Women now make up 40% of the UK’s landlords. By comparison, only 17% of small business owners are women, and in context, it was just a generation ago that women could still be asked to provide a male guarantor before they could get a mortgage.
So why are women and property such a winning combination?
We asked Bindar Dosanjh, founder of the Female Property Alliance and director of Smart Core Wealth. She’s been working with Simple Landlords Insurance on new research to find out more about women in property.
Property is a route to financial independence
“We found that women were more likely to rent for the monthly income than for long term capital growth – 63% vs just 33%. Women are using property to boost or replace their monthly income – and it’s a strategy that can help them get the lifestyle and the balance they’re looking for.
“For me, property is all about choices, and preparing for the unknown – the uncertainties of life. For women, there are many uncertainties. We cannot take our health, our relationships, our careers or our families for granted. Personal financial independence is crucial – because when money is no object we can actually start living.
“Despite considerable pressures on the market, investing in property in the UK is still a pretty good way to make money. And it’s great to see that more and more women are using it as their means to gain financial security.”
Accidental landlords can be great landlords and great investors
“Women are far more likely than men to become landlords by accident – for instance by inheriting property or moving in with a partner. Only 48% of women were deliberate investors compared to 61% of men.
“I think there’s a perception that accidental landlords are not as engaged or not as savvy – and that’s not necessarily true. It’s all about finding the right education and support, and it’s important to surround yourself with the knowledgeable experts.
“I started out as an accidental landlord renting out rooms in my home after my marriage broke down, trying to make ends meet for me and my infant daughter. Now I’m a deliberate investor, with a multi-million pound portfolio. And I help others follow the same journey.”
Women have key skills that can be transferred to property investment
“From my perspective I see many women who have ‘hidden’ skills that can be applied to property investment more easily than they think. For instance, women often fall into being the family organisers, and keeping a lot of balls in the air – all vital skills for property investment. So is being a good communicator, a good negotiator – and being good at managing people and projects.
“I believe pretty much anything else to do with property you can learn, and you can learn it faster than you think.”
Women invest not just in property but in relationships
“It’s a cliche, but they do say women have intuition, and are good at forging relationships. Property investment involves both! You will have to choose and work well with agents, with lawyers, with insurance providers, with builders, and of course with tenants.
“Finding the right tenant for your property is crucial. I have always treated my tenants as customers who deserve excellent accommodation and service, and I have found this rewarding both ethically and financially. I want them to make it their homes and stay for longer and care about and look after the properties themselves. It’s a sound strategy.
“We found that women were more likely than men to talk to their tenants, and more likely to rent out to different tenant types – with 35% saying they would consider renting to tenants in receipt of housing benefit, compared with just 25% of men.”
Women take pride in their properties
“We found women had a real passion for property, and pride in what they did. In fact 47% had properties they would live in themselves – versus 39% of men.
“We also found that the female landlords we talked to were proud to different to men. They were proud to be more open minded to different tenant types, proud to support social housing, proud to house proud, and proud of their strong relationships with tenants. This was what they felt gave them their edge, and was a key part of their success.”
So how can women make property work for them? Here are Bindar’s top tips for women wanting to get started in property investment, or to grow their portfolios:
- Be clear about why you’re investing, and develop an investment strategy accordingly.
- Choose the right property – research, research and research some more! Take the time to look at the area, the schools, the amenities, similar properties and average rental incomes.
- Choose the right tenants – think about local demand, who you want to rent to, what they’re looking for in a property, how long they’ll want to stay, how much they’re looking to pay, and any potential risks.
- Run the numbers – make sure the figures work against your step-by-step investment plan, and calculate for unexpected costs.
- Get the right insurance – understand what you need for each property, what you don’t need, what you’re covered for and what you’re not.