The Mother's sell real estate.

Mothners work in real estate side by side

She’s 24, he’s 55. She’s had a real estate license for 19 months, he’s been licensed for almost 20 years. They sit at desks about 18 inches apart on the second floor of the Coldwell Banker Schmitt real estate offices in Marathon where they are both agents.

“After working with him, I discovered he’s decently funny. And also smart,” said Samantha Jo Mothner, getting a small grin of quiet delight from her dad, Josh Mothner.

They’ve shared an office for more than two years now, exploring the dynamic of forming an occupational partnership on top of a direct blood tie. Both acknowledge the partnership has required changes both personal and professional.

“I’ve learned a tremendous amount from him,” Samantha said.

“There’s nothing greater on the planet than working with your adult daughter,” he said. “It’s great.”

But there were some bumps in the road. Samantha describes some early “blowouts.” Josh said he learned to delegate. Both of them nod their head in agreement as the other speaks.

“You know, working with her has changed the whole dynamic,” he said. “This office is much more dynamic, upbeat and a happy place. We’ve developed a shared presence.”

Josh said they have many of the same workplace strengths, but some preferences have emerged. She handles most of the paperwork. He does more of the hand-shaking. She’s more skilled at covering the tech side of the arrangement.

The Mothners have found their niche as “consultative sellers” — really helping clients find the best fit for personal needs, whether that means a retirement home with specific requirements or meeting with business owners about growing their business. It’s a shift the two have undertaken together. Josh said when Samantha came on board, he was handling more residential sales, although the two do those as well.

“We’re covering a broad-based market, and that includes more commercial properties,” he said. “It’s different, because the commercial market has slower paced results.”

When Samantha graduated from Marathon High School in 2010, it wasn’t her dream or goal to become a real estate agent. She went away to school for a year, came back, and then tried her hand in the food industry and also as a dental hygienist. When she found herself at loose ends, her father suggested she give real estate a try.

“It was a slow start, but I have recently closed some deals,” Samantha said.

“She’s closed three deals, a total of $1.6 million,” said Josh, the numbers tripping off his tongue.

Business partnerships between parents and children have an added layer of stability. It’s a stronger bond than a pure business relationship. That close relationship also extends the business day. It’s not weird to get a text at 6:30 p.m. Sometimes they get odd looks, though.

“I’ve made a practice to find some way to let them know he’s my father in the first few minutes of conversation. I’ll say, ‘I just got a text from mom.’” It helps dispel the sugar daddy conclusion that some people will assume.

Samantha said she’s mentally stimulated by the complexity of the job. Getting to see the houses is fun, too, and the money’s not bad.

“I like how the work always comes down to a number. It always comes down to an equation,” she said.

“If you make it a math problem, it takes away the stress,” said Josh. “That was taught to me, and I taught it to her.”

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