Contacting a real estate agent for the first time can be a little intimidating and even confusing. With so many methods of communication and thousands of agents to choose from, it’s not always easy to know what to say or how to select an agent to work with.
Before contacting a real estate agent, you should know how to communicate effectively.
A good relationship with an experienced agent can be beneficial because they have specialized knowledge of their respective markets. They also have access to exclusive property information listed on the MLS that isn’t available to the general public. Agents can provide clients with valuable market insights and even protection from unfair, or shady negotiations.
In this blog, we’ll explain how to contact a real estate agent and the communication skills needed to make the most out of your interactions.
Before contacting an agent, you want to ensure you’re prepared for the conversation. This includes doing some research about the local market, finding some of the top-performing agents in the area and interviewing a few of them to decide if they are the right realtors to help you buy or sell a home.
Here are three tips that will help you have productive conversations with prospective agents:
Study local real estate market trends
Understanding local market trends can help you assess property values and other home sale data. This gives you an idea of what to expect in terms of pricing.
Although an experienced agent will be able to analyze these trends effectively, it’s always a good idea for you to get a head start because it allows you to verify that the homes in the area fit your budget and desired criteria.
Identify top-performing agents in your ideal neighborhood
In addition to understanding the real estate industry, you also want to identify the best agents in the area. It’s essential to verify professional credentials, such as licenses and certifications, as well as personal accounts, such as online reviews.
Try to focus on agents that specialize in buying or selling the type of property you’re interested in, whether they be single-family homes, multi-family homes, condos, or other types of homes.
You could also filter agents based on what types of buyers they tend to work with, such as first-time homebuyers, real estate investors, or veterans.
Shortlist 3-5 agents to interview over the phone
After narrowing down your search to agents based on the criteria mentioned above, create a list of 3-5 agents who fit your needs best.
Take their information and plug it into FastExpert’s real estate agent directory to view their previous sales and absolute client ratings.
At Fast Expert, we rank 50k+ real estate agents based on millions of data points and determine top performers. Rankings can’t be bought and are purely performance-based.
Whether your preferred method of communication is written, verbal, or face-to-face, there are several ways to establish contact with a real estate professional.
Here are some of the most common ways you can initiate contact with agents:
Calling is one of the best ways to reach out to an agent. Phone conversations allow you to get a sense of an agent’s personality and work style immediately. You can tell a lot about a person’s communication etiquette by speaking to them on the phone for a few minutes.
Answering the phone with a friendly tone, following up with a text message after the call, and returning the call soon after if it is missed are all positive signs.
To make the most out of your first phone conversation with an agent, implement the following tips:
- Schedule the phone call. This allows the agent to be prepared and ready for the conversation.
- Identify the reason for the call. This will help agents match their expertise with your specific needs.
- If the agent doesn’t pick up, leave a detailed voicemail with your contact information. This ensures that the agent receives your message and can reach back out at a later time.
A text message is an effective way to introduce yourself, ask a few questions, and schedule a follow-up call. While texting isn’t the best communication method to explain all of your needs in detail, it is a great way to establish contact and receive a timely response.
You can send an agent a quick paragraph introducing yourself, briefly explaining your needs, and suggesting a time for a follow-up conversation. This can take place as a phone call, video call, or in-person meeting.
If you’d like to receive a more detailed answer from an agent, but would rather not schedule a phone call, you may want to email them.
Emailing allows you to send a detailed outline describing precisely what you’re looking for in your dream home on your own time. There’s no need to check in with the agent about their availability for a call.
When contacting a real estate agent via email, it’s important to be detailed yet concise. A professional subject line will help an agent quickly understand the nature of your request. You can then go into more detail about your real estate goals in the body of the email.
It’s a good idea to include the following details about your home sale or purchase:
- Transaction timeline
- Type of property
Don’t forget to mention how you’d like to follow up.
Scheduling a video call allows you to gauge an agent’s facial expressions and mannerisms in real time as you ask them questions. This can help you determine if an agent is confident in their ability to help you, or if they’re trying to please you.
As a result, you can quickly rule out agents who don’t fit the bill. However, scheduling video calls can be time-consuming. It’s best to only schedule video calls with real estate professionals you’ve adequately vetted.
Sometimes, the easiest way to reach out to an agent is on social media. Agents tend to respond quickly to direct messages if they have an active profile. Sending them a quick message letting them know you’re interested in learning more about their services usually prompts them to follow up and schedule a phone or video call to understand your needs better.
Reaching out on social media may be a good idea to get a quick impression of an agent without committing to a full conversation.
Unless your real estate transactions occur on the other side of the country, you should try to meet with your agent in person at least once.
If meeting in person isn’t possible, ask them the right questions before entering into any kind of agreement.
In-person meetings are ideal because they allow the buyer or seller to better understand the real estate agent’s expertise. If there’s anything iffy about the agent, there’s a better chance you’ll pick up on it in person than over the phone.
Best Practices for Written and Verbal Communication with a Realtor
Now that we’ve covered several ways in which you can get a hold of an agent, let’s discuss best practices for effective communication.
Write targeted emails and phone scripts
The best way to ensure your needs are accurately conveyed to prospective agents is by crafting emails and phone scripts that are clear and concise.
Ideally, your introductory emails and phone scripts will include all information relevant to your home sale or purchase. Let the agent know when, where, and what you are looking to buy or sell. You should also include a timeline during which you’d like the transaction to take place, as well as your budget.
Anything beyond that can be discussed in a follow-up meeting.
Let the agent know how you prefer to be contacted in the future
After making initial contact, you want to make it easy for the agent to reach you again. If you never answer the phone to unknown callers, let the agent know it’s best to reach out via text or email. If you prefer direct communication, let the agent know it’s best to call.
It’s important let the agent know your preferred method of communication so that you can receive a prompt response at the best possible time. This helps the homebuying process go smoothly and avoids unnecessary delays.
Convey your goals, needs, and timelines
Whether you’re reaching out through written or verbal communication, it’s important to be honest about your desires and constraints. While you may assume that agents will intuitively accommodate your needs, the truth is that agents work with a variety of clients who have a diverse set of needs.
Avoid being vague about your goals, needs, and timelines so that the agent can serve you best.
Ask agents strategic questions
Asking questions helps buyers and sellers learn more about the kind of services an agent can provide and has provided clients in the past.
Asking the right questions can also help an agent get a better sense of the client’s expectations.
FastExpert can help both buyers and sellers prepare a list of questions to ask that will provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision. Here are some questions you should ask:
- How will you market my home?
- How many homes have you sold in the area?
- Can you provide references?
- How do your fees work? Listing agents work under a split commission.
- Do you specialize in this neighborhood? Local agents should be aware of upcoming developments that might affect property values.
Share personal finance details
You may not feel comfortable revealing your financial situation to someone you just met. However, agents will need some of this information to help you.
Agents don’t need to know every last detail of your finances, just the information relevant to your mortgage lender. It’d be helpful for you to share your annual income, credit score, and how much you have saved for a down payment.
Expect prompt and thoughtful responses
As a client, you should expect prompt and thoughtful responses from an agent, especially when you’re contacting them for the first time. Real estate professionals should have a vested interest in making sure you feel well-received and treated with respect. If they respond with minimal enthusiasm or fail to respond at all, they’re either not serious about doing business with you or too busy to take on new clients.
However, there are ways you can frame the conversation. One way to encourage prompt and thoughtful responses is by crafting an email template or phone template. Here is a sample email template or a phone teleprompt a buyer/seller can use when contacting a real estate agent:
I am interested in [buying/selling] a [type of property] in [location]. I have a few questions I would like to ask you before I decide on a real estate agent.
Could you please provide me with information about your experience and qualifications? What are your commission rate and fees? What does the [home buying process/home selling process] look like for your typical client?
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Find a top-performing agent in your area using FastExpert
Communicating your real estate needs is the first step towards finding an agent that can help you achieve your real estate goals. Whether you’re buying or selling, you’ll need to communicate clearly and concisely to make sure your needs are met.
You’ll also need to vet real estate agents thoroughly to make sure contacting them is worth your time. FastExpert makes it easy for you by compiling the top real estate agents in your area according to independent rankings.
Check our list of top-performing agents to get started on your home purchase or sale today!