PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Real Estate Stress is Real!

Dorothy Botsoe | August 2017

Summer is well under way; in fact it’s almost over, as we already see fall clothing hitting the stores. However, before we even get to September we need to take a look at our self-care. Did you take a vacation this summer? Did you find some “me” time? Or did you push your way once again through long nights of MLS searching, battling with bankers and fussing over Fannie Mae foreclosure listings? TIME OUT!

Believe it or not, real-estate agents are just as susceptible to stress and burn out as anyone in any professional business. Stress may be affecting not only your health, but also the impression you make with prospects. Your success is dependent on your ability to function in a high- stress industry and becoming aware of how easy it is to fall prey to the burnout trap.

It goes something like this—five offers on a listing the minute it hits the MLS and you’re out celebrating your big sale already and feeling pretty good. But about an hour or so later, the phone rings and your solid buyer is in a financial jam, the escrow is in trouble. However, before the day ends, a new strong buyer comes out of nowhere and you are back on top pressing to push this and about 15 other potential deals through. Sound even slightly familiar? Welcome to the rush of real estate stress.

What we all fail to realize is our business can be “bad for our health” if we ignore our health. Stress is real. It’s a national epidemic and real estate is totally on the list of professions that can induce you into a stressful coma.

While some traditional “type A” agents may thrive on the thrill, most of us wince when the phone rings or the e-mail comes in notifying us that a transaction is in trouble. The stakes are always high in this industry and I bet most of you are like me, you don’t eat well all day, you skip meals, you skip resting on the weekends, and if you don’t close, the problem becomes even worse. We are in danger of crashing and we don’t even realize it. This affects us in ways we don’t measure and even leaves our prospects wondering, “What’s wrong with these people”?

We all think we know the dangers of stress as they are well known, but we still ignore the warning signs. It’s estimated that up to 85% of all chronic conditions are caused or exacerbated by it. That may not sound so scary in general, but we should keep in mind that even the highest top producer isn’t showing houses from a hospital bed. Stress also has an important and negative impact on your sales success.

The trouble is that for most of us, stress is the result of an external event, such as an unqualified buyer, the seller backs out or the bank has made a change in its rates— the process is nerve racking. And our reaction causes the release of dangerous chemicals in our body that can actually become addictive (think how thrill-seekers feel). Over all, stress is the result of an external event that we process or react to internally. In a word, we can become hooked, addicted to the real-estate day-to-day stress and feed off of this high. If this addiction can kill us and keep our commission that much farther from reach, maybe it’s time to find a stress-busting solution?

How do we find the calm in the middle of all this chaos while navigating through the trials and triumphs of an ever-changing industry while trying to keep on top of technology and the industry platforms? Our fast-paced, wrap it up, eat-it-on-the-way, conference-calling society shirks silence and down time as a terrible waste of time. It starts with mindfulness and self-care. For example, simply paying attention to one thing at a time and being a bit more aware of our thoughts. A little mindfulness added to your day will not only improve your immune system and reduce your stress levels, but it will also bring better conversion rates by your increased awareness.

Here are a few things you can incorporate into your life immediately that can reduce the stress and help create a more mindful real estate business.

1. Count to five. As old-fashioned as it sounds, it’s still a good plan when problems arise. Remember, when your brain is firing off cortisol, thinking wisely is a challenge. Take a breather and give yourself a chance to calm down before hitting “send” on your e-mail or speed-dialing the other agent.

2. Cultivate a meditation practice. Technology doesn’t only rock your real estate business; it helps you meditate. Brain entrainment music is easy and only takes 10 minutes and is a great way to enjoy a good tune. Music is not just for stress relief, but also has other benefits of a regular meditation practice. This is a result of the left and a right hemisphere of the brain getting in sync, which instantly “ups” your thinking power and reduces your stress levels.

3. Pay attention to your attention. As simple is it sounds, that’s all mindfulness really boils down to. In psychology, it’s called “metacognition.” Stop yourself throughout the day and see where your thoughts are. Most people who experience stress are either reliving the past, negative experiences or worrying about upcoming ones.

When our minds are “full” of things that aren’t helping us in some way, we’re quite likely feeding our fears and releasing more cortisol than our bodies know how to handle.

Ultimately, your real estate business depends on your ability to manage your stress so that you can maintain the high energy this industry requires. Moreover, the rested and calm agent is able to seek solutions more effectively when troubled transactions arise, as well as fend off the damages that stress produces on the body and the brain.

So, many of us need a “tune up.” Let’s begin to take some control and prepare for the fall and winter months by using what’s left of this summer to de-stress and get some rest, whether it be taking some days off, massages, playing some tennis or golf, or bike riding with your children, RELAX! We will not only help ourselves, and feel better and healthier, but also be better agents for our clients. #wearetheworld and #chill!

And of course, if you want to discuss your “chill-out plans” and share your “de-stressor tips,” please e-mail me at dorothy@dorothyjebsenrealty.com or HGAR BLOG in the agents portal. And of course give me a call at (914) 450-0600. I always love to hear from you and know what’s on your mind. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Dorothy Botsoe
Dorothy Botsoe is 2017 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc.