Why Won't Agents Return My Calls?

The Question:

"Why don't any of these real estate agents ever respond to my calls/texts/emails/messages?"

The Answer:

Incorrect listing information. Third-party real estate advertising websites are riddled with errors, including incorrect contact information. The agent might not be calling or emailing you back because you have the wrong number or address.

Automated "Lead Management" software. Many agents are using automated contact management software to organize the dozens or hundreds of contacts they receive on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, one wrong click and your request for information can disappear into oblivion. Often, these lead management programs will publish emails and phone numbers for the agents online that don't get to the agent directly. You'll call the number or send the email and it will get "lost" in the tangle of automated forwarding and management algorithms. Try "Googling" the agent to find their real phone number and email.

"Lead Capture" websites. Sometimes home search websites are little more than "lead capture" sites for agents looking to build their businesses. Unfortunately, the website creators have no idea which agents are competent or interested in specific markets, so the "leads" (i.e. your request for more information or a showing) get distributed to agents who have no familiarity with the neighborhood or who are disinterested in the market. Some agents don't like to work with condos, for instance. So, if you "request more information" on a condo, and your request gets sent to an agent who hates condos, they might not call you back.

Difficulty distinguishing "window-shoppers." A lot of people like to look at houses online. There is nothing wrong with that at all! However, it is impossible for an agent to know whether the person contacting them online is ready to make a move or not. Since we get paid only when transactions close, we try to prioritize those who are closer to buying/selling. Some agents get dozens or hundreds of contacts per day while they're running around showing homes, negotiating contracts, appeasing government regulations, and closing sales. If they get a vague request for information from someone with no last name, no phone number, and a bogus-looking email address, the request is going right into the trash. Unfortunately, some of these requests are legitimate, and it leads to many frustrated customers!

How Do I Get A Response?

Call the agent's mobile phone. Don't leave a message on Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, or even the big broker websites. Find the agent's phone number and give them a call. If they don't pick up, leave a voicemail with your real name, phone number, an email address, and a clear description of the property in which you're interested. This is going to get you a response. If the agent doesn't get in touch with you very soon, find a different agent. If an agent isn't responding to a call like this, then they're either too busy or unprofessional. Either way, you'd benefit by finding a more professional or less over-worked agent!

Make your expectations clear. What do you want? Do you just want to go look at property? That's fine! Do you want the agent to give you some free advice? Also fine. Do you want the agent to show you a couple of houses or neighborhoods, or maybe refer you to a bank? Totally fine. If you make it clear to the agent exactly what you want, it will save them guesswork and time, and you'll get better service.

Text the agent directly. If you prefer to text, be sure to include your real name and an email address along with the property's address or a specific description of the property.

I hope this is useful advice. These few simple things will increase the likelihood that you'll receive better and more useful real estate advice from agents. I know it can be frustrating when it seems like the industry is full of incompetent or unprofessional agents ignoring your calls and emails. While there are a good number of less than professional agents out there, most of us want to serve our clients! Please help us do that by letting us know that you're really interested. Thanks!

Jay Villella