The mentoring program Heels & Hammers was founded in 2018 for women to gain strategies and techniques to help build their real estate investment business. Upcoming dates are being booked, and also an online program will be announced for the new year – talk about a resolution!
The background: Founder Lisa G. Lopez, broker/owner of Home Alliance Realty in Manahawkin and a licensed real estate instructor, also leads the Ocean County chapter of the South Jersey Real Estate Investors Association. When she began teaching seminars in her office in 2005, she noticed most of the investor attendees were men. Many women had been hesitant to take part or to voice their input when they did attend.
“I noticed around 2017 as I was listening to some gentlemen banter back and forth at the conference table – and there was one woman that night – it dawned on me that most of my teaching has been to men and that the real estate investor space is pretty much dominated by men.
“I found it curious,” she continued, “because then we would end the night and women would always stay and talk to me, and there were questions they could have asked in the group but didn’t feel comfortable. And it happened repeatedly.”
Not long after that, at a conference in Florida after talking with other women investors, the idea for Heels & Hammers coalesced: “We definitely need to bring more women into the real estate investor space.”
“It’s not that I’m trying to segregate or do something different for women,” Lopez pointed out. “I’m just trying to help them jump into real estate investment and give them every opportunity. In the industry there should be level footing for women.
“I was 24 when I bought my first fix-and-flip house. You know how when you’re young you don’t have as much fear as you do when you get older?” she recalled. “I didn’t mind that men were giving me a hard time, I just went and did my own thing anyway. But for many, that’s not the case – they need a safe place to be able to talk and learn. I would love to see equal footing where we all show up at the same table and are able to communicate and talk about investing in real estate without having intimidation from either side, really.”
The education that is provided can benefit men, too, and men are more than welcome to take part.
“It really is for anyone thinking about starting in real estate investing,” Lopez added. “The program is designed to get you from Point A of thinking about it, to Point B of actually buying.”
The program is geared to teach three basic principles: mindset, business planning and real estate.
“A lot of times when the women come to me, they don’t know how to take that first step. I get to take them from ‘I’ve been wanting to do this for so long I just don’t know how to start’ to the end product, where they’re making offers and they’re buying properties,” Lopez described.
“In ‘Mindset,’ we talk about getting them in the right mental space to realize that they have the tools to become a real estate investor,” she outlined. “‘Business Planning’ encourages and instructs how to plan their investment business. It teaches how to create a business plan and create a credibility package for obtaining funding on their projects.
“Lastly, the real estate piece which is where we teach them about looking at real estate, how to find repairs. We do field visits; we walk though homes. Sometimes I bring a home inspector with me who will teach them how to look at plumbing and HVAC, and look for underground oil tank evidence, those kinds of items.” The home inspection company Pillar to Post has been the primary aid on field visits.
One reason for hesitancy to follow their interest was they didn’t know as much about construction, Lopez found.
“That’s a male-dominated industry as well. I think that’s why women shy away from being an investor; it just seems like a big balloon in front of them that they don’t know how to get around.”
“What do you need in order to start?” may be a frequently asked question.
“I’ve seen investors start with nothing,” Lopez attested. “You do need to have some level of good credit, but not always. There are options out there where they’re not going to look at your credit; they’re going to base it on the project, what you have to bring to the table financially, so there are various options; it’s not always how much money you have. You can’t say you need to have a minimum of x, because there are opportunities out there where you don’t need to have that much.”
Even in the current market marked by low inventory, a savvy investor can succeed.
“Any market an investor can invest in,” Lopez stated. “You just have to understand the market; you have to purchase the property right. So, whether you’re buying to fix and flip or you’re buying to hold, even wholesaling, you have to understand the market, understand what the comps are, and purchase the property right in order to make any money on it. So it doesn’t matter what the market is. Investors will shop 12 months of the year.”
With an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Stockton University, Lopez completed the Goldman Sachs – 10,000 Small Businesses program. She is a self-proclaimed “technophile,” staying on top of the newest and brightest in technology and real estate trends.
Home Alliance Realty opened a second location in 2021 Hamilton Township, N.J. Lopez’ diverse business handles residential, investment and second/vacation homes. The broker is known for her extensive work with REO (bank-owned)/distressed properties and Luxury REO properties. She has managed hundreds of foreclosed properties for various clients, coordinating repairs, providing property management, and negotiating sales. Lopez was born and raised in the LBI region.
Those interested in the fee-based Heels & Hammers real estate investment mentorship program can contact Lopez for more information at 609-384-5109. The website is heelsandhammers.com.
One-on-one mentoring keys into the fact that learners don’t all take the same path. Courses and seminars teach effective ways to create the foundation to manage and grow a business. Monthly group meetings add keys to fulfillment and success. Trade tools and tips develop standards “that deliver results exceeding customer expectations.”
— Maria Scandale