It’s widely recognized that any kind of sales position comes with a certain degree of stress. While it’s not the same stress that military personnel or police officers encounter, it’s mentally exhausting in its own right. In fact, CareerCast called being a real estate agent one of the top 10 most stressful jobs of 2011.
Unlike technology sales, most real estate brokerages don’t provide a base salary. The commissions deliver bigger returns, but losing a deal may mean you have to scale back your lifestyle. And in a worst-case scenario, a long-standing streak of bad luck might have you considering other, more stable career options.
Here are a few basic reasons the instability of real estate can weigh on you emotionally, and why you don’t have to feel guilty when you’re not 100 percent.
1. Losing leads for no reason
Most of the time, there aren’t any upfront contracts or fees when you start your client on their home search. You could end up working for weeks on matching someone with an apartment and then they spontaneously decide to resign their current lease, or worse, enlist another agent’s help.
The fact is, renters and buyers are trying to find homes, not fill your commission. They’ll put their needs first, as they should if they want to be financially smart about the housing search process.
Although seemingly self-centered, nobody is obligated to work with you — especially if you aren’t working incredibly hard. If you don’t have access to great listings, or if you aren’t communicative, clients have a right to move on for a successful experience.
2. Working for the client and not your paycheck
Let’s say you are a rental broker, and you have a client with a $3,000 per month budget. Sure, you could avoid showing them less expensive options and benefit from a bigger commission check, but that would be pretty sneaky. You might even have access to a deal at one building for $2,500 per month on apartments that normally go for $3,000 or higher.
Finding someone the best place for their lifestyle sometimes goes against your financial goals. If you think of honesty as a long-term strategy, it’s actually better to inform your client of the amazing deal. You’ll end up with a loyal client base and hopefully a ton of referrals that bring in more sales than the initial $500 loss.
Alternatively, if they find out about the deal later on, you risk a bad reputation and poor online reviews.
3. Trying to find free time
Free weekends are a rarity in real estate. It’s an industry that never sleeps, and the fear of losing opportunities by taking a break — even for a few hours — is overwhelming.
And when you do manage to take a vacation, you can’t just “turn off” like people in traditional 9-to-5 positions. You’ll probably still be on your phone a significant amount of time — and may even rush home to get your head back in the game.
There’s a reason many traditional employers are required to give sick and vacation time. Obviously, without worked hour requirements, brokerages aren’t forced to give time off — it’s up to you to decide when you need a break. And you should take advantage of that freedom.
4. Dealing with rude people
A lot of money is on the table, which tends to bring out the worst in people. You’ll take a lot of the blame for things outside of your responsibility, but that’s the nature of a client-facing role.
The deal fell through because the seller’s agent failed to inform you of their client’s deadline? Your buyer will blame you for the mishap, no matter how hard you tried to get their offer approved.
The next time you’re feeling stressed about your job — don’t fear. You’re not alone. Just don’t allow the stress to cloud your judgment or make you feel like you can’t handle real estate. A positive attitude makes all the difference.