Texters, Emailers, Callers and some Non-Responders

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

Communication Preferences - What's Yours, and Theirs?



The world of communication is filled with different types of people. Some prefer to text, some want to email, others want to call, a few may even prefer or need face-to-face. And then there are some non-responders…the most challenging.



With communication being such a critical aspect of working effectively with buyers and sellers, it’s important to understand what our clients prefer so we can communicate effectively with them, and in a timely manner.



Communication via emailAnd of course we have our own preferences, which may vary depending on the situation, what we are doing, what needs to be communicated, and when it’s taking place (e.g., mid-day versus 10 pm).



The easiest thing to do is to ask clients what they prefer. Most will tell you, especially if they want a certain form of communication, or don’t. I’ve had clients tell me they do NOT text, and a rare one who does not email – rather important to know, don’t you think? Others prefer a text message or email to a phone call.



The key thing, I think, is to not make assumptions about what buyers and sellers like, especially if you are just getting to know them. To do so could be annoying to them and start you off on the wrong foot. And worse, they might not even receive it, which would look like you are not communicating.



Asking about what the preference is simply a courtesy, and sometimes a more lengthy discussion about communication is warranted. With voice mail, email and texting you could, potentially, do so at any time without disturbing someone, unless they keep their phone on at bedside. But it may make sense to set some expectations about when communication will happen and how will occur, as well as your availability. And asking a client how late, or early, you can call is a good practice.



iPhoneIt’s also essential to let clients know that while they may have certain communication preferences, some information really should be shared in other ways. Sometimes a personal call is essential, versus sending a text or responding to their text.



A follow-up email for a paper trail can always be part of the mix, and is always a good idea.



Non-responders are a different issue, and I have found it more of a problem on our side of the business, and not just agents, than on the client side.



The problem is, that you just don’t know where things stand with a non-responder:



Are they just not responding?


Did technology fail?


Did you accidentally text the wrong number or mistype the email address?


Are they tied up and cannot respond?


Did you use the wrong method, or only 1 way, to try to contact them?



And what about timing? How quickly can one, or should one, expect the other party to respond. Seconds? A few minutes? An hour? The next day?



What’s reasonable may depend on the situation, as well as the person. A time sensitive matter would lead one to expect, or need, a fast response, whether it’s the client, a lender or someone else involved in the transaction. In that event that could be a good time to pull out all the stops and use several methods to get in touch.



I have found some clients are not power users of email and texting, checking them only occasionally…seems to be true of some agents, too! I always remind buyers and sellers that once we are in escrow there will be a significant flow of emails and other communication that must be attended to so they will be checking more often.



I also find it helpful to send a text message, if I know texting is OK, to let them know I have sent them an email they need to review and respond to. A phone call is often appropriate, especially if there is something that is important or time sensitive, or a matter that would benefit from personal discussion such as negotiations.



Bottom line, timely and regular communication is essential throughout our transactions and there are a number of ways to accomplish this effectively, including face to face.  What works best will vary by the situation, the people involved and the nature of the communication. What’s key is that we make it happen, and often.



I’ve never had anyone complain that I communicated too much, have you? But I sure wouldn't want a client, another agent, or a vendor to complain that I am not communicating enough!


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 08/16/2017 05:00 AM
  2. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 08/15/2017 05:47 AM
Real Estate General Information
Certified Residential Specialists
SAN DIEGO Real Estate Agents & Loan Officers
San Diego Realtors®
communication with clients
lack of communication
jeff dowler crs
communication styles abnd preferences

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Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

Since I started asking the preferred method of contact my client base has increased by 50%.

Aug 15, 2017 07:04 AM #39
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I am appalled by the arrogance of those who say "I don't bother reading my email" or "I never return phone messages."

Do they want to communicate - or not? I'd guess the answer is "not."


Aug 15, 2017 08:30 AM #40
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Congratulations on the feature! Well done!

This strikes a nerve with me because we are currently selling our boat and the broker is not communicating as often as we would like....most times there is no contact unless we contact him. So frustrating!

Bottom line, timely and regular communication is essential throughout our transactions

Aug 15, 2017 09:40 AM #41
Todd & Devona Garrigus
Garrigus Real Estate - Beaumont, CA
Broker / REALTORS®

Always love reading your blogs, Jeff Dowler ! And the non-resonders! Arg! 

Aug 15, 2017 10:10 AM #42
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Having an agreed upon method of communication is essential. It may not always be my preferred method but the goal is to have a successful relationship and a successful transaction.

I will send an email, but text to notify them I sent the email.


Aug 15, 2017 10:31 AM #43
Derrick Guevremont
Counselor Realty of Rochester - Rochester, MN
Rochester MN Homes for Sale

I really appreciate the text message to let people know you've sent an important email.

Aug 15, 2017 01:13 PM #44
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I agree with Endre Barath, Jr. I have emails in the middle of a thread suddenly start going to spam or trash. So now I text to let them know I sent an email and I thought all this technology was supposed to reduce the work we did.

Aug 15, 2017 01:17 PM #45
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

Jeff Dowler you sure hit a nerve for me on this one! I personally prefer text and email as I don't take phone calls when showing, or in meetings. I've been with inspectors and other agents when they take calls, and I find it very disrespectful of my time. So I don't do that for others. When I'm there, I'm there. That being said, I understand others prefer to hear it in person, and I respect that. You're right, asking is key. 

Now, those non-responders......whole 'nother subject 

Aug 15, 2017 02:36 PM #46
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Betsy N. Robinson  - I think it all boils down to what is most effective. And certainly it's better to over-communicate than not enough.

Thanks so much Bruce Kunz We won't find out what people like if we don't ask.


Aug 15, 2017 09:45 PM #47
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That's a good way of putting it Richie Alan Naggar  as long as the excuses are not about why they are not communicating!! LOL

God for you Gita Bantwal  and I bet your clients appreciate it!


Aug 15, 2017 09:47 PM #48
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Finding out preferred methods is an excellent first step....there can also be lots of misunderstanding without spoken words mixed into the communication.

Aug 16, 2017 05:07 AM #49
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

Hi Jeff, you raise some interesting questions that come up when we don't hear back from people.

Aug 16, 2017 06:56 AM #50
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Finding out the clients' preferred method of communicating is at the top of my checklist!     I also send a text letting them know I've sent a more detailed e/mail.    I recently had a French client who couldn't believe how much communication was required to sell their California investment property!    

Aug 16, 2017 09:54 AM #51
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Jeff,
This is a very important subject.  Good communication is so vital to a smooth transaction.  Thanks for the post!

Aug 16, 2017 10:34 AM #52
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Jeff Dowler, it's essential to find out someone's preferred method of communication and use it. I'm finding most prefer a text message but not everything can be conveyed in a text so I email, let them know via text to check their email.
What gets me is some don't reply to either, just let me know if you received it or not. Fortunately, these are not current buyers and sellers I'm working with. 

Aug 16, 2017 12:00 PM #53
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

This is a topic that I bring up when first starting to work with someone...it helps to have a discussion about it ahead of time so all parties know what to expect

Aug 16, 2017 12:49 PM #54
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

I actually did have someone that told me I was communicating too much, mainly via snail mail and asked me to take them off my list. So I did. That's the only time in 16 years. Great post. 


Aug 16, 2017 09:11 PM #55
Donna & Larry Johnson
Keller Williams Real Estate - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County

Great post Jeff! Funny that you would bring this up now. Just last night meeting with new sellers and buyers this was one of the first conversation we had. How would you like to communicate?

Aug 18, 2017 06:28 AM #56
Anita S. Zahn
Advantage Realty 863-840-1420 - Sebring, FL
Highlands County Real Estate Source! I work 4 U!

I think we have lost the personalism of communication.  I live in an area that is populated of 55 and older, which is pretty common for Florida.  

Aug 30, 2017 06:41 AM #57
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Sep 11, 2017 09:56 AM #58
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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