COVID-19-related restrictions left many businesses shuttered in its wake, but, surprisingly, the housing market continued its boom throughout 2020. 

According to the U.S. Census, real estate sales in 2020 went up by almost 19% compared to 2019 levels. This could be due to historically low interest rates, or it could also be people working from home looking for more space. 

Regardless of the reason, real estate agents in 2020 were busier than ever, leading to a risk of burnout. This article discusses common causes of real estate agent burnout and how to manage them. 

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What is real estate agent burnout? 

Most jobs carry the risk of burnout, and real estate is no exception. If you’re a real estate agent in a hot market, you may have found yourself busier than normal in the past year. A busy schedule coupled with COVID restrictions may have made it difficult to decompress in traditional ways. And you may be feeling more stressed than usual. 

Burnout goes beyond traditional stress. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with an increased workload. 

Signs that you may have reached the burnout stage include a decreased desire to go into work or feeling more stressed than usual — and, not being able to relieve it with your typical decompression routine. 

You may also find yourself feeling the “Sunday Scaries” more often. Or, you may even find that you are no longer excited about meeting with new clients. 

The root of burnout is different for everyone, but there are common contributing factors. These include:

  • Working long hours
  • Substantial increase in workload
  • Stress over sales or lack thereof
  • Unbalanced work and personal life
  • Not taking enough time off

Working long hours

An uptick in the real estate market probably means that you are logging more hours than usual. If your schedule is jam-packed with research, showings, and paperwork, you may be sacrificing personal time in order to complete all of your work. 

Stress over sales

Conversely, a lack of sales can also lead to stress that contributes to burnout. 

Not making the level of home sales needed to maintain your lifestyle causes a tremendous amount of stress. Even though the market was up in 2020, people still lost their jobs at a higher rate than usual. Those who were still working may have had their pay rate cut. As a result, your commissions might not be as high as previous levels, causing you to stress about your finances. 

Prolonged financial stress can lead to burnout. 

Lack of work/life balance

Real estate agents risk burnout when their work/life balance is more skewed toward work. 

Taking time for yourself is necessary to reset you mentally and keep you from becoming exhausted. COVID-19 has made it hard for some people to decompress. But the down time can help you maintain your enthusiasm for the job. 

What happens when you are too stressed? 

real estate agent burnout can result in a poor reputation and a loss of clients
As a real estate agent, when you’re overly stressed and approaching burnout you may start missing appointments, double booking, or worse, missing crucial deadlines — all things that can undermine your reputation and lose you sales.

Getting your first commission is exciting. Following your first taste of success, it can be tempting to throw yourself head first into work. Particularly, if you are a high-achieving and driven person you might log long hours, working well over 40 hours per week. 

Other parts of your job might serve as added stressors too. 

You might be the type who puts pressure on yourself to make sure that every staging is “perfect.” You could be pressuring yourself to achieve commission levels that are not attainable without excess work. Or, you might be feeling a rivalry with other real estate professionals in the community and giving every ounce of yourself to the job in order to be more successful. 

Whatever the origin of the pressure, being under too much of it affects all parts of your life, before it eventually leads to burnout. 

You could end up missing details of contracts, double booking showings, or missing meetings. These small mistakes seem inconsequential, but if you make too many of them, it could eventually undermine your credibility and eat into your earnings. 

Being under intense amounts of real estate stress can also impact your personal life. You might find it difficult to sleep. You might find yourself being more irritable and getting into fights with people in your personal life. Excessive stress and being pressed for time can also cause you to eat less healthy food, making you feel sluggish. 

How to avoid real estate agent burnout

Many real estate agents turn to this career path because they love working with the public. Real estate tends to draw in passionate people who love what they do. Managing your stress levels will help you keep your real estate fire burning. Some ways to manage your stress include: 

  • Don’t bring your work home
  • Create better work/life balance
  • Manage your stress levels in a healthy manner
  • Know your limits 

Leave your work at the office

Since the start of the pandemic, many people have shifted from working in an office to working at home. Although the commute is far more desirable, working in your home makes it easier to work extra hours. 

Set a stopping time every day and stick with it. Once you reach your stopping point, leave your desk and turn off your computer. Don’t check your email for the rest of the night. If your workload makes it impossible to work a reasonable number of hours, see if there is anything that you can delegate or do later. 

Create a work/life balance

Regularly scheduling time for friends, family and yourself is key to managing stress. 

Set aside time to do something that takes you away from work. You can fit in a brief yoga session or walk between showings. Or you can dedicate at least an hour of your week to catching up with friends and family virtually or in person, if it’s safe to do so. 

Time is a finite commodity, and scheduling personal time might feel like it is adding more stress to your day by limiting the time you have to do your work. But, taking time to engage in non-work activities like exercise can actually help you focus and be more productive while you are at work. 

Manage stress in a healthy manner

Natural stress busters that are free and require limited amounts of time include exercise and deep breathing. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a break and do some stretches or take a walk around the block. If you have more free time, manage stress by disengaging from work and doing something creative or engaging in a hobby. 

Know your limits

Some people can work for 80 hours a week without getting burnt out. Others feel stressed out if they have to work more than 10 hours in one day. Know your body and its limits. You might have to push past them occasionally, but if you feel yourself going over your personal limits too often, you risk burnout. 

Figure out how to prioritize your time so you can finish more when you are at your most productive. 

Love your job

Managing stress is key to fighting off real estate agent burnout. This career path can be fun and rewarding, particularly for creative types who like interacting with people. By recognizing the early signs of burnout and taking steps to combat them, you can stave off stress-related burnout and continue loving your job. 
To help lower your stress level, learn how to make the pieces of your marketing strategy work together with The Download for real estate.