In case you didn’t know, March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate, I’m going to tell you about three internationally famous women in real estate. I’ll also share a thing or two you may not know about what women are achieving in the real estate industry.

Buckle up and get ready to learn more about Barbara Corcoran, Leona Helmsley, and new lady on the real estate block Ivanka Trump.

Barbara Corcoran

My Faded Copy of Use What You've Got
My Faded Copy of Use What You’ve Got by Barbara Corcoran

Let’s start with Barbara Corcoran. Barbara is a personal role model of mine. If you’re not a real estate buff, you may have caught her on an episode of the reality based investment show, Shark Tank.

Barbara Corcoran started her career in real estate with a $1,000 loan from her then boyfriend. She used the money to launch The Corcoran Group, which she sold in 2001 to NRT Incorporated for $66 million. Talk about a return on investment!

Barbara is proof that success doesn’t always come straight out of the box. A New Jersey native from a family of 10 children, she earned straight Ds in high school and college. This did not stop her from publishing the very well-respected Corcoran Report on New York City real estate trends and finding success as an author, speaker, TV personality, and thought leader.

I first read Use What You’ve Got, and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom in 2003 and I continue to refer to it for inspiration. I highly recommend it to all young and striving REALTORs.

Because of her depth and breadth of experience in real estate, her skill as a writer, and her personal charisma, Corcoran has excelled in print, television, and as a speaker. Current and past roles include:

  • Columnist for More Magazine, The Daily Review, Redbook, and the New York Daily News.
  • Speaker at real estate events and is a regular contributor to NBC’s Today show.
  • Television Host of “The Millionaire Broker with Barbara Corcoran” on CNBC.

A prolific entrepreneur, Barbara continues to invest in businesses that she believes in. Along with business partner Phil Nadel, she launched Corcoran Venture Partners, a venture capital firm in 2014 that is active in supporting innovative, dynamic startups.

Learn more about Barbara Corcoran.

Leona Helmsley

 Leona Helmsley, The Queen of Mean
Leona Helmsley, The Queen of Mean

Leona, although a fellow dog lover, has never been a role model. Billed as the “Queen of Mean,” Leona Helmsley (like Barbara Corcoran) started life in humble surroundings. Born to two Polish Jewish immigrants in Marbletown, NY, the family later moved six times before settling in Manhattan.

Despite dropping out of high school, Leona never let her lack of education stop her from attaining success. Leona’s career in real estate led to various positions, included salesperson, condominium broker, and senior vice president of Brown, Harris, Stevens — a brokerage firm owned by Harry Helmsley, her future husband and business partner. Lest you think it was Harry who created Leona’s success, she was a millionaire in her own right when they married.

Together, the couple owned many well-known properties and hotels, including the Empire State Building, and successfully built a New York real estate empire. Convicted of tax evasion in 1988, Helmsley was famously reported to have said “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”

In later years Leona Helmsley became a recluse and lived with her dog, Trouble, in a spacious and luxurious apartment. With few friends and estrangement from her grandchildren, her last years were spent mainly alone.

Upon her death at age 87 in 2007, her estate — estimated at more than $5 billion — was bequeathed primarily to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. One notable beneficiary was her dog, who received $12 million.

If you’re like me, you wonder whether Trouble put the money to good use.

Learn more about Leona Helmsley and her exploits. [photo credit: Wikimedia]

Ivanka Trump

New Real Estate Agent on the Block Ivanka Trump
New Real Estate Agent on the Block Ivanka Trump

Unlike Leona and Barbara, Ivanka Trump’s origins are not humble. The daughter of real estate mogul Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump graduated cum laude from the Wharton School of Business and began her career at Forest City Enterprises as a real estate project manager.

Ivanka eventually went on to accept a position in The Trump Organization, where she is executive vice president of development and acquisition. She is responsible for the domestic and global expansion of all the company’s real estate interests.

As a hands on person, Ivanka is said to be involved in all aspects of the projects she works on, from negotiating and financing deals to design and construction.

In addition to her real estate career, Ivanka’s accomplishments include:

  • Modeling
  • Creating her own line of jewelry, handbags and shoes and
  • Appearing on television, including spots on The Apprentice 5, Gossip Girl, and The Late Show with David Letterman

Learn more about Ivanka Trump. [photo credit: Wikimedia]

Women in Real Estate

A blog post celebrating Women’s History Month wouldn’t be complete without a little history.

According to the National Association of REALTORS:

Historically, women have been involved in real estate almost since its inception in 1794 and its establishment as a legitimate business in the 1840s. In real estate’s early days, women filled office and clerical roles, but by the 1880s, women were already moving into the roles of agents and brokers, though at a relatively slow rate. Nationwide, women brokers dominate the residential real estate market. . . .

This is something I love about real estate! It is a field in which women can really excel! In fact, according to research cited in another must-read for home buyers, home sellers and real estate agents, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate “When we control for all attributes of a home, women sell for higher prices and sell faster. In our minds, that makes them the victors in this battle of the sexes.”

Like I said, in real estate, sisters are doing it for themselves! And now, for a musical interlude.

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