A Text Can Convey a Message. Not a Tone.

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker 69190

Columbia, SC Homes for Sale  I recently had a deal that I was working, representing a buyer, and in the process of setting up inspections I sent an email with all the times and days for each appointment to the listing agent. When the market was slow, I used to be able to schedule all the inspections for the same day and close to the same time to get everything over at once, but these days with everyone being so busy, that is often times not the case. That being said, the listing agent replied that she received the message and she would contact the sellers and let me know what they had to say. I received no reply until the morning of the first round of inspections and then it was simply a text stating I was good to go for inspections but per the seller we had to leave the premises by a certain time or we would simply have to reschedule the inspections. I informed the inspectors when they arrived that the seller needed us out by a certain time and everyone was able to finish up with no issues and we were all gone with time to spare.

 Columbia, SC Homes for SaleNo harm no foul in this case, but to receive a message at 7am, 2 hours prior to the first inspection that we had to be gone by a certain time could have come off as a little hostel. Especially considering that there had been 48 hours notice that the inspections would occur at this time. That being said, I am not one to over react and I was sure would could be gone in the correct amount of time.

 Upon arrival at the house, we found the seller's partner still at the house and she was under the impression she had to be there to let us in and had to remain there during inspections. Her concern and need for time restraints was based on needing to retrieve a child from school and needing to leave in enough to do so.

 I am sure that somewhere this topic has been discussed more than once, but a text and an email can only convey a message and not the tone of the message in question. The text came off as a little rude when simply stating that they wanted us off the property in a certain time range, but in all truth teh seller's partner was just worried she would not be able to pick up a child on time due to her believing she had to be present to let us onto the property.

Columbia, SC Homes for Sale  When faced with these situations it's best to  remain level headed and not overreact to what you see as a rude text or email and take into consideration that 9 times out of 10, there's usually just a simple misunderstanding. Don't get me wrong, that 10th time, someone may be a real jerk, but that's usually not the case.

  So when you are faced with delivering a message that could possibly be taken out of context, you may want to pick up the phone and use it to call rather than sending a text. Deals have been broken by far less than a perceived slight and your tone means a lot especially if you are delivering bad news.

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Rainmaker
1,397,171
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I guess that's why they invented emoticons... and I see they are an option here as well.  

Jun 05, 2018 06:02 PM #6
Rainmaker
94,770
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Custom Home Design

My mother once told me (God rest her soul) that if you are upset, never to write a letter.  If you do, do not send it for awhile.  Reconsider everything and do not write in anger.

She also said that face to face communication was the best.  Not telephones, not letters even.  (no texting at the time she said this but obviously that would have been worse).  She said one cannot understand the meanings and intentions of another unless face to face.

I think she was right.

Of course we cannot run a business like this always but we have too often used abbreviated and quick messaging (much misspelled in fact) to answer important questions and other matters that should be handled perhaps in person, or even by phone.  AMAZING when you actually HEAR someone's voice how much more nuance is detected!  

Jun 05, 2018 07:01 PM #7
Ambassador
2,780,509
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

if someone sent me a text at 7 am they'd be SOL if I needed to look at it that time of day.  I start at 9.  

But you are so right that you infer "tone" from words, but it's often wrong.

Jun 05, 2018 08:54 PM #8
Ambassador
3,719,307
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi JL

This is such a great example of the importance of effective communicatiion - not only what is said, but how and when. Yes, texting and email is easy but it's often NOT the most effective, nor the best method.

Jeff

Jun 05, 2018 09:43 PM #9
Rainer
452,269
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

If you need more than 160 characters in your text, best use email or call direct. Text messages IMO should be concise, brief and to the point, yet, how the message is received to determine it's tone or emotions could only be perceived by very sensitive people, however, it's not the tone but the close of a business transaction that is the ultimate goal, isn't it? 

Jun 05, 2018 11:40 PM #10
Ambassador
3,498,393
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

JL- you are absolutely on target with this one. Letters put together to form a sentence miss a very important part of communication...the tone. And it becomes to easy to get your knickers in a wad and take it the wrong way. I love what John Henry's mom had to say. 

Jun 06, 2018 12:07 PM #11
Rainmaker
458,865
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experience Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I agree!  Gotta step back and not over react.  Think twice also before sending very long texts of a personal or angry nature!

Jun 06, 2018 12:26 PM #12
Rainmaker
328,122
Gary & Melynda Wolter (CRS) 480-269-1164
Evenson/Fisher Group-Revelation Realty - Mesa, AZ
Relentless, Reliable, Premier Personal Service

Professionalism at all costs! Be the class act. Great post and reactions!

Jun 06, 2018 10:13 PM #13
Rainmaker
900,366
Joyce Marsh, Daytona Beach Florida
Joyce Marsh Real Estate - Daytona Beach, FL
Coastal Homes and Lifestyles

This is so true and so relevant in our business today. So much of our communication is either text or emails and not face to face and can be misunderstood very easily. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the feature 

Jun 06, 2018 11:07 PM #14
Rainmaker
2,331,055
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

In the end in regards to anything: It's the "spirit" behind it all

Jun 07, 2018 06:12 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,416,469
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning JL Boney, III, text messages are great for communication but should never take the place of a conversation. Just pick up the phone. Great post! 

Jun 07, 2018 06:57 AM #16
Rainmaker
506,982
Jon Quist
REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE - Tucson, AZ
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Pick up the damn phone. How hard can that be? Rhetorical question. Apparently pretty difficult. Yikes.

Jun 07, 2018 07:45 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,011,491
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

That's why so many texts have all those punctuation marks (!!!) after each line.

Other than using an emoticon, it feels friendlier

Jun 07, 2018 08:37 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,815,685
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Congratulations on a geat featured post! Text is fine for some reasons, such as, informing the other agent a confirmation about an appointment. But when it is important and you want to be perfectly clear, pick up the phone and call or email, leave VM with specific information and communicate, communicate, communicate. I find that TEXT is like sending off the fire alarm when in fact, there is not fire to begin with. 

I have never heard of any Inspectors in my area who would be told by the seller without prior notifications to get out by a certain time. That's just plain rude and unacceptable. Buyers are entitled to a home inspection and in TX contracts, it is spelled out well that it's a buyers right. All inspectors that I've worked with understands sellers have commitments and they don't mind if Seller has to be home. Also, here as I'm sure in other states, they are licensed, bonded, and insured with key access. I have never heard of an Agent telling someone to get out if they aren't finished and reschedule because the seller said so. That's very rude.  

Jun 07, 2018 08:38 AM #20
Ambassador
265,576
Eleanor Thorne
Equity Resources - Cary, NC
Equity Resources 919-649-5058

Great reminder!  We also don't see the same reaction for those looking for information if we ONLY text them!  Sometimes it takes an actual conversation.

Jun 07, 2018 10:12 AM #21
Rainmaker
362,477
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I try to limit my txt messeges to things such as, I just sent an email for you to reply to.  I will meet you at....

Tone is difficult to determine from a txt.

Thanks for sharing.

Jun 07, 2018 11:26 AM #22
Rainmaker
508,224
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

There are some things that just need to be face to face or voice to voice.  I agree that text can be convenient, but it is usually better to call and clarify their need for constraints.  As you found out, it was lack of education on the part of the listing agent to their client that was causing the constraints and it could have been alleviated without putting any stress on the seller.  Great post.

Jun 07, 2018 03:24 PM #23
Rainmaker
292,174
Mott Marvin Kornicki
Waterway Realty, Realtors® • Broker • South East Florida • - Miami Beach, FL
Waterway Realtors, Notary Public 786-229-7999

Indeed, Texts and e-mail can not replace face to face or a phone conversation.

Jun 07, 2018 06:56 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,431,289
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I really think it's the LA's problem as she didn't convey enough info to the seller or there wouldn't have been that text. Poor seller is just worried about picking up the kids at school. No one even told her that she didn't need to be there to babysit you.

Jun 08, 2018 01:21 PM #25
Rainmaker
2,024,158
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Great advice...no need stirring up trouble where there doesn't need to be any. We have enough misunderstandings going on these days!

Jun 09, 2018 10:18 AM #26
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JL Boney, III

Columbia, SC Real Estate
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