To start off strongly (and quite bluntly), women don’t have it easy. If you’re a man and about to have a fit in response to this, hold your horses for a moment. This is not to say that men are unaware of the negative implications of patriarchy. Patriarchy may have sidelined some women, but that’s a conversation for another day.
And while it’s true that there are success stories of women who have succeeded in their own right in various industries, it became a ‘success story of a woman’ mainly because of the adversity created by some men or other people prejudiced against women. Whether it’s in academia, corporate, culinary, or the real estate industry—female professionals generally need to grind more than their male colleagues.
If you’re a woman looking into venturing into real estate, here are three tips and advice in exploring a typically male-dominated industry.
1. Toughen Up, Queen
Whether you’re male, female, or non-binary, the real estate business could be harsh and hostile at times, a dog-eat-dog world, if you will. Some people might take advantage of you and even throw you under the bus to get a comfy seat inside. There might even be a scheming colleague or a ‘friend’ who’s ready to offer you to the dark lords so long as it benefits them. Kidding aside, it’s tough to survive, all the more so if you’re a woman.
That’s why you need to equip yourself with the right knowledge, experience, and vigour to pull through in this industry. Real estate is a complicated business, and clients will prefer a knowledgeable and evidently experienced agent any time and will look past your gender the minute you walk in with your head held high.
Real estate is a competitive market. Words are cheap, so you must bring something to the table. In addition, clients are one thing, but your colleagues are a different story. Some of your male colleagues, especially the misogynistic ones, might talk you down to break and discourage you, but remember why you’re there in the first place.
Prioritizing your clients and closing a deal are two of the most important things you must do to survive, and eventually, move up the ladder in the real estate industry.
2. Acknowledge The Microaggressions
To define it simply, microaggressions are subtle remarks, comments, and generally, treatments that are insulting and derogatory. What makes microaggressions largely problematic is they’re so discreet that people committing them can easily dish them out as something not offensive or demeaning, but more like a joke.
In the workplace alone, microaggressions happen almost every day. These remarks, which can easily pass off as jokes, carry a heavy weight—one that can even affect your success in the real estate business.
For instance, your colleague Chad makes a snide comment about your being meticulous with paperwork as you close a deal, as if implying that you can’t keep up with the workload or not competent enough. People like him who make these remarks are difficult to confront because most of the time they’ll simply play innocent and, in some cases, they really mean no harm. But microaggressions work exactly that way. And if you let such comments pile up, you might soon find yourself in a situation where your self-worth or value as a competent professional is somehow diminished.
3. Queens, Unite!
Time and again, we’ve been told that being a woman is tough. As such, it’s only fitting for a woman to give and receive support from her fellow queens.
Ironically, if the real estate industry is dominated by men, the decision-makers among the clients are usually women. Think of all the movies where newlyweds plan to start a family—it’s usually the wife who picks the house they’ll buy.
As a female realtor, this can be an advantage. There’s always this kinship among women. Probably because other women know you face the same barriers and also, they feel safe in the company of another woman.
Nonetheless, if you play your cards right, sealing the deal is a walk in the park. And no, this is not taking advantage of your female clients. There is no ethical issue here. You’re just selling a real estate property to another female who finds it easier to relate with you.
To know more about the social relationships of your fellow women, check out this post.
Women have gone a long way in terms of gender equality. However, this doesn’t mean that the struggle for equal treatment and opportunities has already ended. Women and other marginalized individuals must join hand in hand in advocating for their rights—especially in the workplace.