Pros and Cons of Working With Family

When I was a teenager, my Realtor mom would ask me to accompany her on weekends to her open houses. In typical teenage fashion, I would reply, “No way, that’s boring!”

As fate would have it, I later ended up joining the family business and became a Realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Looking back, I consider it fortunate to have made the decision to work beside the person I consider my mentor: my mom. This relationship has given me the opportunity to simultaneously help my family while also helping other families reach their dreams of homeownership.

But like all things in life, it’s not always rainbows and sunshine. There are always two sides. Here’s an insider perspective of what it’s like going into business with family.

Our Passions are Aligned
When working with family, the level of commitment can be much higher than in a non-familial working relationship. I find it easier to bring my A-game when I know I’m contributing to a cause greater than just a paycheck.

Understand Your Business Partners
You know, understand, and appreciate your family business partner’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to combine all of your collective strengths while covering for each other’s weaknesses.

Build Your Family Legacy
You are working towards building your family’s legacy and not someone else’s.

Boundaries are Easily Crossed
When working with family, separating work time from personal time can be tricky. It may be difficult to steer the conversation away from real estate if your family are all Realtors.

Money Will Always Be Involved
It takes a high level of comfort and transparency to mix family and money. You must be able to look at financial loss objectively and aim to solve the problem without getting personal.

Higher Stakes Are at Risk
If a professional work relationship turns sour, it’s easy to make an exit by just quitting. But if your relationship with a family member goes sour over a bad business decision, much more than money is at stake.

To me, real estate is a beautiful balance between hard work and passion. Working with family has given me a purpose that goes beyond just a paycheck and it has given me an outlet to help people improve their lives. I am forever grateful to my mom for showing me this career and I wouldn’t change a thing!

By Zack Sit