How To Talk to a Realtor

Couple meeting with a businesswoman at a small round table
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It might seem counterproductive, but not all real estate agents jump to answer their phones whenever calls come in. Some feel that a caller will leave a voicemail message and allow the agent to call back at a better, more appropriate time. Others just don't like being tied to a phone and forced to meet demands, while still others simply prefer a different type of communication.

Your agent's phone habits don't have to derail an otherwise productive relationship if you know and establish the ground rules upfront.

Key Takeaways

  • Take advantage of your initial meeting to get a lot of your questions answered upfront.
  • Ask your agent to share their preferred business hours and communication style.
  • You both may feel more comfortable speaking by text or email in place of (or in addition to) phone calls.

Start on the Right Foot

You should have ample time at your first meeting to voice all your concerns and ask your prospective agent numerous questions. Take advantage so you won't have to make a phone call or otherwise reach out each time you're confused by something if you decide to work together. You'll find that you already have most of the answers.

There's no harm in making a list of questions on your phone so that it's easily accessible and you won't overlook anything.

This is also a good time to ask how long the agent generally takes to respond to phone messages, so you'll have some idea of what you're dealing with.

Mention your own contact preferences. Maybe you're almost always tied up with your child's homework between 7 and 8 p.m., or you can't take personal calls at work. Those wouldn't be good times to discuss anything important.

When Should You Call?

Many first-time homebuyers, and sometimes repeat buyers, feel uneasy and uncertain about how often they can call an agent. They don't want to be a bother or to be tagged as troublesome or high maintenance, but they need answers that they feel their agent should provide.

It's an agent's job to advise and guide clients properly, and to set parameters and work within the client's framework and needs. The client comes first.

You're probably working with the wrong real estate agent if you're made to feel as though you don't come first. Of course, you don't want to call your agent 10 times in a row. In fact, calling your agent more than once or twice per day after you're in a contract to buy a home could be considered excessive, but it can depend on what's going on.

You might need to speak with your agent more often if you're scheduling a variety of inspectors and juggling mortgage details. Ask your agent to share their preferred business hours to help ease any discomfort.

Alternative Communication Methods

Take your cue here from teenagers and young adults, many of whom would never dream of actually talking on a phone. Send text messages instead.

Even agents who don't answer their phones regularly will often respond relatively quickly to a text message. That can be a perfect option if you have a simple question that might not require a lot of dialogue. Or consider the more formal method of sending an email. Your agent will receive that on their phone as well.

The important thing is that you establish your agent's preferred methods and find a way to work together that satisfies you both.