The real estate industry is built on details. Even a small mistake can have huge legal consequences. Clients know this and therefore expect their real estate agent to be organized and on top of every detail. Last year in our Trick of the Trade campaign, we asked real estate agents across the country for some tips on how they stay organized. Here are just some of the tips that they provided:
Time-blocking is like having a to-do list, but actually setting aside time to get it done. You can time-block for literally anything, not just appointments. Whether it’s following up on leads, cold-calling, posting to social media, or doing your taxes, setting aside time on your schedule increases the likelihood that it will get done. Time-blocking is also a good way to remind yourself to take breaks so that you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
I find that one of the most important tricks I have learned is to budget my time. Having set times to return calls, schedule showings, meet with clients and do paperwork makes my business much more efficient. Sometimes it may seem counter-intuitive, but if I stick to my schedule everything seems to run more smoothly. Finally, I think it is very important to allot time away from the job to be with family/friends, or to enjoy personal time. Again, sometimes it may seem counter-intuitive, but ultimately it leads to greater productivity. In an industry where you work for yourself, and the more time you put in the more you get out, it is sometimes difficult to slow down and set the work aside, but ultimately it leads to a happier life, and often greater productivity and reward. – Peter B.
Time-block everything! If it’s not on your schedule, then it doesn’t exist. Even block out time to spend with your family and vacations so you don’t feel overburdened. – Alicia P.
#2: Set aside time for organization
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many real estate professionals don’t take time for organization. Organizing is time-consuming and while there are tools available to help keep you organized, no tool is going to be able to do 100% of the work for you. A simple five minutes a day to clean out your email inbox, your desktop, or physical your desk can keep things from piling up on you. If you want more tips and tricks about how to stay organized, check out this list of top books for organization and tidying.
Always be organized with everything you do. Makes sure your database is organized. Make sure your files are all up to date. Also, use a very organized method of consistent follow-up. This is the real key—having your follow-up be organized and consistent. These are two major things that have worked for us all these years—being able to make sure that we are being organized with everything and also following up consistently. Also, having systems that help you achieve organization and constancy are also major musts. – Brandon B.
#3: Make notes
We’ve all thought to ourselves that we’ll have no problem remembering a detail later on, only to realize we’ve forgotten the detail the very next day. While for some professions, these small details may not make much of a difference, when it comes to real estate, even the smallest mistake can have big legal implications. So, it’s necessary to keep detailed notes as you receive information so that it is accurate and readily available. You don’t want to be in a situation where a client asks you a question that you should know and you don’t have the answer. Plus, the act of writing something down often helps with memorization.
I have an Excel spreadsheet that I created for follow-up. Whenever I get a new contact—either buyer or seller—I enter them into the spreadsheet. I have a column for names, date of last contact, date of next planned contact, the result of my last contact with them and one for my next planned action. This sheet gives me quick access to all the active clients I have and reminds me of what I need to be thinking about for that client. I also have a section of inactive clients and a note about when and why I should follow up again with them. It’s a very quick update for my daily to-do list. – Jon M.
Organization not your strong suit? Hire an assistant or freelancer to take care of the administrative tasks that can gobble up hours of your day. Already have an assistant or other support staff? You may want to reexamine the way you delegate work. There may be something that a person or software system could take off your hands.