Is the white-hot fire of real estate investing burning in your heart? Do you solidly know within your gut that real estate investment will be life-changing? Do you have vivid pictures of the freedom owning property will offer you?
Hmm, now how to impart that passion to your spouse…
You want them to see it as you do. You want them to feel as intensely committed as you feel. You want them to be as excited as you are. You want them to see the vision for your future.
Why You and Your Spouse Would Make the Perfect Investing Team
You can do this together. You have a lot of practice.
Now let me say, this may seem different than other decisions in your relationship, but actually it’s not. Really!
I say this because all types of big decisions like this in a relationship require similar elements. Among these are a bit of understanding, a whole bunch of open-hearted listening, a giant amount of belief, and a huge heap of trust in each other. I mean it!
Planning a wedding, having a child, changing jobs, moving, buying a car together, taking out a student loan, purchasing your first home, raising your kids—every one of these requires discussion and negotiation. The point is, every big decision obliges you to be there for each other’s excitement. But it also necessitates being patiently present for each other’s fear and anxiety.
Where to Start the Discussion About Investing
So, let’s step this out.
First, have you already talked to them about investing? If you haven’t, then that is where you need to start. And then keep the tips below as tools in your tool bag to make the convo go smoothly.
However, if you have already talked to them—and they were less enthusiastic than you wanted or expected—perhaps the conversation had one or more of these possible outcomes.
You two discussed it and:
- They seemed open, but they were not necessarily excited about the idea
- They were fine with you doing it, but they don’t want to be part of it
- They have no interest, and they do not want you to do it at all
OK, so none of these three scenarios are what you most want, but they are manageable. You have managed to work out compromises on other large events in your life, right? You can do the same here.
Think of it as excellent practice for negotiating a complex real estate deal. (I’m not kidding here.)
Why Don’t They See the Potential in Real Estate That You Do?
Let’s get into the reasons, the “why” they didn’t feel your same sense of sureness and excitement.
When you negotiate with a property seller, your first job is to find out what they really want or what is holding them back from saying “yes.” And honestly, when you first start talking with a seller, you cannot assume that they even know or are truly “in touch“ with what their hesitations are. Nor can you be sure that, even if they do know what’s bugging them, they will confide their reasons to you!
They might be too embarrassed or ashamed to say them aloud—or even to admit them to themselves. Or it might make them feel vulnerable to admit their hesitations to you. You have to uncover objections by asking questions. You have to listen carefully and openly. You need to pay very close attention.
This is the same process you will use with a hesitant spouse.
Focus on Problem-Solving
If they aren’t overly enthusiastic to talk about real estate investing, be patient. Talk with them in a setting that is quiet and relaxed. Let them finish their sentences. Ask questions without anger, accusation, or judgement.
Remember, you are collecting information so you can solve the problem. Don’t make this an argument. Use your best puzzle- and problem-solving skills.
The solution to this puzzle is one of the most important solutions you will ever uncover. So, I repeat, pay close attention. Listen to the clues.
You are not just a “spouse” in this situation, you are a detective, a troubleshooter, an analyst, an entrepreneur, a visionary.
You see, if you can truly get to the heart of what is making them uncomfortable, only then can you begin to brainstorm solutions. Those solutions need to be two-sided, because when you can help your spouse feel better and more comfortable, you minimize their negative reactions and you increase the likelihood of their participation and willingness.
You also increase the possibility you will engage your spouse in your excitement about the opportunities real estate offers your family.
OK, after years as a therapist, I will tell you that when it comes to real estate investing, there are some very specific stressors, fears, and anxieties that people tend to experience. These usually boil down to one or more of the primary concerns listed below.
That said, no two situations will be identical. Your situation with your spouse will be unique.
If you review these potential concerns before you have the conversation, you can develop some well thought out and realistic solutions for how you can alleviate your spouse’s specific hesitations. Anticipating objections and concerns this way should increase your chance for a successful conversation and positive movement ahead in your joint real estate investing future.
Pick out the issues below you are most likely to face (or have already experienced) when talking with your spouse about your desire for their participation in a real estate investing venture. Write out the questions you might encounter and how you might respond. Note the trigger words you might want to avoid with your spouse—you know, the ones that tend to spark an unfortunate outcome!
Then, pick a time and place, and go for it!
Consider Their Fears
Money fears: The fear of losing money and being left without security or unable to pay the bills.
Not enough time: In the beginning, real estate takes time and commitment. As with all skills and education, it requires study, reading, practice, and repetition until it becomes seamlessly familiar.
Afraid of failure: Whenever we start new things, we run the risk that until we master the skills and knowledge, we may not be as successful as we want. But practice improves everything!
Uncomfortable with change: Some people love change—even crave it—but there are others who abhor change. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. But in truth, fear of change is almost as common as the fear of public speaking, which is the highest reported fear. The best way to deal with this concern is to just jump in and try. The sooner you start, the sooner the transition is in the past.
Not knowing who to trust/fear of being taken advantage of: Being new at something means listening to lots of other people’s advice, paying attention to tons of new information, and not knowing which is trustworthy and which is not. Practice makes perfect, or at least very good. So, the more you perfect your skills in listening to your gut while really hearing the person opposite you, the sooner you will know “when to hold them and when to fold them.”
Fear of getting started: When learning something new, it can be very difficult to decide where or how to “jump in,” and those concerns can be intimidating.
Don’t think they’re interested: Sometimes when we don’t know a lot about a topic or skill, we perceive it as boring or uninteresting. Then, once we are exposed to it, we may recognize that we have lots of talents that would make us incredibly successful in that area. But we don’t know until we try.
Afraid of handling tenants: It can seem quite daunting to suddenly have so much power over people’s daily comfort and happiness, but it’s not as hard as it seems at first. Start by giving people the service you would want (just that good ole “golden rule” stuff). Over the years as an investor, I have found that communicating with tenants, sellers, and buyers in the manner I wish to be communicated with goes a long way toward creating positive results, happy tenants, and satisfied colleagues.
No experience/“I don’t know enough”: No one wants to look like they are clueless. It never feels good. Word of wisdom: sometimes the honesty of saying, “I’m new at this,” goes a long way in getting people to warm to you, open up, and be willing to help you deal with any of the hiccups occurring in any new line of business.
Other investors will always be able to find better deals: It’s true! My answer to that is, “Yes, because they keep trying.” They keep networking to meet more people, they make offers on more properties, they talk to more sellers. Does any of that mean you shouldn’t start? Nope. Why? There will always be a “Joe Investor” who will do a deal and make $60K. That doesn’t mean that a deal you do that makes $30K is any less a good deal. Your wallet will still be VERY HAPPY! (This I guarantee you!)
Scared to get it wrong and look foolish to family and friends: This is a really significant fear for a lot of new investors. But are those same family and friends taking risks to build wealth? Are they investing in themselves and their futures by learning new things and creating new investment opportunities? Probably not, and therefore your willingness to invest and trust yourself makes you something special. You and your spouse are pioneers on the adventurous journey of increasing your wealth and building your own personal future success.
New Skills Bring New Discoveries
So honestly, some of this list may resonate for you, while many of these concerns may not seem realistic or valid at all. It doesn’t matter. You yourself have your own unique worries and stresses in your heart and mind that your spouse does not share.
Your spouse has a different set of concerns.
We all have insecurities and deep-seated discomforts that can hold us back. But remember, if you can be there to provide support, if you can be present and caring for your spouse during these scary and exciting life changes, you are also very likely to discover the two of you are an amazing team that knows NO LIMITS!
Ultimately, what we offer each other here on BiggerPockets impacts the success we all share. So, have you already effectively navigated these choppy waters with your spouse?
If so, please share the way you got your spouse on board with investing in real estate.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.