As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shift and evolve, more companies are rethinking their work from home (WFH) policies and operations.
We know the crisis will leave a lasting mark on our communities and businesses, and some experts are predicting a large scale shift to WFH long after the days of the coronavirus are behind us.
And that makes sense for big tech companies, but could WFH really become the default in a business as personal as real estate?
As a remote-first company serving the real estate community, we know remote work and we know real estate. We’re here to help you make sense of the shift to WFH by offering insight into how real estate agents are staying productive today, along with evergreen tips to help you create the best possible work from home experience, now and in the future.
Are your leads slipping through the cracks? Try Follow Up Boss today.
Table of Contents
- Real Estate Work From Home Tip #1: Give Yourself 1 Hour Per Day
- Real Estate Work From Home Tip #2: Keep Connecting
- Real Estate Work From Home Tip #3: Use Extra Time To Educate Yourself
- Real Estate Work From Home Tip #4: Learn to Sell Remotely
- Real Estate Work From Home Tip #5: Work Your Database
- Real Estate Work From Home Tip #6: Document Everything
- Show Up Today, Plan For Tomorrow
Real Estate Work From Home Tip #1: Give Yourself 1 Hour Per Day
According to a study from the University of California, it takes an average of 25 minutes to get back to productive work after being distracted. And it doesn’t matter what distracted us—a Twitter notification, a chatty spouse, an unexpected call. It could be anything.
But every distraction will cost you.
If you’re a real estate agent working from home, your first priority is to protect your focus. So, take the time to create and sustain a distraction-free home office. (And yes, it’s totally ok if it’s just your dining room table.)
Next, set aside one hour per day for distraction-free prospecting. Most agents will find mornings work best, but any time during the day is fine. What matters is that you find a time you can stick to.
Here are a few tips to help you focus while working from home:
- Block an hour of time in your calendar and set it to repeat daily
- Ask the people in your home not to interrupt you during this time
- Turn off all non-essential phone and desktop notifications
- Use subconscious triggers like keeping your home office tidy and getting dressed each morning (FYI - enclothed cognition helps you increase productivity and unplug more easily at the end of the day)
“With the uncertainty in our market, I use my CRM to help me stay in flow with the potential clients in my pipeline. Each day, I prioritize reviewing and working my Follow Up Boss tasks. NOTHING comes before my tasks are complete each morning.”
— John Ringgold, CEO at Team Ringgold, Keller Williams One Legacy Partners
Source: Anonymized data of more than 50,000 knowledge workers worldwide found that most of us can’t resist checking our email or messages for longer than an hour.
Real Estate Work From Home Tip #2: Keep Connecting
When it comes to productivity killers, stress is one of the usual suspects.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 56% of workers claimed that stress and anxiety affected their work productivity the most. Unfortunately, working from home can add to the problem. Loneliness, lack of communication, and difficulties unplugging top the list of struggles every remote worker will inevitably face.
The pressure can be double for real estate agents.
As a Realtor, you’re seen as a leader in your community. You’re expected to inspire strength and confidence—but that can be hard to do if you’re coming from a place of stress and anxiety.
Beyond the common advice to try breathing techniques, meditation, and get as much exercise as you can, there are a few other WFH productivity tips that can help.
Here are a few ideas to keep your stress in check when working from home:
- Continue communicating. Talk to your friends, family and prospects to maintain that crucial human connection.
- Protect your rest hours as much as you protect your working hours. Don’t let your work crawl into your family time.
- Show empathy. Offering help and support to someone else is a great way to make yourself feel better.
“I believe the consumer will be needing our advice and help even more once things settle down. At this time, I want to be a valuable resource to anyone that has questions about how the virus is affecting the market. But beyond anything critical, we have been focused on responding to our clients and prospects with humanity and empathy on how this is affecting them, healthwise and financially, given all the recent job cuts that should continue to happen over the next couple of months.”
—Judith Weiniger, CEO & Broker, Weiniger Realty
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Real Estate Work From Home Tip #3: Use Extra Time To Educate Yourself
Without the hours spent commuting, meeting with clients, and hosting open houses, some agents are finding a luxury rarely available to them: time.
If that sounds like you, you may want to use your precious extra time to focus on improving different aspects of your business that can help you make up for short-term losses, while setting up new workflows, scripts or systems that will generate value in the long term.
Here are a few ways to use your extra time now and reap the benefits later:
- Educate yourself. There are plenty of online courses available for Realtors working from home and some are offering discounts.
- Follow real estate opinion leaders. Many leading agents and mentors are sharing their insider tips and expertise on social media, totally free.
- Learn how to utilize new platforms for promoting your business online, for example Instagram or even TikTok.
“One thing I learned after going through 2008 is Realtors are always looking for excuses and reasons why their production is lacking, it makes them feel better about failing. The 2008 recession was used for just that, as an excuse to be lazy and not show up! But these excuses created an opportunity for those agents that pressed on. The same thing is happening now, an opportunity is unfolding for any agent that is willing to dig in and get creative. Even if you are in an area that is 100% shutdown this is the time to focus on the infrastructure of your business. At minimum we have the ability to come out of the other side more educated with better systems to serve our clients. Regardless of what you may be hearing, know THE DUST WILL SETTLE and it's up to you to decide where you will be standing when that happens. Will you be ready to go or will you be trying to catch up to those who used their time wisely? Only you can decide.”
— Brandon Tyler, Team Leader, Progressive Properties
For more free productivity tools and resources, check out our latest practitioner-led guides in The Boss Method.
Real Estate Work From Home Tip #4: Learn to Sell Remotely
Even if you can’t physically go to an open house or inspection, people still need to buy homes to live in.
Luckily, with a little help from technology, the majority of the essential real estate operations can be done remotely and online from home.
Here are some of the services you can offer your clients even while working from home:
- Hold meetings and consultations via video call like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. Just make sure you send prospects easy-to-follow instructions for how to log on.
- Replace open houses and tours with virtual video tours or even 360 virtual reality tours
- Create, exchange, and sign documents electronically. Hard copies and even keys can be delivered via courier.
“We are completing virtual buyer meetings with our clients through Zoom. Not just a basic conversation but an actual presentation to let the buyer know about the process and also the current state of the market. We are then figuring out if they are really interested in proceeding and moving forward with a PQ with one of our lenders. From there, we start assisting the client on collecting all of the docs that the bank will require and send them lists of properties.“
— Alex Lopez, Founder and CEO, Homeway Realestate
Real Estate Work From Home Tip #5: Work Your Database
No matter the market situation, there are always people who need to hear from you. But there’s a big chance you won’t be the first or even the second person calling your prospects.
If you really want to stay productive while working from home, it’s crucial to adjust your messaging and tone to make it easy to have daily conversations with the people in your database.
Here are some tips to think about when connecting with new leads:
- Exert genuine care. Times of uncertainty are not times to push.
- Be confident. Buyers and sellers are under significant stress, try to be a source of reassurance.
- Educate people on the current market and offer to stay in touch. Sometimes it’s better to support, not sell.
“Literally the best time to double down on databases: organization, categorization, lead flow, action plan. Use the time to just reach out to your people, one by one, and just ask if they are ok. Please please don't ask if ‘they or anyone they know is looking to buy or sell’ right now, just check in.”
— Lee Adkins, a member of the Board of Directors at the Atlanta REALTORS Association and the Head of Growth at Amplified Solutions
Follow Up Boss makes it easy to log your daily actions for a complete picture of your work from home productivity.
Real Estate Work From Home Tip #6: Document Everything
Now more than ever, you need to stay organized.
Use your CRM to group and tag your contacts so that you always know who to contact when. Take notes on all your interactions so you can pick up where you left off and set automated drip campaigns for people with a longer buying or selling timeline.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your CRM when working from home:
- Log every interaction with both new prospects and your past clients and SOI
- If you use Follow Up Boss, set up Smart Lists to help you prioritize your leads and get at least one hour of focused prospecting done each day
- Update your scripts and email content to make sure your messaging is relevant and not sales-y
“My advice to agents... your database is your BEST form of future business. We often feel embarrassed that we haven't maintained touch but you can choose to start today. Our rule is if you don't record it in Follow Up Boss, it hasn't happened! I keep notes about all communications (calls, notes and pop by's) and set calendar reminders to follow up with people (you know that person who you run into at the grocery store that says they are selling in the fall. I set a calendar reminder to follow up in August). If you are not diligent to input the information immediately, you may have lost a future paycheck. Most of all, stay in touch with relevant information if you want the referrals you have to earn them.”
— Cindy Greenya, the Team Leader for The Talbot Greenya Group of Keller Williams Realty.
Show Up Today, Plan For Tomorrow
Real estate has experienced its share of tech disruptions and the current work from home boom is no exception.
What we’ve learned from the Realtors and brokers in our community is that, no matter what the situation, there’s always a way to adapt. If you or your team need any help establishing productive work from home workflows, feel free to reach out to us at any time.