MReport September 2020

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14 | M R EP O RT FEATURE and stronger credit profiles," she said. "They definitely know what they're looking for, versus a male who may not have that strong of a credit profile or is very indeci- sive about what they want." A Look at Investment O ne area where single women are underrepresented in the residential real estate sector involves investment properties. Merced Cohen, EVP of Operations for Civic Financial Services in Redondo Beach, California, noted that while her company has made "a concerted effort to support female real estate investments," she estimated that her company has about 26% more male clients than female clients. "If you were to ask me what's preventing single females—or females in general—from invest- ing in real estate as a means of income, either through flip, fix and flipping, or rental, I think ultimately, it's due to a lack of confidence," she theorized. "I think a lot of that comes from wondering, 'Where do I start? And where's my support in this male dominated industry?'" Cohen explained that some women believe they run the risk of being exploited in a process, such as construction, where they have little or no expertise. "It is like a woman who may not have confidence or feel she is being taken advantage of when it's time to bring in their car," she continued. "They may not know that space as well and feel that they may be taken advantage by the mechanic. The same holds true in this space, potentially with contractors. I hate to say that, but it's out there, and I think there's discrimination against women investors by contractors." Cohen's solution to this situ- ation was for "women to begin to build their confidence, and the best way they can do that is by surrounding themselves with mentors and the right people." She recommended the real estate investment resources website and meetups at real estate investor conferences as a route for building a network of information support. As for women who are buying residential real estate for invest- ment purposes, Cohen has tracked women at an average age of 48 who are focused "mostly in the under $500,000 range." For herself, Cohen is doing a home-based advocacy to ensure more younger single women follow this route. "I tell my own daughter: real estate before marriage is the mantra," she said. . PHIL HALL is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of nine books, the host of the award- winning SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show," co-host of the award-winning WAPJ-FM talk show "Nutmeg Chatter," and a writer with credits in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill's Congress Blog, and Profit Confidential. His real estate finance writing has been published in the ABA Banking Journal, Secondary Marketing Executive, and more. SOMETIMES, IT'S GOOD TO BE A FOLLOWER. Follow MReport on social media to put the latest mortgage banking news, stories, strategies, and insights at the touch of your fingertips. MReport @TheMReportNews The MReport

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