The 7 Rules of Real Estate Agent Etiquette: Are You Following Them?

7 Rules of Real Estate Agent Etiquette: Are You Following Them?

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the daily grind — but letting your manners slide in the process? Well, that’s a big no-no in the real estate world.

Buyers have lots of money on the line in these transactions (sometimes even their life’s savings). They expect their agents to take them seriously — and show it.

Take a minute to think about your last few interactions with clients. Were you in a rush? Did you gloss over a few common courtesies for the sake of efficiency? Check out these seven rules of agent etiquette — and see how you measure up:

1. Communicate fast and often.

You don’t have to respond ASAP at all hours of the night, but make sure you’re responding to texts, emails, and calls within 24 hours if at all possible. If you can, acknowledge receipt of the message faster than that, and give the client a rough ETA of when they can expect your full response. This lets them know that you’re working on their request and that they’re a priority, regardless of how busy you may be.

You should also make it a point to provide progress updates often. Even if there haven’t been any significant changes, aim to check in at least every 2 to 3 days to let clients know where they are in the process, what you’re doing on their behalf, and what, if anything, they can be doing on their own. Do your best to use the communication method they prefer here (text, email, call, etc.)

2. Turn your phone off when with a client.

Clients take their home purchases seriously — and they expect you to as well. To show them your dedication, turn your phone on silent anytime you’re working one-on-one. That means during showings, at listing appointments, at closing, etc. Let them know that they’re your current priority and that you have their back.

3. Dress the part.

You’ve probably heard that old saying, “dress not for the job you have, but for the job you want.” This same adage rings true in real estate. You don’t have to dress to the nines, but dress in alignment with your client’s price point. If they’re on the hunt for a million-dollar home, showing up in jeans might not be the best representation of your abilities to handle the job.

4. Put yourself in their shoes.

Empathy is hugely important during real estate transactions. Agents need to regularly take a step back, analyze the situation their client has found himself or herself in, and use that assessment to guide the process. What is the client feeling at this stage in the process? What do they need? What are they confused about? What might their worries be? 

It’s also important to think of yourself as the buyer and seller in each transaction you handle. If you were touring this home as a homebuyer, what would your concerns about the property be? How much would you be willing to pay for it? What would hold you up? Give your client honest feedback and guidance based on how you’d go about the situation.

5. Set expectations.

The home buying process is pretty confusing to most buyers, and many people only go through it once or twice in their lifetime. Because of this, clients often come in with unrealistic expectations or, in some cases, just no knowledge of the process whatsoever. As their agent, it’s important you set expectations before every stage — both to prevent disappointment and to keep the transaction on track.

What can they realistically expect to fetch for their home? What is the likely outcome of their open house? How long can they expect the financing process to take? What will happen after the inspection? Empower them with knowledge and don’t let them go in unprepared.

6. Listen and ask.

You’re there to guide and advise, but you should also listen, too. Check in regularly with clients and ask how they’re doing. Better yet, how are YOU doing as their agent? This gives you the chance to course-correct before things can go awry. It’s also a crucial step in making your clients feel valued and important.

7. Be on time.

Finally, be mindful of your clients’ time. You’re busy, of course, but so are they. They have jobs, kids, families, and they’re also packing up their lives and traversing the mortgage process. Be respectful of this and, whenever possible, establish set appointments for showings, meetings, and other check-ins. Strive for punctuality both in person and on the phone. Their American Dream is in your hands!

The Bottom Line

Great manners stand out to a client, and they’re what will win you those five-star reviews and family-and-friend referrals. Want a lender who will treat your buyers with the same level of care and respect? Get in touch with Embrace Home Loans to learn more today.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.