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Amna, Home Owner in Massachusetts

A question for RE agents who are also moms to young kids

Asked by Amna, Massachusetts Sun Aug 17, 2014

Do you have any advice regarding the best way to structure your time in order to maximize attention to your business as well as the kids? I am about to start out in the field and am planning on working 20-25hrs/week not including nights after the kids go to bed when I can work on paperwork/other remote activities no requiring time with clients. I am specifically wondering if it is better to spread out the time so that I have 4-5hrs per day every day of the week (not counting weekends when I will have more flexibility because my husband is home) or should I try to do 2-3 longer days? I'm not quite sure how the hours flow in this business and would like some advice so I can maximize use of babysitter time. Also, just in general how have you made it work with juggling kids and agent duties? Any advice, tips or tricks would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

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Amna what a great Mom you are! That is awesome you are working around your kiddo schedule and work. I kept my little one my priority and worked in an office where I could take my little guy to work with me from day one as I was breastfeeding ........ (forever it seemed)
As he got older my office changed to his needs, from bassinet to paypen to play area!
It was truly a blessing to have him with me at all times. The only babysitter I utilized was my sweet husband whom watched after work hours and on weekends.
We also found a local church that offered a "mom's day out" for about 4 hours 3 times per week.
I scheduled my real estate showings to potential clients during those days and on weekends.
My weekends were spent in the office all day, sometimes till 7 or 8 at night.
My guy is 6 years old now and still my number one priority! I have learned over and over I will not see these wee years again and all the money in the world will not give me precious irreplacable memories with my children. It can be done and you will be richly blessed for it!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 19, 2014
And a little addition...... real estate dealings can easily control you, by setting your times and your boundaries.. you can control it and enjoy your life and your family. Life is too short! :))
Flag Tue Aug 19, 2014
I congratulate you on making the effort. I know of single mom's who did this and made it work for them and their children. You are going to need a lot of support. The business flow is quite erratic, with most of us working odd hours and weekends as well. You will need a support person to help with the children whenever a client is in need of your services. I would say a nanny who is there every day and another family member who is available evenings and weekends.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 19, 2014
The key to real estate is flexibility- you have to be available when the client wants you to be available. While it is perfectly acceptable to have a life outside of Real Estate, no two weeks are the same in terms of scheduling. Not only are you working with your client's schedule, but a lot of properties have restricted showing times- so you have to figure out a balance.

I have two teenagers that require a great deal of carpooling- so my schedule basically works out that from 8am-2pm is my time to do what needs to be done (while they are in school), and then I take a break from 2:30-4pm to get them where they need to go. I don't make any appointment later than 1pm, or earlier that 4pm, and this has worked for me for the most part. On my crunch days, I do have a backup system in place (kids' friends), but I don't rely on them everyday.

The other suggestion I have is to establish a partnership with another agent in the office. This has worked well for me- if I am not available, I always check with my partner's schedule to see if she can show and meet clients. We split commission fairly, and the client feels like they have a team working for them.

You are on the right track to focus on the non-client activities in the evenings. I do this as well, and it works. It also works to get up a little earlier in the morning to check new listings, respond to e-mails, etc. before I take the kids to school. Get my day organized early.

Good Luck!

Nicole Fedorchek, Realtor
Tarbell Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2014
Thank you, Nicole! That was very helpful to hear. I was beginning to feel like realtors practice their profession to the exclusion of all other life demands :-)
Flag Mon Aug 18, 2014
I was hoping you would get an avalanche of guidance from the many elite professionals on Trulia.
That has not happened so let me augment my previous submission.

There are FOUR (4) real estate business models that you will find fully compatible with your situation and will allow you to create the infrastructure you will need when your situation changes.

I find that guidance provided to those who have no skin in the game is considered to be of no value.
Therefore, I expect you to invest...some time and energy.

The four models I will share are know by the acronyms:
1. RFL
2. IAH
4. BEP

You WILL need a real estate license to engage one or all of these models. These choices will allow you to work with your available time as opposed to whatever time others want you available.

For details you will need to call my marketing director.
Les at 727.709.1452. Leave a msg. He keeps his own hours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2014
Annette, if and when you have some time, could you please demystify the acronyms. I tried to figure out what they stand for without any luck so far.

Thank you,
Flag Mon Aug 18, 2014
Hi Amna - maybe consider rentals as a way to start in the business. Real estate sales is just not a part-time commitment in my experience. It's not a good model to do well and it can really shortchange clients and colleagues (it can be very frustrating to be in a transaction with an agent who's not full-time).

Many people are drawn to the field because they think they can "make their own hours". Actually what tends to happen is that your hours - lots of them - are no longer your own. It's a time-is-of-the-essence business and people want what they want when they want it - you've got to work around their availability - not the other way around. The flexibility aspect comes into in that you're not tied to a desk or punching a time clock - so you can potentially do something on your schedule at various points in the week - like run out for an errand, etc. For the most part you'll probably find that your time is unpredictable and to be successful you're going to be working a lot of hours.

In the beginning it can be mystifying as to how you fill your time - and how you make any money. But you really need to put in the hours to build a business - and then that business fills your hours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2014
Thank you, Elizabeth. I will consider your recommendations.
Flag Mon Aug 18, 2014
Amna, it is unfortunate you provide no additional data in your profile. That leaves very little with which to work.

Your issue is dramatically bigger then you recognize. Not knowing your motive for considering real estate, I must only share what I know on my side of the experience.

Frequently I have discussion with other business owner, real estate brokers and REALTORs and too often hear their frustration when they voice, "None of my kids want to continue my business. Young people are just way to lazy."

These business owners, and perhaps you also, are missing the real message entirely.

These young people, the children of the business owners, are fully aware of the cost to them of their parents owning a business. If you do not want to deal with future RESENTMENT and it associated psychology, you MUST create a better plan that what you have articulated.

What you describe will prove incompatible with the traditional, beginners, real estate experience and your greatest and most honorable calling, that of a mother.

Begin with a more realistic analysis regarding what segment of the real estate industry that would be most appropriate for you to pursue the next five to ten years. That analysis will answer your question and preserve your relationships. The same analysis will allow you to FOCUS your efforts, like a laser, on your prime objective. Mission creep and wasted time and resources will be minimized.

HINT: traditional residential real estate may not be the right market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2014
Anette, thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. I appreciate your insight and your willingness to share your experience. I'm not sure what additional data you would have found helpful. I am a research scientist by training and chose to put that career on indefinite hold primarily because the inherent inflexibility of life as an experimental scientist did not mesh with the needs of my family.

I am attracted to real estate because people in the field that I've spoken to have said that it offers flexibility and you can get from it what you put into it. My current goals (for the next 5 years say) are not necessarily to zoom into the realm of a top grossing agent. I am a complete newcomer to the field and as such would like to take the time now to learn it's ins and outs so that when my children are older, I will be in a position to not have to first be starting out. I believe that should be possible?
Flag Mon Aug 18, 2014
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