You’ve probably heard the top 3 “rules” when it comes to real estate is “location, location, location.” 

It’s true; location counts for a great deal in every real estate investment or transaction. But I’d say a very close Rule #4 is: Communication is Key.

The 4th Rule

One of the biggest complaints most buyers, sellers, and owners/investors have when working with their agent is communication, or lack thereof. And when it comes down to money, it’s totally understandable! Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial (and often emotional) transactions in a person’s life. Working with investment properties may be less emotional, but the dollars are often bigger. More $$ on the line = more stress potential.

So if poor communication is such a big issue for so many people, why is it still happening? Why are there so many people feeling unheard, and how do we change that?

The Client’s Role

Communication is a two-way street. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Much as I try, I’m not a mind-reader. It really helps when my clients are clear with me about what they want to accomplish, when, and how they like to stay in touch.

As a broker and property manager, it is absolutely vital for me to have good communication with my buyers, sellers, and investors. Even for property owners who want to be totally checked out! In this case, I’d say it’s even more important to establish the plan for communication early on.

For instance, if you’re going to be on sabbatical for a year, or traveling around the world for months at a time, tell your property manager and/or agent what your plans are. When will you be gone? Will you be reachable while you’re away? If not, how do you want to deal with any issues that may come up? Establishing these protocols before an emergency happens helps tremendously when it comes to feelings of good communication.

Are you a phone person? Or do you prefer text? What’s your day-to-day like? Are you in meetings all day, or home with young children?  Do you want to see listings the minute they come on the market, or would you prefer to see a daily or weekly summary? Do you want all the stats and data, or do you feel like you’ve already got enough going on without poring over sales data spreadsheets? Be frank with your real estate professional about what you need and how you like to give and receive information. Really, it’s OK. We see it all!

Communication in Buying and Selling

OK, I haven’t done a scientific study here, but I’d say 9 out of 10 “communication issues” between buyers and sellers and their agent boil down to this: trust. Buyers and sellers who don’t trust their agent are much less likely to communicate their wants and needs, much less communicate clearly.

First, choose an agent that you trust and feel safe with. It’s vital to everyone’s happiness and stress level! In many ways, it’s similar to your relationship with your doctor. The more you can share, honestly, the better that person is able to meet your real estate needs in a positive way. Just remember, your real estate broker is not a license therapist. 😉 We can take your lifestyle into consideration when searching for a home. We can’t tell you if you should or shouldn’t take that new job.

Next, and throughout your real estate journey, be clear about what you want and need, your goals, and how you want to reach them. Maybe you’re not sure about some things, and that’s OK. You’ll learn as you go. (Trust me, everyone learns something new about their partner when buying and/or selling). You’ll probably learn something new about yourself, too. Feeling uncertain? Be honest about that, too. Things go much better when you are open to sharing.

Communication in Property Management

What does good communication look like when it comes to property management? We visit residential properties at least twice per year–enough to keep an eye on the property and address any potential issues as early as possible, while not bothering the tenant. We communicate clearly with the tenant(s) when access is needed, and we maintain good relationships with tenants so they feel good sharing potential issues with us. (While many owners prefer tenants they never hear from, we think it’s better to know when there might be a problem before it gets bad).

Owners receive an annual property report with all income and expenses accounted for, pictures of the property, and any issues noted in detail. If there are big-ticket items that need to be addressed (like a water heater at the end of its life), we’ll discuss how to deal with it according to the owners’s preferences. For instance, if it will cost around $3,000 to replace the old water heater, we can hold funds in the trust account to cover it, or the owner can choose to be billed directly by the plumber.

Clearly, It’s Important

To me, clear and prompt communication and responsiveness are the most important part of what I do. If you agree that good communication is vital in real estate, drop me a line!

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