How Do I Travel So Much As A Real Estate Broker?
I get this question a lot - and not even from a financial standpoint, but but a time and logistics standpoint. I sell houses, which are firmly located in the state of Utah. So upon first consideration you'd think that I have to be here in Utah all the time in order to do my job.
I've taken several vacations in the past year, and my goal is to take at least a small trip every other month, with at least one of those being a longer trip to a new country I've never visited before. The reason I travel so much is because I strongly believe that people show up best in their lives, both personally and professionally, when their soul is well fed. And travel feeds my soul in a very real way! Plus, who doesn't want a real estate broker than knows how to have a little fun?!
So how is it possible to travel that much and be a good agent for my clients and a good broker for the agents under me?
And the answer basically comes down to three things:
My ability and willingness to stay available
A great supportive community at my brokerage
So let's dive into that a little bit!
It might surprise some of you to hear that the vast majority of my job is done remotely. Yes, showing houses to buyers is a significant piece of the puzzle, but in the grand scheme of things there isn't a lot of my time where I'm physically required to be somewhere. I can work from home, I can work from a rooftop pool, I can work from the office, or I can work from pretty much anywhere in the world with internet/cell reception. Just last May I submitted an offer for a buyer on a property with multiple offers just before I flew to Puerto Vallarta, and I ended up negotiating the details of the contract while standing in the middle of a Mexican flee market, and sent off the agreed upon changes for signatures right then and there.
I have an excellent international phone plan, so whether I'm in Salt Lake, Mexico, or Italy, anyone can reach me.
Also, it helps that all signatures are done digitally now, so I can send a contract to a client to sign from anywhere. Showings are requested and approved through an app - I can even set it up so that when a buyer's agent requests a showing on my listing, the request goes straight to the seller to approve or deny, which makes it easy for everyone. Earnest money can be wired straight from your phone to my brokerage once we're under contract. Inspection reports are emailed out with detailed descriptions, photos, and sometimes even video. And of course, I've used Facetime or Zoom for meetings more times than I can count, which is how I also help people buy homes remotely when they're relocating from out of state (I'll write a blog on that soon, I promise). Technology is great!
I may be on vacation, but that doesn't mean I'm not just as available. When I was kayaking with manatees in Florida two weeks ago, you can bet that I was texting clients and agents while out on the water (iPhones are water resistant - it's fine). And when I was in Italy, even though there was an 8 hour time difference, I was still just as in touch - I had an agent with a bunch of questions one evening, and we had a long text exchange at 3 am my time until she had her issue resolved.
Some people treat vacations as if you have to be 100% unplugged the entire time you're gone. And while that's beneficial sometimes, it's not how I treat my trips the vast majority of the time. If I have cell service, I'm available.
A Supportive Community
And if for any reason I'm not going to be available via phone, or if there is something that requires a physical presence - I have the most amazing community of colleagues that I can lean on for assistance.
Showing homes is the part that is most complicated when traveling. When I'm representing buyers they will of course need to see properties they're interested in. Ideally, I am there for each and every showing, and I try hard to make that happen. For this reason a lot of my vacations are booked somewhat short notice, within weeks of when I want to take my trip, because it's easier to gauge my client load, and my individual clients' needs at any given point, and then decide if it's feasible for me to go out of town or not. There are times where most of my clients are sellers, where I really don't need to physically be there for much of anything, and there are other times that I have a handful of buyers all looking at homes multiple times a week. In the first scenario it's not a big deal at all if I'm physically not in Utah for the week, whereas in the second one it's more challenging, so I might choose to postpone my trip.
But even if I never took a vacation, it's not always possible for me to be the one to open the door of every home because of scheduling conflicts, so this is where my amazing brokerage comes into play - we have over 120 agents, all of which are incredible people, and so many of them are willing to jump in to help anytime someone needs some support. If I am not personally available to meet you at the showing, I'll have a trusted agent there to show you the home as soon as is needed, and then I'll still handle all your questions, writing an offer, and negotiating the details, so even if it's not my beautiful face you see at the house you still get all my amazing skills where it counts.
So, if I'm helping you buy a house, and I happen to be out of town while you're house shopping, you'll have a single agent that I've hand picked to take care of you as your point of contact for showings while I'm gone, but in reality this rarely happens.
And as far as agent support goes in my role as a broker, we have 3 other incredible brokers at different branches of Unity that are all willing to answer questions and take care of things if I'm ever not available - whether I'm at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned down the street, or halfway around the world. We pride ourselves on teamwork and responsiveness, and we are all available to you anytime you need it.
I think it's pretty amazing how much our world is changing in so many industries to allow us to do things more remotely, and real estate is no exception. You just need the right support system, the determination, and the tools to make it happen.
Since no travel post is complete without photos - enjoy a sneak peek into my adventures :)
As always, I'm always here to answer any questions you have!