Workin' on the (Holiday) Weekend?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Many many moons ago, when I was still in Corporate America, I remember a young woman in my office boardroomcomplaining "it wasn't fair" that in order to reach the boardroom (i.e. be the CEO or president of the company), you had to be willing to work ungawdly hours and pretty much abandon your family. "It's too bad," she said, "that our culture requires such a sacrifice to reach the top."

Uh... HUH?

Even at my young age, with no notion of my future political leanings (I'm pretty conservative), I found this opinion bizarre. I mean, if there are people who ARE willing to work that hard and make the necessary sacrifices, then they will set the standard for what's expected to be The Boss.

So here's how this relates to my world today. It's a holiday weekend. Being in real estate, I have real estate stuff going on. I needed a lender on Friday afternoon. Who did I call?

Well, I know a lot of lenders. But a lot of the lenders I know don't work on the weekends, as far as I can tell. And a holiday weekend? Forgetaboutit. They're on the slopes or otherwise not answering their phones.

I called the lender I know works 7 days a week. He answered his phone and he got my new buyer. Who, by the way, is slam-dunk perfect, approved up to $400,000 - and we know this because my new favorite lender met with him on Saturday afternoon, right before his big Valentine's Day date.

As long as there are lenders who are willing to provide last-minute/holiday/weekend service, they will set the standard for what I expect from a lender.  It's fine and dandy to set regular office hours and such, but then don't fuss when an impatient buyer (and his REALTOR) choose to work with someone more flexible. IT'S A CHOICE.

Is it wrong to take weekends off or spend Sundays with your family? Of course not! But it's a choice that not everyone chooses to make. And in this microwave world of instant gratification, I'm gonna choose the person I can reach... even on a holiday weekend.



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Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

"Real estate gives you the ILLUSION of controlling your time!"

Feb 16, 2009 02:05 AM #9
Sheila Kennedy
J29 Project - Rochester, NY

Success often comes at a cost.  Finding the right balance is tough for small business owners.  Flexibility and accessibility are key, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you are sitting by the phone. The more you get out and interact with people, whether it be a child's soccer game, your spouse's dinner party - the more networking you are doing.  In that respect we are always working!!!  Thanks for pointing out such a great point!

Feb 16, 2009 02:16 AM #10
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I don't have any lenders that don't work weekends;  at a minimum, they are available by phone to talk with a prospect and if they are not sitting, waiting breathlessly, in front of a computer at that very moment, they can at least have a conversation with the prospect and make plans to get further info when they ARE in front of a computer.  I cannot imagine not being able to contact a lender over the weekend, after all, that's a pretty popular time for folks to be out looking at houses! LOL  I don't expect them to be working 24/7, seriously, but I do think being able to contact them on the weekend is pretty important.

Feb 16, 2009 03:09 AM #11
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Susan - I agree, but lately I've run into lenders who don't even check their messages (or their email) until they're back at work on Monday. Or, Tuesday if Monday is a holiday. These lenders are friends of mine, so I initially gave them the benefit of the doubt... but a big part of my SOI philosophy is that you must be REFER-WORTHY! Just being my friend ain't gonna cut it...

Feb 16, 2009 03:15 AM #12
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I know that I prefer to NOT work on weekends, but I also know that I have to.. And do.  I may not put a suit on and sit in my office, but I answer my cell, and am ever vigilant when my blackberry chirps.  I am more than willing to work with my agents in helping put a deal together, no matter what time of day or the day of the week... If they are working, I am available.  I just ask that I do not get status calls on a Sunday, that can wait for normal business hours.

Feb 16, 2009 03:22 AM #13
Chuck Capan
REMAX River Cities - Moline, IL
REALTOR Licensed In IL. - Moline Homes Quad Citie

I do not think of my real estate business as 9 to 5 "I'm going to work this day, this day and this day...and from this time to this time."  I just live my "job".  I make out a calendar to help control my schedule and my time.  The FIRST things that get scheduled are my family commitments...birthdays, band concerts, baseball games, swim meets etc.  I have a wife and 3 kids so that schedule is #1 on priorities and I fill around that with my business.  My life shapes my work work does not shape my life. Heck I see being a coach at little league practice as a time to market my business.  No I do hand out business cards or preach "It's time to buy, It's a buyers market."  But I DO occasionally wear a T-shirt with my Company Logo!  

Do I work Saturday and Sunday and evenings...oh you family knows that they may not see me all day and yes I will take a phone call or two or return a voice mail while driving to the next game or practice.  Yes sometimes I have to bump family for a check that will amount to thousands of wife does not seem to mind that at all ;)  If I need a lender "after hours" or weekends I can get a live person with 2 or 3 phone calls.

Feb 16, 2009 04:07 AM #14
Heather Oberhau
Prudential Fox & Roach - Newtown, PA
Bucks County Real Estate, e-PRO

Chuck, THAT is an awesome reply.  

Feb 16, 2009 05:16 AM #15
Ken Montville
RE/MAX United Real Estate - College Park, MD
The MD Suburbs of DC

While I generally agree with you since real estate normally happens when "normal" people are not working that means we (the Realtors) and lenders need to be available.  On the other hand, there's life balance.  Such a quandary.

Feb 16, 2009 05:48 AM #16
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jennifer, in my opinion, in this business you need to be available when Buyers/Borrowers need you.  I am available seven days a week and still spend lots of time with my family (it is called time management, people need to learn it).  Even when I am away I have my laptop with me, and as long as the laptop is within my reach and I have Internet access, I am at my office.  It takes 30 to 45 minutes to Pre-Qualify a Borrower, if a Loan Officer can't be available for that amount of time, then they need to find another line of work.

This past Sunday, I was siting with a Borrower at 4:30 in the afternoon.  $425,000 house, well worth the time I spent with them.

Feb 16, 2009 07:37 AM #17
Walter Grewe III
Long and Foster Realtors - Roanoke, VA
Realtor, SFR, A-REO, Roanoke Homes and Real Estate

Gotta go when the clients are ready. Most folks work Mon - Fri 9-5, so when does that leave them time to find homes?

Feb 16, 2009 10:27 AM #18
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL

Jennifer - if I'm workin with a buyer, I expect a lender to also be available to work with that buyer.

Feb 16, 2009 10:51 AM #19
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

Aside from Christmas and Thanksgiving, as a Realtor, I don't mind working holidays. But I do resent the notion that we should be available 24/7. It makes no sense. We can't give our best service to our clients if we're not well-rested. And we won't have any hope for our futures if we don't raise our children properly. And the only way to do that is to spend quality time with them. And then there's the fact that banks and title companies aren't open after hours, or on holidays, or on weekends. So there are limitations to how much we can accomplish anyway. But I worked all day today to finalize a contract on one of my listings, and I had no problem with it. However, my daughter is now in college, and my husband was working too. So it's not a problem for me. I would NOT be willing to work these hours with a young child.

Feb 16, 2009 12:25 PM #20
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

Real Estate is a weekend business for sure. I know the ones to call on when I need the weekend worker and anyway the person who is usually working on weekends is willing to go the extra mile during the week.




Feb 16, 2009 12:36 PM #21
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

It is always a matter of choice. There is always a choice.

I choose to never work on Sundays. This day is reserved for God and Family no matter what. Whenever I have deviated from that commitment it always backfired. Since I believe in the Sabbath I know in my heart that if I do put God first on Sundays that he will bless me with countless blessings. This is a faith thing.

I choose not to work on Saturdays because that is the day we go to the BEACH here in Florida! :) We also do kid stuff on that day like go to the park, the zoo, etc.

I choose not to work on Friday nights because that is date night with my husband.

I started over 30 years ago to never work on Sundays.

Then it evolved from there:) when I stopped working with buyers many moons ago I was able to take my entire weekends off. It is a choice.

Since we work so much in short sales and the luxury market rarely is there ever anything that comes up that can not be dealt with on Mondays.

Now, Mondays are crazy, I love it that way, and that still is a choice just like making this comment is at 4 a.m. and have not gone to sleep yet:) Katerina

Feb 16, 2009 07:21 PM #22
Sonya Loose
Modern Realty - Beaverton, MI
Selling Waterfront in Gladwin & Midland County

Jennifer, when I first was reading your post I couldn't figure out what "holiday" weekend it was.  Even though I had a fabulous Valentines compliments of my husband I guess I didn't view it as a holiday.  I listed a house at 9:00 am on Valentines Day, then I showed 4 houses at 10:30 and met another couple at 1:15 to view two....then I met my hubby for some R&R but was back out on Sunday afternoon with clients.  That is what I love about this get what you give!  Good job!

Feb 17, 2009 12:42 AM #23
Joshua & Kathy Schmidt
ERA Henley Real Estate - Cabot, AR

Holiday?  Weekend Off?  What are these days that you speak of???  J/K  I know that we always seem to be busy and hey, thats a good thing in this business.

Feb 17, 2009 09:27 AM #24
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

We worked through the weekend and on Presidents day too.  Everyonce in awhile though your preferred lender will be on vacation though and will be away which is great to have two or three that one can work with.  Also, it is great to have a lot of that work done ahead of time through a preapproval so the mortgage pro may not need to be there on a moments notice either (but available via cell for questions).  Either way, customer service and communication is soooo critical in todays economic envirnoment.

Feb 17, 2009 11:21 AM #25
Ken Tracy
Keller Williams Realty Infinity - Naperville, IL
Helping clients buy and sell since 2005

Hi Jennifer.  That is the only lender I ever call...

I need a guy I can get on the phone, that takes care of my clients, and gets me a preapproval!

Thanks for writing,


Feb 17, 2009 11:38 AM #26
Mary Beth Bonacci
RE/MAX Alliance - Denver, CO

People ask me if I'm "working" over a holiday weekend and I always have to pause and think for a minute.  The line between "working" and "not working" is pretty thin in my world.  I've always got the phone with me.  If something needs to get done, it gets done.


Last New Year's Eve, I was driving along and thinking back to when I worked for Corporate America, and trying to remember if I had to work New Year's Eve.  I concluded that I did, and then started thinking about how nice it was that I didn't have to do that anymore.  And then I realized that I was driving back from a closing.  I HAD been working!  It just doesn't feel like work!

Feb 18, 2009 09:12 AM #27
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

As  a former Registered Nurse, I'm so used to having to work odd hours, weekends, and holidays that the Realtor hours are nothing. Although I do remember my mother quitting her retail/ grocery store jobs when they requested that she work weekends! My Parents warned me before I started nursing school that I'd have to work weekends! Like that was a terrible injustice or something. Now when clients ask me if I can work on Sunday to show them houses, or do a listing appointment in the evening, I tell them I work when you don't. I work my hours around yours.

It comes with the territory.

Feb 21, 2009 11:28 AM #28
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