Do Real Estate Agents Really Ever Get a Day Off?

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Cahill Associates

Do Real Estate Agents Really Ever Get a Day Off?  I was asked this by one of my clients recently when I told him that I was going to try and take a day off soon.  It was looking good and there were no appointments scheduled a few days in advance.  It was a weekend day and I figured that if no one had a showing requests, I might actually take a day off and try not to do any off

Has this ever happened to you?  While you may not have any appointments scheduled, there may be phone calls or emails to answer.  Even text messages to reply to since a lot of my clients, both younger and older than myself, prefer to communicate via text message.  While we are not attorneys and therefore do not bill our clients hourly, isn't it still working if we are thinking about our clients during a "day off"?  Maybe thinking about someone who has been looking for a while and trying to figure out what would help them find their perfect home?  Or even thinking about what Sundays to host open houses so they do not conflict with the local pro football schedule.

Whether we like it or not, if we are real estate agents, not a day goes by when we are not either working or thinking about our clients or current deals.  While I was enjoying my honeymoon in Aruba a couple months ago, I'm sure that at some point on each day, there was some real-estate thought floating around in my head (don't tell my wife!). 

It's ok, though.  You know why?  I just love it.  I love what I do!  I love helping people buy and sell homes.  I love being there for my clients at every stage of the game and knowing I am helping people with their home purchase dreams, or their real estate investment objectives, or their probate obligations, etc.  It's okay that I never really take a day off and that's the way I hope it stays.

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Thanks for reading!

David Cahill
Century 21 Cahill Associates
cell 781-910-6506



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Comments (193)

Randy L. Prothero
eXp Realty - Hollister, MO
Missouri REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

All of my clients believe I should take a day off, just not while I am selling their home.  I am always selling someone's home.

Oct 14, 2010 11:53 PM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

When I started to take between 40-90 days off a year, my business sky rocketed!


Oct 15, 2010 01:53 AM
Jane Wemyss
Compass - Dover, MA

I'd say you hit a hot botton! I rationalize the excessive amount of time I work by the flexibility it offers me - the non 9-5 behind the desk limits! Great topic!!

Oct 15, 2010 03:30 AM
Christina Sheppard
Solid Source Realty GA| Metro Atlanta | - Douglasville, GA
Real Estate Consultant

As most have stated it is hard to turn away especially when you love what you do, but in all things you must have balance!

Oct 15, 2010 03:40 AM
David Cox, Broker/Owner**303.921.3908
Cox Real Estate Group - Highlands Ranch, CO


One of my early trainers would joke that one of the wonderful things about being in Real Estate was you only had to work half the time. You know, "only 12 hours every day", and the great thing about being your own boss was you got to pick which 12. Now I know she was lazy. It's more like 14-16 when you count everything we do.

Can anyone say time management? The only thing that works for me is to set a schedule, time block for everything, including my needs. I let people know that, although their requirements are extremely important to me, prior appointments are prior appointments (emergencies excluded). I give clients a couple of choices as to when we can meet and then put them in the schedule. I find that although they may be disappointed that I may not be able to meet at the drop of a hat, they understand that if I'm busy I must be in demand. That helps inforce that I'm good at what I do, as well as the inverse; if I can meet when ever they want, I must be desperate. That's like blood in the water and I know I'm going to have to fight to keep my commission.

My advise is: time block, make time for yourself or you will burn out.


P.S. Learn to manage your cell phone too!

Oct 15, 2010 03:54 AM
Peter Jeffery

I can't say that I 'LOVE' my job.  That emotion is reserved for my wife and kids, along with various other family and friends.  I definitely do 'like' my job, in general.  I greatly enjoy it at times ... and quite the opposite at others.  

However, it isn't the 'job' that I'm enjoying (or not) ... it's the people I'm assisting that make it a rewarding experience (or not).   Since I do not 'love' these people, I cannot say that I love my job .... and will never put the job before those people that I do truly care for.

Taking a day off at least once a week is mandatory for me.  Preferably even 2 or 3 days off, depending on variables.  I will book my one(+) day as an appointment, and I will not break that appointment for any business matter.   It's an all or nothing attitude perhaps, but this works for me.  My clients needn't know what I'm up to on my day away.  They only need to know that another agent is taking care of them (if/when necessary).  

If a prospect didn't accept this idea of my taking a weekly break, I will gladly turn my back on that prospect and deal with others who respect that I too am human, have a family ... and a life in general ... well outside of real estate.   Taking time to myself makes me a MUCH more productive, ambitious and successful agent when I'm on the job for my 30-60 hours per week.  

I have a friend who missed his daughter's 1st birthday party while he was showing homes.  His clients ran into overtime on a viewing and were suddenly looking at writing an offer (although they ultimately didn't).  He didn't know how to tell these buyer-clients that he had to go.  He was a newer agent at the time, which might partly explain his putting others ahead of his family ... but he will still never completely forgive himself.    

Likewise, I have an agent friend who literally broke down in tears while discussing this very topic of 'time off' with me one day.  While he was extremely successful, he had not taken a vacation in 35 years.   Literally!!    He said he'd give away everything he owned to have some of those 'wasted' years back.  Wasted indeed, IMO.  

The good things about 'being your own boss' as an agent can backfire on some people.  At least the average decent boss will tell you when it's time to quit for the day.   

I enjoy my job, but there's way more to life than selling real estate.   Best to realize it before it's too late.   Those clients will forget all about you.   Your friends and family will be there for you until the end.

End of rant!   : )

Oct 15, 2010 03:54 AM
Steve Shewmake

David ,

Are you nuts, never post in public that you were thinking of work on your honeymoon, I have never admitted anything like that, that is why I've been married 20 years. Good post by the way.

Oct 15, 2010 04:58 AM
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

Great post, with a lot of incredibly fun comments.  Well done, getting all of this interaction going!

Oct 15, 2010 04:04 PM
Darrin Davis

Recentely, I took a weekend day off and did nothing but watch tv. It was really rejuvinating. I've come to the conclusion that I need a day off every now and then for "regrouping".

Oct 15, 2010 05:48 PM
Eugene Lew
RE/MAX equity group - Happy Valley, OR

I used to work a tech job, where the money was good, and I had lots of OT. I worked up to 16-18 hours a day in a lab. In this job now, I may be "working" 24 hours a day, fielding emails & calls, scheduling appointments, meeting clients, etc. However I take a longer lunch when I feel like it, take care of personal business when I feel like it, and typically schedule my own tasks in between clients' schedules, so I'm not tied up in a lab or building. So, working 15 hours a day doing this is better than working even 5 hours in a lab, and I don't mind it.

Oct 17, 2010 11:47 AM
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

I do schedule days off but continue to answer the phone and emails and of course arrange an appointment if it can't be arranged for any other time.  Margaret C

Oct 17, 2010 05:19 PM
Rachel Reardon
RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
RE/MAX Executive

When I was first licensed, I worked as a Buyer's Agent for a gentleman and he worked tirelessly 16+ hours/day.  He worked like this for years, he did get somewhat better about taking time off but he went thru a severe burn-out period in his personal life (divorce and alienated his teenage daughter) and it affected his business life after time.  Tragically, all of these added up and earlier this year he took his own life.  Many of us are still having difficulty understanding it.  Is this unusual, yes - to this level of desperation, but I know at least a dozen or more agents who are/have gone thru divorce, and other personal trauma because they let real estate take over them.

This agent let the business consume him and his life, literally.  He was a multi-million dollar producer, had a great personality and could always make people laugh, but he lost sight of what was really important.

I would encourage all of you to take time off for yourselves.  You cannot replace time.  I've sold homes for 10 years now, and I have never lost a client due to my honesty with them about taking days off / time off for vacation, my son's baseball games (never missed one in the 10 yrs), church, and anything else that is important. My philosophy is that if I lose a client over taking time for my family, then so be it.  My clients know that they are of utmost importance to me and that I will give them all the time necessary, but on a schedule that meets both our needs.  They will all tell you how hard I work for them and how satisfied they are with my service.   

I believe that in order to be perceived as true professionals, we need to keep a realistic schedule like any other professional person.  After 6-7pm, I'm snuggled up with my family whether it's helping with homework, sitting on the sofa together watching TV, sitting in the stands watching my son on the field or talking to my grown daughter who lives out of town...or doing laundry!  

I have partnered with another agent at my office - we cover for each other and that gives clients peace of mind to know that if I'm out of town, they're not stranded. That's important.

You cannot replace time in your life.  Work hard but smart, have discipline with your schedule.  People will respect boundaries.  


Oct 18, 2010 01:02 AM
David Cahill
Century 21 Cahill Associates - Boston, MA


This is one very extreme and sad example of people going way too far.  I am sorry that happened to him, his family and to you.


Oct 18, 2010 06:12 PM
David Cahill
Century 21 Cahill Associates - Boston, MA

Thanks again to all of those who responded!  Just want to let you know that I just posted a blog about the day off I took on Friday and how I went to the circus!

It can be read here:


David in Boston

Oct 18, 2010 06:14 PM
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

David, I'm in the same boat! Never a day goes by that I don't do a little something on or in my business!

I do think it's important for us to re-create, however, to invest in our sanity & do something out of the norm. With the diversity of this business, however, you can still be working on real estate!

Oct 20, 2010 05:16 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

You have to take time off to recharge your batteries. It's easy to get burned out in this business. I'm going crabbing tomorrow with my son!

Oct 26, 2010 05:26 PM
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., ABR, GRI, SRES - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

A day off, what is that?  ha,ha.  Even though we work a lot, we do have flexible schedules. 

Nov 02, 2010 03:36 AM
Sean Mallett
Boston Brokerage Group - Revere, MA

Is it ironic that I am reading this on my "day off".  I went to bed last night and my mind was going the whole time. I had to reach for my blackberry and put 10 things in my schedule to ensure I rememebred everything that I was thinking about.  This is a crazy business but it sure beats a 9-5 in some tiny office performing the same tedious tasks day in and day out.

Dec 02, 2010 12:57 AM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

I think that not taking a day off is a bad idea, and will eventually lead to burn out, even if you love your job.  I love real estate too, but I love my family more.  So, I never go a week without taking AT LEAST one day off.  It's usually on Sunday, but if I get a rare Sunday showing I will take another day off...and oftentimes I take both weekend days off.  As strange as that may sound to most Realtors, I feel like balance is extremely important.  And trust me, it's not because I don't have work to do on those days (I'm the top producer out of about 55 agents in my office) but it's just a matter of priorities.   

Jul 18, 2011 06:04 AM
Trevor McArthur

This is an old post but I just have to add my 2 cents.

I am a new agent and not having a big rolodex of clients I have TOO MANY days off when the phone does not ring.

That said if it does when I need to spend time with my family I always can say I need to schedule showings another day due to meetings I already have with other clients.

I don't have to tell them those clients are 5 and 7 years old and chasing me with plastic lightsabers.

Feb 16, 2012 04:12 AM