I'm a New Real Estate Agent! Don't Waste My Time!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

We old fogies (those of us with more than a year of experience) like to advise the newbies in our lives on how to work efficiently and productively and Gawd Forbid - how not to WASTE TIME!

What are some "time wasters" in our business?

How about:

1.  Working with an unqualified buyer?
2.  Talking to renters
3.  Showing a listing to an already-represented buyer (who calls off the yard sign)
4.  Preparing a CMA for a seller who wants to move "sometime next year"
5.  Having lunch with friends who already know lots of real estate agents
6.  Helping an acquaintance appeal her tax assessment

Well, in this old fogie's humble opinion, there's NO SUCH THING as wasting time in your first year if you're doing something that:

1.  Puts you in front of a warm body and/or
2.  Teaches you about the real estate market

Let's take example #3 - Showing an office listing to an already-represented buyer.

Here's the scenario. You're sitting on floor time twiddling your thumbs, or maybe working up the nerve to call a few FSBO's. The phone rings. You find yourself talking with a buyer who is sitting out in front of one of your office's listing. He wants to see it right away. He tells you he already has a buyer agent, but he can't seem to track him down today. He's just so busy, y'know. So... can YOU show it to him?

Option I ~ Tell the "buyer" in no uncertain terms that you don't work for free and he needs to wait for his own agent!

Option II ~ Cheerfully say "Sure! Give me some time to notify the owner and I'll meet you there in 30 minutes! What's your phone number in case there's a problem?"

Let's say you select Option I. Here's what you accomplished.

You're still sitting at your desk, twiddling your thumbs, but by gawd, you didn't waste your time. And, oh yeah, you probably confirmed the buyer's opinion that real estate agents are jerks.

Conversely, with Option II, you:

~ Practiced showing homes and building rapport with strangers
~ Possibly learned just a little more about the market
~ Met someone who just might end up being your biggest referral source (you never know)
~ Met someone who just might be the love of your life (you never know!)
~ Got your arse off the chair and OUT INTO THE WORLD
~ Improved, just a little, the public's perception of real estate agents

And maybe, just maybe... you'll get yourself a client if the buyer decides you're way cooler than his missing-in-action agent.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Get off your butt and go waste some time!



Sell with Soul
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copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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Jennifer - I'm currently taking real estate classes to obtain my license.  I read your blog all the time and think your tips are great.  I especially love it that you don't ignore the "newbies" and offer them suggestions on how to run a successful business (most the "old fogies" I've run across don't want to waste their time with us and/or see us as competition and don't offer up anything helpful).  I just bought your book from amazon and can't wait to receive it in the mail.  Thanks again - Wendy
May 04, 2007 05:10 AM #9
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I both agree and disagree. Activity breeds success, but there is a lot of things that we can do in that first year to fill our time.  That said, managing your time and focusing on higher rewarding activities is important.  It's not that you won't learn doing the lesser rewarding things (and that's always a good thing), it's just that you can do better by concentrating.


Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services 


May 04, 2007 05:26 AM #10
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!


I am closing in two weeks with a guy whose sister is a Real Estate Agent! How cool is that. In a general conversation about 6 months ago, he had told me his sister didn't want to work with him because he couldn't afford that much of a home. Well he and his wife are going to be moving in a great new home very shortly! I agree that "anything" to do with Real Estate is not wasting time, but planting a seed for later fruition!

May 04, 2007 08:17 AM #11
Joddie Roberts
Mountain Real Estate and Property Management - Spokane, WA
Your Spokane Realtor - Spokane, WA
I've heard over and over the "don't waste your time with...".  From my perspective everything I do for those that "waste" my time 1). educates me  2). helps me to put others first  3). gives me the opportunity to reflect the real estate profession in a positive light....I don't know who or what that "time waster" has come across and what they think of Realtors.  Who knows, maybe next year, when they are ready to buy, I'll be the one they remember.
May 05, 2007 05:01 PM #12
Brande Bradford
Keller Williams - McDonough, GA

Time is money!  It might be instant money...not in our business.  It might be down the road money...very possible in our business.  It might just be that you made such an impression to go out of your way to help, that it becomes referral money!!  I find myself always helping others.  I am an one agent office, no one else in the family sells, but I find myself helping a  lot of people that call wanting information on rentals, etc.  I could tell them to take a hike, but some of them become buyers and they didnt think they would qualify!!

Oh, my fruit is blackberry...reminds me, I got a new toy, a Blackberry phone. I sure wish I knew how to use it.  I need to get my teenagers to show me how to set it up...sigh :-)

May 05, 2007 05:29 PM #13
Jeff Fulgham
T.U.P. Realty - Tupelo, MS
Broker E-Pro ABR
Very good points I can't stand to see an agent sitting in the office. That is why I do not require office time for my agents. You cannot accomplish anything sitting in the office.
May 06, 2007 01:48 AM #14
keling dun
century 21 - San Jose, CA


As a newbie, I agree with you about option 2.  However, if the client already have an signed EBA, and you go show him houses, wouldn't you be violating the client/agent relationship?  I think you could get in legal trouble if you convert him or her.

May 07, 2007 03:40 AM #15
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

In all the states I've worked in, there's no problem showing homes to a represented buyer. I have heard, however, that in some states, it's considered a violation.

Of course, if a buyer has an EBA, you wouldn't overtly pursue his business - although you never know what might happen -- just use the opportunity to expand your knowledge, practice your craft and get some fresh air!

May 07, 2007 03:44 AM #16
Steve Conklin - Iroquois County IL, Realtor®
none - Danforth, IL

Nice points :) I agree 100%!!!!

I find myself in this position quite often. Being a newbie, I don't mind at all if my broker calls me up to show one of his homes because he can't do it. In fact...I tell him all the time...call me first!!!! I don't have a lot of listings, or clients (yet), so ANY chance I get to show a home...I TAKE IT! I even do open houses for other agents who either can't or don't want to do them. You never know what is going to happen! It's a great way for me, as a new guy, to get my name and my face out there!

Thanks for the post...:)

May 07, 2007 07:39 PM #17
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul
Steve - YES! You get it!!! You will SUCCEED!!! I promise. Keep me posted.
Jun 26, 2007 12:33 AM #18
Steven Shewell
Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. - Ephrata, PA
The Mortgage Maverick
Great advice.  With so many agents being full of themselves and "too busy" to give good service to their clients, many of them are losing their clients to hungry agents who will be there for them.
Jun 26, 2007 12:35 AM #19
Dan Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty, Inc - Ocala, FL
Good points.  Although we always blame others for wasting our time, we are the ones who waste our own time by choices we make.
Jun 26, 2007 03:56 AM #20
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents
I really wouldnt consider anything that I do in and for real estate as time wasters even after I pass my 1st year. I'm going on 4th and still going strong. Do I do open houses knowing that it may not find me my next buyer? Or knowing that no one might show up? - My last 2 open houses, I have no one showed. Not even nosy neighbors. Sure I would. Why? I studied the neighborhood and I'm a nosy realtor. I'll never know when I'll be able to use that data for another client who is looking in the area..... I've had so many experiences like this. I cant say Enough... There are no time-wasters. It's a matter of choice of how we choose to look at it.

A glass half empty or half full.
Jun 26, 2007 06:17 AM #21
Katy Crofts
Keller Williams Realty - Olympia - Olympia, WA
Realtor - Olympia, WA


All good points - I do agree and I am definitely "new". I feel like everything I do, especially being face to face with people is all good. Even if I sit afterwards and think of the things I could have said when they said this or that.

I spent 1-1/2 hours recently with a potential seller (with a 40 min. drive each way) knowing ahead of time that they had a set price they wanted to list their property for and knowing ahead of time that it is unrealistic. We talked about a lot of different things, including her daughter who wants to buy a house, but doesn't have good credit. I felt like I actually did have some knowledge and guidance to pass along. I plan to keep in touch, knowing that nothing may ever come of it, other than a little experience in dealing with clients on my part. 

Jun 26, 2007 08:33 AM #22
Home Stagers in Atlanta / Chamblee Area
Home-A-Dress - Chamblee, GA

Great points. I'm a Home Stager and i still have to remind myself that anyone that i can talk to about what i do could be a referral source, not just the real estate agent or person looking to sell their house now.

thanks for that kick in the pants.


Jul 11, 2007 02:09 AM #23
Joshua & Kathy Schmidt
ERA Henley Real Estate - Cabot, AR
Great points Jennifer, it can never hurt to be flexible!
Apr 28, 2008 10:04 AM #24
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Hi Jennifer - Well, if it is an office listing, I would never refuse an opportunity for a showing.  We owe it to our Seller.  One question: Do you notify the agent representing the buyer? 

Basically, I agree with you whole heartedly.  There really are no time wasters.  I will need to discuss the implications of state law in my office, though, to understand what I can and cannot (versus what I want) to do.  Thus my question.  Thanks!

Aug 04, 2008 12:31 AM #25
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Margaret - great question. I probably wouldn't notify their agent because I don't want to make a big deal out of it. If the buyer tells me they have an agent, I'll respect that, but I'll definitely be charming and accomodating. The nice (?) thing about this business is that there are so many awful agents out there that if you come acoss as a decent sort, you stand out above the crowd! This particular buyer belongs to someone else, but his or her friends may not!

Aug 04, 2008 12:42 AM #26
Scott Patterson
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate/Executive Partners - Martinez, GA
Scott Patterson

Sounds like good advice to me. "The harder I work the luckier I get." UNKNOWN

Anyway, I think you will still have some agents argue with you about it. But theres nothing that takes the place of getting people to know you by name ( in a positive way )

Aug 04, 2008 12:42 AM #27
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Aug 12, 2012 01:17 AM #28
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