On today’s episode,
Bernadette is co-hosting with Jo Vadillo. Jo is going to accompany Bernadette on a semi-regular basis. Their mission is to help women renovators be empowered in pursuing their dream of being a successful female renovators in today’s market.
Listen to Episode 51: The Empowered Female Investor
- The empowered female investor
- Jo Vadillo of Advocate Property Services
- The benefit of age and experience in renovating
- Compromising on lifestyle
- Women make great investors
- Women make the majority of buying decisions
- Sexism in the real estate industry
- Get educated to understand how renovating really works
- What are the strengths does an empowered female investor have?
- Great communities that provide support
- Be savvy in getting educated about property
01:11 – The empowered female investor
03:46 – The shifting of the guards
06:08 – The woman is the driving force
10:02 – Compromise on lifestyle
12:25 – Good at due diligence
16:07 – Sexism
20:34 – A harder task master
23:03 – Great communities
25:48 – We’ve got your back
“Whether you’ve got a knight in shining armor or not? You really do need to take responsibility for yourself. Don’t refer it to someone else.”
This episode is sponsored by The School of Renovating Boardroom Bootcamp. It’s an intensive strategic planning and training weekend. It is the fast track for women and their partners to change the course of their lives through renovating and property. This intimate weekend training is conducted around our boardroom table, so you get up to speed quickly with the core training to go from where you are today to an annual income of between $50K and $150K per year. The key feature of the weekend is that you get personal help and guidance to design your strategic plan to replace your income either straight away or in retirement. If you would like to know more about the Bootcamp, you can head over to our website www.theschoolofrenovating.com click on the link to services.
So I had this idea that I would like to have a co-host at least for some of the episodes, mainly because I feel it feels a bit weird talking to myself. We are trying that out. So today it’s sort of like a casual co-host. I’ve got my friend and colleague Jo Vadillo in to really talk about women and property. Jo has two businesses and one is Property Women. The other is Advocate Property Services. And she’ll tell you a bit more about that once we get started.
Today we’re going to be discussing The Empowered Female Investor. Before I get into that, I’ll just welcome, Jo. And would you like to, Jo, share a bit about yourself?
Jo Vadillo: Thanks, Bernadette. Thanks for the introduction as well. I’ve always been a She Renovates longtime listener, first-time co-host. It’s pretty exciting. And thank you very much for giving me that opportunity. I think you pretty much nailed it, property women, a wonderful national- wide network of female investors, whether they’ve never invested, but they’re lurking there ready to pounce or are they perhaps they’ve done a lot of property activity in the past and they’re coming back wanting to get educated again and get reinvigorated by being around other like-minded women.
Property women’s been around since 2006. And we’ve got a really big database, as I said, on a national level. And whilst we are female skewed, we do find we get quite a few husbands and other halves and we’re now seeing more men come into our bus trips and things like that. So it’s exciting.
And Advocate Property Services. My husband and I started the company in 2011. We were long-term investors, renovated, add value, get the equity, rinse and repeat and do it and go on and build our own property portfolio. And we started to assist friends and family on a pro-bono basis of helping them find a property and make sure they made the right buying decisions and also negotiate with them as best they could. And I retrained when I had an opportunity to and became a fully qualified buyer’s agent. And we started up our business and have never looked back. We’ve expanded into different states. We’ve got contractors that work with us in Adelaide and Brisbane and Newcastle and Sydney. Obviously, I’m Sydney based myself. And I love it. I love working with investors. I love working with people who have got a go get them, I guess approach to life and what I’ve met of your networks as well Bernadette, I know your pool of people are very much meets that target demographic
Jo Vadillo: Advocate Property Services
Bernadette: Yeah, that’s awesome. And also, I should add, Jo has an absolutely gorgeous husband.
Jo Vadillo: I can’t argue with that.
Bernadette: Today we’re going to be talking about the empowered female investor. Do you want to kick-off?
Jo Vadillo; Well, what I’ve noticed emerge, I should say, in the last few years, I’m seeing the shifting of the guards, whereas when I started investing 20 years ago, women were starting to have that groundswell. Women would come in where 20 years ago. So coming out of the 90s, early, early 2000s, women started to hold their ground and wanted to do things independently. They’re not waiting around for a man to be their saviour or financial rescue. And I could see this emerging. I guess the market was changing at that point.
Jo Vadillo: Now, fast forward almost 20 years later from when I started out. We’ve got these women who are millennials, the 20 somethings or 30 somethings that they didn’t even recognise. There is no quality issue. They’re just going out and doing it for themselves. It’s really, really exciting to see this rise, I guess you could say, of empowered female investors. That is something I wanted to speak to. But at the same time, perhaps look at where our agenda can benefit? What skill sets that we have almost that’s innate in us to help them buy the property. What it is that we also do to sabotage our successes?
Bernadette: Awesome. Yes, I’m with that. Actually, I was listening to The Smart Property Investor podcast yesterday and there was a young woman. She sounds like she was a teenager, but she must have been a bit older than that. Talking about the developments. And I just thought, “That is incredible!” Unfortunately, she just lost money on a development Lockhart. I think it was like a warehouse conversion which was turning into townhouses and that was completed and ran about a $9M project. And I thought, “That’s amazing!” she does have a partner. But clearly, she’s the driver of the project.
And I think that’s something that is quite common, now more so. It’s always been the case in our house. But I’ve noticed that other couples, the male is the one that calls the shots. But now that’s changing and it is more the woman that’s driving the investing and developing part of their wealth building.
Jo Vadillo: Absolutely. Yeah, I do see a bit of a pattern with a lot of female investors. I meet where their husbands are supportive, but not that interested and now come along for the journey. But she’s the driving force. She’s the one doing the due diligence, educating herself, and she’s bringing him along as well. And sometimes it’s willingly and other times it’s like all things in life. Sometimes your partner’s kicking and screaming. I do see a lot of women are go-getters and I’m pleased. I want to make sure that I put it out there.
I’m a mum of three boys. I’ve got full brothers. I’m surrounded by men. Apart from my network of amazing invested female friends. My life’s very male-skewed. But what I wanted to say to that is that this is in no way a hated norm in conversation at all. I just want to point out that I spend a lot of time with female investors. So that is where my wealth of knowledge comes from. And my hands-on take on what’s going on in the marketplace at the moment.
So you touched on the fact this teenager, perhaps 20 something-year-old, just did this enormous project. What I find from sometimes the young, when you’re younger, it’s easier to make mistakes, dust yourself off and keep going as well. But there’s a bit more of an ability to do that. I think that this generation kind of what it’s like, “I’m gonna make mistakes and I’m just gonna get on with them”. And I think you get up to the people in their 40’s and beyond where you’re kind of go, “Oh! I did it. I’ve invested once and it didn’t work out. I’m never going to do it again.”
Bernadette: I would agree with that because you’re starting to see the end of the road and sort of thinking, well I’m in my 40’s. Most people probably think they’ve only got one decade, but they’ve got much longer than that. To get my act together, I can’t afford to make a mistake because I’m gonna be down the tube.
And it’s interesting because when she was talking about the project that they just sold. When I was around her age, we have a similar experience where the market changed mid-project. And it was a development. It wasn’t a $9M development, but I guess in my terms it was. And we didn’t make a loss, but we sold at cost.
Looking back now with what I know, I realise that we didn’t need to do that. And just that benefit of age has a big impact. And even the experience. So while I personally think it was a mistake that she sold the property because she would have only had to wait 1 year and her sale price would have been, $300K or $400K more. But when you are young and you want things to happen quickly. So a little bit of it impatience, I think, more than anything. And that was certainly the case with us at that point.
They know that they love renovating and property in general, but don’t really understand the path to go from where, you know, from being in a job to actually being a full-time renovator or just being financially free.
Our mission with the training is to empower our students to be able to replace their income with renovating and other property strategies either straight away or at retirement. Predominantly our clients are women and often they will have their partner with them.
Jo Vadillo: Yeah, I understand. When I often get asked about, “What if the property goes backward?”,”What if the market goes backward?” and I think when you get into the property market, you need to look at your exit strategy. What is the worst-case scenario? If you lost a job, or your health was compromised or something like that. But could you sustain the property? Are you able to keep it? Are you able to convert it to Airbnb in order to increase your income? Yes, it’s a bit more hands-on involvement, but there are ways around it if the market takes a dip. Did you have to sell during the GFC? Some people felt like they had to let go of everything to survive. But I mean, could you tread water? Are there other ways around this sort of thing? So it’s the way, I think we all react to a crisis as well.
Bernadette: I would agree. And the other thing is it’s, I think, something that has changed in the last few decades. There’s not a willingness to compromise on lifestyle.
Jo Vadillo :Yes.
Bernadette: But for me, if it means eating baked beans for a year, I’d do it. The pay-off, one of our projects went to market at Christmas last year and we couldn’t cover costs. So we held on to it for 12 months. And that difference was over $150K.
Bernadette’s Rennie St. Project
Bernadette: Look, I absolutely agree. And before we start going down the rabbit hole of how bad things were back then, we’ll get on to. So, you know, there is a shifting of the guard with women. A lot more women are stepping up and being the navigators of their own journey. I think we would also agree that women make great investors.
Jo Vadillo: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Great researchers. Really good at due diligence. You’re really very thorough in buying decisions. But there’s thoroughness in making a careful, calculated decision. But even when I’ve met with women who are setting up a property for staging for sale or renovating and she has that ability to read who the target market is. Who’s going to buy the property? What are they going to expect? So if they’re going to expect, they have to have bench tops in this location. I’m not saying that men wouldn’t. But I do know that females just have the ability to read who their market is. And probably without even having to do a hell of a lot of research. They just understand if you get to buy in this area or renovate in this area, they’re going to be expecting a certain caliber finish.
Bernadette: Yes, I have a theory on that. Well, a couple of things. Firstly, we know that women make the majority of buying decisions when it comes to homes.
Jo Vadillo: Yes.
Bernadette: I know that if a couple comes and looks at a home, it will be the woman that’s driving that decision, whether or not she’s the one that starts a contract or not. We know that our market is a woman. And the flip side of it is, as a woman, investor, developer, renovator. There seems to be this internal automatic switch to be the nurturer, the nester. And so I personally think it’s because you connect with your buyer on an instinctive level. What I mean by that is, just really reinforcing what you’ve said, that when a woman is designing how a home will operate and how it will look. She understands that from a woman’s point of view, which is, what her buyer is going to be looking at.
Jo Vadillo: Yeah. I would agree that in most cases when I’m working with a couple, she will drive the decision. When it comes to buying. And I think there were studies done that men are the car chooser in the family for want of a better wording that sentence, and electronics. I have a feeling that’s the formula. But for most other things. The most scenario is that females will be the driving force of the sale of a property.
And I’ve told this story before. I apologise if you’ve heard it. But when I bought my first property, Greg and I were dating, and I had accrued the deposit and I went and started to shop around for my first property. So I look back now and I’m so glad I got to do this on my own. Even though he was by my side and all the rest. It was still me. It was still my money. I made the sacrifices and I know I did this on my own. But I went to so many opens where they would look at him and ask me his details when I write them down at the front. And here I am like I’m a foot shorter than Greg, as you know. And I’m jumping up and down and going, “It’s my money!” Like, this is my mortgage. And even at the time, these guys are crazy. Why are they like sucking up to him not only because I’m the female? I’m the one that’s actually going to sign the check. I see when I watch selling agents and they do it really well, I can see the way they work the couple.
Bernadette: Actually that’s a good point that sexism is definitely alive and well in the real estate industry. We have a young woman who is renovating with her mum in Melbourne and they do an amazing job with their projects. And just recently they sold one and the agent had an offer and he let Lilah know what the offer was. The property was in her name. And she said that she wasn’t going to accept it because it hadn’t reached their expectations. And he asked her if he could speak to her father. And so I think anyone, any young woman who makes their way in the property world, they still come up against a lot of that sort of prejudice.
Bernadette’s Wynnum Reno Project
Jo Vadillo: Yeah, absolutely. I remember once when I was on maternity leave talking to, I can’t remember the exact scenario but it was probably related. And he said he wanted to wait till my husband was around to have the conversation. But my generation like I was in primary school in the 80s and I grew up on television where Benny Hill was chasing girls around the park and Paul Hogan slapping girls in the backside and wolf-whistling as they walked past building sites in the TV show. That’s what I grew up on. That’s how women were treated. So it has evolved quite significantly since then. But it’s I guess we’re still dealing with people who hold on to accomplish some of what they say, “I’ve got to speak to your father”.
Bernadette: In terms of research. My experience has been. Actually, it’s probably being more women that have partners. They tend to defer some of the important aspects to their partner, which I think I certainly felt this at one point. I think there’s a tendency, particularly among older women, to think that getting to understand everything you need to understand to be savvy in property is just too hard. But I think now I don’t think you can afford not to. We’re always going on about being educated. But if you don’t spend that time, then you’re at the mercy of whoever you actually come in contact with because you do need to work with professionals to buy a property. If you go to a buyer’s agent or whatever. If you don’t educate yourself, you don’t know what they’re telling you is correct.
Jo Vadillo: I understand what you’re saying. I think it’s important to be educated, to know what you need to know and have it, even if it’s just the fundamentals because then you’d know what to ask your accountant before you buy. You know what to expect a buyer’s agent should be providing you as a service so you don’t need to know everything there is to know. But you need to know enough to know when you’re being hoodwinked or what service caliber you should be expecting or to understand how fast these brokers should be delivering for you and things like that.
I guess that’s the other thing that’s changed in time is that people are outsourcing more and more to people like buyer’s agents or they’re a broker. There’s a lot more competition in that space. 20, 30 years ago you just bring up Westpac because that’s where you got your first bank account.
But the more educated you are, you know when you are not getting adequate information or all the information that is coming to you, you understand what questions you need to ask and actually challenge what’s in front of you. Like why is this area good? You know what? Where are you getting any statistics from? Can I see another comparison of what’s selling for that in that area? It’s just things like that so that you’re making an informed decision. You’ve got that fundamental understanding and you can sleep at night knowing that you squeezed out as much as you can from the professionals that you’re working with as well. And you should begin a very thorough service from anyone that’s looking after you. When you buy a property, it’s a significant chunk of money. So you should be calling these people to task.
Bernadette: Absolutely. And it always amazes me how flippant some buyers are when they’re dealing with a sum of money that they would never, ever deal with in any other situation. So what other strengths does an empowered female investor has?
Jo Vadillo: I think women are really good with money. They’re really good with watching funds. And if anything, they’re probably a harder taskmaster. When it comes to I hate to say this, but shopping. Let’s just talk about renovators. You know, like there’s a fridge and you can look at it online and order it or you can spend another hour and save yourself $400. So having that innate ability, I think that is really good. That’s what it came down to. Also about reset before I wasn’t just at the reset your property, you’ve got many different platforms you can shop from, but if you decking out a property and it’s purely to be staged for a window of 4 weeks for an auction campaign, maybe you don’t want a brand new mattress, but you want to be looking on Gumtree to source one. And bringing everything together. So I do see the numbers and bringing the package back down. I think that’s where females also stand up in that role.
Bernadette: I would absolutely agree with that. Bargain shopping seems to be a rite of passage for women in property when it comes to actually fitting it out. Renovating it.
Jo Vadillo: Yeah, absolutely.
Bernadette: What does this mean for women who are looking at going in to investing now? What does this all mean?
Jo Vadillo: Well, I think we’re in a really good time at this point. I really believe we’re on equal grounds. In fact, women hold and I know someone out there’s going to correct me. At the Australian Bureau of Statistics fact. I think it’s like 56% of men and 60% of women or some formula like that. We’re actually outshining the boys in applying for loans or be independently having mortgages. So that’s actually now the women are the ones holding the strength in holding those cards, I should say.
What does it mean for women now? I think they need to move forward and make decisions. And I think that now is the time. Don’t get themselves into a corner of over-analysis, because, again, that can sometimes be a side effect to someone who does too much research as well. Actually, not being able to strike. So I think this is where women may hold themselves back a little bit in the same token. But now I think a really good time for women to go out there and do it themselves and stop waiting, waiting for someone else to rescue you. You’re perfectly capable of doing it yourself.
Bernadette: Absolutely. And plus, you have great communities. Like yours and mine to support you. I often think I really wished I had me when I was starting out because there was nothing in those days. Well, there probably was, but nothing that I would consider. And there’s certainly wasn’t much in the way of women’s investors’ groups.
So I think that’s something that has changed dramatically and probably is empowering a lot of today’s women.
The other thing that I see that I think probably needs to be addressed is still and it’s not necessarily only with older women, but I see this quite a bit where they tend to defer to their husbands and partners. But any of those last decisions and there are 2 problems with that. One, that you might not like the decisions that that person makes on your behalf and need to vacate or two. How often does the male partner die and leave someone who just completely floundering because they don’t have those last skills to manage money?
Bernadette: Look, I’m talking a bit more than just property now. And I personally think that we have and I think this is probably something I’ve got because my mother was widowed so young and she was fiercely independent and had a grip on the family business and so could move forward. Is that whether you’ve got a knight in shining armor or not? You really do need to take responsibility for yourself. Don’t defer it to someone else.
Jo Vadillo: Yeah, no. I hear those scenarios where the situation is that one partner dies, the other one doesn’t even know which bank had the mortgage. How do you even log into the online banking because he or she was the one that was in control of everything in that realm. So if that’s you and looks up, I think most family units, someone tends to pick up the CFO role. Like they’re the one that handles the finances or that’s their proper primary role in the family unit, which is fine. But it’s important to have a conversation with your significant other to understand what that is.
A really valid point. And it’s also one of those points that no one really wants to think about it. But on the back of illness or death, not having the right wills and documentation in place and all of those things that need to be in consideration, especially when you’re invested in property because you’ve got a significant portfolio. Not everyone’s going to know who’s with what and what’s got where. In a diversified portfolio, you need to have that documented somewhere.
Jo Vadillo: A hundred percent.
Bernadette: I was just going to finish on a little story, which is sort of quite funny, but not. I’ve always been the CFO in our family. And when we met, Stephen and I have been married for 20 years, I said to him, “Okay. I’ve done it for 20 years. It’s your turn”. And so he said, “Okay”. So things were going along very pretty good until about 3 months later. I got this message from the newspaper delivery guy, and he said to me, “Do you think you could pay your bill? It’s really overdue”. And he just paid nothing. I was so embarrassed. So then I took it back and I took it back for another decade. But now he’s taken it on powerfully.
Jo Vadillo: Oh, good. Great. I’ve often wondered. I’m just a bit of a control freak.
Bernadette: Control freaks are good. So you’re the CFO in your house?
Jo Vadillo: Definitely. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t have it any other way. I don’t hold all the gold. But I just understand the machinations and that’s fine. He cooks dinner. He’s the cook. He’s the chef in the family. So I’m happy to pass that on to him.
Bernadette: Well, I really wanted Stephen to take it on because he would not have had a clue what was where. He would have been if I had died. Like he could manage a bank account. He manages billion-dollar projects. He just does not know where our stuff is. I’m really glad that he has. So there you go.
I just wanted to highlight a few takeaways from that episode. I think the first thing is that clearly women are really stepping up when it comes to property ownership. Now is probably the best time. If you were thinking about making a move to start a portfolio or do something in property and mainly because there is just so much information and support around it, certainly a lot different to when I got started. You know, Jo and I both have very dynamic communities. Plus, there’s just so much education around. So that’s probably the first thing. The second point is that it’s really important that not to defer the role of CFO of your family to a partner unless you’ve got an understanding of how it works yourself. So it’s fine. You know that you’re not actually doing the bookkeeping and managing of the finances, but you really do need to have an understanding of how things work and where the money actually is, because, you know, you can’t be in charge of your own financial destiny if you don’t understand it on your own money on that basic level. Second thing, keep control of your finances, not in a negative controlling type of way, but just in a way of just being aware and informed about your own situation.
And the point is that there is a tendency and I think this is particularly for women or certainly was for me in my early days to think that getting educated around property is almost it’s too hard to get your head around or it’s too overwhelming. But really, that’s a mindset issue. And you absolutely need to get an understanding of how things work and be educated because it’s dangerous to just be relying on other people to inform your decisions. You want to know enough to know. Being having the wool pulled over your eyes, I guess, is what I’m saying because both Jo and I have seen the upshot of decisions that have been informed by, I guess, less than decent advisors. And so getting educated is a necessity. And it’s never been easier. There’s so much information and the cheapest way to go about it is just to read.
And the third point is that education is not a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity. So you don’t need to learn about property and investing in order to do everything yourself. But you do need to know the questions you should be asking. You need to know how things work. Because not everyone that you deal with will be completely have integrity and be completely honest or even savvy. And so you want to know what’s going on so that you can pick up any irregularities. And there is a tendency to particularly for women to think that it’s not possible for them to be savvy. But it so is. And I have to say, I fell into that sort of trap early in my time because, you know, I had four little kids and I was so overwhelmed with life in general. Oh, it’s just too hard. But no, it’s not too hard. And I think when before you start thinking about venturing into the property arena, you really do need to spend some time, you know, getting yourself prepared. And of course, I mentioned that the cheapest way to do that is by reading. There are so many fabulous books on property, so many experts who give away all their secrets in a book that you can buy for $30. So, yeah, that’s the best place to start. Okay, so that’s today’s episode. If you haven’t come over to She Renovates Facebook group and joined. Please do that today.
And also, if you’ve got time to dash over to iTunes and leave us a review, we would be very grateful because it lets other people know that the podcast exists and that it’s worth listening to. So thank you.
And just one more thing. We are inviting friends in to have a look at our Bondi project before it gets handed over next week. And that will be happening at 6:00 PM on the 11th of December. If you would like to come along and say hello. Have a glass of Christmas bubbly and check out the property. We’d love to see you there, so you’ll find details on the shownotes.
Well, on that note, I reckon we might call it a day. So thanks very much for accompanying me in this discussion. I know that our listeners will have got some value out of it and some ideas on what they can do to improve their financial intelligence. And I’ll see you next week.