Setting Expectations: How to Communicate with Your Real Estate Agent

One of the most frustrating experiences we can have as consumers is miscommunication — or, worse yet, no communication at all.

How many times have you sworn you wouldn’t hire a certain contractor or use a particular business again because they failed to take your calls, respond to your e-mails or simply made you feel like your business wasn’t important to them?

It happens all the time, and the real estate industry is no different.

Most agents will promise to make you a priority, and most will do their best — their jobs depend on it, after all.

But, with thousands of agents across Central Texas, home buyers and sellers are bound to encounter real estate agents who are too preoccupied with something else — overwhelmed by other clients, dealing with family issues or just plain out of touch.

Additionally, consumers typically have to deal with home buying and selling conversations outside of their busy work and personal schedules. For many, that means a quick call or e-mail on a short break from work or over lunch.

Likewise, many agents work irregular hours to coincide with their clients’ schedules.

So what can you do to minimize the chance you’ll be frustrated by communication issues?

The most important step is to think of it like any business relationship: Set realistic expectations and make sure all parties understand those expectations.

Starting Off Right

Agents and clients should try to make communication expectations part of their getting-to-know-you routine.

A few important things to consider:

1.)   What do you consider your business hours, and when is it best to call? The phone call remains the most effective way to communicate for most people. A brief call often communicates far more in significantly less time than text or email. So be sure to understand when it’s OK to call and when your agent is most likely to be available.

2.)   What are your prefered communication methods? As part of your communication chat, find out if your agent is an avid texter or emailer. Most agents will be willing to deal with short, simple issues via text — setting up meeting times, simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. Others may prefer email or phone calls. Knowing which communication methods each other prefers can also ensure quicker and more useful responses.

3.)   Expect the unexpected. Often, the most frustrating communication problems happen when something unexpected takes place. Perhaps the deal is on the line and a document is missing or someone unexpectedly gets cold feet. In these moments, it’s crucial for all parties to get prompt updates. So talk with your agent about key steps in the buying process and how best to handle them. Knowing that you’ll have an upcoming meeting in-person can help prevent consumers and agents from creating a dizzying string of emails or messages.

Discuss solutions when communication problems occur. Sometimes life just gets in the way and an agent or consumer simply can’t get to the phone or simply forgets to call someone back. We’re all human. But consumers should expect a reasonable explanation, and they shouldn’t shy away from telling their agent if there was a frustrating communication gap. That short, professional discussion is key to getting things back on track.