Beware of burnout! In such an independent, self-directed, and commission-based profession as real estate, burnout can be much more than a bummer. It can be a destroyer of careers. 

When signs of burnout arrive, the real estate agent can suddenly find themselves unable to perform the many small daily functions necessary to keep their business afloat: picking up the phone to generate and follow-up leads, presenting each listing with the best possible marketing, even staying consistent on social media - to name but a few. 

When these functions cease, your career can grind to a halt in far less time than it took you to build it up. 

According to Harvard Business Review, burnout is a three-component syndrome consisting of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. 

If you want to prevent burnout it is vital to spot, and squelch, these symptoms early.  Here’s how they tend to rear their ugly heads in the day-to-day life of a real estate agent. 

1) Exhaustion: The Real Estate Agent’s Quiet Foe

As any agent will attest, working in real estate requires a tremendous amount of time and energy: around-the-clock phone calls, a constant need to seek out new business, savage competition amongst colleagues, tire-kickers wanting you to drop everything to show them a listing. 

The unrelenting nature of this process, endured year-upon-year,  can lead to burnout for even the most energetic real estate agent. And this can lead to cutting corners. 

Have you noticed any of these common signs of stress and burnout in your own behavior? 

  • Tired all the time, yet having difficulty sleeping
  • No longer giving your listings the marketing they deserve (ie. not bothering to employ an edit like Item Removal, as in the below image)
  • Showing up for work later and leaving earlier than usual
  • You don’t answer (or even check) your phone after “working hours”
  • You stop networking, Once, you used to go out of your way to contact new clients, but now wait for them to make the first move
  • Lamenting how much the industry has changed

Services like our Item Removal edit can easily and inexpensively declutter a kitchen. But the exhausted real estate agent on the brink of burnout may have reached a point where they don’t bother to take this simple step and are more likely to post the before version of this kitchen - clutter and all.

2) Cynicism’s Magic: It Makes Clients Disappear

In real estate, cynicism can do a lot of damage, fast. 

Amongst colleagues, it can mean that you argue, voice displeasure, or disdain in situations where you normally would have kept your mouth shut. 

Amongst potential clients, cynicism can erupt in impatience or annoyance that translates into missed sales opportunities, bad reviews online, and a loss of repeat business. 

Some signs of cynicism to guard against in your thoughts or behavior:

  • Thoughts like: “What’s the point of adding a Virtual Tour or a Floor Plan to this listing? It’s going to sell anyway.”
  • Calling clients out who are taking too long to decide on a property, or expressing annoyance when they want to view multiple properties (or one property multiple times) without making an offer
  • Neglecting to keep a close eye on real estate market developments or to keep up with the latest offerings of virtual property marketing technology
  • No longer getting excited over closing deals or winning new listings

3) Inefficacy/Declining Competence

Burnout can make an agent feel like they can no longer perform the tasks required to sell real estate. 

Of the three symptoms of real estate agent burnout, this decline in competence usually comes after the other two have set in.  

Do you notice any of these symptoms of burnout in your career?

  • Unable to concentrate on routine tasks
  • Getting sloppy: Misplacing ‘For Sale’ signs, running out of business cards, leaving lockboxes on doors long after a place has sold
  • Missing or being late for appointments
  • Forgetting to return calls or answer emails
  • Neglecting key details in contracts or uploading listings with poor quality images and/or copy errors

Aspects of all of the above can and will happen to any agent in isolated occurrences throughout a career. But when they snowball and their frequency increases, so does your risk of full-blown burnout. 

How To Nip Burnout In The Bud

Burnout takes a long time to set in, and cannot be cured by a quick fix like taking a weekend course or reading a motivational book.  But it can be overcome. 

Here are some tips to avoid burnout and keep your career healthy for the long term: 

Make self-care a priority. Are you eating well? Exercising? Incorporating wellness activities like meditation, music, or sports into your life?  

These activities might have nothing to do with the real estate industry, but they will help balance the stresses of your work life.  

Learn something new about the real estate business.  The beautiful thing about real estate is that it is an all-encompassing, ever-changing profession with many diverse facets.

Learning something new can be a great way to stave off the stupor of burnout. Why not learn something cool like drone photography for real estate? Our blog has a great tutorial on that. 

There is always something new to learn in real estate, and, thanks to technology,  you can always find someone willing to teach it. 

Including on our blog, which offers a wealth of tutorials on all aspects of virtual property marketing. 

Whether you want to learn how to shoot your own listings with your iPhone, how to shoot empty spaces for Virtual Staging, how to create a Virtual Tour, or even how to shoot Drone Photography, our blog is a multiverse of education that just might have the tutorial you need to raise your skills and lift your spirits. 

Keep track of your on-the-job stressors and reduce your exposure to them. Only you can identify the aspects of your job that are wearing you down the most.  

Do so. Then do the best you can to restructure your life in a way that your exposure to these demoralizing elements is reduced. 

Attach yourself to the positive energy of fellow real estate agents.  A beautiful thing about real estate in the metaverse is that it is now possible to connect with positive, encouraging, highly successful real estate professionals anywhere on the planet. 

These fine folks will be more than willing to help you get a fresh start in the career that is wearing you down. Not only is their positive energy contagious, but many of these veteran property professionals have experienced burnout themselves, and can offer pointed pieces of advice to help you re-energize and revitalize your career. 

Seek out more first-time buyers.  No matter how jaded you have become, it is always a delight to help a young individual or couple find their first home. This might remind you why you got into the business in the first place. 

Consider specializing in a niche market that interests you. It’s hard to be cynical about what we really care about. 

One of our clients, Ines Hegedus-Garcia is a perfect example of this. Ines has a passion for heritage architecture. After receiving a university degree in this subject, she built her real estate career around this niche - ensuring that no matter how stressful her career became, she would never be far removed from the subject she loves. 

Our client Ines Hegedus-Garcia is a perfect example of how focusing on a niche market you care about can keep burnout at bay. Ines’ love is architecturally significant and heritage properties in the Miami area. She’s built a thriving real estate career around it.

Change up your marketing materials and social media presence for a fresh start. When you invest, in the ‘same old’ behaviors you receive the ‘same old’ results. 

One way to revitalize your career is to try something completely new - the easiest ways to do this are via your marketing or through your social media platforms. 

If you’re bored with real estate, try entering the metaverse as a visitor to eXp Realty’s cloud campus. That will blow your mind for sure. 

If you’re not ready for such a dramatic move, try marketing your next listing with some of the latest technological tools. Maybe it’s something as simple as Virtual Staging, which can present breathtaking new looks of a property within 48 hours.  

If all else fails, take a break. One big trap of burnout is that the agent can feel they can’t afford to take a break, or that there are too many important things to do that are preventing them to take a break. In reality, nothing is more important than your mental health. 

Taking a few weeks off from everything and anything to do with real estate is not something you can do every couple of months. But if nothing else seems to work and you just can’t shake the burnout blues, do yourself and your career a favor and step away for a while.