Communication & Expectations

Without a doubt, communication and expectations are two of the biggest problems we have in real estate today. By no means does real estate corner the market on a lack of communication or failure to manage expectations, but these are two topics that seem to come up a lot in conversations.

There are two types of sellers out there. The first type wants to be clued in on every step that the realtor makes including all marketing pieces, emails, phone calls, and discussions. The second type is very bottom line oriented who tells the realtor to go and do his or her thing and to call them when there is an offer.

Long ago, I started asking my sellers on how clued in they wanted to be. If they wanted it, I would send them a report each week, telling them what I did including the when, where, and how. If they just wanted the highlights, I would simply check in with them once or twice each month. Or they didn’t have to hear from me at all.

No matter what type of seller you are, I think it’s important for realtors to establish what type of communication the seller wants or needs. This, naturally is called managing expectations.

On the topic of expectations, I found out that more and more sellers have one vision of what the seller/agent relationship will look like while the agent has a completely different idea. The best example of this is marketing. Sellers have in mind as to what the agents should be doing to market their homes. This continues to be a point of friction between sellers and agents. Agents know what is working in marketing and that game plan may not be in sync with what the sellers have in mind. Agents may also be working behind the scenes on the internet, working the phones, communicating with their sphere, and following up leads. This is all marketing, but doesn’t show up on a printed page for the seller to see.

It’s important for agents to tell sellers exactly what they are going to do, to put it in writing, and then follow up with the sellers to show that it’s been done. This is managing an expectation, and you can’t do that without communication.

Dan Polimino is a Realtor with Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty. He can be reached at and

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