Why I am Leaving Real Estate
I don’t remember the exact time when it dawned on me that my life was no longer my own. That I had willingly given over my free time with my kids and friends in favor of a never-ending barrage of phone calls, texts, solicitations and problems that “required immediate assistance.” It was my doing, my fault, my choice, but it still nonetheless drove a wedge into my life that I thought looked like success.
I sat at the dinner table with my kids many times and asked them to hold on when they were telling me a story from their day because a client or colleague was texting me and I “had” to respond. When I see these moments in my head they make me sad. Sad that I thought for a second that anything at work was more important than what my child was telling me, even if it was just about how a teacher had bad breath or about a new song that just came out. The amount of times I told my kids I couldn’t watch something with them or do something with them because I had work to do is both staggering and heart-wrenching. This is why it needs to come to an end.
An epiphany is defined as a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. My epiphany came slowly, but I always knew it was coming. Real Estate is a very needy business and my personality craves to be left alone. The dichotomy between the needs of the business and my own personal needs were always diametrically opposed. I set myself up.
I have always thought of myself as a terrible salesperson because I have never tried to sell anything. I have always been honest and straightforward to a fault, never wanting someone to end up disappointed. I guess that’s what made me good at my job as a real estate agent. However, what I have found in real estate is that the better service you give to your clients, the less freedom you get in return. Because I always had a distinct answer and because I always responded when called upon is also why, even when I have told clients or colleagues that I am with my family or on vacation, they persist in asking, questioning, needing. It’s my own fault.
I am the cause of my own discontent.
Real Estate, however, has been a willing participant in my suffrage. For those who think that real estate agents make a lot of cold calls to homeowners, you have no idea how many cold calls I receive every day because I am a real estate agent.
Them: Hi, this is Joe from Real Estate Agent Academy. We have a new product that will generate tons of leads for you for half the cost of Zillow.
Me: I already have too many leads, dude. I can’t even build a team quick enough or well enough to keep up.
Them: So would Tuesday or Thursday be better for a follow-up?
Me: (dial tone)
The second I hang up on Joe, I get an email from Joe telling me what he just told me. And hey look, there is a LinkedIn request from Joe as well, with a polite message saying that we have a lot of connections in common and that we should connect to see what he can do for my business. Wow, that’s weird, Joe just sent me a friend request on Facebook, after liking my business page. This happens 10 times a week at a bare minimum. I don’t want this, but I created this. Actually, I asked for it.
To build our business in real estate we have to embrace social media and personal branding and I did this to the tilt. I was actually obsessed with it. And in return, it brought me more activity, more leads, more calls, more texts, more disruptions and more expectations. It’s no one’s fault except my own. I asked for it by broadcasting every listing, every success and every story from my business. What I didn’t think about at the time I was doing this was the cost involved in building my business this way. For every row of hashtags I added on Instagram, I could have spent that time better asking one of my kids a question. For every Just Listed Facebook ad I spent 30 minutes making perfect, I could have spent that time playing a board game with one of my kids. My ads would generate 100 Facebook leads in a couple of days and that meant 100 responses, 100 follow up texts, 100 more people “requiring” my attention who are stepping in front of my own flesh and blood because I felt compelled to answer. I had this all wrong.
You can rationalize anything if you try hard enough. I told myself I had to build this business quickly and efficiently to provide a future resource for my children. The truth was that I was able to hide in work and this is another thing that shatters me when I think about it. Sometimes you don’t know what you are hiding from. Maybe a difficult conversation or something you have to do but don’t want to, but it’s very easy to use work as a crutch to get you out of anything. I have done it many, many times and that is directly on me.
I am leaving real estate to get my life back.
I am leaving real estate because it doesn’t make me a better person.
I am leaving real estate because it’s time.
Join me soon for my upcoming podcast, Dad. Dad is an exploration of fatherhood — from being a father to being a son or daughter and all of the emotion that lies within. More information coming soon at www.dadthepodcast.com.
Also, stick with me on Medium as I dissect more real estate conundrums along with plenty of other theoretical musings about parenting and my parents. Coming Soon are the 5 Ways to Prevent Real Estate Burnout.