Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked to Nicholas Apostal, the principal broker at The Apostal Group at Coldwell Banker, about how agents can manage their time most effectively.
Time is the one commodity that you can’t create more of.
As real estate brokers, we operate a service-based business, which means that the product that you’re selling is your own time and effort. Managing your limited time is crucial to becoming more successful. By improving your approach to time management, you should be able to take on a higher volume of clients and keep them happy, while simultaneously allowing more time for yourself and the things you love to do.
Here are the best ways I’ve found to manage time:
8. Block Out Your Time – Take two hours at the beginning of each month, and an hour at the beginning of each week, to plan out when you’re going to do all the things you need to do and when you’re available to do showings or meet clients. If you spend a little time up-front to carefully plan your schedule, you will be more prepared to fit in all the things that come at you throughout the week. When people throw out showing or meeting requests, you’ll be able to respond intelligently and avoid missing appointments or having to reschedule.
7. Schedule Time to Reach Out to New Business – Your primary responsibility as a real estate broker is finding qualified buyers and sellers to work with. Because of this, marketing/prospecting time is the first thing you should plan into your schedule. I make personal calls, send personal notes and follow up with my sphere before 10 a.m. each day. That way I know that no matter what happens to the rest of the day, I’m bulletproof – I’ll have someone to work with tomorrow.
6. Get it Out of the Way – We all have tasks we’d rather not have to do. Take the most difficult, onerous tasks, the ones you’ve been putting off, and do those first thing in the morning. This way, you’re fresher, your head is clearer and you have more energy to be able to tackle that aversive thing. Doing it early means you can get it over with before the rest of your day, which leaves you better able to respond to new challenges.
5. Never Eat Alone – If you’re going to eat anyway, you’re better off including someone you’re supposed to see when you eat. I plan to have breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks at least three times a week with a client or referral source or some other person who’s going to help me build my business. If you have to eat anyway, you might as well use it as recruiting time.
4. Schedule Open Houses at Least Two Weeks in Advance – New listings should always get open houses, if possible, to minimize the number of times you have to run over there and show a property that first week. It allows you to compress a lot of appointments into a single two-hour window. Start marketing open houses at least 10 days in advance so you have time to capitalize on marketing, social media and word-of-mouth efforts.
3. Make a Checklist – Anything you find yourself doing more than once should have a checklist. By creating systems and standards of practice, it takes less time to initiate and complete tasks, and you’re more efficient when you do. It ensures that you do them the same way or up to the same standard every time.
2. Clone Yourself – If you have systems in place and standard ways of doing things, then you can employ technology tools or hire other people to complete your most time-consuming tasks. Whether it’s a full-time assistant, a virtual assistant, an intern or a similar support staff, there will be obvious ways you can delegate the most time-consuming tasks to other people.
1. Make Time for Yourself – Make your personal life a priority. Don’t forget to plan in personal time to do the things you love, whether it’s travel or family time, exercise or a passionate hobby. It’s important to keep you sane and remind you why you’re working so hard. As your business grows, you’re going to feel a lot more pressure on your time, but if you’re careful with the way you manage it, you can get a lot more done and still have a personal life. Your clients will respect you more for it.
Nicholas Apostal is the principal broker at The Apostal Group at Coldwell Banker. He is recognized among the top 1 percent of Realtors in the city and was named a “Real Estate Visionary” by CS Chicago Men’s Book Magazine this year. In addition to his role as a broker, Nicholas also teaches ethics and customer service strategies to new Coldwell Banker agents.