Few things are as frustrating as waiting for someone to respond to a message. Whether it’s a phone call, a text, an email, even a message on social media, most of us have to admit that, at one time or another, we have stared at our phones, just willing the other person to get back to us. So it’s no surprise that some of the most frequent questions I hear at Real Estate Info Guide, are: What do I do if my real estate agent doesn’t respond to me? Why don’t real estate agents return calls or other messages? And How do I handle a communication issue with my agent?
Let’s take a look at those questions one by one and consider how we can avoid communications issues with a real estate agent before they begin.
What Do You Do If Your Real Estate Agent Doesn’t Respond To You?
If you have a real estate agent who doesn’t respond to you, your next steps depend on the reasons for their lack of response, whether you can contact them to discuss the issue, and how you feel about continuing your working relationship.
First of all, let’s consider some of the reasons why your real estate agent may be slow to respond or even not responding at all.
Why Don’t Real Estate Agents Return Calls Or Other Messages?
There are a plethora of reasons as to why your real estate agent may not be returning calls, including:
- You are calling the brokers office: Those agents who are part of a larger team or brokerage, sometimes route their calls through the office. This way, the agent can be out and about working with clients and not have to deal with their telephone ringing constantly. If this is the case, your agent may not even pick up their messages until the next day or even later. This may be the reason, you find there is a delay between you leaving a message and getting a callback.
Alternatively, it might be that they have an inefficient system and an office administrator or manager who loses messages!
- Your real estate agent uses an answering service or a central call center: This is not unusual, especially for agents who work independently and you can run into the same kind of “a long time to get messages” or “lost messages” issues that you would with a brokerage office.
- They’re a newbie agent: New agents are especially susceptible to problems with communications. They haven’t had the time or the experience to work out how to juggle all of their responsibilities, and returning calls may be one of many things that have slid down their list of priorities.
- They are busy with another client: It may turn out to be that your agent has spent the day showing other clients around homes and has not had the time to call you back and give you their full attention.
- You are calling all of the time: At some points in the sales process, and in some situations, it is necessary to be in constant communication. However, if you are calling your agent every day to ask, for example, if there are any new prospective buyers for your home, then you might find your agent begins to dodge your calls.
- You make calls at odd times: Calling your real estate agent at 11 p.m. may be ok if it’s something you have both agreed on, but if not, don’t be surprised if your agent starts to screen your calls and ignore your messages.
- Your messages are vague: If you are guilty of calling your buyers agent and leaving a message to say “I saw a property at 3rd and Willow we haven’t viewed, what do you know about it?” then don’t be surprised if you don’t get a speedy response. Your agent doesn’t know from your message whether this is a call that will take 5 minutes or 45. As a result, they are unlikely to get back to you until a point where they are sure they have enough time to devote to you.
- You call about the same things, over and over: Even the best and most patient real estate agent will begin to make good use of their caller display to screen you out if you are repeatedly asking the same questions or raising the same points.
- You make it difficult for them to respond: If you leave a message such as “I wanted to know if we should drop the asking price. I’m at work right now, so don’t call me back until this evening. Oh, and I have a parent-teacher conference, so I’m not available between 7 and 9.” don’t be surprised if you don’t get a call that evening.
- The agent prefers another form of communication: It may be that your real estate agent hates speaking on the phone but will respond to a text within minutes.
- They just don’t like you: I know, I can’t believe it either, but it is possible that your agent is not responding to you because they just don’t want to deal with you.
- They are not a good agent: Some agents just don’t care about their clients, and you may have one of them.
How Do I Handle A Communications Issue With My Real Estate Agent?
Begin by trying to pin your agent down to a specific time and place for a chat. Not on the phone, not by email, not by text, but in an actual real-life, face-to-face meeting.
The best way to set this up seems counter-intuitive but bear with me on this. Contact your real estate agent and, if you can’t get hold of them immediately, leave a message that says something along the lines of:
“I’ve left a few messages and haven’t been able to get a hold of you. I’d like to meet with you and talk about how we can work together more effectively. If for some reason you no longer want us to work together, I totally understand, but please let me know so I can make new arrangements with another agent.”
If this doesn’t get a response within 24 hours to follow up with a message to say, “I’m checking in to see if you received my message yesterday. If I don’t hear from you by – insert a time that works for you here – I’ll assume you don’t want us to work together anymore.”
If You Can Meet With Your Agent
Have a face to face meeting with your agent and explain the issues you are having with communications and ask if they know why this is happening. Where possible, have details of specific failures to respond. Once your agent has had a chance to answer, the two of you can discuss if and how you both want to move forward.
If you’re going to move forward together, establish clear guidelines for communications and expectations which you can both live with and to which you can both adhere. Include the steps either one of you may take if the other party is unable to stick with the agreement.
If You Can’t Meet With Or No Longer Want To Work With, Your Agent
You may find yourself unable to get a response from your agent at all, or you may be able to meet with them and decide you’ve come to the end of your road together.
Place your reasons for ending the relationship in writing and send a copy to your real estate agent and their broker. Ensure you do so in such a way that you can confirm receipt. State that you feel they have failed in their obligation to advise and guide you properly and that as such, you wish to terminate your agreement.
If the agent and their broker refuse to release you from the contract, carefully review the details around your agent’s responsibilities and see if there is a way to end the agreement without leaving yourself open to any possible legal issues and then carry out those steps.
Finally, you may have to enlist the help of a real estate lawyer.
Even if you do not have a written agreement, be sure to end things clearly, in writing to prevent the complications which can arise when you move from one agent to another.
How Can I Avoid Communication Issues With My Real Estate Agent?
The best way to avoid communications issues with your real estate agent is to interview potential agents and ask them about their communications preferences. Then choose an agent whose communication methods are most closely aligned with yours.
In addition, you can include any specific points that are important to you in your contract.
The occasional communication problem is not the end of the world, but if you have a real estate agent who repeatedly fails to get back to you, it’s time to take action.
Allow your agent to meet with you and resolve the problem, but be aware that you may want to walk away from this particular agent and move onto another who is more closely aligned with your working style.
Just make sure that you end the relationship clearly, cleanly, and without putting yourself into a legally sticky situation.
Other Helpful Information From Real Estate Professionals
If you do not know much about real estate, it is likely that you will make a less efficient deal. Experienced real estate professionals understand the tricks of the trade which means you can use their knowledge and experience to make the right deal. This is Why You Need To Work With The Best Real Estate Agents by Fred Franks.
Hiring a real estate agent involves entering into a relationship. While Realtors are eager to get new clients and buyers are anxious to find the house of their dreams, there can still be serious problems in such relationships. Here are some Things Buyers Do That Real Estate Agents Hate by Bill Gassett.
About The Author
Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.
This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.