Real Estate

Buying Houses Before Finding Spouses

Rachel Rodman always dreamed of owning her own home, but life kept getting in the way.

She became a mother at 19, then went through a complicated divorce that left her financially depleted. For many years, she felt resigned to renting with her son, James, now 14.

Ms. Rodman, 33, earns a steady income as an events producer for SXSW, the annual festival of creative arts and technology held in her hometown, Austin, Texas. Still, she never felt she had the financial resources to buy a house on her own. Then she began following two Austin real estate agents on social media, drawn to their woman-focused message: You can own a house before you find a spouse.

Those agents, Kristina Modares and Stephanie Douglass, point to their own path in real estate investing as proof.

At 24, Ms. Modares was single and living paycheck to paycheck, crammed into a rental house in Austin with multiple roommates and scraping by on $27,000 a year. Now, at 34, she owns five houses of her own.

At 25, Ms. Douglass was also single and strapped, working 11-hour days teaching elementary school math with bills piling up. When her landlord told her he was raising her rent, she was panicked that she wouldn’t be able to afford her home. Now, at 35, she also owns 19 houses of her own.

Those homes, they both say, have unlocked new revenue streams and offered them a path toward financial independence, one they hope to guide their clients down as well.

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