For most real estate professionals, work is a 24/7 proposition, so it’s no surprise that many children of agents and brokers end up in the real estate industry as well. These sons and daughters have grown up with hard-working mothers setting an example of service and professionalism that they are now following.

We asked these powerhouse real estate mothers and their children their secrets for working together. Find out their favorite things about being colleagues, the challenges they face, and some of the ways they bring balance to their professional and private relationships.


Carol Nevada Duran and her daughter Andrea Duran Allen

Duran Allen Group, Berkshire Hathaway Chicago

Since entering real estate in 1987, Carol Duran has built a reputation as one of the Near North Side’s leading producers, along with a loyal client base. Daughter Andrea continues this tradition, focusing on a relationship-based approach to client care.

What is the best part about working together? 

Getting to spend the time together and now having another thing in common to talk about and do together. It is also nice to get to know each other from a business perspective, something that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, if we had different careers.

What is the most difficult part about working together? 

It’s sometimes difficult to separate when it’s business time and when it is personal time; it’s so easy to talk about work, especially in this business, but we need to try and enjoy our non-work time together as well. Pre-COVID it was also challenging to plan a family vacation as we usually rely on each other when the other is away.

What advice would you give to others who are planning to work with a family member?

You have to get along because you will be spending a lot of time together.


Gloria Commiso, Compass Los Angeles, and her son Lucas Commiso

RE/MAX, Manhattan Beach, California

Lucas Commiso has literally grown up in the business, attending open houses with his mother, Gloria, doing homework in her office and helping her develop her tech skills. Now, though they work at different brokerage firms, real estate is very much a family matter for this mother and son.

Tell me your earliest memory of your mom as a real estate professional.

Lucas: My first memory of working with my mom is helping her prep her listings and trimming the fat off her marketing presentations. I started helping her with flyers and social media while I was in middle school and throughout high school and college.

Gloria: There are a lot of memories that I shared with Lucas. When the market crashed, he was helping me clean and prep my listings. A lot of the clients I had were short sales or distressed properties. He was always ready to chip in.  I made sure that he got paid either with money or basketball shoes.

Tell me how you balance the personal and professional in your relationship.

Gloria: Even though I work with Compass and Lucas works with RE/MAX Estate Properties, I look at him as a partner in my business. I also don’t mettle in his business or give him my opinion unless he asks for help. He’s really good at politely enforcing his boundaries.

Lucas: We have Sunday dinners, and it’s our family time, so we aren’t allowed to have our phones at the table or talk about business.

Gloria: Lucas has been known to breach this rule a couple of times, and so have I. It’s hard on my daughter, so we attempt to keep business outside of the home.

Tell me your favorite thing about working in real estate together.

Gloria: My favorite thing about working with Lucas is that he really loves people and operates with the highest level of Integrity.

I have seen him go above and beyond when it comes to caring for clients. We both put relationships before money and understand the value of serving our clients’ best interests.

Lucas has a large heart and an equally unmatched work ethic. During the pandemic, he worked with Kiwanis as president of the local Hermosa Beach chapter. He was raising money for schools, scholarships and music programs.

Finally, he has also helped me adapt to technology. I’m a digital immigrant, and he’s a digital native.

Lucas: One of my favorite things about my mom is that she’s intelligent and flexible. She has a very unique and creative approach to marketing her listings and helping buyers achieve their real estate goals. She’s very passionate about helping people.

Gloria: Together we survived the crash of 2008, and now we are transitioning through this pandemic. I would want not want to do this job without him. This isn’t just a business, it’s our legacy.



Nancy Burgess and her daughter Sarah Chelnik

The Nancy Burgess Team, McQuaid & Company, Naples Florida

Nancy Burgess has been selling real estate in the Naples area for almost 40 years, and her daughter is in her 10th year as an agent. Together they blend a high-level strategic approach with the attentive customer service that keeps clients coming back — and referring their friends and family.

What is the best thing about working together? 

Sarah: Trust. A lifetime of knowing my mom means I trust her completely; she’s the best business partner because our relationship comes with the added bonus of knowing in my heart that she is ethical, honest, hardworking and dedicated to our business.

As a little girl growing up, real estate was always a topic of conversation around the dinner table, while kayaking or paddleboarding together or just taking a nice sunset walk on the beach. We both love living in paradise and talking about the real estate we sell, it’s a passion we both share.

What challenges do you find working together? 

Sarah: Work-life balance. My mom openly admits she is “work-a-holic” and can’t help it, but I have always needed downtime to recharge. She is energized by her clients out in the field, and I like to bring the energy to my clients after I’ve had downtime to do yoga or take a rollerblade ride.

What is your best advice for family members working together?  

Sarah: Respect. When you work with family, know that everyone’s heart is in the right place, the love is there, the desire to be successful together is there, but even as a family we are also unique individuals.

I respect that my mom has built a loyal referral network of clients over the past 40 years selling Naples, Florida, real estate, and she respects that I plan to take our business and our ability to positively impact people’s lives to even greater heights as we evolve and grow in the future.


Ann Davis and her daughter Stephanie Bellanova

ERA Central Realty, Cream Ridge, New Jersey

Ann Davis founded her award-winning real estate brokerage in 1986, growing it to a full-service real estate brokerage with a team of over 200 across five branch offices. Her daughter Stephanie earned her real estate license in 1990 and her broker’s license in 2000, adding her own management skill set to Ann’s unparalleled expertise and years of experience.

Tell me your earliest memory of your mom as a real estate professional.

Stephanie: I was in kindergarten when my mom started her real estate career, and she was the epitome of the working mom. I remember being in the office with her, doing school work in the conference room, going on appointments with her. I was fully immersed in her work world.

Real estate becomes a part of your life — you can’t check out when you get home, so it is intertwined into your life. For that reason, real estate is a big part of our relationship and our life.

Tell me how you balance the personal and professional in your relationship.

Stephanie: We always agreed not to talk about work at dinner! I started working at the office when I was in 8th grade, processing all the files, and I worked all the way through high school. In fact, the school bus dropped me off at the office!

When it came to needing my mom for mom things, I would always go into her office and say, “Mom, I need to talk,” and she would say, “OK, 3 p.m.” She made an appointment with me so that she could be fully devoted to whatever I needed from her and give me her full attention. I found that invaluable and even do that with my own kids today.

Tell me your favorite thing about working with your mom.

I loved how I was able to grow in the business and find what I was good at. As it turns out, we really complemented each other. She is very strong in all things sales while I really excel in the process, systems, training and marketing aspects of the business.

We are extremely collaborative and discuss everything, which brought us even closer together. And because we handle different areas of the company, we rarely disagree on anything out of respect for each other’s area of expertise.


Chris McCormick and her son Paul McCormick Jr.

Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, Chatham, Massachusetts

With more than $60 million in sales in 2019 and 2020, Chris McCormick and her son, Paul, leverage a strong professional network to serve clients on Cape Cod. Their focus on community service and commitment to their neighbors are the cornerstones of their success.

What is the best part about working together? 

The ability to assist each other with different clients and compl\ment each other when approaching a transaction that may have challenges. It’s essential to work with someone who knows you well and can bring other facets that successfully help our clients.

What is the most difficult part about working together? 

Finding time to enjoy our relationship as mother and son with activities (golfing and walking our dogs) not just a working relationship. Respite from work is important. It can be challenging to find the time, but when we do it is worth it!

What advice would you give to others who are planning to work with a family member?

Define strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what each other are both good at — and not so good — helps. It is important to enhance our strengths and let another family member take the lead from experience. This allows for balance and, ultimately, forms the best outcome and partnership for our clients.


Corey Marie Birger and daughter Abigail Davis

Corcoran Reverie, Seagrove Beach, Florida

With a background in luxury real estate, Corey Marie Birger serves as vice president of marketing for Corcoran Reverie. Her daughter, Abigail, works with Emerald Coast buyers and sellers in the same office, adding a lifetime of marketing expertise learned, in part, from mom to her own years of professional experience. 

What is the best thing about working together? 

Abigail: When working in real estate, you find yourself in an amazing work-life acrobatic routine. Weekends can be your weekdays, and holidays are occasionally your busiest time of the year. However, having both a mother and a friend, understanding your lifestyle and cheering you on in the midst of it all is special to say the least. It’s a friendly smile, a mind-reader to help you in the next step and a line of trust like none-other.

What challenges do you find working together?

Abigail: The biggest challenge I face by working with my mom is finding a time to just be mom and daughter, not only business associates.

What is your best advice for family members working together?

Abigail: Don’t forget to turn off work, and remember that she is still your mom. Go have coffee to have coffee, turn off the notifications, and go shopping. Although you have a work relationship, don’t forget to foster your personal relationship because your mom is pretty amazing.


Barbara Callan and her son Robert Callan Jr.

Sotheby’s International Realty, San Francisco, California

With nearly $3 billion in luxury residential sales, The Callan Team brings decades of experience and industry-leading expertise to their clients in San Francisco. But it’s their implicit trust in and reliance on each other that is the real secret to their success.

What is the best thing about working together?

Barbara: Working with my son is a dream come true. I get to spend time with him every single day. It makes me proud to see him as the brilliant and knowledgeable businessman that he is.

Robert: Since we trust and know each other so well, we are in sync on a lot of things. Most importantly, we have the same philosophy on providing exceptional service and leading with integrity so it makes collaboration fun and rewarding.

What challenges do you find working together?

Barbara: We know each other so well, there are no excuses.

Robert: Even though we are business partners, she’s still my mom; she comes first.

What is your best advice for family members working together?

Barbara: Trust is the most important factor in any business relationship but especially with family businesses. I would say that being able to trust each other implicitly has really been our key to success.

Robert: I agree entirely. Because we are family, there is an incredible level of trust between us. I know she has my best interest at heart as I do for her. Because of that, our business dynamic has never been about competition; it’s only ever been about teamwork. No matter what the day throws at us, we always remember that we are family.


Rhea Simms and her daughters Virginia Rose, Emma Kluger, and Margy Simms

Lewith and Freeman, Northeastern Pennsylvania

Lewith and Freeman was purchased by Rhea Simms when it was a small eight-agent shop. Over the past 30 years, along with her three daughters, she has grown it to more than 100 agents and seven offices across northeastern Pennsylvania. Rhea’s daughter Virginia Rose is the president and CEO, Emma Kluger is the vice president, and Margy Simms is a top producing Realtor and board member. 

Tell me your earliest memory of your mom as a real estate professional.

Virginia Rose: I am very fortunate to have a loving, supportive mother, Rhea Simms, who has always been a role model, an inspiration, a confidant in all things, and one of my biggest supporters.

Unofficially our business relationship started in the 1980s. Rhea was one of the top Realtors in Northeastern Pennsylvania specializing in relocation. When my mother’s out-of-town clients had children traveling with them, I was summoned to babysit, so the transfers could focus on their real estate choices, and the children could enjoy arts and crafts. It was a win-win.

Tell me how you balance the personal and professional in your relationship.

Balancing our personal and professional life has always come very naturally. We transition from discussing important growth strategies for the company, new real estate law, or a particular agent’s career growth and in the next breath plan Mother’s Day brunch or our next family cookout.

Our strength is in curating a work-life balance that allows us to foster and maximize our collaborative ideas and services and provide the scope, scale, and solutions-based platform our Realtors value.

Tell me your favorite thing about working with your mom.

There is a vast array of essential aspects of living in NEPA, such as community resources, great cost of living, amazing people and work ethic, and proximity to major metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C. We are able to live, work, raise a family and grow a business focused on building the Lewith & Freeman Realtor professional careers.

I believe our family’s focus on respecting others, hard work and attention to the details of our Realtors’ and clients’ success is paramount. Working with my mother to promote our community, innovate at Lewith & Freeman and help develop the careers of our Realtors are all integral parts of our real estate growth and continue to be favorite aspects of the business.

Do you work with your mom in real estate? Or are you a mom who works in real estate with her kids? Please share your stories in the comments section below!

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on  FacebookTwitterInstagram  and YouTube.

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