Well...she likes me. AND we have fairly defined jobs to minimize duplication of effort AND we are not with each other all day every day AND her office is downstairs and mine is in the loft.
Having a happy marriage can obviously be a challenge under any circumstances.
Being in business with your spouse adds another level of potential conflict. We minimize conflict by employing the methods in the opening sentence.
Without sounding too syrupy, the main reason WE do well together is that we really respect the other's abilities. My wife is the first person that I would hire for any business...she feels the same way about me.
We were both corporate people who traveled the country for 12 years back when we were younger. Jan was a business phone installation manager for GTE and I was a computer services sales guy for Control Data. Jan installed Robert Redford's phone in his New York office, road the elevator with Al Pacino and taught (or tried to teach) Brazilian soccer star Pele, how to use his multi line phone. (He was then with the New York Cosmos)
Therefore when we came to real estate we were already were well trained in much of the business aspects of it. We were comfortable analyzing bad situations, diffusing tension, speaking in public, and determining what clients wanted. This helped tremendously. I KNEW IN ADVANCE what Jan could do... conflict and uncertainty really never arose.
I firmly believe that my wife could go into any business anywhere and help them be better AND they would really like being improved.
EVERYBODY likes her. Here is a tip that we can all learn from her: She never thinks about herself. She thinks about what the client wants and tries to deliver it in a manner that would make them happy. They sense that and love to refer her.
I am the more public face of our team. Although both Jan and I CAN do all aspects of the business, we break it up based on each other's strengths and preferences.
Real estate is our full time business and our total family income...it would be extremely difficult to maintain the volume we need operating alone.
An individual agent operating alone who lives totally off her real estate sales is an amazing person.
That person is rare and unique in our business and should be greatly admired.
I do most of the open houses and "outside" grunt work of real estate...pre-views, signs and lock boxes, etc. I am responsible for most prospect communication, blogging and finding new stuff we should be doing.
We both show property together the first time we go out with a buyer client then I take over for most of the rest of the showings. We both go on listing appts. together.
Once a contract is ratified, Jan does the majority of the transaction management from beginning to end and beyond. We back check each other's schedules and proof each other's work without being annoying about it. It is hard for most husbands and wives to work together closely but it is almost natural for us. We are fortunate...we like our arrangement and what we do.
We have also had the same assistant for 15 years...she is an optimistic, happy, detail oriented person who is like family.
We pretty much let her come and go when she wants, she keeps track of her own hours and she knows just what to do and when.
Each morning Jan and I meet and decide what has to be done and who is going to do it. Today is a good example of how we operate. I start work around 7:30.
I check emails, clean up the in box of all the junk and figure out which one of us is better to respond to whatever request is in there. Jan starts at 8:30. We talk about the plan for the day and split up the emails and start responding.
Today, I am going to check on seller repairs on property one of our buyers has under contract; going to nearby communities that I have not blogged about yet and shoot photos for future posts; working on a website and video for a new listing and I have a lock box to change out, keys to make, and some listing photos to take and others to fix.
Jan is going to the office to print box flyers and brochures which she will then deliver, writing an offer and finishing up a listing agreement. All during the day we will call or text each other to see what's up and what crises have arisen.
If she gets an email or call that she thinks is better for me to handle she will call me and vice versa.
Instead of being in each other's armpit for ten hours, which would NOT BE GOOD FOR ANY MARRIAGE we usually are in the same room doing business for 30 minutes.
If she gets really burdened with admin stuff, then I will stop what I am doing and help. We prioritize tasks in the morning and revise on the fly as problems occur.
One good thing about about being teamed with your spouse is that we are never at odds over money and the need to seriously work hard to make it.. Non related team members have separate families to provide for which causes most of the friction and team break ups. Who gets leads, who is not carrying their share of the load, who is serious about the business and who is not etc. etc.
The bad part of a being a spousal team is that if your whole income is in the real estate basket, well then buddy you better not fail or the whole family ship is going down with you.
We find this fact to be an excellent motivator :-)
Sold! By Jan and Steve.