How Real Estate Helps (and hurts!) Your Work/Life Balance - Ideal REI

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Work Life Balance

How Real Estate Helps (and hurts!) Your Work/Life Balance

Have you ever planned to do something with friends or family, and it just seems to never happen?

It seems that no matter hard we try, we always end up with less free time and more workload than we plan.

Imagine if we could actually keep the work at work? What a novel thought.

Being a real estate agent may (and may not) be a way to help your work-life balance. Here are a few ways how real estate can help balance out your work and life (and even some ways it can hurt).

Defining the Work/Life Balance

Before we can get in-depth with how real estate can help balance out your life, let’s take a look at what it means to actually have a balance between work and life.

According to HR Zone, having a good work/life balance means defining and prioritizing time spent at work and time spent relaxing with friends, family, or doing any hobbies.

With the recent rise of handheld computers and cloud-based technology, the line between work time and personal time has thinned and blurred. More often than not, we are taking our work home with us in the form of checking our email on our phone, working on projects on our tablets, and writing reports on our personal laptops.

There is no question a realtor or broker can fall into the technology trap as well and it is an issue that will be discussed later on. However, going into real estate can provide a certain freedom that a regular “9-5” job cannot. It can provide the freedom of prioritizing your work/life balance on your own terms.

How Can Real Estate Bring Balance to Work/Life?

Real estate is a broad spectrum type of career. Meaning that when you first enter it, you can quickly become overwhelmed with the number of possibilities. It’s those possibilities though, that can help you bring a better sense of balance into your life.

Most new real estate agents end up doing a bit of everything from property managing to residential brokerage. Some, however, find a niche they love and become especially passionate about.

For example, property managers work with rentals and leases. Apartment brokerage is another good specialty. When buyers are wanting to hold off, there will always be a market for rental houses and apartments.

So, finding a good niche can help you focus. Focusing means a better balance because you are specializing and becoming very good at one thing.

For you, finding something within real estate to specialize in can be the next step in balancing your work and life. Not only will it be more enjoyable, but as you specialize, you’ll perform the same work faster, meaning more free time.

Here are a few other benefits to being in real estate:

You Can Be Your Own Boss

That is the dream, isn’t it? Not having to answer to anyone but yourself…

Though most agents do have to work with a broker or a firm, real estate does allow to work primarily for yourself. You set your hours, you set your schedule. Your time is (mostly) under your control.

While you will have to schedule around clients, showings, training, and contract signings, you will be able to own your time.

Building a Flexible Schedule

There is no doubt a realtor’s day is extremely busy. If you’re not doing administrative work, then you’re gathering leads, doing showings, or signing contracts. You may even be getting more training and certifications.

Despite the busy schedule, you can still make it flexible and work for you. Remember, you are your own boss in this. While this doesn’t mean you can do things at leisure, you can – and should – schedule time in for your hobbies and relaxation.

Want to start going to the gym on a regular basis? Block out an hour in the morning. Done…

Want to take up a new hobby such as pottery or wood carving? Find out if there are workshops or classes and schedule your showings and clients around those times.

Usually, clients will want to meet or see a house during the evenings and weekends when they are off work. Plan ahead and expect that you may have to drop a family dinner or meeting a friend to show a house.

It will be frustrating at times, but you can still own your own schedule.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Real estate is one of the few industries where you are allowed to hire someone to do your job for you. In fact, it’s generally encouraged!

Depending on your state, some tasks are required to be performed by a licensed real estate agent, but all of the mundane tasks can be outsourced, which lets you have more time doing what you love.

How Real Estate Can Hurt Your Work/Life Balance

For most of this article, we talked about how real estate can help in balancing your personal and professional life. However, we do need to mention that some of the things that are helpful tend to also be a hindrance.

One thought might be, “I’m my own boss now. I won’t have to answer to anyone.”

There lies the fallacy. In fact, you do have someone to answer too: yourself. Procrastinating on different tasks is a huge temptation when working from home and a large amount of self-discipline will have to be exercised to combat it.

On the flip side of that, is the trap of doing nothing but work when at home. This may seem odd, but it can be harder to separate work from home when your work is at home.

Technology seems to add to this problem as well. Many of us have smartphones that allow us to download apps and check email whenever we want. As a realtor, that can be a problem because turning off our technology and “going dark” can be impossible sometimes.

As explained before though, this problem can be diverted when you begin to own your own schedule. Schedule everything, including when you want to take time for yourself or your family.

Don’t think, “I will stop working sometime around six.” Actually, plan a time to shut down the real estate and step away from it.

Creating time blocks for going to the gym or stepping away and doing some stretching are good ideas as well.

Furthermore, delegating different tasks to others can help you create a better separation between work and home. For example, if you’re on vacation, you can have an “Out of Office” message set up with someone else’s contact information, leaving you to fully enjoy your vacation or day off.

Conclusion – Finding Balance is Essential

In today’s workforce, there are a lot of people having a hard time finding a balance between their professional and personal lives. Real estate can provide the freedom in finding that balance. However, some of the qualities that can help you find that work/life balance can also hurt you.

Regardless, real estate is a career filled with exciting opportunities. If you are looking to not have to punch a clock and find a better work/life balance, then being a realtor may be what you are looking for.

About the Author James Davis

James is a real estate investor, real estate agent, and is dreaming about financial independence. His focus is residential (1-4) unit rental property, house flipping, and everything real estate.

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