How agents can navigate the stress of an unpredictable market

Try these strategies to alleviate the emotional and mental strain of working in a difficult market

Between the challenge of acquiring listings, the rollercoaster of closing deals and the difficulty of securing an accurate appraisal when the data is changing on a daily basis, we certainly have our work cut out for us.

To say the current luxury real estate market is unpredictable is an understatement. Sometimes it’s exhilarating, sometimes it’s exhausting, but it’s also consistently stressful. Between the challenge of acquiring listings, the rollercoaster of closing deals, and the difficulty of securing an accurate appraisal when the data is changing on a daily basis, we certainly have our work cut out for us.

Low inventory and high interest rates are at odds with record-high demand. On top of that, buyers are fatigued and frustrated, and handling their stress can bring a lot of stress to our business. Is there a way to mitigate and manage it?

As luxury real estate agents, stress is going to be part of the equation, regardless of how good we are at our jobs. High prices, high stakes, and high standards are an everyday reality, and our clients are trusting us to advise them on some of their greatest personal and financial decisions.

There are lots of ways to deal with that stress in a healthy and productive way. Personally, my favorite strategy is simply having a dog—they provide boundless affection and positivity while also keeping us accountable and physically active. But beyond adopting a pet, which has its own logistical hurdles, here are three practical suggestions that can prove helpful.

Work smarter and harder

Sotheby’s International Realty – Sunset Strip Brokerage

​We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder.” It’s a nice sentiment, but unfortunately, in a stressful and unpredictable housing market, it simply doesn’t apply. The only way to conquer the current challenge is to double down on your work, and put in the time, grit, and determination needed to get through.

You might become overwhelmed while trying to multitask—it happens to all of us. Don’t dwell on it or second-guess your abilities: trust the process, and the unpredictability will level out over time.

If you’re having a bad couple of months and your deals aren’t panning out, it might be a sign to rework your business plan. No matter what, we have to remain accountable to both our clients and ourselves, and ultimately, the one thing that will truly relieve your stress is meeting your own personal career goals.

Living the lifestyle is one of our jobs

I also like to remember that as a luxury real estate professional, it’s critical to get out there and meet as many peers, prospects, and past clients as possible, and that means my work should entail a certain amount of time to network with these groups—even if it seems like leisure.

Going out for dinners, attending events, and traveling doesn’t necessarily have to be seen as downtime as long as you continue having productive conversations and keep your eyes open for new opportunities. Giving back to the community can also boost your reputation, show your values, and build your brand.

In stressful times, when you’re getting bogged down by paperwork and appraisals, remember that the best way to win bids and get new listings is to stay connected to your sphere. It brings in new prospects and possibilities—and it can just be a genuinely great way to recharge your battery.

Keep in mind your own fiscal responsibility—and stay true to yourself

Sotheby’s International Realty – Sunset Strip Brokerage

One book I always recommend luxury agents read is The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy, by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. The book turns 25 this year, but it’s still extremely relevant to the work we do—and not for the reasons you might expect.

There are some compelling insights into the demographics that comprise the luxury real estate clientele—how they save, how they spend, and where they choose to live. But the most useful takeaways for us agents, particularly in an unpredictable and stressful market, are the ones that remind us to focus on our own success and finances, and to live and work within our means.

Realtors in this space can easily be distracted—and discouraged—by the deals that someone else is closing, and that’s a major source of stress. The Millionaire Next Door is about being financially strict, practicing humility and authenticity, and steering clear of the pressures and pretentiousness that can come with working in the luxury space.

When it comes down to it, staying level-headed and true to myself is the most effective and empowering strategy for managing my stress. It keeps me responsible to my colleagues, my clients, my balance sheet, and my career.

One of the primary mottos I repeat to myself is, “you win some, you learn some,” because even in the most uncertain times, there’s no losing—as long as you continue to stay humble, educate yourself, seek opportunities, and strive for excellence.


Jordan Bridges

Originally from Los Angeles, Jordan Bridges brings an upbeat and personable energy to his real estate practice. With years of experience in customer service, he prioritizes his clients’ needs and handles every transaction with care. After graduating from the University of Arizona and Georgetown University, Jordan immediately began his sales career in Washington DC, where he successfully leased two of the District’s most premier luxury apartment home buildings, The Hepburn and The Woodley, as well as selling millions within his first year of being a Realtor. Jordan has now brought his excellent sales skills back home to Sotheby’s International Realty, to provide a seamless and unforgettable home buying and selling process to each of his clients.