No tone...

Real Estate Agent with Atlanta Communities 303302

Emails and text messages can be really bad for communicating. They do not have the ability to convey nuances that a phone call can do.

Yesterday, a buyers agent working to help a buyer close on a listing I have, emailed me a question that I have answered for her several times before. Being very busy (Not at all a good excuse) I answered back via email the answer. I went on about my business. The agent called me within a minute or so.

When I answered, she started by reminding me that emails can convey a tone to the recipient that was not intended by the sender. I immediately agreed and reassured her there was no "Tone" intended in my response. Even with this assurance, she was obviously put out.

She was of course correct about wrong tones being read into emails and texts. I reread my response to her and still feel that there was no tone in it, but I get how she could have seen it.

Just another reminder to myself and others to pick up the phone, dial a number, and actually put it to your ear. It is so important to convey messages correctly and not have the recipient of the message wondering what you meant.

Posted by

Peter den Boer, Associate Broker, Realtor

Atlanta Communities Real estate Brokerage


Ph. 770.713.1545


I write about daily life as a Realtor in the Towne Lake Community in Woodstock Georgia.

Comments (16)

Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

I agree, sometimes a text or an email just won't cut it.

Feb 02, 2021 06:33 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Peter - all forms of communication have their own nuances.  Text/email/phone call/in-person.  I imagine there is a "tone" that is noticed in a seance.  

Feb 02, 2021 06:47 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We had a family feud last for over a year, which affected other members oven a misunderstood email.  Of, course the receiver could have picked their phone to check this out, and prevented a time of silence and bad vibes which were transmitted to the rest...A

Feb 02, 2021 08:07 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Peter den Boer - when we are rushed we are all guilty of those things.

Feb 02, 2021 08:52 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

And to play the devil's advocate...perhaps the other agent was looking for something negative.  Our perspective when we read something can impact how we receive it. 

Feb 02, 2021 05:28 PM
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

We use business emails to communicate and convey information.  For the most part, we keep it factual, short, to a specific point (no more than one or two issues per email - if there are additional issues, they are handled by separate emails with the appropriate subject title), and always encourage them to respond with any questions.  As a property manager, we would never get anything accomplished if we were on the phone all of the time.  Automation is very important to reduce upset and misunderstanding.

Feb 03, 2021 08:19 AM
Peter den Boer

Jim, I agree with that. Property management would be a fairly intensive communication process. Having said that, Real estate agents need to be better communicators.

Feb 03, 2021 08:45 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

Feb 06, 2021 06:07 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

We need to be careful in all manners of communications.  The choice of words can incense especially if we are working on an issue of contention in a deal.

Feb 07, 2021 05:11 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Peter. Must say many do not use their phone for conversation. Text messages and email only. Too bad! Enjoy your day.

Feb 07, 2021 05:19 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Well, good for her for picking up the phone to communicate her unease. That cleared up a situation that could have dragged on!

Feb 07, 2021 06:26 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Peter:

This is an important reminder about communication via text and email that can be misinterpreted - what was intended might not be what was heard.


Feb 07, 2021 12:52 PM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

I like to have things written down in business.  Using email for longer information sharing and sending a quick text that I've done so, seems to do the job.  But I had to learn that the hard way.  Several years ago I thought I was being funny (well, facetious) in a text and it didn't go over well.  Lesson learned. 

Feb 07, 2021 04:09 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Agreed! It really is important to use the utmost thought and caution when texting. It is so easy to send the wrong message.

Feb 08, 2021 09:02 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

Agree, but also why was the other agent so upset & defensive? Since you answered the question previously, what's up with that?

I have also had these things happen & sometimes in business you just have to shrug it off instead of over-reacting.

Feb 08, 2021 09:38 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Very True.  I have gotten into trouble with my texts and emails because someone took it the wrong way.

Feb 09, 2021 11:38 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Peter,

Even though the way the email was read reflects the attitude of the reader, we still have to try to get things across right.

Feb 23, 2021 07:41 AM