Working with Realtors for decades through commission advances has given me a unique window behind the scenes of the real estate business. In that time I've seen both good and bad family working relationships.
Here are a few of the things to consider before you go down the path of setting up a family real estate business:
This is one of the major benefits of a family business. The bonds between owners is stronger than dollars and cents. Working with people you know well can also help eliminate some of the office politics that goes on between colleagues.
By making your business a family affair, you can shape it to reflect your values in a way that would be hard to do otherwise. Family businesses often gain reputations as reliable corporate citizens with stronger ties to their communities. You can ensure that the business will be run in a way that would make you proud even after you retire.
You know their strengths and weaknesses
The better you know your colleagues and employees, the better you understand how to put them to use. You know the tasks at which your daughter or brother would excel in a way that you don’t about somebody you’ve only met through a brief job interview.
Can you keep the two separate?
Before you invite your husband, your cousin, your niece or your son to join your business, think critically about the potential conflicts that could create. Are you sure that you will be able to hold your loved ones to the same professional expectations that you would of any other colleague? Even more important, are you confident that you can prevent the anxieties from the workplace from carrying over into your family life?
Managing jealousies from outside of the family…
If you are bringing family members into a workplace that already includes non-family members, it’s important that you address the concerns about favoritism that other employees will undoubtedly have. It would be a good idea to make clear to everybody, perhaps through a memo or group meeting, that everybody will be held to the same standards and be treated equally at work.
Jealousies within the family…
As soon as you add one family member to your business, you have to prepare for inquiries from other loved ones. Do you have the heart to bring on one cousin but turn down another? To hire one kid but not another?
Don’t pressure your kids into real estate
If real estate is a business that you love and in which you have thrived, you might naturally expect that your children would similarly love being real estate agents. But that’s not always true. If your kids join your business, it should be because it was their choice, not yours. Real estate must be approached with enthusiasm, not simply a sense of obligation to mom and dad.
That's my two cents on the matter - what about your thoughts? Anyone who's experienced or considering working with family care to comment?