Five of the most successful female real estate investors and how you can get started

Real estate is one of the best ways to generate wealth: no matter your primary industry, investing in property will provide consistent returns on investment that can be used as a cushion against market fluctuations.

While no investment is foolproof, real estate has retained its value for decades, and it is more impervious to market fluctuations than other investments like the stock market. 

While it’s easy to assume that real estate is a man’s world and that women haven’t yet made strong inroads into the industry, this couldn’t be further from the truth: many trailblazing women have made waves throughout real estate, creating a path for other female entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps.

You, too, could begin to generate consistent returns on real estate investments by learning from these pioneering women, studying their successes and learning from their mistakes. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the most influential women in real estate investing, then explore how you can begin developing a real estate portfolio today.

1) Barbara Corcoran: the Shark Tank investor

Likely the most well-known woman on this list, Barbara Corcoran is the cofounder of The Corcoran Group, which is one of the most prominent brokerage groups in New York City. Already a highly successful businesswoman, Corcoran became a celebrity outside of the real estate industry when she appeared on the TV show “Shark Tank,” where she became known for her shrewd estimations of potential powerhouse products. 

2) Wu Yajun: the world’s richest self-made woman

Though little recognized outside of China, We Yajun has the incredible distinction of being the world’s richest self-made woman. Back in 1995, Wu founded Chongqing Zhongjianke Real Estate Company with her husband, which was later renamed to Longfor Properties when she took the helm as CEO in 2005. It remains a wildly successful company that has made her the third richest woman in China and the 22nd richest woman in the entire world. 

3) Dottie Herman: CEO of the largest residential real estate brokerage firm

Back in the United States, the residential real estate market is dominated by Douglas Elliman, which is led by Dottie Herman. Her company has experienced substantial expansion and success under her leadership, with much of her success attributed to developing a strong long-term vision and leveraging relationships throughout the industry.

4) Sherry Chris: the genius behind Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Some of the most well-known brands in real estate, including Coldwell Banker, Better Homes and Gardens, Sotheby’s, and Century 21 is a company called Anywhere Real Estate, which is headed by the legendary Sherry Chris. Focused mainly on residential real estate, Chris has recognized the need for a more seamless, streamlined brokerage process for consumers, and is working to uplift the entire industry’s digital strategy.

5) Jane Goldman: America’s only billionaire female real estate investor

No discussion of female real estate investors would be complete with the rockstar Jane Goldman, the youngest daughter of legendary mogul Sol Goldman. As principal of the company she founded with her three siblings, Goldman controls over 400 high-end properties throughout New York, including a stake in the World Trade Center developments. If you want to see how successful she is with her business deals, look no further than her own sales: after purchasing a property in 2015, she sold it in 2020 for a net profit of an amazing $39 million.

How to get started on your path to real estate stardom

If you’re inspired by these powerful women holding their own in this supercharged industry, it’s time to think about how you, too, can develop a winning strategy for real estate investment. There are many ways to get started in real estate, but one of the easiest and safest methods to dive in is by buying into a REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust.

This is very similar to buying a share on the stock market: you don’t actually own the property, simply invest in it so that someone else can manage and develop it. This is an excellent way to start your portfolio and get familiar with trends in real estate while you prepare to buy your own property.

Once you have a feel for what real estate investing is like, you can purchase your own property. It can be intimidating to see the stipulations for a usual bank loan, but don’t get discouraged: there are other options available, including a Debt-Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) loan.

Instead of looking at your personal debt-to-income ratio like most real estate loans do, this type of loan considers the income potential of the property that you are purchasing and compares it to the overall cost of the loan. While you can close faster and scale your business more easily, it will require a larger down payment and you may pay higher interest rates.

As for what type of property you should buy, this depends strongly on your own preferences and desires as an investor. Do you want to be highly involved and fix up a home, or would you rather hold onto it for a long time before selling? Regardless of what you choose, note that you will usually get a steadier income from a business property, as these are generally going to give you higher rents and longer leases. 

The sky’s the limit for women, and this is true in real estate too. Many powerful female investors have led the way, and you can follow in their footsteps by learning about your lending options and exploring the many opportunities available. With courage and consideration, you too can reach the heights of moguldom and become a successful investor.