The 7 Best Real Estate Phone Answering Services in 2023

Jim Gray, Licensed Agent5/16/2023

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There’s a lot at stake when it comes to answering leads. A single person can’t respond to every lead they get, but missing out on a great deal because of an unanswered phone call or clumsy follow-up is a painful feeling. Plus, in the age of the smartphone, customers expect an immediate answer to their inquiries. To avoid missing out, you may want to use an answering service—companies that handle business calls on your behalf.

What’s great about that? Besides not missing important calls, you can improve your customer service experience and increase efficiency for your business. There are plenty of services out there that offer automated or live calling, but it can be hard to nail down the right one for your business.

Luckily for you, Agent Advice has spent hundreds of hours researching the best of the best so you don’t have to. We’ve broken down our six favorite answering service providers into different categories based on features, price, and specialty. Here are the best answering services for your business in 2023!

The 7 Best Answering Services Your Business Should Use This Year

Best Answering Service Overall: SignMore

Top Features: Property-focused agents have real estate industry knowledge
Starting at $$

Why we chose it: If you’re looking for a 24/7 call answering service, then SignMore is a good solution to consider. Their property-focused agents have industry knowledge, and work around the clock, answering calls, collecting caller information, and scheduling appointments.  Those appointments can be booked directly into your calendar so you don’t have to worry about losing prospects. They also offer customized scripting, giving you control of how you want your business to sound.

One of the most impressive things about SignMore is that it comes with a suite of tech including a video tour, which connects with buyers and sellers anywhere, with one click instant video calling. Another major perk is the mobile app that lets you stay connected with your team and clients from anywhere while you’re on-the-go. 

Add their live chat  function to your website and Facebook pages to engage with your visitors 24/7. Turn passive website visitors into qualified leads with SignMore’s team capturing leads based on your set criteria. SignMore’s mobile app allows you to manage your property business on the go. You can stay up to date with real-time notifications of your messages, qualified leads, and call recordings. You can also upload and download contracts to sign deals anywhere.

One of the downsides of SignMore is the pricing model. Calls are billed per minute, so if there is a recorded call that lasts 61 seconds, then you’ll be charged for two minutes.

SignMore does make it easy to integrate with existing property apps. Many agents sync it straight to the tools they already use on a daily basis. The answering service integrates seamlessly with CINC, BoomTown, Real Geeks, Top Producer, Wise Agent, and Follow Up Boss.

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SignMore Pros
  • Agents available 24/7/365
  • Full suite of tech to help maximize growth potential
  • Tons of property-based integrations
SignMore Cons
  • Calls are billed per minute
  • No free trial available
Starting at $$

Best After Hours Phone + Chat Service: Ruby

Top Features: Full package with virtual receptionists, live chat, and mobile app
Starting at $$

Why we chose it: When it comes to the best answering service overall, we’ve chosen Ruby Receptionist, also known as Ruby. They provide 24/7 virtual answering services and an integrated live chat tool for your website; their package also includes a mobile app to check out client conversations and automated lead capture tools. With Ruby, there’s no setup fee, and you don’t need to pay additional fees for after-hours services!

Their US-based virtual receptionists work around the clock, fully trained to provide excellent service through active listening and conflict resolution. Receptionists can answer and live transfer calls, collect caller information, and schedule appointments. Ruby does offer bilingual services with Spanish-speaking agents. They also offer custom voicemails, several hold music options, and custom after-hours call routing.

Their appointment scheduling is especially nice, as they follow your guidelines when making any appointments. They use Calendly by default but will work with your preferred scheduling tool. 

Their live chat tool can be added to your website. Visitors inquiring via chat will be connected to a representative, who will answer any questions they have—you’ll receive a full transcript of conversations. They can also capture lead information and start leads down the funnel for you. Besides that, their automated lead capture tool can be added to your website, working perfectly with live chat.

Ruby has their very own mobile app, meaning you can reference customer conversations from anywhere. You’ll have access to all messages, call records, and voicemails from here, which you can save, archive, and flag as you want. There’s also a status feature in case you don’t want calls routed as they normally would. You can even send and receive messages in the app using their provided phone number!

Besides all of those great features, Ruby also integrates seamlessly with the two most popular phone systems—Grasshopper and Nextiva—along with Clio, MyCase, and Rocket Matter. They’re also HIPAA-compliant!

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Ruby Pros
  • After-hours service at no extra cost
  • Advanced call-handling features
  • Integrates with Nextiva and Grasshopper
Ruby Cons
  • No free trial is available
  • Bilingual services are not 24/7
Starting at $$

Most Affordable Answering Service: MAP Communications

Top Features: Great call center services at the lowest cost
Starting at $

Why we chose it: If you’re a solo agent looking for an answering service on a budget, you can’t go wrong with MAP Communications. They have one of the lowest monthly subscription rates, per-minute plans, and a 7-day free trial. Don’t let the cost fool you, though—their virtual receptionist services are excellent and bilingual for Spanish speakers! With every plan, you get a nationwide toll-free and local number, as well as a neat client portal. 

MAP Communications offers 24/7 call centers that support call management, including call routing, forwarding, overflow, and transfer. They can also assist with appointment scheduling, call screening, and even technical support. They offer English and Spanish-speaking agents, meaning you’ll be able to provide service to a larger pool of potential clients. Plus, if you’re worried about using call centers, you might be glad to hear that each one of theirs is employee-owned!

A standout feature of MAP Communications is its custom scripts. Instead of trusting that the scripts your receptionists are using hit the mark, you can customize them yourself to ensure greetings and outgoing messages mesh well with your brand. This is especially important as a realtor, where personality is key to converting leads. 

Their client portal is where you can manage all of your messages. This online dashboard archives call data and recordings for your reference. You can easily identify trends and patterns, allowing you to adjust your protocols as needed. Only those authorized have access to the portal, and even then there are different levels of permission to choose from. 

MAP Communications doesn’t seem to offer many integrations, but they do work with common scheduling platforms like Google Calendar, Calendly, and Setmore. Their services are HIPAA and PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant. 

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MAP Communications Pros
  • Affordable per-minute plan
  • Flexible monthly subscription
  • Toll-free number included
MAP Communications Cons
  • No mobile application
  • No call transcription
Starting at $

Best Admin Assistant: Davinci Virtual

Top Features: Front-to-back administrative support
Starting at $$$

Why we chose it: Davinci Virtual’s primary service is offering business addresses and meeting spaces for virtual businesses. However, they do offer an answering service, including live receptionists and live chat services, as well as a mobile app. If you’re a solo agent or small business looking for a service that provides full administrative support, Davinci Virtual is the way to go. 

Davinci Virtual provides you with a local or toll-free number and a professional receptionist to receive your incoming calls. They offer live call answering, forwarding, screening, and routing, as well as voicemail management, online faxing, and even conference calling services for up to 99 participants! Their call routing capabilities are great, offering a simple interface to set up routing rules. Each receptionist is knowledgeable about your business and is committed to providing excellent customer service

Davinci Virtual’s standout administrative support comes with their Premium plans. With this, your receptionist will also handle several administrative tasks for you, including scheduling appointments and deliveries, outbound calling, travel planning, and more. This can be extremely valuable to solo realtors who can’t hire an administrative assistant of their own. 

Their live receptionist is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. 

Along with live receptionist support, you’ll also have access to their live chat tool for your website. Live chat agents provide instant customer support to visitors, answering questions and starting leads down the funnel. You can customize your chat button, chat invitation, and greeting. You’ll receive chat transcripts and history via email.

Davinci Virtual offers two different mobile apps to go along with their answering service: the Davinci Virtual app and Davinci LIVE. The Davinci Virtual app is the companion to their phone system, allowing you to make calls, send texts, manage voice messages, and receive faxes. Davinci LIVE keeps you in touch with your live receptionist, allowing you to update your availability, view call activity, and get message notifications.

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Davinci Virtual Pros
  • Full virtual administrative assistant
  • Unique conference calling feature
  • Two useful mobile applications
Davinci Virtual Cons
  • No 24/7 services
  • Minimum six-month commitment
Starting at $$$

Best for Dedicated Service: Abby Connect

Top Features: Dedicated receptionist team, custom transfer music
Starting at $$

Why we chose it: Want to seem like you have an in-house team of receptionists without actually hiring one? Abby Connect makes that possible. Abby Connect provides you with a dedicated receptionist team and account manager that know about your business and clients—all to ensure your success. You’ll also have access to their live chat tool, the Abby Connect online portal, and the Abby Go mobile app.

Each plan includes a small team of receptionists that are trained on your business, values, and clients. They’ll send you call transcripts over email, and you can activate call recordings if you wish. You’ll have extra teams depending on how available you’ll need them. Agents practice warm transfers, meaning they’ll provide you with a customer’s information and a rundown of why they’re calling before transferring them to you. One standout feature is the ability to upload your custom transfer music!

Their live chat tool can be implemented into your website, and its interface can be customized to your brand. They also provide automated pre-chat and post-chat surveys to gather relevant information and feedback. Like their receptionist service, you’ll receive an email transcript of conversations. It also integrates with SMS!

With Abby Go, you can access your dashboard, call and text for free, set statuses, and search for calls and callers. There’s the activities screen, which consolidates your communications into one spot for reference with filters. You can also rate calls and submit feedback. 

Unique to Abby Connect, you can block callers right in their portal, like a rude prospect or persistent spammer. You can also ban the IP address of website visitors who harass or waste the time of live chat agents. This is mutually beneficial; it doesn’t just increase efficiency—it puts you and your dedicated receptionists at ease. 

When it comes to integrations, Abby Connect has hundreds through Zapier. This makes it one of the few on the list that can easily integrate with popular CRMs like Salesforce or Hubspot. 

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Abby Connect Pros
  • Dedicated, knowledgeable receptionists
  • A whopping 14-day free trial
  • Tons of integrations through Zapier
Abby Connect Cons
  • 24/7 service comes with additional costs
  • No call routing function
Starting at $$

Most Scaleable Plan: AnswerConnect

Top Features: Active Response lead capture
Starting at $

Why we chose it: If you’re a real estate business looking to grow, AnswerConnect might be the answering service for you. They offer a professional answering service, inbound and outbound call center services, and live chat support. There are several scalable plans to choose from based on the number of minutes you need, and these plans are month-to-month with no long-term contract required. 

AnswerConnect offers 24/7/365 live answering and a toll-free number you can use. Receptionists can be dedicated or shared, though dedicated is more expensive. Either way, they upload any messages they take in your preferred CRM, and set appointments in your preferred scheduling platform. You can also provide your AnswerConnect agents with FAQs and their answers. 

Their call center services include inbound and outbound phone calls, meaning they can capture new leads and qualify them for you, too! They’ll update your CRM directly with the information they gain, and they can even conduct market research through surveys. AnswerConnect also provides lead capture tools for your website, which they call ActiveResponse. 

A unique feature of AnswerConnect is Teleport, their very own video calling platform. It works like Zoom or Google Meets, allowing you to send out a link to a customer or a group and chat with them face-to-face. For example, once an appointment is set up with a customer by their team, you could chat with them over Teleport and showcase your personality as a realtor.

AnswerConnect offers an online portal where you can replay calls, check messages, verify contact details, view reports, and view transactions. You can also edit your scripts, call-flows, and business hours here. They also offer a mobile app version of the portal with real-time notifications. 

Just like Abby Connect, AnswerConnect is integrated with Zapier, meaning it’s integrated with thousands of other tools. These include popular CRMs like Salesforce, Zoho, and Hubspot. 

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AnswerConnect Pros
  • Inbound and outbound calls
  • Video calling platform
  • Tons of integrations with Zapier
AnswerConnect Cons
  • Relatively high rates
  • After-call work counted toward minutes
Starting at $

Best Live Phone Answering Service: VoiceNation

Top Features: Hit the ground running with instant activation
Starting at $

Why we chose it: Do you need answering services around the clock and need them now? VoiceNation has what you’re looking for. In under 24 hours, you can get VoiceNation started with their instant account activation, including customization options. They offer live receptionists and live chat support. There’s no setup fee, and they don’t even charge for after-hours and holiday calls.

VoiceNation offers live answering through local or toll-free numbers with bilingual receptionists (English and Spanish). They’ll share property listings, take messages, and forward important calls to you—or all calls if you choose. Because they work around the clock and there are no extra fees for 24/7/365 service, VoiceNation is a great choice for those with high volumes of calls going throughout the year. 

They also have a live chat tool you can add to your website that provides customer support. You can customize how many messages they respond to through the Live Chat portal. You’ll be sent all transcripts of conversations via email. 

VoiceNation provides its app, an online dashboard with many features. First, custom scripting allows you to customize and edit your outgoing messages and greetings to your brand. You’re provided with much in terms of analytics, such as call volume, length, and location. This is helpful for minute tracking, as VoiceNation’s plans are based on time. You can also edit your agent roster, availability schedule, and company information here. 

VoiceNation integrates with Ninja Number, a private branch exchange (PBX). This means that you can add multiple extensions to your phone line that callers can choose from by pressing a number. This might make you seem a little bigger than you are, but it’s especially valuable for knowing what a caller is looking for before they start talking. There are even auto-responders you can set up for frequent questions.

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VoiceNation Pros
  • Instant activation for quick turnaround
  • No setup for afterhours answering service fees
  • Bilingual operators in all plans
VoiceNation Cons
  • Additional costs for mobile app calls
  • No appointment scheduling
Starting at $

Beautiful,Smiling,Woman,With,Headphones,Using,Computer,While,Counseling,AtUse the right automated answering service for your business

There are plenty of answering services out there with their unique features and advantages, but each one is geared for a particular kind of operation. If you’re struggling to decide which service is the best, consider how you’re handling calls now and what would supplement your current system. A professional answering service should complement your business!

We at Agent Advice do the research so you don’t have to! We hope this guide has given you some insight into features to look for and what kind of answering service is right for you. 

Advice from the Pros About Real Estate Answering Service

jim gray headshotEarly in his career, Jim was an ambitious real estate agent with big dreams and an undeniable passion for his profession. He had a strong work ethic and a deep commitment to providing exceptional service to his clients. However, Jim found himself facing significant challenges when it came to managing his communication effectively.

Without an answering service to support him, Jim often felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of calls he received on a daily basis. Juggling client inquiries, leads, and administrative tasks became a constant struggle. He found himself constantly playing catch-up, rushing from one call to another, and trying to respond to messages while on the go.

The lack of a dedicated answering service meant that Jim had to rely solely on his own availability to address client calls. It seemed as though the phone never stopped ringing, and Jim felt the pressure to be available at all times. He would answer calls during family dinners, while attending important meetings, or even in the middle of the night. It took a toll on his personal life and made it difficult for him to find a healthy work-life balance.

Missed calls became a more regular occurrence for Jim. With his attention divided between multiple tasks, he would often find himself unable to answer every call promptly. As a result, potential leads slipped through his fingers, and existing clients were left frustrated with delayed responses. Jim knew that missed opportunities could harm his business growth, but he felt helpless in finding a solution that allowed him to be available round the clock.

The absence of an answering service also affected Jim’s ability to provide consistent and professional customer service. On busy days, voicemails piled up, and returning calls became a time-consuming task. Clients grew impatient and sought assistance from other agents who were more readily available. Jim realized that his reputation was at stake, and he couldn’t afford to lose clients due to communication gaps.

Plus, the lack of a centralized system for managing messages and inquiries made it challenging for Jim to stay organized. Sticky notes, scattered messages, and endless email threads made it difficult to track important conversations and maintain accurate records. It led to confusion, miscommunication, and occasional errors in relaying crucial information to clients.

Feeling the weight of these struggles, Jim realized that he needed a solution to enhance his communication and regain control over his business. He recognized that an answering service could be the key to alleviating his burdens. By having a team of trained professionals handle incoming calls, Jim could focus on providing dedicated service to his clients and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

With newfound determination, Jim began his search for a reliable answering service. He explored different options, seeking a service that aligned with his specific needs and understood the demands of the real estate industry. Jim knew that by investing in an answering service, he would not only enhance his communication but also regain his peace of mind and the confidence to take his business to new heights.

As Jim embarked on this new chapter, he remained hopeful that the struggles he had faced without an answering service would soon become a distant memory. He was ready to embrace the support and efficiency that a professional answering service could provide, eager to transform his communication challenges into triumphs and build a thriving real estate business that exceeded his wildest expectations.

Answering Service Feature Guide

When considering an answering service, it’s important to look for specific features that align with your business needs. Here’s a guide to some essential answering service features:

  1. Live Call Answering: Ensure that the service offers live call answering by trained professionals who can handle calls promptly and professionally. This ensures a personal touch and avoids automated systems or voicemail-only options.
  2. 24/7 Customer Support: Verify if the answering service operates round the clock, including weekends and holidays. This ensures that your business remains accessible to customers at all times.
  3. Automated Answering Support: The use of automated systems and technology to handle incoming calls and provide customer support without the need for live operators. It involves using interactive voice response (IVR) systems, chatbots, or other automated tools to interact with callers and address their inquiries or concerns.
  4. Customized Call Handling: Look for an answering service that allows you to provide detailed call handling instructions, so the agents can handle calls according to your specific requirements and protocols.
  5. Message Taking and Delivery: Ensure that the service can accurately and promptly take messages from callers, including relevant details such as caller information, reason for the call, and preferred contact method. Messages should be delivered to you through channels like email, text messages, or a secure online portal.
  6. Call Patching and Transferring: Check if the service offers call patching or call transferring capabilities. This allows urgent calls or calls requiring specific attention to be seamlessly connected to the appropriate person or department within your organization.
  7. Bilingual Support: If your business serves customers who speak different languages, consider an answering service that offers bilingual support to cater to a diverse customer base.
  8. Setting Appointments: If appointment scheduling is essential for your business, look for a service that can handle scheduling tasks, update calendars, and send reminders to customers.
  9. CRM Integration: If you use customer relationship management (CRM) software, consider an answering service that integrates with your CRM system. This allows for efficient call management, automatic logging of call details, and seamless synchronization of customer information.
  10. Scalability: Ensure that the answering service can accommodate your business’s growth and fluctuating call volumes. Scalability allows you to adjust service levels as your business expands or experiences seasonal variations.
  11. Reporting and Analytics: Look for a service that provides detailed call logs, performance reports, and analytics. This helps you evaluate call trends, measure service quality, and make informed decisions based on data.
  12. Automated Order Taking: Offers several benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced order processing time, and the ability to handle orders outside of regular business hours. It allows businesses to capture orders accurately and promptly, improving customer satisfaction and streamlining the overall order fulfillment process.

Remember to assess your specific business needs and prioritize the features that align with your goals and customer expectations. It’s also recommended to request demos or trials from potential answering service providers to experience their features firsthand and make an informed decision.


What is a phone answering service?

A phone answering service is a third-party company that handles incoming calls for businesses. Trained professionals act as virtual receptionists, answering calls, taking messages, and providing basic information to callers. It ensures businesses never miss important calls and provides prompt and professional assistance. It’s particularly useful for industries with high call volumes or 24/7 availability needs.

Overall, a phone answering service serves as a valuable extension of a business’s communication infrastructure. It provides a professional and reliable point of contact for callers, enhances customer service, and helps businesses manage their incoming calls more effectively. By outsourcing call handling to a specialized service, businesses can improve their responsiveness, free up internal resources, and ensure that every call is handled with care and professionalism.

How do answering services work?

Answering services work by having trained professionals handle incoming calls on behalf of businesses. Here’s a simplified breakdown of how they operate:

  • Call Routing: Calls to the business are redirected to the answering service. This can be done through call forwarding or by assigning a dedicated phone number to the service.
  • Call Answering: The answering service’s team of receptionists answer the calls using customized scripts provided by the business. They greet callers professionally and gather necessary information.
  • Message Taking: Receptionists take detailed messages, including caller names, contact information, and the purpose of the call. They ensure accurate and thorough information capture.
  • Call Handling Instructions: Businesses provide specific instructions on call handling, such as forwarding urgent calls or transferring to specific individuals or departments.
  • Message Delivery: Messages are promptly delivered to the business through various channels, such as email, text messages, or a secure online portal. Businesses can access and respond to messages at their convenience.
  • Additional Services: Some answering services offer additional services like appointment scheduling, order taking, or lead qualification, depending on the specific needs of the business.

Overall, answering services act as a professional extension of a business’s communication infrastructure, ensuring that calls are answered, messages are taken, and customers receive prompt assistance. They help businesses manage their calls efficiently, enhance customer service, and improve overall communication effectiveness.

How much do answering services typically cost?

The cost of answering services can vary depending on several factors, including the service provider, the level of service required, call volume, and additional features. Typically, answering services charge on a per-minute basis for the time spent on each call. Some may also have a monthly subscription fee or offer different pricing plans based on the expected call volume.

To give you a rough estimate, basic answering services can range from around $0.50 to $1.50 per minute. More comprehensive packages or services that require specialized knowledge or skills may have higher rates. Monthly subscription fees can start from around $50 to $100, depending on the service provider and the features included.

It’s important to note that these figures are just general estimates, and the actual cost can vary. Some answering services may offer customized pricing based on the specific needs of a business, so it’s advisable to contact different service providers and request quotes based on your requirements.

When evaluating the cost of an answering service, it’s essential to consider the value it provides to your business. The ability to capture potential leads, offer 24/7 availability, and enhance customer service can contribute to increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Assess your business needs, compare pricing options, and consider the potential return on investment when determining if an answering service is worth the cost for your specific situation.

About the Author

Jim Gray got licensed in 2013 and sold 57 houses in his first year. Over the next 6 1/2 years he went on to sell 437 homes with a small team. He went on to manage the lead generation department of the 13th largest expansion team at Keller Williams and designed lead generation and conversion systems for 60 agents in 7 locations in 4 states that drove 600 home sales in a 2 year period. Jim currently does real estate team development and coaching for some of the largest real estate teams in the country. Connect with me

Last Updated: 5/16/2023