Every real estate agent remembers the first transaction they closed. It might have been a smooth transaction from start to finish or it might have tested every ounce of their patience and determination (and took a little bit of luck to get the deal done). Regardless, that feeling of truly helping someone who needed your expertise and succeeding, motivates a Realtor to want more, be better, and take their business into the next level.
At some point, the novelty of this new career wears off. Working weekends and late nights can be exhausting and consistently finding and converting leads can feel unachievable. Add in the impossible task of navigating an unpredictable real estate market during the pandemic, and it is not surprising that so many Realtors have burned out and left the industry recently.
As a veteran of the real estate industry, this post-COVID (or current-COVID) culture still feels new to all of us. The emotional turmoil that Realtors experienced during the last two years would shake even the most dedicated professional. First came anxiety when business came to a screeching halt in 2020 and no one knew when they could rely on consistent commissions. Then, home prices soared and outrageous home offers became the norm. While it was an amazing time financially for some Realtors, the pressure and stress was exhausting and overwhelming for all.
There are times that it feels that this career is just too hard. I see you, I hear you, and I am here to tell you that there is a path forward that does not mean leaving your real estate business behind. The first step is to admit how you feel. Say it out loud, and surround yourself with people that understand how you feel and can lift you up. Recognize that you are going through a rough patch and are not the first or the last person who has contemplated packing up their office and moving to the Caribbean.
The best way to avoid burnout is not to get to the point where you feel hopelessly overwhelmed. You can maintain your business and sanity by setting concrete goals for yourself. How many transactions do you need per month to reach your financial objectives? What is your 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year goal? After you have established that, break it down into 12-week increments. What can you do in the next 12 weeks to get closer to your yearly or multi-year goals?
Operating your business in short 12-week bursts will help you stay focused and avoid the pit of despair or getting pulled off course by the shiny object syndrome. Then, after your 12 weeks, review your successes, lessons learned, and get out of the rat race for a planned break. Planning a regular break is critical to avoiding burnout. There is freedom and joy in stepping away, even if it is only a brief moment. Whether it is a week vacation or a weekend at home, a break allows you to hit the reset button and return ready to work ready to thrive.
Lastly, when you know you are close to burnout, seek out a mentor for guidance. Working in a silo is not a good idea for someone who feels inundated. Find someone you trust and talk to that person about your current state. Commiserating with a mentor is an amazing opportunity to feel heard and work through your pain points. Finding someone who will hold you accountable will help keep you motivated and may just push you further than you thought was possible.
Real estate is a fast-paced, highly competitive business. It often feels like it never stops and the hamster wheel won’t relent. However, knowing that you are not running a marathon but working in 12-week bursts will help you move forward to keep you from burning out. The most important aspect to remember is that nothing changes without action.