Real estate agents are special creatures with near inhuman powers of restraint. (Well, most of us.) We can go eight hours without eating, drinking or going to the bathroom, and we call that taking prospective clients on a "tour."

Oh to be sure, we have all been taught to provide our clients with granola bars, bottled water and bathroom breaks — but I’ve run into quite a few Realtors (including myself) who often forget what the mere human needs for survival — and press onward to see "just one more house."

A good friend of mine is home-searching in a different city. She is working with a very capable agent — highly recommended, kind, vivacious and well-educated on both product and market — but maybe a tad forgetful that the average person eats three times a day.

After six hours of a relentless parade of homes, my friend felt almost guilty to ask for a bathroom break. Isn’t that funny? And the truth? Somehow, we’ve trained the clients to apologize for the most natural of necessities.

Eventually, they pulled over at a fast-food restaurant, and while the Realtor stayed in the car the couple jumped and ran for the bathrooms and grabbed some food to smuggle inside the agent’s vehicle.

I still remember my own indoctrination into the fold: an all-day open-house extravaganza in an unfinished house in a new neighborhood. There were, uhm, no "real" bathrooms, per se. Only an outdoor port-a-potty.

When I asked about lunch, my mentor laughed gleefully, "Lunch? I can’t remember the last time I ate lunch!"

It didn’t take too long until I complied with my brethren. Lunches were replaced by Power Bars and happy-hour appetizers. I carried a water bottle in my purse. I became a machine, thoughtfully calibrated to operate on the fly.

I attempted to work in a few power lunches with serious clients, but honestly, those people ate too slowly. Daylight was burning! We hadn’t finished half the houses we needed to see! Sound familiar?

Maybe we all need to slow down a bit.

And rather than allowing your clients to use the bathrooms in "for sale" homes (which is my No. 1 real estate pet peeve), here’s some quick tips:

  • Plan ahead for three or four optional stops along your tour route;
  • Coffee shops are golden;
  • Avoid fast-food joints;
  • Ask your ride-along companions if they need a short break — they really do feel indebted to your schedule, even above their own; and, last but not least …
  • Don’t forget about yourself.

It’s rare, but I have been "outstarved." And when my blood-sugar level dips too far south, I can’t remember my own name. And you can forget about math.

When you get too hungry to operate, it doesn’t matter how many "iProducts" you are utilizing. Technology doesn’t cure the bad-attitude-induced munchies. Sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference.

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