Failure to Communicate – Why The Realtor Didn’t Return Your Call

Real Estate Communication Breakdowns

Cell Phone Home Search - VanAlstyneHomes.comHave you ever called a Realtor and your call was not returned promptly or at all?  What we have here is the proverbial failure to communicate. Before killing the messenger, consider that the only way real estate agents make a living is talking to and helping people buy, lease or sell homes and land. Today three people (buyer, seller and Realtor) missed an opportunity over a restricted number. Read on to discover some reasons for communication breakdowns.

Don’t Restrict Your Phone Number

Realtors get numerous spam and advertising calls daily. We get used to seeing obvious vendor business numbers, weird area codes or restricted numbers (normally from telemarketers). Today, I couldn’t help a potential buyer who left an urgent message requesting to see a $145,000 property ASAP.  In his excited voice mail, he did everything right telling me he needed to see it quickly and even provided the MLS number, listed price and address.  Unfortunately in his excitement he neglected to leave a call back number and the caller ID reported, RESTRICTED NUMBER.  This prevents me from returning his call from my phones recent calls.

Call Agents Direct Vs. Office Numbers

Realtors can be our own worse enemies. We confuse clients with TMI by providing office, cell, fax, VM, and property information numbers. We really want to hear from you!  If at all possible, call the agents direct cell phone number. We are all mobile these days so that is the best way to get us. Calling the office number can get you voice mail, a desk agent who may not know the property or my pet peeve, the dreaded patch through.  Patch throughs from office phone systems can be hard to hear and the caller ID is not passed to the agent. Like the restricted number, if there is no return number left or a non- understandable number, the agent can’t return your call.

In Cars, With Clients, On Horseback

There are times when it just doesn’t make sense to answer the phone.  If we are having a face to face conversation about one of the most expensive and important decisions in your life, you deserve my undivided attention.  Most agents operate this way and return calls when available.  The same applies while driving. I used to take calls while driving but decided I can help you better by being on the planet vs. crashing and burning. Fumbling around for pens, looking through folders, accessing the MLS or reading texts while driving causes high insurance rates, body shop visits and a lot of turnover in the real estate industry. Don’t forget, in some areas it’s illegal.

There is an occasional exception, on horseback.  My marketing is based on my love for horses and Appaloosa horses in particular. After-all, you can’t buy or sell real estate if it can’t be spotted!  If I am out on the trail I will attempt to take your call & have even sold homes from the saddle.  Seriously, this is as ridiculous as when driving but I guess I haven’t banged my head on enough tree limbs yet.  You can train a horse, it’s hard to train a car….or certain humans.  If this turns out to be too dangerous look for a future marketing message, “Buy acreage from me, get a horse for free!”

Fast Talkers

This one should be obvious but in this sound bite, everyone in a hurry, Twitter type world it seems that people forget to take their time when leaving a call back number. Caller ID is wonderful but many times that number isn’t the number the client wants the call returned to. The next time you leave your number, speak a little slower and pause after the area code and prefix.  Also, it doesn’t hurt to repeat the number.   There is a reason those infomercials keep repeating the number over and over again.

Background Noise

Phone Booths are dinosaurs but try to find a quiet place when leaving a message. Kids screaming in the background for ice cream or rock music playing while on the gym treadmill don’t make for understandable communication.

No Message

I am constantly amazed at the number of people who don’t leave messages.  People are afraid to call, then they get voice mail and won’t leave a message.  If you take the time to call, please leave a message so I can help you.  I promise I won’t bite and I will do my best to return your call as soon as possible.


Texting solves a lot of problems – see No Message!  While I won’t interrupt a client conversation or respond while driving I will happily respond to text messages.  Most agents like text and email messages because we have the right contact information and can return calls appropriately.

Recapping, we need to communicate with each other and do it in a timely, safe and respectful manner. If you have called an agent and they didn’t call back or it seemed like forever, there is probably a good reason. They could be with a client, in a closing or other meeting, driving, couldn’t understand or had no way to return the call. We want to help you spot the home of your dreams. Please call or text again!




About Keith Laursen

I am a Fathom Realty Realtor specializing in town and country properties in the cities of Van Alstyne, Anna, Melissa, Howe, Gunter, Tom Bean, Whitewright, McKinney and Plano, TX.

My trusty horse and I will help you "spot" the best in real estate. Remember, it can't sell if it's not spotted!
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