Women investing in Commercial Real Estate are rare. Why is that?
Beth Azor, “The Canvassing Queen”,principal at Azor Advisory Services, is a rare bird in commercial real estate. She is a full time Commercial Real Estate Broker, Developer & Investor.
Beth grew up with two residential real estate agents for parents. As soon as she turned 18, she got her real estate license and dabbled in real estate. After college, she worked for a non profit that paid very little. To make additional income, she worked as a real estate agent on weekends.
In two years her non profit salary doubled, but she still made more money working weekends in residential real estate, but real estate was so boring.
The residential developer she worked for had Beth hold an open house in a luxury home development. She spent most of her time reading People Magazine while waiting for prospects to show up for a tour of the model home.
When a friend suggested she consider commercial real estate, she thought why? How much more boring could raw land be than residential housing?
Then she learned about the possibilities in commercial real estate. She could help developers and investors solve problems, create wealth and achieve the American Dream.
Beth thrived in commercial real estate. The commercial real estate firm she started with provided a rich environment where she could grow and become a commercial real estate professional. In eighteen years, the firm grew from 11 to 125 people and she became the president of the firm.
During her time with this firm, she found a passion, teaching agents how to lease vacant spaces. She also invested in multiple commercial real estate properties as a passive investor with her partner.
At the end of run, she was a single mom of a 4 year old and recognized that the demands of running a large firm did not match her desire to be active in her kid’s lives.
In 2004, Beth started Azor Advisory Services where she took the lead on investing in commercial real estate. Also, because she was recognized as an expert in leasing, other commercial real estate firms reached out to her to teach their agents how to become experts in leasing.
Beth is known by her fellow CRE professionals as the “Canvassing Queen”, referring to her constant canvassing for prospective tenants in her retail centers. She regularly teaches courses on how to lease space, and has written two books on the subject.
Don’t Say No for the Prospect - how-to manual on overcoming fear and negative self talk.
The Retail Leasing Playbook - step-by-step guide book offers clear instructions that every aspiring retail leasing agent can adapt to jumpstart their own career.
Retail real estate has changed dramatically since the invention of the internet and Amazon.
The Amazon effect has disrupted retail businesses and their need for a brick and mortar location. The days of going to the mall to find your pair of shoes have mostly been replaced by shoppers scrolling their computer screen,
Beth assures us that Retail is not dead. Instead, shoppers are going to the mall for an experience, looking for something they cannot buy online. Retail product sales has gone on line. Amazon’s biggest seller is shoes since they purchased Zappos. People are short on time and looking for a friction free solutions. Retail is now made up of the five “F” words.
Where are women investing in commercial real estate? Commercial real estate has provided Beth with substantial growth opportunities. She invested passively in multiple properties while at the firm she started with. When she started Azor Advisory Services she was the lead investor/ sponsor responsible for finding the deal and the investor capital.
Over time, Beth has acquired a portfolio worth over $80 million of cash flow producing real estate. When she talks with other women, she asks them, why are you not investing in real estate?
Sadly, she finds that women have numerous excuses for not investing in commercial real estate, from “I’m not smart enough” to “I’m not good with numbers”. When she travels to conferences, she finds that less than 10 % of attendees are women, and that most female attendees are the spouse of an investor. Even in the deals that Beth raises money for, most investors tend to be male.
To combat this, Beth has created The Commercial Real Estate Investment Symposium for Women. There will be multiple successful women real estate investors speaking on topics including:
Women have to grab hold of the opportunity in real estate. If they lack education, get educated. Are you are scared? Then find someone who has invested and get their help.
Don’t follow the herd. When Beth ask women how does the stock market work, they don’t know, yet they defer to investing in their 401k. They do not understand that they will have to sell their stock in order to get their money.
Cash flowing real estate produces cash and appreciates in value. So get educated and get in real estate.
Each week I ask my guest, “What is the Biggest Risk Real Estate Investors face?”
BIGGEST RISK: I think the BIGGEST RISK is lack of knowledge. And we luckily live in a world where we can mitigate that, but that does take time and effort and work to do so. So and you don't know what you don't know.
So when I was building my when I developed my first shopping center, which was about five years ago, I bought I bought a strip club and knocked it down and built a strip center. The municipality loved me. But I had never built anything before. And I was very nervous. And I and I had one partner in that deal. And I kept telling him, you know, I don't know what I'm doing. He said, don't worry, you'll figure it out.
But I hired people that didn't know what they were doing to consult with me and teach me. And I read a lot of books. I listen to podcasts. So the biggest risk is the lack of education. But particularly you don't know what you don't know. And being wise and astute and I'm just a big believer in continually learning. I probably listened to three or four podcasts a day and I'm constantly reading.
So that's how I mitigate that potential lack of knowledge. And that helps. But there's things, you know, our retail industry is going to be just lambasted by self-driving cars. So I'm fascinated and I'm reading all about that because if I I'm fifty nine. So if in the next ten years the self-driving car thing happens, our industry is going to shift again. So I'm trying to stay on top of it, but I don't know what I don't know. And so that's how I mitigate it. So that's the biggest risk, not knowing what you don't know.