Real estate can be a personal and family-oriented industry. It would seem only natural that teaming up with family members would be a recipe for business success. We caught up with a few REALTOR® members to put that theory to the test.
Meet Pauline and Jenn
It’s no surprise that even in Grade 2, Jennifer Aunger-Ritchie dreamed of being a REALTOR®.
“Since day one, Jennifer has been a part of the business,” said mother and now-business partner, Pauline Aunger. In fact, it was before day one; Pauline went into labour at her office while closing a deal.
While Jennifer would go on to pursue a career in public relations, she always felt connected to real estate. It’s this connection that brought her back to her hometown of Smiths Falls, ON in January 2010.
And to what does the duo credit their successful relationship?
“I think one of the interesting things is we have the same work ethic and business philosophies,” said Pauline, CREA Past President and broker owner.
For Jennifer, it’s maintaining open communication.
“If need be, we vent to each other. We let it out and we can move on quickly,” she said.
Ultimately, they agree it comes down to trust.
“I couldn’t have done my term at CREA without Jenn; she was the person that kept the fire going. I never felt anxious being away from my business,” she said.
Meet the Fyfes
For Ralph Fyfe and his wife, Wendy, it was work-life balance and flexibility that drove them to work together.
“I think the biggest plus of being in real estate is, you get to define your own pay cheque and you get to define your own schedule,” said Fyfe, who has worked as a real estate professional with Century 21 Bachman & Association for close to four decades.
For Wendy, real estate allowed her to work and spend time at home with her children. Decades later, their children, Richard and Janice, see the benefit of this flexibility with their own families.
Although real estate wasn’t always the game plan for Richard and Janice, according to Ralph, he’s glad that changed because they brought a new dimension to the business.
“They brought youthfulness. Some enthusiasm. Both of my kids are far more tech savvy than their old man,” he said, adding they also helped introduce new clientele.
Although Janice has since switched careers, the rest of Fyfe & Co. is still together.
“Richard and I do most of the buyer presentations and listing presentations. Wendy does an awful lot of open houses,” Ralph said.
Ultimately for the Fyfes, being part of a team you can count on – and push – makes it all worthwhile.
“I’ve been very involved with organized real estate over the years … I couldn’t have done it without my family supporting me and knowing my business back home was taken care of.”
And while Wendy now has her sights set on retirement, the father-son duo is looking to the future.
“As I wind my way out of the real estate business, I will be able to pass on my clients,” said Ralph, who adds that as real estate continues to change, having a mentor and someone you can trust in your corner is important to the success of all new REALTORS®.
Meet Amie and Ray
Amie Ferris may never have met her husband if it wasn’t for real estate.
Following in her mother and grandfather’s footsteps, Amie said she didn’t choose real estate but was born and bred to become a real estate professional.
While her husband, Ray, took a different path into the business, both offer a unique skill set.
“We do complement each other very well. I love working with buyers, he loves working with sellers. I love marketing, he loves prospecting and client management. He loves managing salespersons and has the experience and I enjoy managing administration,” said Amie, who worked as an office administrator before getting her real estate license.
When it comes to working as a married couple, the pair agree it can be difficult at times to separate work from home.
For this reason, the couple make sure to spend time away from real estate – on their boat, golfing and dining out – even if the conversation revolves around work.
“You really have to have tremendous discipline and make a strong commitment to finding work-life balance,” said Ray, who added nobody knows him better than Amie. “We don’t always agree, but we agree to disagree and have made our career together successful.”
However, that closeness also means the pair are up-to-date on each other’s files and are able to offer clients two real estate professionals for the price of one.
“We are the ‘yin and yang’ of real estate; opposite forces that are actually complementary and interconnected and give rise to each other. For example, I’m an early riser, Amie prefers to work late into the evening. I love Twitter, Amie is a Facebook aficionado,” said Ray, owner of brokerage, Erie’s Edge Real Estate Ltd.
Amie and Ray both agree trust is what allows them to be a successful married couple in business.
“There is no one else that I would trust more with my business. There’s no one else I would trust for advice or guidance. And no one else that I would want to spend 24-7 with,” said Amie.