When you run a business with your partner communication, boundaries and a shared vision make the difference.
A growing number of couples are working together to build flourishing real estate businesses. Whether they’re co-founding brokerages, investing in properties or embarking on strategic flips, couples are finding ways to thrive as they work side by side. For the past nine years, my journey as co-owner of a property management technology company alongside my husband has taught me that success hinges on more than topic expertise.
To work together effectively, it’s important to strike a balance, build strong boundaries and ensure you’re working toward a common goal. These strategies lay the foundation.
Embrace Each Other’s Strengths
It is important to recognize each other’s strengths and figure out how to capitalize on them in the business relationship. To do this, inventory each other’s strong suits and figure out where they fit into your business model. Both parties must have a willingness to be honest about the areas that are not their specialty as well. Determine who is more skilled in negotiation, marketing, sales, paperwork and regulations.
My love of writing and my communication background led me to head marketing in our real estate venture. My husband, on the other hand, is a coding wizard who came up with the first version of our software and continues to develop new features for our platform.
This division of duties aligns with our passions and strengths and helps us stay motivated and involved in the business’s day-to-day operations. I write daily industry articles and blog posts while Nathan writes and reviews every new version of our software and feature updates. This hands-on approach makes projects move quickly and efficiently and keeps us excited to work. No matter your working style or strengths, it is essential to develop a solid foundation for supporting one another.
Unify Around Core Values
In the busy world of real estate, staying grounded requires a shared foundation of core values. My husband and I grew the business around the principles of strong customer service, organic growth and prioritizing the client experience. Our commitment to customer service is reflected in how our business operates—in our fast response times, free educational resources and continuous creation of new programs and features to improve the user experience. Recognizing that real estate hinges on relationships with clients, contractors, vendors, partners and tenants, we view customer trust as our north star.
When we have a difference of opinion, these core values lead us back to our business mission. We don’t have to worry about stalling progress so long as we both remember that our core values come first.
Prioritize Open Communication
Clear communication is the cornerstone of any partnership, personal or professional. My husband and I have regular, open conversations about our aspirations, strategies and concerns. We’ve created a safe space for sharing ideas and addressing disagreements. Transparency isn’t just about reporting numbers; it’s about being vulnerable and sharing your goals for the future.
Setting aside time for regular check-ins is a great way to express concerns, provide feedback and celebrate successes. We both love our jobs and talking about our work. We never tire of hearing about each other’s work or the latest industry news. We relish being able to problem-solve, brainstorm, listen and support each other and celebrate Rentec Direct’s accomplishments.
Set Clear Boundaries
Running a business as a couple can blur the lines between work and personal life. Long hours and rapid demands—like writing an offer within 24 hours or addressing a tenant’s urgent issue—can overshadow personal time. To counteract this, make sure to set clear boundaries around personal time.
For example, we try our best to end work at 5 p.m. and reserve a small window of time in the evenings to check in with each other on the day’s events. We devote weekends to family time and recharging.
Align on a Business Strategy
When both you and your spouse are aligned on a business strategy, it’s easier to work toward a shared vision. For our business, we rallied behind a strategy grounded in organic marketing and well-trained employees to run the operation. Rather than funneling resources into digital ads, we invest in authentic, educational content to drive brand awareness.
We also prioritize training our employees to become experts in the industry. Unlike competitors with hundreds of staff, we’ve thrived with a nimble team of 15 employees. This allows us to cultivate connections with each team member. This strategy has led us to long-term employee retention and has helped us land on the Inc 5000 List, which profiles Fastest Growing Private Companies for the past seven years.
If you are considering running a real estate business with your spouse, keep in mind that passion, shared values and dedication can transform any business into a reality. You can grow your business and relationship beyond what you ever imagined possible with the right mindset, aligned perspective and strong boundaries.