With over 2 million realtors in the U.S., it’s safe to say the real estate industry can be highly competitive. So when homes are in high demand and selling at a fast pace, you as a real estate agent have to be on top of your game to stand a chance of clinching the deals. Oftentimes that means juggling both personal and work responsibilities.
Apart from meeting clients’ needs there are a host of other tasks that come with the job of a real estate agent. From having to reply to endless emails and calls to managing social media, filing documents, listings research and prospecting - not to mention networking within the industry. More recently agents will also find themselves continually using free web conferencing tools as a way to communicate with clients.
And during the holiday season, your work/life balance can become even more difficult to manage.
Why the holidays are crucial in real estate
Even during a pandemic, an agent’s work/life balance becomes even more difficult to manage during the holiday season. While they may be virtual this year, there are holiday parties to prepare for and school productions to attend. Not to mention gifts to buy and wrap and food to prepare for neighbors and friends. Finding ways to cope while taking care of your business is a tricky balancing act.
While there’s generally a decline in inventory and in buyers over the holiday season, the opposite can also be true. For example the pandemic has fueled demand for purchasing holiday homes. Over a quarter of people questioned in a recent survey said they’d be more likely to buy a second home as a retreat in the event of future outbreaks. Realtors working in holiday destinations e.g. ski resorts could well see an upsurge in demand over the holiday season as a result.
Despite the extra personal commitments, the holiday season can be a good thing for you if you are an estate agent. It’s a chance to take a break from closing deals and from prospecting. If things are slow it can be an opportunity to reach out to prospective clients - while other agents are vacationing.
- You could use this time to offer extra incentives to attract new clients. Let them know that buying a house in winter can be easier - especially with you as their agent.
- The holidays are a great opportunity to build stronger relationships with your clients by sending them holiday greetings. Or you can get in touch with real estate investors because they’re looking for property all through the year.
The importance of a good work-life balance
With late night offer requests, early morning negotiations, and unexpected showings as standard, it’s easy to end up with no downtime at all. Unfortunately, a lack of downtime is a big reason agents burn out - both professionally and personally.
Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues for workers. It can also impact negatively on mental health since it’s linked to depression, anxiety and insomnia.
A good work life balance on the other hand makes employees more motivated and productive. In fact, companies that promote a work-life balance are two times more productive than those that don’t. Realtors that are more motivated are more efficient and can face work with a positive attitude. This can have a positive effect when it comes to dealing with clients and colleagues - a positivity that can only help to boost the business.
To help you maintain your equilibrium, here are some tips that can help you not only thrive during the holiday season - but help you stay in balance all year round.
8 work-life balance tips for agents working during the holidays
#1 Use your time more effectively
Each day, write out your to-do list and mark the importance of each task -- your ‘must’ or ‘would like to’ dos. With your tasks listed, it’ll be clear exactly what to prioritize. When you’re creating your list carve out how much time you’ll need to complete each task and schedule that in. Once you’ve put tasks on your schedule you’ll be far less likely to put them off until later - when you should be having a break.
Schedule admin tasks for between the hours of 9 and 5 when your clients are at work. For example you could use this time to write your real estate listings - or do some competitor research.
Next schedule in some family and leisure time and stick to it. Scheduling this time is just as important as putting appointments and meetings in your calendar. It will force you to take some much needed downtime.
#2 Commit to transparency
Don’t assume clients will know which days you’ll be spending with your family. Communicate your availability and time off clearly - and this includes with active listings and active buyers. Being upfront about your time off will build trust, and clients will usually understand. You’ll also enjoy your free time safe in the knowledge that clients are aware you’re ‘out of office’.
#3 Use technology to make communications efficient
You may already be using the best call center software to communicate with clients. But If you aren’t using a CRM (customer relationship management) tool in your real estate business you could be missing a trick - and these can come in especially useful during the holiday season.
CRM systems can help you follow up with prospects and ensure you’re sending them perfectly spaced out phone calls, texts and emails. A workflow system can help you identify where prospects are in the pipeline. During the holidays when work/life balance becomes even more difficult than usual, CRM software can tell you who needs to be called on a particular day - and deliver them personalized messages.
#4 Have realistic expectations
The holiday season sometimes sees a spike in potential buyers and sellers, but this isn’t always the case. If the market starts to slow, use this time to do research and gather hard data about what’s happening real-estate wise in your local community. Make sure to account asynchronous communication and other sudden changes in your clients or peers calendars.
Use the holiday season to catch up on time-consuming but essential work and do some networking. Building closer connections to others in your community can pay off in the long run, and keep you clued in on local trends. It’s also a great time to go about goal-setting for the forthcoming year.
#5 Gather and organize resources
The holiday period is a great time to ensure your knowledge is up to scratch. Spend time reading up on the latest housing trends - from IoT enabled smart homes to sustainable buildings.
It’s also a great time to get on top of your administration. Given that the future is looking increasingly remote, hiring an experienced virtual assistant could help get your filing accurate and up to date. As you spend time getting on top of your remote work stack, make sure to avoid distractions - there are plenty of tools that can keep you focused on your tasks. For example apps to help you screen out distractions like the one below.
#6 Grow your network
The holiday season could be a great time to get together with other specialist agents in your area - or with realtors who focus on a different market than you. LinkedIn is a great place to network with fellow realtors and show off your industry experience.
It’s a good time to ramp up your social media activity, too. Prospects are likely to be checking their media accounts more frequently during the holidays. If you have a stylish property to sell why not showcase it to followers on Instagram or to local residents in the neighborhood on Nextdoor.
#7 Don’t overbook yourself
While you probably can’t take the entire holiday season off, you’ll definitely have time to spend with friends, family, and neighbors - even if it is virtually. By planning ahead and scheduling both work and leisure time in, you can work through the holiday and enjoy the festivities.
You may not be able to say yes to every single invitation so decide which ones are important and leave yourself some time to take care of clients. It’s better to turn down a few invitations and reschedule some meetings than to overbook yourself.
#8 Only do meaningful work
Don’t waste your time over the holidays attempting to chase every lead that comes your way. Prioritize worthwhile opportunities so that you’re not overwhelmed.
And when you’re prospecting, be mindful of how long your phone calls go. While holidays are a great time to contact ‘hot’ leads, keep calls short and sweet. Prospects and clients are probably enjoying their downtime and have plenty of time to chat. However, you need to get work tasks out of the way so that you can enjoy your leisure time too.
If you stay focused during the holidays and use time-saving strategies there’s every chance you’ll not only have a happy holiday but pull ahead of competing agents who are taking the entire break off.
No matter how hard you try, your work/life balance will go awry from time to time. It’s OK to accept that some days you will be working more than others - and more than you’d like. If your planned operations go off track, just remember that you can regroup, reassess, and ensure that next week is better.
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