By Toby Welch

For those new to real estate, having a partner is an ideal way to get to know the industry. You not only have a built-in mentor, you have immediate credibility if an established agent is vouching for you. And having someone help you navigate the tricky first few years increases your chances of success. For established agents, a partner may help take your business to the next level.

Olga Cordova and Anna Pylypiv
Olga Cordova and Anna Pylypiv

Sales rep Olga Cordova with Cityscapes Real Estate in Toronto partnered with Anna Pylypiv three years ago. “There are so many upsides to having a partner. One of the greatest is having the ability to share our insights and ideas with each other,” Cordova says. “We both have a similar work ethic but different strengths, and when we put our minds together, we can accomplish anything. As cheesy as it may sound, neither of us could come up with a great downside to being one half of a team. There are slight challenges, such as reaching a compromise when we have a difference of opinion.”

Mary Ann Keary
Mary Ann Keary

Mary Ann Keary, a broker at Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty Brokerage in Brockville, Ont., partnered in real estate with her husband, Rodney Keary, in 1996. “Working together as a partnership is like learning how to dance. Once you know how each other thinks, you dance together beautifully and don’t step on each other’s toes,” she says. “We make it look easy, when really it’s a lot of work. Partnering up with my spouse has been a great experience for me and I wouldn’t want to work alone anymore. Clients are receptive to either of us assisting them. The downside is trying to get time off together. Technology has made that easier and even when we are on vacation, we are still taking care of our clients.”

But Keary adds, “When people partner up, I think one always feels like they work harder than the other and I think compensation can be the demise of many partnerships.”

Jason Zroback, a real estate agent at LandQuest Realty in New Westminster, B.C. partnered with his brother Jamie Zroback in 2006. “We are totally different personalities and I think that is one of our best strengths,” says Jason. “There are four distinct characteristics to people’s personalities…

Jamie Zroback and his brother Jason Zroback
Jamie Zroback and his brother Jason Zroback

Between the two of us, we cover all four characteristics in our personalities. By identifying our client’s personality, we will generally let the person who best matches the client’s personality take the lead. In the past, when one of us has not had success with a client and the other one steps in, more often than not it achieves positive results. Everyone has a different personality and they tend to gravitate and want to deal with a similar personality. Our partnership allows this to happen most effectively.”

How do you know if pairing up with someone is right for you? Cordova says, “Finding the right partner is more important than finding a partner. You need to get along and share the same business values and beliefs. Being like-minded really makes things flow smoothly. Work with someone who you trust and respect completely. Define your goals, roles and responsibilities from the beginning and create a fair system for profits that works well for you. Finally, communication. Always be 100-per-cent honest with each other, no matter what. Like in any successful relationship, communication is key.”

Zroback adds, “My advice for anyone considering a partnership would be to pick a partner with a different personality than yours, which typically will bring different skill sets, which is another reason to have a partner. Know what you are good at and find someone who can do the things you’re not good at. At the end of the day, the best part of a good partnership is knowing you have their back and they have yours, which will build a better business and give you more freedom.”

Keary shares an analogy: “I believe birds fly south because together they can accomplish far more than they can as an individual.”

Laura Keller
Laura Keller

Having a partner isn’t for everyone. Laura Keller, a sales representative with Re/Max Affiliates Realty in Carleton Place, Ont. hasn’t teamed up with a partner in the eight years she has been in real estate.

“I’m driven, and I like to do things my own way. I do get approached by new Realtors (or people interested in getting into the industry) from time to time, asking about joining a team to start. It’s really a personal choice. Nobody knows you better than you. Some people really want to get started where systems are already in place; they don’t have to look hard for business and they don’t want to take on the risk of going it alone. Others are better working alone. It really comes down to knowing yourself and what kind of business you want to have.”

If you decide to tackle the real estate industry alongside someone else, it is essential to clarify your goals and pin down how you are going to achieve those goals.

Perks of partnerships:
  • Easier to achieve a work/life balance when sharing the responsibilities
  • Shared expenses
  • Clients get twice the expertise
  • The real estate industry can be harsh; it’s nice to have someone to share the stress with
  • More diverse knowledge base (two heads instead of one)
  • Usually easier to schedule time off
Pitfalls of partnerships:
  • Shared commissions
  • Tension can arise when you don’t have similar visions or your personalities clash
  • Resentment can brew if one partner feels he or she is doing more than their share of the work
  • You need to consult someone else when making decisions


  1. Benefits outweigh the pitfalls. Nevertheless its important to outline a working relationship with duties and responsibilities and who looks after what – and with a timeline to review the result and tweak as the partnership continues.

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