She doesn't eat. She doesn't drink. She doesn't even find time to take a break. Mary Jane Macgill is simply on the go all day.
It's Sunday -- a day of open houses, appointments, unscheduled appointments and she hopes, at this day's end, enough time for a family birthday celebration.
Macgill, an 11-year veteran Realtor formerly with Coldwell Banker and now with Long and Foster in Ellicott City, begins her week just like every other week, busy. Selling real estate is not a 9-to-5 job.
With appointment book, cell phone and keys in hand, Macgill ventures out on what is for her a typical 12-hour marathon.
7:30 a.m. The phone rings at her home in Arbutus. She has been up since 6: 30 a.m. and already has a call. It's Cletus and Carol Niesslein of Baltimore, who want to look at two properties in Hampstead. She agrees to meet them at 11 a.m. Cletus, who owns Baltimore Floor Works, refinished the floors in her home and they became friends. She has been working with the Niessleins for about a month as a buyer's broker.
The Niessleins are tough customers. They are undecided where they are going to live -- "anywhere from Harford County to Mount Airy, it's a broad spectrum," Macgill says.
"They are very motivated to purchase a home," she says. "They have lived in the city for a number of years. Their children are entering high school and they are looking to move elsewhere."
She also has listed the Niessleins' home.
8:30 a.m. Dressed in a black suit, black and white blouse, pumps and company badge, she sets off for the office.
9 a.m. Macgill arrives and begins running listings of homes on the computer using the Metropolitan Regional Information System.
A duty agent handling the phones and two other agents are at the office on U.S. 40 in Ellicott City. It's pretty quiet this morning. Her small office is down a short hall behind the lobby.
She sits with a computer mouse under one hand and a stack of papers in the other. Scanning the screen, Macgill clicks on descriptions of homes she believes her clients will be interested in and then prints them out.
"I know what they want from a neighborhood, the price, to type of home," Macgill says.
She puts together a package of listings including a home's features and a sheet stating settlement costs and monthly payments for prospective buyers.
10 a.m. The phone rings. Speaking in a soft, motherly tone, Macgill tells Fanny, a customer, that she would be happy to set up an appointment to revisit a home. They will meet at 5: 15 p.m. at the office, 15 minutes after her last open house.
"I squeezed her in today," Macgill says. "It's my son's 35th birthday. The family plans to meet around 6: 30 to celebrate."
10:10 a.m. Macgill gets into her 1995 Toyota Camry and locks the doors. She is going to Hampstead, about 40 miles away, to meet with the Niessleins. Macgill makes sure everything is in working order -- car phone, full tank of gas, a couple of quarters in case of trouble.
11 a.m. Driving through Carroll County, Macgill checks her map and finds the road to the home that has caught the Niessleins' interest.
"It is difficult to find a home for them, with the price he is looking at and the requirements they have," explains Macgill.
"It's mainly because of the price -- under $150,000 -- with at least an acre, and a house that will appreciate if they put the work into it. They want some security where, with the investment they make by building a garage or rehabbing the house will pay off down the road."
The Realtor arrives with the Niessleins right behind her. The couple walks up to the 90-something home. The two wait on the porch for Macgill, who is retrieving the listing information from her car.
The owner, dressed in a robe, opens the door and says she didn't know they were coming. The Niess-leins look at each other and shrug. As Macgill arrives, they apologize to the homeowner and persuade her to let them enter. Macgill explains that she had called the listing agent to confirm. The woman checks her answering machine and hears the message saying they were coming to see the house.
The home is clean and presentable, considering its owner had just risen for the day after working a late shift until 4 a.m.
The visitors walk through the home, with Macgill commenting along the way on the "nice size rooms and lots of bedrooms."
The home is listed at $145,000, but needs updating. Floors are not level, door jams lean to one side and the home is camouflaged in paneling and indoor/outdoor carpeting and shag rugs.
It comes with a large garage, just what the buyers want. Across the street is a stream and a few cows lying lazily in the sun.
They leave this home anxious to see another in the area.
"For the amount of work they would have to put into it and the cost of bringing it up to their standards, it would exceed what value they would get back from the home," Macgill says.