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Boundaries

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8:45PM – Will you bid 145 for me on that house?
9:00PM – Will you confirm when that bid is placed?
9:32PM – Are you placing a bid? If not just tell me so I can move on to something else.

I need to learn how to set boundaries. These three texts tonight confirmed that. I’ve been working with this person for about a year now. They’ve seen maybe 7 homes with me. In a year. I’m patient. I don’t need someone to buy a home until they’re comfortable. Today I had appointments from 4:30 to 8:30. This person e-mailed me about this particular listing at 3:30 today wondering when we could see it. I let them know that I had appointments until 8:30 this evening but would be happy to show them the home at 8:30 or even in the morning. Yes, it’s a HUD home open for daily bidding, so there is the possibility it won’t be available tomorrow. But I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect me to cancel a builder meeting, or a listing appointment, or another buyer appointment to show a home because now you want to see home number 8. (Sorry, venting) But I squeezed you in between my 4:30 and 6:00. I flew across the hill to get you into the home so I could fly back across the hill to arrive at my 6:00 at 6:02. I told you to text me by 8:30 if you were interested and I’d write the offer. I got home at 8:30, no text, so I had dinner. At 8:30. I relaxed. I watched some TV. (Million dollar listing, even my relaxation has a Real Estate theme) Now at 10:45 I realized that in the span of 47 minutes you’re ready to move on to something else. Perfect.

What other profession do you deem it OK to call, text, whatever at 8:45 at night? I suppose if my doctor picked up his phone at 8:45 or my lawyer answered that text at 8:45 that might set a precedence. I’ve set that precedence. So tonight, I realize I need boundaries. I should be able to come home and relax. I shouldn’t need to check my e-mail every 15 minutes to make sure I’m not missing something important. My voice mail even proudly proclaims “If you’ve reached this recording after 5PM, you can expect a phone call back tomorrow.” But no one ever really expects that. Because I call them back at 6:05. I’m actually really looking to the new “Do Not Disturb” feature coming out in iOS 6 next month. Will I actually have the juevos to use it? We’ll see.

I have an insatiable desire to please. I’m not sure where that comes from, but I pride myself on being 100% accessible to my clients. On vacation? No problem, I’ll send that addendum right over to you. Out to dinner with friends, no problem, let me just grab that call. Boundaries. I need to set boundaries. There was an agent in our office when I started, Nancy Koth (Now Larsen), that never answered her phone after 5 or 6 in the evening. And never answered her phone on Sunday. And she was super successful. I never understood how she could do that. I never understood the boundaries that she set. I, now, TOTALLY get why she had them, I just never understood how she got away with them. I mean shouldn’t real estate agents be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Maybe not.

Nancy is no longer an agent, she’s long since moved on to other things. I know how to get in touch with her however and maybe it’s time for lunch. I know she’ll precisely define the time and place for that meeting, so I won’t have to think about much, just show up. She’ll have perfectly defined the boundaries. I will however be all ears. And there on time. Even if it’s after 5 or on Sunday. Because? I have no boundaries.

This too shall change.

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AUTHOR - John Hurlbut

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