Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with John Bigelow and Bruce Irving, Realtors with Hammond Real Estate LLC, about how to communicate with clients and other agents.
1. Whenever possible, arrange for an initial face-to-face meeting. For a real connection between client and agent, there’s no substitute.
2. Use the mandatory licensee disclosure form as an opportunity to fully explain the way agents and the public interact, how agents get paid, and what the client can expect from whatever relationship will exist between them and you. It’s professional; it shows that you take the regulatory environment, consumer protection, and your obligations seriously; and guiding them through it carefully may very well distinguish you positively from other agents the client meets.
3. Be yourself. Not only is it easier than “acting,” your straightforwardness will likely draw out the same from your client, which is good for both of you and for the work at hand. And if your straightforward self somehow doesn’t work for your client, it’s probably best to found out early.
4. Determine what way the client prefers to be contacted and whether there are any “blackout” times when they don’t want to be interrupted. Depending on your style, you may wish to share your own preferences and time boundaries with your client as well. Most folks respect a boundary and the person who sets it up. If your client objects to yours, that’s good information to have.
5. If you’re working with buyers, establish a schedule of feedback and stick to it. Be rigorous in retrieving client reactions to given properties. Establish a benchmark (i.e. “the best place we’ve seen so far”) and either confirm or replace it with every new property seen.
6. As a listing agent, promise and deliver a daily written summary of all activity at and about the property, including detailed accounts of open houses and private showings, marketing efforts, and questions and comments from other agents and potential buyers. You do not want your seller staring into the black box of his or her computer screen or telephone at the end of the day, wondering what’s going on with what is probably their biggest asset.