“It’s Up To The Women”: The Future Of Real Estate Is In Your Hands

“It’s Up To The Women”: The Future Of Real Estate Is In Your Hands


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First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote a book called It’s Up to the Women in 1933 to help struggling American households cope with the Great Depression. Roosevelt, eons ahead of her time, recognized that women were uniquely qualified to not only survive the country’s worst economic period in history but could become a united force in pulling out of the crisis and forward into prosperity once more.

Finances and how agents get paid are at the heart of all of the struggles our industry is facing, and because women have been fighting a wage gap since they joined the workforce, it’s more important than ever for women to take control of their finances and the earning potential in their careers.

Women are the majority and moving force of real estate; from the board room to the admin desk, we have historically held down the fort. Even when women didn’t have fair representation in the industry, they were intrinsic in the early beginnings of the field.

Here is the best advice, skills, and resources for hard-working women to build their best careers and pull far ahead of anyone’s expectations for the rest of 2024 — and how they can help save a struggling industry from itself.

Financial security must be your top priority

As the American Dream seems to circle the drain at this point, I can’t help but be inspired by the courage it took for Roosevelt to write her book to raise the spirits and steel the hearts of the women in this country as they navigated through difficult times.

Though she wrote the book from a place of extreme privilege, Roosevelt did her very best to relate to the issues of the common American woman who, like herself, needed to care for their family and keep households operating smoothly.

The advice she gave in the book ranged from practical to motivational, but there was a common theme that still rings true today — personal finances are the key to staying afloat in any economy, but especially a down one.

Step 1: Get clarity on your financial responsibilities

Women have to be aggressive about how they are paid and who is paying them. While Roosevelt’s book is jam-packed with money-saving tips and boot-strapping practical advice, trimming your already strained budget is not going to save your career. However, making sure that every dollar you earn has maximized its potential will.

The data shows that the majority of women struggle to maintain wealth and financial security more than men.

Why? It’s crazy expensive to be a woman, let alone an independent contractor. When you start adding up the costs, even if women are making more money than men, more often than not, they have more and higher expenses.

Some of those expenses that are unique to women include the mommy/motherhood penalty, childcare, health care, pink tax, and the ever-present wage gap.

You cannot figure out how much you need to earn to have a stable lifestyle unless you have a solid handle on your expenses and responsibilities.

What is the biggest deal killer for your financial stability? Unplanned financial surprises and as a woman you can know how devastating an unplanned financial setback can be on a budget already on life support.

Take action: Write down your expenses and make sure you have a game plan to pay every single one of them. Have an emergency fund that protects you from when closings don’t happen and creates safety and security for yourself.

Some of my favorite financial resources for women:

Mindset change: Stop putting energy into how to cut your budget to make it work. Start putting energy into making more income to close the gap.

Step 2: Commit to yourself and your customers

In the spirit of change and any competitive market, there are two things you can count on: Your ability to get the job to the finish line, and your heart for providing authentic and reasonable customer service for your clients and customers.

Every customer deserves time in the transaction to educate themselves on their options and time for consideration.  This is the secret sauce to overcoming commission discussion.

There are three actions that you need to take to prepare for the changes ahead.

Action 1: Give yourself a raise- Meet with your broker and make sure that your split is fair and free of junk fees. This is also the time to evaluate just how much your “home base” is impacting your ROI. I’ve met with several agents who, after switching brokerages, added 15-30k (volume-specific) to their bottom line simply by ditching antiquated and inflated splits and brokerage fees.

Action 2: Educate yourself with the best tangible advice and insights from leading women experts in the industry. Women supporting women who run their businesses similarly to yours will help you find your path and your voice in advocating for yourself and your clients in commission negotiations.

Action 3: Document and disclose everything. The best agents I know keep solid records and receipts of education provided, discussions with clients and essentially create a timeline of receipts to show not only that education and options were provided, but that consideration and acceptance were acknowledged and recorded.

Documentation will save your spirit and build sanity and accountability into your business practice. I feel very strongly that every transaction and customer you help will be a custom experience, and this variable alone demands documentation. This also helps you build a relationship of actionable accountability on all sides of the transaction.

Mindset change: Most women don’t need fluffy sales training; they just need real resources and tools that work and a support network that believes in them and removes pain points and barriers that slow them down.

Almost every woman I know wakes up on a mission to seize the day before the day seizes them. What women need most is a pep talk, in general, to keep going despite the setbacks and unfair and inequitable realities life keeps presenting them.

Step 3: Amplify your voice with marketing

The last step is the step that is layered with the most action. Women need to start taking up space and talking about finances, legal and social issues and create educational content that will build their professional portfolio. Can this be entertaining? 100 percent.

Will this take an investment of time and self-discipline like you have never had to practice before? Unfortunately, yes, 100 percent. In order to change the conversation about the value that agents bring to the table, we have to talk about it, we have to get involved in our communities, and we have to take on leadership and executive roles so that we are in positions to make actual changes.

Numerous stories from women who have come forward in our industry to share information about the bad and worst behaviors of men in leadership roles show that there is plenty of room for improvement.

In 2020, Freddie Mac released a report called Female Leaders on Reaching Financial Services’ Upper Ranks. The report is about the lack of women in leadership roles and strategies to help more women trailblaze into these roles.

The secret to this? We have to help remove barriers for women to move into these positions, and women have to push themselves out of their comfort zones to get there. Ladies if you want to see real and meaningful change in our industry, you have to take on an active role of being a change maker.

Knowing how to market yourself, your brand, and your message is essential to figuring out what change you can make or want to make as you work towards taking on more leadership roles. What are the things you want to see happen? What improvements for consumers do you want to see? What can we collectively do to improve the overall experience for everyone in the industry and uphold and promote fair housing?

Become a student of marketing. Forget TikTok dances, get laser-focused on your message and how to broadcast it to your current audiences, and build new audiences.

Mindset Change: I owe it to myself, my clients and the future of my industry to share my message and help create the change I want and need to see in real estate.

Final thoughts

If you know your mission and your purpose it will change your life. My position is this: the conversation is ultimately about compensation, and if you want the conversation to have less chaos and more order, you have to be willing to not only trail blaze a path ahead of those who are confused, angry and afraid of change, but also be willing to change direction on the fly as the complexity of compensation and representation demands it.

Our former first lady had many memorable and popular quotes, but a personal favorite is as follows.

The pressure for women to take control of their personal finances and well-being is more important than ever for their careers, their personal success, but also the well-being of their future selves. Women in our country are under enormous pressure to be vigilant for their safety, healthcare,  and caregiving responsibilities.

Take a stand for your career, and change your mindset to ask what I can do next instead of what I am going to do now. Get ahead of the change, and if you need a pep talk, just know that you have a whole team of women here at Inman who are dedicated to bringing you the best, brightest, and solution-driven content to help fuel your life and business through any market.

Rachael Hite is a former agent, a business development specialist, fair housing advocate, copy editor, and is currently perfecting her long game selling forever homes in a retirement continuing care community in Northern Virginia. You can connect with her about life, marketing, and business on Instagram. 





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