"Weekend Warriors"--If we are not willing to give up time with our families on Saturday and Sunday, perhaps the residential real estate profession is not for you

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Topkins & Bevans-etopkins@topbev.com

I got a phone call yesterday from a Realtor who was in the process of taking an offer on a condominium in Boston. He told me the Buyers were with him, and they had a few questions about where things went from there, and could I assist them with the purchase. When I answered the Realtors call, the first thing he said to me was "I hope I am not bothering you by calling on a Saturday". I answered the Buyers' questions, obtained the Buyers' email, sent out my introductory email and fully expect that I will be involved in this engagement, perhaps with dual respresentation of the Buyer and the Lender.

In a market which is not exactly "booming", I can tell you that this conversation "made my day", and I look forward to working with the Realtor and the Buyer on the purchase.

Once the conversation ended, it occurred to me that my being available, and prepared, on a weekend day was really part of what I do as a Massachusetts real estate attorney. Much of residential real estate is conducted on the weekends. Open Houses generally take place on Sunday, and people are doing second and third showings on both Saturday and Sunday. My beloved Patriots crashed and burned last Sunday. That removes one more excuse for looking at new homes on Sunday afternoons, at least in Massachustts.

When I was General Counsel for a mortgage company some years back, one of my friends, a Senior Executive, told me a story about when when she used to be a loan originator. Her husband had planned a Saturday evening "night on the town" with a meal at their favorite restaurant followed by roof-top dancing. At about 6:00PM on that Saturday, one of this person's favorite Realtors called her. A couple from England was in town just until tomorrow morning, and they had made an Offer on a Townhouse. The Realtor asked if the loan originator could come to her office to meet the couple and take an application.

The loan originator was torn. Her husband had made these plans a long time ago. She could tell the Realtor that she was unavailable, and the Realotr would understand. Perhaps, the next time this type of opporutnity came up, the Realtor would spin her Rolodex to the next loan originator. My freind broke the date with her husband and took the application. She decided that geeting the business was more important to her family than the pleasant evening she was giving up.

I am in the unique position of having no kids at home and a wife who has just started out as a real estate broker. I have more time on the weekends than I used to have. But whether I have the time or not, it has not been atypical to be called upon in the evening or on Saturday and Sunday. I, for one, view these calls as opportuities to provide service, part of our business. I am sure most of you made, and continue to make, the same choices, 

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Rainmaker
179,781
Kristyn Grewell
CENTURY 21 Goodyear Green Edmond, OK - Edmond, OK
Edmond, OK Homes, Oklahoma Relocation Services

It's important to be available when the consumers are.  Most people do not take time off work to find a home.  It's done in their off time.  Which means that's when we work.  On the flip side, I find I have free time when most of my clients are at work.

Jan 24, 2011 12:13 AM #20
Rainer
375,414
Monica Foster
Monica Foster Team of eXp Realty - League City, TX
Broker, CRS, ABR, SRS, CHMS, CNE, CNHS

Elliott,

This is a great post!  I always work weekends if I have to.  I answer phone calls and text messages until about 8:30 or 9 p.m. every night of the week (even when out with my husband, my 16 year old son, or my friends), I will and have changed personal plans to meet clients if I am able to do so ... and my husband and I both feel that my business (and the success that I've had) is a top priority and investment in our future.  I can't tell you the number of times I've answered my phone to the surprise of the person on the other end ... who was expecting voice mail!!  It's what I do, it's what I signed up for, and I wouldn't have it any other way!  Thanks for posting!

Jan 24, 2011 12:15 AM #21
Rainer
332,782
Irene Kennedy RealtorĀ® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ

Elliott,

You clearly get it. I'm fortunate to have several real estate attorneys who are always glad to help out - partly because they know I won't bother them weekends or nights if it isn't really important.  That said, some agents think 24/7 is mandatory, even with the routine stuff that can wait...

Jan 24, 2011 12:25 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,421,177
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Elliott, in this business you have to make yourself available when potential clients are free and that is usually on weekends. Good Post!

Jan 24, 2011 12:55 AM #23
Rainer
137,064
Brent & Deb Wells
LivingWell Properties - Prosper, TX
Prosper TX

Elliott,

The weekends are prime time and we reserve it for our 'homeless' clients, ones who have sold their homes and need a place to move to. I could not imagine shutting down business on Saturday. We reserve the Sunday mornings for church and family, but Sunday afternoons are my open house times.

-Brent

Jan 24, 2011 01:18 AM #24
Rainmaker
846,576
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Elliot -- Will you get licensed in CT please?  Lately, I could sure use an attorney with an attitude like yours! 

Jan 24, 2011 01:23 AM #25
Ambassador
920,801
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Elliott, I show when a home pops up that needs to be shown, when they are my clients.

If they are a phone call or lead request, I give them to a team member.

My lender is available when I need or someone on my team needs an Approval letter.

Jan 24, 2011 01:43 AM #26
Ambassador
920,801
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Elliott, I show when a home pops up that needs to be shown, when they are my clients.

If they are a phone call or lead request, I give them to a team member.

My lender is available when I need or someone on my team needs an Approval letter.

Jan 24, 2011 01:44 AM #27
Rainer
26,418
Denise Tower
Coldwell Banker Gundaker - Maryland Heights, MO
Your Neighborhood Realtor

I always answer the phone on weekends and if you are a client I know I am more than happy to meet with you on a weekend.  If you just found my under contract listing on a third party website and want to see it to compare with others you have looked at during open houses with 30 minutes notice ... I am not thinking so.

Jan 24, 2011 02:47 AM #28
Rainer
163,364
Ryan Case
SCA Real Estate - Anaheim, CA
877-828-0710

I am always available on weekends, and its amusing to see agents who are not, as they are missing out on business!

Jan 24, 2011 03:10 AM #29
Rainmaker
564,419
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Eliot -- These situations do occur.  I pride myself on being readily available 7 days a week.  That said, I also block out family/kids time and that will always come first for me.  With proper planning, it would be extremely rare for a conflict to emerge and this works well for me.  Personally, if I had made special plans to go out, I would have passed taking that loan application on a Saturday night. 

The old saying: A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part -- I feel describes this situation. 

 

I deal with relocating buyers all the time and have never once sprung something last minute like this. If an agent would take a loan officer off their preferred list because they wouldn't break last minute plans I think is being overly critical, harsh and self serving as an exceptional loan officer is worth some give and take.  That said, I have several loan officers that are exceptional so as to not put all the eggs in one basket.

Jan 24, 2011 03:37 AM #30
Rainer
88,352
Michael Simcock
Coldwell Banker (Elk Grove, CA) - Elk Grove, CA
Elk Grove, CA Realtor 916 425-1084

This is a bit grey zone for me. Real Estate is important, and family is more important. Early on in my real estate career, I would bail on long made family plans to meet a prospect. After getting stood up and losing out on time with my family, I screen each situation a bit more closely.

I have been finding out that many times the clients are fine waiting till Monday. They are just asking and see what we as agents are willing to do. It turns into a good situation for everyone. It also comes down to a matter of respect (a post in and of itself).

That being said, when a great home comes on the market with one of my active buyers, we make it work to get them into the home as soon as possible.

Jan 24, 2011 03:51 AM #31
Rainer
2,038
Jessica Shippee
Suncastle Properties - Jacksonville, FL

You know... You have to remember what is like as a client. I remember when I bought my last home and I was working full time M-F 7a-7p. Most showings were late evenings...but who doesn't want to see a home in daylight? I did! And I was thankful for the realtor who was willing to make time for me on the weekends...a key in choosing to work with him. 

Jan 24, 2011 04:07 AM #32
Rainmaker
272,675
Ross Quintana
Real E Smarter - Spokane, WA
Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966

I have to disagree with the let family and life balance suffer for work concept. I have been doing real estate for about 10 years now and I don't work from Fri at sundown to Sat Sundown as that is my sabbath. I don't respond to my phone or email and it is both my time of worship and family time.

If you build a good business you don't need to make it everything. You can make plenty of money in 6 days. I have also learned that my life and family are more important than my work. People can't go to the bank on the weekend and banks seem to still be in business. Fact is, in life many things are restricted and we live with them. This is why stores have hours of operation.

Never sacrifice your family for a potential dollar because time with your family is limited, but you can always make more money.

Jan 24, 2011 04:09 AM #33
Rainmaker
340,956
Chris and Berna Sloan
Group 1 Real Estate - Tooele, UT
Tooele UT

Great message. This business is truly local, and this is another example. An open house on Sunday in Utah will be very lonely, if you can even get a seller to do it. However, we need to be available when our clients need us, no matter what day that is! Thanks for the post.

Jan 24, 2011 04:37 AM #34
Rainmaker
705,757
Brian Block
RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President - McLean, VA
Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate

Elliott,

While I certainly do work often on the weekends, I'd flip this around and say that someone who's buying arguably the largest investment/purchase of their lifetime, should be able to take off a day during the week from work to go searching for homes with their agent.

Jan 24, 2011 06:39 AM #35
Rainmaker
14,526
Armando Montelongo
Armando Montelongo Companies - San Antonio, TX

I completely agree with you. Being available at all times, especially in this field, is absolutely essential. 

Jan 24, 2011 07:33 AM #36
Rainer
123,029
Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022

I believe it's really up to the agent. It's the agents business and they should run it like a business with a standard of service set very high. My meaning is that I know top producers that make over $2mil per year and their team members handle all calls and to the standard set by the rainmaker. It's about having a life worth living and businesses worth owning...It can all be done, it just depends on what your vision is...

 

Cory Barbee, Team Leader

Keller Williams North County San Diego

San Diego Career in Real Estate

Jan 24, 2011 07:36 AM #37
Rainer
57,855
Bradley Pounds
Watters International Realty, Broker Lic #606049 - Austin, TX
(512) 736-3353

Saturdays are fair game but keep your mits off of my Sunday mornings. :-)

Jan 24, 2011 08:42 AM #38
Rainmaker
409,252
Karen Monsour
Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert!

I usually take off Fridays and Sunday am.  Friday I prepare for the weekend.  You gotta show when the customer is in town and here in SE, FL, most buyers come down for a long weekend...I don't mind.

Jan 24, 2011 01:46 PM #39
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Rainmaker
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Elliott S. Topkins

Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty
I need a Massachusetts real estate attorney
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