Agents Are You Planning To Take A Vacation? Have Buyers Who Need To See Houses While You're Away?

Real Estate Agent with Village Real Estate Services, Inc.

A Realtor® friend of mine called me today to ask my advice on what to do to be sure his buyers were able to see houses while he's going to be on vacation for the next week and a half.  He hasn't taken a vacation in years, so wasn't sure how to make sure his clients needs were being met.  He explained that in the price range his buyers are looking in they've been making offers, but have been getting beaten out in multiple offer situations.  He wants to assure that while he's away they won't skip a beat in seeing properties as soon as they come on the market and getting their offers in early.

My friend plans to take his laptop with him and to write up any offers and negotiate them on behalf of his clients while he is out of state.  He was wondering what kind of compensation he should offer to an agent who would show houses to a couple of his clients while he's away.

I suggested that rather than doing a commission split, he might want to consider paying one of the office agents an hourly rate ($25/hr.) just to set the appointments with the sellers and open the doors for his clients.  I have done this in the past when I just couldn't be in two places at one time.  It works well because your clients feel that you're making sure they get to see the houses as they come on the market.  And, they know that you are still the one who will be handling presenting the offer, doing the negotiating for them and walking them through the process to closing. 

It's a win-win-win situation:

Buyer's Agent is happy...he gets a vacation

Showing Agent is happy - he gets paid without having to much more than just show up

Buyers are happy - they don't feel that they are missing out on making offers on properties while you take a well-deserved vacation

Over the years, I have been surprised when I tell my clients that I'll be away for a few days to attend a seminar or to take a vacation that they consistently are very supportive and tell me to relax and have a great time because I deserve it.  Try it, you'll come back rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to deliver even better service after more training or some well-deserved rest.


Marlene Bridges, REALTOR®

800 777-1775 - Toll Free  ~ or ~  Text Me 714 745-2592

Orange County Real Estate Website

Orange County Seniors Lifestyles Blog

SRES - Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

CRS-Certified Residential Specialist®

President - Laguna Hills/Laguna Woods Chamber of Commerce 2007-2009

President Elect - Southern California Chapter Certified Residential Specialists® 2008 - 2009

Marlene is an experienced and respected South Orange County CA REALTOR® specializing in residential Real Estate and the sale of Homes and Condos in South Orange County, California and Saddleback Valley cities of: Laguna Woods (formerly Leisure World), Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, Lake Forest, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Aliso Viejo, and Mission Viejo.





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Richard T. Dolbeare, R(B)
eXp Realty - Wailuku, HI
R(B), ABR, CRS...Hawaii Multi-Island Specialist

Hi Marlene,

I recently paid an agent a flat fee to show one of my listings while I was away.  The agent was quite happy to do, especially since he lived in the same community.  On 3rd party advice, I paid $50 which may have been excessive.  Wish your post had come along sooner!


Apr 29, 2009 05:38 AM #7
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate

Hi Richard - Glad this worked for you.  Next time you may not need tobe quite so generous :-)

May 02, 2009 03:48 AM #8
Tina Maraj
RE/MAX Cornerstone - Fullerton, CA
Top Agent in Fullerton 2016-2018 714-403-7901

HI Marlene, This is the best way to work. There is no reason to worry though your vacation.

Jun 11, 2009 03:34 AM #9
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Agents who go away and don't leave a substitute are doing a great disservice to their clients.

Mar 06, 2011 01:13 AM #10
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I leave for a trip to visit family in Russia every year for 12-14 days in the first half of September. I spend all of July and August alerting my clients (buyers and sellers alike) that I will be gone those weeks. As they know I don't typically take lots of time off during the rest of the year and am generally available to them, I've never had a client not "work" with me to look at what they need to before I leave and/or after I come back. I've had emails while in Russia about people interested in seeing homes and I've always emailed back that I'll be back in town in XXXX days and have always gotten a response of thanks, we'll see it with you when you're back. That doesn't mean you don't have an arrangement with a colleague to help out while you are away, but with enough planning and communication, it doesn't need to be a hassle or lost business.

Nov 24, 2012 09:22 PM #11
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Laguna, that is what we do.  If our buyer specialist can't handle, we have other agents act as showing assistats for a fixed fee.

Nov 24, 2012 10:45 PM #12
Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections - Edison, NJ
Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More!

Thus is a great solution.  I used to help an agent in a similar way 20 years ago and it worked for everyone. 

Nov 24, 2012 11:24 PM #13
Jeff Hollister
Native Californian with 20 years serving OC Buyers & Sellers - San Clemente, CA
Real Estate Broker, Serving Orange County, CA

Thank you for sharing, Marlene. This sounds like an inexpensive way to make sure your clients are serviced while you are away.

Nov 25, 2012 01:32 AM #14
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
Probably each market is different. My feeling is if another agent shows a home and it goes into contract, it's cleaner just to get a referral fee. That agent then handles all the inspections, closing etc and you don't have any of the liability. To pay me $50 or $250 or whatever to open up a door is not worth it in case of subsequent problems.
Nov 25, 2012 01:59 AM #15
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

I think this is a good solution.  I once had a situation where I offered to pay someone a percentage if she wrote an offer for my buyers and when I got back the clients complained LOUDLY about how much she pressured them to make offer on homes they didn't like.

Nov 25, 2012 04:42 AM #16
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Marlene,

Negotiating from the beach is not a vacation. Find someone competent, pay them well and have a percentage of something, rather than all of nothing, because your clients marched off with someone else.

Nov 25, 2012 05:51 AM #17
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Marlene, Thought I would jump back in on this. I was asked to do something along this line with an agent's client in my office and I was offered and paid $100 per hour. I guess experience accounts for a bit more pay, :)

Nov 25, 2012 08:27 AM #18
Karen Eddinger
RE/MAX On The Lake - Seattle, WA
Relocating to Seattle?

Unless I were on a cruise or in a foreign country, I would prefer to pay an agent an hourly fee and maintain control of the contract situation.  Before the cyberworld allowed us to work contracts as if we had never left town, I used to select an agent I respected to cover for me, and I would do the same for him, and we left each other's commissions intact.  If there was any work performed, we would get each other generous gift certificates.  As long as the vacation time wasn't one-sided, this worked out very well. 


Nov 25, 2012 01:41 PM #19
Sean Williams
AcklesWilliams of Semonin Realtors - Louisville, KY
Your Louisville Realtor

Great suggestion!

Nov 25, 2012 10:16 PM #20
Rob Renk
Center Street Lending - McKinney, TX
AE | Fast Fix/Flip Loans for Residential Investors

The two agents should work out an agreement for compensation and help other out when they take time away. 

Nov 25, 2012 11:37 PM #21
Ric Mills
Keller Williams Southern Az - Tucson, AZ
Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge

I pay a good hourly wage for showing properties by a licensed agent and one to unlicensed agents(showing assistants).  It has to be worth their while.  If the buyer wants to write it up, I will do it if possible or if not the licensed agents does it and takes over and I get the referral fee.  Pay them well so they will want to do it again.

Nov 26, 2012 06:07 AM #22
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


You are right.  Our clients want us to take vacation and relax.  When I plan to be away and my clients need the assistance I call upon a colleague in my office.  We trade off helping each other when we are away. 

Nov 27, 2012 03:21 AM #23
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I work very hard and find my clients to be very cooperative when I need to take a trip.  Those that are not are generally not good clients.

Nov 27, 2012 05:41 AM #24
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas


I do basically the same thing.  I'm part of a company that has many offices around the Sacramento Valley, so I'll try and find an agent in one of the offices close to where my buyers are looking so one agent doesn't have to go all over the place like I would!

Great post!

Nov 27, 2012 06:12 AM #25
Nan Jester
Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery

I guess there are a zillion ways to skin that cat of how to compensate those who care for our customers while we are away.

Nov 27, 2012 07:00 AM #26
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Marlene Bridges

Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate
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