Gimme a Break?
of REALTORS®️ work over holidays
of REALTORS®️ work on vacation
Results from informal Texas REALTORS®️ LinkedIn polls with 147 and 133 responses in July 2021.
The real estate business isn’t a standard 9-to-5 weekday job, so working during the holidays, on vacation, or in the evening is not unusual. “There have been times I would stay up until 2 a.m. with a client talking about real estate just so that I can get the deal,” says Candie Robles, an agent with GO Real Estate, Houston.
Finding ways to maintain a thriving business and personal life can be difficult. Texas REALTOR® magazine asked members to share their experiences and strategies for navigating their unconventional schedules.
A Lack of Balance Leads to Unwanted Outcomes
Being a successful REALTOR® shouldn’t come at the expense of your well-being. However, the risks of overworking can lead to health issues. In May 2022, Myssie Cardenas-Barajas, an agent with JPAR Modern Living, McAllen, suffered a stress-related health scare. “My cardiologist warned me that if I continued on this path, there would be deadly consequences,” Cardenas-Barajas says. She took the advice of several doctors that gave her the tools to manage the stress successfully. Although her life is still chaotic at times, she has created boundaries that allow her to be professional and remain healthy.
For Robles, she was reaching a breaking point when her grandfather passed away. “Dealing with grief for the first time and with work was too much for me,” she says. Robles was ready to quit everything and give up. But, she was able to ward off the feelings of burnout by prioritizing what was important to do right then and leave the rest for the next day.
Set Expectations to Create Boundaries
Besides having realistic goals of what you can handle, it is important to establish the right expectations with clients. “I set aside an hour each day during a vacation to handle any necessary tasks,” says Kandi Luensmann, broker of Front Porch Realty, Gatesville. “Setting that precedent in advance with my clients makes for an easier getaway.”
Cardenas-Barajas is upfront with her clients from the beginning as well. “I inform them that I will respond to them immediately unless I am with another client, asleep, or during the hours of 7-8 p.m.”
Solutions Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All
Discovering what works for you may include some trial and error. For example, Antonio Almanza, an agent with JPAR Modern Living, McAllen, tried turning off his phone at night. “It only added more work from missed calls, texts, and emails,” says Almanza. While that technique didn’t work for him, he did find having a life coach helpful.
“As a new agent, I always worried I would lose a deal if I didn’t respond immediately,” says Crystal Green, an agent with RE/MAX North, San Antonio. However, the longer Green has been in the business, the more she has learned how to establish her value with her clients so she can confidently take time off for important family events.
What happens when your initial strategies don’t work? While asking for help can be hard, Beth Shallcross, broker of Shallcross Real Estate, Midlothian, recommends not letting your ego get in the way. “You may find that others want to help by contributing their time and sharing their expertise,” she says.
“I had to take a step back and work one file at a time instead of trying to work them all at once,” says Green. “I hired an assistant to assume most of the administrative parts of a transaction.”
Other Suggestions and Practical Tips
It’s up to you to prioritize balance and make a conscious effort for personal time. “I make a goal to step away from my phone for at least 30 minutes for dinner and family conversations each night,” says Luensmann.
Kisha Thompson, an agent with Ready Real Estate, Dallas, meditates before beginning her day to set a tone for mental clarity. She also gives herself 10-15 minute breaks to regroup, takes long walks, and minimizes low-priority items from her schedule.
Anittra Adkison, an agent with Pinnacle Realty Advisors, Dallas, will get up and walk around to get away from her workspace if she feels like she has been working on the computer too long. Adkison also makes a point to write all business and personal obligations on her calendar. “So, when I say I have an appointment at that time, I really do!”
Peggy Roege, a broker associate with United Real Estate, Kingwood, follows a similar time-blocking agenda that includes planned visits with family and friends. “It actually makes my life easier. Put it on paper and lay it out as a visual; you would be surprised how much you can accomplish in a day.”
Creating a balance doesn’t mean you always have to keep work and life separate. Jerry Cook, an agent with Coldwell Banker Realty, Rockwall, invites his clients, prospects, and agents to join him in the activities he enjoys. “Whether it is fishing, cycling, pickleball, or the arts, it is always more fun when you go with others. And it reminds my sphere how important they are to me,” he says.