Tips for Working With Your Spouse in Your Real Estate Business


I was asked the question recently, “What should I do if my spouse isn’t interested in real estate investing? This is my passion and I spend a lot of time on it”. This person went on to say that they felt like they weren’t able to give it their “all” because their spouse wasn’t on board. They also found themselves feeling frustrated and somewhat angry at times. 

For some couples, it seems to work best if their personal and business lives are not combined, and this is OK.

But there is another whole group of folks that seem to thrive when it comes to working together.  No matter which side of the fence you are on, it seems to be a pretty common problem not only for real estate investors but for anyone that has a small business.

Spouses that Enjoy Working Together

Whether or not they want to work together in their real estate business is an easy question for some couples to answer.  They will tell you that they are very happy building their business together. In almost all of these cases you will come to learn that they recognize that they each have different strengths and weaknesses, and in turn they have successfully divided the job duties according to these traits.

Not crossing over into their partners’ “territory” without an invitation is key to making this partnership work. Most disagreements seem to come up when this unwanted crossover happens and one person ends up feeing undervalued, or they feel that their work is being second guessed by their partner.  Like any other partnership, couples need to establish some ground rules right from the beginning. It’s imperative that there is not only respect but mutual trust for this to be successful. Having shared values and goals are equally important.

My spouse hates real estate!

I’ve heard this more than a few times. One person openly resents the time spent on real estate related activities. They feel that they are getting shortchanged usually with regards to time spent with the family.

So what can you do?

  • First of all, couples should take a look at their shared goals. It may be that one person doesn’t like the method of getting to the goal, but they like the payoff in the end.

For example: if the couple’s goal is to pay off all debt in 24 months, one person might not like the long hours committed to a rehab project, but if the payoff is a big chunk of change that will be used to pay down debt that might make it a whole lot easier to swallow.  Will the end result benefit everyone involved?  Have an honest conversation with your spouse and see if you can reach some common ground.

  • See if there is some part of your business your partner can take an interest in. Maybe they hate looking at property, don’t want anything to do with the actual rehab, but love decorating and buying accessories. Maybe they can be your “in-house stager”. There are probably a million ways you can work out the specifics in most cases if you are determined to work as partners.
  • If you just can’t find a solution, maybe you can “agree to disagree” for a specific amount of time like in the example above.  Or if you are the one currently devoting all of your spare time to your real estate business, find a way to compromise that works for your spouse. Maybe you can devote one full day on the weekend to real estate and one day to family activities. Or, possibly you can find a way to pick up the slack during the week so that your partner doesn’t feel like a single mother, father … you can fill in the blanks.

Successful couples are much like successful businesses. They are good at compromise and solving problems.  Find a solution that works for you and your partner, and you will ultimately see your real estate business thrive in spite of your differences.

About Author

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon has been investing in real estate since 1998. She owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. In January of 2008 she took the leap of closing her business to become a full time real estate investor.


  1. Sharon
    You might just become a marriage counselor with this post.
    We failed to profit from our first flip. That really put a strain on our marriage, dreams, and delayed any more activity for almost 3 years.
    We are now into a phase of trying to put a contractor team together after some sucessful flipping activity. I realize it will just be a hobby if I continue to “peck” at the projects day and night; even though I dearly enjoy the projects. I just recently matched a general’s quote against several sub’s quotes. It was about $12k less than the others were totaled up. I was ready to pull the trigger and hire him; until my lovely emailed me and told me to get a siding quote from a freind of a freind. We are still learning our areas. I know where most of my boundaries are. I am still trying to learn her’s too.
    A guy has to know his boundaries can change just when he thought he knew them.

  2. Jason Grote

    Sharon, great post. I let my wife read it and she laughed. Fortunately, we love working real estate together. In fact, we just returned from driving a neighborhood and writing down addresses we want to send letters to!

    Another thing I think is imperative is that you recognize and are patient with the others weaknesses. She picks up my slack and I pick up hers. The team is always greater than the individual. When a balance can be struck it is a beautiful thing!

  3. Hi Sharon!

    Great post and also tips working with spouse and I think its very crucial decision to make as some time you get annoyed and that creates lots of problem but for me its the understanding with you and your partner that works great for both of you.

    • Hi Ayaz –

      I think almost all couples that work together will get annoyed with each other at some point in time. It’s really no different than in any relationship. You don’t get a divorce because you get annoyed, so there’s no reason to stop working with each other for that reason. If you keep the lines of honest communication open then everything will be usually work out in the end.

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