By Kim Gellatly
Nine months ago, before I had my baby, I was the typical agent; I worked 70+ hours each week with my days spent frantically racing from one appointment to the next. However, my real estate world came to a screeching halt with the birth of my baby girl. Now, it was all about making real estate fit into my schedule instead of the other way around. Currently, I have daycare five hours each day, five days per week and that’s it. And yet, I’m still on track to sell between 70-80 homes this year. How? By realizing it’s not about working harder but working smarter. Here’s my advice for any new-mom agents out there:
1) Hire the world’s best buyer’s agent … then hire another. As we all know, in this fast-paced real estate market, most appointments to show homes happen on evenings and weekends. In order to focus on my family, I hired someone to take over the showings during these “off hours” when most clients want to tour properties. Picking someone competent and trusthworthy for this role is extremely important; don’t be afraid to be picky. This buyer’s agent represents you and your business so be sure to select only the best and pay him or her well for it. I pay 50% of the transaction to my buyer’s agent. This figure may seem steep but my agent helps show the home, negotiate the transaction, attend appraisals and inspections, and work with closing. My goal is to still be at the initial consultation with the buyer and at closing and that buyer is still considered my client.
2) Find quality administrative help. I have fabulous help with my marketing and administrative work and this really frees up my time. My administrators create all of my property marketing materials—think flyers, virtual tours, email marketing, etc.–and they also help with paperwork and ensuring my files are complete. With the marketing and paperwork taken care of, I have plent of time in my day to work on finding new business.
3) Make every hour you work count. During your “on hours,” do the most of your lead generation; set up as many appointments as you can, take referral partners to coffee or lunch, and prospect, prospect, prospect! As long as you have a great system to follow up on leads, your business will be humming along nicely … even while you’re spending quality time with your family.
I absolutely love real estate and can’t imagine working in any other career but I love my family even more. I’m thankful that found a way to have a very successful career on a limited schedule … and you can, too!
KIM GELLATLY is a REthink Council member and REALTOR® with Portland-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. Visit Kim’s website www.gellatlyproperties.com or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.