Choosing Someone to Cover You While on Vacation

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

 Choosing Someone to Cover You While on Vacation


So often when I have taken vacation I have simply continued to tackle issues back home via email, phone and text, and my absence appears seamless. I have a transaction coordinator who manages much of the paperwork flow and process, and count on her help whether I am around or not. Since she is also a licensed REALTOR there are things she can do than an unlicensed administrator or TC could not.


Do you cover vacation oon email?Taking a longer vacation where distance, multiple time zones, and simply trying to truly get away might interfere means having coverage from others I trust to help with issues I cannot deal with directly for buyer and seller clients.


Being prepared, in event of problems, and keeping transactions moving along, or having someone able to start a transaction, is essential.


So how do you pick the right people to help?

What’s important in making that decision?


Do you agree with someone on how to handle coverage?Number one for me is trust. I have to be able to trust, based on personal experience and observation, that the person will do the right thing.


It needs to be someone I have gotten to know, have seen in action, and have talked with so I feel comfortable they will do their best to handle things appropriately, and in a manner I would. It could be one person to handle everything or several people to work with different clients.


I also consider personality and style as a fit with particular clients.


I want someone who has been around the block. Covering for vacation may not be the best time to engage someone who is new and might not have the necessary experience and knowledge.


You need someone to help when you have a sale pending and are on vacationHaving your broker aware of what’s going on is key, whether s/he covers for you solo, or is a back-up when you have someone else directly responsible (but brokers, how do you handle vacations in YOUR offices?) on a daily basis. Ultimately the broker is responsible for the transaction so being aware of issues is key.


And sometimes it may be best to refer a buyer along to someone for a referral fee if you are just starting with them and you won’t be able to assist them. I did that with 2 people with very specific niche needs and someone in my office is really the expert in that niche.


I find some agents go away and don’t have coverage, so you can’t reach them, or response time is very slow. Some simply continue to manage things from afar. And perhaps some just don’t take the time. Different business models I guess.


So what’s your approach regarding vacation and coverage?


Do you take vacations and have coverage? If so how do you plan for this and how to do you decide on who will cover for you?


If you don’t have coverage why not? And how do you manage things while away?


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Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I like that you mentioned personality. I also choose someone that is like me. I want to know that the clients don't need to relearn a personality type and also I know they will handle things the way I would handle them. 

Oct 15, 2014 01:46 AM #44
Jean Singleton
Keller Williams Capital District - Malta, NY
Specializing in Your Special Needs

Excellent post.  I have a colleague I absolutely trust to take care of my clients when I'm gone, and I take care of hers, as well.  Just wondering - do people usually just do it as a courtesy, or is there usually a compensation included?

Oct 15, 2014 04:24 AM #45
Becky Sparkman


We also use transaction coordinators on our team who take the contract once signed and follows it all the way through closing.  We have found it is the best help, whether we are in or out of town.  We know our coordinators and have a good working relationship with them.  We use the company,  Contract Closers, for ALL of our closings.  Most of the coordinators have been or are licensed real estate agents.  With that being said, the relationship we have established with them allows us to confidently have the freedom to spend our time on following leads, taking care of our clients and not have to spend valuable time on tedious, yet very necessary work.  It is GREAT at vacation time because we don't have to look for someone to help out while we are gone, we already have them in place.



Oct 15, 2014 04:47 AM #46
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I recently had to entrust a fellow agent with my listings while I was off island for 6 days. All went well and I really appreciate his efforts. We have agreed to reciprocate so he can also get away for a few days. Planning ahead is what makes it go smoothly.

Oct 15, 2014 05:47 AM #47
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN

On the last vacation I took that was more than a couple of days I wrote an entire offer on my phone. Yup true. I was able to hand it off to someone else who made sure it was all signed and sent to the listing agent. I hate vacations


Oct 15, 2014 06:52 AM #48
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN

Hi Jeff. Nice to see/read you on Active Rain. Hope life is good and all is well. 

Oct 15, 2014 06:52 AM #49
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

Trust is my first priority. Experience is next on my list.

Oct 15, 2014 03:07 PM #50
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great blueprint of how to handle business while not handling business!  Can you teach this to others so those of us calling vacationing realtors get the assistance we need right away?!  Would make a great course!

Oct 15, 2014 03:17 PM #51
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

The good news is that we can stay connected in most circumstances.  I am fortunate to have three trusted Realtors that cover for me when I cannot be there for clients and I do the same for each of them. We plan ahead, make certain that we are caught up on the status of transactions, and share all necessary client contact information.  I also prepare my clients for my absence.

Oct 16, 2014 01:24 AM #52
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Hi Jeff,

Great post and excellent advice.  Trust is absolutely the key.

Oct 16, 2014 02:44 AM #53
Grant Severietti
Pleasanton, CA

Great post, Jeff. I can totally understand the need to have transactions flow smoothly throughout. The last thing you want is a ticked off client!

Some things around vacationing I've noticed many agents neglect are the tasks necessary to keeping a steady flow of business. In the past, our clients have noted it's difficult to plan for personal time off because simple things like listing preparation, prospecting, and marketing efforts get in the way. Which I find silly, because there are a million ways to automate a lot of these processes!

Oct 16, 2014 06:51 AM #54
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I make notes in my files that are apropriate for where we are so the vacation goes smoother.  I have trusted agents that all cover for each other.

Oct 16, 2014 10:30 AM #55
Todd Anderson
You In Park City group - KW Park City Keller Williams Real Estate - Park City, UT
Park City | Deer Valley Real Estate

I like to vacation yet don't do it nearly enough. The business partenrship I have started long ago since I knew there would be times when someone else would need to handle business for me. It is still tough to hand over the reins.

Oct 17, 2014 12:02 AM #56
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

I was working on a transaction-in-process (ie, not ratified yet) with another agent.  On Tuesday, I got a phone call from her stand-in who said "she's on vacation in Italy for 3 weeks, but I'm monitoring all her emails and I see where your discussion is with her".  A few minutes on the phone, and now she and I are insync.  I'll continue to use the emails as before, and it will be seamless.

When I hung up the phone, I thought "what a smart agent".  That's the sign of a professional.

Oct 17, 2014 01:46 PM #57
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

I don't take vacations nearly as often as I should.  However when I do I always make sure to have 1-2 agents who cover for me.  Their phone numbers as well as my office number is right on my voice mail while I am gone for anyone new, for my current clients in case they misplace the numbers and as a reminder when I will be returning.  For the 30 days prior to leaving I remind all of my current clients that I will be gone and keep the covering agents up to date.   I would never go away unless I had full confidence in the agent/s being able to handle my business up to my standards.   I would never be able to relax. 

As for people who don't have coverage I am shocked when they return from vacation and say "wow it has been so slow lately!"  I asked someone recently who was covering while she was away and she said "For what? I have my office number on my voice mail in case anyone calls."  Simple common courtesy dictates that if you are not available you should say so and who can help the caller with any questions for particular properties.  And if you are looking for future business those types of details speak volumes about you.

Oct 20, 2014 05:32 AM #58
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jeff, all great points and this is an issue that I often wrestle with. It's mostly a trust issue with me because I work so hard to build a great reputation it's difficult to place it in the hands of others.

Oct 20, 2014 09:09 AM #59
Dena Smith
DSmith Realtors - Irving, TX

I let one of my agents cover for me once. He managed to piss off my buyer who ended up buying through someone else.


He's not my agent any more and I no longer pass my clients off to anyone.

Vacations? Sure I still take them but very few people are aware of that.

Oct 20, 2014 09:16 AM #60
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Jeff - Typically when I go on vacation I handle everything from a distance. However this summer I went to Europe for two weeks and knew that wouldn't be a possibility, so a month before we left I started referring all of my leads and continued to do so while I was gone. I had a great agent who I could trust covering for me, so for the first time I was almost completely disconnected and it was great.

Oct 23, 2014 01:45 AM #61
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Jeff, it is so important to have someone cover you well & similar to your habits is huge...I have a property manager I refer all my rentals too and he does a great job & covers me with a backup in case.  Always tell my clients I am away which is very unusual to do in RI...most agents hide this fact.

Oct 29, 2014 03:36 AM #62
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

I think we have some of the best reads out there on Active Rain. Thanks for sharing

Mar 20, 2015 12:35 PM #63
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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