Rules for CORE Agents #31: Never Talk to Another Real Estate Agent For More Than Five Minutes

I love real estate agents. I work with them every day. I am even married to one. You probably like real estate agents, too.  They’re your colleagues, your co-workers, your friends, and the people you spend most of your time with every day.

But you should stop talking to them so much.  Why? Very simple: they’re almost certainly never going to buy or sell a house with you.  You need to spend more time with people who actually might.

Unfortunately, a lot of real estate agents spend an inordinate amount of time every day talking to other real estate agents.  We get pulled into these never-ending conversations where we complain about the market, gossip about other agents, and share war stories.  Obviously, that’s all largely wasted time, and you should do your best to extricate yourself for those traps as much as possible.

But even the “productive” conversations you have with other agents can sap your time and energy. When you’re putting together a deal with other agents, you’re likely to have long conversations with them about negotiating the offer, dealing with inspection issues, scheduling meetings, and so forth.  Those conversations are obviously important, since they help you complete transactions that are the foundation of your income, but they often take too long as you both go back and forth without ever getting to the point quickly and directly.

So here’s the rule you should follow: never talk to another agent for more than five minutes.  Anything you need to discuss – an offer, an inspection, a transactional issue, listing feedback – can be done in five minutes or less. Any more than that, and you’re just wasting time.

A great way to limit your phone calls is to use “I only have a moment” trick, which goes like this: “Hi Bob, I just wanted to call you to go over the inspection, but I only have a moment.”  Or “Hi Sue, I only have a moment, but I wanted to see if you had any feedback on the listing.”

Why is this so helpful?  Because you’ve signaled to the other agent that you need to make the conversation quick, which encourages them to get to the point quickly. It’s not rude, it’s almost flattering: you’re indicating to them that you have a busy schedule, but you’ve carved out time for this call because it’s so important.

Indeed, the other agent will probably appreciate it.  Don’t flatter yourself: she’s probably thrilled if she can get you off the phone in less than five minutes….


This post is part of a series of what I call the “36-1/2 Rules for Client-Oriented Real Estate Agents,” a collection of short takes on the CORE concept that I’ve developed over the years of discussing and teaching the system.  We’ll count up to the 36th rule over the next few months, and then the 1/2 rule.  You can get the full list of rules by clicking on the “36-1/2 Rules for CORE Agents” category on the blog – scroll from the bottom if you want to read them in order.