Karen Lacheta-Pell Buyer's Agent Queensland

Karen Lacheta-Pell Buyer's Agent Queensland

Gold Coast-based buyer's agent Karen Lacheta-Pell is so inspired to help women achieve property investment ownership that she has created a national buyers' agency specifically for female clients.

Whereas other buyers' agencies may have committed to help female clients more generally over recent years, Ms Lacheta-Pell's new venture – InvestHer – will only work with women, she said.

"While International Women's Day aims to celebrate and empower females every year, women still have to overcome more hurdles than men to become property investors, which is one of the main reasons why I created InvestHer," Ms Lacheta- Pell said.

"My goal is to help as many women as possible to become property investors either individually, or by taking the lead with their risk-averse partners, which is more prevalent than most people know.

"There are also still far more individual male property investors than female in this country and my aim is to try to remedy that imbalance to improve the financial positions of women."

Ms Lacheta-Pell said while it was heartening to see younger women – and especially those aged between 30 and 40 – determined to secure their financial futures independently, many don't take the next vital step to make it a reality.

"Many of the women I have previously spoken with had the financial ability to become property investors, but often would not proceed for a variety of reasons. That's a situation I want to change," she said.

According to respondents from the 2023 PIPA Annual Investor Sentiment Survey, only 25 per cent – or one in four – identified as female, while 72 per cent identified as male.

Ms Lacheta-Pell said even though more women understood the long-term financial potential of becoming a property investor than in years gone by, they usually still had to overcome more hurdles than men.

"Saving a deposit and servicing a mortgage while potentially earning lower wages to simply having the confidence to invest in property are some of the unique hurdles that females still have to overcome," she said.

"Many divorced or separated women, aged from their early 40s to mid-50s, are often in the position to invest, but sometimes they falsely believe that cash is queen when they would be much better off financially over the long-term investing in property." 3 female property investment hurdles

1.Gender pay gap

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the gender pay gap in Australia is 21.7 per cent, which is the difference between the average earnings of women and men.

"Lower average earnings makes it more difficult for some women to save a deposit for their own home, which can be used as a stepping stone to property investment," Ms Lacheta-Pell said.

"Saving additional funds for stamp duty is also made more challenging for women given they generally earn less than men."

2. Property ownership retention

A Victorian parliament inquiry last year heard that women were being hit with a "divorce tax" with more than half not continuing to be homeowners.

"Research presented at the inquiry found only 34 per cent of women who separated managed to own a home within five years and only 44 per cent within 10 years," Ms Lacheta-Pell said.

"Divorced women were also three times more likely to rent at age 65 than married women, according to the inquiry.

"Often one of main reasons for their loss of property ownership was their inability to pay stamp duty on a home or investment property."

3. Mortgage servicing issues

Women often struggle with mortgage servicing issues because of their potentially lower paid employment, but they are also concerned about time out of the workforce in the future for child-rearing, Ms Lacheta-Pell said.

"There is no reason why a woman who strategically purchases an investment property when she is younger should be concerned about servicing the mortgage if she takes time out of the workforce to care for children in the future," she said. "By that stage, not only will the property have grown in value but so will the cash flow to cover the property's expenses.

"The fact that women often have periods of non-incoming earning years when they have children makes property investment even more vital for their future financial position."

Ms Lacheta-Pell also said that while Millennial and Gen Y women were the first generation to benefit from the plethora of financial and property advice available online, not all of it was sound.

"Wherever you look, there is a financial guru of some kind on social media, but that doesn't mean they actually know what they are talking about," she said.

"However, it has piqued the interest of younger generations to the degree where they recognise that they have to be responsible for their future financial well-being, hopefully, by learning from bona fide experts."




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