Working With Your Spouse in Your Real Estate Business

June 28, 2012 in Investing In Real Estate

Working With Your Spouse

I was asked the question recently, “What should I do if my spouse isn’t interested in real estate? It's my passion, and I spend a lot of time on it”. This person went on to say that they felt like they weren’t able to give it their “all” because their spouse wasn’t on board. They also found themselves feeling frustrated and somewhat angry at times.  

For some couples, it seems to work best if their personal and business lives are not combined, and that's OK.  

But there is another whole group of folks that seem to thrive when it comes to working together.  No matter which side of the fence you are on, it seems to be a pretty common problem not only for real estate investors but for anyone that has a small business.

 

Spouses that Enjoy Working Together

Whether or not they want to work together in their real estate business is an easy question for some couples to answer.  They will tell you that they are very happy building their business together. In almost all of these cases you will come to learn that they recognize that they each have different strengths and weaknesses, and in turn they have successfully divided the job duties according to these traits.

Not crossing over into their partners’ “territory” without an invitation is key to making this partnership work. Most disagreements seem to come up when this unwanted crossover happens and one person ends up feeing undervalued, or they feel that their work is being second guessed by their partner.  Like any other partnership, couples need to establish some ground rules right from the beginning. It’s imperative that there is not only respect but mutual trust for this to be successful. Having shared values and goals are equally important.

 

My spouse hates real estate!

I’ve heard this more than a few times. One person openly resents the time spent on real estate related activities. They feel that they are getting shortchanged usually with regards to time spent with the family.

 

So what can you do? 

  • First of all, couples should take a look at their shared goals. It may be that one person doesn’t like the method of getting to the goal, but they like the payoff in the end.
  • For example: if the couple’s goal is to pay off all debt in 24 months, one person might not like the long hours committed to a rehab project, but if the payoff is a big chunk of change that will be used to pay down debt that might make it a whole lot easier to swallow.  Will the end result benefit everyone involved?  Have an honest conversation with your spouse and see if you can reach some common ground.
  • See if there is some part of your business your partner can take an interest in. It could be that they hate looking at property, don’t want anything to do with the actual rehab, but love decorating and buying accessories. Maybe they can be your “in-house stager”.

There are probably a million ways you can work out the specifics if you are determined to work as partners.

If you just can’t find a solution, maybe you can “agree to disagree” for a specific amount of time like in the example above.  Or if you are the one currently devoting all of your spare time to your real estate business, find a way to compromise that works for your spouse. Maybe you can devote one full day on the weekend to real estate and one day to family activities. Or, possibly you can find a way to pick up the slack during the week so that your partner doesn’t feel like a single mother, father… you can fill in the blanks.

Successful couples are much like successful businesses. They are good at compromise and solving problems.  Find a solution that works for you and your partner, and you will ultimately see your real estate business thrive in spite of your differences.

 

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