Controlling your time is a huge challenge when selling real estate. Constant telephone calls from everyone involved in the real estate transaction. Meeting home inspectors and appraisers. Taking care of last-minute closing details. They can be real "time sucks," however you can learn to manage the time demon more effectively. Here are five things to consider:
1. Don't be a 24/7 Real Estate Agent ~ What I mean by this is you don't have to answer the phone every time it rings. Technology and the "right" message are your friends. In regards to technology, manage telephone calls by using voicemail. That way you can organize your call backs by order of "importance." In regards to the right message, your voice message might say something like..."leave a message, or you can email me at ____________________." This gives your caller a couple of ways to get in touch. Email gives clients the opportunity to give you more "details" than just leaving a message. In the end, "always being available" says to clients, "I am always available because I don't have anything else to do."
2. Beware of High-Maintenance People ~ Set boundaries with clients who suck all of your time by calling you night and day about every little thing. Be on the lookout for these types of people, who also want you to be their therapist, their legal counsel, their go-fer (they want you to do everything for them). There are two ways to handle these kind of people. First, thank them for considering you, but let them know that you have too many clients that you are working with right now ~ and you cannot give them the attention they deserve. Or secondly, you can set up "time boundaries" by explaining how you work, how you communicate with your clients (you'll call, email, snail mail, etc.). Reassure them that you are limited in the amount of time you can spend on the phone with them because you have to allocate time for ALL of your clients.
3. Partner with Another Agent ~ This can be an ideal solution, especially finding another agent who is not quite as busy as you are. It's important that the person have the same standards and level of service that you have. While you may also have an "assistant" he/she will not be able to handle issues that require a licensed agent.
4. Create Checklists ~ Every listing presentation, every real estate transaction, follows certain steps and procedures. While the steps and procedures might not always be in order (probably never), each transaction follows a certain path. Ask around and see if another agent will share their checklist with you. Then, UPDATE it to fit the way YOU conduct your business. With a checklist (either written, or on your computer or smart phone), you won't have to rack your brain trying to remember everything about every transaction.
5. Set Up Consistent Working Hours ~ Act like you have a regular job, especially if you don't want your real estate career to consume all of your time. Check your email or your voice messages during your "working hours." After hours, set up a specific time (like 8 PM) to check your messages again. Resist the urge to respond until you get into the office the next day. Let everyone know the hours that you work, and realize it could be different on different days. For example, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you might work from 9 AM to 6 PM. While on Tuesdays and Thursdays you work Noon to 8 PM.
"Time" is the one thing that you can control. Your clients and your service providers will respect that you have a personal life as well and will understand you are not always at their beck and call. It will also help you avoid your dreaded enemy...BURN OUT!!