Should You Use Texting & Facebook Messaging for Real Estate Investing?
I was having coffee with another investor the other day. We were talking about the latest BiggerPockets podcast with Tim Gordon. There was some discussion on the podcast about Tim doing a wholesale deal via text messaging.
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This investor was more “old school” and did not think that texting was a professional way to communicate in business. He was shocked to hear that the majority of our communication with tenants is done via texting (using our Google Voice number), email and Facebook messaging.
I thought this was an interesting topic, so I wanted to share it with you guys and get your take on the pros/cons.
Advantages to Using Phone Alternatives
For one reason or another, we always seemed to miss call either from our tenants or to tenants. We would call them and they would not answer, so it would go to voicemail. Then if they called back, we would be doing something else and not want to interrupt it with a phone call.
In some cases, people did not have their voicemail on their phones setup, so when we called back we could not even leave a voicemail. By texting a tenant, we are able to “leave a message” and get a response when they had some time available and they could do the same. We don’t have to both be available at the same time to communicate.
Speak Using Their Preferred Communication Method
Let’s face it, we are in a text based world. Whereas 15 years ago most communication was done via phone calls and face to face communication, we have shifted to where a large majority of communication is now done via some text based medium (text messaging, Facebook message, email). If your tenants (or other real estate contacts) prefer communicating in a certain way, it will be easier to communicate with them using that method.
History of Communication
When you talk on the phone, unless you are recording all of the conversations (which could be illegal if you do not inform the other party), you don’t have a history of communications. When we communicate with our tenants via text messages, we have that history.
This is useful for referring back to regarding questions or problems. Also, if we have to evict a tenant, we can use the history of communication to help paint the picture of why we are evicting the tenant.
Less Intrusive & Faster Response Time
Related to asynchronous communication, we believe that the reason we missed people when we called them is because less people talk on the phone. Often times (and I admit to doing this all the time), I won’t answer a phone call, but I will immediately followup with a text. This could be because I am somewhere where I can’t make a call or because I don’t want to have a long conversations. Tenants seem to do the same thing. If we text, we almost always get a response faster than a voice mail.
Disadvantages to Using Phone Alternatives
Multiple Communication Channels
Instead of communication via just phone, we end up communicating via phone, email, text messaging, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. This could become confusing/overwhelming for our business. We manage this by utilizing our smartphones, which condense all these communication methods into 1 device.
Not Everyone Uses Each Type of Communication
Some people may just use a phone call and not texting (ex. their phone may be a landline or they have texting turned off). Others may not be on Facebook. So you need to understand (and remember) how each person prefers to communicate.
Professionalism (Or Lack Thereof)
Some people may view these others methods of communication as unprofessional. I have not found this to be the case with the people that I work with, but it is something to keep in mind.
We utilize many forms of communication in our business. We gauge and determine what communication method works in different situations and use that one. This helps us communicate better in our business, not only with our tenants, but also with other team members of our business. We often only use phone calls for urgent matters or if it would be difficult to discuss using another medium.
So what are your thoughts? Do you use these other methods of communication and is it ok?