How to Talk to a Realtor
The one piece of advice I give new agents about communication is if they do nothing else in real estate, at least answer their cellphone. Real estate agents who answer the phone will go much further in this business and be leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors for the simple reason that it's not uncommon for agents to refuse to answer the phone. Odd as this phenomenon may seem.
You might wonder how real estate agents can stay in business if they don't talk on the phone, and the truth is some of them do not fare as well as they could because of that practice. Others feel that if a client is serious about buying or selling a home, that person will leave a voicemail message and allow the agent to call back at the agent's leisure. Some agents don't like being tied to a phone and forced to meet demands. While others might prefer a different type of communication.
I can tell you from my own experience that when I bought a new iPhone, I was amazed to discover that it can tell me when I am receiving multiple phone calls. Not just two calls at a time but more than two calls at a time. If I'm really fast, I can answer one call, hang up on the telemarketer, grab the next to say I'll call right back and finish the last conversation, all in succession. But I am an agent who tends to answer her phone.
Communicating with the First-Time Home Buyer
First-time home buyers, and sometimes repeat buyers, feel uneasy and don't know how often they should call an agent. They don't want to be a bother or be named a troublesome or high maintenance client, but they need answers and feel their agent should provide those answers. It is the agent's job to properly advise and guide her clients. It is also the agent's job to set parameters and work within the client's own framework and needs.
The client comes first. If you feel as though you do not come first with your real estate agent, then you are probably working with the wrong real estate agent. You are a priority to that agent. Most agents dearly want to be of service and to be available when questions arise. Of course, you don't want to call your agent 10 times in a row. In fact, after you are in contract to buy a home, calling your agent more than once or twice a day could be considered excessive, but it depends on what is happening.
If you are scheduling a variety of inspectors and juggling mortgage details, you might need to speak with your agent more often. To help ease any discomfort, it's a good idea to ask your agent to share with you her preferred business hours. Some agents, such as myself, don't work past 7 PM in the evening. Others work until midnight. I would not want a client to call me at midnight because I will have been asleep for 3 hours. Some agents work on the weekends, and others do not.
A client called me on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago and said his wife told him he had to wait until 10 AM to call. That any time before 10 AM would be insensitive. Now that I think about it, 10 AM is a good time to call on a Sunday. Yay for his wife! 9 AM might be pushing the envelope with some people. If you're my client and you wake up Sunday morning with burning short sale questions, for instance, you can call me. It might be unacceptable to call other agents, though, so, when in doubt, you should ask your agent for guidance.
We are all different.
Alternate Communication Methods for Your Real Estate Agent
You might also consider another form of communication. Take your cue from pre-teens, for example, many of whom would never dream of talking on the phone. They don't know why anybody would wear a Bluetooth device, either. Because they send text messages. Even agents who don't answer their phone will often tend to respond to a text message.
Not to mention, thumbing those text messages is a thing of the past when you can simply talk to your phone and let it type for you. Although, I must speak Klingon because I can't believe some of the things my phone thinks I have said.
Further, you can consider the formal method of sending an email. Most agents carry a Smartphone, which is capable of receiving and sending emails. So, even if the agent is not at her office or near her computer, she can read emails on her cell phone. Ditto for an iPad. I often carry my iPad in my bag with me wherever I go just to be prepared. I can shoot a photo, take a video, answer a text message or write an email. I just can't talk on it.
But who needs to talk when we have so many other ways to communicate with each other? The important thing is that you establish the preferred methods your agent likes to use and you find a way to work together that satisfies you both.