“Most people who work at home find they do not have the benefit of receptionists who serve as personal guards.”
– Judith Martin, American Journalist, Author and Etiquette Authority
Do real estate service practitioners (RESPs) in the Philippines need a physical office?
Yes is the sad answer to the question. Section 33 of RA 9646 mandates licensed real estate brokers, appraisers and consultants to “establish and maintain a principal place of business and such other branch offices as may be necessary, and shall conspicuously display therein the original and/or certified true copies of his/her certificate of registration as well as the certificates of registration of all real estate service practitioners employed in such office.”
The legislators felt that requiring RESPs to have physical office would give them credibility and make them look more professional vis-à-vis fly-by-night colorum brokers that are still operating despite the passage of the Real Estate Service Act (RESA).
But the cost of maintaining an office is a drain on the meagre resources of independent RESPs. Therefore, I would venture a guess and declare that most independent RESPs have home offices – where they can display their certificate of registration proudly as required by RESA.
Third, you do not even have to dress up and commute going to work. Lastly, you have the flexibility to work whatever time you want while balancing your business time with your family time.
If this is the case, then it shouldn’t be really hard to establish a home office. Correct?
Not exactly, because it is more than what it seems. Working from home is not as easy as people would like many to believe. Oftentimes, having the flexibility of time makes it harder to be productive and complete each day’s goals.
I have experienced this when my daughter often interrupts my work by politely asking for something as mundane as “Papa, can I please have a glass of water?” She is four years young and although I am irritated sometimes, I still welcome such interruption. But, for others, such may not be the case, especially when there is a deadline to meet.
At home, distractions abound as well. And it becomes easy to put off those particularly annoying tasks – like tracking and listing your daily expenses for tax purposes – until tomorrow.
For veteran brokers and newbies (newly licensed real estate brokers) alike, here are five (5) tips to guide on getting the most out of working from home, four of which were taken from the article from Argonautnews.com.
TIP 1: Make a schedule and stick to it. A good schedule covers what you absolutely need to accomplish, while being realistic about the amount of time each week to grow your business and prospecting for new business. Create a habit. For instance, spend your mornings completing administrative paperwork, touching base with clients on current deals, and securing exclusive listing agreements. Then, spend the rest of the day prospecting – in the home office or out.
Stick to your schedule. This means planning for potential distractions, including personal phone calls, family members, pet noise and televisions. However, this does not mean you are to put your personal life second. Some brokers find themselves on the clock all the time, as they’ve allowed the line to blur between work hours and non-work hours. Make sure to schedule time for family and friends outside of your established working hours. To have a life, plan it.
Tip 2: Establish a routine. Sometimes, it is tempting to get out of bed and go straight to the laptop and begin working because you thought of numerous things upon waking up. Resist this urge. Instead, create a routine that prepares your physical and mental state to tackle the work for the day. As much as possible, wake up at the same time every day. Start off your day by meditating, exercising or finding quiet time to reflect on your personal life. Shower, dress up casually and have breakfast. Or it may be the other way around. It all depends on what routine you want to establish. Thereafter, it’s time to get down for some serious and uninterrupted work time.
TIP 3. Make a space. Camping out and working on the couch is not likely to get you very far. Invest heavily in personalizing your office space. Stock it with the office equipment you need to get the job done. Do not try to conduct your entire business from your smart phone. You will need an actual computer, printer, scanner, fax machine – and of course a desk and comfortable chair. This is your workspace.
As you’ll invariably spend many hours in your car each week, keep chargers for your mobile products – tablets and phones – in your car. Increasingly, real estate brokers carry laptops or tablets (and sometimes mobile printers) so they can type up and process transactions quickly. To keep all your work materials together, consider purchasing a car organizer.
TIP 4. Find support. Working from home can make anyone feel disconnected. However, the great thing about working from home during this day and age is that you are not alone. There are plenty of other workers – in real estate and other professions – who live nearby and deal with the same struggles unique to working from a home office. Organize midday breaks for walks, refreshments, conversations about work and family. Where can you find these fellow home office workers? Start by asking around your own professional network. You can also reach out through the virtual social network to create a live one. Form a community by planning regular meetings with these solitary workers.
TIP 5: Take advantage of the benefits. Working from home can save money by skipping expensive desk fees, and time by eliminating your commute and office-chatter distractions. Further, tax deductions are allowed for some of the expenses and utilities used exclusively for your home office. Consult your certified public accountant on this matter.
In the end, whether you work at home or not, real estate brokers are people person in general. Your people skills are the most important of all. No one likes a grumpy and hard-to-get-along broker. This is what makes or breaks the career of a licensed real estate broker.
Are there other tips that we have forgotten to mention above? Let us know by giving us your comments.