It’s been said that “family makes a house a home.” Perhaps that explains why so many married couples have found both love and success working together in real estate.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day this month, dotloop caught up with three couples who are redefining the meaning of a “working relationship” as they turn houses into homes for the many clients they serve. Here, they share their key takeaways on what it’s like to live and work with your significant other.
Every Valentine’s Day, Lars and Liz Petzke celebrate their wedding anniversary, a partnership that four years ago to the day led to the formation of another partnership as the husband and wife duo behind The Petze Team, RE/MAX by the Lake, a Michigan-based team of 20 agents plus 3 staff members.
In fact, it was over that fateful Valentine’s Day weekend when Lars, who had been selling real estate on his own for 11 years, asked Liz to attend a RE/MAX regional conference, where she met several other husband and wife broker/owners.
“After attending the breakout sessions and meeting the other husband and wife teams, I was sold,” says the former national mortgage sales manager. “I was all in and I haven’t looked back since.”
Four years later, the couple has learned to turn the challenges of working with your spouse into opportunities. “Running a team from the ground up is constantly filled with challenges, but it’s also so rewarding to be in control of your destiny,” says Lars.
“If it’s a struggle, it’s our struggle. If it’s a success, it’s our success. It’s what we make of it,” adds Liz.
Like many agents new to the business, Liz found it hard at first to “turn off” work at home, but now the couple makes a point of “saving it for 8 a.m.”
The Petzkes have also discovered their keen intuition about what each other is thinking as a benefit that only enhances communication with clients.
“We usually know who should take control in the relationship and conversation, and we can say it with a look,” says Liz.
Main takeaway: Embrace Your Differences
Part of the magic that makes the Petzke Team work is their “opposites attract” personalities. “I’m good at sales and people, while Liz is good at management, operations and systems,” says Lars.
They’ve also learned to divide and conquer the various roles of real estate with Lars taking the lead with sellers and the team operations, while Liz handles compliance and oversees admin functions for the brokerage.
Dotloop Love: Act on Behalf Feature
Liz, who functions as an admin and broker for the team, finds the dotloop for Teams platform has helped create “uniformity across the team” by providing the team with “transparency” in any transaction.
Like the Petzkes, Pam and Steve Pace also have four years together in business as a husband and wife team. While they’ve quickly grown their business to a top-five ranking in New England, the road to success has been hard fought with a fair share of challenges along the way.
In addition to running a busy real estate team, the Paces have five children together, including a set of 24-year-old triplets. One of their sons, Stephen Austin, has recently joined the team as the newest listing agent, who Pam claims is a natural “Mr. Congeniality” and an “ace” at open houses.
In addition to running a busy brokerage, Pam operates the nonprofit “Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles,” which supports multiple birth families, while Steve remains active as a local league football coach.
“There’s lots more to Team Pace than just selling houses,” she notes.
The first year Pam joined Team Pace she concedes the challenges ranged from “feeling intimidated by opening a lockbox” to learning to navigate the different roles she and Steve play with their clients.
“The very first day on the job, he barked out some order and I said, “Oh hell no, I quit. I’m not your assistant, I’m your team.’ As soon as we got that established, everything was good,” jokes Pam.
Main takeaway: Keep Family and Work Time Separate
Today, the busy parents and co-workers are learning to set parameters on their personal and work time.
“When we’re on a date, we’re on a date. But if we need to stop and handle business, it’s OK, because the other understands if you have to excuse yourself from the table,” she says.
Like many other husband and wife real estate teams, the Paces have learned the importance of playing off each other’s differences.
“I’m high strung – 90 to nothing – and she’s lowkey and methodical. In real estate, we’re a well-oiled machine and that’s why it works,” says Steve. “I’m hustling and knocking down the doors, and she takes care of the clients with a methodical, slow approach.”
Pam agrees, adding, “We truly love being together. It’s fun doing life with him. For us, working together is just an extension of being together.”
Dotloop Love: Simplifies the Transaction
“For us, dotloop simplifies everything, especially with eSigning,” says Pam. “I can immediately create an address, and all my teammates can view anything – what’s signed and what’s outstanding. It’s all right there. It’s the cog in the wheel. If something is missing, we can delegate by going right to dotloop.”
Nella and Roger Colby first partnered in real estate in 1987 while flipping homes as a way for Nella to work less while raising their two daughters. By the time their oldest child was in the 6th grade, they had lived in six different houses.
“I love the hunt for the home, bargain shopping and helping people,” says Nella, a former nurse. Roger suggested she become a Realtor to enjoy a part-time gig following an injury that sidelined her from her full-time job.
That was in April 2015. Today, they’ve turned many clients into personal friendships — an added benefit of working in real estate as a couple.
“We get to continue these relationships beyond the sale,” Roger says, noting they’re on their fourth deal with one family in particular.
For the Colbys, their Keller Williams broker has been extremely helpful in laying down the rules of engagement. “She said, ‘Let him fly and leave him alone,’” says Nella. “We’ve learned to stay in our own lanes. I do the listings, and he handles mostly buyers.”
This regimented approach has sharpened each other’s area of focus. “I used to ask Roger if he had made his calls — that’s something I don’t need to do anymore. Also, by me focusing on listings, I can focus on my individual responsibilities and areas where I want to grow,” says Nella.
Main takeaway: Clarify with Communication
The couple has taken several personality tests and found they’re both strong in the same areas. Both are detail-oriented, for instance, but in different ways.
Nevertheless, clear communication helps avoid any misunderstandings. “We still have to clarify what the other means while communicating,” says Nella. “Sometimes, we might need to ask that same question over again, just to confirm what the other means.”
Roger agrees, adding that it’s the commitment to each other that makes their relationship and other husband and wife teams work.
“I see some couples who are always together but say they could never work together. My belief is that you have to have a deep commitment to each other to make this work,” he says.
Dotloop Love: No more multiple log-ins!
Just recently, the Colbys made the switch to dotloop for Teams from dotloop Premium. During the transition to their new company, they had four closings pending. The fact that all their contacts and data seamlessly transferred was huge for them. They also love dotloop’s contract to close templates, which help keep them on task and simplify compliance, and the Team’s platform “act on behalf” feature, which has helped create a seamless experience for both the team leads as well as their clients.
If you know of a great husband and wife real estate team story, share the love with a comment below!