• Agents need to take time off, and it’s hard to resist doing so over the traditional holiday season.
  • That time of year offers tremendous opportunities for agents -- and homesellers -- to avoid competition.
  • Putting in the work over the holiday season can reap amazing rewards in January and beyond.

In this monthly column, Anthony Askowitz explores a hypothetical Miami real estate situation from both sides of the broker/agent dynamic.

This month’s situation: A productive real estate agent wants to take his or her annual vacation over the holiday season but has a history of slow Januarys.

Agent perspective

It has been a really busy and stressful year, and the next few weeks look to be more of the same. Production-wise, I am hitting my averages, but I’ve had to work even harder to just to reach those numbers.

With that in mind, I am truly looking forward to my annual end-of-year vacation over the last weeks of December, so I can catch my breath, refresh my brain and start 2017 with some energy.

Also, I have family coming into town, and I need to spend some quality time with them.

However, my last few Januarys have not been very good. Is this annual vacation putting a drag on my production?

Many of my colleagues take their vacation over this same time period, and I wonder if adjusting my “down time” would give me a jump on the competition?

But then I think, “Isn’t the end of the year a terrible time to try to sell homes?” Most sellers just want to enjoy the holiday season (like me!) and put off that decision until the new year.

Broker perspective

Vacations are certainly important, especially in a market-challenged year like 2016. And in a vacation hotspot like our city, it is hard to resist the fun you see other people having around you during the holiday season.

But putting in the hard work during those last weeks of December can reap extraordinary rewards in January, starting the year off on the right note.

My agent’s instincts about getting a jump on their colleagues are correct; many of them will hit the snooze button on their practice over the holidays and new year, creating much less competition for agents willing to hustle.

They might not reap the rewards of that work immediately, but they will definitely plant the seeds of success for that first quarter.

The same opportunity holds true for sellers. With so many travelers coming to our market to look for homes over winter, I advise my agents to tell them: “Why wait until Jan. 1 to get in the market — with everyone else who waited? List it over those last few weeks, and enjoy a much shallower pool of competition.”

How to meet halfway

If the agent must take time off in December, he or she can try to schedule it for that very last week (between Christmas and New Year’s Day) when the holiday season is in full swing and banks and offices are closed anyway.

This solution offers the best of both worlds — giving the agent a chance to take advantage of an uncluttered market, as well as time off to recharge the batteries.

Anthony is the broker-owner of RE/MAX Advance Realty in South Miami and Kendall, leading the activities of more than 165 agents. He is also a working Realtor who sells more than 150 homes a year.

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