Write it like mom's gonna read it.

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

"Did the buyers decide if they wanted any of the stuff that we offered them?" My seller asks... you know the sofa, the chair, that kinda stuff.

"They hadn't mentioned anything... I'll reach out to them and ask.  I did tell them about all the stuff you mentioned, and figured the inspection was a good time for them to view them".

"I know" says my seller "they left some papers behind, and one of them was the print-out of your email to them with the list of 'stuff'."

My brain goes into quick overload...  they're now able to read an email that wasn't intended for them... I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything untoward. Just "The seller would like to know if the buyer would like the sofa, chair and rug in the living room.  Also the chair and curtains in the baby's room.  Maybe you can view them at the inspection and let us know?"

whew... dodged a bullet right?  Glad the email didn't say... "Can you ask the buyer if they'd like my sellers ratty old sofa, and crappy chair and rug??  I know it's all old and beat up, but the sellers don't want to move the stuff, so they'd like to let you deal with it"  Right?

Ya never know who's gonna see what you've written.  Follow that old axiom... make sure that whatever you write... pretend that your mother is going to read it.  Would she approve?

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Alan May, I copied on an email that was intended for the seller from her agent, this was a short sale that smelled fishy, You never know whose hands your emails/texts/posts will end up in.

Jan 26, 2018 08:32 AM #31
Blatt + Cutino
Keller Williams Coastal Estates - Monterey, CA
Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today*

I agree with Dorie Dillard above. Keep all files in order and act as if one day whatever you have written or not written for that matter will one day be up on the monitor in a courtroom and the judge will be asking you questions about it.

Jan 26, 2018 08:38 AM #32
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

OMG! That news would strike terror in my heart too. I too try to joke around at times. Great advice Alan, we should assume any and all emails in transactions are subject to public consumption. D 

Jan 26, 2018 08:42 AM #33
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121

Well, that's no fun.  How am I supposed to shock and stun people?

Jan 26, 2018 09:02 AM #34
Juliana Sanabri
Juliana States lmt - Alameda, CA

Nice post. The only way to create such an amazing post is to choose an interesting topic like the difference between rational and irrational numbers and make an effective outline to write down that post. To conduct an effective research is also for the students in this regard.

Jan 26, 2018 09:24 AM #35
Janelle Ancillotti
Seneca Home Staging - Syracuse, NY
HSR Certified Home Stager, Syracuse, NY

Funny story. It reminds me of when our landscape architect shared an email he received from our next door neighbors thanking him for blocking their view of our "slab" (our "slab" as they called it was a 25'x50' concrete pad that we put an ice rink on in the winter and in the summer we used it for basketball, tennis, and all kinds of other activities).

Jan 26, 2018 09:41 AM #36
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Got me laughing - thanks Alan.    Yes - once we type it anywhere, or share it anywhere, it leaves our control.    Whenever we do anything, anywhere, with anyone,  consider it's potentially available to everyone.     As  Grandma used to say, if you don't want to see your picture in the paper next to an embarassing story, don't do it!    The only difference today is the immediacy.

Jan 26, 2018 10:48 AM #37
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Alan -  there are no secrets with email or the Internet.

Jan 26, 2018 12:09 PM #38
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

In today's world we never know when some of our communications is going where we did not expect it.

I have inadvertently sent an email to the wrong email address.

Be careful of what you write.

Jan 26, 2018 02:15 PM #39
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Before I ever send anything I read and re-read my thought. Call me OCD but I think it's important to say the appropriate thing. Thanks!

Jan 26, 2018 03:56 PM #40
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

That would be adhering to an almost impossible standard if I would write for my Mother to read.

Jan 26, 2018 05:26 PM #41
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

In this day and age of advanced technology, I will also add to make sure that any voicemail you leave pass the "mother's test". I just forwarded a voicemail that someone left me to a third party... Always make sure your tracks are irreprochable!

Enjoy the weekend!

Jan 26, 2018 05:26 PM #42
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I totally agree. We never know when an email we wrote might get inadvertently forwarded (or even on purpose), a text message will be screen-shot and sent somewhere else, a voice mail forwarded. Anything we say in any format needs to be mom-proof.

Jan 27, 2018 03:30 AM #43
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

Oh that was fortunate!  Reminds me of agents that just forward me emails from their clients--during negotiations or some other matter--then I have their client's email and I feel that is private correspondance.

Jan 27, 2018 07:33 PM #44
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams fox cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Alan,  Great advice.  I usually take care in anything I write as well, but it does get your attention.  I hope I didn't slip up anywhere.   Thanks.

Jan 27, 2018 08:03 PM #45
Diana Dahlberg
1 MONTH REALTY - Kenosha, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I always try to write as if this is going to be read "after I'm gone" to the people I love the most.  Keeps me honest.

Jan 27, 2018 10:03 PM #46
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

This is excellent advice.  It's also a good idea to double check all recipients in the address bar.  There are accounts of people accidentally including an unintended recipient on an email.  The repercussions were devastating to all recipients.

Jan 29, 2018 03:16 PM #47
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So true!  The phrase "Dance like nobody's watching" doesn't apply here!  We have to be mindful that anything and everything can be heard, repeated and read.  Whew!  Good for you for being the consumate professional :)

Jan 30, 2018 07:04 AM #48
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

I've learned the hard way that you have to assume they're going to read it - whoever the "they" might be!

Feb 01, 2018 05:19 PM #49
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

That is a great warning to us all.  Writing what you think is often a bad thing if it is not positive!  I almost said factual but "ratty old sofa" could have been just as factual!

Feb 02, 2018 06:12 AM #50
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