Place in the Industry
When Sonia started investing more than two decades ago, “I did it all,” she says. That doesn’t seem to have changed much. The self-described wealth-builder and thought leader not only buys and rehabs single-family properties for sale and rental. She also has an extensive commercial property portfolio, manages a private-equity fund which acquires multifamily and commercial buildings, and is a prolific author and public speaker with her own radio show, the “Sonia Booker Show.”
“Early in my investing career, I would just buy properties and live in them. That was my model,” she recalled. Upon completing the renovation, she would move out and either sell or rent the property. “I think I had moved 20 times before I got married,” she laughed.
Booker hosted information sessions in her living room on Wednesday nights where she taught others, mainly women, how to successfully get involved in real estate investing. Over time, she converted the information sessions into a short pamphlet, and out of that, her speaking and writing career was born. Through it all, however, she kept a firm grasp on her real estate roots. “I still eat and breathe real estate,” she said.
Key to Success in the Industry
“Always take a self-assessment before you start investing and understand your resources. How much do you have to invest? How much are you willing to invest? What’s your credit?”
“When you go into relationships or you’re trying to gain access to someone’s time or resources, you have to be able to say what you will bring. Be very honest about what you bring and what you are trying to gain.”
“When I approached my mentor, the late Herman Russell, founder of H.J. Russell and Company, he was already a successful real estate investor and doing transactions, unlike anything I was doing. To get started, you really need to show you have skin in the game and are willing to get your hands dirty.”
“I would have to say when this lady came up to me a few years ago and said ‘You know, you’re a pioneer. Watching you out in the market has made it okay OK for women to be real estate investors.’
“It makes me proud to know I’ve had a little something to do with changing how women view real estate. To say it’s okay, we’re different, we operate differently, and we’re not only agents but we operate on other levels as well.”
A Word for Women in Real Estate
“Women are about information. We tell our girlfriends, our sister, our mama, our cousins. We look at things from the perspective of how that information is going to make an impact in our lives, not just in our investments. I have found it to be true that if you teach a man [to invest], you teach a man. You teach a woman, you teach the world because we are sharers.”
What’s Ahead in 2017
“I would say sharing my message more is the thing I’m most excited about in 2017,” Booker said. “I’m creating a wealth-building movement which changes the way people think about building wealth. The only way to understand it is to define it for yourself. For a lot of people and especially for women, wealth doesn’t just mean money; it means generational wealth and leaving a legacy.”
Hear Sonia Booker speak in person at our Dallas National Conference and Expo. Get your tickets here.
Every Monday, Think Realty is highlighting 1 of 10 women who have made a significant impact on the real estate investing industry. While each woman has a different specialty in the industry, one thing ties them all together: success.