Finding a real estate partner is a big commitment. You need to find someone who you enjoy being around, who you trust with your finances and with whom you want to build a future. Wait – that sounds familiar. Didn’t you already find that with your spouse?
Table of Contents - How to Manage a Real Estate Business with Your Spouse
Some people prefer to keep business and pleasure firmly separated. Others find joy in sharing their passion and their career with their spouse. You’ll find many married couples working together across real estate sectors. The flexibility and freedom to carve your path makes it an ideal profession for designing a life that’s good for family and business.
If you like the idea of working with your spouse but are wary of the repercussions, here’s how you can prepare your business – and your relationship – to continue running smoothly.
Value each partner for their strengths
There are many wonderful things about your spouse that make you attracted to them. Some of those winning qualities will likely help you achieve real estate success as well! Maybe one person is a deep thinker but a bit shy, while the other person is great at communicating ideas and networking with others. Strengths may not just be in their personality, but also their situation. For example, one partner may have a flexible schedule that allows for meeting with contractors during business hours.
Oftentimes spouses find differences to be nagging points when they can often be viewed as strengths. A difference is not a weakness. You may have different working styles, different management styles and different investing styles. It’s important to honour and acknowledge these differences and work together towards a resolution. While you’re ultimately working as a team, you become even stronger by letting each person shine in their respective strengths. Focus on strengths – not weakness – to help both partners feel valued.
Divide and conquer
Once you’ve identified what each person’s strengths are, assign tasks in a way that fits. Perhaps one partner is more creative and would be great at envisioning what a property could become or managing the marketing for your business. If one partner is more analytical, let that person take the lead on financing and managing funds.
Create a list of all the tasks you can think of related to your real estate business. Then, let each spouse choose which tasks they’d like to be responsible for and why they feel they’d be best at it. Deciding on responsibilities together will alleviate the resentment of one partner telling the other what to do.
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Work as partners, not employer/employee
As spouses, one partner is not subordinate to the other. It should not be this way in your business partnership either. Even if one of you has been in real estate for ten years and the other is just starting, it needs to be in a partnership role. If you’re the one with more experience you can offer guidance, but you should not be bossy. Your spouse’s interests are also at stake and deserve to be treated with equal consideration.
When you work with your spouse, it’s tempting to blur the lines. You may want to talk about a real estate prospect when you’re at your niece’s birthday. Perhaps a conversation about renovations turns into a fight about the dishes. For the sake of both relationships, you’ll need to get good about knowing when you are and are not working. This can get especially confusing if you work in a home office together or operate during unconventional hours. Plan for days and times and even areas of the house were work talk is off-limits. Hold each other accountable for sticking to the rules you’ve created.
Communication is critical
Any relationship requires good communication, whether the relationship is professional or personal. You won’t know how well your business is running or whether your situation is working if you don’t talk openly and honestly with each other. As spouses, you have shared assets, so you must have strong communication about how to protect and grow your assets. Take time to check in regularly both as business partners and as spouses to address and work through any issues.
Agree to disagree
There will always be a time when two people simply don’t agree with each other. That’s natural! What’s important is that you approach these disagreements with respect for your partner and learn to move on quickly. Try not to let your disagreements spill into your home life. Don’t dwell on disagreements, but rather use them as opportunities to move forward.
Appreciate each other
Just because there are only two employees doesn’t mean you can’t have an employee of the month! Maybe you don’t need the plaque, but it is important to take time to show gratitude for the other. Praise your spouse for finding a great deal or for taking care of that tenant emergency. Gratitude helps employees of all kinds stay motivated and keeps them engaged. This is something from work that should spill into your home life – gratitude in the workplace will naturally make your relationship stronger.
Prioritize your marriage, not your business
The best thing about working with your spouse is that you’re doing something that you both enjoy. A real estate investment is never more important than your marriage. If one spouse disagrees with a decision or is feeling that the business relationship isn’t working, your number one priority is addressing the needs of your relationship. It’s okay to miss a deal; it’s not okay to make your spouse less of a priority.
Working with your spouse in real estate can be a fun and rewarding way to grow your investing career. Because you already spend so much time together and share similar financial goals, it’s only natural to want to combine your careers as well. If you keep your priorities straight and promote honest, respectful communication, you can find a happy and fulfilling career for both.
How to run a business with your spouse
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