Email Copies

Services for Real Estate Pros with PDX Home Group, LLC

If you have been practicing Real Estate before the usage of email and the Internet, you know what a fantastic tool of communication and constant contact email can be.  And if you have it at your fingertips, it can give you an even more powerful availability, too.  And we all know how, if used badly, it can be used against us.  It should never be used to replace human contact.  Or, if you are a poor speller, or just not the perfect editor of words, it can portray you as being less intelligent than you really are.  But that's not what I am here to talk about.

I want to discuss the agent to agent email.  We use it now to ask for availability of property and to send offers back and forth.  We use it to keep a paper trail of communication and print those and put them in our files.  But I have seen something of a growing trend lately that is bothering me immensely.  Maybe you too, have experienced first hand, the agent that emails you and copies his/her clients. 

I am starting to wonder why this horrific lack of professionalism is picking up the pace.  Is there a Guru out there spreading this around as a good common practice?  I haven't heard of one, but honestly, I can't listen to all the so-called Gurus out there.  email

There can only be 2 reasons I can think of, that makes an agent do this. 

  1. The agent copies the client on an email of concern, in a hope that you respond with REPLY ALL and speak directly with their client.
  2. The agent feels that the client may think he/she isn't doing enough on their transaction.  So, they want to prove it, by copying them on a quippy or harsh email, boosting their client's impression of them.

Think back before email was introduced...  many of us weren't in the business.  Even if you weren't, try to imagine a forum where both of these examples, were an actual practice in a world before the use of email.  Did the 2 agents hop on a conference call together with the clients?  Are you kidding?  Did they all meet at the house for such trivial questions?  No.  If you were a Dual Agent working on both sides, would you copy the seller and the buyer, together?  Absolutely Not.  

Either this type of agent is lazy, and doesn't want to retrieve the answer and interpret it to their client in their owns words and add their recommendations.  Or they have lost the trust from their client and are trying to earn it back.  I would like to advise all agents, this is not the best way to run your business.  It will backfire on you.  Here are some reasons you don't want to copy your clients.

  1. Your client will begin communicating direct with the other agent, because you have set a precedence that you are merely a middleman, with no thoughts of your own.  And you have just given them the most easy point of contact.  The other agents email address.
  2. The other agent may just hit reply all, but this time it's not the answer you wanted your client to hear.  Your job is to protect your client and make them feel comfortable.  If the agent on the other end takes the offensive approach, your client will get defensive, and you have no choice but to pick a side.  Now you have the perfect recipe for SALE FAIL.
  3. If it's about earning a little trust with your client, that can be achieved in many ways.  But you can still email the other agent and BCC your client.  This will assure them you are performing your duties for them, without opening the opportunity for disaster.  And you should also BCC the other agent, if you have concerns about your client contacting them direct.
  4. The obvious objection, I have, is when I am responding to an agent, I will continue the tone of that communication on a B2B level.  When the other agent copies his/her client, and expects me to respond directly to their client, that means I now have to change the tone and respond to a consumer too. 

The easiest answer, as a recipient of this behavior is just to ignore it.  But I wanted to take it one step further and address it, and perhaps make an impact and help change it.  Realtors are agents.  Meaning we are obligated to represent our clients.  Opening up direct communication with the other side and your client, is stripping yourself of doing your part as an agent.  There are plenty of industry adversities that try to reduce the Realtor credibility and ability.  Let's not make it easier by avoiding some of the important obligations.

Comments (6)

Roy Giordano - Top Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Central, Marlboro, Manalapan, Freehold, Old Bridge NJ - Marlboro, NJ
Top Agent Marlboro NJ, Marlboro/Manalapan Homes

Hi Steve. Excellent blog. I agree with you. Luckily I haven't had too much experience with that sort of thing but it surely would concern me as a Realtor.

Thanks for posting.


Dec 13, 2009 03:46 AM
Dean Carver
United Brokers Group/Carver Home Team - Ahwatukee, AZ

I like the technique of copying clients in certain cases, but I definitely prefer blind copying. As you pointed out, the other way often creates problems!

Dec 13, 2009 03:48 AM
Frank Kliewer
Woodinville, WA

Hi Steve, it is very important to keep communication both private and respectful of the laws of agency. I agree that agents need to be very careful how they use the new technology.

Dec 13, 2009 03:50 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Excellent post!    You bring up an essential point about our role and fiduciary duty to our client.    It might be that the realtors who do this have found themselves in a court case, at a previous time, and this might be their way to document everything, in case a problem surfaces?

Dec 13, 2009 03:55 AM
Sara Woolford & Steve Golson, ALHS
iTexas Realty Co. - San Antonio, TX
Hi Steve- Agents in this area are very polite regarding agency lines. If a situation arises that we need to get a document to a buyer and their agent cannot make a timely forward; we ASK if we can cc their client, then state in the e-mail that the document is being sent with their agent's approval or at their agent's request. -- Sara in San Antonio
Dec 13, 2009 04:05 AM
Connie Hall
All Brokers Real Estate - Portland, OR

I had one client who was a lawyer and it was requested that every email be BCC to him for his records, I had no problem as I had nothing to hide. He found it interesting the way the other agent would respond when he didn't think the buyer was listening and so did I.

Feb 09, 2010 04:38 AM