Realtors® have many stories about nightmare clients. Clients who say they want to buy right away, but then want to see 24 houses over 2 months and still can’t decide. Buyers who claim to be in great financial shape but then can’t get approved for financing. Sellers who insist on pricing using a Zestimate rather than real market conditions.
But the truth is, buyers and sellers have their own horror stories. They often struggle to work with US, and tell their friends and family about how terrible it is to try to deal with a Realtor®. Why? Because sometimes, Realtors® make a key mistake – they fail to communicate well with clients. As a result, buyers and sellers have expectations that aren’t met, are dissatisfied with their experience, and spread bad press about real estate agents. Here’s how not to be “that Realtor®”.
Set Expectations Up Front
We do real estate transactions every day, but the reality is that almost all of our clients do a real estate transaction once every 5 – 20 years. The industry changes tremendously in that amount of time, and buyers and sellers rarely know what to expect. As a professional agent, our first job is to lay out the process for clients and help them know what to expect, when the waiting times will be, and what the average timeframe is for each part of the process.
You should also share your normal working hours and when the best time is to reach you, along with any days or times you won’t be available at all. When you lay out the process very clearly, and then make sure your client doesn’t have questions, you avoid a lot of heartache down the road. Your client doesn’t have unrealistic expectations, and you have your boundaries. If your client starts to stray outside the lines, you can reign them in by reminding them of the expectations you laid out at the beginning.
Communicate Regularly Regarding Progress
Buying or selling a home is a really big deal to real estate customers, and they get very nervous when they feel their Realtor® has “disappeared” or hasn’t given an update in a while. They may or may not understand how many other clients you are serving, but regardless, they deserve regular reassurance. A simple email or phone call – five minutes at most – can help clients understand if you’re still waiting for someone, or where the process is at the moment.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never have a client who pesters you. However, it will take the anxiety off of your normal clients, who will have more faith in you because you are giving them regular updates on the process. You’ll also build more rapport, which will be a great asset when you ask them for referrals.
Stay in Touch After the Transaction
No one likes to feel like a number, and sometimes Realtors® give buyers or sellers that impression by simply vanishing after a transaction has finished. While it’s true that you have active clients that need more of your time, there’s no reason you can’t check in with your former buyers and sellers occasionally. An automated email system can help a lot with that, as can holiday postcards or other marketing mailings.
If you follow these steps, you’ll never be the Realtor® everyone warns their friends about. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have another difficult client – there’s always someone out there with crazy ideas about real estate. But, it does mean that your normal buyers and sellers won’t become problem clients. When you set expectations, give frequent updates, and keep in touch after the sale, you’ll be doing your part to make our industry look great.
How do you keep communication flowing with your clients? Share in the comments!