By Patricia Kennedy
Last week, I found myself packing for the most amazing vacation I’ve taken in years, maybe ever: three weeks on the beaches of Maui with a man who makes my heart skip beats every time I look at him, and a convertible. As I was packing, it occurred to me how Type-A I have become over the last few years. I mean, look at the stuff I brought:
- Strappy sandals – check
- Bathing suits – check
- SPF 50 sunscreen – check
- Shorts and t-shirts – check
- MacBook Air (with contract writing software) – check
- Kindle – check
- iPhone – check
- Digital cameras – check
- Snorkeling equipment – check
- Battery packs and chargers for items 5 through 8 above – check
With all of these miracles of modern technology, I can be away and still be connected to my clients.
But wait. This picture is out of focus!
So often, real estate practitioners try to get away to recharge and refresh, only to make themselves crazy by trying not to lose a single deal while they are away. So, why even bother to take the trip?
Before I left, I decided that this trip would be different. I called all of my clients to let them know I’d be gone, and that a trusted colleague was on call to cover any real estate emergency that might arise. And guess what? Most of them were headed out of town as well!
I will be checking my e-mail a couple of times a day and answering my phone when it rings — on the iPhone in the convertible. But by and large, I’ve been able to disconnect temporarily from my Washington, D.C. real estate practice. And I am really fortunate to have two highly professional colleagues watching out for me.
And, of course, it’s much easier knowing that Mother Nature dumped a couple of feet of snow on my market area, thereby diminishing any desire any of my clients might have to go look at property!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the gorgeous beaches of Maui!
Patricia Kennedy is an associate broker with Evers & Company Real Estate.Visit Pat’s blog: www.housepat.activerain.com.
By Michelle Flaherty
This week, I went on a quick trip with my fiancé to visit the site of our upcoming wedding in Marco Island, Florida. With my work week reduced to Monday and Tuesday, I went into action mode, arranged coverage for the week, and packed my laptop so I could take care of business from the beach.
Of course, as soon as our flight touched down on the Gulf coast, I transformed from a Type-A taskmaster to a Type-D sun worshiper. So how can a responsible REALTOR® relax on vacation while still keeping all balls in the air?
A few things I’ve learned:
- Don’t plan on doing nothing. Even with perfect preparation and great coverage back home, there will be loan conditions, appraisal delays, water tests, buyer’s remorse… and your clients will need you. Whenever possible, respond briefly via Blackberry. Expect that at least one transaction will require some phone time. In real estate as in life, realistic expectations help avoid disappointment.
- Don’t plan on doing too much. Just like the books you lugged home to study over Thanksgiving break in college never saw the light of day, neither will the marketing brochures and new Web site you plan to create over vacation. Relax, grab some juicy fiction, and head for the sand. No guilt allowed.
- If you’re going to do any extra work, make it market research. Here in Marco Island, I love going to open houses to see how brokers conduct themselves, picking up marketing pieces, surveying the signage, checking out what new communities are offering for amenities. The market norms of a far-away area can be ground-breakers back home!
- Be grateful. The problems that REALTORS® have with work-life balance stem from our incredible freedom, and we should never forget how lucky we are to have it.
Michelle Flaherty is an associate broker with Prudential Northeast Properties, serving Greater Portland, Maine. Visit her Web site at www.michelleflaherty.com.
By Crystal Webster
I’m in the market for a new home. Wow, I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to be on the other side of the transaction! It’s actually been a great experience to help remind me what it’s like to be the client.
I’m normally a very rational, logical person. But house hunting does crazy things to people. I’ve lost all my common business sense while searching for a home; I just want the home that “feels right.”
My biggest concern, as the buyer, is finding the PERFECT house for my family. Normally, my biggest concern, as the REALTOR®, is to remove the emotion from the transaction, crunch the numbers, and complete the contracts.
The houses I look at can have every feature I want (and even some features I didn’t know I wanted) but if the property doesn’t feel right, then it doesn’t make the “short list.” I can look at house after house, but if I can’t imagine my family sitting around the dinner table sharing a meal or playing catch in the back yard, the property is out.
This process has reminded me to keep it all in perspective and has helped me put a little of the emotion back in the job. Not everything has to be about getting the best value, room size, conveniences, amenities, and proximity to the grocery store. Just because a house is “perfect” on paper doesn’t mean it’ll be “perfect” for the individual. Try to remember that the next time you take out those clients who “just don’t seem to get it.” It might be the REALTOR® who “doesn’t seem to get it.”
I know I will.
If the first step is admitting I have a problem then I have a problem. Now what?
I’m on vacation this week; you know what vacation is, right? It’s that cultural ritual that says thou shall not work, giving your mind that required time off so it can relax into a zen like state and give you the necessary recharge so we can again work like the obsessed maniacs we have all become.
The problem is I have yet to stop returning e-mails let alone turn off my iPhone, and as you can see now, this blog is being written on my MacBook.
I have issues!
It would seem I am incapable of getting unplugged. So, I ask you, my YPN family, no I plead: Help ME! I need an intervention and I need it now.
I await your response.
Darrin Friedman is the branch vice president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chevy Chase, Md. and a member of the 2009 YPN-national Advisory Board.