When and When NOT to Text!

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage BRE#01732313

Text MessagingText is here to stay – that’s a fact of life.  It certainly has its advantages and can be a fabulous communication tool when properly used. But like anything else, it can be misapplied and abused. In the world of real estate it can be very effective or not, depending upon the circumstances:


  • Requesting showing instructions from listing agents where warranted
  • Requesting showing times from sellers
  • Asking if there are offer due dates (from listing agents, if none are posted)
  • Confirm meet times between agents, or agents and clients

Not Ideal

  • Anything contractual. A paper trail is paramount. As my broker is fond of saying…. “Handle your file as if it’s going to court. Document, document, document!”
  • Timeline changes. See above – it’s no doubt related to some contingency period in the contract. Document!
  • Communicating offer outcome. A text from a listing agent that your client did not ‘win the bid’ is less than satisfactory.  You can forward that text showing the date and time it was received, but it won’t necessarily show who it was from. Clients want to know that we are communicating timely and really want the details of that communiqué.


  • A listing agent may not be someone who has you in their database. Without context about who you are and what property you’re asking about, your text could go unanswered.
  • All phone numbers aren’t text friendly. Check your inbox to see that your text was actually delivered.
  • Text messages are short and sweet. (or at least they should be). If you have difficult news to convey, for goodness sake, don’t make it worse by texting. Pick up the phone so your clients (or other agents) can get a sense of your professionalism, level of caring). Texts rarely convey emotion, and sometimes, that human touch can take the sting out of less-than-satisfactory news.

I'm a big fan of technology making us more productive. But it can't take the place of common sense.


Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Technology & Tools
The Lounge at Active Rain
Diary of a Realtor
text messaging

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David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Interesting can it be that there is a time when texting (not counting when driving) is not good?

May 22, 2013 01:12 PM #47
Anthony Clark
Clark Partners - Fayetteville, AR
Real Estate. It's About Lifestyle!

I have a firm rule to NEVER be the first party to text. If a client or agent has never texted me then they never receive one for me. I'm a business professional and want to be seen and respected as one, so I let them initiate this very formal way of communicating. Once established, it's a very efficient way to communicate SOME information. Another rule of thumb is that if it takes more than three back-and-forths then it should probably be a phone call.

May 22, 2013 01:19 PM #48
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Karen, very good points - specifically for when NOT to text!

(I don't like counter offers sent as a text - or even as an email!)

May 22, 2013 01:49 PM #49
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Karen, we all need to know 'textiquette' - I have seen some people who want to do everything by text and it doesn't always work or is appropriate, for sure. Sharon

May 22, 2013 01:56 PM #50
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Texting showing instructions is happening more and more. Works for me if necessary.

May 22, 2013 02:39 PM #51
Royce Dean Vanderpool
Devan Realty & Development Corporation - Lake Mary, FL
GKC, RMC, REOS, CIAS, BPOR - Principal Broker

Texting for reminders or quick comments ... locating a friend  .... but not as a tool for documenting real estate sales

May 22, 2013 02:57 PM #52
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Great, great tips.  Texting is handy but also remember - if its a long involved text - the importance may get lost in the text.  It all depends on when the agent reads it and what they were doing at the time they read it.  Better to email some items.

May 22, 2013 04:42 PM #53
Sheila Morales
Kauai Property Shop - Kapaa, HI
Your Kauai Hawaii Agent

I admit I am not one that prefers texting for communication.  I love email for creating a trail of conversation, but go ahead shoot me, I still prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone.

May 22, 2013 04:50 PM #54
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Happy to have text when I cannot reach a person by phone or email. Without fail, I seem to get excellent and quick responses in text. Love it for showing appointments, lock box/combo codes, community gate codes...

May 22, 2013 04:54 PM #55
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I have found TEXTING and I ♥ it....I frequently respond to voicemails with a text and am changing my business phone line to my cel phone ASAP so that this option is more viable.

May 22, 2013 08:06 PM #56
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
Realty One Group - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance
Karen, I don't text. I receive them, but call back or email if important information needs to be transmitted. Texting is too convenient and pulls out the 'human factor'.
May 22, 2013 09:26 PM #57
Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS
Great points about when texting is ok, and when it isn't. I have my cell set up to send a copy of texts to an email account so I can file those, but still not perfect.
May 22, 2013 10:13 PM #58
Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!
Karen, I was up there in June for the US Open at Olympic Club in SF. Stayed in Livermore with my brother and his wife. The valley has changed a LOT since we left! I make it up there every 3 years or so.
May 23, 2013 12:53 PM #59
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Karen,  this is needed advice for many Realtors who love texting more than any other form of communication!

May 26, 2013 03:10 PM #60
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco
Good post on texting etiquette. I'd add: ask clients how they liked to be reached for routine matters; more mad more they answer, "text."
May 31, 2013 05:40 AM #61
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
28 Years of Real Estate Experience!

I hate when people cancel appointments by text.  Have the decency to call me if you aren't going to show up.  Texting is very impersonal, and also seems a 'coward's way out' which is a poor substitute for just doing the right thing and being honest about why you are canceling.  I am not usually so negative, but that really bothers me.

Jul 05, 2013 12:37 PM #62
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

You bring up some great points to consider when deciding how to communiacte. Texting can be quick, but not always appropriate Karen.

Jan 07, 2014 11:15 PM #63
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Hi Tom, who says blogs don't live on! Nice to hear from you.

Jan 09, 2014 12:29 PM #64
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

Most state real estate agencies require the Broker to maintain all records of significance for a specified period of time after the Broker is no longer working with the client (Texas is four years).  Texts are difficult to save for most systems; and therefore, our company policy is to conduct no business via texting.  As a property manager, we require all issues to be in writing, including a follow-up email if it something discussed by phone or in person for confirmation.

Aug 23, 2016 03:26 AM #65
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Interesting how a recent re-blog brought this 2 year old post back to life. I certainly see texts increasing as the preferred communication method for many people. But I'm also seeing it as the culprit for far too many misunderstandings.

Aug 23, 2016 03:51 AM #66
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