Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Either Answer Your Phone or Return Calls Promptly!

Either Answer Your Phone or Return Calls Promptly!

I got a call today at 3:30pm.  Within the message, the lady said, "Will you please call me back by 4:30pm as I have already wasted so much time leaving messages with other agents who have not returned my calls."

I called her back in under 5 minutes.  She was shocked that I called back, and even more shocked that the call was so quick.  I explained that I don't like calls or emails to pile up and if I'm available, I respond immediately.

She went on to tell me that she had called several agents in the Austin area looking for someone to pass a fully approved buying in the $150k range to.  I had to sadly explain to her that I'm not full time in Austin yet, but that I would gladly refer her to someone.

She was very excited to get a name for a referral.  She went further to mention some names of agents that she had tried to contact, even a couple of ActiveRain people, and that she always thought ActiveRain people would be some of the first to return calls promptly.  She said one person's phone wasn't even working.  How do you do business if your phone isn't working??  I'll be nice and not reveal their names, but it's an awful shame those people couldn't take the time to work a REFERRAL, though our businesses are built on referrals.

Anyway, she works for a company that is getting a lot of Austin area buyers, and she told me to call her when I was in Austin permanently so I can be their main go-to person. 

Their previous go-to person is no longer in real estate so they were looking to fill a void. Good thing I actually returned the phone call!

Comment balloon 26 commentsDonna Harris • February 25 2009 09:24PM


Yikes... just goes to show not all agents are the same, even if you blog here and have a lot of points. You will be great where you go.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) almost 12 years ago

I had to report an agent to his broker this week because he would not respond to e-mails or phone calls involving a rental listing I had filled for him. 

I chewed him out on the phone today when he finally called me back and he didn't even respond... he just started talking about the info I had to demand.  He had absolutely NO SHAME!  Ugh.  All I can say is that he probably won't survive in this market.

Posted by Julie Ferenzi, Julie Ferenzi (john greene Realtor) almost 12 years ago


Aren't you so glad you answered your phone?  It just goes to show that you never know who might be needing  your assistance in Real Estate.  We all get tired of answering our phones, but it is so important to either answer whenever possible or return the call as soon as possible.

Jeanette Hemmer, Re/Max Plus Realty, Clarksville,Arkansas

Posted by Jeanette Hemmer (Coldwell Banker) almost 12 years ago

I had the same problem recently and wrote about it in my blog.  It seems that are a variety of reasons why this happens, but I still agree there isn't a really good excuse.  Communication and responding quickly to our potential clients is a necessity.  We have to make it a priority to succeed.


Posted by Valarie Littles almost 12 years ago


Good post!! I just hate it when agents wont return calls!! I have had the same conversation with some of my buyers. They was so shocked I return that not our job...I am sorry but I say it is.


Posted by Tinker Hulsey, Century 21 Wright-Pace Real Estate (Century 21 Wright-Pace Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

I think that most people feel that they have been disrespected when a call is not returned, or even returned late. It would seem that most people have trouble with taking ownership for their actions, and the longer they ignore something the harder it becomes for them to deal with it, eventually resulting in them ignoring the issue.


Posted by Inner Circle Imaging Virtual Tour and Photography (Inner Circle Imaging Inc. ) almost 12 years ago

Soooo many agents will "agree" to this but commit the same offense day in & day out. I can honestly say, that never happens with me. It is by FAR my biggest pet peeve, that & punctuality.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) almost 12 years ago

Donna, glad you are the one on the ball while these other agents seem to be asleep at the switch. Good for you...

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 12 years ago

Yeeeup !!! Prompt calls back are if only I could convince about 50% of the agents in my area to subscribe to that mentality then I'd be ecstatic !

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) almost 12 years ago

Hi Donna... Quality and Outstanding Service attracts loyalty and a following.  Your post is the proof of that.  I am confident your success as an agent in the Dallas market will follow you south to Austin!

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 12 years ago

WTG Donna! Don't you just love it when you get something like this to fall on your lap?!?!? Sad to say we have that same issue here too.

Posted by Teresa Harris, Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Lake Real Estate, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Getting a real estate license and the loss of  business sense and common sense sometimes go hand in hand.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker almost 12 years ago

Missy, Thanks! And maybe some were too busy trying to get more points to where they couldn't take the time to take a referral call. 

Julie, That's horrible when you have to revert to calling a broker because an agent won't return calls. Very ridiculous!

Jeanette, Oh, I definitely understand your statement about getting tired of answering the phone. Sometimes I huff and puff when it rings, but you answer with a smile because the other end knows.

Valarie, Some people are too scared to succeed.  I hope to see you at my class next week!

Tinker, Yes, it's definitely part of our job to make sure communication is readily available.

Inner Circle, Because if they ignore it, it never happened...

Greg, I agree that people will nod and agree and then actually be guilty of it.


Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

Gary, I try...

Sheldon, I understand.

David, I don't mind the calls going to VM because that's the number I use in all my marketing, but the key is calling back ASAP!  I never post my direct number on marketing because there are too many crazies out in the world who would call a "pretty" face for other reasons.  It's a safety thing.

Steve, I sure hope so.  From your mouth...

Teresa, Yes, it's great when this happens. I'm just disappointed that my house is so far behind that I haven't been able to move full time yet in order to handle the buyer myself.

Richard, Weird how that works, huh?

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

HI Donna,  I had a lady call me yesterday and said she was looking for an area agent to give referrals to, I asked "are you a lead generation company?" She said," well" pause, I then cut in and said "I already am working with two lead generation companies and am not interested in buying more at this time" and she said "ok, bye", and hung up.  I do not like to be rude to anyone but I do like to cut to the chase on these calls, afterall, its my cellphone minutes they are advertising on.

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) almost 12 years ago

Gail, Another reason I don't put my cell or direct number on anything!  I hate calls from the lead generation companies.  This lady was not one of those calls as I got details of the buyer she needed to refer, approval amount and all, and then called a friend of mine and told him to answer his phone when she called.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

With all of today's technology a lot of people seem to forget that people actually want to talk with you. As was mentioned in a previous comment, you spend money to get the phone to ring and then you don't answer it. I work at my home office and answer the phone when it rings.

Posted by Alan Gross, Loan Consultant (PrimeLending, A PlainsCapital Company, Equal Housing Lender) almost 12 years ago
Did we just "agree?" ;)
Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) almost 12 years ago

Donna, I'm always amazed at stuff like this. It'll be the same people who will complain that they're slow and biz sucks!

Posted by Peter Nikic (Broad & Bailey Realty LLC) almost 12 years ago

Well frist of all to you GOOD JOB !! one for returning calls, emails, promptly, I can honestly say when I send you an email you respond very quick!!! That has always been a pet peave of mine people who dont return  emails for days, people who dont return voicemails for hours and hours, it is just so frustrating, so kudos to you Mrs Donna, and a boo boo for those who are not so prompt!

Posted by Jesse Vasquez, "APPROVED” (REMAX PIONEER ) almost 12 years ago

Alan, That's great that you answer your phone!  So many times we need a mortgage person to answer, and they don't.

Peter, Oh I know!!  People are always complaining about having no business, and there is no reason for it.

Jesse, You're no exception! Sometimes I get frustrated with the emails when I'm in the middle of something because I want to respond quickly, but multitasking can only go so far.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago

As commissioned agents, who only earn money buy closing sales, I find it unfathomable that some agents don't return calls or emails. 

How do you stay in business with a work ethic like that?

I don't get it.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 12 years ago

I totally know what you mean, my inbox is full, but I keep plugging away, thanks God for a Blackberry! my turn around on email is minutes ( unless I am in a meeting etc then its imediately after I finish) my turn around on calls is 15 minutes unless I am in the middle of something!

Posted by Jesse Vasquez, "APPROVED” (REMAX PIONEER ) almost 12 years ago

Donna - Good for you!  I never could understand why some agents don't answer their phones.  How do they stay in business?  Take care! :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) almost 12 years ago

hi, Donna:
Nothing ever ceases to amaze me.  Twice this year, I have left messages for a mortgage broker for referrals, and did not receive a response.  I am now referring to a different person.

Now, if I were to give the benefit of the doubt to the other agents (I don't normally - just making this case for discussion's sake), I would ask, Did the referrer explicitly state the intention of her call?  To find a REALTOR to pass a referral to?  Or did they just ask for a call back?  Good voicemail etiquette is harder to find than you would think.

Here's my two cents:  With all of today's technology and connection, there are no excuses for this [if you're not connected, you are going to lose business to those of us who are].  What ever circumstance you are in, is it too much to send a quick email or make a quick call back and just say, "I have received your message, I am in the middle of such-and-such, when would a good time be to reach you after x-time?"

I admit: I some times let calls go to voicemail. But I retrieve the message as soon as I am able and then follow up as just I mentioned. If I am on a job or with a client, the most time would be two hours.

Normally, I give some one the next full business day to get back to me. But I am running out of time doing that.  What is good etiquette here?  I am thinking 4-6 business hours. 

Oh yeah, one more gripe while I am at it - if you are out of town, on vacation, not going to be accessbile for hours, then you have a responsibility to change your voicemail or put on an out-of-office reply. Many companies now require that you update your VM daily: lunch, training, etc... Some one needs to link voicemail to Twitter/Facebook status... :D

Happy Friday,

The Stage Coach Austin Home Stager

Posted by Michael Fontana, @ The Stage Coach (Round Rock Home Stager Austin Home Staging) almost 12 years ago

I hear about this again and again and totally not able to understand why not to return a call? Yet, it is better for your and my business;) Call me any time, I'm never too busy to answer a phone or, at least, call back right away.


Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) almost 6 years ago