Women in Real Estate: 5 Talented Females Who Are Making Waves

Real estate is one of the best careers for women who want to create their own destiny. It’s one of those careers where you can be your own boss, set your own hours and see the rewards of all your work. Make no mistake though; it’s a lot of work. These women could tell you all about that. From staying up late at the dining room table to find new clients, or researching all the data on a listing to know its true worth — these five women have never backed down from a challenge.

Need some inspiration on how to carve out the future you want in real estate? Look no further.

1. Kim Howard

Kim Howard Women Real Estate

Kim Howard left her corporate marketing job looking for something more fulfilling.

“I love talking to people, I love architecture, I love the mindset of being able to make my own hours,” said Howard. It’s what led her to real estate — one of the best careers for women like Howard who have a passion for sales and an entrepreneurial spirit. “I like hustling every day,” she says.

It wasn’t long before her hustle led her to recruit another player into real estate — her husband.

“I was working 24/7,” says Howard of her early days in real estate. “He still had a 9 to 5. It was in sales, but it was a 9 to 5.”

One day Howard’s husband was getting dinner from the fridge while she was working. “I was like, ‘I’m sorry I’m not making dinner tonight,’” Howard remembers. “He was like, ‘Don’t let feelings like that stop you, we are equals, I married you because you are a go-getter.”

Howard saw her in and went for it, asking her husband if, being equals, he might want to go into business with her. The rest is history.

“I’ve been training him,” says Howard, “and he’s finally to the point where we’re a partnership and I’m not his boss.”

Tell us about your first real estate transaction:

“It was a client from my old corporate job. She put her faith and trust in me. She knew I was new but also, she trusted me. Essentially it ended up being a nightmare because it was a ‘for sale by owner’ transaction. In real estate that’s code for run far away. But I learned a lot. That fell apart, but we found another house that was perfect for her. It takes that one person to believe in you.

What are some of your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?

“I think it’s huge that my husband and I have taken this leap of faith together within the last 12 months to do a 100% commission based job. It’s so much work. It takes a lot of sacrifices. We’re not going to brunch on Saturday anymore.”

How have you surprised yourself so far in your career?

“I am shocked, when I time block, that what I write down gets done. By some miracle I’m still eating, I’m still bathing, I’m still functioning as an adult. But I’m like. ‘Oh my goodness I actually also called 150 people this week. I spoke to 150 people.’ On paper it sounds ridiculous. But it’s exciting.”

Is there a perception out there about what women in real estate are like?

“That’s a question that probably dominates women as a whole. If I’m in a listing presentation and up against a male counterpart I feel like if there’s a male they assume that I’m going to be softer at negotiating or approach it differently or that I’m more fluff or that I can’t hold it all together. A lot of times they assume my husband is the listing manager, which is not the case. He works more with buyers. I work with buyers too but I excel at being a fierce negotiator. It takes a pretty strong personality.”

How do you hold your own in a negotiation?

“I think one way I’ve learned to be fierce when negotiating, being that quiet lioness and letting that other agent disclose all the information really helps me approach things so I’m not laying all my cards on the table.”

What blogs, resources, podcasts or influencers have helped you?

“The book The One Thing is fabulous. It’s all about time blocking and focusing on the one thing I should do that if I don’t do my business will flop. For us, it sets the pace of our day.”

What’s a very practical tip for women just starting their real estate careers?

“There is so much external stuff. The second you start telling people ‘no’ often, you focus on your own stuff. Every time I’m telling people ‘no’ I’m saying yes to myself. Not in a selfish way but in a ‘this is our focus right now’ way.'”

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2. Kristina McCann

Kristina McCann Women in Real EstateKristina McCann started her career in real estate in the early 2000’s, working as a mortgage banker’s assistant before becoming a REALTOR’s assistant and, eventually, a REALTOR herself. Tragedy struck seven years ago when her infant son suddenly passed away. In her grief, she gave up her real estate career before growing through her pain and launching a professional comeback that has taken her to her highest heights ever.

Tell us about your first real estate transaction:

“I worked for a very successful REALTOR in Coronado for three years. I was going to college. I decided to stop going to college for a while but was still working for the REALTOR. I was at the office and since I was no longer doing homework behind the computer my boss was like, ‘You’re not very busy anymore.” I always looked busy, but I was just doing homework

She ended up letting me go because I wasn’t very busy. I went out on my own. I held an open house. It was a million dollars, and on my very first day on my very open house a couple walked in and said they wanted to buy it.

It happened so quick and because it was my very first day on the job I didn’t even realize they were dragging me down the road saying, ‘Let’s write an offer.’

I sold a million dollar house within three days of going out on my own.”

What are some of your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?

“I’ve been really dialing deep into LinkedIn. I’ve spent 100’s of hours on my profile, on other people’s profiles, on reading the profiles. I’ve spent 100’s of hours studying LinkedIn and about two weeks ago I actually got my first lead on LinkedIn that I didn’t pay for. That’s huge. I revised my entire strategy, revised my entire bio and started doing a very targeted seeking out of people who might be buyers.

I was jumping up and down, calling all my friends. They were like, ‘It doesn’t sound like a big deal.’ But if you’re actually trying to use social media to market your services, it’s almost next to impossible to dig up a lead without paying.

In the same week I actually listed my most expensive house, which might seem like a more obvious win.”

How have you surprised yourself so far in your career?

“Seven years ago my son died and I totally ditched my entire career. I spent all my money, I sold everything I owned, I went back to zero. I was like, ‘I have to start over, what do I want to do?”

I realized I still want to be a REALTOR. I rebuilt my business from scratch and in four years. I rebuilt a business as big as any 10-year agent in my marketplace. I know I’ve spent 100’s of hours working and, basically, have carpal tunnel syndrome from writing letters to people. But I pride myself because the market has gotten more and more competitive. I think business is really drying up because there is so much competition, and I’m really thriving despite that.

It’s crazy to think all that hard work you did when you were staying up late at night and you didn’t realize anything you were doing was making a dent — one day you wake up and realize it was worth it. I did it myself staying awake at night at my dining room table.”

Is there a perception out there about what women in real estate are like?

“I do think that there’s a perception that it’s clubby and you’re in or you’re out. Is that true? Is that real? Is there a club of successful REALTORs and some people are in and some are out?

I think it’s just a lot of hard-working business owners who are doing everything they can to find their next client and do a good job.”

How do you hold your own in a negotiation?

“I always tell my clients that you’re not hiring me to be nice, you’re hiring me to do a job. On the spectrum, I’m a little curt. I’ll keep a relatively cold exterior when I’m negotiating. I’m simple, direct and to the point. I’m not a fluffy, super friendly agent, which I’ll own up to. You’re not hiring me to be your friend, you’re hiring me to execute a very important part of your financial picture.”

What blogs, resources, podcasts or influencers have helped you?

Real Estate Uncensored by Greg McDaniel. It’s super young and very fresh and he is very motivational. I feel like it’s catered to a younger more tech-forward demographic. I usually listen to the podcast. That podcast has actually helped me grow my business more than any other podcast. It’s not a pep talk. It’s actual interviews of people producing products that we can use or telling stories about their strategies.”

What’s a very practical tip for women just starting their real estate careers?

“I target all of my marketing in the beginning to out of area owners. I’ll try to find everyone who lives outside of the state but owns a property near me. I’ll direct all of my marketing to them. If I’m marketing to someone in my backyard I’m probably up against eight agents, somebody’s husband, somebody’s teacher. But for the out-of-state clients I probably only have to be better than three to five REALTORs and I think it’s probably really easy to stand out that way.”

 3. Lisa Song Sutton

With a background in business and law, Song Sutton decided to abruptly switch paths and try her hand at real estate. She had her eye on luxury properties — thinking they’d be a goal she’d work up to. Little did she know she’d land a multi-million dollar listing on her first try. Former Miss Nevada, she has the negotiating and business sense to connect with clients looking to pay top dollar for some of Vegas’ most beautiful properties.

Tell us about your first transaction:

“My very first sale was a $1.26 million penthouse. I definitely jumped in both feet first. I knew I wanted to concentrate on luxury. It was one of my clients that I had known from before real estate. We became friends and he became a business mentor to me too. He threw me a bone. His family was very wealthy and they have a lot of property. This was the first of many I ended up representing them on. I was super excited. It worked out so beautifully. It was a really seamless transaction.”

What are some of your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?

“We’ve had some really great listings. What’s nice about Las Vegas is the luxury market has really come back, with the NHL team moving here and getting started and the announcement of the Raiders. We’re going to have a lot of new people pouring into the city, just a lot of people connected with the sports industry who are coming in with giant salaries and need a place to live.”

How have you surprised yourself so far in your career?

“I underestimated myself. I thought I needed to put in my time, be in the industry for ten years before I start going for these ultra-luxury properties. I realized that’s not the case at all because I was able to connect with these buyers on their level very quickly because of my business background.”

Is there a perception out there about what women in real estate are like?

“Certainly here in Las Vegas the top producers are male-dominated. I do think there is a perception sometimes that female REALTORs are also part-time moms and they do this part-time, and it’s kind of a side gig. But more and more I’m coming across women in real estate who are total professions dedicated to their careers.”

How do you hold your own in a negotiation?

“It comes down to acknowledging that you deserve a seat at the table. You absolutely should be there as the person representing your client.”

What blogs, resources, podcasts or influencers have helped you?

“There is a local mortgage broker who sends out this newsletter every week. He’s really good at putting out info. Anything that can round up the headlines from that week in real estate is a helpful tool. His name is Brian Maier.”

What’s a very practical tip for women just starting their real estate careers?

“Take hold of your personal brand. Your personal brand is going to transcend any brokerage that you join. You may end up switching brokerages and you may switch one or more times. So don’t just rely on the brokerage brand. You have to create your own personal brand as a professional.”

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4. Shelton Wilder

Shelton Wilder began her career with an interest in fashion, even appearing on the popular T.V. show Shark Tank with her fashion line. “I feel like styling is basically the same thing as selling a house,” says Wilder. “It’s so intimate. You either see people naked or seal people’s money. You see where they’re going to live or what they’re going to wear.”

After learning she was pregnant, Wilder wanted to explore other career options that were more of a fit for where she was heading in life. That lead her to real estate, and it’s a journey she’s never taken for granted.

Tell us about your first transaction:

“I was in the hospital having my son. I was running around helping my client find a house eight or nine months pregnant. We were in escrow and I had my baby. When we did the walkthrough my child was eight days old. I brought my eight-day-old baby to the walkthrough.

Nothing was going to stand in the way of me closing this deal for my client. My baby was the number one most important thing, but that sale was almost up there with that. They trusted me with buying their home. It’s an honor, a privilege and a huge deal.”

What are some of your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?

“I had a great year last year. To be able to help ten families last year be in a home is a huge deal. I’m in LA, so the price points are high here. The accomplishment is each transaction.”

How have you surprised yourself so far in your career?

“I’m an entrepreneur at heart. That’s the thing with this business. I made a commitment that I didn’t want to join a team so the hustle is 24/7. You work every day. My commitment is — I work every day. I guess it surprised me how much I love it. I’ve always been a workaholic but I love this.”

Is there a perception out there about what women in real estate are like?

“Some of the most incredible real estate agents who I admire and look up to are women. I practice in a feminine get strong way. I don’t try to out man a man. I’m from the South and have my own way. Just because it’s feminine doesn’t mean it’s not strong.”

How do you hold your own in a negotiation?

“I think I prove the value with the numbers. What’s important to me is that my client makes every single decision. The house is not mine; it’s not the other agent’s. It is our clients’ decision. So I give them the facts and the numbers and help to guide them to make a decision, but it’s ultimately never my decision.”

What blogs, resources, podcasts or influencers have helped you?

I like to see what all of the big players are doing on their Instagram accounts. I love following Jade Mills and Joyce Rey, Tracey Tudor Maltas.”

“Also, Peter Hernandez and Sharran Srivatsaa, you can get on their conference calls. They’re also on SoundCloud. It’s such good information. It’s crazy. Sharran has a 5 a.m. club that I listen to. At 4:59 a.m. he starts and you just have to dial his number and he has a call you can listen to. You can find it on his website.”

What’s a very practical tip for women just starting their real estate careers?

“My tip is that either you’re supported by someone or you have at least a year and a half of prudent reserve money in the bank if you’re going to start your own career and not be an assistant or be on a team. It’s $3,500 a year just to be in real estate but besides that maybe you’re not closing deals the first month. It takes a minute for someone to trust you.

Also, carry toilet paper with you. If you have an open house you want to make sure you have toilet paper there.”

5. Anne Baldwin

Anne Baldwin began her career in wholesale fashion, merchandising for big brands like Target, Kohls and Old Navy. It was her husband and mother-in-law who recruited her into the family business, knowing that with her marketing and negotiating background it’d be a really good fit. Now Baldwin and her husband make a dynamic real estate team and are just celebrating the hire of their seventh team member.

Tell us about your first transaction:

“My husband laughs about it; it was a friend of mine and a million dollar deal in cash. While that sounds great it was actually a great learning experience because my friend’s husband, I love him, but he’s very particular. Finding a home, going to the negotiations and going through the inspection period was kind of difficult. It was a lot of learning for me on dealing with personalities and things that come up which you don’t expect. They’re still there and very happy and we’re still friends.”

What are some of your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?

“My husband and I branched off and we decided 12 months ago to go off on our own to start our own team. I would say my biggest accomplishment was spearheading that. I took on the bulk of getting all of our systems in place, getting all of our documents, creating a handbook, creating a checklist, our buyer packet, our listing presentation. We’ve grown from two to six people and are hiring a seventh this week.”

How have you surprised yourself so far in your career?

“I didn’t think I was going to like real estate very much or that it wasn’t for me. I kind of went into it because it was easy for me because so many people around me were doing it. But I surprised myself that I’m good at it and for the most part enjoy it. I’ve really been able to take on something, I’ve been able to make it work for me. That’s one thing about real estate I realized I love. There’s no right way to do it.”

Is there a perception out there about what women in real estate are like?

“I think people think you like to do it because you like to look cute and sell houses, but I think that can’t be further from the truth when you’re into it.

Even though there are so many women in real estate until recently it doesn’t seem like many are in leadership positions. But I think it is changing.”

How do you hold your own in a negotiation?

“I am five feet tall and I look like I’m 12. I have that going against me, especially because I live right outside of NYC and it’s a bit cutthroat. I put on a very confident face, I know my stats, I’ve done my research. I go into it very confidently knowing all my facts so I have prepared answers as best I can if they come back to me with something. And, if I’m meeting someone in person I dress the part. I make sure I look put together, presentable and professional.”

What blogs, resources, podcasts or influencers have helped you?

Lab Coat Agents group on Facebook. There are over 80,000 REALTORs on it. It’s basically a think tank with new marketing ideas, ideas on trying out different technology or what to do if you have an issue when a listing doesn’t sell. Also, Amanda Thompson Todd is a female REALTOR out in California. She is a powerhouse. She was a single mom of three kids and went from needing to find a way to put food on the table to having a multi-million dollar real estate career. She is someone who has grace and is so nice, willing to answer any questions. She’s someone who I really look up to and admire.”

What’s a very practical tip for women just starting their real estate careers?

“Be flexible. Real estate, as a career, can throw a lot of curveballs. It never goes the way you want it to or think it should. If you’re willing to find a solution and know that it’s not going to go as smooth as you think it will then You’re going to succeed because you’re going to be ready and able for what might come your way.”

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