How do I get my wife to want to continue buying more houses??

14 Replies

Hey guys! Here's the situation...

We just bought our first rental property and in an effort to save some money on the renovation, my wife took the last few months off work and, along with some help from our "flipper friends," she has handled pretty much all of the repairs at the house. Needless to say, my amazing wife is EXHAUSTED!!

Being the guy with HUGE financial goals for us, I want to be buying 1 property/year for the next few years. My wife, on the other hand, is so wiped out with this recent renovation, the thought of getting into another fixer-upper just ain't happening anytime soon.

I'm reading Brandon's book now where he talks about how to get your spouse on board, and I also wanted to see if any of you have gone through anything like this. If so, how did you handle?

Thanks so much!!

Wait until she is rested and then start to look for a deal so good she will only need to organize contractors or per hour workers. Perhaps you can find people who will do general work for cash and she can work as a manager of them. I have seen people ask for help for $8-$10 per hour on Facebook and they get a lot of people interested.

Come up with a plan that would allow you to get everything done without exhausting her. Then present the deal to her along with plans that prove to her that you value her want to take care of her with out using her as a work horse.

I find taking some time between houses to concentrate on my home and family is not just good but for me a must!

Obviously, she does not enjoy it.

It is hard and not good to force someone to do something they don’t like.

If you want to continue the real estate,
Let her back to her W-2 job and hire others to do it, or have her teach you how to do it, so you can do it yourself in the future.

My husband doesn’t like real estate at all, but I like it very much.
He doesn’t do or involve anything in the real estate. He asked me not to ask him to do anything in real estate because he doesn’t like it. Period.
I handle it all by myself from hiring others to do the renovations to managing the properties include showings, screen tenants, all the paperwork etc.

If you like it but your spouse doesn’t like it, be prepared to handle it all by yourself.

@Adam Bordes

Wait a minute, so you're handling the financial side and holding down the job, while she's doing and directing the construction work? That's backwards from how it usually works in small operations, especially to start with.

There's an awful lot of cultural baggage that goes along with doing the renovation work. It's traditionally man's work, and although I agree the work doesn't know the difference, the culture that we all grew up in certainly does. Who can your wife talk to about this? Where does she go where there are other women like her doing this? 

It's also really difficult learning how to manage whole-house renovations well. For me, it's just as mentally exhausting in its own way as studying for advanced college classes or writing major papers, and I finished summa cum laude and went on to grad school in the Ivy League. This is one of the basic forms of project management, once you start calling it what it is, its easy to see why those skills do not come easily.

There was a moment last year when I found myself desperately pawing through the snow for a bit that jumped out of an impact driver, chanted like a dirge to myself, "This is my life...this is my life..." I remember three years ago I was doing a shower wall in a cold basement and troweling too-stiff tile mortar on the wall, an utter despair of the soul welling up in me, wondering how my life had come to this from what I imagined it would be when I was in college, when my parents celebrated every academic achievement with enormous pride.

And I'm a big guy with a long history in DIY, an extensive family history in renovation. I even come from an immigrant culture that does this work as a matter of course. Imagine how hard this is for your wife, coming from a background where "Someday My Prince Will Come" was an omnipresent part of her childhood, where being pretty was prized a million times higher than being capable.

I'm not saying your wife is shallow. I'm most definitely not saying women can't do as good or better than men at the construction side of this business. But I am saying that there is a lot of cultural baggage that goes along with her success.


Just scale back those HUGE financial goals and budget to buy your wife something nice next year instead, something to show for all this crap. One of the things we do is keep my wife in a late-model SUV. It's our single real extravagance in our budget apart from our vacations, which was one of the primary goals that got us into real estate. And it works.

Well why don't you come up with a middle ground? Continue buying houses but ones that either need significantly less rehabbing, or no rehabbing, or hire a project manager to replace your wife's role. It doesn't really have to be black or white I wouldn't think. But don't kill your wife in the meantime! No financial goals are worth that.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

@Adam Bordes

Wait a minute, so you're handling the financial side and holding down the job, while she's doing and directing the construction work? That's backwards from how it usually works in small operations, especially to start with.

There's an awful lot of cultural baggage that goes along with doing the renovation work. It's traditionally man's work, and although I agree the work doesn't know the difference, the culture that we all grew up in certainly does. Who can your wife talk to about this? Where does she go where there are other women like her doing this? 

It's also really difficult learning how to manage whole-house renovations well. For me, it's just as mentally exhausting in its own way as studying for advanced college classes or writing major papers, and I finished summa cum laude and went on to grad school in the Ivy League. This is one of the basic forms of project management, once you start calling it what it is, its easy to see why those skills do not come easily.

There was a moment last year when I found myself desperately pawing through the snow for a bit that jumped out of an impact driver, chanted like a dirge to myself, "This is my life...this is my life..." I remember three years ago I was doing a shower wall in a cold basement and troweling too-stiff tile mortar on the wall, an utter despair of the soul welling up in me, wondering how my life had come to this from what I imagined it would be when I was in college, when my parents celebrated every academic achievement with enormous pride.

And I'm a big guy with a long history in DIY, an extensive family history in renovation. I even come from an immigrant culture that does this work as a matter of course. Imagine how hard this is for your wife, coming from a background where "Someday My Prince Will Come" was an omnipresent part of her childhood, where being pretty was prized a million times higher than being capable.

I'm not saying your wife is shallow. I'm most definitely not saying women can't do as good or better than men at the construction side of this business. But I am saying that there is a lot of cultural baggage that goes along with her success.


Just scale back those HUGE financial goals and budget to buy your wife something nice next year instead, something to show for all this crap. One of the things we do is keep my wife in a late-model SUV. It's our single real extravagance in our budget apart from our vacations, which was one of the primary goals that got us into real estate. And it works.

 How about a flipping show on HGTV where the man is in charge of the design, and the woman is the General Contractor?

Doesn't sound to me like the issue is persuading your wife to buy houses.  Its persuading her to take MONTHS off from her job and rehab houses.  Frankly I don't blame her for being unenthusiastic.  Seems like your "HUGE financial goals" involve buying her a job she doesn't want.   I think the two of you need to discuss your goals and come to an agreement that satisfies both of you.  She's your wife, not your unpaid laborer.  Hey, you got one rehab out of her.  My wife would have told me right up front what I could do with the rehab project.

I did a couple of these projects.  Only it was me doing most of the work (on the first one) and some less but still a lot (on the second).  I didn't take off from my regular job, so it was nights and weekends for weeks on end.  I've done another project where all the work was done by contractors.  It still requires a lot of time and supervision.   Honestly I don't think I would do it again, as long as I have a day job.

Maybe you could present her some deals where she isn't doing the repairs? The numbers for a flip should really include the labor of hiring real contractors to do all the work. Especially once you start really growing your business and it snowballs, there's no way either of you can be doing the repairs yourselves. Make the numbers work, which means the numbers include hiring professionals!

That way, all you're doing is stopping by to see that things are progressing the way you want in a rehab project.

Geeeez, tough crowd!  =)

Seriously though, thank all of you so much for the input and feedback! To be honest, I never asked my wife to do any of it. I actually pushed (hard) to have a GC come in and handle every part of the renovation. This was something she felt would be the best financial decision for us instead of us working with a contractor. Also, after 12-13 hour days at the office, I would get to the rental and work for several hours. We also worked on it together on weekends. 

@Jason Allen - I love the idea of taking some time away from the first house to let the dust settle. She is definitely my #1 priority and there's nothing in the world that's worth risking my marriage or her sanity!  =)

Account Closed

I was in the same spot as your wife when I started.  The first one I did everything except electric (great contractor) and plumbing (not so great).  On the second one I hired more of the work out, and it wasn't as big of a project.  But still, when I think about doing it again, I cringe.  Seems like that may be where your wife is now.  My wife was very up front - my deal, I do the work.  She helped here and there, but only when I really needed it.

This really comes down to the fact there are two sources of income - labor and capital.  Having now tried the labor approach, she may see the light of the capital approach. 

I'll off an alternative middle ground.  One of you get a GC license and then hire out the individual trades.  This is mostly (here at least) a matter of knowledge of building codes.  There are classes you can take to prep for the test, and its (again, here at least) an open book test.  If you're doing enough work to get a few individual trades reasonably busy you can probably find ones that will work cheaper than if you were hiring them through a GC who would be adding their overhead and profit to the trade cost.

My wife doesn't want to know anything about my rei addiction until the deal is done and she can say, "Great job, honey." That means, if I'm buying a house to rehab and rent, I don't say anything about it until it's bought, fixed, the lease is signed, the tenants are in, and a check is in the bank. It also means I have a great general contractor who takes care of the rehab. That leaves me the job of finding great deals, finding the money, and finding great tenants. I genuinely enjoy all those things. She is spared the anxiety of my decisions until it's too late to worry about it, and that's how she likes it. Since we've adopted this approach, things at home have been peachy. She likes the checks.

@Adam Bordes You're in tough spot because she's actually flipped a house, meaning this is not a conceptual debate. She knows what she wants.

There are other ways to reach "HUGE financial goals." Maybe consider WHY you have those goals and be willing to scrutinize whether or not you have the right goals for the right reasons.

For example, some people want to achieve early financial freedom because they hate their jobs and want to quit. But maybe a career change (sooner rather than later) would make them happier sooner and take some of the pressure off. 

I don't know your reasons, but you do, and I'm willing to bet that you have more options than you are currently considering. Good luck to you both!

Hire a team so you guys can work on the business as much as possible, not in. 

it is 1:30 AM on Saturday night.  I can not get to sleep

I am so excited about going to work on Monday on one of my 4 flips I have going on

And I don’t even need the money  

I get so much satisfaction out of doing so many different projects on them I prefer it over going on vacation 

Life is short if you don’t have passion for this stuff. STOP Doing it 

There are so MANY other ways to make more money than real estate.  Maybe she would enjoy one of them instead 

It doesn’t sound to me that your wife likes it even 1/100th as this much

Happy wife, happy life. Let her be happy 

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