When and When NOT to Text!

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel Realtors, Pleasanton, CA BRE#01732313

Text MessagingText is here to stay – that’s a fact of life.  It certainly has its advantages and can be a fabulous communication tool when properly used. But like anything else, it can be misapplied and abused. In the world of real estate it can be very effective or not, depending upon the circumstances:


  • Requesting showing instructions from listing agents where warranted
  • Requesting showing times from sellers
  • Asking if there are offer due dates (from listing agents, if none are posted)
  • Confirm meet times between agents, or agents and clients

Not Ideal

  • Anything contractual. A paper trail is paramount. As my broker is fond of saying…. “Handle your file as if it’s going to court. Document, document, document!”
  • Timeline changes. See above – it’s no doubt related to some contingency period in the contract. Document!
  • Communicating offer outcome. A text from a listing agent that your client did not ‘win the bid’ is less than satisfactory.  You can forward that text showing the date and time it was received, but it won’t necessarily show who it was from. Clients want to know that we are communicating timely and really want the details of that communiqué.


  • A listing agent may not be someone who has you in their database. Without context about who you are and what property you’re asking about, your text could go unanswered.
  • All phone numbers aren’t text friendly. Check your inbox to see that your text was actually delivered.
  • Text messages are short and sweet. (or at least they should be). If you have difficult news to convey, for goodness sake, don’t make it worse by texting. Pick up the phone so your clients (or other agents) can get a sense of your professionalism, level of caring). Texts rarely convey emotion, and sometimes, that human touch can take the sting out of less-than-satisfactory news.

I'm a big fan of technology making us more productive. But it can't take the place of common sense.


Re-Bloggged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the tag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Real Estate Technology & Tools
Diary of a Realtor
The Lounge at Active Rain
text messaging

Comments 64 New Comment

Show All Comments
Jimmy Faulkner
The Best Of St. Augustine
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage

Texting  is great for short messages such as a phone number, lock box number or anything that is quick and easy. A message than is an email

May 22, 2013 07:26 PM
Jeff Dowler CRS
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360
Solutions Real Estate


An excellent read with some really good ideas of how to use texting and how not.

The good news these days is you can save all your text messages to gmail and they can become part of the file just like an email or a document. So you still CAn have that paper trail. I have had several clients recently when the string of TMs was over 200, in addition to over 700 emails. They are all saved in one PDF.

The emotional stuff is probably not appropriate for texting, especially when there are a discussion that really needs to happen.


May 22, 2013 08:00 PM
David Shamansky
Creative, Aggresive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtgs
US Mortgages - David Shamansky

Interesting can it be that there is a time when texting (not counting when driving) is not good?

May 22, 2013 08:12 PM
Anthony Clark
Real Estate. It's About Lifestyle!
Clark Partners Realty Group

I have a firm rule to NEVER be the first party to text. If a client or agent has never texted me then they never receive one for me. I'm a business professional and want to be seen and respected as one, so I let them initiate this very formal way of communicating. Once established, it's a very efficient way to communicate SOME information. Another rule of thumb is that if it takes more than three back-and-forths then it should probably be a phone call.

May 22, 2013 08:19 PM
Praful Thakkar
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale
Keller Williams Realty

Karen, very good points - specifically for when NOT to text!

(I don't like counter offers sent as a text - or even as an email!)

May 22, 2013 08:49 PM
Sharon Alters
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Karen, we all need to know 'textiquette' - I have seen some people who want to do everything by text and it doesn't always work or is appropriate, for sure. Sharon

May 22, 2013 08:56 PM
Bill Reddington
Destin Florida Real Estate
Re/max Southern Realty

Texting showing instructions is happening more and more. Works for me if necessary.

May 22, 2013 09:39 PM
Royce Dean Vanderpool
RMC, REOS, CIAS, BPOR - Devan Realty & Development
Devan Realty & Development Corporation

Texting for reminders or quick comments ... locating a friend  .... but not as a tool for documenting real estate sales

May 22, 2013 09:57 PM
Anonymous #53

Great, great tips.  Texting is handy but also remember - if its a long involved text - the importance may get lost in the text.  It all depends on when the agent reads it and what they were doing at the time they read it.  Better to email some items.

May 22, 2013 11:42 PM
Sheila Morales
Your Kauai Hawaii Agent
Kauai Dreams Realty

I admit I am not one that prefers texting for communication.  I love email for creating a trail of conversation, but go ahead shoot me, I still prefer to pick up the phone and talk to someone.

May 22, 2013 11:50 PM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766

Happy to have text when I cannot reach a person by phone or email. Without fail, I seem to get excellent and quick responses in text. Love it for showing appointments, lock box/combo codes, community gate codes...

May 22, 2013 11:54 PM
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

I have found TEXTING and I ♥ it....I frequently respond to voicemails with a text and am changing my business phone line to my cel phone ASAP so that this option is more viable.

May 23, 2013 03:06 AM
Norman Padula
GRI, CDPE, PA~Presence,Persistence & Perseverance
Keller Williams Carmel Valley
Karen, I don't text. I receive them, but call back or email if important information needs to be transmitted. Texting is too convenient and pulls out the 'human factor'.
May 23, 2013 04:26 AM
Carol Zingone
Global Realtor Based in Jax Beach, FL
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty
Great points about when texting is ok, and when it isn't. I have my cell set up to send a copy of texts to an email account so I can file those, but still not perfect.
May 23, 2013 05:13 AM
Greg Mona
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!
Realty ONE Group
Karen, I was up there in June for the US Open at Olympic Club in SF. Stayed in Livermore with my brother and his wife. The valley has changed a LOT since we left! I make it up there every 3 years or so.
May 23, 2013 07:53 PM
Sharon Parisi
Dallas Homes
Keller Williams Dallas Premier Realty

Karen,  this is needed advice for many Realtors who love texting more than any other form of communication!

May 26, 2013 10:10 PM
Lottie Kendall
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco
Today | Sotheby's International Realty
Good post on texting etiquette. I'd add: ask clients how they liked to be reached for routine matters; more mad more they answer, "text."
May 31, 2013 12:40 PM
Lisa Friedman
25 Years of Real Estate Experience!
Lisa Consulting VT

I hate when people cancel appointments by text.  Have the decency to call me if you aren't going to show up.  Texting is very impersonal, and also seems a 'coward's way out' which is a poor substitute for just doing the right thing and being honest about why you are canceling.  I am not usually so negative, but that really bothers me.

July 05, 2013 07:37 PM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366

You bring up some great points to consider when deciding how to communiacte. Texting can be quick, but not always appropriate Karen.

January 08, 2014 07:15 AM
Karen Crowson
Livermore Wine Country Homes
Alain Pinel Realtors, Pleasanton, CA

Hi Tom, who says blogs don't live on! Nice to hear from you.

January 09, 2014 08:29 PM
Show All Comments

Karen Crowson

Livermore Wine Country Homes
Request current market trends for the Tri Valley
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the clock to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information