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Several months ago, I sniped at an Examiner article that noted with surprise how women were starting to buy houses on their own, as if this phenomenon were somehow counterintuitive and novel. The presumption that women lack the sophistication to get good deals without spousal assistance struck me as quite old-fashioned.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that at least in D.C., women appear to have a lower rate of homeownership than men: According to our not-entirely-political poll last week, 70 percent of (registered Democratic) men own their homes, vs. 63 percent of women. That’s not a huge gap, but it is significant. Lise Howe, a Chevy Chase-based realtor for over 20 years, says women are less likely to make the jump from renting to buying a place.

“They’re still sitting by the side of the gym, waiting for someone to ask them to dance,” she says. “They need an easy way to slide into the process.”

To help them out, Howe and her two young female team members are hosting a series of free classes on the basics of buying a house, covering financing, contracts, inspections, and renovations. While they won’t turn away guys, Howe is going for a bit of a girls club atmosphere, complete with wine and snacks (the scheduled male presenters are reportedly not bad to look at themselves). And while they’d love it if you then hired them to help you find a house, you can also just show up and listen.