When Real Estate Is a Family Affair

From Playing House to Selling Houses

This Mother’s Day, we tip our hats to these local mother-daughter duos who work together as real estate professionals. Some of the pairs combined forces years ago, while others have teamed up more recently. When they tell their stories, the common thread is that the daughters all grew up watching and helping their moms in the business. They had a taste of the work involved in helping people buy and sell houses before they committed full time and have formed successful partnerships at least in part because of that knowledge. Here are some of the insights that they shared:

Kathy Strand Spieler and her daughter Katie Spieler

Credit: Courtesy

Katie joined Kathy’s established real estate practice this year, after graduating from the University of Hawaii with a master’s degree in accounting and passing the CPA exam.

When asked about their decision to become business partners, Kathy answered:

“I’ve been taking Katie along with me to work since she was born; she loved seeing the homes and was happy to be beside me while I worked. All of the adversity of the past two years actually brought us closer, and she started helping me more and more with my business. The more she helped me, the more we realized that this partnership was something that both of us enjoyed. It was destiny!”

On the subject of what she’s learned from working together, Katie said:

“I have learned so many things from working with my mom but definitely the most important is how much time, care, and respect my mom makes for each client. She leads her line of work with the utmost ethics and honesty and that separates her in the real estate industry. She doesn’t ever think about herself, it is always about finding the best new chapter for her client.”

Kathy Strand Spieler and her daughter Katie Spieler are agents with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Kathy at kathyspieler@gmail.com or 805-895-6326 and Katie at ktspieler@gmail.com or 805-245-4582. Or visit their website at kathyspieler.com.

Marie Sue Parsons and her daughter Stephanie Young

Credit: Courtesy

How did you decide to go into business together?

Stephanie: “In my first year of real estate I worked as a solo agent. At that time, Marie Sue had a different partner, and it wasn’t common to form a team of more than two. Soon after, she and her partner decided to work separately, which presented an opportunity for us to team up. We both thought it would be more fun to work together, and we are still having fun helping people with real estate sales after all these years!”

What’s one lesson you have learned from working with your mom?

“I can’t decide on just one lesson. I’m still learning from Marie Sue even though we have been working together for 18 years! Every real estate sale is unique and there are often hurdles to overcome, so we talk behind the scenes about the issues that need to be resolved and the best way to handle each one. It’s great to have a partner to bounce ideas off of.”

One funny story that Stephanie shared:

“Growing up with my mom as a Realtor, I went to many open houses and watched while she would hammer her open house signs into the ground before each open house.  She always had a hammer in the car for this purpose. I thought it looked like a terrible job, so I always said that I would never do what she does! Thank goodness today we don’t have to hammer our open house signs into the ground!”

Marie Sue Parsons and her daughter Stephanie Young are agents with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Reach Marie Sue at 805-895-4866 or mariesueparsons@gmail.com, and Stephanie at 805-453-8528 or sbrealestateguide@gmail.com. Visit their website at santabarbararealestateguide.com.


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Dianne Johnson and her daughter Brianna Johnson

Credit: Courtesy

How did you decide to go into business together?

Brianna: “I grew up watching my mom in the business, and eventually in high school and college started going to and hosting open houses with her. Coincidentally, Dianne fell in love with the business in the same way, watching her mom work in real estate as she grew up. Once I graduated from college it just felt like a natural fit to officially go into the family business together. With Dianne’s decades of experience and my background in graphic design and marketing, our skills complement each other well and together we are able to give our clients the full package.” 

What’s one lesson you have learned from working together?

“We’ve learned that although we are related, being in business together highlights our different personalities, skills, and work styles.”

One fun fact that Brianna shared: 

“We were contacted by HGTV to be featured on their show Tiny House Hunters and we filmed the show together back in 2015!”

Dianne Johnson and her daughter Brianna Johnson are agents with Village Properties Realtors. Reach Dianne at 805-455-6570 or Brianna at 805-450-6078 or both of them at johnson@villagesite.com. Visit their website at WelcomeHomeSB.com.

Diana Bull and her daughter Staci Caplan

Credit: Courtesy

How did you decide to go into business together?

Staci: “I was raised in real estate with my mother, who held open houses with me in tow when I was just a baby.  At the age of twelve she took me to the National Association of REALTORS meeting, and I grew up in organized real estate, as she served as our local Santa Barbara Association President, and then Treasurer and President of the California Association of Realtors. I always watched her in action with clients, and with the agents she supervised as their broker. She instilled in me the importance of ethics and integrity above all, as well as service to our profession, our clients, and our community.”

What’s one lesson you have learned from working together?

“We always learn from each other through collaboration. Knowledge is power. We represent our clients with years of combined experience, each with our own style, yet we are complimentary to one another.”

One fun fact that Staci shared:

“My Mom uses the song “Staci’s Mom” as her alarm!”

Staci Caplan is the broker of Pacific Crest Realty. Reach Staci at 805-886-3970 or stacicaplan@gmail.com or visit stacicaplan.com.  Reach Diana Bull, Realtor Emeritus, at 805-689-2855 or dianabull4re@gmail.com.


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