Three Ways to Set Boundaries as a Real Estate Agent

Services for Real Estate Pros with BRE# 01392374

Do you feel like your job is invading every part of your life – even your personal and family time? If so, you’re not alone. However, you might think that that’s “just the way it is,” when you’re a Realtor®.

Good news – it doesn’t have to be!

You can set boundaries around your work and actually improve your productivity. Here are three steps to take.

Stick to a Schedule

Easier said than done, right? But what’s important to realize is that having a schedule with specific hours to work and relax will boost your results and help you get more done, not less.

Having time off boosts your productivity and helps you be more focused during your working hours. You avoid burnout and you avoid resenting the business you’ve sacrificed so much to build.

They say every task will expand to fill the time you have available for it. Get more done by reducing the time you allow – you’ll be more productive AND you’ll have time to do the things that make life fun!

Coach Clients to Respect Your Boundaries

I can hear you saying, “That’s easy if you have a 9-5, but I have clients calling me at all hours!”

Part of your onboarding process can be setting boundaries and expectations up front. You want to be available for clients, of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to be available for calls at 10pm. Find a good balance and make sure you let your clients know.

From there, enforce the boundaries. If you say no calls before 8am and then pick up the phone at 7:30am, you’re teaching clients that your boundaries aren’t real. This will lead to more breaches, which will frustrate you and make it hard to do your best work for that client.

Remember, these boundaries aren’t selfish – they allow you to be at your best. Stick to them and clients will too!

The same concept applies to friends or family who try to reach out to you during work times. If you’re scheduled to focus on lead generation, cold calls, or other business tasks, you’re not available – plain and simple!

Have a Backup for Emergencies

If a client truly needs something when you’re not available and cannot wait, have someone else they can reach out to. This is especially vital if you have windows that you would normally be available but have another event scheduled, like a child’s sporting event.

However, remember to emphasize it’s only for immediate needs, and let your backup know that if it isn’t important they can tell the client you’ll get back to them during your next work time.

Having a backup helps clients understand you truly care about their needs, but you won’t be pushed to violate your boundaries. In the end, it’s a win-win for both you and clients.

You Matter – Make Yourself a Priority!

No one wants to work with a burnt out or unmotivated real estate agent, and all professionals have boundaries. Don’t be afraid to set some for yourself. You matter – after all, if you crumble there’s no one left to serve your clients!

Interested in making sure you always put your best face forward for clients? Maybe you should consider updating your business card with a current photo. You can take a look at our templates here!

How do you set boundaries? Share in the comments!


This post originally shared on PrinterBees' Real Estate Marketing Magazine.


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Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Nadine,  Great advice and one that we all need to do.  We can make this business drive us to drink if we do not schedule time for us.


Mar 06, 2019 06:21 AM #1
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Good advice for setting boundaries. I am guilty as charged. But I choose to be available whenever I am awake ... unless I don't answer the phone. My clients know that. If we are in the "middle" of a transaction they know my availability and that if I don't respond it is because I am not available. It works for me. But I also know to turn off the phone.

Mar 06, 2019 07:45 PM #2
Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

My schedule is my ruler, you cannot just pop into town and expect me to change my schedule to match your free time while you are on vacation....not going to happen.

Mar 07, 2019 03:50 AM #3
Gordon Crawford
Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team - Morristown, NJ
Your Morris County Specialist!

Wonderful post Nadine!  I can't say I follow it but I like the idea.  Managing expectations is difficult, but setting boundaries makes it easier.

Mar 07, 2019 05:16 AM #4
Terry McCarley
REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL - Cape Coral, FL

Great post!  Wish I could follow it but living in Florida I have customers from numerous states and countries.  I have a client in particular that is wonderful however he lives in California.  By the time he gets off work it is only 6:00pm his time but it is 9:00pm my time so I take the calls

Mar 07, 2019 06:38 AM #5
Ron Aguilar
Continental Mortgage - Saint George, UT
Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995

Having a schedule is always preferred but some agents may suffer from FOMO.

And those suspects may not become prospects. Good luck out there, people.

Mar 07, 2019 06:58 AM #6
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

All points well made.

So many of us forget that we run a business. An effective business has boundaries. You are so right that we need to take care of ourselves.

Thanks for sharing.

Mar 07, 2019 08:51 AM #7
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

Such great advice, so hard to heed at times! Thanks for the reminder that we need to make time for ourselves and our families, too.

Mar 07, 2019 11:11 AM #8
Todd Wilkinson
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Emerald Coast - Destin, FL
Real Estate Agent serving the Emerald Coast

If we don't respect our own schedule, then our customers certainly won't.  These are all great tips.  

Mar 08, 2019 08:27 AM #9
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

I agree but setting a schedule is great if your clients are all in the same time zone... Doing business in Hawaii with mainland clients means that sometimes I have to take 6 or 7 am calls, as they sometimes forget that we are 3 to 6 hours behind.... I find that communicating by text or email  is better and less intrusive!

Mar 08, 2019 12:41 PM #10
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

My comments are these:  I do stick to a schedule but when a new listing pops up that looks perfect for my buyers...gotta go!  Re: texts, I may read a business related text before 8am but won't answer it--same for evenings after 9 unless I'm in the middle of a deal. Clients who text after 10, before 8--inconsiderate imo

Mar 09, 2019 09:39 AM #11
Ann Hyde

Thanks. Excellent. Why setting boundaries makes you more productive, feel better, just better for all concerned. This is a big challenge to me, and your article is helpful.

Mar 10, 2019 05:49 PM #12
Keller Williams Real Estate - Philadelphia, PA
SOLD@100%Market Value,or I Pay You the Difference

Rocks, pebbles, sand, then liquid in the jar, in that order.

Mar 18, 2019 10:48 AM #13
Krista Jenkins, REALTOR®
klm Real Estate - Lubbock, TX
Residential sales and retail & office leasing

Nadine, this was a painful lesson for me. It is very easy to run yourself ragged in a genuine effort to serve. I have had to get very disciplined in this area because I was burning out. It just takes time to learn some of these lessons.

Mar 19, 2019 03:25 PM #14
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I agree. We definitely need to make sure we set and enforce boundaries - setting them is the easier part!

Apr 20, 2019 04:04 AM #15
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Such solid advice, setting the expectation from the get-go, and then following it, is crucial to enjoying our business instead of feeling chained to it 24/7. Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend, Nadine. D 

Apr 20, 2019 07:38 AM #16
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Nadine Larder - Solid advice - It does require discipline but can be done. 

One thing I do is set my iPhone on "Do Not Disturb" - I have it on a scheduled time that notifications, phone calls, and messages (texts) will not populate.  Only emergency numbers using the "Favorites" section of the phone app will get through. Here is the link to set it up. 

"Do Not Disturb" - Hope this helps.  I am sure you can google Andriod phones for this feature. 

Apr 20, 2019 08:46 AM #17
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Nadine Larder,

I'm so glad Carol Williams feature you post in her Second Chance Saturday series! What great info to share with us and I'm so surprised it was not featured with a gold star. Setting proper expectations from the get go is so important if your going to have any balance in your life.


Apr 20, 2019 01:59 PM #18
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Nadine:

Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend!

Thanks for some great advice.  Having a schedule and setting (and sticking to) boundaries and expectations is so important. I'm pretty good at this and have gotten better over the years but there are moments when I slip.


Apr 22, 2019 07:09 AM #19
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Nadine Larder

Real Estate Marketing Expert/PrinterBees Founder
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