When you hire a real estate agent, one of the top things you expect from them is excellent communication. That's a huge part of their job, so what if you're working with someone and finding that they aren't responsive?
It can create a sense of worry and anxiety if you're the client, for good reason.
You can take some steps to handle the situation, but before you do anything, you also want to make sure you're being reasonable in your expectations.
Think About Your Agent's Perspective
Yes, you hired a real estate agent to represent you and either help you find a home or sell your current house. At the same time, before jumping to a decision too quickly, you do want to think about what your realtor's perspective could be.
You might be trying to contact them late at night or on the weekend about something that's not that urgent. If that's the case, it's reasonable that maybe they'll wait until a work day or a more convenient time to contact you.
They might also be working with another client on a closing or something more pressing at that moment.
A reasonable window of time to expect a response from your realtor on something urgent is within an hour or two on a business day, during business hours. If it's not urgent, you might expect a return call by the next business day, whatever that will be.
You also want to verify your realtor got your message. For example, if your realtor's office has someone who answers the phone, they may not get messages quickly.
On the other hand, if you're in the middle of something like negotiations, or there's a deadline that has to be met, you should expect that your realtor is going to respond more quickly and potentially be in constant contact with you until there's a resolution of the situation. If this isn't happening, it's a red flag.
Have An In-Person Meeting
Any time you aren't happy with your realtor, it's a good idea to schedule a meeting in person because this allows you to avoid miscommunication that can occur with texts, emails and other communication. You can also take some time to calm down if you're frustrated or angry you aren't getting a response.
Write down your concerns so you don't get flustered when you're in person but go to your meeting with your agent ready to listen.
If they're not responding to your request for a meeting, you should follow up after two business days.
When you talk to your realtor, be specific with examples of when you feel like they weren't responsive enough for you. You might just have different ideas of what communicating well looks like, so if you can be diplomatic in your approach, you're better able to see one another's perspectives.
An in-person meeting is an excellent time to set expectations for communication. You can express what you'd like, and your realtor can share what they think is reasonable and when they might be unreachable.
When Is It Time to End the Relationship?
If something can't be cleared up with communication, or you can't even get your realtor to schedule a meeting to talk about what's going on, it's probably time to end your relationship.
Most buyer's agents require signing an agency agreement before you work together. Listing agents will require you to sign an agreement giving them the exclusive right to sell before they market your home to the public.
You should tell the realtor in person if you haven't yet signed and want to end your relationship.
If you're working with a listing agent and you've signed an agreement, you can't hire someone else while you have an active current listing agreement. A cancellation clause may let you end the contract, or you might talk to the agent and tell them why you're unhappy. They might agree that the relationship isn't in your best interests and let you end it.
Listing contracts usually have an expiration date, so you could wait until this time.
Otherwise, if you want to end things earlier and don't see any opportunity, you might have to speak to an attorney. Let the agent know that you'll get outside legal counsel, and maybe they'll agree to go ahead and cancel the listing.
The biggest thing to remember when you feel like an agent isn't being responsive is to see all sides of the situation and first make sure that you aren't being unrealistic in your expectations. You may be able to get resolution on the issue with a conversation easily, but if you can't, you should explore ending the relationship.