Communication is at the center of real estate. While it is crucial for the success of any transaction — from a traditional resale to a short sale — proper communication is almost never achieved without facing major obstacles.
Simply put, a real estate transaction is a negotiation between a buyer and a seller who must communicate effectively to complete a deal. However, looking more closely, their ability to communicate depends on the real estate agents and other entities involved in the process such as closing and title offices, attorneys and loan originators.
Inevitably, at some point communication will break down. One person will mistakenly fail to pass along a message; one party will be confused about next steps; a real estate agent will take a vacation day; a document will go missing — the causes are numerous.
The best way for agents to repair persisting communication issues is to identify exactly where the most common barriers lie. From there, they must proactively work to prevent those occurrences from creating poor experiences for their customers. Contact must be improved not only between buyers and sellers, but also among every party and individual touching the transaction. By creating a more streamlined experience in a process notorious for challenges and delays, agents have the opportunity to create returning customers and secure the valuable referrals on which their businesses rely.
The art of negotiation
The real estate transaction centers on the negotiation. It is during the offer negotiation process that communicating accurately and in a timely manner is absolutely paramount. There are often communication breakdowns in the time between when the buyer’s agent submits the offer and when that offer is accepted. Prospective buyers make their decision and expect an offer to be sent and received immediately; however, they are not always aware of the lengthy chain it must go through to be processed. By the time the listing agent reviews the offer and discusses it with the seller, days can pass. And, several hindrances can transpire before a counteroffer is made.
Taking confusion out of the closing
During the closing process there are often gaps between the selling and buying sides. For instance, the buyer’s agent tells his or her customer that everything is on track, but inspection paperwork has not gone through and delays have not been communicated with the loan officer. In this case, the agent is not able to manage the customer’s expectations beforehand about the change in closing date.
Agents must find a way to keep this scenario from recurring. All parties understand delays to some degree, but what they do not understand is the lack of communication that has become so commonplace.
Making the process something (good) to remember
A home sale or purchase is one of the most important, life-changing decisions a person can make. And, unfortunately, communication breakdowns have often kept it from being a pleasant experience. The real estate process has long been looked at by consumers as a closed-door transaction — a huge, personal life event that they must entrust to agents. However, today’s business and tech-savvy consumers demand more interaction and insight. They want transparency into their own transaction, and their use of technology in every other aspect of their lives tells them that open lines of communication are possible.
Agents in today’s complex and competitive market must rely on new methods and technology to effectively communicate with customers, colleagues and other third parties. Making key changes to the traditional way of managing a real estate transaction goes beyond improving operations — it is now a crucial part of an agent’s overall business strategy. Agents now have the opportunity to remove these common obstructions to communication; new tools and technology empower them to take their businesses and the consumer experience into their own hands.