Real Estate Investing Basics

5 Simple Ways to Get Your “Better Half” on Board With Real Estate Investing

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A few blog posts ago, I wrote about a friend of mine who I referred to as “Jealous Jeb” (alliteration is fun).

I was talking to him about real estate a number of months back when he said something that stuck with me.

“Sure, man. Just get all of that investing stuff out of your system before you get married because it’ll never happen when you’ve got a family.” – JJ

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Well… I got engaged in December, so clearly I haven’t listened to his advice. 😉

However, Jeb is not the only person with these concerns. There are always a number of people asking on the Forums about the best ways to get a fearful spouse interested in real estate.

Which, in all honesty, is a great question.

I obviously have no experience being married (the wedding is a mere 10 months away), but I can imagine that “being on the same page about your future” is probably pretty high up there on the list of requirements for a successful life together. Right?

So that begs the question: What are the best ways?

Before I begin, I feel like I must be truthful. And the fact of the matter is that I got off pretty easily. When I first decided to start investing in real estate, I told my fiancé (girlfriend at the time) about it, and she said, “Ok babe… I’m sure you’ll do great.”

I feel like she has an unhealthy level of confidence in me — and in retrospect, it kinda makes me question her judgment. Hmmm.

But regardless, I didn’t have to poke, prod or plead. I did most of this stuff voluntarily so that she might be able to participate in the business one day in the future.

Related: The Quick Exercise to Help Put You & Your Spouse on the Same Investing Page

So here it is. These are a few of the steps that I took as a boyfriend of 1.5 years in order to get my future fiancé interested in real estate.

5 Simple Ways to Get Your “Better Half” on Board With Real Estate Investing

Read (or listen to) a simple real estate book together.

If you just throw a real estate book in front of your significant other and tell him/her to read it, they’ll probably say OK. Then continue to watch NASCAR or “Say Yes to the Dress.” (Sorry for the ludicrous stereotypes, but you get my point.)

The easiest way to get around this is to do it together. The two books that I would recommend would be Rich Dad Poor Dad, then the BiggerPockets “Ultimate Beginners Guide to Real Estate Investing.” In that order.

Obviously, you can change it up however you want. Just, whatever you do, don’t start with something like the 9th Edition of Real Estate Finance & Investment Manual by Jack Cummings. Albeit a fantastic book, there is no way you’ll be able to recover from introducing calculus into real estate this early on.

Watch TV shows about real estate together.

Yes, the shows are unrealistic. Yes, they don’t talk enough about financing. Yes, they tend to enhance the drama. I get it.

However, these shows are an awesome stepping stone towards getting super motivated about real estate. As a matter of fact, there’s probably a good chunk of people already on BP who decided to get into real estate solely because of shows like that!

“Flip or Flop,” “Property Brothers,” “Flip this House,” “Income Property” — whatever it is, just watch it. Reality TV (as much as I hate it) can serve as a great motivator when it comes to real estate.

After all, real estate is sexy! But it’s a lot sexier on TV, which is drastically more sexy than when you’re sitting on your computer at 3 in the morning trying to figure out how to use QuickBooks.

Look at houses together. (Do you sense the “togetherness” theme yet?)

I tried to involve my fiancé as much as I could when I got started. I had her look at properties with me, scoured Zillow with her, and asked for her opinions on paint schemes and appliances. It helped her realize that we were in this together, and I wasn’t just looking out for numero uno.

If she didn’t feel comfortable walking around a particular neighborhood, then I crossed it off my list of places to invest. It built up her level of confidence with me and has also helped to serve as a great barometer for potential investment areas.

Build a “Vision Board” together.

If you haven’t made one with your spouse, do it right now. Just get on Pinterest and search for “Vision Board.”

Build it well, make it appealing, and put it as a centerpiece in your house or apartment. Fill it with photos of vacations you want to take, places you want to live, boats you want to own, and opportunities that you want your kids to have. This simple action will provide you both with a vision of the future benefits that will come from the present sacrifices you make.

Own it from Day One.

No spouse or significant other is going to believe in your dream of becoming a real estate mogul if you continue to spend 5 hours every night playing “Call of Duty.”

Related: 7 Ways to Stay HAPPILY Married When Investing with your Spouse!

It’s just not going to happen.

Own it from day one. Spend your down time reading books, listening to podcasts, researching markets, networking on BP, and learning the trade. If you treat real estate as a business that you are dedicated to from day one, they will put their faith in your decision and back you up 100%.

I promise.

Now, I’m clearly not the only person who has ever had this dilemma, as evidenced by the litany of posts on this topic. Therefore, here are a few of the recommendations that came straight from the BiggerPockets Forums:

  • Have a backup plan so you don’t end up in the “poor house”
  • Show that your relationship comes before real estate
  • Delegate landlording to a PM (if necessary)
  • Have monthly meetings about your financial status
  • Consider creative financing with less money at risk
  • Prove your worth by action
  • Go to a REIA meeting together
  • Always be patient

Did you have a hesitant spouse when you first started investing? Do you have a hesitant spouse now?

Feel free to leave comments below with any recommendations that you want to pass on.

I hope that this post will help you and your spouse become an unstoppable real estate investing team together. Best of luck!

Tyler is a pilot by day and aspiring entrepreneur by night. He started investing in April of 2014 and acquired three properties in the first 8 months. His goal is to become financially independent ...
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    Brian Kertscher Investor from Cudahy, WI
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the suggestions Tyler, A strong relationship with a common vision can help you achieve great things. Brian
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    You’re welcome Brian. Thanks for the comment.
    Burnell B. Renter from Manhattan, Kansas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Tyler, thank you for writing this article you made some awesome suggestions that I plan on using .
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    You’re very welcome Burnell. Glad you enjoyed it.
    Randy Reed Real Estate Professional from Odenville, Alabama
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great suggestions, Ty. While I like these ideas for convincing a spouse to get on board, I have to say that’s not always necessary. Sometimes, a spouse simply has no interest in Real Estate, or whatever side gig you might have. Unless one spouse is using the other spouse’s money/credit to further the RE ventures, you might not have to say much about it. For instance, my wife has very little interest in RE investing. She’ll ask a random question every now and then. She’ll listen if I say something about it — not really listen, but pretend she’s listening while she thinks about something else. She’ll even ride around with me while I check out potential buys, scout areas, or check in on tenants/contractors. But she doesn’t really care about it all, as long as it’s making money and not bleeding money.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I couldn’t agree more Randy…Great point. Having a spouse that is on board with investing but wants no part in it is a pretty great arrangement as well. Thanks for the comment!
    Angel Rosado from Bronx, New York
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great post. As I’m just beginning my journey I know this will be an area that I will struggle with. The biggest hurdle will be convincing my wife about financing as we are Dave Ramsey followers. This will also be a hurdle for me being that I have changed what I have wanted to do many times attempting to find what it is I am best at and have a passion for. I will say the suggestion of reading rich dad, poor dad is great and it’s a very simple and straightforward presentationot on the be fits of REI. My wife enjoys painting and being creative and if I can convince her of the greater good we would do by providing housing for people while growing our financial future I know it’ll help.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the comment Angel! I haven’t read much of Dave Ramsey’s content, but I’m familiar with his anti-debt stance. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get into real estate with low (or no) money down. Best of luck to you and your wife.
    Andrew Cordle from Alpharetta, Georgia
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I like the vision board idea. Awesome post!
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Andrew. I love the Vision Board…It’s definitely a motivating thing to see when you first wake up in the morning.
    Tom Sylvester Real Estate Investor from Rochester, New York
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great topic and post Tyler. This was a huge challenge for me several years ago, and is now one of the biggest thing that my wife and I emphasis/coach as we work with couples that want to become entrepreneurs (especially when real estate investing comes to mind). Personally, the vision board/goals were what ultimately worked for us. We laid out what we wanted out life to look like in 15 years, 10 years, 5 years, 3 years, 2, years, 1 year and 6 months. Once we knew the 15 year goals, we worked backwards to figure out how to achieve them. Our biggest goal was to be able to spend more time together and time with our (then future) kids. We realized that have us both work full time would not achieve this. After running through various options and actually running the numbers for actual real estate deals, she began to see that real estate investing (and whatever else we did) was a means of achieving that goal. Again, thanks for sharing.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Tom, I’m glad to hear that the vision board worked out for you and your wife. I’m a huge fan of it myself. Keep up the great work!
    Karen Rittenhouse Flipper/Rehabber from Greensboro, NC
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Let’s not forget that it’s often the wife who leads the husband into real estate investing…. Open communication is HUGE. What we find is that women typically have a big problem getting comfortable with the debt requirement in real estate investing. It took me two and a half years to finally grasp the concept of “good debt”. And that continues to be one of the main things I coach women about in this business. This is a very time and cash intensive business. Did I mention time? Good counseling is not a bad idea. 🙂
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Absolutely! I was lost when it came to the concept of ‘good debt’ for a while as well…I could have used your coaching a few years ago 🙂
    Robert Monserrat from Methuen, Massachusetts
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Excellent article! I’m in the process of having my soon to be wife join the real estate adventure with me. I’ll make sure I put these five simple ways into action
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great to hear Robert. Best of luck to you and the wife.
    Jerry W. Investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Tyler, Thanks for taking the time to post this article. In answer to your 2 questions the answers are yes and yes. Real estate investing is something my spouse is EXTREMELY uncomfortable with. Her parents raised her that money goes into the bank. You don’t invest in stocks, you only buy the house you live in. They kept about 5 years worth of soap, aluminum foil etc., because you never know when it will become scarce and you cannot get it like in WW2. When I started investing it was with a partner and even then it was barely tolerated. I have tried to warm her up to the concept but she is no where near excited. My wife is intelligent, (would have been valedictorian but for a B in Gym, educated, (has a degree in business), and is very good at accounting. Its just that you can lose money in a business. Over time there have been more than a few arguments about buying houses. The few times I have seen her show any enthusiasm was when I bought an very junky house and ended up flipping it a month later for a profit that was almost 2 months of my regular salary. She said I could do all of those I wanted. unfortunately those chances do not come very often. My wife does the books for my rental business now, and of course does them quite well. Sometimes you kind of need a cease fire zone with mutual respect. I think she likes seeing how much principal is paid down each month. I am not the kind of person who believes that you have do every thing your spouse wants in order to have a good marriage. Anyway this is probably too much information, but I wanted folks to know that you don’t have to have a wife who is enthusiastic about investing to make it work.
    Justin Densmore Electrician from Harvey york co, New Brunswick
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Great post Jerry, I am currently in the same boat and as such have not proceded into real estate investing after countless fights and a spouse that stands her ground and refuses to back down. I recently had a baby and am hoping after she is back to work and the stress of one income is gone she will change her tune.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Jerry, thanks so much for the insight. I can completely understand the way she feels. When I bought my first property and had to sign the 100+ page closing document, I remember thinking…”what have I gotten myself in to?” haha. It’s great to hear that y’all have made it work regardless. It seems like you and your wife complement each other quite well. Best of luck to you!
    Joseph West Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Awesome post. Just what I was looking for heading into marriage :).
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Glad I could help! Congrats on the engagement btw.
    Nick Pash Rental Property Investor from Grand Rapids, MI
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I will be the first to admit that I was not about real estate investing when my husband (this is Tessia posting) started educating himself back in July 2014. He tried to get me on board but I was not interested. I supported him but wanted nothing to do with it. I found that my lack of wanting to stay out was more difficult as I was scared about the bids/offers since I had no clue what was going on, nor did I understand the numbers. The biggest part for me was, I felt he was embarking on this journey without me. The togetherness really is a big factor and has helped me want to invest my time in understanding about real estate investing. I really like the vision board idea. This is something we haven’t done but, I am excited to start doing. Thanks for sharing. Tessia Pash
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I’m glad you enjoyed the article Tessia. Thanks for the comment and I wish you both the best of luck!
    Laurie Williamson Rental Property Investor from Plano, TX
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks for the article! My husband and I have been married for ten years, and I am the one leading the real estate journey. He is very supportive, but not involved/interested in participating financially yet. We have always both worked full-time and kept separate bank accounts. So, his attitude is basically, “It’s your money; it’s your choice how to spend it.” I bought my first rental property about 6 months ago, and it is doing well. Purchased in my name, and with my savings, while he’s keeping his savings in 401Ks, money market accounts, and other investment vehicles. He helped me look at properties and is willing to help with repairs and things, and of course Texas is a community property state, so all our money is technically both of ours anyway… but he has not invested any of his “own” funds yet. He is about to buy some stock, and see how that does. I would love to get him on board so we could do a joint real estate venture, but I’m OK with doing it myself, too. It’s been doing well so far. We’ll see! Maybe after a few years, he will be convinced. Meanwhile, I’m curious to see how his investments do vs. mine… and, if nothing else, we will be diversified.
    Tyler Flagg Investor from Pensacola, FL
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Hey Laurie, thanks for reading…I’m glad you enjoyed it. “Diversified” is right! haha. It seems like y’all have a real solid plan and your strategies definitely compliment each other. Best of luck going forward.