Jim Valentine: Communication guidelines with your agent
Good real estate agents work hard. The public perception is often that they sit around eating doughnuts reading the paper in the office and drive around in fancy cars, but the reality is that the ones that fit that description aren’t the ones that make the sales. They are living a role that suits the balance of their existence but doesn’t put them in a position of advancing their customers’ positions.
Busy agents communicate with a lot of people on a daily basis for a variety of reasons. From prospecting for new customers to handling the escrow process of current sales transactions, there is a lot to get done on a daily basis. With the advent of the cell phone and subsequent smartphone, agents are readily available to customers 24 hours a day. Understand, however, that it isn’t realistic to think that just because you can reach them by simply dialing, texting or e-mailing them any time you want that they should be immediately responsive.
Agents are people, too, and they have families and friends and lives outside of the time-consuming profession that they have selected for their livelihood. Most agents will accept your call or respond to your text and e-mails quickly because they want to please you. Sometimes you’ll have an urgent matter, a new home that you saw, a sudden change in personal events, etc., and you’ll need to talk to your agent right away to determine a course of action or simply to be assured everything will be all right. Most agents will be happy you called so they can take a moment and help you.
Calling an agent at 9 p.m. for the answer to an inconsequential question is really working against yourself. Agents are needed for their knowledge. To properly assess, plan and act in a situation, they need to be mentally sharp. If they work too many hours in a day or have their relaxation time interfered with, they won’t be as sharp for you when you are working together fully focused on the entirety of your purchase or sale plans. It is well known that one can only operate at peak performance for five hours a day. Beyond that, while working, the performance is not as sharp. With that in mind, make sure your weekend, evening or early morning calls are really needed to advance your cause.
There are many times when you will need your agent for business at unconventional times of the day. Call or communicate with him; it’s OK. Your agent should establish parameters with you when you begin working together. When is it OK to communicate for what type of information or interaction? Do the same with your agent, set your parameters with her so she doesn’t call you during your family or church time. With set parameters when the anomaly call comes in, either side will know something is going on that needs action.
If you don’t use e-mail, you might consider re-evaluating your position on that. It is a quick way to move information around and when it comes to signing documents, much of it is done on the computer today via e-mail. Even if you have to have your children or grandchildren help you, get up to speed online. It will keep the communication flow moving for agents send a lot of notes along the way via text or e-mail that you won’t get if you rely on snail mail. It is in your best interest to be able to email your agent.
Our advice: Real estate communication has changed radically over the years. The cyber world is amazing. The problem now is that it is often relied on to a fault. Picking up the phone is a dying art, yet so important to maintain the personal touch. Try to reach a good balance with your agent between cyber communication and personal communication, whether in person or on the phone. You’ll both enjoy the process more.
Stay in touch with your agent. Things can change quickly in a market or transaction and you’ll both want to be on top of it when it does. Keep the communication lines open and fluid and the process will be enjoyable. When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. firstname.lastname@example.org