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Real Estate is Really Hot Right Now! But is it a Good Busy?

Real Estate is Really Hot Right Now!  But is it a Good Busy?

By James Crawford

Time is Running OutAsk anyone in real estate these days “How is the real estate market?”…everyone says “It’s real busy” or “It’s hot!”  But is it a good busy?  Are you making money or unproductively just spinning your wheels wasting gas?  Is the way we conduct our own business the source of the problem? Can we increase the quality of our own lives by implementing a few changes?  Seasoned and experienced real estate agents are sharing that there are too few quality listings to show, too many agents to compete against, buyers that are not loyal, buyers fail to get a loan, and multiple offers on mediocre homes that in the end do not appraise can be a real dilemma for all.  I concur with that assessment. Busy work is not always productive work.  Being busy all hours of the day does not necessarily put money in your pocket or pay your bills.  It may indicate that we are the source of the problem.  So how can we turn it around?

The first thing we all have to do is make a decision to change those things we have control over. That means no exceptions to the rule.  Making that decision means that we will change our own behavior and poor business practices forever.  Today will be that new day, and each day forward we repeat the same commitment to these new business practices. We can all come up with a list of lines in the sand we will not cross.  The key is to implement it.

A Few Suggestions for to Recoup Some Quality Time:

  1. Determine if the potential buyer or seller is already working with an agent.
  2. All buyers must be pre-approved for a loan amount for the type of home they intend to buy.
  3. Buyers should be warned upfront not come in with super low offers in a really hot market. It is a total waste of everyone’s time.  It will only insure the seller will remain firm on their price.
  4. Buyers need to be educated to the fact they will be competing against multiple offers, and their offer needs to stand out of the pack.
  5. Buyers should understand that in the real world the home they are buying may still need some work and updating.
  6. Buyers must sign a buyer agency agreement before they are shown homes.
  7. Do the buyers have to sell before they can buy a home?
  8. Home buyers need to understand not every home will have granite countertops and stainless appliances.
  9. Sellers should be given the facts about homes not appraising.
  10. Homes need to be prepped, repaired and cleaned before they go on market.
  11. Pricing a home to sell is still key!
  12. Home staging does not mean sellers can be grossly overpriced.
  13. Do not spend hours of your time on the phone to someone that will not commit to work with you.
  14. Determine the seller’s motivation for selling a home.
  15. Painting a home and cleaning a home before listing is vital.
  16. Homes should not go on the market with an idle promise of a seller they will do the work shortly.
  17. Never, ever list a home when the seller says let’s try this higher price for a few weeks then we will lower.
  18. Define the hours that you are available for work by setting boundaries on your time.
  19. Refuse to work with abusive clients or customers.
  20. Never accept empty promises from anyone. All contract changes and amendments must be in writing. 

The thing to remember is “TIME=MONEY!”  We are not a free information resource.  We are not dogs begging for a treat. Remember we have the power to say “No!”.  If persons do not want to listen or follow our advice, pay the commission that we require for our services…the word we should think of is “NEXT!”  Fire them!  Send them to the competition to waste their time.  You can even give those hard to deal with people the contact information of your competitors.  Let them deal with them.  After all, your new life will have less stress, more free time to pursue quality business.  If we waste our day on working an unqualified loser we will be too tired to work the really good deal when they call.  The choice for quality of life is always ours.  We just have to stick to our goals.

James Crawford ABR, Broker Associate





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Comment balloon 63 commentsJim Crawford • June 17 2016 09:22AM


Hi Jim... a terrific checklist of things to consider when working in the kind of market many of us are facing these days.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) over 2 years ago

"Are you making money or unproductively just spinning your wheels wasting gas? "   Really enjoyed your post and the checklist you provide. Have a productive weekend!


Posted by Chrissi Chapman Topoleski, HOME~There is no place like it! (Re/Max Real Estate Connections) over 2 years ago

Nina Hollander and it is based on real life in real estate!  Enjoy your weekend!


Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Chrissi Chapman Topoleski the checklist is based on "Been there done that!"  Have a great weekend! 

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Jim, so important to follow your checklist of points. I have potential buyers calling everyday. Need to weed out fast from lookers to actual buyers. Have a great Father's Day. 

Posted by Frank Rubi, (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) over 2 years ago

What a great post Jim and checklist to remind us that "time is money" and what we need to do to work in today's market and be successful. Thanks!

Posted by Susan Laxson CRS, Local Knowledge & Global Network (Palm Properties) over 2 years ago

Time management is one of the most important parts of our business.  This checklist is definitely a good guide.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 2 years ago

I totally agree Frank Rubi, and many of those callers will actually lie to you.  Imagine that!! 

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

You are more than welcome Susan Laxson

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

I totally agree Jane Peters, but sometimes even if we've been in the business for a while...there is always room to improve.

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Jim Crawford  a timely and concise list of all things to consider in this "hot" market that we all seem to be in at the moment. Thus my lack of blogging in the last few months... Great job and a good read for me especially. Thanks

Posted by Robert Hammerstein, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 2 years ago

Robert Hammerstein it is based on facts of every day life in real estate. Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great productive summer ahead! 

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

All great tips how to stay focused in this hot seller's market. Buyers need to realized the urgency to come prepared to the bidding table. Time = Money to all involved. 

Posted by Les & Sarah Oswald, Broker, Realtor and Investor (Realty One Group) over 2 years ago

Les & Sarah Oswald... Exactly!


Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Jim Crawford - Very well thought through .... comprehansive checklist... Thank You!

Posted by Manish Chanda over 2 years ago

Thank you Manish Chanda for your kind words.  This post was based on a lot of years in the business.

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

We have learned a lot over the years in good markets and bad👍

Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) over 2 years ago

Thanks for the post, to often we forget some need to follow rules. Way to easy to get into the follow the lead and forget how to lead

Posted by Janine Boulay-Seibert, NC & GA Real Estate Broker (Remax Town & Country) over 2 years ago

Tracy Santrock and we have to keep on learning. 

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Janine Boulay-Seibert I think we all do.  Sometimes it just reminds us to go back to that safe place.  Less stress, a better quality of life and even if it is less money...that is OK!


Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

All very good points.  Trying a higher price never works.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) over 2 years ago

I am in a small town of under 100,000 in population.  There are about 250 real estate agents.  Any given week there are 20 buyers actually buying a single family home here on average.  That means at least 230 agents will not be getting those buyers and probably more because some of us are working with more than one buyer each week.

Jim, I know you mean well with your blog and want to help us protect our time and resources.  I applaud you for that and respect your decision to draw the line in the sand if that works for you.

Imagine my going to a car dealer and I meet you there, Jim, as the car salesman and I want some information about some cars on the lot.  You tell me your list of 20 demands or hoops I have to jump through before you will help me.  What would you guess my response would be?  I will be moving on to one of the other sales people on the lot.

I am a salesman and need to provide customer service.  I need to build trust with the buyers and sellers before I start asking them to sign an agreement, which I do, but just not in order for me to help them initially.

I am happy you have so much business that you can turn buyers and sellers away if they won't follow your ground rules.  I sell 40 to 50 houses a year and I would estimate that would fall to 5 to 10 if I didn't offer to help people initially with no strings attached.

Again, I respect and agree with what you are saying as something that needs to be done but I think I need to earn their business and trust first by showing them I am a real estate expert and that they will want to sign a written agreement with me.

Thank you for your nice checklist as I will use it, but just at a little later in the relationship than first thing.  Again, I respect your stance that you take and I am glad it is working for you Jim!  :)

Posted by Rob Lang, Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes (At Home Kansas Team Powered by Keller Williams Partners Inc / over 2 years ago

Jim, you have many great points here.  You have to train your Buyers AND Sellers to be responsible for their end of the transaction.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Great advice. I try to do all this. I have a life outside of real estate and I still do well

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source (CastNet Realty) over 2 years ago

Jim - I agree with much of what you say, and also agree with Rob Lang. Sometimes its necessary to "waste" a little time at the outset in orderto gain a potential client's trust. You just can't let that go on indefinitely. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 2 years ago

You list is awesome in both hot markets and all other markets as well. Thanks Jim!

Posted by James Guido, REALTOR, Broker Associate, South Orange County CA (eXp Realty of California Inc) over 2 years ago

Jim.  A very interesting post.  However, as much as I agree with most of it I have to be honest and respectfully say I also stand with Rob Lang as in our area the buyers expect to check us out "before" they choose who they will work with.  I believe in working smart, but we also need to hold on to the tenant of our profession and serve the buyers and sellers so they want to work with us.

Posted by Diana Dahlberg, Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563 (1 Month Realty) over 2 years ago

All except #6 and 17, I can subscribe to in the form of education as we go along. #6, under normal circumstances, I don't have them sign an agreement. As to #17, that does happen and I won't refuse to take a listing because of that. Only if they are truly delusional.

Posted by Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®, Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea over 2 years ago

Congratulations on the featured post. Thank you for the tips. Have a good day.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 2 years ago

Congratulations on the feature - thanks for sharing your insights

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Chuck Carstensen the higher price routine in my opinion is always counterproductive.

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

I fall more in Rob Lang's camp.  We are a service industry and everyday we need to demostrate our "value added" when assisting a customer.  And it pays off.  Recently a Buyer called me on one of my Under Contract listings.  After telling them the house was no longer available they mentioned it was the third one they had missed because the Buyer Agents "pursuing them" for their business wanted to handle them "according to modern practices".  I offered "old fashioned service", the only way I ethically can work, and this morning I am writing a $450,000 Offer to Purchase.  And I practice in a County of 90,000 residents with 600 Licensed  Real Estate Agents.

Posted by Betsy N. Robinson - Serving the Sandhills, NC, CNS (Everything Pines Partners, LLC.) over 2 years ago

Bang for the buck comes with Real Estate. The prices and the stakes make it so

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 2 years ago

This is an excellent blog!  We have a 'hot' market here in the Kansas City area and it shows no sign of letting up.  Buyers are frustrated and so are agents.  I am experiencing everything you mentioned. 

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 2 years ago

Jim your list could be a 3.5 hour MCE Course !!! I'm Bookmarking it !

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 2 years ago

Great post Jim.  I think that the one bad habit many of us fall into is that we believe that we need to do anything , suffer all, sacrifice anything for that person who raised their hand and said I want to buy or sell.  Learning who is worth working with and who is not is the strongest skill we can develop in this industry.

Posted by Michael Layton, Michael Layton 7604085300 (Big Block Realty) over 2 years ago

Great post Jim.  I do not follow the sign up Buyer Agency Agreement because I work in the second home market and I give good service and am delighted with the number of people who want to work with me.  I also google my clients and can glean a lot of information online before meeting them.  

Posted by Elizabeth Y. Foulds, Your St Michaels Realtor (Long & Foster Real Estate) over 2 years ago

#1 is good advice but the problem is people will flat out lie to you. I cannot tell you how many times I've had people call on a listing and I ask them if they are working with an agent and they say no. Later that buyer will send in an offer from "their agent".

I disagree with #10 & #15. Yes if they want top dollar but I've listed REO, estate sales, short sales, investor properties and even a few standard sales where they didn't have the funds and/or desire to do repairs or updates. That's fine as long as they are willing to price accordingly. Some just want or need to get out from under a property. Some buyers want sweat equity or are willing to do their own updating, especially in older neighborhoods where some buyers want the larger lots and something different than the cookie cutter tract home and plan to update the inside anyway.

Posted by Patrick Willard over 2 years ago

Great points for everyone looking to buy in Atlanta.  I hear you!  Tire kickers beware, they must be pre-qualified and agents need to educate them about the market. Good luck! 

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) over 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Very interesting and insightful indeed. One must look at the area you are in and if you can make this work. It seems to me that the quailty of life one wants can depend on several factors. I have learned several things in the past 6 months .... that have changed my thoughts drastically ... will be writing a post on this in the next couple of weeks. Have a blessed and happy weekend. Your friend in the business. Laura 

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) over 2 years ago

That depends on how long one plans to live there. Other choice is rent. If it is for investment one needs to be more dicretionary.  In both coasts for the last 40 years the opponents have been saying they are over priced and home can not go up anymore. Those with common business sense are making sound decisions.

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 2 years ago

Jim, thank you for all these reminders. They may not apply to everyone in their particular market, but everyone should ponder these 20 points.   Just this week, I went against my intuition on #20, and it did bite me in the bottom!

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 2 years ago

It seems sellers and buyers are rehabbing properties both buying and selling. Great list

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 2 years ago

I like this market, but it's making us redefine how we market the home.  It goes under contract so fast I do not have time to get more business from it.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions) over 2 years ago

Great points Jim!  I am in your market and I know exactly what you mean.

Posted by Ava Anderson, Selling Atlanta from A-Z! (A-Z Atlanta Realty ) over 2 years ago


Really great post and infomation.Our market is HOT in Austin too. Have a wonderful weekend. 

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) over 2 years ago

Jim Crawford - so many great thoughts in your post. Highlighting just a few -

How many agents really check if the buyer is working with another agent or not?

And how many sellers are ready to price the home right - in this hot market?

Oh yes, Busy feels good - is it really productive, though?

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 2 years ago

Amen and amen to all 17 points. Unfortunately, many agents will not subscribe to all your points but then they probably haven't ever quantified the value of their time. 

Imagine most agents working 60 hours a week or 3,120 hours annually and earning $100k. So, $32.05 per hour, so what's the scale when an agent earns $65k? Now, imagine working 30 hours per week or 1560 hours annually and earning $65k, now, what is your hourly earnings?

Choosing your opportunities to ensure your financial expectations is essential and maximizing your time=money is the ultimate qualifier for any business, isn't it?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 2 years ago

Really true about not working with loosers so you've got time & patience for the good clients.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 2 years ago

Your list of 20 items firmly illustrates why agents have large income swings. Most agents do have a system to say the least. Many agents refuse to work as a team for obvious reasons. My next gripe is this: many agents are reactive and not proactive thus the 80/20 rule.

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) over 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing!!!

The thing to remember is “TIME=MONEY!”  We are not a free information resource.  We are not dogs begging for a treat. Remember we have the power to say “No!”.  If persons do not want to listen or follow our advice, pay the commission that we require for our services…the word we should think of is“NEXT!”  Fire them!  Send them to the competition to waste their time.

Posted by Sham Reddy, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 2 years ago

My life has improved ten-fold since I started using Buyer Broker Agreements.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 2 years ago

My favorite: #19 - refuse to work with abusive clients.   We've an agent in our office that refuses to turn down any business.   That's not my business plan!  Typically if you're paying attention you'll see red flags early in the process.    The energy spent reduces what you've left available for good clients (and yourself).     It's like dating in a way - if you're spending time & energy in a bad relationship, you're not available for the good ones!    

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) over 2 years ago

M.C. Dwyer Exactly!  Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great week!

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Excellent advice!  You missed one, though.  Establish office hours, and make sure your clients (both buyers and sellers) understand that 9:00 at night, or Christmas morning is strictly for dire emergencies.  

Posted by Victoria CB Trees, Principal Broker (Crater Lake Realty, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Victoria C.B. Trees you are so right.  How could Ihave missed that one? 

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Great info and advice Jim.. it is hard to set all the boundaries we need to!

Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) over 2 years ago

It has been a great year and the next two months look equally good. I set my boundaries and am happy with that. I no longer chase buyers but focus on developed business.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) over 2 years ago

Hi Jim.  You make some excellent points about how we could all better utilize our efforts.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 2 years ago

Funny, we're probably all aware of these basics, BUT how easy it is to "forget" to practice them in the heat of the moment.  

Posted by Don Hess (KW Elite Keller Williams 1280 Plaza Blvd. Lancaster, PA 17601) over 2 years ago

Thanks Gabe Sanders I think there is always room for improvement in the way I conduct business.

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 2 years ago

Jim, I LOVE this list, and have been working on a lot of them.  My biggest step forward in the last few years has been saying "no" to potential buyers and sellers who I think may just be wasting my time.  It is pretty liberating to be able to say no!  I like that motto...."service, not servitude!"

Posted by Melissa Brown, Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale (Helen Adams Realty) over 2 years ago

Excellent suggestions for recouping some quality time Jim Crawford. A well deserved Feature. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Nancy Laswick, Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun (United Real Estate) over 2 years ago