Place in the Industry
Vena Jones-Cox has been investing in residential real estate in the greater Cincinnati area full-time since 1989, and she’s completed over 600 deals in the process. “I consider myself a generalist,” she said. “Everything I do is around single family residences and smaller multifamily properties, but I let the deal tell me what to do with it. I do a lot of wholesaling. I buy and hold rentals. I do lease-options and land contracts. I do a lot of creative deals and I use my IRA to buy and sell properties, all in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana areas.”
Jones-Cox is not just an active investor, however. She has spent huge amounts of time in the educational sector of the industry as well. “I understand the challenges of being a new investor very well,” she explained, adding that this understanding comes largely from volunteer work at local real estate investor associations in the area. “Watching people come in and have all these hopes and inspirations, then a year later seeing they had either bought a deal or they were gone [led me to] try to figure out why the ones that were gone, were gone, and why the ones that had managed to buy something had bought something,” she said. “New investors just need help. They need questions answered, they need somebody to meet them where they are and give them a leg up.” Jones-Cox has spent decades providing that leg up through mentoring, coaching, and teaching, all while remaining avidly active in the real estate investing business as well.
Key to Success in the Industry
“Becoming successful in the real estate business is imperceptible. You take a step up and it seems like a minor step, but when you look back over the course of 10 years you’ve taken a lot of those steps and passed some very major milestones without even noticing.”
“I have two proudest moments. The moments that make me proudest are typically when a student succeeds. I can see their upward motion better than they can, and it’s when one of them finally is able to quit their job or do something else big that I can say, ‘There you go, all that work was worth it.’
“The other thing that comes to mind is when I was invited to speak at the Cato Institute [a Washington D.C. think tank] maybe 10 years ago about the negative effects of impending legislation on housing.”
A Word for Women in Real Estate
“I think a lot of women don’t realize that they have certain advantages in this business that are inherent to their gender. They need to recognize and use that, specifically in negotiation. A lot of women seem to be afraid of negotiation because they don’t want to be perceived as playing hardball, using a ‘my-way-or-the-highway,’ beat-the-other-guy down, kind of approach. But the reality is that most sellers, in particular, would rather talk to a woman. I’ve done the marketing tests with mailers and the same exact mailer with a woman’s name on it instead of a man’s will pull 50% more calls.
“Women have that advantage with sellers, with tenants, and even with contractors, as long as you know what you’re talking about. The softer touch that women tend to have goes a long way in working with people. Don’t try to imitate the guys. Know what they know, but do [real estate] the way you do it.”
What’s Ahead in 2017
“The thing I’m most excited about in 2017 is that we are reviving the Wild Wonderful Women of Real Estate Conference. The first event will be in April in Columbus, Ohio, and we’ve already got a number of long-term, successful, known-quantity ladies signed up to speak in completely different arenas.”