Can Real Estate Agents Work From Home?

Can Real Estate Agents Work From Home?

by The CE Shop Team

Productivity Tips For Real Estate Agents Working From Home

Many choose to pursue a new career in real estate for perks like having a flexible schedule, but it’s also flexible in terms of where work can be performed. Real estate professionals have long mastered the art of working from home or on the go. Now, it’s even easier as virtual tours, video calls, and the electronic execution of contracts on platforms like DocuSign have gone mainstream for real estate business. However, remote work isn’t without its drawbacks. For some it just doesn’t “feel professional” or “isn’t social enough”. For others, it can be difficult to limit distractions, stay productive, and balance work with life’s other responsibilities. Regardless, nearly anyone in the real estate industry - whether you're full-time, part-time, a real estate agent, a real estate broker, or a buyer's agent - you can make it work. So if you should choose to join the many agents working from the comfort of their own home office, we’ve got you covered with this list of pros and cons:

Create a Workspace In Your Home

When it comes to finding your focus, you’ll want to set the mood. If you have a spare bedroom, study, or open corner, consider turning that into a workspace where you can control the environment. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could even build a separate shed as an auxiliary office. Whatever you choose to do, your workspace needs to be a place where you can make phone calls in peace, limit distractions, protect sensitive client information, perform any administrative duties, and maintain a professional outward appearance on Zoom. 

Invest In Reliable Internet

From social media marketing to logging into Redfin, our modern tech-forward approach means we all rely on our internet provider to get it done. Having a reliable internet connection isn’t just a luxury, it’s a must for any professional in the real estate business to provide the service their clients deserve.  

Separate Work & Personal Time 

One of the biggest hurdles of working remotely is separating your personal life from your work life. This can be especially difficult if you have children or other family members at home interrupting you, but it’s not impossible. To help keep things separate, many resort to time blocking — or the act of booking appointments with yourself to execute necessary tasks. For this method to be effective, you’ll need to treat these appointments as you would real ones and adjust them accordingly. As for the background noise, you might want to consider investing in a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones. 

Stay Diligent About Documenting Client Information 

Just as you would in the office, it’s important to maintain your records in a professional manner. Clients trust their agents with sensitive personal and financial information, so just be mindful of how and where that information is stored, both digitally and in physical form. Staying organized, much in the same way you would in the office, helps make the transition from working in the office to working from home feel that much more natural. 

Utilize a CRM 

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is one of the most powerful tools for agents. Essentially, the CRM is the key to keeping tabs on all of your activity in relation to your clients or potential clients. With a CRM, you’ll be able to tell how long it has been since the last time you followed up with a potential buyer, or pull up any notes you have about that person. You’ll also be able to automate email marketing campaigns, and other data capture processes, allowing you to focus on what really matters: helping your clients. Without a doubt, investing in a CRM will help make working from home or on the go much easier — not only so you stay organized but also so you can look back and see how efficient you’ve been in executing your tasks. 

Did You Know? 

As technology has evolved, so too has working remotely. In fact, we’re at the point where working remotely isn’t just preferred by many, it’s having a positive impact on the workforce as a whole. According to the latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey, those working at home express more positive sentiment in nearly every question related to work satisfaction. In total, remote workers report a Workforce Happiness Index score of 75 out of 100, whereas those who have continued to show up at the office report a 71 out of 100.

Get Dressed Like You Would For an Office

If you’re struggling to stay disciplined, try dressing like you would if you were going into the office. Sure it may seem like a waste, but really it’s more about the psychological aspect of dressing up and the power of following a routine. If you’re able to make this positivity and routine a part of your daily modus operandi, success is bound to follow. Plus, then you’ll never have to worry about your appearance on a video call, impromptu virtual open house, etc.    

Invest In A High-Quality Camera & Microphone

Let’s face it, we’re not film professionals, but there are a few things you can do to improve your on-screen appearance. For example, invest in a high-quality web camera and microphone, then think about lighting. Avoid sitting with bright windows or lights behind you, but rather the opposite or even to the side. This will help you avoid the silhouetted appearance of someone who looks like they’re in witness protection. Along with the aforementioned camera and microphone, this will help you create an enjoyable and professional video call experience for colleagues, clients, and seminars. 

Connect With Clients & Listings In Person When Possible 

Technology is fantastic, but when it comes down to it there’s no replacement for good old-fashioned human contact. Whenever you can, connect with your clients in person just to maintain your relationship. There’s just something about meeting someone in person that reaffirms that trust and assures clients that they’re personally being looked after. Considering remote workers don’t have to commute to an office, you’ll have more free time to pencil in more meetings in person. 

Stay Connected With Your Network & Clients 

Working remotely can help you bolster your networking efforts. Whether it’s on social media or allowing you to work while you’re out at a conference, working remotely allows you to be more efficient and more flexible with your time which you can then dedicate to any aspect of your real estate business, especially networking. 

Pros & Cons of Working From Home as a Real Estate Agent

Of course, working from home isn’t a perfect fit for everyone. Here are some of the pluses and minuses to going remote as a real estate salesperson: 

Pros

Cons

 No time spent commuting/sitting in traffic

 Less social interaction with colleagues 

 Save money on fuel

 Home office costs including paper, ink, tech etc.

 Less environmental impact

 Can be difficult to limit distraction 

 Less wear and tear on your vehicle

 Must have fast, reliable internet at home

 Be close to pets

 Following a routine may be more challenging

 No sharing office refrigerator

 Must give up living space for home office

 Save money on desk rental

 Miss out on walk-in clients

 Freedom to live wherever you choose

 Non tech-savvy clients might not feel comfortable

Rules & Regulations as a Work From Home Real Estate Agent

Even if you err on the side of “independent contractor” as a remote agent, you still must sell real estate on behalf of a brokerage. Or if you’re the broker who has decided to shed the real estate office you still have to ensure your agents are acting within legal boundaries when performing real estate transactions. Regardless, both brokers and agents must adhere to local real estate laws and regulations regardless of whether or not they’re coming into the office. In many cases, rules, policies, and regulations are changing with new work remote arrangements so it’s always wise to check with your local regulatory body or National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to ensure you’re up to speed. It’s also wise to check with your insurance agent about any E&O insurance updates you might need to make while working from home, too. Once you’re confident you’re covered, it’s time to make a splash working remotely in real estate!