Loans By Kathy: Be Direct When Communicating with Your Clients

Be Direct When Communicating with Your Clients

Be direct when you are communicating with your clients.  Be direct when you are communicating with your Kathy Sheehanbusiness partners.  Be direct when you are communicating with anyone in a business transaction.

Words that are frequently used in our conversation and correspondence such as soon, shortly, in a bit, etc.  These are all vague at best and lack the commitment to complete a task or response.

If we were to take a survey, how many would admit to using any one of these phrases:

  • I'll get that to you shortly
  • I'll get back to you in bit
  • Should be soon
  • I'll try to
  • I hope to


In a real estate transaction, time is of the essence however procrastinating can lead to problems getting the deal to the closing table. If there is an issue, tell me as soon as you know. By doing so, you are giving me as much time as possible to find the solution. My advice, please be specific. If you are not going to provide a concrete answer at that time, tell me realistically when I can expect it. By the end of the business day, in the morning, or next week! Communication is key!  I just ask that you be direct when you communicate.


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Kathy Sheehan Senior Loan Officer






Bay Equity LLC

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11475 Great Oaks Way, Suite 350, Alpharetta, GA 30002

800.BAY.3703 Bay Equity LLC NMLS ID#76988



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The opinions and general information in this blog are soley those of Kathy Sheehan.  Specifics regarding an individual case should be discussed in detail with a loan professional.  For a confidential consultation, please feel free to contact me via phone or email.  All terms and conditions are subject to change.


Comment balloon 54 commentsKathy Sheehan • May 19 2013 07:08PM


Excellent, Kathy!  Those words indicate weakness, indecision, and a lack of commitment.   Be Direct!

Posted by Fred Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) almost 5 years ago
You are correct, But there are times when I don't know when the result will come and I do need to say "As soon as I find out I will let you know." I don't think that makes me weak or Indecisive only truthful.
Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) almost 5 years ago

Hi Kathy ~

Good communication skills are definitely strong keys to success in most every relationship - personal and professional.

Posted by Carie Shapiro (North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Kathy, one of the problems is that many folks feel that they should only get back to whomever when they have an answer.

The problem with that is that they are often dealing with nervous buyers and sellers who jump to the conclusion that if they don't hear anything... that something is really wrong, and the other person is simply afraid to tell them, or is hiding it.  Wow, can that turn a molehill into a mountain.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 5 years ago

Right on Kathy.  Communication in this business is one of the most important things we do.                                        

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) almost 5 years ago

Kathy, we should all recognize what we need to do and commit to doing it promptly, especially when it involves our business.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 5 years ago

Kathy, people want updates even if there isn't anything to tell them. Direct communication is the only way to go.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 5 years ago

Hi Kathy, communication is key to any client relationship, and being direct is always the best policy, even if it's not the easiest one!


Posted by Matt Listro, Your Credit Repair Expert (National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro) almost 5 years ago

Consistency is a must in all professions.  Thanks for sharing your blog.

Posted by Edward & Celia Maddox, EXPERIENCE & INTEGRITY - WE TAKE THE HIGH ROAD (The Celtic Connection Realty) almost 5 years ago

Kathy, this is a great reminder to be specific with concrete timelines when communicating with buyers, sellers, and other agents or parties to a transaction. Sharon

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) almost 5 years ago


With so many different forms and methods of communication available, it is imperative that we as real estate professionals not only be specific in our communication with our clients but that we also be timely.  Gone are the days when it was okay to get back to someone in 24 hours.  The speed in which we communicate today means that we must be able to respond to our clients and our new leads in a matter of minutes, not hours.  Lack of communication is the biggest complaint that those surveyed have against real estate professionals.  Being specific and clear as to exactly when we will get back to them is one sure fire way to lessen this complaint.


Posted by Anthony Rollins, The Adam Butler Team (Keller Williams Realty-Overland Park) almost 5 years ago

Amen, Kathy!  Particularly like your line about "giving me as much time as possible find the solution".   Sometimes just having that little bit of time can mean a world of difference in an outcome ...

Great post!


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) almost 5 years ago

I will, I can are much more powerful messages than I'll try, I think, etc. I think that sometimes we're just not overly-conscious of what we are saying and that it's not that we don't want to be direct. I suppose if we discipline ourselves to use the right action words, we'll start doing that consistently without falling back on the less powerful words.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) almost 5 years ago

I'll get back to you on that . . . 

That's a great, easy, simple thing to express and it does encompass so much!  

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192, Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results ( | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time) almost 5 years ago

This communication path goes both ways. If you place emails and phone calls, after a prospect contacts you, and they don't respond, at what point do your frequent calls and emails make you a pest?

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE) almost 5 years ago

Good points, Kathy. When clients, colleagues, vendors know when they can expect to hear, certainty is created.

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco (Today | Sotheby's International Realty) almost 5 years ago

This is brilliant. I have to be honest... I catch myself trying to be vague about time frames so as to help for the moment but its not good for the long run! 

Posted by Trent Draper (Imagine Realty International) almost 5 years ago

Great post, Kathy.  With information coming from so many directions, it is our job to explain the process, explain the timeframe and perform for our clients.  The assurance of "timeliness" alleviates many issues or concerns.


Posted by Gary McNinch, Broker, Renton WA Real Estate (Better Properties Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Words are extremely powerful and committments are essential in any transaction. I like to remember to replace "help" with "assist" too...

Posted by David Demangos, REALTOR (Keller Williams Realty Carmel Valley / Del Mar) almost 5 years ago

Awesome blog post!  I love the direct way you wrote it!  There's way too much weenie-hood in the real estate industry.  Shoot straight, be clear, and do what you say.

Posted by Kevin Ward, Founder of ( almost 5 years ago

Oh, if only every loan officer, attorney and real estate agent would be direct!  That would be great!

Posted by Don Taber, REALTOR / BROKER / CRS / GRI (Our Town Properties, Inc., Wilson, NC) almost 5 years ago

good communication is always the initial desire but...

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) almost 5 years ago

Communication is key!  Thank you for expressing this in a way that makes us all stop and think about how well and direct we are when speaking with a client, an agent or anyone, for that matter.  Excellent advice and much appreciated.

Posted by Christi Farrington, ~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate - Wilton, CT) almost 5 years ago

As you know I am German and our communication style is to put the truth and directness before diplomacy. What we understand as diplomacy is talking around the bushes and as described by you. We believe that the fact is important and that personal emotion should not deflect the truth from being spoken. 

This directness is many times seen as rude and we have quit often to deal with the talk about the bushes while this is a part of the American culture.

Posted by Annett T. Block- NextHome Connect, NextHome Best Choice In Fort Lauderdale (Florida Connects Inc.) almost 5 years ago

Kathleen ... I agree that Realtors and business people should be direct when communicating with anyone in a business transaction, especially involving clients and customers in real estate.

Posted by Harrison K. Long, REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney (HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty) almost 5 years ago

LOL, I use every one of those phrases almost every day.

The problem is, I never know what may fall in my lap that throws my day for a loop.  I like to commit, but sometimes circumstances dictate otherwise and you better leave yourself some breathing room...

I would rather get back with someone before they expect it than be late because I wanted to seem like Superman.

Posted by John Dotson, The experience to get you to the other side! (Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC) almost 5 years ago

Excellent post Sandy! Howard Brinton said it best I think, "Be Pleasantly Direct".

Posted by Mitch Muller - Charlotte NC Real Estate, Certified Residential Specialist (ProStead Realty Charlotte, NC CRS CDPE almost 5 years ago

I agree with Mitch, #27, completely 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) almost 5 years ago

Yes! "Shortly" to many clients could be within the hour when you mean by the end of the day or tomorrow.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) almost 5 years ago

Exactly!  I try to get these noncommital responses answered ASAP because I know that the party I'm relaying the information to will ask!

Posted by Alyse "Aly" Sands (Village Real Estate Services) almost 5 years ago

I think your advice could also apply to communication between family members - might save a lot of hard feelings and misunderstandings.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) almost 5 years ago
I agree: tell me what is going on, so I can help!
Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) almost 5 years ago

Same applies to phone messages. I will get back to shortly means different things to different people but certainly not days.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) almost 5 years ago
Being detailed and timely is a challenge, but trumped by honesty.
Posted by Melanie Narducci, Your San FranciscoBay Area Real Estate Expert (Hillscape Properties, Inc.) almost 5 years ago


This is one of my failings.  I try to be specific, but I don't always know when I will have the time to do a specific chore.  I need to do a better job of scheduling my time.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) almost 5 years ago

"You'll have it before noon."  Or, "I'm out in the field, but will get it to you first thing in the morning."  These types of phrases give clients confidence. Of course, only if you actually follow through!

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 5 years ago

Good points,  be direct and be definite but do not over promise and under deliver.  Direct and straight answers appears to be a problem with many in sales.  Maybe they don't want to give bad news.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) almost 5 years ago

Yes, and the old adage, 'What did you know, and when didn you know it?' helps direct decision making, too!

Posted by Chrystal Safari Roy, Luxury Property Specialist (Real Estate Realty LLC - Charlotte, NC) almost 5 years ago

Just hadda Loan Company gimme that "she'll call you in a few minutes" regarding a Closing that's already 3 weeks late!

Posted by Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker, email: / cell: 334-494-7846 (Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330) almost 5 years ago

I am waiting for two people right now who were getting back to me "right away". That was 4 1/2 hours ago. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) almost 5 years ago

Agreed. if only every professional carried themselves as such in this industry.

Posted by Rick Payne, Downtown San Diego Condo Expert (REeBroker Group) almost 5 years ago

Text messaging was created to destroy the minds of thise that recognoze that texts have some value in limited situations...but enough already. I have told clients that I do not return texts and they still text!

Posted by Paddy Deighan JD PhD, Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D ( almost 5 years ago

Hi Kathy, we believe in setting expectations and then exceeding those expectations.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 5 years ago

Clear communication is th ekey... vague and nebulous statements, not only about dates and such, but about anything at all, simply serve to clutter up the conversation... good post...

Posted by Paul Silver, Rhode Island full service real estate firm almost 5 years ago

The elements of trust are

  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Credibility
  • Respect
  • Consistency

If you follow these principles, communication should never be a problem.

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 5 years ago

Kathy,  I agree.  Be clear and precise.  If plans change and you can't get to something when you said you could, a simple call, text, or email will go along way rather than just leaving the other party wondering if you've dropped the ball.  Good post.

Posted by Doug Cook, Better Service, Better RESULTS! (Coldwell Banker Brown Realtors) almost 5 years ago

Great post! This applies to ALL professionals. On a personal note... yesterday I spent all day waiting on different contractors. They didn't end up showing up until 7pm and the last one left at 10pm. That was a whole day of waiting and me calling them to find out their status. Very disappointing...

Posted by Natasha Bazile, Nat Knows Real Estate (Natasha Knows ATL Homes) almost 5 years ago

I am definitely guilty of using some of those phrases, but will be working on changing that starting now. Thanks for pointing out the phrases to me.


Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, Keller William Capital Properties) almost 5 years ago

I do not track it but generally I think that I tend to give a time frame when I will respond.  This is a habit I developed as an Insurance Adjuster.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Great advice Kathy, it is good to know when and were we can count on people to get things done.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities) almost 5 years ago

I try to be very direct and straight to the point but sometime I have to wonder if folks even listen. They must hear what they want to.

Posted by Charles Stallions Property Manager, Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services) almost 5 years ago


Great Post - In this business or any business we must be specific rather than vague!

Posted by Debbie Cook, Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc) almost 5 years ago

I need a response and I don't care how I get it. I will give you a response within the hour. It may state or I will call you to let you know I've left them a message. At least others know I'm working on the situation. I don't blow anyone off and I will let you know if I think you're blowing me off. At least with a text, I have a record.

Posted by Theresa Akin (CORPUS CHRISTI REALTY GROUP) almost 5 years ago

Great post that I would have missed had it not been for the reblog today! Good communication is key between all parties in a real estate transaction. 

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 5 years ago