Real estate markets across the country are on fire! Here in Ottawa, the market pre-COVID was already a strong sellers’ market. Then after the first lockdown was lifted, it was as if rocket fuel was poured on.
In such a strong sellers’ market, the positives are brisk sales, huge bidding wars and record prices for sellers. A negative side effect is agent burnout.
Every agent I’ve talked to over the past few months is flirting with burnout or is burned out and doesn’t even know it. One Realtor commented, “We’re all maxed out!”
Realtors have zero days off in this market right now. The sales process is unbelievably fast-paced. A house hits the market and you have zero to five days on average to get everything lined up before it’s sold. Showings, comparables, second showings, pre-inspection, status reviewed, financing confirmed, offer, hope…lose out…repeat.
No time off, no support, no life.
A quick Google search on “symptoms of burnout” include:
- Feeling listless
- Low mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of creativity
- Negative attitudes towards one’s coworkers or job
- Low commitment to the role
- Loss of purpose
- Quickness to anger
- Emotional numbness
Any of those relate to you?
Many Realtors are going through emotional, physical and mental exhaustion.
The cost of burnout is too high…it can take months to recover. It can literally cost agents tens of thousands in commissions. It affects your business. You avoid tasks, phone calls, emails and texts. You avoid clients and leads and just stop caring. It all just becomes too much and you’d rather turn it all off.
Burnout affects your home life too, which in the long run is so much more important.
The relationship with your partner, your kids and families gets significantly strained. You feel more depression, anxiety, anger, apathy and/or guilt about your situation. This is what you bring into the home night after night. And if you aren’t a self-aware person, you won’t be able to tell your family why you’re not yourself. Your family is left wondering:
- Where did my spouse go?
- Where did my dad / mom go?
- We don’t recognize this person.
I suffered from burnout last year. Technically, 2020 was a “success” from every metric the industry celebrates, which is gross income. But I never want to go through that again. I’d have gladly given away tens of thousands in income to get my life back.
One day last fall, while home and sitting on my couch, my wife told me she didn’t recognize me anymore, that I was a shell of myself. I completely broke down right there. Everything came to the surface and we had to have a very difficult, honest conversation about it. My burnout was incredibly hard on her and my kids. With her support, we came up with some solutions to help and move forward with. That was the start of being a good husband again, being a good dad again and being myself again.
If you are feeling burned out, here are some strategies that I personally found very helpful:
Do whatever it takes to get a few days off. Find a synergy partner or colleague to trade “days off” with. Figure out the payment structure and make it happen. It’s tough but so needed right now.
My personal favourite. Completely unplugged from real estate, clients, phone calls, emails, texts, everything. Go away for a few nights to recharge and get clarity on these inner issues.
Prioritize self care:
It may seem cliché but do things that are just for you each day. Doesn’t matter what or how small/big, give yourself permission to put yourself first. You’re worth it, I promise.
We put huge pressure on ourselves to always be at the top of our game, always pushing for more, always grinding it out. We strive to hit new industry award levels or to be everything to everyone (super agent, super dad, super mom, super friend). Let go of these expectations, shift your perspective to be okay with less. Accept where you are at without blame, self-judgment or criticism. Give yourself permission to stop striving / grinding “to have it all” and start focusing on getting your life back.
I wrote this article because I want to reach out to my fellow colleagues who might be suffering from burnout or are close to it and don’t know where to turn for help. Maybe they weren’t even aware of it until reading this. It is not something many talk about but yet it is so important. I want you to know it’s okay to ask for help, okay to need help and you’re not a failure for being burned out or struggling financially through this market. You’re not alone and it will get better. I promise.
I encourage anyone who might be suffering from burnout to take some much needed time off, talk to someone, anyone. Don’t wait, the cost is too high.
Let people down, put yourself first.