Benaisha Poole-Watson has the real estate game on LOCK
If you have been looking for a sign to buy your first home, this is it. According to this study, the housing market has been continuing to recover since 2020. Spring home buying is upon us, but it is imperative to find the right people to help guide you with one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. For Benaisha Poole-Watson, real estate has always been a part of her life. Born to an immigrant mother from Guatemala and a Black father in Los Angeles, California, the homeownership seed was planted in Watson’s life at a young age. She shared with REVOLT, “When I was younger, my mom used to take me to model homes. We grew up in South Central, Los Angeles, and I knew my mom couldn’t afford the homes we were looking at. But she planted the seed in me to always have an interest in real estate.”
From mother-daughter trips to gaining more curiosity in investments, Watson’s interest never wavered, and she decided to purchase her first property at age 19. The young homeowner later discovered the decision would foreshadow her career path, which would also lead her to making a difference in many lives. “So I was motivated to buy my first house because I had the capital. I actually started my career in the entertainment business when I was 15 years old. I was discovered by the Gap by a model scout and when I started modeling, I was endorsed by more companies. I just knew I didn’t want to rent. I have always had this thing where if I was going to give my money away, I’d rather give it to myself instead of someone else,” Watson said.
As the young businesswoman grew into an adult and was navigating corporate America, she realized that she finally hit a roadblock. The mompreneur turned to her faith to find more direction and purpose. “I prayed to God and asked him to lead me to the space I was supposed to be in. Essentially, I was working in corporate America and I just hit a glass ceiling. After eight months of praying, God told me to get a real estate license. I have a history in real estate that I didn’t even correlate. At the time, I was already an owner of properties and was an investor, but I didn’t even think about going into the sales side. When I went over to sales, I realized this was my purpose. The trajectory has been through the roof since then,” stated Watson.
When the housing market expert answered the call, she launched her very own brokerage firm called The Bailey Watson Real Estate Group. The brokerage did over $300 million dollars in sales — residential and commercial — last year and employs 250 real estate agents. With this kind of growth, Watson’s company is currently in the top 1 percent of real estate nationally. In addition to having multimillion-dollar sales with over 400 homes sold a year, Watson also prides herself on being a home developer. The CEO has developed over 20 custom home properties between the years 2018 and 2020.
Apart from being able to try her hand at sales, owning her own firm was also an opportunity to practice financial discipline and implement ways to sustain a business. With a military background, Watson was grateful to continue to put her experience to good use. “The military taught me about financial stability. You don’t make a lot of money in the military. So I learned how to be financially savvy and pay my bills minimally. The military helped show me what was important when it comes to real estate and how to structure my financial pyramid,” Watson remarked.
Even though the LA native was able to be more conscious about her finances in order to keep her company afloat, the military veteran was not well-versed in money management prior to that. But a curious Watson made it a priority to educate herself on the matter. “My mother is an immigrant and she didn’t get a 401k until she was in her 40s. She worked at a job and didn’t have her retirement set up. So when learning about finances, I learned indirectly. I was just curious and asked the questions. I watched the people around me and noticed the mistakes they would make. So I dug deeper and familiarized myself with how money works,” noted Watson.
Her experience is similar to what happens in many BIPOC communities. There is a lack of access to resources that help educate people on how to manage finances. This also leads to mistakes that can hinder you from making big purchases in the future, like home buying. But Watson advises people to not get discouraged. There is always an opportunity to start over even when your past with money may have been a little shaky. She expressed, “I think people should learn more about financial dignity. It starts with how you set up your financial portfolio. I remember when I was younger, I was dating a guy and we got a car together. The situation got so bad that it ruined my credit. But I overcame that. So don’t be discouraged about what happened in your past or financial history. It’s about what you are doing to change your situation for the better. What are you doing to get to the next step? Dig deep and find out if this is your purpose first, and work toward creating those steps to get to the end goal.”
As Watson continued to get the word out and scale the brokerage company, the persistent boss experienced some challenges. As a Black woman in the real estate business, you can imagine that there was some rejection from others who did not look like her. But, despite the difficulty, Watson made it a point to enter spaces that weren’t as welcoming. With strategic networking and not getting discouraged by the word ‘No,’ the real estate investor made sure that she continued to push through not only for herself, but for the Black community as well.
“For me, when I enter a room, I am not entering the room for myself. I am entering the room representing the Black community. If I can break that barrier, where our community has a voice, and rise up in the ranks, I can get into the spaces and create my own table. Ultimately, the goal for the Black community is to bridge the wealth gap,” Watson noted.
As the real estate mogul continues to build and grow her business, she wants the world to know that her main mission and purpose is giving back to others. “When I started the brokerage, I created it because so many people were asking me how I was selling so many houses. The brokerage wasn’t because I wanted to make money. The brokerage was originally designed for mentorship for other agents. I really wanted to help other realtors. I was mentoring so many people in different cities. I wanted to curate a space where I can have everyone in one place and give them the right tools at the same time,” Watson expressed.
In efforts to give back to the community, Benaisha Poole-Watson has created a nationwide program, where she partners with educational institutions and teaches financial literacy to high school students. Through a BPW Enterprises partnership, Watson also created a real estate scholarship program. Each year, this scholarship allows two high school seniors to attend real estate school, at zero cost to them. Watson wants to inspire students and educate them on homeownership. She believes in educating young minds, so they are able to pass on the information to family members and friends in order to encourage more Black ownership.