Love and the Rookie Real Estate Agent

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Rumor has it that real estate agents have a higher than normal divorce rate. Why?

This career can take over your life, physically, financially and emotionally. Physically, you will be Missing-in-loveAction frequently, often without notice. Financially, you may be dipping into the family nest-egg to keep your business afloat, without much to show for your efforts. Emotionally, oh my. The emotional havoc a new real estate career can wreak in your life can't be overstated. You will be on a crazy roller-coaster ride, most of the time. There are incredible highs and devastating lows... all in the same day.

If you are married or otherwise romantically entangled, please don't underestimate the effect your career will have on your relationship. Maybe it will be the best thing that ever happened to you. Maybe not. But your relationship WILL change. Your spouse/S.O. will need to accept that the love of his or her life is spending time alone with other people, sometimes in emotionally charged situations. That they will often appear to place these other people and their needs above the needs of the family. That they will be testy, teary and tardy. They will work late, they will work early, they will work on vacation. They may even threaten to cancel a vacation every once in a while!

If you jump into real estate full-time, your spouse or S.O. may be footing the bills for you. Don't forget to acknowledge and be appreciative of this fact. Often. Discuss it up-front so that no one is blind-sided three months down the line. Don't assume that your partner is happily paying the bills - resentment can build up fast, especially if your new career is straining the relationship in other ways.

Do your best to put your family at the top of your priority list, but know that they won't always stay there. When you are building a new business, any business, you need to be fanatically obsessed with the success of that business. And, unfortunately, something will have to give. You simply can't have it all and do any of it exceptionally well. That's just a fact.

If your family does not fully support your venture into real estate sales, you may have a big decision to make. Only you can make the best decision for your situation, but just know that without your family's support, you will probably be miserable most of the time. And a miserable real estate agent won't be a real estate agent for long.

The good news is that after a few crazy years, you may very well be able to control your time, your energy, your finances and your emotions much better than you can at first. In fact, if you play it smart, you can create a life for you and your family that the rest of the world only dreams about. Work 30 hours a week (you pick which 30!), make a six-figure income and sleep well at night... how does that sound?








copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

Jennifer:  I agree with you 100%.  It's a balancing act between the passion to build your business and the passion that you feel for your family.  Some times one needs to take a back seat to the other for a bit.  The challenge is in knowing when and how often you can do this!

I'm still working on that 30 hour bit!


Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Jun 10, 2007 07:59 AM #7
David A. Podgursky PA
THE PODGURSKY GROUP @ Re/Max Direct - Boynton Beach, FL
THE PODGURSKY GROUP - Make the Right Move!

I think sales in general has a high divorce rate...

true salespeople are passionate about all sides of their lives but the career oriented person spends a LOT of time working and that can be hard to take

Jun 10, 2007 08:11 AM #8
Penny Florence
Midvale, UT

Family time is so important.  I am a firm believer and follower of actually scheduling Family Time in my appointment book.  So when a client wants to meet with me and I have to say I already have a prior appointment-its not a lie-and I just schedule a different time with that client.  The balance between work and life are so challenging but so vital.  It won't matter that you have worked so hard, and achieved all that you have dreamed about-if you don't have family and friends left to share it with.

Jun 10, 2007 08:35 AM #9
Jenny Croshaw
South Florida Structured Real Estate - Miami Beach, FL
Sales people are statistically much more likely to commit adultery than the avg. population.
Jun 10, 2007 08:43 AM #10
Christina Lackey
Coldwell Banker Prime Properties - North Syracuse, NY
Syracuse Central New York Real Estate
You're right!  This is a hard job to get into, especially when the family was used to having two solid incomes.  In my case, I am very lucky to have a husband who not only supports me, but loves the positive changes in me since leaving teaching and joining the ranks as a realtor.  I am also lucky, though, that I do not need to work a million hours a week just to get something together.  I've been lucky and able to work truly part time and bring home enough to keep us afloat... not that more wouldn't make me happy, but... having the time when the kids are little is priceless.
Jun 10, 2007 09:00 AM #11
Steven Shewell
Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. - Ephrata, PA
The Mortgage Maverick

The divorce rate is so high because people cannot separate their personal lives from their professional lives and they forget which is most important.  Your family was there before you went into real estate and they will be there long after you leave.

I don't know of anyone who said on their deathbed, "I wish I would have worked more hours."

Jun 10, 2007 09:35 AM #12
Kecia Carpenter
Weichert Realtors Baron & Snipes Co - Glen Allen, VA
Jennifer I totally agree and thanks for the post...this is something all new agents need to read...
Jun 10, 2007 12:30 PM #13
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents
Jennifer, thanks so much for writing this blog. I really want to make this a conscious effort of not neglecting my family - which is my husband.....  He goes to showings with me, be my assistant and open doors and drive now. I get to concentrate in talking to clients in our car. We do spend alot of time together. In a few months things will definitely change when our baby comes. I really hate to see that happen because we both work so well as a team. I know I will miss my best friend at work.

I also really had to make the conscious effort of not holding the laptop everywhere I go. I can be checking emails, etc. even at the dinner table. Yikes!!! In the winter, I "moved" part of my office into our bedroom. Guess what? I wait till he goes to bed, then I could be blogging until 2am on those days I really cant sleep.

Real estate is a passion of mine. It never feels like work. But I know my husband is not sharing this super-hot passion with me.... He has a better judgement of work and personal life.

I think all of us need to make that conscious effort between our priorities. I had imagine becoming successful when I "grow" up but it doesnt mean a thing if my husband is not in the picture to share it with me....... That's when I realize I had to put a stop to this. Passion is passion but my family is highest priority for me, besides God.
Jun 11, 2007 01:16 AM #14
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!
My "work" doesn't interfere half as much as being on this laptop!
Jun 11, 2007 03:56 AM #15
Denise Sproull
Century 21 Prestige Real Estate - Prince Albert, SK
Prince Albert, SK Real Estate

   Great topic!  This topic hits home with me big-time!  I'm newly married (2nd time round) and my husband is a little older than me (over 50).  We live with my 11 and 15 year old, in my husband's hometown, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  I recently moved here from Winnipeg, which is about a 9 hour drive, and my family and friends, as well as my ex-husband are all back in Winnipeg. 

   Real Estate has always interested me, and my husband is supportive. BUT:  I have been at home with my husband for the last 2 years; (his job allows him lots of time off).  My kids are quite self-sufficient, yet  they still do demand a lot of attention, and often they make messes for me to clean up. (My son, the 11 yr old is like a hurricane!)

    I'm just starting my career in August,..and a bit worried on how I will deal with the demands of the job.  Everyone's been spoilt with me home these last 2 years. (prior to moving here I worked full-time and long hours, and I've always supported my kids on my own-their dad's a deadbeat!)

Any more comments anyone?

Jun 13, 2007 01:55 PM #16
Tellis Coleman
Coleman Real Estate LLC - Colorado Springs, CO

I bet it's not higher than the military or DOD contracting divorce rate. I've survived both but I don't know if that would have been the case if my wife had not been in both of those careers with me. From my experience in talking with people that are divorced I always find that their values are so much different than people that are committed to each other. I'm talking dramatically different. Some of my old military buddies that are divorced did things in their marriage that were incomprehensible to me. Also as an ex wedding photographer I saw things at my first meeting with couples that made me think "This could be a three-fer." That's one wedding and two remarriages. Not to mention how some of them acted on wedding day. So many people get married for all the wrong reasons. No career can get in the way of two people that are totally committed. The key to marriage is simple and those of you that are in everlasting marriages know this. Simply put, marriage has no room for selfishness and self centeredness but a lot of room for sacrifice. And the woman is always right 100% of the time just ask my wife.

Jun 14, 2007 08:30 PM #17
Jamie Carlson~Prince Albert, SK Real Estate
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd. - Prince Albert, SK

I agree with Tellis--the woman is right 100% of the time--haha!  I love Penny's idea, scheduling in family time as an appointment.  Some weeks that may be the only way you will have quality time with them.  Denise, have you sat down and talked with the kids about how this new career may affect them?  Maybe explain to them very specifically what will change and how their responsibilities will also need to shift.  They may not like it, but I would think that preparing them for the changes will make it a bit easier on them.

My family is so important to me.   I'm sure everyone feels this way about their own.  Without them, success is no success at all. 

Jun 16, 2007 03:27 AM #18
Michele Jensen
Century21 Olde Tyme - Norco, CA

I have had a really hard time with my family. I have a husband who wanted to be my assistant which worked for about 7 months and then the critisism started on how I was doing things. He won't do anything around the house. And my kids will do some things but not alot. ( They are very active in church and school activities) I am very blessed to have children that don't do drugs etc. So I do know what the insanity of trying to be successful at what I have a passion for which is real estate. It is not easy, and it will probably take me a little longer to get where I want to go. But I know my success will be very,very sweet. Frustration is building but I keep going. I do have business, but not as much as I want. As the saying goes, I WANT IT ALL! And I know not to give up EVER! It is very hard to please everyone which we know is impossible, but as long as you please yourself and you know that you are doing your best that is all that matters. everything is secondary.


Thanks for letting me vent,


Michele Jensen

Jun 18, 2007 06:25 AM #19
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul


Try to nip this NOW! Your husband isn't going to like your career any better unless something changes. Even if you're wildly rich and famous, his frustration is going to keep building.

Frankly, I am now divorced due to my real estate career, so I"m not sure I can offer any brilliant advice, other than make SURE your husband knows he's the most important thing to you. It's hard to do, especially in a new career, where, he probably isn't the most important thing to you sometimes.

I'll be sending good thoughts your way. Keep me posted, okay?

Jun 19, 2007 01:48 AM #20
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!


Maybe your husband doesn't like being the "assistant". Would it be possible for him to get into Real Estate? This way you could be "equals", sharing the workload and he might be more understanding? Partner husband /wife teams seem to do well.

Jun 19, 2007 07:39 AM #21
Stephanie Kresl
Global Assist ~ Orlando Sales Division - Orlando, FL

Great post Jennifer! I was referred to you by Kathy McGraw ~ Calif Broker (CELLing Realty) when I wrote a very personal post Overcoming My Giants Of Fear And Failure: My Story and Journey Into Real Estate. I am very glad she referred me, as I have enjoyed reading your blog and it helps to know that others can relate. You offer a lot of great advice! Thank you.

Aug 22, 2008 03:57 AM #22

Nice post and still relevant although posted a year ago.   I got into real estate almost 2 years ago and I could not have made it this far without the emotional and financial support of my beautiful wife.


Aug 23, 2008 02:11 AM #23
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

 Jennifer - I will agree with you on your book and I wasn't aware that you were a author. I sell Real Estate and run several other businesses and it is very difficult to make ends meet when it comes to satisfying the other half.

 Real Estate has been very slow in Las Vegas because I am not into selling REOs or short sales, I sell commercial. I joined AR 5 months ago and my wife and friends contine to bother me because I am always focused on AR and generating my group of associates and friends. I post as often as possible and have formed many groups with followers.

 My passion is Photography, Art, Writing and Travel. I have a new business & web site coming out on photography that I am very exited about, my wife is not excited about it. I also started a match-making business that my wife encouraged me to start and almost ended in divorce because she didn't like it once I started the business.

 I have had this story in my mind for over 5 years now and I want to write a book about it. The story is on missing children and stopping pedophiles. I have a friend back in Wisconsin that has written some articles for mags and works for a book publishing firm. He mentioned to me to just write the outline and turn the rest over to another writer to fill in the blanks. Maybe you could give some suggestions on writing down these first words, etc. Once my story is written, it will rock the world and help mothers, families, and help put a stop to missing children and pedophiles.

 Anyway, this is a love group and I don't want my comment to be deleted. So once again, my love is Art, Photography, Writing and Traveling. I am very excited about you joining our group and I really believe we can help each other in our businesses in the future.

Aug 24, 2008 03:55 AM #24
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Jennifer:  The title of your post... Love and the Real Estate Agent... caught my interest.  What I have to share goes in a completely different direction than the above comments and your great post has gone.

It involves what can happen when one person of a married couple has been in Real Estate for some time, and encourages his or her spouse to join the business... and then they work as a team.

I did this... invited my spouse to join me after I had been a Realtor for five years.  It sounded like a good idea.  It turned out to be an action similar to inviting a chicken to join a group that was over-populated by foxes... or snakes if you will.

Everything went well for quite a while... we were a great team... until I discovered "the affair... my spouse was having with the office sales manager, of all people."  Within days... I was told our marriage was over.  It was.  To say the least... my ability to trust... and to love again... was severly damaged.

Sep 11, 2008 01:46 PM #25
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Ouch... I'm so sorry. How heartbreaking. For myself, I don't think I'd want to be in this business with my spouse - I used to think I would, but now I realize that I have too many ideas on How Things Should Be Done and would probably be terribly overbearing! A little separation is probably a good thing.

Anyway - again - I'm so sorry.

Sep 12, 2008 12:33 AM #26
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