What You Write Ends Up Who Knows Where?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

One of the things you learn working in corporate America is you never know where what you write will end up. 

Emails get forwarded, then forwarded again, and again, and again.  The domino push has started.

Suddenly your "private" audience of one is now an entire department and subject to a Reply All cloudburst, and there's no walking it back!

Things written as a joke or in confidence can easily wind up as Exhibit A in a lawsuit against the company.

So needless to say, that mindset transfers over to me in real estate.

I've seen agents forward things to their clients that kick the proverbial beehive.

An agent provides showing feedback that the "master bathroom is WEIRD!".  That's NOT the kind of stuff I want going straight to my seller.

Is the master bathroom unusual in that it has a door from the bathroom straight into the living room?  You bet.  But considering the change was made for someone with medical issues and it cut about 45 feet of walking to get to the nearest bathroom and the home is in a 55+ community, the modification actually makes sense.

And of course we've all heard stories of agents posting things on their "personal" or "business" Facebook pages that have gone viral, and NOT in a good way.  It usually doesn't take long for a broker to decide the agent should be "seeking other job opportunities" to borrow a phrase from my corporate life.

Real estate or corporate America, it's critical to use discretion.  Who knows where your next comment, blog post, email or Facebook post or comment just might wind up?


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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
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Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
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Comments (30)

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Discretion, a word many people have forgotten the meaning of, and the supposed annonymity the internet offers has allowed people to have a major lack of discretion.

Jul 27, 2020 05:54 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Nick, I think too many people have taken the fact that someone on the Internet can't reach over and knock your block off as permission to say ANYTHING, no matter how rude.

Jul 27, 2020 08:41 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning,

You are so right..once you push the send button don't expect to retrieve it! Think before you let loose in the heat of the moment something you might feel passionate about but haven't thought it all through.

Jul 27, 2020 06:38 AM
faye schubert

It seems that text and email come off "stronger" than if it was said to the person(s). 

Jul 27, 2020 06:56 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I can't count the number of times I've WANTED to write a blog post and tossed the idea in the trash can.

Jul 27, 2020 08:41 AM
faye schubert
Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

The overuse of social media, especially for those college age looking for jobs, will hurt them. Companies check social media to see what kind of person they are going to interview.

Jul 27, 2020 06:58 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's something I've tried to get my nieces to understand.  What they post CAN and WILL be checked as part of the hiring process.  What seems fine at 16 may be big trouble at 24.

Jul 27, 2020 08:42 AM
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Real Estate Advocate

Great information about "pushing" feedback to the Seller.  How foolish it is to believe that ANYTHING you push will not be read or interpreted with wrong feelings.  Best to always have the choice of reviewing prior to sending to the Seller... if ANY of the feedback is so ridiculous (weird, stupid, goofy) ... just indicate that there is NO constructive feedback.  I try my best to prepare the Seller(s) that any feedback may not help us correct any deficiencies brought to our attention... and really the best feedback is... Buyer's Broker is submitting a signed offer.

Jul 27, 2020 06:59 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Dan, at the end of the day all I really want from feedback is:  offer yes or no, and if no, is there anything that would switch it that we control?  Because much of the other stuff is Estelle Getty from Golden Girls...no filter, and sometimes damaging.

Jul 27, 2020 08:44 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

... and once you've put it in writing, you have no control over where it goes. 

Jul 27, 2020 08:44 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

or who screen captured it :)

Jul 28, 2020 04:34 PM
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

What a great post!  Never write something you don't want the whole world to see!  It is easy to get wrapped up in social media and respond to something that will hurt your business.  On the other hand, we must stand for some things even if it means severe consequences will occur.  Just be sure, you are ready to face them.

Jul 27, 2020 08:55 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Pick our battles wisely.  I'm willing to drop gloves over an issue that deserves defense.

Jul 28, 2020 04:35 PM
Joan Valverde
HomeSmart - Colorado Springs, CO
GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu

Very good post, and good reminders.  And in our business it is also so true with what we write, and don't write on our contracts!!  It can be the difference of something staying, or something in need of replacement because of the way it was written!!  

Jul 27, 2020 11:24 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

"But it said in MLS the washer and dryer were staying!".

"Yes, but what did the contract you write say about them??".

Jul 28, 2020 04:36 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Liz and Bill Spear  Caution is the word when putting anything in print I wear a tee-shirt that says  Bee Kind  and I sincerely mean it.  Yes, we all slip but  I am sorry sometimes works sometimes does not but an apology never hurts. The best is to stop and think before you put something nasty in writing.

Jul 27, 2020 11:36 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Bzzz bzzzzz :)

Jul 28, 2020 04:36 PM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Especially in these troubled times it is important, I believe, to keep ones personal beliefs to oneself.  Even here on AR, I have read comments that have vastly influenced my opinion about members. This is not a "Facebook" type of community, but a business one.

Jul 27, 2020 11:51 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I have some things that are "off limits" that I don't care if people know about me, e.g. my religious beliefs.  I don't push them hard, but I don't hide them either.  But you want to talk politics here?  fuhgeddaboutit....

Jul 28, 2020 04:37 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

All you have to do is look at the news to see how the things people write come back to bite them. If you happen to be a criminal of some sort, it's probably a good idea to shut up about it.


Jul 27, 2020 02:04 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

No shortage of examples of how it should NOT be done.

Jul 28, 2020 04:34 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I try to NOT WRITE it if I wouldn't want the world to see it.  I wasn't ALWAYS this smart, but I am a very fast learner.

Jul 27, 2020 05:14 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We're all human :)

Jul 28, 2020 04:33 PM
Brian DeYoung
also affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Heritage Realty - Ithaca, NY
The Realtor with personal investment background

Great advice and comments.

Jul 27, 2020 07:02 PM
Liz and Bill Spear


Jul 28, 2020 04:33 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

A great reminder.
My emails, my posts, and my comments... I assume all go viral and get seen by all and I’m willing to stand by anything I post publicly because nothing is private online.

Jul 27, 2020 10:03 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

If I assume my mom or broker will see everything I leave behind, I've got incentive to keep it straight.

Jul 28, 2020 04:33 PM
Richard V. Foster, Esq.
Nevada Perfect Homes - Henderson, NV
Broker (58356) - ABR/M, CREN, CRS, GRI, RRG, SFR

Speaking as an attorney . . . NEVER write anything down, by hand, computer, text, on by voice mail (yes, I know that is not written, but same rule), that you do not want to haunt you. I use a simple policy, I write it, then I wait a period f time, and go back and read it... If I can see it potentially going bad, I fit it!!!

Jul 27, 2020 10:59 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Risk managers never seem to run out of examples of how things should NOT be done, and of course the opposition has a field day when deposing.

Jul 28, 2020 04:32 PM
Dennis J. Zisa & Associates, Inc.
Dennis J. Zisa & Associates, Inc. - Camden, NJ
31 years in So. Jersey and the Greater Camden area

Great post! We've all felt the negative repercussions of an email sent to an agent that inadvertently gets copied to all the wrong parties.

Jul 28, 2020 05:00 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Some things just shouldn't be shown to clients without expecting some blowback.

Jul 28, 2020 04:31 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

How about starting a political newsletter? 

We've said that a gazillion times over the years. Where your stuff ends up is always amazing.

I remember when I sent my X a joke & he had to go to 2 weeks 'sensitivity' training just from that joke! Needless to say, no more emails from me.


Jul 28, 2020 07:33 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

That is one hellhole I don't want to spend time in!

And we had a manager at my day job get fired just after 9-11 for printing a joke...and the printer jammed so it didn't come out...and eventually someone found it and identified where it came from.  Game over.

Jul 28, 2020 04:31 PM
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

I am careful what I post on social media. I had an agent cringing (good friend) when I called her one morning and asked what she was up to the night before. She asked what I meant. I told her the photos someone posted from the builder event, it looked like quite a party and you were buddy buddy with some agents. She was very upset. 

Jul 29, 2020 05:43 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I'm not much of a partier (like not at all!), but I'd generally prefer people not post pictures of me to Facebook or anywhere else unless I know it's going to happen. 

Jul 29, 2020 07:20 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

You are so right!

Real estate or corporate America, it's critical to use discretion.  Who knows where your next comment, blog post, email or Facebook post or comment just might wind up?

Jul 29, 2020 06:29 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Lessons learned!

Jul 29, 2020 07:21 PM
Greg Mona
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

 You are spot-on, Liz and Bill Spear! One good mantra to remember prior to hitting the "send" button is; You can't put the genie back in the bottle.  Another in regard to what you write and publish on social media, blog, etc. is Like a red wine stain, it may fade over time but it is always there.

Jul 29, 2020 09:52 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I think a lot of us have long memories, and that's not always a good thing for others.  Fights I've seen from 10 years ago on this community still stick in my mind.

Jul 29, 2020 07:21 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Liz and Bill Spear 
So true! All the examples you shared and more!
The other detail people forget about is those three little dots at the end of the email that carry EVERYTHING that was written before! If an interim email contained comments you don't want to share -- too bad! Unless you took the time to delete those, you just shared those too!

Thanks for your excellent advice as always! Lynn

Jul 30, 2020 07:24 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

We always need to be aware what's further down in an email thread.

Jul 30, 2020 08:16 PM