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Women In Real Estate

The disparity between the genders is significant when it comes to property investment with figures showing that few women own an investment property.

It’s a reality that Property Investment Professionals of Australia chair Nicola McDougall wants to see change. In an effort to show more women how to invest and build financial security McDougall has co-authored The Female Investor, with buyer’s agent Kate Hill.

McDougall joined Hotspotting’s Terry Ryder and Tim Graham on a recent webinar to discuss women investors.

She reveals:

–        Why it’s important that women invest

–        It’s never too early or too late

–        It’s not one size fits all

–        You need a clear plan

–        It’s important to seek advice from real experts


McDougall says women often have “inferior” financial outcomes compared with men, not only during their working lives but into retirement.

Superannuation balances are generally well below those of men at retirement (about 17% less) and in the case of divorce, women can struggle to afford somewhere to live.

“The fastest growing demographic of homeless people in this country is single women aged over 55,” she says.

“If the relationship breaks down, they may get a share of the proceeds (of selling the family home) but it’s still not enough for them to re-enter the property market and then they’re stuck as renters perhaps for the rest of their lives. Generally speaking, the research shows that that’s not the case for men.”


McDougall says the earlier women consider investing the better but it’s never too late. She urges women to be proactive in seeking opportunities to invest in real estate.

“The longer that you’re in the market, the better the outcome will be over the long term,” she says.

“If you can get into the property market in your twenties, the results compared with later in life can be significant.”


While McDougall’s book is aimed at female investors, she says the theories apply just as well to male investors.

But it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario, regardless of gender. The Female Investor includes a range of real-life case studies depicting the varying investment journeys of women interviewed by McDougall and Hill.

“It was really important to us to show a variety of different real-life women who have become property owners and property investors,” she says.

“People unfortunately don’t understand that there are so many different strategies they can engage with. It’s about you personally, in terms of the right strategy. You need to know your risk profile, your goals, your dreams, your family situation, your income level – all of these things can influence your choice of strategy for investment.

“There’s a plethora of different things that will cause you as an individual to make choices different to even one of your best girlfriends.”


One of the biggest mistakes people make is to attempt property investment without a clear plan at the start.

McDougall says there is no limit to what women can achieve if they have a clear plan and know their own risk profile.

“It’s true of anything in life, whether it’s your career or anything else: how do you know how to get somewhere if you don’t know where you want to end up?

“That is so key with property investment. People really need to sit back and do some forward planning. It’s different for everyone. Someone might like to own one property and others might like to own five.”


McDougall finds it hard to believe that most people will go to a specialist if there’s something wrong with their body or their car, but won’t take the same approach when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions, buying real estate.

It’s important to not only seek advice but to make sure you’re dealing with bona fide experts.

Property investment advice is an unregulated sector and McDougall warns wannabe investors about blindly following on-line influencers without checking their credentials.

“A key part of what we are doing at PIPA is educating the public to understand that there are specialists out there who’ve been around a long time doing research and analysis and providing services to investors,” she says. “But there are many who have little knowledge or experience with assisting real estate consumers.

“You really need to do the research. We’re talking about investing hundreds of thousands of dollars, so you must make sure that the person that you are following actually knows what they’re talking about.

“Educate yourself as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you personally.”


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