12D — October 22 - November 18, 2021 — Women in Business — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


Women in Business

Betty Friant, Kay Properties & Investments “Reaching out and talking to someone in the industry can be incredibly rewarding for both parties”


I say, “No, I’m not going to do that. I want you as an investor to understand what this type of real estate is all about. I don’t want you to just sign the pa- perwork and move on. The fun part is choosing which asset classes and tenants might be the best fit for you, and we can’t do that until you have had a solid education in the subject.” I think the thing that makes us at Kay Properties so unique is our emphasis on educating our clients and re- ally encouraging them to dig in and learn. If we educate and then our potential inves- tors decide the DST invest- ment route is not for them, that’s fine. We’re okay with that. But I think the fact that we take such time and care to make sure our clients really understand what they’re do- ing and we make sure they have access to enough infor- mation to be able to make an informed decision. Our team is there for our clients when- ever they need us. I think that is very special and very differ- ent. We really do care for our clients and want to help them as best we can. Do you feel being a wom- an is an advantage, disad- vantage, or no advantage in today’s business world, and why? Yes, I definitely think it’s an advantage for me to be a woman in the field of com- mercial real estate and in the world of DST 1031 properties, Qualified Opportunity Zones and real estate funds. I say that mainly because the com- mercial real estate industry in an industry where there are not a lot of women – at any level. I think it’s an advantage because people may not feel as threatened when a woman reaches out to them especially when they learn that my goal is to educate them not sell something to them. I don’t think I’m intimidating so when they realize that I really know what I’m talking about, or if they recognize my CCIM designation (which important because it demonstrates my own commitment to educa- tion), they become more recep- tive to learning about our DST, 1031 properties, and funds. Investors often seem to rec- ognize that I might be able to help them by providing advice or even by pointing out ques-

tions they might want to ask their own CPAs, attorneys, and financial counselors. My role is more as a trusted advi- sor and as a resource without being overbearing or pushy. What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young woman about to go into the field of com - mercial real estate or your allied field? I would encourage them to find somebody else who’s in the type of real estate they are considering and talk to them, ask them questions, pick their brain, brainstorm ideas. Most seasoned real es- tate professionals would love to provide advice to someone just starting out. Reaching out and talking can be incredibly rewarding for both parties. If anyone is interested in real estate, they might want to ask for a bit of time on the phone, do an online meeting, or even better, meet that real estate professional for coffee. This may help a potential new real estate person decide what type of commercial real estate or in- vestment sales might be good fit for them. This is true for anyone who is looking to start a new career – whether they are fresh out of school or look- ing for a career change later in life. I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of the expertise of the people who have been there before, because as I said, most of us in the commercial real estate business are willing to share what we’ve done and learned and our individual experiences might resonate with that per- son…helping them with that first scary step toward starting a new career. And as I men- tioned earlier, it’s a great time to be a woman in commercial real estate. What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time? I love walking in the woods or along the river because I live in one of the most beau- tiful parts of the world - the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I’ve also recently learned to play “Pickleball” and am hooked. It’s so much fun! But more than anything, I love to get together with fam- ily and with friends. That’s the most important thing in the world to me and it’s why I work so hard. MAREJ

ell us howandwhen you began your ca- reer in the profes-

Betty Friant Senior Vice President Years with company/firm: 5.5 Years Years in field: 42 Years Years in real estate industry: Real estate organizations/affiliations: CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment

sion you are in: Well, I’ve always had an interest in business. Both of my parents were entrepre- neurs and owned restaurants and other small businesses in Winchester, Virginia just west of Washington, DC. I have two sisters, one older and one younger, and we always were encouraged to work. When we wanted mon- ey, we didn’t get an allow- ance, we had to work in the restaurant so I grew up in a business environment. Ever since I can remember, the world of business has been a fascination to me. Later, I was attracted to real estate because I realized I could own multiple rental properties and hopefully pay them off by the time I retired. Then, the idea of being able to help other people build equity in real estate struck me as a great career direction so, I started my career selling real estate; first residential as a Realtor, then at a ski resort and then in NewHomes sales while our daughters were young. I realized early on that commercial real estate would be more interesting because it’s all about business but I waited until later to focus on commercial real estate sales, first in regular commercial real estate and then as a NNN Broker before finding my way to Kay Properties where investors could di- versify instead of putting so much of their investment dollars into only one or two large properties. What was your greatest professional accomplish- ment in 2021? I think the greatest profes- sional accomplishment this year has been managing people’s expectations in what has been one of the best real estate cycles in my career. I’ve been in real estate since 1979, so I’ve seen the mar- ket soar and I’ve seen the market crash. This is one of the busiest time I can think of. Managing our clients’ expectations on what they can purchase in this kind of a market is important. If a client is selling at the peak of the market, and they want

Member) and Series 22, and Series 63 securities licenses

to defer taxes by using a 1031 exchange, they are also going to be buying at the peak of the market. So, reminding people that there are no guarantees in real estate, and remind- ing them that real estate is not a static investment – it’s not like putting money in an FDIC insured bank account. There are risks involved with any real estate transaction, and yes, there can be re- wards. But, trying to remind people about where we are in the market cycle while at the same time helping them find the best properties is really all about managing expecta- tions and trying to help in- vestors navigate the world of investment real estate. What was your most notable project, deal or transaction in 2021? If I had to identify one specific deal, it would be my recent involvement advising an entire family on several large DST investments. This family inherited some rental properties and then built their holdings into over $30+ million worth of real estate. They decided they didn’t want to be landlords anymore. So, they divested themselves of their real estate properties and wanted DST 1031 invest- ments so they wouldn’t have to manage any longer. They were ready to divide up the family’s assets and let each sibling pursue their own in- terests and retirement goals. The entire Kay Properties’ team and I helped educate them on how to turn their portfolio into DSTs which would allow them to diver- sify into many different asset classes, tenants, geography, and even different DST com- panies. Together, these dif- ferent DSTs might be able to generate monthly income they wanted all without them having to participate in active management. They are now

doing things that they love to do. As l touch base with them to see how everyone is doing, they have shared with me where they are in the world, what they’re doing with their time, their volun- teer work, and how excited they are about some aspect of their new life. It’s gratifying to know I helped them create the opportunity to have more leisure time to really enjoy life when they admitted they didn’t have much work/life balance before. Who has been the stron- gest influence on your career? Since 2016, I would have to give all the kudos to Dwight Kay, the founder of Kay Prop- erties. What he does with our company and how he nur- tures and builds and grows people within the company is so impressive. He has done that with me as well. I’ve always worked hard, I’ve been lucky and have been very successful in commer- cial real estate, but Dwight pushed me in ways that I didn’t think I was ready for. I hated speaking in public but how I’m presenting to groups, doing podcasts, and hosting DST educational events and webinars. It’s hard to believe it’s the same me! Dwight Kay is always pushing us at Kay Properties to reach just a little bit further than we’re comfortable with. He is mak- ing us all a little better every day. Most definitely, Dwight Kay has been the biggest influence at this stage of my work life. What unique qualities and/or personality traits do you thinkmakes you so suc- cessful in your profession? Everybody approaches their profession so differently, but for me, the focus has always been emphasizing education. Sometimes people want me to just tell them what to do but

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