Wake up. Hit snooze. Obsessively scroll through emails in bed. Go back to sleep for another hour. Rush to the office in a panic. Rinse. Repeat.
If so, you can learn a thing or two from the morning habits of top-producing real estate agents.
Believe it or not, psychologists agree that how you start your day can have a massive impact on your success.
Worst case scenario, an intentional morning routine will help you become healthier, happier, and less stressed during the day.
That’s why we thought we’d take a look at the morning routines of some top-producing agents, brokers, and coaches. After the routines, stick around to check out our list of eight science-backed tips to design a morning routine that sets up your day for success.
1. Elina Golovko’s Morning Routine
2. Michael J. Franco’s Morning Routine
Michael J. Franco is a New York City broker with Compass. He is ranked #14 in New York and #3 at Compass. He lives in Manhattan. Here’s what his morning routine looks like:
“My most productive day starts with rising at 5 a.m. I have coffee while I return emails and texts from the night before after I have gone to sleep. I review the ‘hot sheets’ for new listings and listing updates for daily activity. I then check my social media and interact with posting responses and friends’ postings. Another coffee while I spend time with my partner.
Then three to four days a week I exercise (which has been challenging during the pandemic) and the other days I take my dog to Central Park to play catch, weather permitting (otherwise he just gets a walk around the block). Time permitting, I read for 10 minutes and journal for another 10 minutes. Next is a shower and head to the office after picking up a protein shake.
Once I hit the office, I am off to the races! I have several hours blocked off to catch up with clients, past and present, then the day is always filled with negotiations, renegotiations, showings, buyer tours, and general dousing of fires here and there! I try to end my day by 6 or 7 for dinner and quiet time alone with my partner and our dog!”
3. Sean Moudry’s Morning Routine
Sean Moudry is one of the hardest-working people we know. He is not only a highly successful agent in Colorado, he is also a sought-after real estate coach, speaker, recruiter, author, and consultant. With all that going on, he still manages to crank out amazing articles for The Close. Like this one. Even more amazing, he manages to do it all with a smile on his face.
Here’s a sneak peek into how Sean starts his day.
“To achieve over 100 transactions a year as an individual agent, my daily morning routine was determined by the day of the week. This was because I managed my business with a weekly routine and not a daily routine.
This means that Mondays were for meetings, contracts, and paperwork. Tuesdays were for following up on leads and 2nd showings. Wednesday mornings were time-off and the afternoon was for appointments. Thursday’s and Friday’s focus was all lead generation and setting appointments for the weekend and the upcoming week.
Since my focus was not the same each day, each morning I would ask myself this question. ‘If I could only accomplish two things today that would make me feel proud, what would they be?’ Some days this would be to set two appointments, other days it would be to call 10 past clients. This simple focus on just two things prevents me from feeling overwhelmed and still provides me with consistent measurable results.”
4. Tika Van Den Hurk’s Morning Routine
Tika Van Den Hurk is the Senior Director of Luxury Sales with Douglas Elliman, Florida. She is ranked in Real Trends for 2020, and is a top 4% Platinum award winner at DE. Here’s how she starts her day in sunny Florida:
“My alarm goes off at 6:45 a.m. and I start my day with a 10-minute meditation and visualization for everything I want to create in my life. After waking up and brushing my teeth, I drink one cup of hot water with lemon while preparing breakfast for my two teenage daughters. While they are eating and getting ready, I answer any urgent texts, emails, or phone calls for work.
After having my first cup of organic black coffee, I drive my daughters to school, and once I am back, I start my morning workout routine with a one hour and fifteen-minute run. I typically run between seven and 10 miles on the beautiful Fort Lauderdale beach. When I return, I spend 15 minutes doing yoga or Pilates for a cooldown at home.
When I am done with my workout and my family is off for the day, I get ready for work. I have a fresh bowl of fruit and my second cup of organic black coffee to start my work. After checking my goals for the day, I finish answering emails, checking on deadlines, scheduling or preparing for showings, and checking in with my clients.”
5. Tania Isacoff Friedland’s Morning Routine
Tania Isacoff Friedland is a Manhattan broker with Warburg Realty who has closed over $1 billion in volume in her career. She is also ranked on Real Trends as a top producer by volume. Here’s how her mornings look:
“At 6:30 a.m., my alarm goes off. The first thing I do is kiss my husband and dog good morning.
Next, I look at my phone and review the emails and texts that came in overnight.
Shortly thereafter, I jump out of bed, throw on my workout clothes and make myself a coffee to-go that I can drink on my way to the gym (in non-COVID times) or before I go for a run or get on the Peloton.
After my workout, I head home to shower and get ready for the day. I either keep the news on in my bedroom or play Bossa Nova/Brazilian Jazz on the speakers in my bedroom while I do my morning beauty routine in the bathroom and get dressed. As I’m getting ready, I mentally prepare for the day by reviewing my to-do list that I wrote the night before, think about my schedule for the day, reconfirm my appointments, and brainstorm strategic business ideas.
I’m usually ready by 8:45/9 a.m. I take my dog out for a quick walk and then head out for my first appointment or to my office for the day. En route, I always call my mother and best friend to check in as well as my business partner to update each other on the latest with our current deals, any new business leads, and plans for the day.
When I get to my office, I open a clean page in my Smythson notebook (yes, I’m old-fashioned) and compile my to-do list for the day, incorporating the reminders I sent myself the night before. By then, my phone has already started ringing non-stop, and well, the day has begun!”
6. Jessica Levine’s Morning Routine
Jessica Levine is a Manhattan broker with Douglas Elliman who was ranked #10 by GCI and #2 by sales volume at the brokerage in 2019. Here’s what her mornings look like:
“I set my alarm for 7:18 a.m. every morning. My birthday is July 18, so 7 and 18 are my lucky numbers.
I usually start my mornings woken up by a FaceTime call with my 4-year-old niece. She’ll typically call me en route to school or while getting ready, and it’s often a very cute conversation and fun way to start the day. I also try to go to a Pilates class, and pre-COVID, when more fitness classes were open, indoor rowing class, several times a week. This is all usually before 8:15 a.m.
A large portion of the morning after 8:15 a.m. is also spent checking in on CNBC and the markets. I enjoy following this quite a bit and think there are quite a few parallels to real estate and understanding the market here. In addition to catching up on morning news, I listen to NPR almost religiously while getting ready.
I’m on WhatsApp frequently in the morning as well, because a large portion of my business is with overseas investors who previously purchased with me and I am currently helping them rent or sell apartments. Given the time difference, the only time we really speak is late evenings or early mornings.
I actively start replying to all other emails just after 9 a.m., and try to designate any appointments with buyers or sellers for 10:30 a.m. or later to allow for enough time on email.”
7. Ryan Serhant’s Morning Routine
If you want to learn more about what Ryan is up to these days, our own Beth Incorvati sat down with him for a deep dive into starting a new brokerage during a pandemic, new agent advice, and more. Check it out here.
8. Kelly Killoren Bensimon’s Morning Routine
In addition to being a top-producing agent, Douglass Elliman Manhattan agent Kelly Killoren Bensimon has been called “one of the most fabulous tastemakers” by the New York Times. She is also a noted author, model, actress, and editor at Elle Magazine. That’s a lot to juggle, so it’s no wonder her morning routine focuses on wellness:
“I wake up refreshed every day around 7:30 a.m., as I drink CALM every night. Sleep is crucial to my wellness and for my ability to be thoughtful and productive.
The first thing I do is I hug and kiss my dog Fluffy. I then look at my phone and immediately connect with my personal marketing team and business manager. I don’t believe in the hustle—I believe in working smart. So, first my business manager and then it’s time for me.
I then walk downstairs, knock on my daughter Teddy’s door, tell ALEXA to put on Yacht Rocks, turn on CNN, and put lavender in my atomizers.
I walk Fluffy and then next head to the kitchen to feed her and prepare a fruit plate for myself. I take all of my vitamins, like turmeric, calcium, and B12. I make my plant-based WelleCo drink with chlorophyll drops, and drink my jasmine tea—no more coffee for me since last year when I went on my Supermodel Diet with my Instagram friends.
I then either go to SoulCycle or go for a run outside. I have learned many cities by just running. Even when I was a model, I ran down the streets everywhere I went—Africa, Morocco, Paris, London, Sydney, and so on. I love to see the city in the mornings. Working out to me isn’t a crazy, hardcore workout—it’s mindful, gets my blood moving, and keeps my mind fit.”
9. David Rosen’s Morning Routine
OK, let’s head back to the East Coast and check out Manhattan luxury real estate broker David Rosen’s morning routine. In a city as crazy as ours, it’s no surprise that meditation is a key part of David’s routine:
“I wake up without an alarm around 5:45 a.m. I then check my phone to see what inquiries we received on my listings through the night. Then I turn on my meditation website—tarabrach.com—and do a guided meditation for 20 minutes.
Then I make a fresh ground, single-serve cup of coffee and exercise in my living room. My workouts were given to me by my trainer, and mostly are core exercises and lots of stretching. Once my coffee brews, I drink it and watch CNBC or other news, and then finally wash up and take three trains to my office in TriBeCa.”
10. Shann Silver’s Morning Routine
As one of the most successful Realtors in Santa Monica, Partners Trust Realtor Shann Silver starts her day with email, coffee, and yoga:
After the caffeine kicks in, I proceed to answer any texts and voicemails that are urgent, and then I check my emails. I prioritize by initially answering all emails pertaining to current deals in escrow and active listings. That usually involves updates with escrow officers and other agents involved in the deals, delegating tasks to my team, and any necessary correspondence with clients. Setting up showings for current listings and buyers would be next on my list.
Once I feel I have all my calls and emails under control for the morning, time permitting, I like to squeeze in a workout to clear my mind and set intentions for the day. Yoga and spinning are my main got-to workouts. I then shower and head to the office to deal with whatever other fires may have arisen or head out to do showings.
And yes, that’s just my morning.
Thank God for cell phones, as a lot of my work gets done on the go!”
11. Bryan Casella’s Morning Routine
12. Amie Pettengill’s Morning Routine
Possibly because she works in comparatively bucolic Lexington, Massachusetts, top-producing Realtor Amie Pettengill starts her day all business. She’s also one of those magical people who can get peak performance with only five to six hours of sleep per night. As someone who needs a solid eight hours, this makes me more than a little jealous!
“My morning routine really begins the night before, as I don’t go to sleep until every last client email and phone message has been answered! After cleaning out my inboxes, I check my calendar, then turn the lights out and enjoy a solid five to six hours of sleep.
Though it’s not a ton of sleep, it’s worth it to me because this routine allows me to wake up and feel like I’m starting a new day, rather than cleaning up yesterday’s news. I wake up by 6:00 a.m., then immediately turn on my computer while I prepare a bit of tea to kick off the morning. I quickly check any emails I may have missed while sleeping, and then head over to the MLS.
I review any new listings for my buyer clients, send those over if any are the right match, and then check my calendar to look through what is in store for the day. I typically use this time to manage my priorities and note any events that may need extra attention that day. The biggest piece of my routine is:
I am checking emails and answering calls constantly in order to ensure that I am on top of every inquiry, every listing that comes through.
While yes, that may seem crazy, it is a huge part of why I have been successful, and why I have a client base that trusts me. They know that nothing falls through the cracks with me, because I have found and stuck to a routine that works!”
8 Science-backed Tips to Start Your Day Like a Top Producer
1. Wake Up Early
Yeah, I know. You became a real estate agent because you wanted to “make your own schedule.” Of course, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. How many mornings have you slept in because you thought, “I’m the boss, god dammit!”?
I can hear the night owls reading this already: “But most of my appointments are in the afternoon and evening!” OK. How well prepared do you want to be for those appointments? What will impress your high-net worth corporate client more—an email sent at 8:30 a.m. or one sent at 3:45 p.m.?
2. Resist the Urge to Check Your Phone
If you want to start your morning routine off on the right foot, checking your phone the second you turn the alarm off is one of the worst things you can do. You are essentially just dumping yourself straight into work without putting that work into context.
But wait, I hear you ask, what if you have an emergency text or email?! OK. If you follow the first tip and wake up early, you will have plenty of time to put out that fire before most agents are even out of bed.
3. Manage Your Business With a Weekly Routine, Not a Daily Routine
Sean’s advice here is one of the most important lessons agents can learn. You need to structure your week for success. So the actual work you start with after your morning routine matters. A lot.
4. Set an Achievable Goal for Your Day
Psychologists agree that goal setting is crucial for building and maintaining the motivation you need to become successful.
If you want to actually achieve your goals, studies show that breaking them up into smaller goals will help. This is something Sean does every morning. “If I could only accomplish two things today that would make me feel proud, what would they be?”
5. Practice Gratitude
After goal setting, practicing gratitude is the second-best thing you can do for your career in the morning. Studies show that gratitude can not only improve your mental health, but actually change your brain too.
Of course, there is fierce debate about whether working out in the morning is better than working out in the evening, but since most top producers work out in the morning, it couldn’t hurt to work it into your routine.
I actually wrote an entire article on how meditation can change your day and long-term performance. Check it out here.
8. Skip the Carbs
As a native New Yorker, I sure do love my bagels. However, giving them up and upgrading to a pure protein-based breakfast has genuinely transformed my life. Not only do I have more sustained energy and avoid the mid-afternoon sleepiness, but I am losing weight too.
Over to You
Do you have a great morning routine you swear by? Having trouble coming up with one that works? Let us know in the comments.