April 28th - 2017

Time saving strategies for a busy spring

April showers typically bring an increase in business along with the May flowers. Don’t let the fast pace and increased demands of the busy spring season overwhelm you.

Time saving strategies for a busy spring

April showers typically bring an increase in business along with the May flowers. Don’t let the fast pace and increased demands of the busy spring season overwhelm you.

Time saving strategies for a busy springApril showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring an increase in business – and workload. Don’t let the fast pace and increased demands of the busy spring real estate season get you down. The EDGE newsletter talked to three Ontario REALTORS® to learn how they cope as the temperature and the market heat up.

One key to handling the demands of a busy schedule is to establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible, advises Tina Sorichetti, a Port Perry Realtor with 15 years of experience.

“In this business, we must be resilient and ready to go,” says Sorichetti, who once interrupted a deal – but only for a few hours -- while she underwent an emergency Caesarean section to deliver her baby.

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“Establishing a routine is difficult, but it’s so important,” she notes. “I try to book static time into my daily schedule and keep some kind of routine, even though it’s an ongoing struggle. I aim to plan my work around the routine events in my life. I may take work along to my son’s hockey game so I can go through paperwork while he’s practicing or getting changed before or after the game.”

“Of course, in this crazy market, our routine can get shot to pieces, but I suggest using a Daytimer or Post-it® notes to create a tentative schedule.”

Prepare for the hectic pace of the spring season by reviewing policies, procedures, schedules and routines in the winter, suggests Mark Eugeni, a Windsor Realtor with 15 years in the business. That way, every team member knows his or her role in advance.

“Establishing a routine is difficult, but it’s so important.”

“Synergy helps to manage the workload,” he says. “We tweak everything so we’re ready for the spring market. I also encourage everyone to get some rest and recreation in the winter so they feel energized for spring.”

Teamwork is the key to success when the pace becomes frantic, adds Trevor Freeman, a Realtor in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. “After being in the business for more than a dozen years now, I find that working with a partner maximizes success and allows you to be in control of the work, rather than letting it control you,” he said. “So much of this business is about customer service relationships. Working with partners allows us to ensure that all of our clients are looked after and getting excellent care.”

Visiting properties is the most time-consuming part of his job, Freeman says, but he believes that virtual tours are no substitute for seeing a space with your own eyes.

“We need to see which homes really suit our clients and what the property really looks like – the flow of the place and how it is set up,” he said. “When you get there, the house may not look the same as it did online.”

Having a real estate partner makes visiting properties much easier, Freeman notes, since he and his partner can split up the list of addresses to save time.

The demands of a Realtor’s job are important, but there are also the demands of one’s own body to consider. Morning larks and night owls must both find ways to adjust to the hectic spring schedule, he says.

Eugeni considers himself a night owl. He uses quiet time at night to tackle the bulk of his administrative work and send emails to coordinate upcoming interactions. “If I do some of these things at night, then people see my messages first thing in the morning when they wake up,” he says.

To get through the day successfully, he prioritizes his tasks and ensures that everyone on his team knows each other’s schedules so they can cover when necessary. He also tries to prepare for deadlines a few days in advance whenever possible.

Sorichetti shuts off her phone each night and turns it on when she awakens. She says following a schedule is crucial to getting through each day, calling it “the main tool for success.” Because she frequently travels around southern Ontario, she tries to bundle nearby visits and meetings together. She prioritizes her work so she can get through each day with the least stress possible.

“Sometimes I finish the easiest tasks first, but I also focus on what’s needed most urgently that day,” she said. “For example, I look at who’s in a hurry and who isn’t.”

“We must trust in others and allow them to assist with some aspects of the work.”

Freeman usually leaves minor administrative tasks until the evening when his children are asleep and tackles time-sensitive tasks first. He advises Realtors to train themselves to complete the “must-dos” first, regardless of the time of day. That can sometimes mean ignoring your own body clock for a while.

“We can create a plan, but if a time-sensitive item crops up, other work gets pushed back,” he says. “Things move so quickly in this line of work that we must be on top of things.”

Having the help of an excellent office staff is another key to getting the day’s work done, says Freeman.

“It’s impossible for us to get to everything in this business,” he says. “We must trust in others and allow them to assist with some aspects of the work, such as editing feature sheets and helping to prepare offers.”

Prioritizing and delegating are essential to getting a day’s work done, agrees Eugeni. “If you’re carrying a list of 50 to 100 active clients, you must delegate some tasks,” he says. “Others can help with the creation of flyers and taking photos of properties. Social media can help you to keep your name out there, but it’s a time sponge, so you can farm out some aspects of that as well.”

Just remember, the spring selling season may be hectic, but it’s also profitable, so aim to thrive, not just survive.

Tips to get through a busy spring

  • Provide the best service you can
  • Don’t overpromise or under-produce
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Schedule breaks or your life will be work, work, work; include time off to recharge
  • Prepare a standard listing package and buying package
  • Create procedures as well as a business plan, marketing plan and checklist for clients preparing to move
  • Don’t waste your own time; ask your clients to sign a representation agreement, even if it’s only for a five-day trial
  • Take advantage of technology. Harness systems that let you stay connected
  • Use social media; it’s easier to stay relevant that way.

Story by Elaine Smith

Sources: Mark Eugeni, Trevor Freeman, Tina Sorichetti.

The REALTOR® EDGE newsletter is produced 11 times a year by the Ontario Real Estate Association. The newsletter aims to provide practical and useful news and information about the real estate industry to members of the association. The opinions expressed in the newsletter are not necessarily those of the publisher. We welcome submissions from the real estate community, including letters to the editor, opinion pieces, events and news. The newsletter reserves the right to edit, based on space restrictions and/or suitability, and/or to refuse submitted material for inclusion in the newsletter without reason. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher, OREA, is prohibited. Contents are copyright of the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Editor: Mary Ann Gratton

Contributors to this issue: Elaine Smith, Merv Burgard, Mary Ann Gratton

Senior Web Editor: Shade Lapite; Web Specialist: Damond Rawls.

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