How Long Can Real Estate Agents Go Without Answering a Client?
Having too many clients is not something that most real estate agents would complain about. In a business when you need to constantly be prospecting leads and be prepared for any slow months that might come your way, having too many clients or prospective clients to worry about is often a blessing.
But, if you’ve ever experienced this before, then you know it doesn’t quite feel like it should. Instead of being thankful for the amount of work coming your way, it suddenly feels like a heavy burden. And, in some cases, you may even start to fall behind on regular tasks — like, getting back to people within a timely manner.
And, aside from that, we know that agents need a break every once in a while, too. So, even if you’re not overwhelmed with too many things on your to-do list, aren’t you allowed to get back to your clients when it feels convenient and appropriate for YOU?
Have all terms of the listing agreement laid out
Before you get started with a client, there should always be contracts laid out. If you are helping them to sell their home, then the listing agreement should answer questions like how you will help market their home, how long the contract is good for, and under what conditions the client can step away from the agreement. It may also discuss what the client owes to the agent for marketing expenses if the client decides to walk.
Of course, some people sign things without ever reading them in detail, so to avoid problems with this client and any future clients that may be hesitant about working with you because the first client wrote a nasty review, be sure to reiterate the importance of reading everything on the contract and go over it with them in-person before any signing happens.
Clients want more correspondence
According to an article by the Miami Herald, several clients were interviewed regarding how and when to call it quits with an agent. Many reported that their agents were not responsive for two or three days, which experts agreed was much too long. This is especially true if the client has hired you as their listing agent, and they are motivated to sell their property as soon as possible.
Wait, two or three days?
An article by REALFX states “The number one complaint of homeowners is the lack of communication” which they call the ‘List & Leave Syndrome.’ But, why would this be an issue? After all, they are hiring you to list their home and they are supposed to trust you to get the job done. Why should you have to be in touch every three days? And, don’t your clients know that you are busy with other clients as well?
Well, the answer is, yes, they are aware (some are, anyway), but, you’re still expected to be responsive and keep them updated. This is why it’s so important to create a call/contact schedule beforehand. This way, you and the client are clear on an appropriate amount of contact. Get their input on what they’d like correspondence on, and make sure to choose a call schedule that works for both of you. Also, be clear on reasons you would call and reasons you wouldn’t call, as well as what platforms are okay to communicate on.
It’s not just sellers
Both sellers and homebuyers are going to want to hear from you. Most are on some type of timeline, and want to be sure they are working with an agent who respects that timeline as much as possible. Buyers and sellers are both more likely to leave you for another agent if they feel someone else will be more responsive. The fact of the matter is, even if you don’t have anything to update your client on, it’s nice to let them know that, anyway, and stick to your communication schedule (or, even go a little beyond that, to show your dedication to the client).
Make sure they can at least get in touch with you
If you only plan to touch base with your buyers or seller once a week, make sure that at the very least, they can reach you if they have a question or if something comes up. Agents, unfortunately, are in the business of communication, and not just the business of buying and/or selling homes. The reason agents get more clients is more likely due to their personality traits and communication skills than their ability to buy or sell a home quickly. So, even if you’re not the type to become best friends with your clients, try to be easily reachable.
Put yourself first, but remember your job
If you’ve been in the business a long time, you know that there are always clients who will completely disrespect basic human boundaries. They’ll call you in the middle of the night, early on a Sunday morning, or on a holiday. You are 100% allowed to take time for yourself, shut your phone off, and let your clients know when you will and won’t be available. But, always keep in mind that agents who are more available will be the ones who close more of the deals. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with taking on and what you’re not.
But, if your client gets in touch with you, please do not go more than two days without getting back to them, EVER. And, if you do, you better have a good reason why. At the very least, send your client a response as soon as you can, and let them know when you will be able to get back to them at the earliest convenience.