If you’re reading this, I imagine you’re a middle aged woman who wants to start investing in real estate, but doesn’t know if it’s possible without spending a ton of money. Well – I am here to tell you that it is possible, and that I’ve done it! There are so many ways to creatively invest in cash flowing real estate as a mid-life woman. I think mid-life sounds better than middle aged, so we’ll go with that term!
I started seriously investing in real estate when I was 42 years old. Since then (I’m 45 now), I’ve grown my investment real estate portfolio from one small duplex that cost $55k to over 300 multi-family (apartment) units. I also own an Airbnb house in Los Angeles, and other passive streams of income – most of which I started after I turned 40!
Why did I start investing in real estate so late? Well, I was busy! Between infertility, having kids, raising kids (and homeschooling them), special needs diagnoses for those kids…there wasn’t a lot of time left for me to pursue my own interests. My youngest child is 4 now, and I feel like I’m finally coming up for air. Now is my time to do all the things I want to do!
So – let me tell you how to get started investing in real estate as a mid-life woman. There are a million ways to do it; you just need to decide which one suits you best. And then you need to go for it. Waiting around for the perfect opportunity or market conditions never got anybody anywhere.
Investing in real estate as a mid-life (middle-aged) woman
Real estate investing has always been a popular way to increase wealth, but it can be difficult to get started when you are a woman in mid-life and have little money. Women especially often feel intimidated by the idea of investing in real estate due to the large amount of capital required and their lack of experience, plus it’s still a male-dominated field. However, there is hope for those who are willing to put the time and effort into making it work. A little sweat equity can go a long way, especially if you’re short on funds.
With some creative thinking and a bit of research, women in mid-life can begin investing in real estate with no money down. Whether you want to purchase an investment property or become involved with a rental company (i.e. start a property management company), there are several options available that don’t require large sums of money upfront.
For example, you could explore seller financing or consider partnering up with another investor. You may also be able to leverage government resources such as grants or loans for qualified individuals. There are so many options, I could write a book about them all. The important thing is to put on your creative thinking cap, and don’t let a lack of funds intimidate you from following your passions.
How Mid-Life Women Can Get Started Investing in Real Estate With Little to No Money
Are you a middle aged woman who’s been thinking about investing in real estate, but don’t have a lot of money to put down? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many women find themselves in the same situation, wondering how they can get started in real estate investing without breaking the bank.
The good news is that it is possible to start investing in real estate with little to no money – you just need to know where to look and what steps to take. In this blog post, we’ll show you how mid-life women can get started investing in real estate with little to no money. Keep reading to learn more!
Step One: Talk to A Financial Advisor
Talk to a financial advisor about your goals and what you’re hoping to achieve by investing in real estate
For middle aged women who have aspirations of investing in real estate but don’t have a lot of money, talking to a financial advisor can be one of the best first steps.
In this conversation, you will be able to provide the advisor with your financial goals and also learn about some strategies for how to reach those goals when it comes to real estate investments. They’ll be able to look at your unique financial situation and let you know what’s in your real estate investment budget, depending on your appetite for risk.
Thanks to a competent financial advisor’s knowledge and experience, they may be able to provide advice and resources that you would not be aware of otherwise, providing a framework for you to begin building wealth through real estate investments in the most effective way possible.
A word of caution – not all financial advisors are created equal! If you want to follow of the advice of a financial advisor, make sure it’s someone you trust, who is ideally also a real estate investor. Real estate investing is a different mindset and not everyone “gets” that!
Step Two: Research different types of investment properties
Take a look at a wide variety of real estate: single-family homes, duplexes, self storage, apartments, commercial space – the sky is the limit!
When you’re trying to get started real estate investing as a middle-aged woman, it’s good to survey all the different types of real estate and see which might be the best fit for you.
From single-family homes and apartments to duplexes and more, there are numerous options when it comes to finding an investment that fits both their budget and needs. Not only do each of these offer a range of benefits, but they also have differing levels of risk and return associated with them – both important factors when considering an investment in real estate.
Step Three: Read up on real estate investing
Even if you have an idea of the type of real estate investing you want to start pursuing, it can be intimidating to jump into real estate investing when you have no prior knowledge or experience. That’s why reading books about real estate is a great way to get informed and prepared for your investments before taking the plunge.
Reading books about real estate investment strategies is an invaluable resource – you can learn about all the mistakes everyone else has made and try not to make them yourself! By reading, you can gain insight into potential pitfalls and tricks of the trade that could save you from making costly mistakes down the road.
Additionally, by understanding all aspects of the investment process, you can make more informed decisions regarding your money and may even discover new opportunities in this area that could prove lucrative.
Sometimes when I’m reading real estate books (and I’ve read A LOT), they don’t resonate with me because I’m, well, a middle-aged woman and 99 percent of the real estate books out there are written by men. My advice is to seek out books by female authors, especially authors who will be authentic about their experience juggling their responsibilities as a female real estate investor with the rest of their busy lives.
Don’t get me wrong – I do get a lot of valuable information from male authors. But, it’s the female voices that have really inspired me the most along the way. Real estate investing is still very much a boy’s club (although that IS changing slowly). So, it’s nice to get the perspective of a mid-life female author who is in a similar position to you!
Step Four: Network with other female real estate investors
Real estate investing can be a great way to build wealth and financial security. Starting out as a real estate investor can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to learn the ropes on your own. I know when I started real estate investing, I was so intimidated by going to real estate meet-ups, especially when almost everyone there was male and they all knew each other!
But, I got over it because I wanted to be a successful real estate investor. I wasn’t going to let being a middle-aged woman get in the way. Ha!
Networking with successful real estate investors is one of the best ways for mid-life women to get started in real estate investing. Not only will networking give you access to resources and advice from seasoned real estate investors, but it also provides valuable experience that will help you succeed in your own investments.
Like reading books about real estate investing, networking with successful real estate investors can save you from making so many mistakes! Pretty much every real estate investor who’s been in the game for a significant period of time has seen some things.
They have likely already made some mistakes along the way and they can provide advice based on their experiences which will save you time, money, and energy. Furthermore, connecting with established investors gives opportunities to learn about different types of investment strategies such as flipping homes or becoming a landlord.
So, don’t let being the only woman in the room stop you from attending real estate meet-ups and networking with real estate investors. In my experience, seasoned real estate investors are very kind and willing to share their experience. Who knows, you might find a real estate partner at one of your networking events!
Step Five: Find a real estate agent who specializes in investment properties
When you’re first starting out on your investment journey, finding the right real estate agent is essential. An agent who specializes in investment properties can help you locate the perfect property no matter what your budget is.
He or she can assess which areas are best for investment so that you can get the most bang for your buck and make a wise purchase. With access to up-to-date information about market trends and recent developments, a real estate agent with an expertise in investment properties will be sure to provide invaluable insights that’ll set you up for success.
When selecting an agent, it’s essential they have experience helping clients find, purchase and manage rental properties that generate long term wealth. A knowledgeable professional with expertise in the field can provide invaluable insights on property values, zoning regulations, market trends and more.
Ask your potential agents for references from other investors like yourself. Additionally, research your options online – read reviews from past clients and compare services offered by different agents before making your final selection. Finding the right partner will help ensure you make wise decisions when entering into the world of real estate investing. It’s worth the time and effort to really vet your agent before committing to their services.
Now, how easy is it to find a magical real estate agent who will show you the ropes and who is also experienced in real estate investing? Not that easy! It will take some looking to find the right agent, and that’s where networking can help. Ultimately, I ended up getting my own realtor’s license so that I could find properties myself – but I realize that’s not typical.
Make sure your agent takes you seriously as a real estate investor. Real estate investing is still a male-dominated industry, and I’ve found that the sexism is apparent everywhere you turn. But, you CAN find investor-focused agents who are happy to help mid-life women real estate investors – you just have to do a little digging. Once you find that person, hang on to them! The relationship could work out to be mutually beneficial for both of you for a long time.
Step Six: Get pre-approved for a loan from a bank or other lending institution
When you don’t have a lot of money to invest, it can seem difficult to get a bank to work with you. However, there are LOTS of options to finance properties. You can have a seller finance a property. You can buy an owner-occupied duplex (or any property up to four units) and rent out three of the units and live in the other. When you do that, you can get very favorable financing terms, often for little to no money down.
To get financing, you need to look at your lifestyle and what you’re willing to do. A lot of the young “dude bro” investors will tell you to “house hack.” Yeah, that works when you’re 22 and single.
When you’re a middle aged woman with kids at home, and a life – maybe you don’t want to share walls with your tenants. I get that! In that case, start thinking outside the box. For example, if you already own your own home, you could rent THAT house out, and then go find another home to buy to live in. This way, you could get the owner occupant loan terms on your next house, while still keeping the favorable loan terms of your first house in place.
Or, if you own a home with equity, you could apply for a HELOC or refinance your house (primary residence) and pull the extra cash out to use as your down pament (aka the BRRR method).There are so many options!
There are a million ways to get creative. Once you start digging, there’s no excuse not to find financing, even when you have little to no money. For example, you can do short term rental arbitrage (like Airbnb) and never even have to buy a property in the first place. I’ll cover the details of that in a later post because it’s too complex to tackle here.
Just know that you can get financing one way or another. Don’t give up – it just takes getting started. After you’ve purchased the first one or two properties, things will start to snowball and it will become easier over time to buy more. That’s just how it works. The hard part is getting started.
For most middle-aged women getting started investing in real estate without much money, getting a pre-approval from a bank is the first step. Getting pre-approved can let sellers know that you’re serious about buying their property, and that you will be able to close. The ability to close is a HUGE factor for sellers accepting your offer – so it’s worth it to go the extra mile and get pre-approved for a loan before you start submitting offers to sellers.
Step Seven: Make an offer on an investment property that meets your criteria
When you don’t have a ton of money and you’re getting started in mid-life with real estate investing, the entire process can seem overwhelming. It can seem like you’re searching for a property that is going to cashflow and is not a total beater!
It may seem like a unicorn (totally elusive), but rest assured, it is still possible to find a property that meets your criteria and make a low-cost offer that could reap huge rewards.
Doing proper research ahead of time regarding location, pricing trends and the local economy can help you hone in on an area with potential for long-term growth. Investigating the neighborhood for existing rental opportunities and expected rental valuations will also help inform your decision-making process.
I know a lot of gurus suggest going out of state to invest because prices may be lower in other markets. However, I don’t think that’s the best idea in A LOT of cases. It’s so important to have “boots on the ground” and know your market. It can give you a huge edge in investing.
I actually relocated my family from Los Angeles to another state for real estate investing. I knew that in LA, it would be so much more difficult to scale the real estate empire the way I wanted to. That’s not realistic for everyone, I know! But if you can find a way to get a competitive edge over others based on local knowledge, it will take you a long way.
Step Eight: Close on the property and begin collecting rent from tenants
You’ve made it: you’ve closed on the property and you’re at the finish line. Or are you just starting?!
The prospect of finally closing on a rental investment property property and collecting rent from their tenants can be a dream come true. Closing on the right property with affordable monthly payments and reliable, quality tenants is far from an easy task, but with dedication and research it is possible to find something that fits all of your needs. Being able to collect rent every month brings more financial stability and makes the hard work involved in finding the right property worth it in the long run.
Step Nine: Figure out who’s going to manage your properties
There’s a lot more to real estate investing than just cashing rent checks, of course. You’ve got to manage the property, keep the tenants happy, and pay all the bills (mortgage, taxes, insurance, sewer, water, etc.)
Some real estate investors like to self-manage their properties, but if you’re just starting out as a real estate investor, this can seem daunting. When I started seriously investing in real estate, I was a middle-aged woman in my forties with five kids at home. It didn’t make sense for me to self-manage, when I had so many other responsibilities on my plate.
Hiring a property manager was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my real estate investing journey. I was able to scale my real estate empire (I love saying “empire” – ha!) from one duplex to over 300 units by not self-managing.
By hiring a property manager, I was able to network, find better deals, and work on running the numbers to find the next deal. It has been very worth it to me to work with a property manager – and so much of where I am I owe to them!
I still actively watch over the properties, and I’m not hands-off by any means. But with good property management in place, I know that I won’t get a call at 3 am to unlock someone’s front door or unclog their toilet. I’m 45 years old and I don’t have time for that!
So, what do you think? Do you know now that you can invest in real estate for the first time as a mid-life woman, even if you don’t have a ton of cash in the bank? I hope you know that you can do it. If you take the leap, you have the potential to open up a path of financial freedom and success.
There are risks associated with any kind of investment, of course, but with the right knowledge, resources and preparation, those risks can be minimized. As long as you do thorough research, seek professional advice if needed, and make smart decisions along the way, investing in real estate can be a rewarding experience. I know it has been for me!
Erika Finn, founder of Stacking Acorns, is an attorney who graduated from law school at University of California, Berkeley. She was a member and editor of the California Law Review and won the Prosser Prize for Legal Accounting. She holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University- Bloomington. Stacking Acorns is a personal finance website for women by women. We help mid-life women achieve financial freedom through real estate investing and other streams of passive income.