What time do "real estate hours" begin each day?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Austin Texas Homes, LLC 453249

Please allow me to preface this post with a couple of brief statements: I have been selling homes full-time in the Austin, Texas area for over 20 years. I am a broker and co-owner of a company with about 20 agents. These facts may be important as you read my mini-rant below.  :)


This morning at 8:30am, I received a call from a listing agent who has been in business nearly as long as I have. I was not able to pick up at that time, because I was in the bathroom (yes, this is probably TMI). At any rate, he left me a message wondering if one of my agents was out of town, or perhaps sick, because he had trouble reaching her. The final statement was more than a bit passive-aggressive, noting how we are in a different era, because "no one answers their phone anymore". 

To be fully transparent, I didn't have any interest in calling him back, so I texted him to let him know I would try to reach my agent. Let's call her Sarah for simplicity's sake. I have no Sarah's working at our company. We will call the other listing agent Fred. 

Fred asked me if I had any other numbers for Sarah. I do not. I offered to reach out to the agent who recruited Sarah to see if there was some other way to reach her. I was surprised to think that she was truly difficult to reach, as this has literally never happened with her. 

I asked, "How long have you been trying to reach her?". His response, "Just this morning, but I have 7 offers and I have to act quickly."

Sooooo.....you had what you described in this way, "I have been trying to reach her without success" and later "It is surprising how difficult it is to reach agents who have submitted offers", and all of your efforts were BEFORE 8:30am today?!?



So, I did hear from Sarah by 9:01am, and she had already spoken to him at that point. 

Here's the fun part:

She sent me a screenshot from her phone which showed NINE missed calls from this agent, starting at 6:19am and ending at 6:54am.

Want to guess what time the sun rose today here? 6:55am.

That means Fred made nine phone calls to my agent to try to reach her in a 35 minute span WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK OUTSIDE.

This begs the question: what time do you consider it reasonable for your colleagues to start their day? 

Yes, we are all self-employed, and setting our own schedules is part of the appeal, but there are limits to what we can and should expect of other agents.

In my humble opinion, most real estate business starts at or near 9am, with the exception of Sundays. I recognize that this is only my opinion, but as someone who has been doing this for a long time, my thoughts are informed by my experience in the industry. Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I think this is more realistic and normal.

What are your thoughts? 

I can understand being concerned if you are in the midst of active negotiations and you have trouble reaching an agent for half a business day or more, but (again my opinion) nothing will change if you wait until after the sun comes up to notify anyone who has already made an offer on a property. In fact, if you have a listing, and a buyer's agent who has placed an offer is impatient at 7am to hear something from you, I think you need to consider setting better expectations. 

I welcome your input below.

Thanks for reading!


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If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!


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Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

I say 8am is reasonable.  Evening is a different story.  I call up to 8pm if it's important.  It just seems that these days, with mobile phones, the whole 8 -5pm things is getting blurry.  I figure if it's after 5pm, whoever I'm calling can let it go to VM if they don't want to talk.   6:30 am - way to early!

Mar 03, 2017 06:23 AM #6
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

Ha! This is a perfect example of why I am so happy to not be a Broker/Owner anymore. The Saturday morning "urgent" call, "Colleen, I'm really concerned, I've been trying to reach "Suzie", is everything ok?" When in fact she had called one time and the agent was with clients. There are some real doozies in our industry aren't there? 

Mar 04, 2017 08:49 AM #7
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Aren't you glad this is the exception and not the norm.  I will answer after 8am...but when my kids were younger and I would drive them to school--9am.  VERY glad the option period ends now at 5PM and not 11:59pm.

Mar 04, 2017 07:43 PM #8
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jason,

My official schedule is 9-9, except Sundays, when I do not start until about 12 or 1. Most days, I am working before then or after then, but even I need to brush my teeth & do laundry once in a while, whether it is necessary or not.

Mar 07, 2017 05:26 PM #9
Ann Wilkins
Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

My day officially begins at 8:00 am and usually ends at 8:00 PM.  However, if I have a competitive offer in...I'm happy to take calls into the night if we are negotiating or countering.  I would be really put off if someone was calling me at 6:15 in the morning with the expectation that I take the call....still doing the deep sleep at that time! 

Mar 07, 2017 06:33 PM #10
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

So ironic that I read your post now, as my wife and I were having a discussion re: this very topic just minutes before reading it. These days it doesn't seem like any hour is "out of bounds" for incoming calls. Phones ring 24/7 .. Every day ... During traditional dinner hours, Sunday mornings, middle of the night.
I try to accommodate, within some reason. All I can say is I'm thankful for a very understanding wife ... It can grow old ...

Mar 07, 2017 07:08 PM #11
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

I hesitate to call anyone before 9 am, and even then there are times when I fear it's a little too early. Every agent has different hours. Seems like the agents with more eperience have earlier hours, while the newer and younger agents have later hours. Either way, it's about being respectful. If an agent calls me early and leaves  a message,  I will return the call early without hesitation. Otherwise, I will wait unti 9. 

Mar 07, 2017 07:55 PM #12
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Agents IMO should post their hours of service and inform their future clients when initially engaging them. I'm available from 9am to 6pm most days except Sundays.

Agents who seem desperate or unreasonable in their behavior or actions indicate a lack of preparation and planning and therefore a cause for consternation, wouldn't you agree? 

Mar 07, 2017 08:19 PM #13
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I get up at 5 every morning and start work about 6 or so.  That work consists of emails, blogs, maybe some CMAs or BPOs. I contact people by phone after 9 because I know most are not morning people!

Mar 08, 2017 03:48 AM #14
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I wrote a contract one night for a client at 11:00 p.m. LOL I often work into the night and once I texted an agent at midnight so she would have it the next morning. Little did I know that she was in bed, heard it and replied. I was embarassed. NOTE TO SELF - Next time, e-mail or wait until morning. Definitely TOO early before 7:00 a.m. I like 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. better

Mar 08, 2017 04:12 AM #15
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Imagine Sarah having the nerve to ignore Fred in such an unprofessional manner. OMG
I think Fred needs to get a grip....take a minute or two to breathe.

Mar 08, 2017 04:23 AM #16
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist

Taking calls after 9am and accepting voice mail or text after 7pm.  We all need boundaries and must create some for harmony in our respective lives.

Even if Sarah took the call at 645am, she most likely would not be calling the seller at that hour to discuss the offer. Multiple calls is out of the zone!  Is Fred desparate for business.

Many successful people takes calls before the staff arrives and I can,, at times, call 730 to 830am and/or 630pm to 730pm when its a commercial transaction.  This may be the only way to get past the gate keeper.

Early mornings are times for preparation, meditation, exercise or whenever you decide the office is open for business.

Mar 08, 2017 06:12 AM #17
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I totally agree with you! That agent was rude and inconsiderate. Some clients have tried to reach me before 8am and after 10pm...it's not that urgent!!

Generally I use 8:30am as a start time and no calls after 9pm. Sunday morning and holidays--be considerate!

Mar 08, 2017 12:12 PM #18
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I agree with 9:00am.  I don't generally answer before 9am.  This morning I checked my email early and we have a client on a cruise who was trying to sign a document and was about to leave port.  I called my agent who was in charge of that deal at 8:26 and I apologized to him for calling so early, but that it was urgent we reach her before she goes out to sea.  I felt badly calling that early.

I have noticed we get agents calling us annoyed that they couldnt' reach our sellers to make appointments to view their home (buyers agents call sellers directly here generally).  When we ask when they called it was usually within the last 15 minutes.  Or sometimes people call my husband first and then call me annoyed that he didn't answer his phone (he ALWAYS answers his phone between 8a-7p unless he is tied up somehow and they have not even given a chance to get back to him.  Maybe it stems from the bad reputation that agents have gotten that they never answer their phones or call back, but in some scenerios the expectation is crazy - like your example.  No way I answer my phone that early, not a chance.  I'm still sleeping..... -Kasey

Mar 10, 2017 02:14 PM #19
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

This reminds me of a lesson I always told my daughters.   When this type of thing happens it's seldom about the recipient but always about the caller.  It's their time, their offer, their business.  I would never want to answer a call at that time.  But if  I saw the call at 7 am and was just rising, seeing 9 missed calls, I'd call before I was getting ready for work.  

Unfortunately in this day and age, we are "on" so much more thanks to technology.  

And my day usually starts at 8 am, sometimes earlier.  And in the summer when it's broad daylight at 5:30 am in Arizona, we start much earlier!

Mar 13, 2017 01:16 PM #20
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN
I Move You Home

It's not unusual for agents to call after 8AM, even if the sun isn't up.  However, one time I was negotiating an offer and the selling agent sent a counter at 8:30PM on a Saturday night, "this offer is null and void if we do not have written seller response by 11:59PM xx/xx/xxxx."  

I called her back to inquire if we were in a hostage situation, or if someone might die if I couldn't find the seller on a Saturday night.  The agent respresented her son, a commercial real estate broker.  That tripped my switch, "You get your adult child on the phone and tell him that I understand that he doesn't answer his business phones between 5Pm Friday and 10AM on Monday morning, so why is his hair on fire at 8:30 on a Saturday night?" We did get the deal done.


Mar 25, 2017 07:05 PM #21
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing this story. Unrealistic requests are not unusual during the day of a real estate professional.

Mar 27, 2017 07:45 AM #22
Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections - Edison, NJ
Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More!

I had a client call me at 6:20 am.  I called her back and asked that she not call me before 8:00 in the future.  Not only did she not understand, she was mad at me. To make matters worse, it was a cheap rental listing.

Mar 27, 2017 08:10 PM #23
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

It's good to have set hours and stick to them.  It's how you can separate your personal life/time from business and not negatively impact your family/love life.  Plus, as a professional, we need to set expectations and boundaries for ourselves and clients and colleagues.  Otherwise we're just on someone else's leash.  We come when the leash is jerked.

Mar 28, 2017 12:51 PM #24
Jeremy Marquez
J Marqeting - Sacramento, CA
Virtual ISA at J Marqeting #iCallYouClose


In front of the ATM (my computer station) at 5:30 am getting ready to set up listing appointments for you!


Jul 07, 2017 07:33 AM #25
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