San Diego California Real Estate-How Often Do You Check Your E-mail

Real Estate Agent with Retired CA BRE# 01048160

San Diego Real Estate - How Often Do You Check Your E-Mail

I find it fascinating and a more than bit irritating trying to reach agents with offers or inquiries to even be able to write them. They don’t seem to return phone calls nor do they respond to even having received offers.

There are a few agents that seem to be able to get away with Bankers hours. Nor do they work weekends. It doesn’t take that long to return a phone or even answer an e-mail. But not to even acknowledge the contact, drives me up a wall. For you visual types, that ain't purrrdy.

I have noticed in our ActiveRain network, that people are engaged at all hours. Why should it is earlier for me to reach an agent in Hawaii than it is here in own home town of San Diego?

I must be becoming impatient or something and the real stress for me in this industry is not being able to reach my colleagues. If a client wants me to write an offer and I have it is ready by 7PM in the evening, I find it a bit disconcerting that when I call and identify why I am calling, I may not hear back untill late the next day or even later. I understand people have a life and mine happens to be real estate but they don’t seem to even check their e-mail.

I think this is a question that a Seller should ask when listing their property. When are you available? When do you return calls to us and others that are making inquiries on my property. How often do you check your e-mail and do you respond when you do check it?

I don’t know about you but 5:30PM is not after hours for me and I resent it when the agent says they don’t return calls till between 11:00 and noon and between 4:00 and 5:00 each day. And they don’t return calls or e-mails on weekends at all. If they don’t want to be bothered, they need to hire someone to do that for them. In my view, this is just plain arrogance. In my estimation they are not fit to even be in business much less an industry that requires a certain level of responsiveness.

And when we do reach them, we have to be so damn polite about it, lest we damage our potential relationship during the transaction.  Pardon my rant, I know here in the Rain, I am preaching to the Choir.

Posted by

Click On Photo Below If You Enjoy My Blog

 Thank You !



Comments (125)

Susanne Novak, ABR, FIS, GRI
RE/MAX 24/7 - Columbus, OH

My mission statement on my websites is: "to get back to you quickly ALWAYS". Being a real estate agent is all about customer service. I am "on" 24/7 (minus the measly 5 hrs a night that I sleep). Can't tell you how aggravating it is to not hear back from other agents in 48 hrs or more. I try to answer my phone calls within 2 hrs, email even quicker if at all possible.

Like one of my seminar teachers said: "you don't have to be the best real estate agent, just the first one to respond" and it has served me well :)

Jun 28, 2009 09:23 AM
Joshua Jarvis
Virtual Properties - Atlanta Real Estate - Duluth, GA
Moving Families Forward.

I can understand what you are saying and thinking but I've lived on both sides of this.

Real Estate is a business, so I treat it like one.  You call any business after their posted hours and they will not be picking up the phone.  What do customers do when the don't reach them, move on to the next one.  That's what happens in real estate most of the time.

I never could get realtors that weren't 24/7 realtors, until someone asked me:

"Is there anything I can do at 6PM that I can't take care of in the AM?"   NOPE

So why do I need to take a call from you at 6PM?  I have a family I'd rather spend time with, sorry.  You're not even 3rd on my list of people I would want to hear from.

What could you possibly need that can't wait?

Now that I am one of those "after 5:30" people.  It's about living my life and running my business.  My business has INCREASED since then.... and you're (figurative) still the same place on my list of people I want to hear from.

Are there times I stray from this, absolutely! If I get an offer, schedule a late appointment, ect, then I'll call or text at least.   If you followed directions, I will get the offer and be able to respond immediately, if you sent the offer to my Broker.  I'll see it when I get there I guess.  Too bad.

Life's too short to be at YOUR beck and call.

What did your post have to do with e-mail by the way?

Am I arrogant?  maybe, but my Family comes before my business.


When you run a business that is 24/7 like that, you become a slave to the business.  Eventually, something else suffers. 

So the real question is what is suffering in your life due to all the stress you have when an agent doesn't call you back?


Jun 28, 2009 10:00 AM
Jeani Codrey
The Learning Jeani - New Braunfels, TX
If you're not learning, you're not living!

Preach on brother!  This is one of the most annoying things for an agent, but I imagine it is only more annoying to the clients/customers who are trying to stay in touch with their agents for updates on their listings, contracts, etc.  If we are perturbed, I can only imagine how they must feel and it all probably greatly contributes to that post about the public view of real estate agents dropping by 14%...wonder if there could be a connection...hmmmm....

Jun 28, 2009 12:38 PM
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Hey William, Our real estate board says we are to present an offer asap.  If an Agent is avoiding a call, to suit his social life, they are in violation.  Period.

Jun 28, 2009 01:55 PM
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

I check no less than twice a day except Sundays. Always first thing in the morning and just before quitting time. This is just my minimums usually more like 4 times a day.

Jun 28, 2009 02:16 PM
Ray Spitler
Keller Williams Realty - Plymouth, MI

I check my email 3-5 times a day or more... getting it on my phone is great for quick responses on the road too. Love my iPhone.

Jun 28, 2009 02:16 PM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hello William,

Oh my, I can't believe the length of your comments! Truthfully didn't read them all, yet  thought I still offer my 2-cents worth anyway. When it comes to email, hopefully I'm right on top of it. 

Your comment about "this is a question that a Seller should ask when listing their property" is important, yet it reality I think as REALTORS we owe it to our consumers to let them know in advance of our overall availability. For me it's about expectations, and no by no means am I a 24-hr REALTOR. My clients normally know I'm available 10-12 hrs. a day, that's plenty for me.

And congrats my friend on the well-deserved feature, your comments acknowledge the importance of the issue.

Jun 28, 2009 03:04 PM
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

I'm one of those agents who you won't reach by email or office phone 24/7 but you can usually reach me by text or cell phone.  If not, I'm quick to return those messages.  You just gotta be able to manage the incoming communication - it's that old dance called "balance."

Jun 28, 2009 04:05 PM
Al Dobbs
ADD Real Estate - North Chicago, IL

This is timely. I have called this one realtor fourteen times today. Finally, at 945pm I get a return call. Of course that is the one time I walked away from my phone. I called back at 10:08, so I have now left the fifteenth message. This business used to be easy and professional. Not anymore. I blame it on the economy. It has made alot of Realtors go bonkers.

Jun 28, 2009 05:04 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

William, It appears the majority of the comments indicate you are preaching to the choir with a few exceptions. I have a Blackberry World Edition and I love it. It allows me to do my job easier and more efficiently and my clients appreciate it and expect relatively quick responses as well as professional agents. Thank you for posting this. 

 I am just amazed that with all the studies that have been done about client expectations and response times that there are agents who have  "Bankers Hours".

Jun 28, 2009 07:44 PM
Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

I think it's a lack of respect when you don't hear back from another agent or party to the transaction in a reasonable about of time.

Jun 29, 2009 12:14 AM
Mark Watterson
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Real Estate

What I don't understand is why anyone in this business would not carry a mobile device that receives and sends emails.  I have had one for several years.  I receive email in my main account and it's forwarded immediately to my mobile and hits the mobile in a couple of seconds. 

Jun 29, 2009 12:24 AM
Reba Haas
Team Reba of RE/MAX Metro Eastside - Bellevue, WA
Team Reba, CDPE

Clearly there are some disconnects in the industry and not all of them are with respect to professionalism. I came from 15 years in the tech industry before getting into real estate 6 years ago. I literally had many agents yell at me when emailing them about their listings. Their comments were as such, "don't email me, I only check that once a week!"  My, how times have changed. Now everyone wants to scream about not getting their email replied to.

There are many things at work here, some of them economic, some of them how our industry operates, and more. First of all, I'll throw out the economic factor.  Not all agents have the money to upgrade their equipment each year. We're all business owners and we have to make decisions on where our money is spent. For those that run out to buy the latest iPhone, well, good for you, but not everyone is going to do that.  I should have prefaced that with the fact that I do have a Sprint HTC phone and have capabilities to email, text, call and open keyboxes from my phone. So, I'm all set. But, I know other agents who arent'.

With regard to sending offers in the evening and expecting a reply.  If you knew you were going to be writing an offer that night, and we're discussing degrees of professionalism here, it would have been reasonable to consider that YOU, the buyer's agent, might have called the listing agent during business hours to confirm their schedule. Plus, there is also an option in many email programs to require a notice of receipt for your email - use it, you might have your stress levels go down.  Oh, you don't have the email program that offers this tool?  It's too expensive to get or maintain? Ah, then perhaps you might understand why someone else doesn't have a different tool that you have. We all, as business owners, have to budget our funds to all the tools we use and because of this our industry is not standardized - heck, it's one of the reasons why this field is so damned competitive. The sad part is when the public doesn't require their agents to have some of these tools. But, I can tell you, not all clients care.  Many of my older clients would prefer the older methods of in-person contact, less email, and more high touch.  It all depends on the client.  My technology based and younger clientele require the constant in touch mode of work and we strive to do that as well, while also letting them know that we respect their time and we expect the same of them.

It's easy to rant on this initial post about unavailability, but then I also see agents getting worn out from working non-stop.  Lord knows we've been working mostly 7 days a week since last fall but with mostly listings and short sales to show for it... all of which take time and money. It's important for all of us to continue having a personal life because most of our referral base comes from this group, so it's important to feed all sides of your business and to prevent burn out.

One gal (comment 101) wants to say that if you only want to work 9 to 5 you should get out of the business.  I disagree. I'd like all the part time people to remove themselves from the business, because it is most likely that these are the folks that are being complained about in this post. When the NAR puts out statistics that show a strong number of our members are part time agents, you can imagine that this might cause difficulty in reaching some agents. I recall a transaction I had about 2 years ago where an agent asked me not to call him during the day as he was at his main job - he only did real estate part time and couldn't take his real estate "work" calls during the day. The first time he told me this I was flabbergasted... then later I was just annoyed because it meant he was requiring me, the person who already works in real estate 50-60 hours a week, to spend even more time in my so-called off hours working.

There can be a shared middle ground on some of these things and rather than just complaining and hoping people "get it", we should continue to push for high standards, lessening the number of non-serious agents in the field (read part-time), and using those tools that are at our disposal to verify transmission of documents.  Remember the fax?  If I think contact is going to be questionable upon the evening delivery of a contract, I email AND fax it.  That way I can get verification of delivery at a minimum on one of those methods.

And speaking of that... many MLS areas don't allow email transmission of documents unless the contract has it in writing that both parties agree to it, so you should make sure you're following your own local rules in that regard. I'm not defending the inaction or non-responsiveness of others, but for goodness sake, there are some things you can do about it.

Jun 29, 2009 04:40 AM
Scott Rhinehart
Altus Realty Solutions - Mission Viejo, CA

William, I couldn't agree with you more!  Your post is needed and spot on.  If you're ever up in south Orange County, I'd like to buy you a beer.

Jun 29, 2009 09:01 AM
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI


Better communication is definitely needed in this industry.  I really don't understand why people don't return emails promptly either.  It really doesn't take that much time.

Jul 13, 2009 08:59 AM
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

HI William - I completely empathize.  I have been trying to close an escrow for my buyers where the listing agent has no access to a computer or fax except at her office, and she is seldom at her office.  She even took a trip to China and was where she couldn't be reached by phone.  Of course she has no one who covers for her in her absence. 

She finally did give me her cell phone number, but if I call her cell when she is out of the office, she merely says, "I can't do anything right now - I'm at home."  Frustrating.  I get calls at home all the time and have a home office so that I can provide whatever service is needed.  Am I unusual?  I didn't think so.

Jul 18, 2009 06:12 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Susan, This is certainly one for the books. Totally amazing. And people still hire her? I can only wonder what other profession she would be good for. Frankly I can't think of one. Could you even imagine if this became the rule and not the exception? Consumers do deserve better and I can only imagine the added stress this created for you and the party you represent. Thanks for validating this post with your example.

Jul 18, 2009 07:17 PM
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Have a question for anyone using outlook. I keep getting a message every time I try to open a link in an email coming thru Outlook. The same email links will open when the same email goes to gmail or yahoo without any problem. The message says to contact my administrator. That's me. Any suggestions?

Sep 13, 2009 01:38 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Frank, I switched over to Mail but I still have an Outlook account in a back up computer.  I went into options in the setup and went all through it and can not figure out an area that might have been changed. If you still have support on Microsoft Office, I would try that. If not, try BING and type an abbreviated question and see if you directed somewhere that might shed some light on this.

Sorry I couldn't be more help Frank.

If you like, write a blog post and and add to the Outlook Users group and there are a number of people that are quite knowledgeable and might be able to help.

Sep 13, 2009 02:24 PM
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Anyone having a problem recieving emails in a timely manner. Emails recieved on outlook often take 5 or 10 minutes longer than my Gmail account. Is there anyway to speed this up so that I can recieve the emails right away?

May 16, 2013 12:54 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?