Burnout and Real Estate, What to Do

Managing Real Estate Broker with Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 TN Broker: 208698

Burnout and Real Estate, What to Do

Burnout and Real Estate What to doThis post has been on my mind for awhile and after reading one of Lou Ludwig's inspirational posts, I think it is time to write about Burnout and Real Estate, What to Do. Burnout is described by Wikipedia as "a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. Burnout has been assumed to result from chronic occupational stress (e.g., work overload)." Does these have sound like a normal day of real estate with its ups and downs? Burnout can creep into your real estate business little by little and it has happened to many of us.

Now is the time for confession, in my 34 years of real estate I have been at burnout more than once. In fact, it hit me so hard once that I was considering other options for a career far away from real estate. In the middle of burnout, I continued to drudge through my workdays, was grouchy and didn't find many joyful moments in my day. This went on for weeks, months. I did a lot of self talk and praying to work on my attitude but it didn't seem to get any better. People noticed that I was less effective and not a pleasure to be around.

What did I do? I took some time off from work. Not a month or anything like that but a took a couple of weeks and several long weekends. I had someone else look after my business for me. I read some books and went shopping for fun. I cooked and baked. I gardened. I had friends over to play cards and to hangout. In other words I starting to live again and was not being all-consumed with real estate. This had been the missing element.

The burnout feeling started easing. I eased back into work and found I was smiling more and more. I decided to start picking and choosing the type of business I wanted to keep and let some of the other kinds that I found were depressing go. This was part of what was getting me down. It not only freed up my time but greatly reduced my stress. I stopped worrying about production levels and trying to push myself to satisfy someone else's expectations that were not important to me. I needed a break from the pressure if I was going to stay in the business and it had to be on my terms.

And finally, I looked for something I really wanted to do within the field of real estate and decided to learn something new and get really good at it. This gave me a new fresh purpose and pushed the burnout even farther away. I began to get excited again and rejuvenated.  After awhile I was past the feeling of burnout.

It took realizing what was happening, taking a break, doing some re-evaluating, making adjustments, getting rid of the downers, saving time for myself and setting out on a new course finding something of new that had been in the back of my mind for years.  The re-focusing saved me from bailing out of real estate and being a survivor  agent.

For me I was able to get through it. Others may decide a change of career is the solution. Some may seek medical or psychological help. Whatever the solution, be aware of the symptoms and do something to move forward and past it. 

Burnout and Real Estate, What to Do?...Have you ever been there? It has happened to the best of us.


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 Centruy 21 Platinum Properties2130 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.

Clarksville, TN 37040

When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

Debbie Reynolds
"The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

931-771-9070 Office | 931-320-6730 Cell

Clarksville TN Homes 


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Comments (138)

Pam Jank
Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro

Debbie, Thank you so much for the inspiration.  I know the feeling!  

Aug 29, 2014 06:43 PM
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

To me, burnout is an overused term that really means "frustrated"

I get frustrated when I do not get the results I wanted and expected. If it happens often enough I get grumpy and "burned out".

When things go right I have no burnout problem.


Aug 30, 2014 01:32 AM
Marion Jewell

.....and that's why I go to the gym 4 - 5 times a week :-) Great article !!!

Aug 31, 2014 04:33 AM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Last fall I realized I was working over 70 hours a week.  Sure, the money was great, the production was killer, and we were selling a ton, but neither of us were happy.  We were spent.  Small breaks are always needed in this business.  Not huge breaks where we lose momentum, but small breaks.  

Aug 31, 2014 10:36 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Debbie,

Vacations are not a waste of time. Too many people, not only in real estate, burn the candle at both ends without a break. Time off, proper sleep for a few days, a change of pace by engaging in a hobby or exercise & of course, healthy food can all get you back on track. Great reminder!

Sep 01, 2014 03:58 PM
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

Debbie- I tend to get burnout about every 3 months- so I plan a big vacation every 6 months and several smaller trips in between- it keeps me fresh and ready to go.  recently I had a client make a snide comment that I was out of town a lot.  When I gently told her that I had not had a day off work in 5 weeks- she apologized and told me to have a great time!

Sep 02, 2014 12:07 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Debbie - Obviously this post has generated lots of comments and I'm sure everyone can relate on some level.  You did yourself and others a great service by taking time off to rejuvenate.  Good for you.  Happy you decided to stay as obviously you are very good at what you do! 

Sep 02, 2014 07:26 AM
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

Also .... we all need to be mindful of the amount of stress and pressure we inflict on OTHERS ..... contributing to someone else's burnout.....

For example:  If a mechanic says "the part won't be delivered until Thursday"  yelling, threatening and calling him or her "incompenent" probably won't get the part delivered any faster.... But it could very well contribute to that mechanic deciding to just throw in the towel..... and it's pretty toxic to the person doing the yelling as well....

If everyone could be just a little kinder, gentler and more understanding towards everyone else, no matter what the circumstance, we could probably help reduce burnout across the board....

Sep 02, 2014 10:58 PM
Christine Yedo Johnson
RE/MAX Unlimited Inc. - Aurora, CO

Thanks Debbie.  I think any agent who has been in business for any lenght of time has suffered burnout.  It is just a matter of time.  Sometimes it can also take a great client who is such a pleasure to work with that reminds you why you are in this business.  Time away helps too.

Sep 04, 2014 09:21 AM
Rebecca Lee McAnallen
RGS Title, LLC - Culpeper, VA
Big city experience, small town service

As hard as it is with a career in real estate, taking time to recharge and refocus is a "have to"! Good for you in taking time for you. Not everyone does.

Sep 05, 2014 04:01 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Wow Debbie ... what a great post and VB has had his ups & downs being licensed as a RE Agent. 20 years before I became licensed I purchased "Lake Lots & River Front Properties" and enjoyed this so much. And I make so much money doing this without a license. ;o)

Sep 05, 2014 06:35 AM
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

When we work hard and long this a very strong possibility. Smart to get away if you can. Even a few days helps. 

Sep 07, 2014 11:16 AM
Morris Massre
Pembroke Pines, FL
Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida

There ain't a day goes by that I don't think about being  burnt out in this business.  Time off works for sure, and I noticed that every time I take a break something good happens to me when I get back.

Sep 08, 2014 12:38 AM
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Real Estate Advocate

I always enjoy reading Debbie's blogs!!  BURN OUT, oh my, does that occur?  We in this real estate industry know how easy it is to allow this to creep in, and try to work us out of the business.  It's not reccession proof by any means, so we must be prepared for the worse.  Taking time off to refuel helps, maybe more self-improvement, mentoring, coaches, to help the slump!  

Sep 09, 2014 01:15 AM
Sylvia Jonathan
Coldwell Banker Platinum Properties - Irvine, CA
Broker Associate, SFR

Great post. I have considered taking on a partner to avoid burnout. Although I just returned from a 2 week trip to Europe with many great experiences, I was not able to completely detach. I still had to take some calls and check email. Not an ideal situation, but an acceptable band-aid.

Sep 12, 2014 11:55 PM
Jill Winchel
Royal Shell Real Estate - The Koffman Group - Cape Coral, FL
We make it easy. You make it home.

Congrats on being featured on Inman News! Have a great day, Debbie.


Sep 16, 2014 11:20 PM
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio Real Estate Specialist

Debbie Reynolds, Early in my career before I had much balance it was pretty easy to hit a wall and feel the stress and eventually I would feel a little burn out.  For me the key was being able to prioritize my business and focus on helping people who actually want to buy and sell.  This may sound simple but if you ask the people who contact you "When would you like to be moved" you may be shocked to hear "We are hoping to move next year".  It is very important to learn this type of thing BEFORE you spend a week showing them homes now.  I know this sounds so basic but I constantly have discussions with agents who don't even prequalify their buyers and never learn their clients motivation to buy or sell.  These are typically the agents that get upset because their buyers won't buy and their sellers don't want to list at the right price...and they feel stressed and burned out.

Nov 19, 2014 10:11 AM
Christie Graham
Homestead Realty Inc. - Kenosha, WI

This REALLY helped me, and is such an honest, helpful approach. Thank you!

Mar 26, 2015 11:28 AM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

I think going back and reading some of Active Rains best Archives  likes this one should be shared again.

Mar 26, 2015 12:10 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

It may be time to post this again.

I definitely have symptoms of ActiveRain burnout.

Aug 08, 2015 11:30 PM