.
According to Liza Rogers, founder of the Women’s Real Estate Network (WREN), women are having an obvious influence on the design and production of homes.
“I can go into a new home and I can tell you right away if a woman has been part of the design team,” she said. “The countertops are the first indication; if they’re too high, they did not consult a woman.”
Rogers started WREN about two years ago because she noticed women were unmistakably changing the real estate industry but had few resources and networks at their disposal. WREN’s objectives are to empower women to both invest in real estate and manage their holdings.
Another one of the organization’s purposes is to instill the virtues of building responsibly, and WREN will be discussing all of those things and more at the Victoria Real Estate Investment Expo on March 3.
“It’s a big one for me and it’s the whole reason I started the women’s network,” said Rogers, who’s also one of the Expo’s producers. “For women in the marketplace, this is another one of those areas where women are starting to enter the field and we’re changing the arena. You can’t have a discussion about real estate and investment in a region without talking about sustainability, transportation, affordability, building community, and helping people who are marginalized.”
Cheri Crause, a sales agent with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty in Victoria, can attest to the transformative impact women are having on the real estate industry. An agent for 11 years, Crause has been a real estate investor since 1997 and says the evolution she’s witnessed is unambiguous.
“Over the past few years, I would say that, yes, definitely, women are taking on larger roles in the investment realm,” she said. “As realtors want to be investors and also take on larger roles, like becoming builders, one thing I’ve noticed is if you have an investment group, the majority are women.”
As society becomes more egalitarian and women are no longer deprived of options, but rather encouraged to exercise self-determination, real estate has become one of their most preferred industries. One reason, believes Crause, is women are more visual, and like Rogers, she sees it in the ways homes are designed.
“It’s the height of the cabinets, the height of the counters, the practical layout,” she said.
Crause is also a builder—a natural step for a person who has been living and breathing real estate for more than two decades—and she expects more women in real estate to follow a similar path.
“I certainly see it’s still evolving and changing, but I don’t know how fast it will go,” she said.” Part of that is when women see other women doing things, it inspires them. The inspiration is there and when women think ‘I can do this too’— when they see that women can be successful in certain fields, it will naturally evolve that way.”
Excelling as a woman in business
A tiny solution for a big problem
While some industries are slow to change and reflect predominant social mores, the real estate industry is not one of them.