It is a common misconception that the property and real estate industry is dominated by men. Because it’s International Women’s Day today, we’ve decided to set the record straight and shine the spotlight on three amazing women who are on the warpath to destroying stereotyping in the local property scene.
1. Siti Nursyafieqah Abu Bakar, 26 years old, owner of RM1 million worth of property
This lovely Shah Alam lass was just 21 years old when she first embarked on her illustrious journey as a property owner. At that time, she was a mere bank sales exec, drawing a salary of RM1,600 a month.
Armed with steely determination and a discipline akin to the toughest soldier in the field, Syafieqah managed to save up enough money at the age of 23 to buy her first property. And this was with family commitments (she’s a filial daughter who contributes money to the family income) as well as other daily expenses – how does she do it?
“I admit I had no time to have fun because my priority lies on my future assurance and maybe many have said I am antisocial, but that has only been the drive to my success,” she said.
Some tips we gleaned from Syafieqah include:
- Strict control on food expenses
- Minimal socializing with friends
- Working overtime at the bank
- Part-time jobs at supermarkets
- Divide two parts of her commission and overtime wages – one part will goes into savings and the other into ASB investments
This hardworking young lady is still on the warpath of property investment and is intent on accumulating more assets. Today she is a respected speaker who shares her property and investment tips. Follow her on Facebook here.
2. Summer Pow, 26 years old, rental property magnate
We featured this plucky girl on iProperty Focus back in December, and we think she deserves another mention today.
Summer is only 26 this year, but this keen-eyed and determined girl is already owner to no less than six properties to her name! It helps that real estate runs in her blood from a young age – her father is a contractor while her mother is a real estate agents, both obviously having done an awesome job raising her to be the young real estate mogul that she is.
She got her break when company director gave her a ho tip, pointing to the potential of rental properties in Iskandar Puteri (IP), one of the flagship zones of Iskandar Malaysia in 2012. Then 21, Summer was intrigued enough to pursue this.
Performing her due diligence, she secured her first property a month after that; a RM300,000 serviced apartment measuring 573 sq ft. The property is now valued at RM50,000 more and Summer has been pocketing a cool RM1,200 in rental earnings each month.
The rest, as they say, is history.
We sum up a few gems she has to share with us:
- Her mother’s word of wisdom has always been, “Save up for your own property first, you can always get a sporty new car later!’’
- It is never too early to start saving up for your first 10% down payment on a property. If you can start it off with part-time income earned during high school, all the better
- She stands firm by her mentor’s advice: “If you ever want to be a successful investor, you must buy a property!”
3. Sr Vicky How, valuer, auction, and international property speaker
A vivacious and vibrant lady, Vicky How would not be out of place on the covers of a magazine. However, unknown to many who met her for the first time, Vicky is no stranger to the world of property and real estate.
She started her property career as a negotiator dealing specifically in sales and leasing residential and industrial properties at the tender age of 18, and quickly rose to be licensed valuer from the Board of Valuer, Estate Agency and Appraisal. Besides being a member of the Institute of Survey of Malaysia (ISM), Vicky also finds time to contribute as a speaker and writer for iProperty, among others. Recently, she even co-wrote a book called “Die With Massive Debt”.
For International Women’s Day, we managed to quiz on women empowerment on this pivotal day.
Who is the strongest female role character that inspires you?
As the only child in the family, I was brought up by mother single-handedly. Times were tough, and we were broke. Living in a downtrodden wooden house, my mom had to work a few jobs just to earn enough money to keep up with the cost of living,
Vividly, I still remember my mom washing clothes in the middle of night in the absence of washing machine. Even though life was hard, my mom did not take the easy way out of hardship. She chose to work hard, and to bring me up to be the person that I am today.
My mom has truly proven that the rags to riches story does come true.
Your mom is awesome!
Thank you 🙂
What’s the main challenge you faced as a female starting out in an industry dominated by men?
Decades back, yes property was the industry for man. Most women were the secretary, clerks, admin or accountants. You hardly see a woman being a real estate agent. In fact, when I was studying for Property Management, I am one of the very few women there. As the industry expands, I see more and more women venturing into this industry.
When I first started out in this industry selling factories, I was only 18. I drove my tiny car to Port Klang, which to me was relatively dangerous and scary. Worst still, I had to deal with the factory shutters which are about 3 times of the size of the normal commercial shop-lot roller shutter, not to mention the rusty and heavy gate. These are the physical difficulties I encountered but because I’ve had help from others around me, I am thankful that I was not deterred by these issues.
The catchphrase for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange. What is the change you would like to see/welcome for women across the world?
Women are born strong in nature. However, there are many woman out there have not discover their full potential. Although we can now see that more and more women are in corporate industry, the fact remains that less than 20% of the management team are woman.
Besides that, gender inequality is strong especially in countries that is less developed. I would like to see women, regardless of their family background, race and age, stand up for their rights and recognition that they deserve. They should be proud of their gender and not feel less adequate just because of their sexuality.
Above all, no one should ever forget that women are the ones who gave birth to all the men in the world.