What Happens When You Become "Too Available”?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Eddie Brown ~ FM Realty a Long & Foster Company/ Raleigh NC

I often see many associates who get sucked into the “interrupt-us all-the-time-us” black-hole when they become too “available” to clients and prospects. The key to long-term success is a constant focus on your business prospecting. Your focus is lost when anyone can break into your schedule at will. You have to padlock your availability into pre-designated times…


A Top Level Producer minimizes their distractions by “booking” their appointments.


REALTORS are the most interrupted professionals in the world. As Professionals we need to better educate our clients to how they may only have access to our time in a controlled manner. I am not suggesting prospects shouldn’t be able to get a hold of us easily ...I am saying you can’t allow the phone, e-mail, other Agents, clients, and other things to become such a distraction where you lose focus on prospecting for new business. A good tip is when you need to be 100% focused …shut down anything which could cause you to be distracted from your time block …(turn off your cell phone, e-mail, office phone, and shut your office door)


Direct your prospects and clients into time slots, or time blocks when you schedule appointments. {Dialogue}: “I have 2pm Monday or 4pm Wednesday …which is better for you”? This is precisely what your dentist, your attorney, and your accountant does. Why not you? The #1 mistake I see with REALTORS time management is most don’t operate through appointments and they end up meeting with clients on the client’s schedule, not their schedule. This instant availability causes you to miss or cancel other important activities like …Prospecting Time, Children’s activities, Time with spouse/partner, or loss of just “Me Time”.


For some reason, REALTORS have a false perception that total and immediate access equates to a higher level of customer service. (I feel this perception is completely false). The most highly respected professionals operate on an appointment-only basis. Immediate access can also send a clear message to prospects and clients that you are not busy. Ben Franklin said, “If you want something done right, ask a busy man to do it.”


Time blocking is one of the most important disciplines you will need to master on your journey to becoming a Top Level Producer. There is a direct connection between your ability to time block and your income. Follow the path and you will be happy to see where it leads you.


Eddie Brown ©2011




Comments (194)

Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

Great reminder for time blocking.  This should be first on our lists of "to dos" every day.

May 23, 2011 05:01 AM
Mike Kitsch

Thanks for the blog. It serves as a good reminder that we are professionals and that our time is of value.

Of course, we have to temper these ideas with good judgement, but I do think it is necessary to manage our time effectively.


Mike Kitsch


May 23, 2011 05:43 AM
Kristin Ferguson
Broadway Real Estate - Marinette, WI

Great post and comments.  No matter how long we have been in the business it's always a good reminder.

May 23, 2011 05:52 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I wish it were always this easy.  I've worked on this repeatedly and my day always gets disrupted!  Hate to admit that.  Great post!

May 23, 2011 05:52 AM
Hans Bruhner
First Priority Financial - Sebastopol, CA
Sonoma County Home Loans

Nicely done. I like that you made a simple point and you were extremely concise and the comments really added to the article.


May 23, 2011 06:10 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I try to steer clients into the best time slots for me.  However, I also want to point out that many proffesions that are too strict with scheduling are also resented.  Some one may wait for a doctor appointment or work it into their schedule.  Realtors do not rate the same respect.

May 23, 2011 07:22 AM

Gene....I just had to respond to this comment...You are dead wrong! And until you start thinking you are worth it, no one will show you the respect you deserve... You can not base your business model on being a "door opener" ...as a REALTOR you have far more value than that! If you don't ...you are in the wrong business.

May 23, 2011 08:38 AM
Patrick Henry
PMZ - Stockton, CA

Great points, and good reminders. Even though I know this I often find myself getting pulled off my task at hand because someone calls. Unfortunately at this point I recognize it too late. So know it is time to recognize it before hand and do things to prevent it from happening. Thanks for the info.

May 23, 2011 11:14 AM
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

I am not a Dentist, a Doctor, an Attorney or Accountant. It is rather presumptious to even put real estate agents in the same category. Those professions require extensive degrees and certification. The average real estate agent had to take 60 hours of in class training and then pass a State exam.

Beyond that, it is only required that most agents be present for 15 or 16 hours of continuing education.

Hairdressers have to be scrutinized more than that.

We are in the service industry. We are self employed. Time blocking or any other catch phrase used to indicate it is better to be organized is fine, but please don't let anyone think you believe our profession is on the same level as those that actually have to earn the designation.

May 23, 2011 03:09 PM
Scot Draper
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Charlotte, NC
Broker/Realtor, ABR CDPE CIAS

Great post. I may not a be doctor, attorney, or dentist but my time (both business & personal) are just as valuable. It doesn't always work out, but I try to balance my business hours with my personal hours. My family understands that the life of a Realtor is a little abnormal. But I try to to be available for my clients but also make sure they understand that I have family time that is set aside. I've never had a client not understand that or not respect that. In fact, some have complimented me on it. Each of us needs to find out what works for us individually. But finding balance has certainly worked best for me ... and if it's done anything, it's help me improve my business in the last year.

May 23, 2011 03:43 PM

On the other side is a realtor who is working part time and does not return calls, etc. Somebody has to take your calls in a timely manner. I have had a question on a realtors listing that I needed answered before making a showing appointment and didn't get a call back until the next day. When I'm scheduling my showings and I don't get the information I need, I will skip over that listing because my time is valuable also. We are in a service-sales business and I do agree that we need to be balanced, we still have to be available when customers call. I have many buyers tell me that they do not get return calls from realtors. I think a call back is just a courtesy that should be extended to all callers. I do agree that scheduling appointments with customers is taking control of your business and I agree with this totally

May 25, 2011 01:52 AM

I have really been struggling with this. I have been in Real Estate for over 10 years now, and I am getting extremely burnt out on working 7-days a week (somehow, some way we are always working, right?)  I have two sons, and I feel that it is not fair to them to not only be in my office every weekday from 8:30am-5 or 6 in the evening, but then schedule appointments after hours and on weekends as well.  Do you have any effective scripts you can recommend for setting the stage upfront for the clients as to what my "work" hours are?  I know alot of it is presenting enough value so they wouldn't even think of going with another Realtor and would be willing to work around my schedule.....but how can this scenario be achieved?  I love what I do, but I have honestly considered other careers because I just can't see living the rest of my life without any CONSISTENT and PREDICTABLE  "me" time or family time. Any suggestions?

May 25, 2011 09:40 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

  Everyone does what works best for them and we have been the realtors called often...because we answered the phone, took the time etc....time blocking is a valuable tool....weighed with availability for those we have to honor to serve.

May 25, 2011 12:06 PM
Maureen Harmon
Exit Real Estate Gallery - Orange Park, FL
YOUR North Florida Relocation Specialists

I really need to get better at time blocking.  I do try not to work on Sunday unless an out of town buyer is in, and I recently put my business hours "Mon - Fri 9am - 7pm and Saturdays by apointment" on my voice mail.  Now if I could just get that time blocking down.

May 25, 2011 02:34 PM
Linda Fidgeon
Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices Page Realty - Wrentham, MA
Make your next move your best move!

well put. In fact, most people will ask you when you are available, so why not tell thwm?

May 26, 2011 04:39 AM
Lisa Smothers

I have actually been fired from a listing, before it was even listed.  They called on the day before Mother's Day, and said that I have to come right now today, because they were leaving town in 24 hours.  This was our second meeting, all I had to do is take the sign up, and come back one more time (per his request) to take some more pitures, his wife was not feeling well.  So I dropped everything, got what I needed and drove the 32 miles and dropped off the sign.  I did not get to do my pre Mother's Day thing, what the heck I was going to get the listing.

NOT, I was enformed via email, two days latter that the client thought that my personal life was going to get in the way of me selling his houseARE YOU KIDDING ME??  So sometimes we are darned if we do and darned if we don't.  I do however try to answer my phone, whenever possible.  Thanks for your post.


May 27, 2011 07:35 AM
Madison Ballagh
RE/MAX - Columbia, SC

Your Right Eddie-   If people do not take the time to ask your availability or schedule an appointment my perception is they do not value and respect their time.

More than likely they are not the most ideal clients and can't buy anyway!

May 28, 2011 04:05 AM
Rebecca Riopelle
BLINK Realty Group - Arlington, MA
Broker Associate & REALTOR®

Thank you for writing this post. I think I need to bookmark it and read it every Monday morning until it becomes a habit. We all need to be reminded of this now and then. It's funny how our "business " gets in the way our business. Happens all the time!

Jun 01, 2011 10:46 PM
Ben Benita
Ben Benita - Gainesville, VA
Speaker, Author, Game Changer, Coach

this may be the greatest post EVER on AR....I could go on and on for pages and pages on this topic, it is THE NUMBER ONE REASON most agents will never make the money they are seeking, and, why most will be average to slighly above average at best........

Jul 07, 2011 07:48 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

LOL.  I found your post funny because if anything, I'm accused of being too UNavailable.  I take my time very seriously, and I don't let phone calls or e-mails distract me from my tasks.  Other agents get frustrated that they have to wait to hear back from me sometimes, but so be it.  I have time-blocked my day, and when it's their time, they will get 100% of my attention.

Nov 30, 2011 05:19 AM